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SELinux is unmanageable; just turn it off if it gets in your way

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Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux) is a type of Mandatory Access Control (MAC) in the Linux kernel. It can prevent software from performing unexpected — such as abusive or malicious actions — on your Linux systems. However, … it’s also an unmanageable mess, and I have a much greater understanding of why people recommend that people disable it.

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lousyd
57 days ago
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No.
Wilmington, NC, USA
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Yes, You Can Charge More

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Artists, hustlers, consultants … low earners think about merit, top earners think about networks.

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lousyd
67 days ago
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I wouldn't mind charging someone $10K to talk at them for a while. I could make something up.
Wilmington, NC, USA
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LeMadChef
74 days ago
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You Have All the Talent You Need Today
Denver, CO

Thinking of Aba

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by Daniel A. Kaufman

___

It is a strange thing to stare down at a box in a hole in the ground and think that your father is inside it, but that’s exactly what I did last Monday, when we buried my dad, Alexander Kaufman, who would have been 94 years old this June.

I called him “Aba,” which is “father” in Hebrew, and funnily enough, when I was in graduate school, my friends called him that too when speaking of and about him. My daughter called him “Pop Pop.” To everyone else, he was “Alex.”  

Aba was an enthusiastic and expert photographer who took pictures of everything and saved every picture he acquired. When I was younger, I found this annoying, and I recall my mother disliking it as well. Thinking about it today, though, he clearly was right. To have such a substantial, high-quality photographic record not just of our lives – my father’s, mother’s and my own, that is – but of the lives of our extended family, going back as far as the 19th century, is a remarkable and rare thing. And in light of these last few years, where what I saw of my father just seemed to get worse every time, these photos offer a strong, persistent reminder that he lived a long, accomplished, and satisfying life; that his time here was good

And what a life it was! Aba and his family were driven out of Nazi Germany when he was a young child. He grew up in Mandatory Palestine where, as a young adolescent, he joined the Haganah and later fought in the 1948 Independence War that created the State of Israel. (At one point, he even found himself charged with delivering the entirety of the fledgling nation’s currency to a bank in Tel Aviv, which he recounts in a humorous story that appears in his book, Time Flies.) Palestine/Israel was also where he courted my mother, though they would be married in Switzerland, as Jews could only hold Orthodox weddings in Israel back then, and neither of my parents wanted that.  

My father moved to New York just a few years after the war (my mother followed not long after), where he eventually founded and managed Displaycraft, a design company that would be the source of my family’s income over the course of my childhood and adolescence. Displaycraft produced displays and exhibits for the travel industry, museums, galleries, and even, strangely enough, prefabricated housing for the “insta-towns” needed by the oil industry, in places like Saudi Arabia and pre-revolutionary Iran. Entrepreneurial down to his core, my father had figured out that the extrusion system he used to create displays and exhibits could also be used for housing that could be quickly and easily built and just as easily dismantled.    

But his greatest achievement in this capacity was a permanent exhibition commissioned to open the then-new Diaspora Museum in Tel Aviv, in 1978. Originally called Beit Hatfutsot, it is now the Museum of the Jewish People, and for its opening, my father’s shop produced 21 scale models (interiors and exteriors) of historically significant synagogues from around the world that are meticulous in their detail, down to every chandelier, chalice, and chair. The research, which involved traveling the world, and photographing scores of synagogues, inside and out, took well over a year, and is chronicled in his book Trawling Twenty Centuries. 

I was born in 1968, and my parents raised me in a lovely house in Roslyn, NY, a village on Long Island’s North Shore that predates the American Revolution. Ours was a traditional, upper middle-class American household of the early to mid-1970’s, with my father commuting daily to New York City to work, and my mother being a homemaker. This described the family situation of most of my friends as well, as the divorce and latchkey kid wave that was to come was a feature of late- rather than early-Gen X life. 

Aside from family vacations, then, which were plentiful, I only saw my father on nights and weekends, and sometimes not even then if he had to work late or was travelling on business, as he often did. Nonetheless, I felt his love and presence strongly, in part because he transformed the entire basement of our house into a sophisticated playroom/art studio, where I spent a good portion of my childhood, and where I was reminded constantly of how much Aba cared about me. And as I got older and became involved in competitive baseball and tennis, my father was my biggest enthusiast and fan.

By the time I graduated high school and went to the University of Michigan in 1986, Aba had bought the building in which his business was located and sold Displaycraft and its related ventures. Increasingly hostile relations with the labor unions in New York City and the realization that he was making more money as a commercial landlord than as a designer and builder of displays and exhibits were what convinced him to get out. From the 1990’s on, his primary business endeavors would be in the areas of commercial real estate and finance and doing this allowed him to amass a considerable amount of wealth.  

This also was the period when he embarked upon several independent creative endeavors. He began to write books, the most substantial and impressive of which is the massive Precipice Option, which tells the story of Rezső Kasztner and how he saved my mother and her family as well as thousands of Hungarian Jews, during the Holocaust. Aba also began a long running cartoon series, Sal and Al, though I always thought the art was better than the writing. Most significantly, he developed a novel system of painting, in which he would create an image or design in paint, scan it, and then reproduce it in strips and patches of colored vinyl that would be applied to canvas, producing a very modern, sleek, almost Pop-Art body of work. Aba made scores of these under the name “Xela.” 

My father was not made for old age. Few people are, of course, but in his case, the fit between his personality and the physical debilitation that would define his last few years was about the worst one could imagine.  

Aba’s upbringing and formative experiences had created a man who always was outwardly and materially directed and had little by way of what I might call an “inner life.” It wasn’t that he didn’t feel and experience things strongly – he most certainly did – but rather that he wasn’t contemplative or thoughtful when alone with himself. Even his creative energies required not just material realization but commercial application. I can derive great satisfaction from merely entertaining interesting ideas and projects or drafting sketches and outlines of things, or just reading and contemplating, without ever following up on any of it. My father, however, was a man of action. He was driven to create; to make; and to sell.   

Moving out of his artistically creative business ventures into commercial real estate and finance was the worst move he could have made … for him, that is. Yes, it guaranteed financial security for our family, for which I will be eternally grateful, but the work was too easy for him and demanded little of his creative and energetic mind. The paintings and books were supposed to satisfy this part of him, but it was here that the entrepreneurial sensibility that so characterized Aba turned out to be a liability. To really make it either in commercial fine arts or book publishing, one has to work within institutional constraints and with handlers and minders. My father would accept no editors, however, and refused to play the socialite games required of aspirant professional artists. The result was that the books have an amateurish quality to them (with the exception of the last, Startups, which, due do to the advanced state of his illness, he allowed me to edit), and the paintings never really managed to penetrate the market, though he did have a few gallery exhibitions and some impressive individual sales. My father was doing these things in order to satisfy his creative and imaginative needs and to challenge himself, but the way he went about them guaranteed that they never would never achieve the commercial success he needed in order for an endeavor to be gratifying. The only thing that really gave him joy in the last few years was my daughter, Victoria. 

His final years also helped me to understand the importance of a certain kind of formal education. Given the circumstances of his early life, my father dropped out of school very young, which meant that he had no real formal education in specific disciplines and subject areas. People today who are not scientists or in scientifically oriented professions like Engineering often think that they got nothing out of their science educations, but this is untrue in an important sense. The science education I received as an adolescent was sufficient to ensure that I understand basic things about illness, disease, and the human body that make navigating modern health care possible. It’s why I understand what my doctors tell me and why I am inclined to do what they say. My father lacked this education and understanding, and it very much showed in the disastrous way he handled the last stages of his illness. He refused to move into a managed environment and fought every effort I made to marshal more support in the house. Only after his fourth or fifth hospitalization in a span of three years – all of which almost led to death – did he finally accept home hospice, but by this point, it was too late for him to salvage any satisfying or rewarding moments from what little time remained. Certainly, some of this was due to an irascible personality, but in good part, it was a function of ignorance of the mechanics and imperatives of the human body and an overestimation of the efficacy of the will on that body. 

Aba’s final months were bad, and there is no point in lying about or sugar-coating it. But they were a mere moment in a remarkable life that spanned almost the entire twentieth century and a quarter of the twenty first. My father was very much a man of that era and of a type that only really could exist and flourish in that era; a type that has largely disappeared and to our detriment.

He also was a wonderful father to me, and an even more wonderful grandfather to my daughter. And that is how I choose to remember him. I love you Aba. 

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lousyd
143 days ago
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That might be the most eloquent and moving obituary I've ever read. That was beautiful.
Wilmington, NC, USA
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Work Somewhere Dysfunctional

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The rewards are great if you can survive…

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lousyd
163 days ago
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This does not seem like good advice to me. Most of your learning is going to be by picking up ideas from other people (hopefully smart ones), and it's dysfunctional environments where good ideas are most scarce.
Wilmington, NC, USA
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Rational Self Interest

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Ayn Rand, speaking to factory workers (as their boss):
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lousyd
619 days ago
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"When one speaks of man’s right to exist for his own sake, for his own rational self-interest, most people assume automatically that this means his right to sacrifice others. Such an assumption is a confession of their own belief that to injure, enslave, rob or murder others is in man’s self-interest—which he must selflessly renounce. The idea that man’s self-interest can be served only by a non-sacrificial relationship with others has never occurred to those humanitarian apostles of unselfishness, who proclaim their desire to achieve the brotherhood of men." -- Ayn Rand
Wilmington, NC, USA
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gangsterofboats
618 days ago
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Good guess, but actually no.

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/self-interest.html
jlvanderzwan
618 days ago
You're playing the game of "I'll pretend that the last half century of Republican interpretation and abuse of Rand's arguments never happened and that this totally isn't a reaction to the US economy of exploitation"

On This Day in 1945, Japan Released Me from a POW Camp. Then US Pilots Saved My Life

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It was noon on August 15th, 1945. The Japanese Emperor had just announced to his people that his country had surrendered unconditionally to the Allied Powers.

To those of us being held at Ohashi Prison Camp in the mountains of northern Japan, where we’d been prisoners of war performing forced labour at a local iron mine, this meant freedom. But freedom didn’t necessarily equate to safety. The camp’s 395 POWs, about half of them Canadians, were still under the effective control of Japanese troops. And so we began negotiating with them about what would happen next.

Complicating the negotiations was the Japanese military code of Bushido, which required an officer to die fighting or commit suicide (seppuku) rather than accept defeat. We also knew that the camp commander—First Lieutenant Yoshida Zenkichi—had written orders to kill his prisoners “by any means at his disposal” if their rescue seemed imminent. We also knew that we could all easily be deposited in a local mine shaft and then buried under thousands of tons of rock for all eternity without a trace.

We had no way of notifying Allied military commanders (who still hadn’t landed in Japan) as to the location of the camp (about a hundred miles north of Sendai, in a mountainous area near Honshu’s eastern coast), whose existence was then unknown. Because of the devastating American bombing, Japan’s cities had been reduced to rubble, its institutions were in chaos, and millions of Japanese were themselves close to starvation, much like us. The camp itself had food supplies, such as they were, for just three days.

Lieut. Zenkichi seemed angry, and felt humiliated by the surrender. Yet he appeared willing to negotiate our status. And after some stressful hours, we reached an agreement: The Japanese guards would be dismissed from the camp, while a detachment of Kenpeitai (the much feared Military Police) would provide security for Zenkichi, who would confine himself to his office.

The author, who appears in the featured image, fourth from left in the top row

To our delight, the local Japanese farmers were friendly, and agreed to give us food in exchange for some of the items we’d managed to loot from the camp’s remaining inventory—though, unfortunately, not enough to feed the camp. Meanwhile, through a secret radio we’d been operating, we learned that the Americans were going to conduct an aerial grid search of Japan’s islands for prison camps. We followed the broadcasted instructions and immediately painted “P.O.W.” in eight-foot-high white letters on the roof of the biggest hut.

Two days later, with all of our food gone, we heard a murmur from the direction of the ocean. The sound turned into the throb of a single-engine airplane flying at about 3,000 feet altitude. Then, suddenly he was above us—a little blue fighter with the white stars of the US Navy painted on its wings and fuselage. But the engine noise began to fade as he went right past us. Please, God, I thought—let him see our camp.

Then the engine sound grew stronger, and changed its pitch as we heard the roar of a dive. The pilot had wrapped around a nearby mountain and came straight down the centre of the valley, his engine now bellowing wide open. From just over treetop altitude, he flew over the centre of the camp. We all went wild: Our prayers had been answered.

1945 American aerial photo of Ohashi prison camp

Then he climbed to about 7,000 feet while circling above us—we assumed he was radioing our location to base—before making another pass over the camp, as slowly as he dared, this time with his canopy back. He threw out a silver tin box on a long streamer that landed in the centre of the camp. Inside, we found strips of fluorescent cloth and a hand-written note: “Lieutenant Claude Newton (Junior Grade), USS Carrier John Hancock. Reported location.”

The instructions for the cloth strips were as follows: “If you want Medicine, put out M. If you want Food, put out F. If you want Support, put out S.” We put out “F” and “M.” Once more, Lieut. Newton flew over the camp, this time to read the letters we’d written on the ground. Waggling his wings, he headed straight out to sea to his floating home, the John Hancock.

Seven hours later, two dozen airplanes approached the camp from the sea. They were painted with the same US Navy colours, but these were much larger planes—Grumman Avenger torpedo bombers with a crew of two. Each made two parachute cargo drops in the center of camp, leaving us with a ton or more of food and medicine. The boxes contained everything from powdered eggs to tins of pork and beans. There was also something called “Penicillin” that, I later learned, doctors had begun prescribing to infected patients in 1942. (Our camp doctor had understandably never heard of it.) That night, we had a feast and a party. Despite the doctor’s warnings not to overdo it, we did. The sudden calorie intake nearly killed us.

August 28, 1945 photo in the collection of Peter Somerville, son of a naval aviator operating on the USS Hancock

But it was one thing for the Americans to drop supplies, and another thing to get to us. The days passed, until one sunny morning we had another aerial visitor from the east. He circled the camp and dropped a note: “Goodbye from Hancock and good luck. Big Friends Come Tomorrow.”

The “friends” arrived at about 10am the next day, and they were indeed big: four-engine B-29 Superfortresses. Like the Penicillin, this was something new: These planes hadn’t entered service till 1944, and none of us had seen one.

Their giant bomb-bay doors opened and out came wooden platforms, each loaded with parachute-equipped 60-gallon drums. These were packed with tinned rations and other supplies, including new uniforms and footwear. None of this was lost on nearby Japanese villagers, who saw us POWs going from starvation to a state of plenty. Since our newfound wealth was scattered all over hell’s half acre, we asked these locals to bring us any drums they might find, which they did, in return for the nylon chutes (which local seamstresses and homemakers would put to good use) and a share of the food. That night, we had another party, except at this one, everyone was dressed in a new American uniform of his choice: Navy, Army, or Marine.

The next day brought another three lumbering aerial giants—from the Marianas Islands, it turned out. Again, the local Japanese residents helped us, amid much bowing, collect the aerial bounty. By now, the camp was beginning to look like an oil refinery, with unopened 60-gallon oil drums stacked everywhere.

When the daily ritual was repeated the day after that, some of the parachute lines snapped in the high winds, and the oil drums fell like giant rocks. Several hit the camp, went through the roofs of huts, hit the concrete floors and exploded. One was packed with canned peaches, and I don’t have to describe what the hut looked like. There were several very near-misses on our men, Japanese personnel and houses in the nearby village. When the next drop generated a similar result, I looked up to see that I was right under a cloud of falling 60-gallon oil drums. It was a terrifying moment. And I imagined the bizarre idea of surviving the enemy, surviving imprisonment, and then dying thanks to the kindness of well-meaning American pilots.

Excerpts from a surviving biographical monograph on former camp commander Masake Naganuma

We now had tons of food and supplies—enough for months, and more was arriving. The camp had begun to look as if it had been shelled by artillery. So we painted two words on the roof: NO MORE! The next day, the big friends came from the Marianas and, as we watched from the safety of a nearby tunnel, they circled the camp and, without opening their bay doors, flew back out to sea, firing off red rockets to show they’d received the message.

It was a surreal scene. But it didn’t distract us from the fact that the generous and timely American response saved many of our lives. In the days that followed the drum showers, we settled down to caring for our sick and to some serious eating. Thanks to the US supplies, we began to gain a pound a day. The American generosity was especially notable given that few of the prisoners at Ohashi were American. Almost all were Canadian, Dutch, or British.

At about this time, I decided to go back to the nearby mine where we’d worked as prisoner labourers. I wanted to say goodbye to the foreman of the machine shop, a grandfatherly man who’d called me hanchō (squad leader), and had been as kind to me as the brutal rules of the country’s military dictatorship permitted. It was both joyous and sad. We were happy that the war was over, yet sad at the knowledge that this would be our last meeting. I promised him that I would take his earnest advice and return to school as soon as I got home. “Hanchō, you go Canada now,” he said.

Photo of mine workshop at Ohashi prison camp, where many POWs worked

I later learned that about three million Japanese soldiers and civilians lost their lives in the war. Millions more were left wounded. The country had been hit with two atomic bombs. Whole cities had been gutted by fire. At every level, the war had been an unmitigated disaster for Japan. Its people had become cannon fodder in a cruel and pointless project to conquer East Asia.

My fellow ex-POWs and I visited the camp graveyard, and said one last goodbye to our comrades who’d found their last resting place so far from home. It was an unjust reward for such brave young men. And it was then that tears I couldn’t control welled up in my eyes and streamed down my cheeks.

Interpreter Hiroe Iwashita, remembered fondly by many prisoners

On September 14th, 30 days after Emperor Hirohito had publicly announced Japan’s surrender, a naval airplane flew in from the sea and dropped a note to inform us that an American naval task force would evacuate us on the following day. Sure enough, on September 15th, landing craft beached themselves and hastily disgorged a force of Marines. Their motorized column sped inland to the Ohashi camp, led by a Marine colonel and armed to the teeth.

These were veterans of the long Pacific campaign. They’d survived many terrible encounters with the Japanese in their westward campaign across the Pacific, and they looked the part. After our captain saluted the colonel, they embraced, and the colonel told us how he planned to evacuate us, giving specific orders as to how it was all to be accomplished.

After he issued his orders, the Colonel asked, “Are there any questions?” Our captain said, “Yes, I have one. Sir. What in the hell took you so long to get here?” That at least brought a smile to those tough, weather-beaten Marine faces.

Following the Colonel’s instructions, we mounted up, said sayonara to Ohashi and, after almost four years of imprisonment, began the glorious journey home to our various loved ones. I was in the last vehicle that left the camp that day. And as we departed, I observed a compound that was now completely empty—save for one forlorn figure, who’d emerged from his office and now stood at the center of a camp that once held 400 men. It was Lieutenant Zenkichi.

 

 

George MacDonell was born in Edmonton, Alberta in 1922. He served in the Royal Rifles of Canada, which deployed to Hong Kong in 1941 as part of C-Force, shortly before Hong Kong’s capture by the Japanese army. More information about his story may be found here and here.

Featured image: Survivors from the Battle of Hong Kong who were held at Ohashi Prison Camp, photographed prior to their evacuation on September 15th, 1945. The author, then age 23, appears in the back row, fourth from the left. 

The post On This Day in 1945, Japan Released Me from a POW Camp. Then US Pilots Saved My Life appeared first on Quillette.

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lousyd
684 days ago
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Wow. This is quite a story.
Wilmington, NC, USA
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