Easy Firefox Fix of the Day: Disable HTTP3

If Firefox isn’t working for you right now (fails to load any site), try changing the ‘about:config’ key of ‘network.http.http3.enabled‘ to false (double-click).

If you want to verify whether HTTP3 is working, try this:

  1. Goto https://cloudflare-quic.com/
  2. Press F12 for the Developer Tools and open the Network tab.
  3. Right-click a column header and add a check to “Protocol” to add it.
  4. Click reload to see if HTTP3 is enabled.

Mozilla announced last year that HTTP3 would default to true.

Support for QUIC and HTTP/3 is now enabled by default in Firefox Nightly and Firefox Beta. We are planning to start rollout on the release in Firefox Stable Release 88. HTTP/3 will be available by default by the end of May [2021].

Early this morning a bug was investigated as users reported high CPU usage and pages not loading.

Our current suspicion is that a cloud provider or load balancer that fronts one of our own servers got an update that triggers an existing HTTP3 bug.

The Coming Transition from APIs to Data Integration

Ruben Verborgh’s recent blog post on technology for knowledge management is best captured in this paragraph.

The Web API ecosystem as we know it today has been designed for a very different Web than the Web we want for the future, as our analysis has revealed. Data will still be remote, but also decentralized: spread across multiple servers and different APIs.

The premise of a robust global semantic Web is that an application can use whatever ontology it wants, while pulling data in different formats. If that sounds both exciting and scary to you, let’s talk.

Such interoperability is a tip of the iceberg for the deeply complicated reality of big data security — an unavoidable core future challenge to the industry purporting to protect data from threats (unauthorized access). Who will be granted so much authority that they can assemble knowledge from data no matter the source or format?

30m Financed by Wall Street to Fund US Vets to Revolt

From a new article aptly named “Why is so little known about the 1930s coup attempt against FDR?” comes this spotlight on American history:

Butler’s reputation was impeccable. He got rousing ovations when he claimed that during his 33 years in the marines: “I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for big business, for Wall Street and for bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism.”

Butler later testified before Congress that a bond-broker and American Legion member named Gerald MacGuire approached him with the plan. MacGuire told him the coup was backed by a group called the American Liberty League, a group of business leaders which formed in response to FDR’s victory…

The putsch called for him to lead a massive army of veterans – funded by $30m from Wall Street titans and with weapons supplied by Remington Arms – to march on Washington, oust Roosevelt and the entire line of succession, and establish a fascist dictatorship backed by a private army of 500,000 former soldiers.

Butler then gave a speech and published a book called War is a Racket.

Obviously the plot failed, mostly thanks to Butler. Execution of the traitors was also avoided, as the article concludes.

FDR struck a deal with the plotters, allowing them to avoid treason charges – and possible execution – if Wall Street backed off its opposition to the New Deal. […] FDR calmly urged Americans to unite to overcome fear, banish apathy and restore their confidence in the country’s future.

That’s an odd retelling, as it emphasizes FDR’s optimism as an antidote to rise of fascism, which is obviously not even close to being rational.

My issue with the article is related to its analysis that FDR was a centrist/peacemaker with couched language. He seems far more clever than that to me, and being kind to fascists is a known bad idea. I think it was more a case of enabling the US mob to physically fight the fascists, holding the police back to prevent coddling fascists, and taking assertive control over the press to push a ridicule and shame campaign on the fascists… all of which are a very different world than what the US faces today, meaning effective tools will not be so similarly used.

FDR wisely kept a distance and leaked the whole plot to the press, for example, generating a public tone of ridicule and making such a plot seem absurd (which tends to be kryptonite to fascism).

When an infamous show-boating General MacArthur was correctly fingered by Butler, MacArthur necessarily “laughed it off” to defend his already shaky reputation (as documented in Higham’s 1983 book “Trading with the Enemy, The Nazi — American Money Plot 1933-1949” page 164).

Others also wrote about this in detail long before now, such as Jules Archer back in 1973 including a long interview.

.. Sentinels of the Republic, financed chiefly by the Pitcairn family and J. Howard Pew. Its members labeled the New Deal ‘Jewish Communism’ and insisted ‘the old line of Americans of $1,200.00 a year want a Hitler’. […] Jules Archer sets forth some of the journalists who worked to expose the coup: Philadelphia Record journalist Paul Comly French (assigned to help cover the story as it was being revealed by General Butler); George Seldes (the venerable anti-fascist writer whose work has been accessed by Mr. Emory for decades, Seldes was an early and prolific writer about the coup attempt); John L. Spivak (another early anti-fascist writer who revealed that the report of the McCormack-Dickstein Committee contained key omissions about the coup plot). Sadly, the mainstream media did not give effective coverage to the coup attempt—in fact they helped to cover it up. Jules Archer cites The New York Times and Time as two of the many publications that exercised willful censorship of the coverage of the coup plot. It is also worth noting that American academia has also remained largely oblivious…

George Seldes famously wrote about Butler, the press and this coup in his 1947 book called “One Thousand Americans“, highlighting the significance of FDR taking on Hearst’s pro-Nazi empire, establishing the FCC and breaking the grip of platform monopolies that poisoned American news markets.

Source: One Thousand Americans

Details of an oligarchic group attempting the coup, and what worked best, unfortunately are still sketchy at best since the Congressional committee charged with investigating… purged large amounts of the records. I guess you could say it was kind of like how President Bush behaved deleting tens of millions of records between 2003 and 2009.

We mostly know the 1933 coup plot was foiled by heroism of Butler, who already was regarded as an American hero many times over. And yet the key plotters walked away unscathed and went on to continue the fight. The BBC accounting, for example, allege the Bush family (Prescott Bush, father of George) was heavily involved with promoting fascism and backing a coup en route to seating two generations of their family in the White House.

Related: “The US Coup Was 2016

Canada Proposes Health Tax on the Un-Vaccinated

Interesting take from the Canadians on how to avoid mandating vaccines, by very politely mandating vaccines.

Unvaccinated people put a financial burden on others and the provincial finance ministry is determining a “significant” amount that unvaccinated residents would be required to pay, Legault said, adding that such an amount would not be less than C$100 ($79.50).

Related: Seat-belt laws in Canada used to be very controversial.

An Alberta judge ruled in 1989 that seat-belt use could not be made mandatory under the constitution. Fast forward and by 2009 Alberta reported 92% acceptance of their government rule that says… $162 fine for not complying with occupant restraint laws.

The Curious Allure of Subtraction for Safety

I think everyone can relate to the heavily promoted idea that removing things makes you lighter, such as “shedding a few pounds”. And maybe a lot of people can relate to reducing exposure, such as “keeping your head down”.

That’s why I find it curious to read in Behavioral Scientist a claim that people “neglect” subtraction.

The problem is that we neglect subtraction. Compared to changes that add, those that subtract are harder to think of. Even when we do manage to think of it, subtracting can be harder to implement.

The basis of this article is a cute story about parenting.

An epiphany in my thinking about less came when my son Ezra and I were building a bridge out of Legos. Because the support towers were different heights, we couldn’t span them, so I reached behind me to grab a block to add to the shorter tower. As I turned back toward the soon-to-be bridge, three-year-old Ezra was removing a block from the taller tower. My impulse had been to add to the short support, and in that moment, I realized it was wrong: taking away from the tall support was a faster and more efficient way to create a level bridge.

This says to me right away that people are naturally inclined to subtract. It’s perhaps second nature. Don’t want to get your hand wet? Subtract it from exposure to rain.

However, instead of this line of thinking the author set about using a contrived Lego set to confirm that her mistake was some sort of grand mental conspiracy instead of just her being wrong — a confirmation bias experiment, if you will.

Since I had become a professor, I had been trying to convert my interest in less into something I could study instead of just ponder. […] I began carrying around a replica of Ezra’s bridge. I tried it out on unsuspecting students who came to meet with me, checking whether they would subtract, like Ezra, or add, like I had. All the students added. I also brought the Lego bridge to meetings with professors…

All her students and close professors thought much like she did, instead of like a three-year old? Color me shocked.

At the heart of this experiment is a fundamental point that a LOT of blocks had to be added in order to construct a bridge out of Legos. Then at a crucial point a decision to add or remove is measured, conveniently ignoring the rather significant fact that blocks have been added the entire time before then.

If I add 15 blocks and then remove one, how subtractive have I been really?

And if I have 100 blocks in my collection in order to create a 10 block structure instead of a 15 block one from a much smaller collection, how subtractive have I been really?

I’m not calling the study nonsense, as it does highlight what we all know already about the need to subtract things (e.g. surface area is also targeted area, less features means fewer potential vulnerability), but in all honestly… it reads to me that the author is so insecure about intelligence they had to start a huge campaign to explain why they didn’t think of something before their toddler did.

The analysis gets really wonky and I find it underwhelming. Let’s look again at that paragraph.

The problem is that we neglect subtraction. Compared to changes that add, those that subtract are harder to think of. Even when we do manage to think of it, subtracting can be harder to implement.

Perhaps they should have subtracted a lot of words? The New York Times had a better way to describe this that probably looks familiar to everyone.

Overwriting is a bigger problem than underwriting.

But seriously, subtraction is very easy when there’s incentive and it’s even very common, in some cases overused. Overwriting is a problem because it’s easier to write long form, harder to be short form. However, when you’re in a rush because of imminent threats or you have a much smaller vocabulary then short form gets a LOT easier. Any guesses how long a PhD thesis by a toddler would be?

Speaking of incentive to subtract, a fair number of sites on the Internet track layoffs by companies overeager to regularly reduce staff, for example.

I’m disappointed these incentive and risk angles weren’t explored more by behavioral scientists, but I suspect that’s because once the author was satisfied that they weren’t the only one who made a mistake, they settled into comfort of having published articles and collaborations to prove what they believed when they started (protecting their sense of being intelligent, as opposed to understanding their own bias).

the poetry of information security