Hacking Ventilators | Motherboard

Credit – Cathryn Virginia

We’ve talked about manufacturers limiting their customers’ ability to work on their own machines and devices before. They use all sorts of excuses, ranging from copyright to deep concern for their customers’ safety, when it’s really a deep desire for their customers’ money. Farmers have pushed back by trying to circumvent the measures used to lock them out. An entity called iFixit is working steadily on finding ways to fix everything and share them with the public. There have been small victories along the way.

Now there’s a new atrocity showing itself. The people manufacturing the ventilators essential to saving lives are trying to make it impossible to repair and re-use them. In this time when we’re supposed to all be in this together, they’re in it for themselves. This is what happens when we let them excuse themselves by saying that their only responsibility is to their shareholders.

Medical care providers are fighting back by hacking ventilators to get them working again. A few quotes from the article at Motherboard:

As COVID-19 surges, hospitals and independent biomedical technicians have turned to a global grey-market for hardware and software to circumvent manufacturer repair locks and keep life-saving ventilators running.

You can’t just take the working parts from different machines to make a working ventilator.

… a functional monitor swapped from a machine with a broken breathing unit to one with a broken monitor but a functioning breathing unit won’t work if the software isn’t synced.

These fixers have taken a page from the John Deere tractor owners who had to hack their machines to get their work done.

This grey-market, international supply chain is essentially identical to one used by farmers to repair John Deere tractors without the company’s authorization and has emerged because of the same need to fix a device without a manufacturer’s permission.

It’s getting harder.

… newer medical devices have more advanced anti-repair technologies built into them. Newer ventilators connect to proprietary servers owned by manufacturers to verify that the person accessing it is authorized by the company to do so.

There’s a lot more in the Motherboard article, both infuriating and encouraging. Go ahead.

rjb

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Drought – Not

“Enchanted Light | New Mexico” by Jim Crotty is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Spring and early summer have been good so far this year. It has been unusually cool and wet. The numbers haven’t been extreme. We have seen months at 125% of the average. The wettest, June, was 150%. We can’t say that it’s been twice as wet as usual, even though it feels as if we should be able to. I suspect that is because it has been so much wetter than the last few years, which have been quite dry.

I can see the effects right out my window. The lawn and trees and other plants in our yard are green and luscious, without the need for a lot of irrigation. The hillsides across the valley still have a lot of green on them, which is unusual in july. The biggest and most important effect, though, is the dramatic decrease in forest fires. In the last couple of decades there have been a lot of fires, many of them large and dangerous. By this time in July there would have been hundreds of fires with tens of thousands of hectares burned. This year there have been fewer than two hundred with less than a thousand hectares burned. That shows that most of the fires have been small, extinguished before they could take off. For that we can thank the weather for keeping things wet.

This isn’t what tourists expect to find when they come to the Okanagan, but most of us who live here appreciate ti.

rjb

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Translation – Los Francesianos

As I announced last Fall, David, at Artifacs Libros has been translating the Green Comet trilogy. After enduring the trials of this exceptional year, he wrote to let me know that he has finished translating the third volume — The Francesians. I have had a look at it and, as with the first two, it appears to be well done. The layout is good. The modifications to the cover are good. The front matter is better than the original. However, since I can’t read Spanish I can’t say anything about the translation itself. I ran the Green Comet translation — Cometa Verde — through a translator to see how it looked back in English, and found it to be quite different from the original. That makes sense when I think about it.

Given that, I would really appreciate it if any of you who can read Spanish would download Los Francesianos and let the rest of us know what you think.

That completes the translation of the trilogy into Spanish. Please help me thank David for his hard work. It gives me a good feeling to know that these books will be accessible by another large group of people. Here are the three books:

Cometa Verde
Titiriteros Parásitos
Los Francesianos

Please download them and let David know how good you think they are.

Thank you.

rjb

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Human Rights – Article Eleven

Photo Credit: Matthew Henry via Wunderstock (license)


The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 (General Assembly resolution 217 A) as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected and it has been translated into over 500 languages.

Article 11.

(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
(2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Presumption of innocence. Judgements are not to be based on retroactive laws, and neither are penalties.

rjb

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Human Rights – Article Ten

Public Domain

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 (General Assembly resolution 217 A) as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected and it has been translated into over 500 languages.

Article Ten

Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

A fair trial, should it come to that, is everyone’s right. Even before that, they’re entitled to have any judgements of them be made in public, by an independent body.

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