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Ars Editor Learns Feds Have His Old IP Addresses, Full Credit Card Numbers

Loki_1929 Re:PCI-DSS (216 comments)

Self-assessment is the method used by the vast majority of small businesses, and they're often not even required to do even minimal work to get started. The acquiring bank will just set them up an account and start the ball rolling after Farmer Bob buys a cheap swipe terminal off eBay for the weekend Farmer's market and signs a couple papers. For those organizations that aren't self-assessing, they get to deal with the fact that QSAs often can't even agree on what some requirements mean in principle, let alone when applied to their specific circumstances. Show three different QSAs the same architecture and documentation, get three different reports. That ROC? That's good for toilet paper by the time the QSA pulls out of the parking lot. Don't believe me? Have a data breach and watch Visa roll in with auditors who won't leave until they find a reason to fail your compliance. That's just how the game is played.

All that said, people just declaring that they are PCI DSS compliant is actually exactly what happens. You tell the acquiring bank that you're PCI compliant (either via SAQ or QSA/ROC). If you've met certain levels of activity, the acquiring bank may pass along some paperwork regarding your audits to certain payment brands who require it. They then effectively state that your paperwork appears to be in order and begin processing your credit card transactions. At no point do they declare you PCI DSS compliant and they will most certainly toss your ass to the wolves the second there's a whiff of trouble. And even if they did say you were compliant at filing time, any QSA will tell you that any minor change, lapse, or mistake can completely alter the state of your compliance. From the PCI SSC website: "There are three steps for adhering to the PCI DSS – which is not a single event, but a continuous, ongoing process."

In other words, yesterday you might have been compliant, and tomorrow you might be compliant, but today (always of course the day of the breach), you're non-compliant.

about a week ago
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Ars Editor Learns Feds Have His Old IP Addresses, Full Credit Card Numbers

Loki_1929 Re:PCI-DSS (216 comments)

No, there's no certificate, but there is a process of documentation and testing commonly referred to as "certification" before you are allowed to process credit card transactions.

This depends entirely on the organization and their acquiring bank's requirements (ultimately the acquiring bank is the only one who matters, but most reasonably organizations develop their own process to ensure they're covered as much as possible). For many small businesses, they're often times just buying a cheap terminal and swiping away. The acquiring bank isn't pressing them for details of their security measures and they're often completely clueless about any requirements they're supposed to be meeting. They aren't bringing in a QSA. Even if they were, bring in three QSAs to any decently sized organization and get three different opinions about your scope and your compliance measures. Half the fun of PCI assessments is determining what the requirements mean, how they apply in your specific instance, and where scope ends. But the point is, there's no issuing authority to say that you're PCI compliant. There's no governing body certifying anyone. The only thing that's actually there are the contractual relationships between the merchant and the acquiring bank and the contractual relationships between the acquiring bank and the payment brands.

I work in point of sale software development and have had to help retail chains overcome problems found in their certification tests. You either don't know what you're talking about, or you're playing a pointless semantic game.

It's not a pointless semantic game because it's the unspoken risk for anyone accepting credit cards. Since there is no official PCI certification and since there is no agreement between QSAs on what the requirements mean in principle (let alone in practice in a specific organization's situation), the PCI SSC gets to stick the claim up on their website that no breach has ever occurred in a PCI-compliant vendor. Best of all, each individual payment brand actually gets to decide what requirements have to be met in which situation by which type of vendor doing what type of business at what scale and via which medium. The ambiguity and the leverage the payment brands hold allows them to arbitrarily decide who is and who isn't compliant at any given moment.

So you keep on doing your documentation and your testing processes (and you should, it's good practice), but if you think for a second your customers are somehow protected from Visa, Mastercard, etc in the event of a breach, you'd best think again. It's a shell game designed to ensure that whenever things go south, the payment brands are never the ones left holding the bag.

about a week ago
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Ars Editor Learns Feds Have His Old IP Addresses, Full Credit Card Numbers

Loki_1929 Re:PCI-DSS (216 comments)

As an organisation accredited to be following PCI-DSS

You aren't accredited to be following PCI because nobody is. There is no certificate. There is no special seal of approval. You provided security information to your acquiring bank(s) and you were allowed to process credit card transactions. There's no such thing as certification or accreditation for PCI.

we would be crucified if the PCI auditor found us holding the PAN (the long number on the front of your credit card, PAN = primary account number) in plain text. Surely the airlines/booking agents should not be passing the PAN to anyone else if they are following PCI-DSS (which is mandatory if you want to accept card payments)?

Who says they're holding the PAN in plaintext? They can decrypt it to send it to the Feds as needed without keeping it in plaintext in their systems. The Feds have no agreement with an acquiring bank, so they don't have to worry about how they store it. Nobody can do anything to them. Any agreement the airlines have with their acquiring banks undoubtedly includes plenty of cover for Federal data reporting requirements (likely a blanket "if the Feds come calling, we're just going to give them everything"). So long as the acquiring banks have signed off on it, they're in the clear. And since all these guys would like to continue doing business in the largest economy in the world, nobody's going to say no.

about a week ago
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SpaceX Wins FAA Permission To Build a Spaceport In Texas

Loki_1929 Re:better map link (80 comments)

It's Texas, they broke ground three weeks ago.

FAA? Never heard of 'em.

about two weeks ago
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Wireless Contraception

Loki_1929 Re:yes but (302 comments)

Assuming I found the idea of male or female genital mutilation and "straight camps" reprehensible I absolutely would feel the same way. See below.

I was hoping one of those might strike a cord, but consider if the Federal government stated you had to directly fund the murder of children up to say 5 years of age. Since many religious people believe that the life of a child begins at conception, that's what people like the founders of Hobby Lobby believe they are being told to do: directly fund the murder of children, not with the collection of taxes that go to a general fund, but rather by paying the private business that pays the private business that murders children. I would assume you would have significant objections to being forced to pay someone to murder children, but would you do it anyway simply to comply with the law? Or would you seek to be excluded from that requirement?

If I consider cockroaches holy I still don't have the right to forbid or obstruct a fumigator from doing his job.

No you don't, but I think you have to admit that a fetus/unborn child/baby/whatever-you-want-to-call-that-thing is significantly different from a cockroach, assuming you consider human life to be more important than insect lives. If you don't, that's fine, but I don't think we can have a good discussion. Assuming that you do, I actually still agree that no one has the legal right (though I would consider moral right a tougher call) to prevent someone from having a legal abortion or to prevent a doctor who performs abortions from doing his job. However, that isn't what's being discussed here. What we're talking about is the founders of Hobby Lobby, whose religious beliefs consider abortion to be murder, being forced by their government to directly fund that practice. In essence, from the perspective of their religion, they're being forced to directly fund the murder of children. Regardless of what you or I or any of the justices of the Supreme Court believe, it's what the founders of Hobby Lobby believe and they would almost certainly have to conclude that compliance with that law would damn their immortal souls to Hell for all eternity. I think that makes it rather difficult to defend for a nation that purports to respect religious beliefs.

There are many actions I disagree with committed in my name (and with my tax money) by the federal, state and local governments in whose jurisdiction I happen to reside. The fact I don't like how my resources are being utilized does not give me the right to refuse to pay taxes, permission to disrupt law enforcement activities or anything similar.

Your tax dollars go into a general fund. From that fund, activities you disapprove of are funded. Yet that's a far cry from them forcing you to pay for those activities directly. For instance, if you believe that all wars are evil and that fighting them and killing in them is murder (the truly convicted total pacifist), you may not like that the US government buys bombs and missiles with monies collected through taxes, but they aren't telling you that you have to write a check to Lockheed for an order of 5,000lb JDAMs so they can be dropped on someone's house. In other words, there's at least some difference between being forced to pay into a fund of fungible funds which is sometimes used for things you dislike and being forced to cut a check to pay for something that directly contradicts your firmly held beliefs.

In both cases there is a law in place. In my case I have to comply or face the consequences. In HL's case, they apparently do not have to comply with some of the law because they don't like it?

There are plenty of cases where you don't have to comply with the law. For instance, it's against the law to kill another human being. However, if that human being is trying to seriously harm you and you have no other choice to avoid that serious harm, you're exempted from the consequences of violating that law due to the circumstances. Intent is a huge component of criminal law. In many cases, a lack of intent can be a defense against criminal charges. In many of those cases where exemptions are carved out for circumstances, the beliefs of the individual and the reasonableness of those beliefs are a key factor. In this case, the founders of Hobby Lobby have beliefs that compliance with this law would constitute violation of core religious doctrine. In other words, they believed that directly funding these particular forms of birth control would damn them to Hell for financing the murder of children. Further, the other 16 methods of birth control were apparently not an issue for them, meaning they were seeking to follow the law right up to the point where it would result in eternal damnation. That's a far cry from simply declaring that one isn't going to follow the law because one dislikes it. This is a very specific, narrowly tailored exemption carved out for a relatively small group of individuals based upon an apparently reasonable religious belief.

While I understand that HL was able to summon the money and political clout to push the issue clear through the Supreme Court for an exception, I remain unconvinced that what occurred here was just/right even though it's clearly legal.

I think that what they were seeking was completely reasonable. Out of 20 birth control methods looked at, they found four methods with specific characteristics which heavily conflicted with their firmly held religious beliefs. They didn't seek exemption from the entire law or the womens' health aspects of the law or even the birth control aspects of the law. Rather, they were seeking to not have to directly fund a very small number of specific things that they believed constitute murder. Worse, that they believed constitute the murder of defenseless babies. I think if you ask 1000 people whether the Federal government can legally force someone to fund the murder of young children, at least 995 of them would say no. At that point, all that's left is to ask whether it's reasonable - based on their religious beliefs - for the Hobby Lobby founders to believe that's what's required of them if they have to fund those few specific methods.

SCOTUS found that it was reasonable for them to believe that and that as such, they had grounds to object. Further, the SCOTUS found that because there were so many alternatives for those affected by that coverage gap, the actual impact of such an exemption would be pretty limited. With those two things in mind, it became rather simple to decide that forcing a person to directly fund what they believe is the murder of small children, when not forcing them to do so has little impact on any else's rights or interests, just doesn't make sense. Thus, carving out a religiously based exemption was the best result. I think that's a perfectly sensible way for the SCOTUS to act.

OT: Thank you for your considered statements, reasonable tone and for not trying to turn this into a flame war.

Certainly, as I said, I'm definitely not emotionally invested in this case beyond looking for consistency and reasonableness. I really don't think this case would make any headlines if it weren't tied to the President and the ACA. I don't particularly like the legislation, but that's because I think it was poorly constructed and will bring loads of unintended consequences without actually making a significant enough impact in fixing problems like healthcare costs. Religious issues like what we're seeing in this case are just the beginning. This thing is going to slowly churn new exemptions (mostly administrative) and other changes constantly over the next decade until it's every bit as complicated as the current tax code. I think the law should be simple enough that one person can completely understand it and comply with it at all times. Our own government can't even tell us how many (just the number) of laws there are at the Federal level (seriously, the Library of Congress did a whole blog posting about this subject), let alone explain what all those laws are and how one would comply with them. That doesn't even touch all the laws in every state, county, city, township, etc. All that does is breed disrespect for the law and for the government making those laws.

about two weeks ago
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Wireless Contraception

Loki_1929 Re:yes but (302 comments)

What an interesting perspective. Pray tell, once the baby is born, but still attached via the umbilical cord, is it still a parasite you can destroy at will? I don't actually care one way or another about abortion, but I do care about consistency. From a medical standpoint, there are some specific events such as fertilization, implantation, birth, etc which could be used as a basis for drawing the line between a non-human thing (which one might describe - as you did - as a "parasite") and a human being. Thus far, the only group that seems to define that line at a medically objective point are the religious crowd (who use fertilization as their starting point). Again, consistency.

about three weeks ago
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Wireless Contraception

Loki_1929 Re:yes but...yes in fact. (302 comments)

Why are certain beliefs privileged?

Because the people who founded this country came here seeking relief from religious oppression. Thus, when they created their own government (the one we have today), they ensured that the highest law of the land specifically restrained the government from doing to future generations what the Crown had done to them. If you don't think religious beliefs deserve special consideration, feel free to propose an amendment to the US Constitution stating so.

Could a non-religious person decide they "believed" in not providing certain healthcare to their employees and just let the government pick up the bill instead?

That would be a more challenging case to prove. The benefit of belonging to a popular religious group is that the tenants are widely known. As such, one must only then demonstrate that one actually belongs to that group (and even so, only minimally; stating as much without evidence to the contrary would typically be enough) to gain protection from government policy, law, or action which would violate that group's religious beliefs. In the Hobby Lobby case, there were 4 specific methods of birth control out of 20 which the owners maintained violated their core beliefs. In essence, they viewed those 4 specific methods as murder, but raised no objection to the other 16. The SCOTUS found those beliefs to be sincere and reasonable, and found that there was no interest at stake compelling enough to override the protections afforded to the owners of Hobby Lobby by the US Constitution. This was found in no small part due to the multitude of other options available for those seeking to attain the goals of the underlying legislation.

It's actually a pretty mundane case and shouldn't get people this riled up, but it does because the ACA and the President are attached to it. If this case involved any other law but the President's signature legislation, nobody but SCOTUS buffs would have heard a word about it.

about three weeks ago
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Wireless Contraception

Loki_1929 Re:yes but (302 comments)

This is getting a bit muddled, so I'd like to list a couple points of fact:

- HL is required to provide healthcare to their employees. The legislation has been enacted, it's a done deal.

- This birth control is part of that healthcare.

Nobody is telling the owners of HL not to use birth control. They have the right to make that choice for themselves.

We are talking about weather HL has the right to selectively refuse to provide this federally mandated medical care coverage to their employees because they (HL) don't like/agree/approve of it.

I tend to wonder if you'd feel the same way if you owned a business and the Federal government passed a law stating you had to pay for female genital mutilation procedures for young girls and "straight camps" for gays.

Not advocating a side, just seeking consistency. Out of 20 different birth control methods, the SCOTUS ruling continues to require HL and others like them to provide coverage for 16. There were 4 specific methods which the owners found to be abhorrent to their religious convictions. In essence, they consider those 4 specific methods to be murder. The other 16 are covered without objection and if the employees just have to use those four specific methods, there's nothing in the SCOTUS ruling stating that they can't; they'll just have to bankroll them on their own.

This doesn't strike me as a case where the concept of birth control or 'reproductive health' as a whole are under attack. Rather, this seems to be a legitimate situation wherein reasonable religious conviction clashed with law passed by Congress. The impact is quite limited and thus, the SCOTUS correctly provided reasonable latitude to the religious beliefs over the law.

People on the right are blowing this case way out of proportion because they see it as a victory against the ACA. People on the left are blowing this case way out of proportion because they either don't understand what actually happened or they're convinced it's a victory against the ACA. The reality is that it isn't any such thing; rather it's a fairly mundane case which wouldn't make it to page 4 below the fold if it weren't tied to the ACA and the President. In other words, relax, it's really no big deal.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Often Should You Change Jobs?

Loki_1929 Re:We can thank corporate America (282 comments)

I think it depends a lot on your management. If you can get them to recognize your value to the company (assuming you're providing that value) and make yourself especially difficult to replace (due to skillset and work ethic, not sabotage and self-niching), you have some more leverage where you are. I've found it fairly effective to engage on the subject in a more cooperative - rather than adversarial - manner. For instance, making it about what your fair market value is versus what your pay is, rather than an issue about raises not being high enough, or that your lifestyle is exceeding your means. When you can show that your paycheck isn't reflecting your fair market value, it removes a lot of the emotion from the conversation. At that point, you have a couple of ways to deal with it: adversarial (which largely consists of holding your management hostage by threatening to leave or by getting and showing written offers for more money) and cooperative (convincing your management to find a way to get you what you're worth as quickly as possible without an overt or heavily implied threat of leaving).

Ultimately, it doesn't have to get personal and it won't if both parties can avoid making it personal. You're an asset that's worth $x in the market. If the company is paying you .75x and the company doesn't feel it's in their interests to pay you $x, you should work elsewhere. If the company does feel it's in their interests to pay you $x, they can choose to find a way to make that happen. If they don't, there's no reason to be personally offended when the asset finds and accepts a better offer.

Needless to say, it won't always work this way. Some people (on both sides of the table) are just children and will make it all very personal. If you find yourself working for children who can't have adult conversations in an adult manner, you should be seeking additional compensation to account for that and you should leave if it doesn't come. You're only a supplicant if you allow yourself to be one. That doesn't mean be a controlling jerk; it means ensuring you're a valuable asset and only working at places which recognize you as such.

about three weeks ago
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Tesla Aims For $30,000 Price, 2017 Launch For Model E

Loki_1929 Re:What about range on this smaller car? (247 comments)

You can fill your car in 5 minutes and go another 600KM. You can battery swap a Model S in 90 seconds and go another 500KM. Or you can wait 20 minutes and get a supercharge that will get you 250KM for zero cost.

Seems like the electric car not only meets your expectations, but rather exceeds them.

about three weeks ago
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Reading Rainbow Kickstarter Heads Into Home Stretch

Loki_1929 Re:Growing Potential (68 comments)

What it can do is provide an interface between NGOs and common people. NGOs typically receive much of their funding from governments and rich or wealthy benefactors. Fundraising means getting those folks into a room and convincing them to cough up some cash. Crowdfunding allows a wider audience (literally everyone on the Internet) to see the intended actions of the NGO and then choose to contribute. Rather than getting $45,000 from 100 rich people, they can get $45 from 100,000 without the immense overhead of doing so without using the Internet. That's the real difference. It isn't easier so much as it's a different way of fundraising from a different audience.

about a month ago
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Reading Rainbow Kickstarter Heads Into Home Stretch

Loki_1929 Re:Growing Potential (68 comments)

The Reading Rainbow Kickstarter campaign isn't going to send men with automatic weapons to break down my door and haul me to prison if I decline to provide it funding. The entity you describe will.

about a month ago
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Emails Show Feds Asking Florida Cops To Deceive Judges About Surveillance Tech

Loki_1929 Re:Does this taint any verdicts? (251 comments)

It won't happen for precisely the reason you stated. If one got through, it would open the floodgates and overwhelm the judiciary. I'm not saying it's right, but that's the reality.

about a month ago
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Emails Show Feds Asking Florida Cops To Deceive Judges About Surveillance Tech

Loki_1929 Re:pejury (251 comments)

BART police shooting of Oscar Grant is another one. Cop grabs his gun and shoots a guy who's laying on the ground and the guy dies the next morning. 2 years. Minus time served. If the roles were reversed and Grant had shot the officer, he'd have spent the rest of his natural born life in prison.

about a month ago
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Emails Show Feds Asking Florida Cops To Deceive Judges About Surveillance Tech

Loki_1929 Re:Perjury? (251 comments)

If the general public wakes up, most of them will beg the government for Ambien so they can get back to sleep. This isn't an issue of education; it's a problem of apathy.

about a month ago
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Emails Show Feds Asking Florida Cops To Deceive Judges About Surveillance Tech

Loki_1929 Re:String Them Up (251 comments)

FedGov were fine with Bundy and crew while they were hanging out in the middle of nowhere running around with guns being all anti-government. If they got within 50 miles of the DC line, they'd be face-to-face with Apache gunships and worse and every one of them would wind up in a prison cell or a bodybag very quickly. No one will comprehend the full militarization of law enforcement in this country until an incident like that happens. Quite honestly, we're approaching the point where a major metro police force, combined with local Federal law enforcement assets, could hold their own in a fight with the US Army.

That should frighten people. It doesn't, partially because they'd never believe it, but it should. Sadly, I don't know how to turn back that tide. No politician will be seen taking resources away from law enforcement because that's political suicide. Violence would be deadly, destructive, and would only reinforce the need for even more militarization. And if violence is your only resort, you're truly in Hell already. Not really sure what else there is besides finding somewhere else to try again. The Founding Fathers of this country knew having a standing military was a huge risk to the freedom of the people. Restrictions were put in place later to ensure the military couldn't be used against civilians except in cases of total rebellion where the government has fallen. With domestic law enforcement's militarization, we have exactly what the Founding Fathers feared most: a force under the control of the government, operating domestically, which has far more firepower than the citizenry. They feared that because they understood that it removes the fear governments have of the reactions of the citizenry when they start working toward oppression and they understood a simple truth: power begets power, and that inevitably leads to oppression. The balance they sought was to keep a government responsive to the needs and wishes of an informed and at least somewhat wise citizenry. A government of regular citizens who cycle in and out of government service would continuously bring fresh ideas and fresh perspectives to maintain the power balance. Of course, the reality is that it's now just millionaires sponsored by millionaires and billionaires doing whatever they need to do to consolidate power even as they're re-elected decade after decade using political party identification.

Much of this is the fault of the people. We've become so soft and delicate that we can't imagine doing many of the things government now does for us. Police our own streets? That's dangerous! Protect ourselves and our families? That's dangerous! Hell, a good chunk of our population can't even feed itself without the government. We've stepped further and further back away from running our own lives and allowed the government to fill the vacuum. Why? Because it's easier and more comfortable. It's always easier when someone else is taking care of things for you. Everything has to be safe now. Everything has to be clean now. Everything has to be easy. And if it isn't, we expect the government to step in and take it over. Until all that's left is a bunch of sissies in padded outfits in padded rooms staring at a TV and drooling on the floor while an IV keeps them fed. We've allowed ourselves to become so weak and so uninformed that we're almost begging to be taken advantage of at this point.

Here's a simple example: Of the eligible voters who actually vote (see? I've eliminated something like 60% right there), how many can name everyone in the Federal legislature representing them and can describe the voting record of those representatives on the issues most important to that voter? Let's be incredibly generous and assume it's 20% (yeah, right). So that's 8% of the original. Now how many of those can name everyone at the state level representing them and can describe the record of those individuals on the voter's most important issues? Again, let's be incredibly generous and say 10%. Of those, how many follow all available candidates for those offices and vote according to their beliefs rather than their party? Let's be super generous and say 50% of those who are left. Now let's ask the simple question: can you expect a representative republic to function properly if just 0.4% of voters are making informed decisions about who's being elected? Of course not. We're screwed because we're too lazy, ignorant, and apathetic for our government to function correctly. My advice is to start looking at other places to live and to make sure you have skills they actually want there. At least then you have options.

about a month ago
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IRS Lost Emails of 6 More Employees Under Investigation

Loki_1929 Re:Huh? (465 comments)

Did those six computers that crashed just happen to be the systems that belonged to the six people under congressional investigation for politically motivated abuses of authority? Did those six computers happen to include the email server(s) and associated storage devices and include any and all backups? And did all of that stuff just happen to crash in such a way that virtually nothing of any consequence was recoverable in a clean room? All happening at the same time as a congressional investigation began?

I don't believe their IT department is enormously competent. In fact, I believe quite the opposite. However, anyone who thinks this is anything other than a deliberate, coordinated campaign to destroy evidence linking higher-ups (not necessarily including the President, but not necessarily excluding him) is a complete idiot. I can believe their admins are incompetent enough to fail to maintain proper server-side retention policies. What I can't believe is that their regular maintenance plans include tearing out desktop and laptop hard drives and smashing them with hammers. And if you want to believe that, go right ahead, but you know and I know that it's bullshit.

about a month ago
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Teachers Union: Computers Can Negatively Impact Children's Ability To Learn

Loki_1929 Re:BASICally (310 comments)

This was the earliest, but by far not the only example of "kids today and their rock-and-roll music", as you put it.

Yeah, probably not the "earliest."

Indeed; I had intended to put "the earliest I've seen". The point being made was that this is a complaint as old as humanity, so I would certainly not attempt to pick out any specific genesis for it. I just didn't finish typing the whole thought, which was a simple mistake.

about 2 months ago
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Teachers Union: Computers Can Negatively Impact Children's Ability To Learn

Loki_1929 Re:BASICally (310 comments)

This sounds like round 36 of "kids today and their rock-and-roll music." Teachers indulging in future-shock is just plain trite.

I'd like to direct you to the following quote:

"That a century of the younger men wished to confer with their elders on the question to which persons they should, by their vote, entrust a high command, should seem to us scarcely credible. This is due to the cheapened and diminished authority even of parents over their children in our day." - Titus Livius (Livy), The History of Rome, Book 26

This was the earliest, but by far not the only example of "kids today and their rock-and-roll music", as you put it. Examples exist throughout the last century, especially around the turn of 1900, where long and boring essays were published on the subject. However, the above excert is from Livy's History of Rome, written around 25BC. So when you say it's trite, that's a bit of an understatement. 2000+ years we've been listening to this shit.

about 2 months ago
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Gun Rights Groups Say They Don't Oppose Smart Guns, Just Mandates

Loki_1929 Re:Just like seat belts in cars... (584 comments)

Pressing the brakes in a car saves the operator's life. Firing a gun does not save the operator's life. It damages or kills something else. There's no correlation.

Obviously you've never had your life threatened by someone who means to see you dead. Firearms are used defensively millions of times a year. No doubt you'll try to dispute that, but I'm simply getting info from the CDC:

“Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns (i.e., incidents in which a gun was ‘used’ by the crime victim in the sense of attacking or threatening an offender) have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies,” the CDC study, entitled “Priorities For Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence,”

The Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council released the results of their research through the CDC last month. Researchers compiled data from previous studies in order to guide future research on gun violence, noting that “almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year.”

When someone breaks into your home at 3am and comes after you with a knife/gun/hammer, and your gun doesn't work, I assure you the analogy is spot-on. If the biometric/RFID/whatever works properly, an innocent life is saved. If it doesn't, an innocent life (or lives if you have a wife and kids) is/are lost. It's really quite simple. You're just choosing to pretend to not get it because you don't like the point being made. That's asinine.

Most people who shoot other people are not in any danger.[citation needed]

I don't know who "most" people are, but I can tell you that of the few people I've met who've had to use a gun defensively (most of the police officers), they were most certainly in danger before they ever reached for their gun.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Green deaths: The forgotten dangers of solar panel

Loki_1929 Loki_1929 writes  |  about 3 years ago

Loki_1929 (550940) writes "Often lost in the ideologically driven debates over which source or sources best fit humanity's needs for clean, safe power moving forward are the hazards of implementing each proposed solution in scales large enough to make a difference. This writeup covers the dangers inherent to solar panel deployments for rooftops and speaks to how that scales in a country like the United States."
Link to Original Source

Journals

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A few items of interest, you probably will want to read on..

Loki_1929 Loki_1929 writes  |  more than 10 years ago

So I was reading about slashdot's little subscription-as-a-gift thing, and I was thinking that I might randomly select a few individuals from my fans list for a gift subscription. I was going to do the whole bunch, but then I pulled out my calculator and figured out that ~100 fans times $5 is really freakin' expensive. I really don't love you all that much - really. Anyway; I'm pondering how to do it exactly, but I'm thinking I'll probably do it Christmas morning and announce the nicknames of the lucky few in my journal. Please stay tuned for more.

Also, for those of you who were asking about the bootable CD I mentioned before, please stay tuned and I'll give you more info about what's on it and how to set it up for yourself once I have the time and inclination (probably within a week). I'll try to post replies to everyone who asked about it, but by the time I get into it, the discussion could very well be archived. One more reason to check my journal every so often.

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RIAA RICO defense...

Loki_1929 Loki_1929 writes  |  more than 10 years ago

This was from a previous Slashdot posting of mine, but I wanted the discussion to continue if possible. Post is reposted below:

"The suit ... charges that the RIAA's program is deceptive and fraudulent business practice."

Which brings us one step closer to my idea. If there are any real lawyers here, could you please tell me why no one has bothered to attack the RIAA's charges using the Federal RICO Act? The RIAA and member organizations have engaged in a pattern of corrupt business practices for over 50 years, and are now using the law to intimidate individuals, companies, and universities to further their interests.

From my (admittedly limited) understanding of RICO, you must prove that the organization has engaged in a pattern of criminal activity, and is using illegal means, especially under cover of authority (court actions, copyright law, etc) to further their interests. Now, the ongoing illegal activity is really two-fold. That being, the RIAA's member companies have illegally maintained an effective distribution monopoly by engaging in anti-competitive acts, and have conspired to defraud consumers with a massive price-fixing scheme which caused consumers to be overcharged by more than $480 million (USD) since 1997 alone, according to the former head of the FTC. This scheme was labled "Minimum-Advertised Pricing", or MAP by the Attorneys General who investigated and eventually brought about a settlement. With regard to the anti-competitive acts, the RIAA and member companies have engaged in such practices as "payola", in which radio stations were paid money in order to ensure that music not controlled by the RIAA's members was never played, and therefore never heard by the public at large. Thus, their only competition, the independent artist/label, continues to struggle to get by, while the RIAA monopoly takes in billions each year.

So I ask again, why is it that no one has attacked the RIAA on RICO grounds. A corrupt organization cannot use the legal system to facilitate its illegal activities. The lack of legal online modes of music distribution is but more evidence of the RIAA's desperate struggle to maintain its distribution monopoly with an iron fist. It would seem to me that showing these lawsuits to be nothing more than tactics designed to further the interests of a corrupt organization is a far better defense than, "my client didn't know it was illegal".

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The New America

Loki_1929 Loki_1929 writes  |  more than 11 years ago

---

DISCLAIMER: What I write below is in no way meant to incite any sort of violent action on anyone's part. Violence is never the only way, and a truly strong person will accomplish his or her goals through peaceful means regardless of how much more difficult it makes things. What comes below is specifically designed to provoke thought and a response; nothing more. Please, do NOT go out and do something stupid because of anything that comes from this thread.

---

So I started thinking about things a bit after starting this thread which has 18 replies thus far. Someone said that the US government isn't fucked up past the point of no return, yet. That got me thinking about what happens once it is. Should all freedom-loving people move somewhere else? Where? There is no "New World" left on planet Earth where we can set up our own government and our own way of life. What else is there then? Revolt? Not exactly a viable option when the police in this country could easily crush most any revolt. Then factor in the FBI, CIA, Army, Navy, Marines, etc, etc.

So I'm left thinking that we can do one of three things. Option one is to sit on our hands and see what happens. Maybe things get turned around in 20 years or so. Maybe it goes back to being good ole' America before we're dead. Or perhaps we resign ourselves to telling our granchildren about what it was like to be able to go anywhere you want or say anything you want without being taken away by government agents.

Option two is a full out revolt. "Great idea", except everyone who joined in would be dead or jailed within days if not hours. Even if it somehow succeeded, the cost would be too high. To win a war in modern times, you pretty much have to obliterate the place of conflict. The result? Our homes, our businesses, everything we own is destroyed. In the War of 1812, this pretty much happened. The English burned the White House to the ground, along with much of the rest of our country. In the end, it worked out well for most of them, but something like that has massive potential to be a Pyrrhic victory. Ultimately, I think this option is ridiculous, unworkable, and undesirable.

The thid option, and the one I'd suggest as the only sane alternative to option one is to fashion a new government, with a new Constitution which draws on all the knowledge we've gained from more than 200 years with our original US Constitution and to prepare to put this government in place if the time comes that our current government is beyond redemption. This differs from a revolt in that it requires broad support from the citizens of this country as well as the police and the military. The idea is that if the police, the military, and most citizens support the new government, the old government becomes irrelevent with no one left to enforce its decrees. Hence, a peaceful transition to a new and (hopefully) improved government.

Now, if we are to entertain the possibility of a new government (assuming it one day becomes necessary, and no I don't think we're anywhere near there yet - as in at least 5 or 10 years away), we'd need several things. One: a formal declaration of the rights and powers of the government, its structure, and its limitations. Two: a method of trasition (ie. how do we get from gov A to gov B without violence?). And thirdly: a list of potential people to head up the new government. Personally, I think the formal declaration should be based on the US Constitution; specifically a constitution of enumerated powers for the government, broad by its very nature, but taking into account instances where it's failed over the last 200 years. Think McCarthyism; think Japanese internment camps; think dept of Homeland Security; think indecision 2000; think DMCA. Lastly: We need a specific, yet somewhat vague list of absolute rights and privilages of all citizens, as well as those visiting, etc. Think Geneva convention; think basic human rights; think Amendments to the US Constitution. The difference here is that these would be more thoroughly explained (without being too specific as to preclude allowances for not-yet-imagined technologies and ideas), and completely absolute with some sort of fail-safe mechanism to prevent any loopholes or lapses.

Please post comments, thoughts, ideas, and suggestions. All constructive posts are welcome, even if they're controversial in nature.

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M2 (MetaModeration

Loki_1929 Loki_1929 writes  |  more than 11 years ago

"Have you Meta Moderated recently?"

I'm seeing this quite often lately. Then again, I just started moderating not too terribly long ago, so maybe it's normal to answer that question with "yeah, about 4 hours ago". Then again, I haven't gone more than two days in a row without answering the call to M2, so I suppose I'm a prime target for the asking. I've found plenty of M1's I didn't agree with, but only a handful that I could honestly say were 'unfair'. I suppose using the unfair M2 sparingly is the best way to go, as I wouldn't want to deny anyone M1 simply because I think it was a little "off". That being said, I've been leaving alone the ones where I can't make a strong decision either way, which amounts to an average of 2 or 3 per 10 M2's. If anyone has been M2'ing a bit longer, feel free to share any advice you might have, as the guidlines for M2 are (probably necessarily) a might bit vague.

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First journal entry, so I'll start in the complaints dept.

Loki_1929 Loki_1929 writes  |  more than 11 years ago

* 2002-02-26 07:29:41 The Register Invades US (articles,announce) (rejected)
        * 2002-03-12 00:01:32 Creative to aquire 3d Labs (articles,announce) (rejected)
        * 2002-04-06 01:19:53 Comcast.net users blocked from google (articles,news) (rejected)
        * 2002-04-29 15:29:57 Hollings' new bill just as bad as the last one (articles,news) (rejected)
        * 2002-06-11 15:10:32 US Citizen to be held indefinitely without counsel (articles,news) (rejected)
        * 2002-07-29 17:39:05 "Pre-Crime" may become a reality (articles,news) (rejected)
        * 2002-09-13 01:36:28 The future of computing - CDS (articles,news) (rejected)
        * 2002-10-03 03:29:28 Mitnick's laptop for sale on Ebay (articles,news) (rejected)

Of the 8 stories I've submitted since I started doing that, I believe 7 were good, solid stories, with at least 4 well-deserving front-page shots. 3 were posted several hours or days after I submitted. I'm not so much complaining about the rejected stories, as I'm asking whether or not I should continue taking the time to submit them.

Are there just so many people submitting stories that I need not bother?

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