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How Free Speech Died On Campus

alan_dershowitz Re:High conservative bent (530 comments)

According to FIRE's president, they go after public universities that are obligated to guarantee first amendment protections to students. But they have different criteria for private universities, for instance that publicly say they support free speech but then have restrictive speech codes or selectively squelch some speech. Their position is, if it's public the school must give you freedom of speech; and if it's private, the school must clearly and consistently indicate what speech is allowed so that you can make an informed choice to pick universities.

Here is an explanation from FIRE's president

about 2 years ago
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Geneticists And Economists Clash Over "Genoeconomics" Paper

alan_dershowitz ignore facts because of potential for misuse? (213 comments)

In an open letter, the group said that it is worried about the political implications of the economists’ work: “the suggestion that an ideal level of genetic variation could foster economic growth and could even be engineered has the potential to be misused with frightening consequences to justify indefensible practices such as ethnic cleansing or genocide,” it said.

Well, I guess scientists had better go back and un-invent and un-discover any empirically verifiable or useful thing they may have invented or discovered that has the potential for misuse.

more than 2 years ago
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Oxford City Council Mandates CCTV Cameras In Taxies by 2015

alan_dershowitz Re:How many taxi drivers are robbed? (235 comments)

Why do you presume that what someone does "in their private life" doesn't really affect others? Humans are socially interdependent. What happens in someone's private life very, very rarely _doesn't_ bleed over into the public sphere somehow. There is almost always a conflict between majority-minority rights even when the primary activity is "in private" because it drastically affects social convention outside. I don't believe you're really ready to accept the logical consequences of your statement.

Take marriage and homosexuality/heterosexuality, hypothetically. There are plenty of people who don't give two shits if you are have gay sex or want to get married. But they don't want to have to subsidize your lifestyle or be force to participate in it economically. There are various laws encoded that give special consideration to married couples with regard to insurance, social/commercial discrimination, adoption, etc. Right now those laws represent a majoritarian, heteronormative social convention and so most people don't mind them. But if you aren't in the majority, you realize that these laws subsidize people that conform to a social norm. This is in fact why so many gay people want the rights of the married, because they are unjustly excluded from these benefits.

Now look at the other side of the coin. Expand the definition of marriage, and suddenly it's subsidizing non-heteronormative behavior. Now some people realize they are paying to subsidize behavior that they don't agree with. Yeah, they are hypocrites. But it's eye-opening because you learn how society and law actually promotes some so-called "private" behavior over others.

So my question to you is, are you willing to put your money where your mouth is and dismantle a wide range of social services and safety nets that subsidize _with other people's money_ some people's private sexual lives? One's sexuality may not be a choice, but undeniably, society's decision to subsidize one definition of marriage over another is a choice, and one that forces others to participate in it economically.

about 3 years ago
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Attacking and Defending the Tor Network

alan_dershowitz Re:Never 100% safe (132 comments)

This is mainly effective against a hidden service, not an individual doing single posts or sending messages time-to-time like presumably is happening in Iran or Egypt. Like, sending an email, posting a twitter, checking a website .And running Firefox+Torbutton with Javascript and plugins turned off mitigates many of these problems, except the DOS and Sybil attacks.

more than 3 years ago
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Attacking and Defending the Tor Network

alan_dershowitz Re:Never 100% safe (132 comments)

The attack relies on the way Bittorrent is used and the fact that it uses UDP for contacting peers (which Tor doesn't route, causing only the tracker connection to be Torified) causing information leak; controlling an exit node to do a MitM); and the fact that Tor multiplexes multiple streams through the same node for performance reasons (meaning you can observe all the traffic that someone is going to through your exit node, once you've established who they are.)

This attack won't work on you if:

1. You are only using one app, in particular it won't work on you if all you're using is a browser and TorButton
2. The same app is not sending data across both Tor and no-Tor
3. The app in question can detect tampered-with data (SSL cert mismatch, etc.)
4. As a precautionary measure, you are doing strict firewall egress filtering while using Tor.

In short, if you are technically knowledgeable and careful, this attack doesn't apply to you. So, it's not the end of the road for Tor and anonymity, although it's a problem for "regular" people using Tor who can't be expected to keep track of all the ways their computer can unmask them.

more than 3 years ago
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The "Scientific Impotence" Excuse

alan_dershowitz Re:Religion (892 comments)

Science didn't spring forth out of the sea foam fully formed, it is a methodology that developed over time and has had changing assumptions about what should and should not entail and use as valid ways of "knowing." Empiricism wasn't always the model, falsification was not all of the model. Seriously, you need to read about the history of science and the philosophy of science. It is one of many ways of looking at the world. It just happens to be one with some very good and practical uses. No built-in ideology? What about the supremacy of skepticism and empiricism? You take it as an a priori assumption that that is the only correct manner. That comes from a value system.

Science is all about the evidence, ideologies are all, so far as I can tell, about ego stroking.

This is unbelievably hypocritical. You have no right to make the kind of broad sweeping statements you made in your second paragraph about anyone else.

By the way, people can and do fight over which accounting methods are superior. Plenty of people find double ledger a waste of time. Accounting also does not exist in the world of perfect Platonic forms.

more than 4 years ago
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Steve Jobs Says PC Folks' World Is Slipping Away

alan_dershowitz Re:Sounds to me... (1067 comments)

They took it away in OS X, and brought it back several paid upgrades later.

more than 4 years ago
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Steve Jobs Says PC Folks' World Is Slipping Away

alan_dershowitz Re:Sounds to me... (1067 comments)

You're fully entitled to your opinion, but I can't imagine using a computer that long and still having to click to bring forward a window. It drives me crazy because it wastes so much time.

I waste no time customizing or maintaining. I set it up once the way I like and I'm done. I don't even get the option on OS X. You can't even effectively implement focus-follows-mouse because the API doesn't support it correctly.

more than 4 years ago
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Steve Jobs Says PC Folks' World Is Slipping Away

alan_dershowitz Re:Sounds to me... (1067 comments)

I thought that OS X was supposed to be intuitive! It's not. It hasn't been since System 6, and you people can't keep blaming it on the dominance of Windows. How long has OS X supported those features you were talking about? Most of them didn't exist before Tiger. Alt tab? Wasn't there for years. Expose? Wasn't there for years. Spaces? Wasn't there for years. Right-clicking and keyboard shortcut support is STILL piss-poor. I have been using OS X since panther. It was fucking garbage before Tiger, and only roughly on par with the usability features of _Windows!_ since Leopard. I still run OS X on my Macbook Pro, but I almost never use it. Since Windows 7, there has been no point. The OS X GUI is a big ball of fucking fail.

more than 4 years ago
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Steve Jobs Says PC Folks' World Is Slipping Away

alan_dershowitz Re:Sounds to me... (1067 comments)

Take away the drop shadow and OS X becomes fucking unusable. The border serves more purposes than simply being a way to re-size windows, it is also used to define window borders. Only an idiot cries over a five-pixel border. On the other hand, it lets you re-size a window, which is really useful.

Fitts' Law. Yeah, I see a menu at the top of the screen. If I'm coming up to a screen I haven't used yet, I don't know right away what window's menu it is. And I can't see any other windows' menus. Brilliant.

I use Windows, OS X and Linux. OS X's windowing system fucking sucks for power users.

more than 4 years ago
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Choice of Programming Language Doesn't Matter For Security

alan_dershowitz Re:Its not black & white (192 comments)

I think you're right to say that it's better to trust empirical evidence than go on seemingly logical assumptions. However, to me it looks like the study is making a _business case_ that all the tested languages are likely to produce roughly the same number of flaws. That is to say, as a business decision the programming language viewed by itself is not a significant factor. However I don't think it can be extended out to saying the language doesn't matter. It's not accounting for quality of programmer, design process, etc, those differences might be getting lost in averaging.

Like OP said, it seems logical that a language that simply has more exploitable metaphors and less secure alternatives should create more error prone software. I would like to see a study that compared say, JSP and C.

more than 4 years ago
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StarCraft II To Be Released On July 27

alan_dershowitz Re:All your base are belong to us (220 comments)

So, this is what I was told about the Koreans, which used to be everywhere: There used to be no servers on the Pacific Rim. Then they got them, they were running at capacity and Koreans would still connect to American servers. I personally saw tons of them, so I think it at least originated in fact. It was generally pretty easy to tell who the Koreans were, because their names looked like someone mashed the keyboard and they would swear at you while declaring the superiority of Korea.

more than 4 years ago
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Juror Explains Guilty Vote In Terry Childs Case

alan_dershowitz Re:Take some time and think (537 comments)

But something tells me that

Assumption.

if he was telling the truth about this legal issue being his real concern, he would

Assumption.

...which is what I'm given to believe he did?

Assumption. By the way, is that guidelines document you linked to the one that was in effect at the time he was fired? You don't know that because you don't have the power to subpoena.

These are all extrapolations either from events that had not been established as fact at the time you made them, or are your opinions about what a reasonable person (by your definition) would have done. OP's point was that you didn't know.

Childs is not my hero, it sure looks to me like he broke the law and locked the city out of its network. But I'm satisfied saying I didn't know for sure if he was guilty before the trial concluded, while you seem to be really certain. While you are entitled to your opinions at the time as to why you believed him guilty, you don't get to hold up your opinion as some guiding light for the rest of us, because you weren't in that court room. You guessed right.

more than 4 years ago
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Juror Explains Guilty Vote In Terry Childs Case

alan_dershowitz Re:Took some time to think. (537 comments)

I have authority to work on project X, which is granted by my boss. Strict access to a set of shared resources (database) are granted by a different group that hold responsibility for the integrity of the shared resources. While my boss has the ability to put me on or off the project, if he wants himself or someone else to have access he has to ask them. The reason is because the resources are neither mine nor his, and because he has no interest in increasing his liability by having personal access to a system he doesn't directly work on. From a strictly technical point of view, he is not an administrator on the database in question so he has no actual power to grant or move those rights to anyone else.

more than 4 years ago
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Juror Explains Guilty Vote In Terry Childs Case

alan_dershowitz Re:Take some time and think (537 comments)

Nothing he did seemed unreasonable to me from a security standpoint to prevent tampering except for one thing: he did not provide any way for someone else to take responsibility for the network if he was unable (like death or termination of employment.) It shouldn't have been necessary to get passwords out of him when he was fired. Based on all accounts, I am actually pretty impressed with what he set up except for that (supremely important) detail.

more than 4 years ago
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Juror Explains Guilty Vote In Terry Childs Case

alan_dershowitz Re:Took some time to think. (537 comments)

That's not necessarily true. I am privy to certain information where I work that directly affects other groups inside the company and is administered by another group. If my boss changes what I am delegated to do, he has to notify someone else to get access changed, he doesn't have the authority just to take my authentication information and use it or give it to someone. I'm not saying that's applicable in the Childs case, but just that task delegation doesn't automatically mean he can administer those rights.

more than 4 years ago
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Juror Explains Guilty Vote In Terry Childs Case

alan_dershowitz Re:Take some time and think (537 comments)

The city said and did a lot of things that were fishy and didn't make sense either. You seem to be having trouble with the concept that without all the facts people can legitimately disagree on what the correct outcome should be.

My opinion was influenced by knowing good and well that many companies/managers will screw you over to cover up their own incompetence, which does seem to have been a component of this despite his guilt on one count out of four.

It's pretty damn important to think "what scenarios might have occurred that would indicate this person isn't guilty?" because that's how REASONABLE DOUBT is established instead of "his story is fishy, OBVIOUSLY GUILTY."

more than 4 years ago
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Economy Tanked While Government Surfed Porn

alan_dershowitz Re:Not news (405 comments)

He was completely silent on the issue while he was in the Senate and Goldman-Sachs was his largest contributor, and before he was in the Senate he sued Citibank for not giving out enough shitty derivative-laced subprime loans to risky borrowers.

more than 4 years ago
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Climate Researchers Fight Back

alan_dershowitz Re:What climagate ? (641 comments)

Libel is against the law. I don't know if someone can say being a Muslim is damaging to their reputation, though. The issue here is that there are things in which facts are in dispute even among reasonable people, so there is a hesitance to push the issue.

more than 4 years ago

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