Episode 63: Everyone throws their computers out the window

Download: Episode 63.

This week Audrey and I chat about the new adaptive controller for the Xbox One, a new Spectre variant, Amazon’s facial recognition technology, and more. Enjoy!

Show Notes

Community Announcements

Community Event Planning, 2nd Edition

Our Kickstarter for the 2nd edition of Community Event Planning was funded. Thank you to all our amazing backers!

We’re publishing an expanded and updated version of our guide to running community-focused conferences, with new material on diversity. In addition to writing from our own expertise, we’ll be interviewing other event organizers from our technology community to share their best practices. Creating community events is a an ongoing conversation, and we all learn from each other. The Kickstarter ran through end of day on May 31st.

The Responsible Communication Style Guide is headed back to the printers!

When we sold out of print copies of The Responsible Communication Style Guide last fall, we promised to do another print run in early 2018. We’re happy to announce that we’re ready.

If you’ve been waiting to pick up a printed book (or enough for the rest of the office so they stop filching your copy), this is your chance. Order now!

Now Broadcasting LIVE most Fridays

We broadcast our episode recordings LIVE on most Fridays at 10am PST. Mark your calendars and visit recompilermag.live to tune-in.

We love hearing from you! Feedback, comments, questions…

We’d love hearing from you, so get in touch!

You can leave a comment on this post, tweet to @recompilermag or our host @christi3k, or send an email to podcast@recompilermag.com.


CHRISTIE: Hello and welcome to The Recompiler, a feminist hacker podcast where we talk about technology in a fun and playful way. I’m your host, Christie Koehler.

Okay, we should be live. I don’t know what I was doing with my voice here. Hey, Audrey.

AUDREY: Hi, Christie.

CHRISTIE: It is not Friday, it is Thursday.

AUDREY: It is Thursday, yeah.

CHRISTIE: It’s the 24th of May and we’re coming to you from Portland, Oregon. It’s about 11:00 AM Pacific Time. We’re doing a live recording for Episode 63 of The Recompiler podcast. I’m Christie, that’s Audrey.

AUDREY: Hello.

CHRISTIE: And this week, we’re going to talk about the new adaptive controller of the Xbox One. There’s a new Spectre variant, Amazon’s facial recognition technology, and more. But first, we got some announcements.

AUDREY: We do. We are still taking pre-orders for The Responsible Communication Style Guide second printing. We need pre-orders in order to support the cost of doing a full order. We are also making some small corrections to the book, so everybody who gets a print copy now will see those corrections. And we’ll, of course, have a digital update when that’s delivered as well. So, you can go to the shop, pre-order a copy, pre-order a set. You can always contact us if you need to do an invoice or a larger order for an office or a workshop. And we’ll have that link in the show notes.

CHRISTIE: And we sold out of the first printing which is why we’re doing pre-orders for a second. And so, this is a great opportunity to get this awesome resource. I know that we sort of live in this new digital world and everyone has Kindles and tablets but I find that it’s still really useful to have a print copy of certain types of references. And I think this is one of them.

AUDREY: For sure. I even had somebody ask about converting theirs into a spiral bound book.

CHRISTIE: Ahhh, yes.

AUDREY: Because it’s nice to be able to leave it open.

CHRISTIE: Have you ever done that? Have you ever cut the spine of a book?

AUDREY: No. It seems a little scary to me.

CHRISTIE: But it’s kind of illicit in a fun way.

AUDREY: I have done a little bit of book binding, the reverse.

CHRISTIE: The reverse, yeah. That seems maybe less illicit. But also, just as interesting.


CHRISTIE: I know we’ve been pitching this for a while but we do need to get those orders and so we can send them to the printer. So if you’ve been thinking about it, now’s the time. This is a great sort of thing to get a print copy of and put it in a common area at your place of work or in the team area. And it can be another way to kind of get those types of conversations going about how we speak about different situations and groups of people without you having to do anything. Just get the book and set it up.

AUDREY: And I’ve also had people tell me that in terms of advocacy in your office or your organization, there’s really a power in being able to say, “Well, it’s in the book.”.


AUDREY: Maybe you’ve been struggling to explain something to your co-workers and you find that you’re just sort of trying to re-argue the same thing over and over again. Having a reference to point to, to tell them that this is actually the conventional agreement about how to handle that piece of terminology, that can be really helpful.

CHRISTIE: Definitely. Okay, our next announcement. We, Audrey and I, are currently in the last week of our Kickstarter for the second edition of Community Event Planning. I didn’t look this morning how we’re doing, Audrey.

AUDREY: We are at 45%.

CHRISTIE: So close to 50.

AUDREY: And you know what else?


AUDREY: We have 42 backers.

CHRISTIE: Whoa! It’s one of those key numbers. It was seven days ago. We did the first edition five years ago. Every time I say that, I’m like, “Wow!” And we put that book together because we had, at that point, run Open Source Bridge for a couple of years, different unconferences, hackathons, all kinds of stuff and we just sort of reflected about all the things we had to learn. And also I think all the sort of, if not unique but mindful, careful things that we brought to the conferences and other events, and we wanted to share that with folks, so they would have that. Again, like The Responsible Communication Style Guide, that’s sort of go-to reference for folks that wanted to run their own events or volunteer for events or things like that. And so, why are we doing a second edition, Audrey, besides the fact that I bugged you about it?

AUDREY: Because as another five years has passed, there are so many more things that we’ve learned, so many ways that we can add to that content and expand on it. We’ve seen what felt like, not a handful of community events, but a fairly small cluster of community events grow into something where there are just new things happening every week. And because of that, because we are coming to it with a set of mindful practices, we’ve collectively developed just a lot of information about what we can do to create really welcoming inclusive events. So we’re going to get out there and interview people, talk to them about what’s working, what they would share with others and incorporate that into the second edition as well.

CHRISTIE: So we’ll have a link in the show notes for that. It’s going for one more week through the end of May, the 31st. Is it like midnight or 11:59 that day, Audrey?

AUDREY: 11:59 Pacific.

CHRISTIE: So it would be great if you could pitch in if you’re able. And we’ve got [inaudible] at all kinds of levels to fit your budget. We also got DevOps Days, Audrey.

AUDREY: There are a couple of events that we are sponsoring as a community and media sponsor. One of them is DevOps Days Portland that’s coming up in September 11th through 13th. And the DevOps Days conferences are a really great kind of multidisciplinary look at infrastructure, information technology topics, servers configuration management, all of that kind of stuff. But also the human side of it, I’ve heard just a great variety of talks at these. And so, I’m really happy that we’re involved with this upcoming Portland event.

CHRISTIE: Awesome. And we have a 20% discount code: RECOMPILERFRIENDS, it’s all one word.

AUDREY: And so, you can use that for yourself or for your co-workers. And I think that they are expecting to sell out of tickets. So you should register as soon as you can if you’re planning to go.

CHRISTIE: Awesome. And September, I feel like is a good time, if you’re not in Portland, is a good time to visit Portland. The Fall is usually really beautiful here.

AUDREY: Yeah, early September weather can be really nice.

CHRISTIE: Well I guess technically, it’s not Fall yet, is it?

AUDREY: Not for like two weeks after that, but the weather does start to change.

CHRISTIE: I still have trouble accepting that most of June is still Spring. In my mind, June is like Summer.

AUDREY: Well, especially because it’s been 80.

CHRISTIE: Yeah. I am already expecting our water bill this next quarter to be absurd because of that, because we have all these things that need water and it’s been hot and not raining.

AUDREY: I’m trying to think like by cubic volume of plants that you’ve started in that greenhouse.

CHRISTIE: We’re going to have to turn on the sprinklers there too because the bushes and the trees obviously have deeper roots, and then all the plants. So we really got to get through these announcements, we had digressed too much.

One more. We’re doing the last year of Open Source Bridge, the 10th year. Audrey and I teamed up to sort of put the conference to bed, put a concluding chapter on it. I don’t know what the right metaphor is.

AUDREY: I was thinking that it’s more like elevation with streamers and excitement just for the conclusion.

CHRISTIE: A farewell party.

AUDREY: Exactly.

CHRISTIE: So it’s a one day event. We’ll have some keynotes and unconference sessions and then a party. And tickets are available now. If you go to OpenSourceBridge.org, you’ll find a link and we’ll also put a link in the show notes. We have limited space especially compared to previous years. So if you’re thinking of going, go ahead and get your ticket. Any other announcements, Audrey?

AUDREY: That’s what I’ve got.

CHRISTIE: I have an Xbox and I got my first…well, I had an Xbox, I think the original one even before when I moved up here. But I got the, I guess it would have been a 360 when Skyrim came out. So, I’m a fan and I thought this is really cool that they’re coming out with this new adaptive controller that they actually worked with a lot of disabled gamers and disabled gamer groups to develop. And it’ll be 100 bucks and it’s going to look really slick, sort of like the slickness that you would expect from buying an Xbox accessory.

AUDREY: It looks like it’s part of the system.

CHRISTIE: Yeah. And I kind of want to get one of these to try. I do have an Xbox One now, so it should work with my system. That could be kind of a fun bit of audio, maybe, for the podcast, maybe we can try it out.

AUDREY: Both of us have some RSI issues and I definitely like how this controller is mapable. You can do a lot of customization. And so, I think one of the things that’s really interesting about these kinds of accessible accessories becoming more, I don’t know if commodified is the right word for it, but just more generally available is that it’s not just that people with severe limitations should have to use it. It also helps people at a lot of different points. And I really like the kind of flexible design that has started to show up with some of these things.

CHRISTIE: Yes. It has sort of two, the main part of it is sort of two big black disks that you do have to press down on them but the description is that it’s a very light touch and then the sort of traditional D-pad to the side and then a power button, or maybe one other. But it also has for each of the 19 sort of traditional controls, there’s a plug in the back where you can plug in existing accessibility tools which I thought was super cool that they did that.

AUDREY: So if you have some other kind of a joystick or controller that you’re able to use with your computer or with another device that you should be able to integrate that as well.

CHRISTIE: Yeah, I hadn’t actually been thinking of the artist until you mentioned it but it is actually one of the big things. Aside from the upgraded specs, it’s the main thing I noticed from upgrading to an Xbox One is that the height on the joysticks. The controller was just slightly bigger especially on the height of the sticks. I think I’ve adapted a little bit, but when I first started playing, it was really hard for me to use. It was just a little too high for my thumb. And I was getting like thumb pain and stuff.

AUDREY: My first experience, I don’t remember if I’ve ever mentioned this on the podcast, but my first experience with RSI, I was about five and playing a whole lot of Joust on the Atari. And my thumb, you really have to smack that button. My thumb froze up. I mean, one of the things that I find most intimidating about systems like the Xbox is the level of grip strength and hand control that you need to play games effectively. So I just really like that they’re doing this, that they did so much work with people that are going to make use of it, and that at $100, a lot of people will be able to try it.

CHRISTIE: Right. I think it is an end gadget piece, there was a blurb about just having it look like part of the Xbox ensemble, that means something in terms of it’s not something that looks like a kludge. Having it be more…mainstream is not a good word, but more part of the real experience.

AUDREY: It’s the social inclusion in gaming, too.


AUDREY: The video that I watched that went along with the announcement, they definitely talked — and I think also in the Engadget piece — talked about how gaming is a part of people’s social lives, their friendships, their families. And so, making it possible for people to play the same games together is really big in terms of the relationship building and support.

CHRISTIE: Also, through this article, I learned about a feature I didn’t know about called copilot where you can actually have two people control the same character, like different aspects of it, and I thought that was really cool.

AUDREY: I could see that being really good for platformer type games and things where like there’s timing and button pushing, and different things you have to do at the same time.

CHRISTIE: If you aren’t used to playing these games, when you first start trying to control them, it can be really hard to do.

AUDREY: I just think this is going to be really great. I’m very excited. Maybe I’ll even try an Xbox finally.

CHRISTIE: Yeah. Well, I got one.

AUDREY: I’ve always found Xbox games really intimidating and the kinds of controllers used.

CHRISTIE: Yeah, I can see that.

Not entirely unexpected, but we have a fourth variant of Spectre called Speculative Store Bypass and it impacts Intel, AMD, ARM. Basically, a malicious, unprivileged user could use this flaw to read privileged system memory and/or memory outside of a sandboxed environment like a web browser or JIT execution run times. So, were you surprised to hear another variant?

AUDREY: No. And it sounds like this is the kind of research that they hoped would come out of the initial announcement, that they’ll start to enumerate all of the different ways that the same architectural problem can be misused.

CHRISTIE: Yeah, basically. So this is just sort of a different version of the same issue of where because these chips were designed to do all the speculative execution, there’s all these sort of side effects of that and sort of privileged information that sticks around and ends up being accessible. Again, it reminds us full protection can only come from replacing vulnerable equipment with new devices that contain fundamentally more secure chips. Awesome.

AUDREY: Because what you want is to have to upgrade absolutely everything.

CHRISTIE: It’s totally what I look forward to in all of the tens of thousands of dollars, or maybe not tens of thousands, but the thousands of dollars that would cost. Did you watch this video from Red Hat?


CHRISTIE: I’m not going to call it propaganda but it was definitely…I would say only a portion of it was to educate you about what the Speculative Store Bypass was. The rest of it was to make you feel better about continuing to use this technology and the companies that provide you with this technology.

AUDREY: Oh, that’s great.

CHRISTIE: So I thought that was intriguing to me that when I thought it was kind of interesting that it was coming from Red Hat rather than a hardware manufacturer directly, although maybe they have done it, too. The Red Hat kind of get identified as not a neutral third party, but one level removed from the actual hardware.

AUDREY: Well, they’re a major vendor and they have some pretty big contracts.

But also I think it speaks to just what a potential public relations issue this is for all the chip makers.

AUDREY: Sure. I mean, if the outcome of it is that everybody throws their computers out the window then that’s not so good for them.

CHRISTIE: It definitely seemed to make an attempt to normalize it a bit, like, “This is just another in the security vulnerabilities we all have to deal with.”


CHRISTIE: You should watch it, because it’d be curious what you think.

AUDREY: I certainly will. We still have that continuing tradeoff about speed. The reason that speculative execution was used so heavily is that it’s faster. So, we’re a long ways out, from what I’ve read so far anyhow, from having chips that can regain some of the same performance without using that technique. And so in the meantime, things get slower.

CHRISTIE: So, apply the system updates as they come out. They did say that they are not expecting these patches to slow down things as much as the original patches did.

AUDREY: Right. It seemed like they were indicating that there is some tuning that they’ll be able to do now that they’ve identified the major components of it.

CHRISTIE: So I expect we’ll probably hear about some more variants in the time to come.

AUDREY: It seems likely.

CHRISTIE: Amazon’s been up to some stuff.

AUDREY: Always.

CHRISTIE: Amazon has a real time facial recognition. It’s not just facial recognition. It recognizes all kinds of things – texts, objects…

AUDREY: In image recognition system.

CHRISTIE: …called Rekognition with a K. I’m like, “Really?” When you kind of give things that spelling, it’s just automatically like dystopian Russian in a [crosstalk]…

AUDREY: Or cheezy.


AUDREY: Just cheesy.

CHRISTIE: I actually wonder. I was messaging you the other day because I had to go to the mall. And then I got stuck in the mall as they are designed to make you do. And I was like, “Oh, an Amazon bookstore. I haven’t seen one of these.” So, I walk in and there’s no prices. You can either scan a little QR code next to each object or you can scan the object itself. And it makes me wonder if they’re using this system. I mean, I don’t see why they wouldn’t be.

AUDREY: Probably. A lot of retail spaces use some kind of tracking. We talked about that way back with Target and with audio tracking on cell phones. So a lot of retail spaces use tracking to just see what the customer flow is, how many people come and when, all those kinds of things. And there’s no reason to think that Amazon isn’t making use of this kind of system in their store to identify customers and to just look at what’s going on around it.

CHRISTIE: So not just in the terms of pricing information.

AUDREY: And product identification. But they could also be using similar systems to try to spot people, guess how old they are, whatever.

CHRISTIE: I didn’t think about that. I was shocked at how fast it was. And I did it on a couple different things and it got them all right.

AUDREY: The product pricing scanner?

CHRISTIE: Yeah. The reason people are writing about this now is that ACLU figured out that Amazon’s…that some police departments are using this including in Orlando — and this caught my attention, Audrey — Oregon’s Washington County.

AUDREY: Yes. Isn’t that where the mall is, that you went to the Amazon place?

CHRISTIE: That is where the mall is. And I basically live…I mean, I could walk within five minutes and be in Washington County. So we do a lot of our shopping and just other life activities in Washington County. I guess that includes Tigard. So yeah, that caught my attention. And they’re using it to compare mugshot or booking photos against real time footage. I don’t know if this is to like catch people they’ve already arrested in additional crimes or shore up evidence against them for the thing they were arrested for.

AUDREY: I assumed it was warrant related. But I don’t know that there was actually enough detail on that.

CHRISTIE: We do know they’re paying only $6 or $12 a month.

AUDREY: I saw that. It reminded me a little bit of how Palantir’s donating or was donating their services to New Orleans, the New Orleans Police Department. What Amazon’s trying to get out of this doesn’t require anybody to pay hundreds of dollars a month for it because what they want is the data.

CHRISTIE: Yes. Rekognition was introduced in November 2016 as part of AWS. They say it’s used by Pinterest and C-Span for object recognition and analytics. I guess that means that everything you take a picture of on Pinterest and upload, they’re doing stuff on it. Most recently, it provided the backend for a Sky News project that used facial recognition to identify guests at the royal wedding. So that doesn’t sound like a security thing. That sounds like a celebrity thing. And then this is also what’s showing: Motorola Solutions, a popular supplier of police body cameras, is also a client.

You had this article from Flavia Dzodan about this. It says: A few observations about Amazon being urged not to sell facial recognition tool to police. And there are some things in there about them training the system on photos uploaded to Amazon Prime photo storage. And just all the ways in which consent was not given for that. Or maybe it was buried somewhere in the EULA, but all the sort of ramifications of that. Like the people you’re taking photos of, that they don’t necessarily give consent to be identified in the photos that you upload, people in public spaces, things like that.

AUDREY: Right. And it’s not the affirmative consent that every company is having to grapple with around the GDPR.

CHRISTIE: Right. I thought this line really stand out to me: non consensual data extractivism as the basis of the surveillance structures, like all of these models are being trained based on data that is being extracted from us non consensually, they were not compensated for.

AUDREY: Right. Nobody is offering their family photos for sale with this idea. They’re thinking, “Oh, free photo hosting. That’s great. I can share my photos.”

CHRISTIE: Right. And that they may consent to use the through the EULA for their photos to improve the algorithm but they don’t consent to all the technology then being used and sold to the police.

AUDREY: I think about how in a lot of agreements, you’ll see something like, “Oh, and your data can also be used for research purposes.” And until recently, I wouldn’t have thought of that kind of phrasing as meaning something like this. Research for resale, for product development for resale.

CHRISTIE: It clearly does. And then she goes on to talk about this issue of…because part of what recognition does is identify and classify content using taxonomies. And I pulled this whole quote out because I thought it was pretty powerful. It says, “I keep going back to the issue of taxonomies because they are foundational to the idea of algorithms and in this case, I’m particularly interested in how taxonomies have been built in regards to race, gender, body language, etc. Especially with the possibility of police using this application to determine who is a potential criminal. Has this algorithm been taught what a woman looks like by being trained with stereotypically images of cis women? Has this algorithm and trained to recognize darker skin and if so, in what context? With the levels of police violence directed at Black people, what safeguards did Amazon take to prevent this tool from being used in a way that negatively impacts this community?” And it reminded me a lot about the predictive policing we talked about in a really recent episode.

AUDREY: How the end result of it isn’t predicting crime but predicting policing.


AUDREY: When it’s being applied to police body cameras, the way that it’s most likely to be used isn’t about keeping the police accountable.


AUDREY: You don’t need image recognition for that. You do need image recognition if you are trying to look up the previous arrest record of people you walk by or again, like identify outstanding warrants which I think is also another kind of over-policing that happens, warrants for minor crimes, insignificant crimes. And so, there aren’t a lot of good outcomes to these things being deployed in those ways.

CHRISTIE: Or to identify someone as having a gang affiliation.

AUDREY: Right. Which is a meaningless designation.


AUDREY: But again, a way that’s used to over-police people of color.

CHRISTIE: Or a potential undocumented immigrant. I mean, I can see this going in all sorts of different ways. We just had the story that was going around about the women speaking Spanish and getting interviewed by a Border Patrol agent just by virtue of them speaking Spanish.

AUDREY: If Washington County is feeding in mugshots, they’re training the system to identify people that get arrested by Washington County. That’s not a really good feedback loop.

CHRISTIE: It’s another case of this, “Oh, here’s some free storage. Free stuff.” Maybe it’s not actually free. Maybe there’s a catch somewhere.

AUDREY: Yeah. And I think we just all need to be a little bit more skeptical when it comes to the use of photos on the internet, where we post them, where we host them, and how they can be analyzed. We’ve talked about this before too that when you put photos online, you lose control over what happens to that image in a way that’s sort of unique to visual content. And this just takes it even further. There was a thing recently about those mugshots websites.


AUDREY: This might have just been in the last week but there was one of the sites. The guys that ran it were charged with extortion, I think, because they tell people that they can pay to take their photos down. If your mugshot’s going into Amazon’s analytical system, you have no power to get them to take it out of there.


AUDREY: Once it’s in there, it’s in there. You just completely lose control over that.

CHRISTIE: [Inaudible] European resident.

AUDREY: Right.

CHRISTIE: Or any resident, European Union.


CHRISTIE: I did a training for work on GDPR. And we really need that here in the States.

AUDREY: It seems like ultimately kind of a bare minimum approach, now that I’m understanding the requirements a little bit better.

CHRISTIE: Although I think it would be more feasible for me to move to the EU.

AUDREY: Than to get that kind of regulation in the US?


AUDREY: There are so many ways that companies profit from being able to do this sort of stuff. Although it’s kind of fascinating seeing what services are shutting down because they don’t think that they can become compliant.

CHRISTIE: I saw Klout was shutting down. Has there been more?

AUDREY: There’s something else that I saw. I have to go look again because I can’t think of what it now. Or companies that are just stopping some activity because they can’t make it compliant and they don’t have a way to separate the EU users from the non-EU ones. So they kind of just have to accept that the whole bundle is bad. And the best notifications I’ve been getting…we updated our privacy policy type stuff. It’s just people are making a lot of jokes about it. But the best notification I got was actually from Shopify which said that they were implementing tools for shop owners to make it easy for you to identify and delete your customer data when people request it. And I really appreciate that that can be an outcome of this, too.

CHRISTIE: The more those tools become available on platforms that we all use.

AUDREY: Yeah, because when you use a hosted service like that, you do give up some amount of control over the data and those are tradeoffs that we have to decide whether they’re worthwhile. But certainly, I care about my customers’ data, their security and privacy. And so I like that services that I’m using may be trying to offer more in terms of that control.

CHRISTIE: Okay. I think we are to things we love on the internet this week.


CHRISTIE: And I am prepared this week.

AUDREY: I see that.

CHRISTIE: The big island of Hawaii has some volcanoes and they’re pretty active. Kilauea is one of them and it’s gotten really active this month, like lava through subdivisions active.

AUDREY: Amazingly active.

CHRISTIE: Amazingly active. And this is interesting but also this in the area of Hawaii that we like to go visit, I’ve been there a handful of times. And so I can picture what it looks like and then now I’m thinking. And I remember seeing the rock from the previous lava flows and now I’m just thinking about all the new stuff that’s happening. But USGS volcanoes division has a status page for Kilauea. And of course, there’s news coverage and stuff for this. But I really like this USGS status page because they update it like every day and you get a text description. And then they also have a really cool visual. So, they have on a multimedia, they have maps. So that was really helpful because I was trying to figure out where the lava flows compared to like where I remember being and stuff. And then they have all these pictures and webcams and stuff. Right now, if you go to the webcams tab…wait, it’s under videos. I was just looking at it. One of the very recent videos, there’s some methane coming out of some of the fissure cracks and it’s on fire. So you have some of the trees burning in the lava and then in the front, you have these strips of blue fire.

AUDREY: I saw a photo of that.

CHRISTIE: Yeah, you can see video too. And it’s like, “Oh, the earth is alive.” Not just on the top but like at the center.

AUDREY: Very dynamic, yeah.

CHRISTIE: I also saw video on CNN of lava. And the audio came on and there was these invasive frogs that are all over the big island, particularly on the wetter side. And they have a very distinctive sound that as soon as the sun goes down, they croak, like all of them, all night long. And the first time I was over there, it kept me up that in the [torrential range]. But right when I heard that on the video, I was like, boom! I was there, hearing the sound of it. It’s kind of funny. So that’s my thing I love on the internet this week.

AUDREY: The volcanic activity is really, really impressive. I watched a video last week maybe, of a lava flow eating a car.

CHRISTIE: Oh, my goodness. It could happen here.

AUDREY: Not the lava part, but volcanic eruption for sure.

CHRISTIE: We wouldn’t get lava here?

AUDREY: No, we don’t have the right type of volcanoes. Oh, I bookmarked it. Because I learned what the differences between…scientifically, how they categorize volcanoes that it all comes down to the silica content.

CHRISTIE: But we used to, because there’s lava flows in Central Oregon.

AUDREY: Well, there’s like five categories. And the category that we have does not produce lava flows basically.

CHRISTIE: Not anymore?

AUDREY: They’re not even all the same things. Like our big Cascades, mountains and some of those older cinder cones and things, they’re not actually all the same type of volcano.


AUDREY: But just that it’s [inaudible] in that silica content that determines how the volcano will behave, I thought was really super awesome.

CHRISTIE: Whether it blows up or whether it oozes, basically.

AUDREY: Yeah, kind of. They were saying with Kilauea that one of the things that’s happening now is it hits the ocean. It’s sending out a cloud of like fine glass shards and hydrochloric acid.

CHRISTIE: Yeah, sounds terrible.

AUDREY: It sounds like a horror movie kind of thing. But I mean, those little glass shards is because of that silica.

CHRISTIE: Right. All right, Audrey, what have you got?

AUDREY: A friend of ours, Meli Lewis, has a newsletter that she started writing and it’s often about some kind of science or data thing. And this last week, she wrote about the color of cats and specifically some things like why Siamese cats have the color patterns that they do.

CHRISTIE: That sounds awesome.

AUDREY: It’s very cool, yeah. Do you know why Siamese cats are light and dark?

CHRISTIE: I do not.

AUDREY: It’s a literal heatmap.


AUDREY: The mutation that they have responds to the body heat of the cat.

CHRISTIE: Oh, my goodness! It’s like a Hyper Color cat, sort of.

AUDREY: It’s really amazing. She gets into some details and some of the science behind that, and also just some cat-related recommendations.

CHRISTIE: I’ve always wanted a Siamese. I think they’re really pretty. Cool. All right. I think that’s our show.

AUDREY: All right.

CHRISTIE: Thanks, Audrey. Thanks everyone for listening. And we’ll talk to you again soon.


CHRISTIE: And that’s a wrap. You’ve been listening to The Recompiler Podcast. You can find this and all previous episodes at recompilermag.com/podcast. There you’ll find links to individual episodes as well as the show notes. You’ll also find links to subscribe to The Recompiler Podcast using iTunes or your favorite podcatcher. If you’re already subscribed via iTunes, please take a moment to leave us a review. It really helps us out. Speaking of which, we love your feedback. What do you like? What do you not like? What do you want to hear more of? Let us know. You can send email feedback to podcast@recompilermag.com or send feedback via Twitter to @RecompilerMag or directly to me, @Christi3k. You can also leave us an audio comment by calling 503 489 9083 and leave in a message.

The Recompiler podcast is a project of Recompiler Media, founded and led by Audrey Eschright and is hosted and produced by yours truly, Christie Koehler. Thanks for listening.