Category Archives: Weird

A New Suborbital Tourism Vehicle

This article is amusing:

CosmoCourse CEO Pavel Pushkin told Sputnik New Agency, he came up with the idea of suborbital tourism back in 2013 when he was working at Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center.

“We were reviewing various concepts of commercial space rockets and came up with the idea of launching people into space via suborbital trajectory.”

Wow, as far back as 2013! What a visionary.

Note that it’s short on details.

Linux Problem

I’m trying to format a micro-SD to install Fedora on my Raspberry Pi 2. I’m following the instructions here.

But when I get to the part about building the swap partition, I’m getting an error message. This is the output of fdisk:

Command (m for help): p
Disk /dev/sdd: 29.7 GiB, 31914983424 bytes, 62333952 sectors
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disklabel type: dos
Disk identifier: 0x0002ce31

Device Boot Start End Sectors Size Id Type
/dev/sdd1 2048 264191 262144 128M b W95 FAT32
/dev/sdd2 264192 1312767 1048576 512M 82 Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sdd3 1312768 62333951 61021184 29.1G 83 Linux

Now here’s what happens when I run mkswap:

[root@new-host-5 raspberry]# mkswap /dev/sdd2
mkswap: error: swap area needs to be at least 40 KiB

I’ve tried searching for a similar issue, but am coming up empty. Anyone have any ideas?

[Update a while later]

OK, I’ve decided that it’s a bad SD. But now I’ve got a new problem; I can’t mount the W95 FAT32 boot partition:

Disk /dev/sdd: 14.5 GiB, 15560867840 bytes, 30392320 sectors
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disklabel type: dos
Disk identifier: 0x00000000

Device Boot Start End Sectors Size Id Type
/dev/sdd1 2048 264191 262144 128M b W95 FAT32
/dev/sdd2 264192 772095 507904 248M 82 Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sdd3 772096 30392319 29620224 14.1G 83 Linux

Command (m for help): q

[root@new-host-5 raspberry]# mount -t fat32 /dev/sdd1 /tmp/rpi/boot/
mount: unknown filesystem type ‘fat32’
[root@new-host-5 raspberry]# mount -t auto /dev/sdd1 /tmp/rpi/boot/
mount: /dev/sdd1 is write-protected, mounting read-only
mount: wrong fs type, bad option, bad superblock on /dev/sdd1,
missing codepage or helper program, or other error

In some cases useful info is found in syslog – try
dmesg | tail or so.

It doesn’t work with “auto” or “vfat” either.

[Tuesday-morning update]

OK, not sure what the problem was, but after rebooting the machine, I managed to get it all to work. I haven’t actually tried booting the Pi, yet, though.

Browser Problem

Somehow, I got directed to a web site called windowssecurityhealthalert.com (DO NOT GO THERE), that opened a new instance of Firefox. It has a popup with this kind of crap in it:

WARNING!!! A security breach has been detected, your browser being hijacked and monitored. It is highly recommended to contact a Microsoft certified technician, Call toll free 1-844-798-3802 and get a scan done to resolve this serious issue.

WARNING!!! Your credentials aren’t safe, your PC is being monitored by malicious software by Trojan files installed on your PC, This is a serious security breach, This malware and Trojan agent can steal your credentials and use your PC and your TCP/IP address for criminal activity. STOP using your browser now and call a Microsoft technician at toll free 1-844-798-3802 and remove all traces of malware and Trojan files.

WARNING!!! Please stop using your browser until you get your PC scanned and removes all traces of malware, call toll free 1-844-798-3802 and get a computer scan done NOW !!!

Someone is monitoring your browser and can steal your credentials.

WARNING!!! A security breach has been detected, your browser being hijacked and monitored. It is highly recommended to contact a Microsoft certified technician, Call toll free 1-844-798-3802 and get a scan done to resolve this serious issue.

I’m running Linux.

Anyway, it won’t let me close it. Clicking on the upper-right X does nothing, and when I close the popup, it just repops. If it was Chrome I could kill the individual process for it, but Firefox only has a single process for tabs and instances. If I kill Firefox, it just comes back when I restart and restore. I cleared all cookies, but that didn’t help. Anyone know how to track down what’s allowing it to do this and killing it with extreme prejudice?

[Mid-afternoon update]

After a little research, I installed this add-on, which blocks trackers and javascript. Post installation, I was able to kill both the pop up and the instance.

Writing A Constitution

for Mars.

They seem to be a little confused about positive versus negative rights. You may have a right to leave, but you can’t demand that someone else pay for it. A “right to oxygen”? Not obvious how to handle that one. The solution to how to overthrow a tyrannical government is, of course, a Second Amendment.

[Wednesday-morning update]

Can a democracy exist on Mars?

…naive, wish­ful think­ing seems to under­pin all of the very hard ques­tions about what gov­er­nance and daily life on Mars might pos­si­bly look like. One rea­son could be the par­tic­i­pants: the orga­nizer of these events is an astro­bi­ol­o­gist, and they seem to have got­ten their insight into pol­i­tics from writ­ers like Stephen Bax­ter. This is not a dig against either men — astro­bi­ol­ogy is an incred­i­bly inter­est­ing sub­ject, and I love Baxter’s books — but they are not experts in gov­er­nance or nation-building (which is what a colony will be). There is, luck­ily, an entire field of aca­d­e­mic study devoted to these ques­tions: aca­d­e­mics who have spent decades under­stand­ing how and why regimes can be resisted, how to build new nations, and so on. They don’t seem to have been included in this discussion.

Instead it looks like most other efforts at imag­in­ing space colonies: well mean­ing but ulti­mately naive tech­nocrats imag­in­ing a west­ern tech­no­cratic soci­ety as the best struc­ture. And just like with Musk’s con­cept of a Mars colony, the seri­ous eco­nomic issues at play here, which are a big deal in design­ing any soci­ety, are ignored. They assume it will be a mostly-deregulated lib­er­tar­ian eco­nomic sys­tem, again despite the inescapable fact that any space colony will have to con­cern itself pri­mary with gen­er­at­ing enough air and water to keep every­one alive. It is utterly baffling.

As he notes, tech people aren’t necessarily the best people to design a functional society.