Working with System V IPC queues

There are a variety of ways to work with queues: You can purchase IBM WebSphere MQ (formerly known as MQSeries), or similar products from Oracle or Microsoft. On most Unix systems queues are already built in, as long as you do not need any functionality to cross machine boundaries, i.e., hop from one computer to the next. If you just need the queuing functionality, i.e., FIFO (first-in-first-out), IPC queues are for you. For example, handling a burst of incoming tasks/orders/messages and one by one working on them individually without the disturbing effect that something else is happening around you.

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How Academia Resembles a Drug Gang

Comparing the academic industry with a rather disparate industry, thereby highlighting a number of shortcomings of the current situation in academia.

Also see Marcio von Muhlen: We Need a Github of Science, documenting the “Profzi”-scheme.


Alexandre Afonso

In 2000, economist Steven Levitt and sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh published an article in the Quarterly Journal of Economics about the internal wage structure of a Chicago drug gang. This piece would later serve as a basis for a chapter in Levitt’s (and Dubner’s) best seller Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (P.S.) The title of the chapter, “Why drug dealers still live with their moms”, was based on the finding that the income distribution within gangs was extremely skewed in favor  of those at the top, while the rank-and-file street sellers earned even less than employees in legitimate low-skilled activities, let’s say at McDonald’s. They calculated 3.30 dollars as the hourly rate, that is, well below a living wage (that’s why they still live with their moms). [2]

If you take into account the risk of being shot by rival gangs, ending up in jail or…

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Reblog: Beware sexy honeybots spear phishing on social media

Most IT people know about trojan horses, virus, worms, honeypots, etc. They know about buffer overruns, SQL injection and the like. What is probably not that well known is that even “friendships” on social networks can pose some risks: They give credibility to possibly complete fake persons, see Beware sexy honeybots spear phishing on social media (Digiphile) and Fictitious femme fatale fooled cybersecurity. Also see Wikipedia: Robin Sage.

Robin Sage

Picture from Wikipedia: Non-free media information and use rationale for Robin Sage.

Malcolm Gladwell: Don’t go to Harvard, go to the Lousy Schools!

Malcolm Gladwell held a speech at Google Zeitgeist Americas 2013 about drop-out rates in schools, especially in math and science. It turns out that going to one of the top universities is rarely a good idea, contrary to popular belief.

Some quotes:

  • EICD – elite institution cognitive disorder
  • Your chance of graduating with a STEM degree from Maryland is 30% higher than it would be from Harvard.

He cites a paper by John P. Conley and Ali Sina Onder (mistakenly copied as John Connelly and Allie Under in the transcript).

Transcript is in Malcolm Gladwell: Zeitgeist Americas 2013.

Addendum 28-Nov-2013: Alexandre Afonso: Do good universities teach better, or do they just select better students?

Addendum 22-Mar-2014: There is a somewhat related article in The New Yorker by Malcolm Gladwell about college rankings in THE ORDER OF THINGS: What college rankings really tell us.