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Comments

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IPv4 Unallocated Addresses Exhausted by 2010

cultrhetor free pr0n, but... (419 comments)

Don't forget complaining, the other half of the equation! You and the other sixty thousand _____ enthusiasts in the world coming together to bitch and moan about obscure details related to your annoyance with ______ manufacturers' refusal to implement your brilliant plan that will fix everything and raise _____ back up to its former heights of glory, when sixty-one thousand people were on the board.

more than 7 years ago

Submissions

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cultrhetor cultrhetor writes  |  more than 7 years ago

cultrhetor writes "Kurt Vonnegut, whose satiric eye, tinged with an oddly innocent moral vision, left an indelible mark on science fiction with Player Piano and The Sirens of Titan, and on American Literature as a whole from Cat's Cradle and Slaughterhouse-Five forward, died at age 84 from "irreversible brain injuries" resulting from a fall six weeks ago, according to an article in the New York Times. From the article:


His novels — 14 in all — were alternate universes, filled with topsy-turvy images and populated by races of his own creation, like the Tralfamadorians and the Mercurian Harmoniums. He invented phenomena like chrono-synclastic infundibula (places in the universe where all truths fit neatly together) as well as religions, like the Church of God the Utterly Indifferent and Bokononism (based on the books of a black British Episcopalian from Tobago "filled with bittersweet lies," a narrator says).
"
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cultrhetor cultrhetor writes  |  more than 7 years ago

cultrhetor writes "Following the arrest of ten Saudi activists involved in circulating a petition in favor of protecting freedom of expression, fellow reform advocates have posted the petition online, according to a BBC news article posted today. According to the article, By placing their petition on the internet, the Saudi activists are taking an enormous risk. From the article:

The petition calls for elections in which both men and women would be allowed to vote.
The signatories want freedom of expression to be protected by law and they want the powers of the interior ministry curtailed.
But the Saudi authorities have made it clear they will not tolerate public calls for political change.
What do you think? Can the Internet be use effectively to change policy in truly authoritarian governments?"
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cultrhetor cultrhetor writes  |  more than 7 years ago

cultrhetor writes "In a story released by the BBC, Richard Thomas, the information commissioner for Great Britain, says that fears of the nation's "sleep-walk into a surveillance society" have become reality. Surveillance ranges from data monitoring (credit cards, mobiles, and loyalty card information), US security agencies monitoring telecommunications traffic, to key stroke logging at work.

From the article, the report "predicts that by 2016 shoppers could be scanned as they enter stores, schools could bring in cards allowing parents to monitor what their children eat, and jobs may be refused to applicants who are seen as a health risk." The report's co-author, Dr. David Murakami-Wood, told BBC News that, compared to other Western nations, Britain was the "most surveilled country." He goes on to note: "We really do have a society which is premised both on state secrecy and the state not giving up its supposed right to keep information under control while, at the same time, wanting to know as much as it can about us.""
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cultrhetor cultrhetor writes  |  more than 7 years ago

cultrhetor writes "In a rare nod from the MSM, John Harris of the Washington Post has noticed that the three largest recent political controversies have stemmed from work done by digital inhabitants. In the article, New Media a Weapon in the New World of Politics, he notes the connections between the recent scandals involving Mark Foley, George Allen, and Bill Clinton were representative of the new, web-driven age of American politics. From the article:

Each originally percolated in the world of new media — Web sites and news outlets that did not exist a generation ago — before charging into the traditional world of newspapers and television networks. In each case, the accusations quickly pivoted into a debate about the motivations and alleged biases of the accusers. Cumulatively, the stories highlight a new brand of politics in which nearly any revelation in the news becomes a weapon or shield in the daily partisan wars, and the aim of candidates and their operatives is not so much to win an argument as to brand opponents as fundamentally unfit.
Is the greatest danger in this that pols are finally recognizing the threat posed by the web? What might this do to future legislation surrounding the web?"
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cultrhetor cultrhetor writes  |  more than 7 years ago

cultrhetor writes "The New York Times reports that the communist government in the Indian state of Kerala is trying to remove Microsoft from its public institutions, as part of a campaign against monopolistic corporations. From the article:
"schools and public offices across the state are being encouraged to install free software systems instead of purchasing Microsoft's Windows programs.
"It is well-known that Microsoft wants to have a monopoly in the field of computer technology. Naturally, being a democratic and progressive government, we want to encourage the spread of free software," M. A. Baby, the state's education minister, said by telephone."
The government is not banning Microsoft, but it is actively encouraging all 12,500 public schools in the state to install Linux."

Journals

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Blogs vs. The Media vs. The Citizens.

cultrhetor cultrhetor writes  |  more than 7 years ago

First, I'll state the following, which should be obvious to everyone but - apparently - is not: there is no communication, no statement, without bias. From birth, we are conditioned to see and think by our unique individual experiences. I'll give you a basic lesson in semiotics, ripped straight from Saussure's Course in General Linguistics: every utterance is composed of a chain of signs. Each of these signs is composed of a signifier (the word) and a signified (that which the word is supposed to connote). Each signifier initially holds a different meaning for the hearer - if I say the word "tree" to you, you may think of a pine, while I think of an oak - thus, chains of signifiers tend to lessen (but never erase) the lack of clarity. This is a thumbnail description, but adequate for my purposes - if you want to understand more, visit the wikipedia entry (this one's accurate enough, I've checked it out).

Anyone engaging in a communicative act must thus be able to adequately arrange his chain of signifiers to convey a meaning close enough to the thoughts coursing through his mind. Thoughts that are intended for communication must be arranged and ordered - translated - through the conscious mind. This is why we have such cliches as, "Words cannot express," "I don't have the words, " "Words alone are inadequate to ..." and so on. All utterances thus translated will have some taint of bias, of individual perception, because, after all, it is the individual perception that serves as the origin of meaning.

The rest of this entry is found at my blog: Rhetoric, Culture, & The Digital.

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Voter Confidence Quandary

cultrhetor cultrhetor writes  |  more than 7 years ago It's time I inserted my own voice into the controversy concerning electronic voting. As an increasing number of states consider moving to electronic voting, industry-leading Diebold continues to try to quell the swelling number of studies and reports of security flaws in its equipment. Meanwhile, a number of websites, including engadget, i-am-bored.com, blackboxvoting.org, and openvotingfoundation.org have posted pages detailing methods by which the machines may be hacked. The Center for Information Technology at Princeton University, of all places, has published a full research paper detailing the massive and serious security flaws in the hardware and software (which Diebold still maintains are extremely secure) of the voting machines that will be used in 357 counties - representing ten percent of all registered voters - across the US in the coming November election. My opinion? Electronic voting is a foolish outgrowth of what should be considered - following the dot-com crash - outdated and unfounded cyberlibertarian beliefs, more specifically:

  1. Technology will efficiently and accurately solve all of our troubles.
  2. The Free Market is better than governmental regulation in all cases.

To take these in reverse order: the free market cannot be relied upon to adequately secure individual human rights. The free market has a shitty record in this department because corporations - although they legally act as individuals - care only for the bottom line and pleasing shareholders. If you search Google, you'll find countless images and descriptions of child labor abuses during the Victorian era - before child labor laws: missing fingers (those tiny little bastards could remove objects from gears pretty easily), 16 hour workdays (until the Ten Hours act was passed, making it legal for 13-18 year olds to work only ten hour days), kids playing in the street in raw sewage, and more! Take a look at victorianweb's site about the subject. Hey, take a look at the good old USA, where the meat-packing industry was so corrupt that laws had to be passed against the canning and distribution of rotting meat and other disgusting practices. The free market may be great, but when deregulated, it's a bastard (and the leading cause of communism). Technology cannot solve all of our problems. Even "secure" technology is rife with flawed security issues. No computer software is too tough to be safe from an enterprising hacker: Google "security flaws" and you'll get over 14,400,000 hits. Anything that can be programmed can be hacked. Hardware designed by human engineers can be modified by geeks nationwide. Voting is the fundamental right of the citizen in our nation. The right to vote is too important to risk with any computerized system. Paper ballots, marked with ink (instead of punched cards) are the only means by which voters can be certain that a computer will not "miscalculate" or "accidentally delete" their votes - they can be sure that their vote is recorded accurately, at least until someone "accidentally throws away" their vote. The fact that we have to have this discussion makes me ill.

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