Web Excursions 2021-07-26

The importance of journalism in disasters; how to decipher the output of `free` command; what’s the work load of DistroWatch like.


灾难报道的意义

  • 对于灾区里面的人来说,媒体报道的意义是什么。

    • 第一,是提高受灾人群的可见度(visibility)

      • 接下来发生在其他县城、乡镇、农村的水灾,可见度就要差很多,而发生在那些地方的灾难并不比郑州轻微。

      • 《南方周末》、《三联生活周刊》、《凤凰周刊》、《时尚先生》等媒体都有不错的报道出街,对于平衡城乡受灾人口在可见度方面的差距很有帮助

    • 第二,是解释原因:到底发生了什么?为什么会遭受这样的灾难

      • 在这方面,《新京报》对“千年一遇”的解释,红星新闻和《南方周末》对红色预警与“三停”措施的报道,澎湃新闻对京广路隧道救援情况的采访,都是重要的文章。

      • 但是,当这些追问会碰触到具体的责任问题时,机构媒体会面临实际的限制。

    • 第三,是持续关注救援和灾后重建。

      • 监督暴雨红色预警之后的措施是否能够被执行,地铁停运机制是否有改进,京广隧道是否有调整,等等。

  • 对于灾区之外的人来说,媒体的报道意味着什么。

    • 第一,是提供及时更新的信息,回应人们的关切

    • 避免灾难在其他的地方重演。

    • 引出一个更深层气候变化。

      • 此次《财经》和澎湃新闻的报道都有专文涉及此话题,但总体来说,这个话题在中国媒体上的能见度还很低。

      • “气候正义”:造成气候变化的人,却不一定是最直接受到气候变化影响的人;而那些在气候灾害中处境最惨的人,可能其实并没有对气候变化产生太多的影响。

  • 2012年,北京暴雨的5天后,政府公布了遇难者名单,央视主播曾经逐个在新闻中念出那些名字。这一次,我们能等到同样的播报吗?


Questions and answers: Making sense of memory statistics in Linux

  • When the system reports it is using 2GB of memory this indicates that

    • the operating system and its applications are currently taking up 2GB of RAM which cannot be used for anything else.

    • The operating system, and any applications you hope to run, can see and consume all of the remaining memory.

    • You do not need to do anything to help this process.

  • Running the command free --human --giga from the command line will display information on memory consumption and availability in a relatively easy to read format.

    • total: This is the physical amount of RAM the OS can see.

    • used: indicates how much of memory is currently being used.

      • This used memory cannot be used for anything else, it is effectively "locked in".

    • free: the amount of RAM not being used for anything at all.

      • It is entirely empty and can be gobbled up by a new program at a moment's notice.

    • shared: not particularly interesting to us.

      • It's usually an indication of how much memory is used by services like temporary filesystems.

      • We can typically ignore the shared field for all practical purposes.

    • buff/cache: hows how much memory is holding copies of files which are also stored elsewhere, such as on the disk drive.

      • In the event we open an application which needs more memory than is currently free, Linux will replace files it has in the cache with the new application's data.

    • available: how much data can be consumed right now by an application which needs more memory.

  • The difference between free and available.

    • When memory is free there effectively isn't anything in it; the RAM isn't being used for anything at all. There is no program data and there are no copies of files in free memory.

    • Memory which is available may have something in it, like a cached file, but cached files can be dropped and the space can be used for something else at any time.


An Interview With Jesse Smith of DistroWatch

  • It can take an hour to process and publish a single new release.

    • We usually do about two of those a day, on average.

    • Plus writing articles, answering questions, and adding new projects to our database.

  • We can get a few dozen to a few hundred e-mails and notifications a day, almost every day.

  • People interested in making a DistroWatch-like website usually aren't prepared for that kind of time commitment.

    • As a result we tend not to see many websites trying to do the same thing.