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New 'Google' For the Dark Web Makes Buying Dope and Guns Easy

davidwr Wait, you mean that until now ... (144 comments)

... there wasn't any search engine for TOR?

How were the Chinese dissidents supposed to find the tor-based hidden services on how to combat the Chinese government? After all, that's why the US Government invented TOR, right? Right???


New 'Google' For the Dark Web Makes Buying Dope and Guns Easy

davidwr Steganography by odor??? (144 comments)

I'm sure there's a secret message hidden in your gaseous emmissions, but due to the inherent hazards of internet-stink-bombs my router refuses to pass odor packets into my network.


New 'Google' For the Dark Web Makes Buying Dope and Guns Easy

davidwr Jurisdictional issues (144 comments)

National Security Letters work if the person receiving them is subject to US law.

The "bully stick of diplomacy" may work of the person is subject to the law of a country that wants to stay on friendly terms with the USA.

If this site is hosted in a country like North Korea (which we can probably rule out to to their self-imposed Internet near-exile), Iran, or one of a small number of other countries openly hostile with the US Government, it's highly unlikely that the US Government will be able to use "the force of law" to compromise the site itself. Far more likely is that they will have to sneak in covertly to compromise either it or the pipe leading to it, or they will find a way of "taking over" the URL without taking over the site itself.


New 'Google' For the Dark Web Makes Buying Dope and Guns Easy

davidwr Re:"Llets you find?" (144 comments)

ack -- posting to undo mod error

Ah, you must've found the +1 solameitscool super-secret modification option that people with "6" Karma get to use if the computer throws a 20 on the roll of the dice when it give you mod points.

Sorry you mis-used it, it will be awhile before you get another chance.


New 'Google' For the Dark Web Makes Buying Dope and Guns Easy

davidwr Re:If it lets you find guns and drugs easily... (144 comments)

I'm not sure how this would profit them - unless there is some unknown backdoor in TOR.

Unknown back doors - as opposed to those backdoors known by secret-government-types?


New 'Google' For the Dark Web Makes Buying Dope and Guns Easy

davidwr Re:Since when is every search engine Google? (144 comments)

I take it there's not a whole lot of comments because everybody's on TOR browsing summary address.

Ah, in that case, don't worry.

They'll be back the day after tomorrow, when tor has returned results...

Now there you go again, being overly optimistic.


New 'Google' For the Dark Web Makes Buying Dope and Guns Easy

davidwr Kermit (144 comments)

Kermet was just a terminal emulator

Kermit allowed for file transfers.

Wikipedia entry for Kermit, as of 23:20, 28 January 2014.


The Security of Popular Programming Languages

davidwr Re:It's not just the language, but the implementat (188 comments)

DOH! I *knew* I should've read the freakin' article before writing that.

Obviously, the article is talking about scripting languages, languages that (typically) run inside of a hopefully-OS-independent-behavior runtime rather than a traditional compiled language that doesn't contain a lot of "runtime" between the compiled code and the operating system.

5 days ago

The Security of Popular Programming Languages

davidwr It's not just the language, but the implementation (188 comments)

If the language specification doesn't expressly say what happen when things "outside the design" happen, then different implementations may work differently.

For example:

If the language design spec says

"If an array index is out of bounds, exit the program and return a value of ABEND_ARRAY_BOUNDS_VIOLATION to the calling program,"

that may seem very specific, but if how to "exit the program and return a value of ABEND_ARRAY_BOUNDS_VIOLATION to the calling program," isn't specified by someone (usually the operating system), then it may not be specific enough. if different operating systems specify how to do this differently, then expected "under the hood" behavior will not necessarily be consistent across operating systems.

For example, does "exit the program" mean simply returning control to the caller, or does it mean explicitly returning any resources that were previously granted to the program by the operating system first? Or is that optional? If it's optional as far as the operating system is concerned, does the language provide a compile- or run-time switch to force such a cleanup? Does returning memory to the operating system guarantee that the OS will sanitize the memory, and if not, does the language guarantee it? If the language doesn't guarantee it, does the language provide a compile- or runtime switch so the program will sanitize memory prior to returning it to the operating system?

These differences in language implementations and even differences in how operating systems handle the starting and stopping of processes can lead to differences in what the code actually does. Usually these differences are unimportant but sometimes they are very important.

5 days ago

How Cochlear Implants Are Being Blamed For Killing Deaf Culture

davidwr The distinct "black middle class" is dying/dead (509 comments)

Back in the days of race-based "red-lining" and "Whites-only" legally-enforced racially-segregated neighborhoods, rich and middle-class African-Americans had to live in the "non-white" part of town, along with the poor African-Americans and other non-Whites.

Once the zoning laws, deed restrictions, and race-based morgtage- and homeowners-insurance redlining disappeared, non-Whites had as much choice as white people when it came to where they wanted live. Money or lack of it still limited their choices, but their skin color was no longer a barrier.

Now, middle-class African-Americans who move into a city are likely to move into a "middle class" neighborhood, not a "Black" neighborhood.

We went from a society that had a more distinct "Black middle class" that was created out of racial discrimination into one where if there is a "Black middle class" that's distinct from a "Middle class" the distinction is much weaker than it once was, but where there is no legally-enforced racial discrimination and much less (and someday soon I hope, no) racial discrimination denying African-Americans and other non-Whites the same rights and opportunities enjoyed by White people.

I for one don't want to undo the last 50 years of racial desegregation just to bring back the distinct "Black middle class."

Likewise, I don't think we should deny today's children the ability to hear - albeit in a limited way - just to preserve "Deaf culture."

about two weeks ago

Hacker Holds Key To Free Flights

davidwr Free flight ... to prison (144 comments)

Getting on the plane is only part of the "game."

Unless you plan on doing something bad on the plane that will get you arrested or killed anyways, you also have to never be caught, even after the fact. Or at least delay your capture until all relevant criminal and civil statutes of limitations have run out.

Given that there are cameras everywhere these days, "Good luck with that."

Even then you have to worry about countries retroactively extending the statutes of limitations if their Constitutions/Basic Laws/whatever allow for it (In the last 10-20 years, California [USA] retroactively re-instated the right to sue for damages for certain decades-old torts).

To those who say "it's the bad guys who plan on hurting themselves or others once onboard" I say "You are right, that is an issue that needs to be addressed, but that's outside the scope of my comment, please start another thread."

about two weeks ago

Algorithm Challenge: Burning Man Vehicle Exodus

davidwr Alternative suggestions: Encourage bus use (273 comments)

For people who are packing light ("what fits on your backpack, no more"), increase the use of buses and provide (more?) safe/monitored parking in a "nearby" town at a reasonable price. Better yet, increase any fees paid by attendees to subsidize the cost, so those who do not use the in-city parking pay for part of the cost so as to encourage more use.

I don't know if this 2-lane highway has "full-service" shoulders on it, but if it does, get a permit from the state to allow these buses and other very-high-occupancy vehicles to use the shoulders, the same way that some roads in hurricane-areas have "full service shoulders" that are open during a hurricane evacuation.

Heck, for that matter, if the 2-lane road "could" be safely re-striped as a 3-lane road, pay to have it re-striped with the middle lane going inbound at the start and outbound at the end. Yes, that's a lot of money so barring a big donation it may not be feasible, but it's worth at least looking into.

about two weeks ago

Linus Torvalds Suspends Key Linux Developer

davidwr When valuable people can't work together... (641 comments)

... everyone suffers.

A general word to any leader who prevents a highly-valued contributor from contributing: If enough influential downstream users don't like this, you may not have the political capital to do this the next time you think you need to do the same thing.

This is not a comment on this specific situation - I am way too ignorant to even begin to know if Linus or Sievers has the higher moral ground or for that matter if either of them have the higher moral ground. It's just a general warning that this kind of action may require spending "political capital," and political capital can run out quickly if it is not continually re-earned.

about two weeks ago

Data Mining the Web Reveals What Makes Puzzles Hard For Humans

davidwr Some Pac-Man ROMs had clear solutions (44 comments)

Due to the lack of enough (or any?) use of a random-event-generator, some early versions of the original Pac-Man arcade game had "canned solutions" that worked for every level. After the hardest level, the hardest level just repeated itself forever. One version ended at the "5th key" and another at the "9th key."

I say "some early versions" - it might be "all versions." I don't know if there were any other versions of the official Pac Man arcade game back in its heyday.

about three weeks ago

Astronauts' Hearts Change Shape In Space

davidwr Amusement park? (113 comments)

Great if you want the astronauts throwing up all the time

So THAT'S why the typical rotating amusement-park space station is smaller than your other typical rotating space stations!

about three weeks ago

Contact Lenses With Infrared Vision?

davidwr IR mods for early digital cameras ... (99 comments)

... used to be easy to do. Then the companies got wind that people were using them to "see through clothing" and made it impractical for most hobbyists.

Google Glass is one thing but as soon as people clamor OMG to the press and politicians loud enough, commercial companies will be afraid to market this to consumers and legislators may step in to criminalize the un-disclosed use of "IR vision" for non-"legitimate" (e.g. security cameras) use or even criminalize all non-"legitimate" IR use in public places.

Come to think if it, I might be in favor of rules allowing for civil-court action for failing to disclosure of "see through clothing-capable" photography done in places accessible to the public.

about three weeks ago

Homeopathic Remedies Recalled For Containing Real Medicine

davidwr FDA, why not FTC too? (173 comments)

They were recalled for saying "no antibiotics" on the package but having measurable amounts of them in the product.

In my dream world, this should have been a joint effort by the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission.

about three weeks ago

Can Science Ever Be "Settled?"

davidwr Truly settled science goes without saying (497 comments)

Or to put it another way, if someone feels the need to say "XYZ is settled science" that's a clue that it might not be.

about a month and a half ago

Teaching Calculus To 5-Year-Olds

davidwr Teaching Abstract Algebra to preschoolers (231 comments)

We teach preschoolers some specific examples of abstract algebra:

Today is Friday. Friday is the 6th day of the week. What day will it be 3 days from now? *hold up a calendar*

It is 11 o'clock. What time will it be two hours from now? *hold up an analog clock and point to the hour hand*

You get the idea.

about a month and a half ago



30+ year old minor drug charge keeps Canadian contest winner from Super Bowl

davidwr davidwr writes  |  about a year ago

davidwr (791652) writes "It's not "your rights ONline" but a Canadian who won an all-expenses-paid trip to New Orleans couldn't get past US Customs because he got busted with 2 grams of pot back in 1981, when he was 19 years old.

With Toronto and other Canadian cities having tech hubs, this "zero tolerance" is probably already having an impact on technology companies who have employees or contractors with ancient criminal records and who can't send them to US industry events."

Link to Original Source

Congress, at Last Minute, Drops Requirement to Obtain Warrant to Monitor Email

davidwr davidwr writes  |  about a year ago

davidwr (791652) writes "Before passing the Video Privacy Protection Act Amendments Act, the Senate dropped an amendment which would require the feds to get warrants before looking at mail older than 6 months that is stored on a 3rd-party server.

This means the status quo, dating from the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act, remains."

Link to Original Source

Dolphins With Friggin' Lasers^H^H^H^H^H^HPistols

davidwr davidwr writes  |  about a year and a half ago

davidwr (791652) writes "OK, it's not sharks with lasers, but Reuters reports the Ukranians are training their dolphin killing machines to use knives and pistols.

The other country training dolphins to take over the world before they leave and thank us for all the fish? The United States.

I for one welcome our aquatic mammalian overlords."

Link to Original Source

Turn your computer off? Maybe not: Your RAM may still be foresicly copyable.

davidwr davidwr writes  |  about a year and a half ago

davidwr (791652) writes "Stravroula Karayianni, Vasilios Katos, and Christos K. Georgiadis describe a way to recover passwords from RAM in a computer that's been turned off but which still has electrical power connected to it. They rely on the fact that in many computers, if you "turn off" the computer but still leave battery or A/C power connected, the RAM continues to be powered and is just as "fresh" as the moment you thought you turned off your computer. Their paper, "A framework for password harvesting from volatile memory," will appear in the journal Int. J. Electronic Security and Digital Forensics, Vol. 4, Nos. 2/3, pp. 154-163."
Link to Original Source

What is a reasoanble immigration policy for highly-trained workers?

davidwr davidwr writes  |  about 2 years ago

davidwr (791652) writes "What are a reasonable temporary-worker or immigration-visa rules to apply to workers whose skills would likely to quickly net them a "top 20th percentile wages" (about $100,000) job in the American workplace if they were allowed to work in the is country?

Should the visa length be time-limited? Should it provide for a path to permanent residency? Should the number be limited and if so, how should we decide what the limit should be?

Note: The people affected are already likely eligible for special work-permit programs, but these programs may have quotas, time limits, prior-job-offer-requirements, and other restrictions. I'm asking /. what they think the limits and restrictions, if any, should be.

I'm assuming normal rules to keep out certain criminals, spies, terrorists, and other "undesirable aliens" will remain as is. These issues are beyond the scope of this question."

Hot pigs on the loose

davidwr davidwr writes  |  about 3 years ago

davidwr (791652) writes "Oak Ridge has radioactive frogs (YUM!) and now Germany has hot hogs on the hoof (DO NOT EAT!). 'The German boars roam in forests nearly 950 miles (1,500 kilometers ) from Chernobyl. Yet, the amount of radioactive cesium-137 within their tissue often registers dozens of times beyond the recommended limit for consumption and thousands of times above normal.' 'Cesium also accumulates over time in the soil, which makes boars most susceptible They snuffle through forest soil with their snouts and feed on the kinds of mushroom that tend to store radioactivity, Environment Ministry spokesman Thomas Hagbeck said.' 'Japan's Fukushima plant has so far not leaked nearly as much radiation as Chernobyl...' So far???"
Link to Original Source

Collecting Personal Information About "Facebook Co

davidwr davidwr writes  |  more than 3 years ago

davidwr (791652) writes "[Embargo from /. main page until the next anniversary of Pink Pony Day in a couple of weeks :) . Trim as needed for copyright compliance.]

--cut here--
Contact: Milo M. Münchhausen / FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Phone: (703) 555-0099 Extension 666


April 1, 2011 — Internet Unlimited Analytics Surveillance Services (IUASS) of McLean, Virginia has announced an exciting expansion of its Internet surveillance and analysis services to include a wide range of features for surveillance exploitation and information analysis related to the "One Identity" Facebook Comments system, now being rapidly adopted as the only supported commenting system by both major and minor Web sites around the world.

Up until now, leveraging of Facebook data by law enforcement, insurance companies, and a broad variety of other enterprises — for the locating and profiling of malcontents, underage violators, insurance fraud perpetrators, and other undesirables — has been largely a manual process, often involving human observation of photos posted by Facebook users.

This all changes with the Facebook Comments system. By leveraging the fact that most Facebook users will only maintain a single identity within the Facebook ecosystem, and the new Facebook Comments requirement that all comments posted by a user at any participating site on the Internet must be publicly tagged with their Facebook identity, an enormous new range of surveillance and analysis possibilities have arrived, courtesy of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's "You Only Should Have One Identity on the Internet" vision. Mr. Zuckerberg's prescient and brilliant philosophy, by forcing most users of the Facebook Comment system to be fully identified for every comment that they post on all participating sites, regardless of topic or sensitivity, has enabled the ultimate linking of all aspects of persons' lives — professional, personal, public, and private — into a seamless continuum ripe for deep penetration, analysis, and appropriate exploitation.

IUASS' first new service to take advantage of the Facebook Comments surveillance potential, called FCUTO (Facebook Comments Unlimited Tracking Observer), currently offers two primary operational modes:

Target Mode — When the Facebook ID of a particular person is already known, FCUTO Target Mode will automatically search the Web to gather, analyze, and report (via fully-customizable dossiers) complete data regarding all sites and instances on the Internet (participating in the Facebook Comments system) where the target ID has posted comments. In addition to creating cross-indexed lists of sites and specific comments related to the target ID, the FCUTO service automatically determines the "Undesirability Index" (UI) for the target, based on a complex analysis of the sites visited, and the comments posted, by the target.

Insurance companies can determine if a target has commented in self-incriminating manners on sites discussing HIV/AIDS. Employers can learn if employees are making negative comments about their firm — or positive comments about competitors — and take appropriate punitive actions. Political groups can use FCUTO to verify that their members are not commenting on sites or in ways that could reflect badly on the group, or can use FCUTO to find potential gold mines of "dirty laundry" that could be used to tarnish the reputations of opponents.

Search Mode — FCUTO Search Mode is even more powerful. In Search Mode, you do not need to specify any individual target. Instead, you merely specify the topics, attributes, issues, or other parameters of interest, and FCUTO automatically creates indexed databases of all Facebook Comment user IDs that meet the required criteria anywhere on the Web. You can then use FCUTO Target Mode to build complete dossiers on specific targets of interest who were revealed via Search Mode.

For example, you might want to locate all Facebook IDs where the user has left Facebook Comments on news sites supporting liberal causes or criticizing public officials, while also commenting on sites discussing particular issues such as sexual matters, medical problems, or other data of potential value — depending on your specific target goal sets and operational methodologies.

Under normal conditions without FCUTO, it would be impractical to correlate the public and private lives of so many individuals in a useful manner, but FCUTO, through the genius of Facebook Comments, enables all of this and much more!

Of course, FCUTO includes features to correlate collected data and created dossiers with all other data posted on Facebook by targeted individuals, and to cross-reference with public record data and private commercial databases. You'll know far more about your targets than they know about themselves!

# # #

For more information about using FCUTO to leverage Facebook Comments for your firm, organization, agency, or other enterprise, please contact Milo M. Münchhausen at (703) 555-0099 Extension 666, or via email: milo@iuass.com

- — -

"Yes. This posting is a satire.""

Link to Original Source

Net sees earthquake damage, routes around it

davidwr davidwr writes  |  more than 3 years ago

davidwr (791652) writes "Japanese internet outages mostly healed themselves within hours. While some cables remain out most computers that lost connectivity have it again. From James Cowie's blog linked below: 'The engineers who built Japan's Internet created a dense web of domestic and international connectivity that is among the richest and most diverse on earth, as befits a critical gateway for global connectivity in and out of East Asia. At this point, it looks like their work may have allowed the Internet to do what it does best: route around catastrophic damage and keep the packets flowing, despite terrible chaos and uncertainty.' Let's here it for redundancy and good planning."
Link to Original Source

ADHD kids treated with instant gratification

davidwr davidwr writes  |  about 4 years ago

davidwr (791652) writes ""The brains of children with attention-deficit disorders respond to on-the-spot rewards in the same way as they do to medication, say scientists."

Instead of pumping kids full of Ritalin, we can give them fast rewards for good behavior and pump them only half-full of Ritalin. This won't help them outside the classroom but it might help kids who don't tolerate medication very well.

On a related note, my teacher says if this gets posted to the main page in the next 60 seconds she'll give me a gold star."

Link to Original Source

Get off my lawn! Old man mines farm

davidwr davidwr writes  |  more than 4 years ago

davidwr (791652) writes "73 year old man says "Get off my lawn" and means it. Alexander Skopintsev, a farmer in far eastern Russia, was convicted of planting mines to "ward off trespassers" and protect his potatoes. Kids, the next time the old man down the street says "get off my lawn" I suggest you listen!"
Link to Original Source

Owned by cat - yes, your cat controls you

davidwr davidwr writes  |  more than 4 years ago

davidwr (791652) writes "You have a cat. Do you control him or does he control you? Scientists with too much free time have finally confirmed the obvious: You are his playtoy. Livescience.com reports that cats mix a high-pitched cry with their purrs when they want attention, and it works."

Poll: Favorite non-electric calculator

davidwr davidwr writes  |  more than 4 years ago

davidwr (791652) writes "Poll: Favorite non-electric calculator

Antikythera mechanism
Babbage's Analytical engine
Fingers and toes
Pascal's calculator
Slide rule
CowboyNeal's bones"

The Ten Commandments as seen in Star Trek (redux)

davidwr davidwr writes  |  more than 4 years ago

davidwr (791652) writes "Paul Asay slices and dices the Star Trek series to show us the Ten Commandments from Starfleet's perspective. He covers them all, from #1 "You Shall Not Have Any Other Gods Before Me" (Vaal, TOS: "The Apple") to #10, "You Shall Not Covet" (Hanoch, TOS: "Return to Tomorrow"). After reading #7 You Shall Not Commit Adultery (Nancy/alien, "The Man Trap"), you'll never stray again."
Link to Original Source

The Ten Commandments as seen in Star Trek

davidwr davidwr writes  |  more than 4 years ago

davidwr (791652) writes "Paul Asay slices and dices the Star Trek series to show us the Ten Commandments from Starfleet's perspective. He covers them all, from #1 "You Shall Not Have Any Other Gods Before Me" (Vaal, TOS: "The Apple") to #10, "You Shall Not Covet" (Hanoch, TOS: "Return to Tomorrow"). After reading #7 You Shall Not Commit Adultery (Nancy/alien, "The Man Trap"), you'll never stray again."
Link to Original Source

Kentucky judges: No to domain name siezure

davidwr davidwr writes  |  more than 4 years ago

davidwr (791652) writes "A state appeals court in Kentucky ruled that the state courts cannot seize domain names as "gambling devices." The court ruled that "it's up to the General Assembly — not the courts nor the state Justice Cabinet — to bring domain names into the definition of illegal gambling devices." Will the Kentucky legislature try to take control of domain-names world-wide? Stay tuned..."

The end of unwanted Goatse, er, Goat Sex?

davidwr davidwr writes  |  more than 5 years ago

davidwr (791652) writes ""Goat 'condoms' save Kenyan herds Maasai herdsmen in Kenya have turned to an age-old contraceptive device, the "olor", to protect their precious goat herds from an ongoing drought. " Need I say more? Someone obviously has too much free time. The BBC has the rest of the story."

Poll: Names on Obama/Biden campaign signs

davidwr davidwr writes  |  more than 5 years ago

davidwr (791652) writes "What Democratic campaign sign would get your vote?

*Vote Obama/Biden
*Vote Barack Obiden
*Vote Joe-Bama
*V073 0b4m4/B1Ð3n
*\/07 0ß@|\/|@/ß|\|
*Vote for the guys who are better than the other guys
*Vote CowboyNeal/CmdrTaco"



A self-proving identification card:

davidwr davidwr writes  |  about 3 months ago

A self-proving identification card:

Display in human-readable and computer-readable form:
Identifying information such as name, card number, issuer/certifying agent, expiration date, face or thumbprint, signature, etc.

Display the same in a computer-readable form. For easy-to-scan things like letters and numbers that are on the card in a pre-defined layout, the human-readable form and computer-readable form may be identical.

For things like a photo, the computer-readable form may be a simpler version, such as an 8- or 16-color 64x64 bitmap.

Have the comptuter-readable form be digitally signed by the issuer/certifying agent and have the signature on the card in both a computer- and human-readable form.

Have the scanning device display the computer-read data in a human-readable form so that a human being can compare what is on the screen with what is on the card.

The same human being would compare what is on the card with either another form of ID or, if the card had a picture or thumbprint, with that of the person presenting the card.

Some information on the card could be encrypted and require a password or other authentication token to decrypt.

Other than this optional part, the card would be "self proving" provided that the public key of the issuer/certifying agent was available to the authentication terminal.


Quickly Mirandize arrested people no matter how serious the crime.

davidwr davidwr writes  |  about a year ago

The surviving Boston Bombing suspect has not read his rights and as of Monday April 22, 2013, it's been several days since his arrest. Law enforcement has already said they believe the two bombers were acting alone. It would be one thing to press a suspect for information if you catch a guy and think an accomplice is about to set off another one within hours but anything after that is trampling on the Constitution. Therefore we petition the White House to only use the "imminent threat" exception to the Miranda warning when the threat really is imminent and getting information now is more important than preserving the Constitution.

White House Petition URL:



Handling older juveniles accused of serious crimes

davidwr davidwr writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Handling older juveniles accused of serious crimes

Most states try to certify older juveniles arrested for serious crimes as adults. "You do an adult crime, you do adult time," as the saying goes.

The human brain's moral centers don't reach full adult maturity until the early or mid-20s. This is reflected in our law and legal history.

Until the Vietnam era, some states would not let you vote until you turned 21. The logic was that young adults were too immature or ill-informed to vote responsibly.

While we now give anyone old enough to serve in the military without his parent's consent the right to vote, we have taken away the right to buy or consume alcohol without parental supervision. We did this because we saw that way too many people under 21 were using alcohol irresponsibly and killing or maiming themselves and others as a result. Prior to the laws being changed, people over 21 drank irresponsibly and killed people at a significantly lower rate than those under 21.

Knowing this, we need to change our court system so those convicted of crimes done before age 18 are at least offered a path to rehabilitation and, once their complete sentence, parole, and a possible short period after parole is complete without any new crimes committed as an adult, the assurance that their records will be sealed.

At least one state has implimented the option of a "determinate sentence" for youth over a certain age but young enough to be tried as a juvenile. Here is how it works:

* The prosecutor decides not to ask for an adult trial OR a judge turns him down
* The youth pleads guilty or is convicted and given either a "determinate sentence" of a stated number of years or decades, an "indeterminate" (traditional) youth sentence which means he gets out by a certain age or sooner, or a non-prison sentence such as home confinement or youth probation.

Assuming he gets a "determinate sentence" and is not yet old enough to be transfered to an adult prison:
* The youth goes to a youth correctional facility with a focus on rehabilitation
* If the youth serves enough time to be paroled before becoming a young adult, he MAY be paroled
* Under some situations, the youth may be paroled or discharged when he becomes a young adult
* If the youth is not paroled or discharged at this time, he is transferred to adult prison
* The now-adult inmate will eventually become eligible for parole if he his not already
* The inmate or parolee eventually serves his stated sentence and parole and is discharged
* The juvenile record is sealed

That last item is key. It's the "you can start your life over now, the mistakes of your immature-brained youth are forgiven" element that any society with a moral compass will have as part of its juvenile justice law.


Reforming Criminal Statutes of Limitations: A Phased-In Approach

davidwr davidwr writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Reforming Statutes of Limitations: A Phased-In Approach

Current statute of limitation laws are "all or nothing."

If the prosecution decides to file charges 1 day before the time limit expires, you can get the full sentence, even if you've been a responsible citizen for years after the crime.

But if they wait one day later, you are off the hook.

This is unfair to the guilty party and to society.

The purposes of statutes of limitations include:
* encourage swift justice, discourage prosecution laziness
* give people who have committed long-ago crimes some certainty that it really is behind them, at least with respect to criminal charges

A phased-in approach would be better.

Set an initial time period based on the minimum sentence, within a range of 1-10 years. Any charges brought before this time expires would not be affected by statutes of limitations.

Set a maximum time period based on the maximum possible sentence PLUS the initial time period. Any charges brought after this time period could be tried but there would be no prison term.

If charges are filed between these times, the trial and sentencing would be carried out as normal, but the newly-convicted criminal would be given day-for-day credit for time served for each day of delay after the initial period expired. The fact that he would be given such credit could not be used against him during sentencing or parole-eligibility or mandatory-release determination. However, the parole board can decide he hasn't spent enough time behind bars and deny parole up to but not past his mandatory-release date, if any.

Some examples:

A person committed second-degree murder 12 years before charges were filed. The law says the judge can sentence him from 2 years on the low end to 20 on the high end. The judge sentences him to 15 years. He gets 12-2=10 years of credit, so his effective sentence is only 5 years even though his criminal record will show a 15-year sentence.

A person stole a car 25 years ago. The police found the car with DNA but "John Doe DNA" indictments aren't allowed for property crimes in that state. 25 years later the same guy is arrested on a relatively minor felony. He is convicted and gets 1 year on the new felony. He could get 2-20 on the old car theft charge. He's charged and pleads guilty but no matter what the judge sentences him to, since 25-2=23 is more than the maximum sentence he will not serve any prison time for the car theft. He will, however, have a second criminal conviction on his record. If he later commits a third felony he may face serious prison time under "3-strikes" laws.

Some special considerations:

Tolling the statute of limitations:

Current rules on tolling would not be changed. Most states toll the statute of limitations for:
* Fleeing the jurisdiction
* Legal incapacity of a key witness, such as being a minor or medically unable to testify
* Intimidation or perceived intimidation of a witness, such as if the victim is financially or otherwise dependent on the alleged criminal
* An ongoing criminal enterprise
* Judicially granted extensions for an ongoing investigation
* "John Doe" indictments against the person matching a DNA sample, photograph, or other evidence that is presumed unique to the alleged criminal
* Any pending charge, once an indictment or equivalent is made

Reduction of charges by the prosecutor:

The prosecutor would be allowed offer reduced charges before conviction while allowing an effective sentence up to the same as if the original charges were filed (but no more than the maximum actual sentence on the reduced charge). Take the murder case above: The prosecution could offer a plea of manslaughter, which carries a 2-10 year sentence, on the condition that the person accept a 10 year sentence but serve the same 5-year effective sentence he would serve on the more serious charge. If it was to his advantage, the newly-convicted murderer could ask the parole board to treat him as if he had served 75% of a 20-year sentence.

To prevent abuse by prosecutorial bullying, if the effective sentence on the lesser charge under this rule is more than the effective sentence if the lesser charge had been the original charge, the actual plea would be the legal equivalent of pleading guilty or no contest to both charges with a judge acting on the prosecutor's motion to dismiss the higher charge. Since all pleas are under oath, a prosecutor encouraging a false plea is suborning perjury.

Reduction in charges by routine clemency:

A modified version of this would reduce the charge to match the maximum effective sentence, or to some "minimal" charge if the maximum effective sentence was zero as in the car-theft example above.

For example, if routine clemency were offered, the murderer would still be stuck with his original charge since 5 years is within the sentencing range for his crime. But the car theif would have his charged administratively reduced to the highest felony theft charge that allowed probation of 1 day or less, or to a special charge created by lawmakers for this purpose.

Effective dates of discharge and release when considering post-release and post-discharge conditions:

The date of discharge is no later than what the date of discharge would have been if the person had started serving the maximum sentence on the day the initial time period expired, plus extensions for tolls of the statute of limitations.

For example, if a person committed 2nd degree murder in 1970 and could have received 2-20 years, any conviction today will be considered to have been discharged in 1992.

If there are any post-discharge conditions or legal disabilities that are based on time, he will be given credit for all time since 1992 towards fulfilling these conditions and towards the eventual expiration of these legal disabilities.

Ultimate expiration of the statute of limitations

Allow only a specific period of time, such as 5 years for felonies or 1 year for misdemeanors - after the time where all legally-imposed time-based post-discharge penalties will have expired to file charges.

This allows prosecutors a short additional window to gain a "symbolic" conviction or to brand someone a criminal years or decades after a crime, while giving society a "date certain" beyond which they won't have to interrupt their lives to face possibly-false allegations of long-ago alleged crimes in criminal court.

Effect on fines

This plan is not designed to change the fine schedule.

The bottom line: The practical effect

Some example crimes and the effect of this change on them:

Petty crimes: Maximum sentence of 1 year or less:
1 year to bring charges to get the full maximum sentence.
2 years and a day to bring charges at all.
Latest discharge date after back-dating applied: 2 years after crime committed.

Higher-jail-time crimes: Minimum sentence 1 year or less, maximum sentence 2 years, no post-discharge conditions
1 year to bring charges to get the full maximum sentence.
3 years and a day to bring charges to get any jail time.
This is also the latest release date and the latest discharge date if the discharge date is back-dated.
4 years and a day to bring charges at all.

Low-prison-time crimes: Minimum sentence 2 years, maximum sentence 10 years, 5 years of post-discharge conditions
2 years to bring charges to get full maximum sentence.
12 years to bring charges to get any prison time.
This is also the latest release date and the latest discharge date if the discharge date is back-dated.
17 years to bring charges to get any post-discharge conditions.
22 years to bring charges at all.

Medium-time prison crimes: Minimum sentence 5 years, maximum sentence 40 years, 10 years of post-discharge conditions
5 years to bring charges to get full maximum sentence.
45 years to bring charges to get any prison time.
This is also the latest release date and the latest discharge date if the discharge date is back-dated.
55 years to bring charges to get any post-discharge conditions.
60 years to bring charges at all.

Very serious felonies less than life: Minimum sentence 10 years, maximum sentence 99 years, up to 25 years of post-discharge conditions
10 years to bring charges to get full maximum sentence
109 years to bring charges to get any prison time
This is also the latest release date and the latest discharge date if the discharge date is back-dated.
134 years to get any post-discharge conditions
139 years to bring charges at all

In practical terms:

If the person COULD have received a sentence that would have had him in prison for the rest of his life if he'd been charged by the end of the initial period, there is no statute of limitations.

If the person COULD have received a long sentence that would've had him under post-discharge conditions for the rest of his life if he'd been charged by the end of the initial period, he'll live to see daylight but there is no statue of limitations.


Don't write off criminals when it comes to hiring and housing

davidwr davidwr writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Don't write off criminals when it comes to hiring and housing

In some states a felony record is a de facto bar from renting decent apartments or getting decent jobs for life.

A more reasonable approach would be to limit how employers and those providing routine services to the public could treat you based on how long it has been since you were in prison, on parole, or on a parole-like supervised release.

Absent special situations such as those listed below, I recommend the following as a STARTING point for how to treat ex-cons when it comes to housing and employment:

Anyone on probation or parole: Positive, neutral, or negative recommendaiton from probation or parole officer should override time-since-discharge.

Anyone who has made himself accountable to another person or group in a legally-binding way that is accredited by the state: Positive, neutral, or negative recommendaiton from probation or parole officer should override time-since-discharge.

Anyone who has made himself accountable to another trustworthy person or group other than above: If the person or group can be trusted, their positive, neutral, or negative recommendaiton from probation or parole officer should override time-since-discharge.

Anyone discharged person not on parole or probation and not under legally-binding accountability who had at least 3 years of such supervision, whose last 3 years showed consistent positive recommendations, and who has had no negative indicators during those 3 years or since: Treat as a positive recommendation.

Anyone discharged person not on parole or probation and not under legally-binding accountability who had at least 3 years of such supervision, whose last 3 years showed consistent positive recommendations, and who has had no negative indicators during those 3 years or since AND who has been discharged from the legal system for 3 years for a misdemeanor or 5 years for a felony: Consider rehabilitated.

Anyone discharged from the legal system for 5 years for a misdemeanor or 10 years for a felony and no negative information during that time: Consider rehabilitated.

Anything in between: Treat it on a case-by-case basis. While summarily denying housing or employment based only on criminal activity may be efficient from the landlord's or employer's point of view, it is very inefficient from society's point of view. Although they may not be able to measure it, the landlord and employer pay "their share" of this inefficiency every time they turn down someone just because of a criminal record. If every landlord and every employer would do "their part" and not automatically disqualify criminals except where required by law, society would be better.

Special situations that might require special handling:

* Parole and probation officers and others who are known to "grade high" or "grade low" or who are not willing or able to justify their assessments
* Anyone with a recent history of gang involvement
* Anyone with an offense against another person can't demonstrate he is a low risk of hurting people again
* Anyone with a recent history of lack of self control that is likely to lead to criminal acts affecting housing or employment
* Anyone whose specific criminal history legally disqualifies him from a particular job or for promotion opportunities expected to be earned by those holding the job
* Anyone whose specific criminal history legally prevents him from residing in a particular location
* Anyone with a current or only-recently-resolved emotional issues which this job or housing situation may re-trigger, but only if such issues are likely to impact the housing or employment in question or are more likely to result in a parole or probation violation, or result in a new criminal offense than denying the employment or housing in question. For example, expected absenteeism due to violating probation is grounds for denying employment.

Some legal changes that should be made to make this happen

Landlords and employers should have general immunity from civil lawsuits if they rent to or hire a person with a criminal record, provided that they make a good faith effort in all of these areas:
* The employer or landlord checks the employee or tenant's recent (last 7-10 years for felonies, less for misdemeanors) public criminal record.
* If the employer takes risks that are ALREADY considered by applicable law to be "high risk," he either provides risk mitigation or alerts affected parties so they can manage their own risk. For example, a white-collar crook with access to a company's books requires either checks and balances to prevent fraud or notification to all stockholders so they can sell or vote to fire the management if they choose. A landlord renting to a person with recent criminal convictions for gang activity or any such convictions and any known recent gang-related behavior should forward this information to local police so they can step up patrols.
* If a landlord or employer has a significant concentration of criminal tenants or employees AND as a group the total tenant base of the property or the total employment at any one location during any one shift represents a significantly higher risk to anyone as compared to a property or location of employment with a randomly-selected group of individuals, the employer or tenant either mitigates the risk or alerts those put at risk that they need to watch their back.

Landlords and employers should be financially encouraged to house and hire those straight out of prison.

All inmates approaching a possible release date and all recently-released convicts should be given free access to credentialed rehabilitation specialists who are funded well enough to do their job right. These specialists will be in a position to provide positive, neutral, or negative recommendations regarding the suitability of a particular individual for a particular housing or employment situation from a public-risk perspective. Such individuals should have legal immunity for making a recommendation that later turns out to be incorrect.


davidwr davidwr writes  |  about 2 years ago

Signature line starting 2012-04-23:

Base 13 math: "What do you get if you multiply six by nine?" / "Six by nine. Forty two." / "That's it. That's all there is."

Previous journal entry containing historical sig lines: http://slashdot.org/journal/94557/my-sig-lines


NSA line-eater redux - 2012 DHS Media Monitoring terms

davidwr davidwr writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Remember the NSA line eater?

Well, it appears that the Department of Homeland Security and others are now monitoring Facebook and other social media web sites for certain keywords (Article at Animal New York, and on Slashdot. I wonder if Slashdot Journals count as social media web sites?

Well, here goes nothing (text shamelessly copied from the Animal New York story linked above):

Abu Sayyaf
Agro Terror
Air Marshal
Airplane (and derivatives)
Al Queda (all spellings)
Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF)
Ammonium nitrate
AQAP (Al Qaeda Arabian Peninsula)
AQIM (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb)
Artistics Assassins
Barrio Azteca
Basque Separatists
Biological infection (or event)
Biological weapon
Black out
Blister agent
Body scanner
Border Patrol
Brown out
Brush fire
Brute forcing
Cain and abel
Car bomb
Cartel de Golfo
Center for Disease Control (CDC)
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
Chemical burn
Chemical fire
Chemical Spill
Chemical weapon
CIKR (Critical Infrastructure & Key Resources)
Ciudad Juarez
Coast Guard (USCG)
Communications infrastructure
Computer infrastructure
Conventional weapon
Critical infrastructure
Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
Cyber attack
Cyber Command
Cyber security
Cyber terror
DDOS (dedicated denial of service)
Denial of service
Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
Dirty bomb
Drug Administration (FDA)
Drug cartel
Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)
Drug trade
Drug war
E. Coli
Eco terrorism
El Paso
Emergency Broadcast System
Environmental terrorist
ETA (Euskadi ta Askatasuna)
Extreme weather
Failure or outage
FARC (Armed Revolutionary Forces Colombia)
Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS)
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Food Poisoning
Foot and Mouth (FMD)
Forest fire
Fort Hancock
Fusion Center
Gulf Cartel
Hazardous material incident
Home grown
Homeland Defense
Human to ANIMAL
Human to human
IED (Improvised Explosive Device)
Illegal immigrants
Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE)
Improvised explosive device
Industrial spill
Infrastructure security
IRA (Irish Republican Army)
La Familia
Los Zetas
Mara salvatrucha
Meth Lab
Mexican army
MS13 or MS-13
Mud slide or Mudslide
Mysql injection
Narco banners (Spanish equivalents)
National Guard
National infrastructure
National laboratory
National Operations Center (NOC)
NBIC (National Biosurveillance Integration Center)
Nerve agent
New Federation
North Korea
Norvo Virus
Nuclear facility
Nuclear threat
Nuevo Leon
PLF (Palestine Liberation Front)
PLO (Palestine Libration Organization)
Port Authority
Powder (white)
Power lines
Power outage
Public Health
Red Cross
Red Cross
San Diego
Secret Service (USSS)
Secure Border Initiative (SBI)
Service disruption
Small Pox
Smuggling (smugglers)
Social media
Suicide attack
Suicide bomber
Suspicious package/device
Suspicious substance
Tamil Tiger
Task Force
Transportation security
Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
Tsunami Warning Center
TTP (Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan)
Tuberculosis (TB)
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS)
U.S. Consulate
United Nations (UN)
Viral Hemorrhagic Fever
Water/air borne
Weapons cache
Weapons grade
World Health Organization (WHO and components)

I really, really hope the feds use software to eliminate posts like these. I'd hate to think that some poor agent has to waste time seeing if I'm a potential threat or just some guy who cares about striking a good balance between spotting legitimate threats and labeling anyone who happens to say the "wrong" thing at the "wrong" time a terrorist.


Is it moral to take gov't aid you don't need?

davidwr davidwr writes  |  about 5 years ago

The government is offering up to $8,000 for first-time home-buyers to buy a house. The intent is to stimulate the economy. This is great for those who would be better off owning but are trapped renting because they can't afford to buy, but who could afford a house if only it were $8,000 cheaper.

If you were going to buy a house anyways and can afford it without the aid, is it moral to take the money?

If you had no intention of buying a house because renting makes more sense to you, is it moral to buy a house just so you can have the extra $8,000?

With deficit spending, every "extra" dollar spent by the government is a dollar that comes out of our children's and grandchildren's pockets, with interest.

The same moral question applies to financially healthy companies who take advantage of tax breaks they don't need or who choose to operate less efficiently so they can qualify for government funds or tax breaks.

Comments welcome.


What do you think of idle.slashdot.com?

davidwr davidwr writes  |  more than 5 years ago

What do you think of idle.slashdot.com?

* The first thing I read every day
* It makes me laugh
* It's okay
* Not worth my time
* Take it out and shoot it
* Spare time? What's that?
* Sorry, too busy reading 4chan
* Give me CowboyNeal's journal any day


Do you prefer the old Slashdot?

davidwr davidwr writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Registered users can use the Slashdot Classic Discussion style. But what if you aren't logged in? You can still get the classic view by disabling JavaScript. Thanks to tools like NoScript you can browse Slashdot with scripting disabled then temporarily enable and disable it as needed.

If you found this information helpful, please reply.


Poll: I think life on Mars...

davidwr davidwr writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Poll: I think life on Mars...

* never existed.
* was microscopic but is now extinct.
* was intelligent but is now extinct.
* is microscopic and it's still there.
* is intelligent, hidden from our prying eyes, and want to stay that way.
* is intelligent and invaded Earth 10,000 years ago.
* is Intelligent, planning to invade, and has already taken over CowboyNeal's body.


Poll: What should /. have done for April Fools in 2008?

davidwr davidwr writes  |  about 6 years ago

Poll: What should /. have done for April Fools in 2008?

* I vote for what they actually did. Subtle.
* Reruns are cool OMGPONIES!
* Celebrate history and redirect page to mcom.com.
* Announce Microsoft/Sourceforge merger.
* Announce that yesterday was indeed December 31, 1983.
* Put up a fake ad "Cowboyneal.com is for sale. Send bids to bids@cowboyneal.com."


Poll: What are you giving up for lent?

davidwr davidwr writes  |  more than 6 years ago

What are you giving up for lent?

* Red meat
* Sex/booze/cigarettes
* SCO-bashing
* Religion
* Life itself
* Reading Cowboyneal's Blog

Previously archived comments: here and here


Poll: What are you giving up for lent?

davidwr davidwr writes  |  more than 6 years ago

What are you giving up for lent?

* Red meat
* Sex/booze/cigarettes
* SCO-bashing
* Religion
* Life itself
* Reading Cowboyneal's Blog

Previously archived comments: here


Poll: What are you giving up for lent?

davidwr davidwr writes  |  more than 6 years ago

What are you giving up for lent?

* Red meat
* Sex/booze/cigarettes
* SCO-bashing
* Religion
* Life itself
* Reading Cowboyneal's Blog


Foreign Worker solution: Alien payroll tax

davidwr davidwr writes  |  more than 6 years ago

We have several foreign/non-US-citizen-worker labor problems in America:

  • For some jobs, there are not enough workers, so work doesn't get done.
  • For some jobs there are not enough workers at prices the market will bear, so work doesn't get done.
  • People don't like illegal aliens because they are a "domestic outsourcing," taking "American" jobs

A solution:

  • Open-door immigration to anyone who isn't a criminal, terrorist-wanna-be, unhealthy, or otherwise undesirable.
  • A payroll tax equal to the minimum wage for all non-citizen workers. For individual contract labor such as day-laborers, some tech workers, and most entertainers, tax the payer an equivalent amount.

This would strongly discourage hiring non-citizens for low-wage jobs while at the same time giving any employer a legal way to hire someone if they really wanted to.

The $13K-$14K/year increased costs would also make it harder to hire lower-middle-wage workers and make it somewhat harder to hire mid-wage tech workers. It would have virtually no effect on those filling 6-figure+ positions. It is precisely those positions where it's in America's best interest to hire the best candidate no matter what his country of citizenship.

If America decides it really does want to have more lower-wage non-American workers, the tax could be capped at 75%, 50%, or even 25% of the wages for lower-wage workers, with the tax itself capped at the minimum wage, currently $5.85/hr.


Essay on capital punishment

davidwr davidwr writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Capital punishment is the ultimate punishment. It should be reserved for those who:

* caused a death. The death penalty for treason, rape, or other crimes where no death results is simply cruel and unusual.
* committed their act in cold blood without any mitigating circumstances. The slightest mental illness, the slightest intent not to kill, the slightest other circumstance which, if not present, would have resulted in a non-lethal outcome means life in prison is better.
* is, barring divine intervention, beyond redemption. The slightest acceptance of moral responsibility, even after sentence is handed down, means the execution should not go forward.
* the person would endanger the lives of others if he were incarcerated for life in the most secure prison possible

Very few people are simultaneously immoral or amoral and at the same time not mentally ill.

Of those who are, most can be kept from killing again by incarceration. For some, incarceration in a "supermax" prison may be necessary.

The number that is left is either very small or zero.

Since the combination of these conditions never or almost never happens, it is simply much more efficient to have life in prison than to have a death penalty.

I marked this "Pay no attention to my musings." If this shows up on Firehose then then the 'hose is hosed.


The inflation-adjusted morgtage payment

davidwr davidwr writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Adjustable rate mortgages rise too fast.

Mortgages whose payments go up with inflation, and down with deflation. The term of the loan shrinks or expands as needed, with a balloon payment of the remaining balance after some fixed period of time, say, 10 years past the stated term of the mortgage.

Have the interest rate adjust with inflation as well, rather than the prime lending rate.


Please give this holiday season

davidwr davidwr writes  |  more than 6 years ago

This holiday season please give to those less fortunate.

Most of us in the IT industry are what they call "highly compensated." With our 80-hour work-weeks we might not have time to serve dinner every week at the local soup kitchen, but we can buy a lot of soup.

This Christmas season, please share the joy and give to a reputable human-services charity such as the Red Cross, The Salvation Army, or your local shelter or soup kitchen.

You've been bitten by the Charity Profile Virus: Please make your own version and attach it to all of your online profiles through the Christmas 2007 season.


Microsoft should do monthly security rollups

davidwr davidwr writes  |  more than 6 years ago


When I install a machine from scratch I have to update dozens or over 100 items. This takes time and consumes network bandwidth.

Solution: Monthly security rollups.

The August 2007 rollup for XP should include every "important" XP base OS patch not included in SP2. Ditto for every other month since SP2 came out until the end of service for SP2. It would not include "important" updates to optional software or important updates to device drivers. It would include important updates to other important updates of course.

When run without options, it installs everything that is applicable to this machine or, for slipstreams, the target directory.

It would also have a "slipstream" option, an "unpack" option, and a "select" option.

The "slipstream" option would apply the service to a directory instead of the installed Windows.

The "unpack" option would create a mini-installer, one for each update.

The "select" option would limit which fixed got installed, slipstreamed, or unpacked.

The whole thing could be driven from a GUI or from a command line + response file.

Additional workload for Microsoft:

The package would be what you get if you take a base XP SP2 CD then run Windows Update again and again until there are no more important updates. As such, MS wold not be on the hook for much more in the way of testing. This is purely a packaging/delivery issue. The only real work would be resolving any dependencies that require more than one reboot.

If I had this, I could install:
XP, SP2, last month's security rollup, .NET 1.1, 2, 3, and their updates, IE7, MS Office, its latest service pack, and the latest version of Microsoft Update, all without getting on the network. Then when I finally did update, I'd have a much smaller number of updates to grab. If all I cared about was the base OS without optional updates, this would be a 2-step process: Install XP from the SP2-slipstreamed CD, then install the August updates.

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