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Welcome to September


September 1 2015

Welcome to September of 2015, everyone. I discuss gay marriage, keeping my camera with a phone secure, the Sad Puppes Hugo fiasco, and a very minor MaraDNS security bug.

==Gay marriage==

The fundamentalists continue to make a stink about marrying people who are gay. Kim Davis in Kentucky still refuses to issue marriage certificates, even though it’s now the law of the land that she must issue those certificates (the Supreme Court refused to hear her appeal). I told her legal counsel that her open defiance of the law is not Biblical on their Facebook page:

Romans 13:1 “Let every soul be subject to the authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those who are authorities are ordained by God” It’s OK to think gay marriage is a sin, just as it’s OK to think marrying someone previously divorced is a sin, but it now is the law that they be given a secular marriage license. Luke 20:25 “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s”
After writing that, I found out that Kim Davis has been divorced at least three times. Pot, kettle, black.

Should I mention that the group giving Davis legal counsel believes that “Those who are not saved will be forever separated from God in hell?”

==My camera got a security update==

I was very pleasantly surprised to get a message from AT&T that they had an update for my older cell phone, a Galaxy S4 Zoom (which is more a camera with a phone than a phone with a camera). While AT&T does not list the security bugs patched, it presumably patches the Stagefright bug and hopefully patches the keyboard update security bug.

==Sad Puppies==

A few thoughts about the sad puppy nonsense, which caused the 2015 Hugos (one of the most prestigious awards in Science Fiction; you could, for a long time, get Asimov’s “The Hugo Winners” collection of stories and be guaranteed a great read) to have far fewer meaningful winners.

It started when the social justice warriors (SJWs — yes, you heard me say “SJW”, and I’m talking about the really resentful hate-filled extreme left, not just anyone left-of-center) were very inappropriate to Larry Correia at Worldcon 2011 because they disagreed with his politics.

In retaliation, a large number of right-wing people, calling themselves “Sad Puppes” (or “Rabid Puppies”) have been voting for the same stories in all categories. In 2015, this resulted in entire categories (best short story, etc.) having only candidates the “Puppies” voted for.

GRRM (George Martin), who wrote a lot about the sad puppies, just could not understand how Correia could have had such a negative experience, because he experienced the Worldcon of the 1970s. He wrote that “I have read Correia’s blog, and I know he says that he was treated very badly at the Reno worldcon, attacked for his views, denounced as a racist and homophobe. I was at Reno myself, but I don’t recall meeting him, so I don’t know the details of any of that. It shocks me to hear it, because the fandom I know has always been warm and welcoming to people of all political views.”

Vox Day, who started the “Rabid Puppies” list, is a radical extremist who attracts the resentful hate-filled far right. He gave people a list of sci-fi works to vote for, including his own works, and the extreme right voted for the items on his list without reading them or otherwise making an attempt to appreciate great Sci-Fi. So, you got a lot of people who didn’t really care for SF stacking the vote by all voting for the same five items (called “slate voting”).

Because a number of categories (including “Best Short Story”) only had the five works Vox Day chose as 2015 nominees, a lot of categories at this year’s Hugo just didn’t get winners. The Hugos big time lost.

There is a proposal to make it not feasible for a minority to stuff the Hugo nominee ballot box via slate voting called SDV-LPE. It’s fairly simple, and explained fully elsewhere. SDV-LPE is a fair system which favors people choosing the works they genuinely liked the most while making mindless slate votes less able to dominate who gets nominated.

It’s unfortunate that the radical right destroyed the 2015 Hugos, but it’s also unfortunate that the radical left was so hateful towards Larry Correia in Worldcon 2011. The Sad/Rabid Puppies happened because the Twitter and click-bait internet we have encourages tribal thinking and mob mentality over logical, reasoned critical thinking.

==Minor MaraDNS security update==

Another bug from MaraDNS’ original 2001 codebase has been found. There’s a difficult to exploit buffer overflow (actually, underflow) in the mararc parser. The workaround is to not let random people edit your mararc file (which is usually in /etc and owned by root); the fix is available on GitHub, as a development snapshot, not to mention a patch, and will be made part of MaraDNS proper when I release 2.0.13 next year.

I checked, and, yes, MaraDNS 1.0.00 from 2002 had this particular bug. Most of the things like this come from the 2001-2002 codebase; I wrote too much code too quickly because there was a hurry to have an open-source DNS server that wasn’t BIND at the time.

The exploit is very limited. It’s not possible to write to any memory with this bug; it only allows MaraDNS to read from a memory location she should not read from.

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