Categories
Economics

The EPA is not the Federal Reserve of oil markets

Energy market pricing behavior seems contrary to the relationship between supply and demand. The oddly behaving RIN market is an intermediate factor that influences gasoline prices for automobiles. RIN (Renewable Identification Numbers) should be decreasing. Instead, they are too high.

Categories
Tech

Economic Models for Turbulent Times Part 2

Originally posted on November 20, 2011 at 4:28 AM 

A new research study has already received unusual attention. The Network of Global Corporate Control [PDF] discovers a relatively small group of multinational companies with disproportionate influence over the global economy. The authors, a trio of complex systems theorists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich, are supposedly the first to empirically identify such a network.

The problem is approached using mathematical models designed for capturing behavior of complex natural systems. The study applies this methodology to a large data set of corporate information, to map ownership among the world’s transnational corporations (TNCs). Previous studies reported that a few TNCs drive much of the global economy. However, they analyzed fewer companies. Due to limited data availability and computing resources, past studies did not consider the effect of indirect ownership.

Categories
Tech

Economic Models for Turbulent Times Part I

Originally Published on December 5, 2010 AT 7:58 AM

Crust is an algorithm for reconstructing surfaces of any topology. In other words, it is a computational method for digitally rendering any 2-D shape, using data in three-dimensional space as input.

Strange topology at MIT

Such methods garner a lot of attention these days. Here are a few reasons why: Graphical simulation models are increasingly needed for visualization and testing purposes in the field of particle physics. World of Warcraft and Second Life rely heavily on computationally intensive computer graphics, and scalable distributed systems. The U.S. economy is a highly complex system, partly guided by the results of mathematical models.

Crust was developed as a collaborative effort between two staff scientists at Xerox PARC and a researcher at MIT.

None of this happened recently. In fact, Crust hasn’t been semantically linked with the word “new” since its debut at the 1998 ACM SIGGRAPH Conference.

Categories
Uncategorized

Things fall apart

Read Quote of Ellie Kesselman’s answer to Neo-Jeffersonianism: Is Occupy the right structural model for neo-Jeffersonianism at the “movement” level? on Quora

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

    The darkness drops again but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

— The Second Coming W.B Yeats

And what rough beast, his hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Washington to be sworn?

 via big trouble is on the horizon

Obama talks new world order at DNC funder last night pic.twitter.com/agh6UivBpQ— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller)

July 23, 2014

The center cannot hold.

Categories
social science

Recovery is the same all over

The Youth for Christ Center in Myanmar provides food, shelter, safety, rest, Bible study and singing, free of charge, for 40 days to a maximum of three months.

Via Reuters, Photos of the Week: Faith healing for addicts6 July 2013:

Myanmar is the world’s second-largest producer of opium. Heroin abuse is widespread. The center’s popularity is a testament both to the severity of Myanmar’s drug problem and the lack of options in a poor country where modern treatment programs are rare. It offers prayer, Bible study and devotional singing, with football and weightlifting for those strong enough.

The text, above, accompanies an expressive, compassionately photographed gallery of ten images featured in Reuters Online, “Photos of the Week”.  Subjects were portrayed honestly and sensitively.

Categories
Googleplex

Linking your Google account and YouTube account

I deleted my Google Account- what happened to my YouTube Account? – YouTube Help:

Usually, when you delete a Google Account, all related Google Services are deleted at the same time. There was a long-standing bug with linked YouTube-Google Accounts. When you deleted your Google Account YouTube as a service was not deleted.

Your YouTube Account was tied to the Google Account. Since the Google Account was deleted, the Google Account and YouTube password became invalid. You were consequently unable sign into the YouTube Account. The bug caused the content in your YouTube Account still remained live for a while though.

We’ve fixed this bug, and now when you delete your Google Account the entire Google Account, and related services (YouTube included), will be deleted.

We’re also retro-actively deleting the YouTube Accounts which were impacted by the bug and which were not deleted at the same time when you deleted the Google Account. These YouTube Accounts were inaccessible but the videos were still live on the site. The bug has now been corrected and the YouTube Accounts and associated content have been deleted.

Google Account:

Services:

When you deleted your Google Account, the entire Account, plus the related services should be deleted:

Due to the bug though, the YouTube Account was not deleted and the YouTube Account remained live on the site.

Now that the bug is fixed, all Google services, including YouTube are deleted when you delete your Google Account:

Categories
Googleplex

YouTube Video Scavenger Hunt

YouTube – Broadcast Yourself included a hyper-linked line of text at the bottom of my search results today. It read something along the lines of “Discover video treasures on YouTube”.

What could be described in such glowing terms amongst the mess of poor quality content, or poor quality recordings of high quality content, that constitutes much of YouTube? “Video treasures” evokes the phrase “national treasure” which is such a contrast to the petabytes and exabytes of inane user comments attached to most videos, regardless of the associated video’s (sometimes worthwhile) content. Well, I clicked and saw a page with the heading,

YouTube Topics on Search Beta

and the following announcement:

YouTube Topics is a new way to explore the worlds of videos on YouTube. After you opt in, when you search for something (“funny” for example) you will see topics related to your current search displayed at the top of search results and next to individual videos. You can click on these topics to switch to that topic on search.

You can also add a topic to your current search by clicking on the  + sign that shows when you hover over it. Each new topic you click will give you new results to explore.  Here’s a query to start with, so you can see how it works:  camera tricks

You may have noticed a “golden topic” when you tried this. We’ve scattered topics across the site for you to find (including this one), and if you can find and click on them all, you’ll unlock a special YouTube Logo to prove your puzzle prowess.

For more clues about the golden topics and for other questions you have, read this article in the Help Center.

An advisory that I am currently not opted in to Topics on Search Beta, and must Click here to opt in, is at the end of the page. I will opt in. I feel a bit uneasy in light of Facebook’s announcement (and rumored retraction) that it would release users’ names, addresses and phone numbers to 3rd-party developers unless the user opted out. I do not use Facebook. Also, I trust Google significantly more than Facebook! Plus I checked the URL associated with the Click here and it appears to be genuine!

My next post will advise whether or not this scavenger hunt for “golden topics” is worthwhile, or the goal attainable. Perhaps I will even have that intriguing “special YouTube Logo” to display, as proof of my puzzle prowess…

Categories
Googleplex

Google Public DNS

Google Public DNS is a free, global Domain Name System (DNS) resolution service.

You can use it as an alternative to your current DNS provider.

How can I take it out for a test run?

To try it out,

  • configure your network settings to use the IP addresses 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 as your DNS servers or
  • read the configuration instructions.

If you decide to try Google Public DNS, your client programs will perform all DNS lookups using Google Public DNS.

Why is DNS important?

The DNS protocol is an important part of the web’s infrastructure, serving as the Internet’s phone book: every time you visit a website, your computer performs a DNS lookup. Complex pages often need multiple DNS lookups before they start loading, so your computer may be performing hundreds of lookups a day.

Read more in the Google Public DNS documentation and Frequently Asked Questions.

Speed up your browsing

DNS!

With Google Public DNS you can:

Categories
Googleplex

The Anti-Matter of Network Security

Is virtual routing the “anti-matter” of network security?

This post from the Rational Security blog* presented a convincing case as to why that might be so. It was dated December 2008. I don’t know if virtual routing is safer now, or not.

Meanwhile, for those interested in routing as depicted in the photo, I found a good article about LAN switches. It explains quite clearly the difference between a router and a switch.

*The Rational Security blog has since departed TypePad (as of 2009). It has a slightly altered name, and is now The Rational Survivability blog.

Categories
Uncategorized

Authentication and Authorization

Access control has two components, referred to collectively as auth.

Third-party applications often require limited access to a user’s Google Account… all requests for access must be approved by the account holder.

via Authentication and Authorization for Google APIs.

Authentication services

Authentication refers to the process of allowing users to sign in to websites. In the context of this blog, it also refers to sign in to applications using a Google Account, or an OpenID 2.0 based protocol. When Google authenticates a user’s account, it returns a user ID to the web application. This allows user information to be stored and collected. Open ID also allows access to certain user account information, with the user’s approval.

Authorization services

Authorization is often confused (by me, maybe others) with authentication. Authorization lets a user authorize access by applications to specific data associated with the user’s Google account.

OAuth 2.0 Protocol

The OAuth 2.0 open-standard protocol allows users to authorize access to their data, after successful authentication. Google supports the OAuth 2.0 protocol with bearer tokens for web (and installed) applications. Regular Google account data and Google Apps account data are accessible with OAuth 2.0. OAuth 2.0 relies on SSL for security instead of direct cryptographic signing that would otherwise be necessary for such access.

Note that OAuth 2.0 has not been finalized, according to IETF (version 13). Google cautions that it’s OAuth 2.0 support is in an early preview and may change at any time, or as the final specifications evolve. Google considers OAuth experimental.  However, “experimental” does not have the same tentative connotation associated with Google Labs projects.

OAuth 1.0 Protocol

There is also an OAuth 1.0 for web applications. OAuth 1.0 can be used for authorization to user data by all Google API’s. Google continues to support OAuth 1.0.*

OAuth 1.0 is sometimes referred to in documentation without version number, only as OAuth.

Other protocols

The OpenID-OAuth hybrid protocol provides authentication and authorization in a single-step process. Open ID provides authentication services, and OAuth provides authorization to Google APIs.

AuthSub API is Google’s proprietary protocol. It is mostly used for Google APIs. AuthSub is similar to OAuth. OAuth is more generally applicable and Google recommends that developers use OAuth instead of AuthSub API.

Registration

Registering a web application is optional. It is also free and straightforward. Web applications that are not registered with Google can still use OAuth 1.0 or AuthSub interfaces. However, registered web applications are recognized by Google and receive a correspondingly higher level of trust designation. This is communicated to users on the login screen.

Example of access request screen for OAuth or AuthSub web app

Sample Google access request screen for unregistered web application

Summary

These are the three levels of registration:

  1. Unregistered These applications conduct transactions at a lower security level.  Google flags the user login page with a precautionary message.  See image above with yellow-shaded advisory.
  2. Registered and recognized but not configured for secure requests
  3. Registered with enhanced security These applications have a security certificate and can use secure tokens.