R in Ecology

I’m a bit of an R nerd. Ok, that’s a lie; I’m a major R nerd. But for good reason, because R is incredibly useful in streamlining the scientific process, and increasing the ability to replicate findings with less human error.

The main reason that I often talk to my fellow graduate students about learning R is because of the near constant that a graduate student has to redo things; this even happens within science as a whole. If you spend an entire week using a GUI to run all of your models, then you present them to your advisor, and s/he tells you that you need to change “just one thing,” it will take you another week to do so. This is frustrating, to say the least, especially when it happens more than once.

http://blog.dominodatalab.com/r-in-ecology/

Antergos Linux – The Best Linux Distro Ever!

So, after playing a bit with Ubuntu Mate 16.04 and because of the latest linuxmint hack I started looking for a better linux alternative to use and I believe I finally discovered a really great one!

Antergos (based on Arch Linux) is one of the best linux distros I have used in many years. I’m really impressed about how much faster and easier it is than Ubuntu/Debian in many ways.

For example, one of its best features is that it comes already with yaourt  configured and ready to use so you can install almost all modern applications using one single command line:

yaourt -S dropbox telegram-desktop-bin spotify google-chrome sublime-text-dev android-sdk teamviewer atom-editor

Now try installing all that with ubuntu … It’s much harder, I’ve been looking for a fast way to search and install ppa’s automatically for many years.

I discovered that Antergos (Arch Linux) is even capable of installing .deb files for the programs you cannot find available in AUR. This is insanely great!!!

The best part of this distro is the installer called Cnchi. During the installation you can actually choose between 6 different Graphical Interfaces: GNOME, Cinnamon, Xfce, MATE, Openbox and KDE. How cool is that ?

You get always the latest and greatest of all software available! The first time I heard about this project was on The Linux Action Show. Thank you so much guys 🙂 . Keep up the good work!

Here you can download the latest version using HTTP


Antergos is available to everyone for free. You can download it and make as many copies as you want. All you have to do is download the iso image, burn it on a CD/DVD or write it to a USB, and enjoy.

Now, go ahead and try this distro yourself. Let me know how it goes for you.  😀

Source: Try it | Antergos Linux

Why the Future of Work Is at Home – Pacific Standard

Even a cursory look at the social, environmental, and economic impacts of working from home indicates that even more people could and should be.

Once upon a time, working from home seemed a romantic and highly exclusive option for a luxury creative class. It was for writers and painters who sauntered out of their bedrooms at 10:30 a.m. to drink French roast coffee and eat locally made croissants and jam while lounging on wrap-around porches in Maine, before repairing to the typewriter or canvas. This has never been the reality of working in the home, of course. Domestic laborers and caregivers have always worked in the home, often without compensation and certainly without the leisurely hours of the phantom creative class sipping coffees over art. But the sharp decline in long-term employment at one company and the rise of telecommuting options means more workers than ever are doing their jobs in the same places they sleep. Even a cursory look at the social, environmental, and economic impacts of working from home indicates that even more people could and should be.

Source: Why the Future of Work Is at Home – Pacific Standard

Democracy v Psychology: why people keep electing idiots | Dean Burnett | Science | The Guardian

Dean Burnett: People often complain about how unintelligent people are elected to political office, but why does it keep happening?

Politicians. Their reputation is very poor. In fairness, this is largely their own fault, but it would be foolish to assume every politician is like this. If they were, the whole infrastructure would collapse before you could say “can I claim this on expenses?” Still, everyone assumes they’re despicable, so always assume the worst.

Politician enacts a bad policy? They’re a terrible person. They change their mind and reverse it? They’re weak and not fit to lead. Politicians promise improvements (cut taxes, increase spending)? They’re obviously lying. Politicians promise to do something unpopular (raise taxes, cut spending)? A cast-iron guarantee it will happen. It’s a lose-lose situation, so why do they bother? Many politicians are clearly in it for themselves, but there surely are plenty who really do want the best and just put up with the negative opinions they get.

So, for the record, not all politicians are idiots (although your definition of idiot may vary). But plenty are. The US seem particularly afflicted with them; Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz, these people were/are contenders for the presidency. And the archetype George W Bush WAS the president. For 8 YEARS. The man whose idiotic musings managed to sustain businesses had a nuclear arsenal at his command.
Source: Democracy v Psychology: why people keep electing idiots | Dean Burnett | Science | The Guardian

Paul Graham on Doing Things Right by Accident · The Macro

Graham is, of course, the cofounder of Y Combinator, a noted computer scientist, and the author of several books and dozens of influential essays. Earlier in his career, he co-founded Viaweb, the pioneering software-as-a-service company that was acquired by Yahoo in 1998.

It was a wide-ranging and very interesting interview that dove into why Graham first got into entrepreneurship, how he chose his cofounders, the experience of building and selling Viaweb, the inspiration behind starting YC, and much more.

Source: Paul Graham on Doing Things Right by Accident · The Macro

How to Safely Store Your Users’ Passwords in 2016 – Paragon Initiative Enterprises Blog

Salted Password Hashing with Argon2, Scrypt, Bcrypt, and PBKDF2

If you are unfamiliar with cryptography concepts or the vocabulary it uses, or especially you are looking for guidance on “password encryption”, please read this page first.

We’ve previously said that even security advice should carry an expiration date. So unlike most of our past blog posts, this page should be considered a living document: As requirements change and new attacks are discovered, we will update it accordingly.

Semantic point: Don’t store the password, store a hash of the password. (Obligatory.)

Modern, Secure, Salted Password Hashing Made Simple

The Problem: You want people to be able to create a unique user account, with a password, which they will use to access your application. How can you safely implement this feature?

Easiest Solution: Use libsodium, which provides a secure password hashing API in most languages. As of version 1.0.8 it uses the scrypt algorithm, but in the next release (1.0.9) it will also offer Argon2, the most recent, carefully-selected algorithm from the Password Hashing Competition. Libsodium offers bindings for most programming languages.

Note: There is a published attack on Argon2i, the recommended variant of Argon2 for general purpose password hashing. The practical implications aren’t severe, but it may lead to a new variant (“Argon2x” perhaps, since it would presumably use XOR instead of overwriting memory to mitigate these attacks) being christened and recommended.

If you, for whatever reason, cannot reconcile your requirements with installing libsodium, you have other options. In preparing this blog post, our security team has investigated several password hashing libraries in multiple programming languages. What follows is our current recommendations for secure password storage with example code.

Acceptable Password Hashing Algorithms

Although there is disagreement about how to rank them, cryptography experts agree that these algorithms are the only ones you should be using to store passwords in 2016:

  • Argon2, the Password Hashing Competition winner.
  • bcrypt
  • scrypt
  • The other Password Hashing Competition finalists (Catena, Lyra2, Makwa, and yescrypt)
  • PBKDF2 (nearly everyone except FIPS agrees this is the worst of the acceptable options)

Source: How to Safely Store Your Users’ Passwords in 2016 – Paragon Initiative Enterprises Blog