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Comments

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'Just Let Me Code!'

davidwr Engineered code vs. created code (368 comments)

If you have a project that's too big to fit into 1 person's head and you want it to work right and be maintainable, you either have to have a team of people who practically read each other's minds or you have to have a solid design and maintenance process.

Either that, or you have to accept that unless you get lucky or your code is hardly ever used, you will have problems down the line.

Having a lightweight or non-existent process is fine for projects that can stay in one person's head and which won't need to be maintained by anyone other than the original author.

5 days ago
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Researchers Print Electronic Memory On Paper

davidwr We've had field-writable ROM paper for years (78 comments)

I can see the advantages of cheap, relatively-high-speed paper RAM but remember, we've had high-density paper ROM since the age of micro-fine printing, and low-density paper ROM since the invention of, well, paper.

We've also had very-slow-to-erase "eraseable ROM" on paper since the invention of the eraser.

In prehistoric times, we had it was low-density ROM on cave walls.

5 days ago
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The "Rickmote Controller" Can Hijack Any Google Chromecast

davidwr Re:Nowhere in TFA (131 comments)

It's not really much of a fix if the attacker can just do the same attack again immediately.

From TFS:

If the hacker leaves the range of the device...

about a week ago
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The "Rickmote Controller" Can Hijack Any Google Chromecast

davidwr or not ... Re:Secure pairing is hard (131 comments)

unless at least one party knows who it's supposed to be talking to & can independently verify the other party's identity and the integrity of key-exchange traffic supposedly taking place with it,

For short-range communications between devices operated by human beings, this isn't as hard as one might think.

Let's say I want my cell phone to communicate with a kiosk at McDonald's, without having to rely on the phone network to do the authentication.

Behind the counter, McDonalds has a poster-sized, easy-to-photograph representation of the kiosk's public key.

Now to exchange keys, I walk up to the kiosk and press a button. It puts a random picture on the screen. My phone takes a picture of it, combines it with a random picture I create, my public key, and a suggested random private key, then it encrypts it with the kiosk's public key. My phone tells me to turn it towards the kiosks's camera. It displays the random picture the kiosk created for a few seconds, then the random picture I created for a few seconds, then a pictorial representation of my public key for a few seconds, then a pictorial representation of the entire encrypted message for a few seconds. After all of this is done my phone tells me to flip it around again. The kiosk sends me new shared key that is based on the suggested shared key that I sent to it, but this time it is encrypted with my public key.

Now we can talk and I can place my order and provide my credit card information securely.

This all works because I got the Kiosk's public key from a trusted, independent source - the sign behind the counter that some human being put up and which the McDonald's employees would've noticed if it had changed recently (e.g. if a hacker had replaced the real sign with his own fake one and concurrently replaced the kiosk's public key with one he controlled).

By the way, this is a hypothetical example - there are easier ways to buy burgers than to spend half a minute or more playing "can we trust each other" with a kiosk.

Can this method be defeated? Yes - but you defeat it by removing the assumption that the McDonald's employees are paying attention to their surroundings for any suspicious changes and the assumption that the McDonald's employees are loyal enough to their employer to not "look the other way" if they notice a change or worse, collude with each other to BE the "man in the middle." But at this point, it's no different than walking into a bank and dealing with a crooked bank teller.

about a week ago
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The "Rickmote Controller" Can Hijack Any Google Chromecast

davidwr It's not his canine that can read (131 comments)

It's his deity. He's dyslexic.

As to whether his deity can copulate or not... well, what happens on Mount Olympus stays on Mount Olympus... except in the case of pregnancies - those are the things of which legends are born.

about a week ago
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The "Rickmote Controller" Can Hijack Any Google Chromecast

davidwr Re:Where's the factory-reset button? (131 comments)

Please forgive me for taking the article summary at face value when it said

If the hacker leaves the range of the device, there's no way to regain control of the Chromecast.

The only way that could be true is if there was no properly functioning hardware reset button.

I've been around /. awhile, I really should know better than to assume article summaries are accurate.

about a week ago
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The "Rickmote Controller" Can Hijack Any Google Chromecast

davidwr Where's the factory-reset button? (131 comments)

If the hacker leaves the range of the device, there's no way to regain control of the Chromecast.

Where's the factory-reset button when you need it?

Consumer-electronics that aren't so cheap they are "disposable" should have a "reset to last known good state" hardware button and for some types of devices, a "save current state as known good state" hardware button. If the second button is missing, the "factory fresh state" will forever be the only "last known good state."

The second button is needed for installing "bios-level" anti-theft software and the like that can't be undone by the first button, if the customer wants to make that software non-uninstallable by a security-savvy thief should it be stolen.

For some products, one or both of these buttons may require opening the case and breaking tamper-evident seals, but they should exist, and they should be true hardware buttons, not defeat-able by software.

They need to be hardware buttons so a virus or malware doesn't "press" them, defeating the purpose of being able to "roll back" the machine to a previous state.

about a week ago
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Critroni Crypto Ransomware Seen Using Tor for Command and Control

davidwr Please do (122 comments)

am seriously considering assing client side resistance to the medical software I write designed for use across the public internet because of people like you who collect data you have no business collecting.

Please do.

The only one of the examples I listed in the grandparent post that I plan on implementing are those in a role of a parent.

When I have a 6 year old kid who is using the Internet, no amount of "client-side resistance" that you add is going to stop me from seeing what's on the screen as I watch my kid use the computer.

about a week ago
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Critroni Crypto Ransomware Seen Using Tor for Command and Control

davidwr unpatched wetware (122 comments)

but under-informed end users are much more consistently available

Question: What's more common and arguably more dangerous than a Windows XP computer that hasn't received any OS updates in the last 2 months?

Answer: An "unpatched" (naive/uninformed) human operating the keyboard.

about a week ago
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Critroni Crypto Ransomware Seen Using Tor for Command and Control

davidwr Hiding bridges (122 comments)

If counteracting the detecting and blocking bridge notes becomes a problem - and it probably will as soon the the Chinese get good at it - someone will find a solution.

A resource-intensive solution would be to layer the TOR/bridge traffic on top of and steganographically embedded into some seemingly-normal traffic, such as an encrypted streaming video, so that a traffic analysis would say "it's probably just someone watching online TV."

about a week ago
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Critroni Crypto Ransomware Seen Using Tor for Command and Control

davidwr Corporate MITM (122 comments)

Which is more evil:
Telling employees "we block all encrypted traffic and snoop on everything else"

or telling them

"We MITM all encrypted traffic we can so we can snoop on it, we snoop on everything we can and block the rest"

or telling them

"we block all traffic except traffic to the few Internet resources we know you need, and oh by the way we snoop on that"

or telling the

"we don't think you need a computer to do your job, if you do need a computer to do your job then talk to your boss and he MAY give you the keys to the one room where there is a computer. Oh, by the way, there are TV cameras all over that room so don't even think about using it for non-business purposes."

Substitute "school," "institution," or "parent" for "employer" and substitute "student," "client/end-user," or "minor child who the parents deem too young/immature to use the Internet unsupervised" for "employee."

Speaking of parents, many parenting experts highly recommend that if a kid under a certain age/maturity level wants to use the Internet, he only be allowed to do so under close supervision, as in mom or dad in the room within eyesight of the screen. What age? Experts disagree, but almost all would put the cutoff age where mom can leave the room for a few minutes at somewhere in the elementary school (age 5-12) age range.

about a week ago
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Critroni Crypto Ransomware Seen Using Tor for Command and Control

davidwr Firewalls that block suspicious activity (122 comments)

Time will come when firewalls inspect all outgoing packets and use heuristics to guess how dangerous encrypted traffic might be.

For example:

  • Whitelisted sites Encrypted traffic to an IP address previously whitelisted by the firewall vendor or end user? It's whitelisted, let it pass.
  • Heuristically safe sites Encrypted traffic to an IP address known to be associated with a well-known domain whose DNS is known to be valid and who is known to typically use encryption over this port and whose recent activity hasn't been suspicious? Probably safe.
  • Suspicious traffic to an okay site Encrypted traffic to whitelisted or probably-safe web sites that is uncharacteristic in size or other known details? Possibly not safe.
  • Unknown site Encrypted traffic to anyone else who isn't blacklisted? Possibly not safe.
  • Blacklisted site Encrypted traffic to a blacklisted site? Block it.

In the middle three groups, give the user a chance to approve/block/whitelist the traffic or, if the user just wants such traffic logged or just wants to see an on-screen alert but doesn't want to be bothered with the "should I block it" question, log it and/or put up a visible notification to the end-user.

about a week ago
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US Senator Blasts Microsoft's H-1B Push As It Lays 18,000 Off Workers

davidwr A different culture and a different attitude (528 comments)

Decades ago - we are talking the 50s and 60s, possibly up through the '70s and '80s, large companies treated employees as a long-term asset not as a short- or medium-term one.

They wanted to cultivate the reputation of "we take care of our employees" more than "we take care of our stockholders."

Back then, it would take a radically different skill-set between those being laid off and those being hired for you to see simultaneous layoffs and hiring from abroad. As a hypothetical example, if a conglomerate were shutting down its meat-packing division and hiring new researchers as it expands its pharmaceutical research division, the odds are that most of those meat-packers wouldn't have the intellectual capacity to qualify for the Ph.D.- or at least graduated-in-the-top-quarter-of-my-class-from-a-good-school B.S.-in-chemistry-or-a-related-field- degree required for the new jobs even if the company was willing to invest 4-6 years to re-train them.

Today, by contrast, if the employee being laid off can't be quickly retrained, the short-term-economic decision is a no-brainer: lay that person off and hire someone for the newly-created job who can hit the ground running.

about two weeks ago
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US Senator Blasts Microsoft's H-1B Push As It Lays 18,000 Off Workers

davidwr It's not just Reid (528 comments)

But don't tell him that.

*joke*

about two weeks ago
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US Senator Blasts Microsoft's H-1B Push As It Lays 18,000 Off Workers

davidwr Australia? Canada? Hello? (528 comments)

the rest of the world had basically been converted to rubble and it takes a couple of decades to rebuild after such destruction.

I assume you mean the rest of the industrialized world.

Do Canada and Australia not count?

I don't think Canada suffered much infrastructure damage in WWII. Other than the northern coastal areas (particularly Darwin) and some ship-launched attacks on harbors I don't think Australia did either.

about two weeks ago
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US Senator Blasts Microsoft's H-1B Push As It Lays 18,000 Off Workers

davidwr On immigrant visas in general (528 comments)

I'm going to get a lot of flak for this but I generally favor open immigration when it comes to people who can contribute to our economy, even if this means my paycheck will go down and my field's labor market will be more competitive for me as a result.

Why?
* America shouldn't pretend to be the land of opportunity if it's not.
* If I can't compete in in my chosen job market without depending on the government to protect me from immigrant workers, either I need to get better at what I do or I need to find another line of work where I can compete.
* If my standard of living is higher than the income I would make in a free (from an immigration perspective) labor market, I need to lower my standard of living or find a more financially lucrative line of work.
* If a company has a choice between
1. hiring US workers who may be in short supply and demanding higher wages
2. importing workers to increase the supply and as a result possibly depress wages slightly
3. outsourcing the work overseas where the supply is more plentiful and the wages are significantly lower
everything else being equal it will go with #3.

Now, everything isn't equal, and there are usually clear benefits from having employees who are if not on-site at least in-country. But if the benefits aren't high enough to do #1 over #3 and #2 isn't an option, guess what choice they will pick? If you make #2 an attractive option compared to #3, American will at least benefit from the imported workers paying rent or buying homes, eating food, and otherwise helping the local economies of where they live.

In other words, if America let in anyone willing and able to work who had a job offer in hand, enough skills and financial resources to make sure they don't become a burden if they get laid off, and no particular reason to not let in that person, we should let them in to work.

about two weeks ago
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New Digital Currency Bases Value On Reputation

davidwr maybe, maybe not (100 comments)

See http://www.treasury.gov/resour... .

Short version:
* Yes for " debts, public charges, taxes, and dues."
* Not necessarily for goods or services.

In short, if you go into a store to buy something, they can say "no cash accepted, check or credit card only." But if they extend you store credit, you can pay off that debt later with cash, at least in theory.

about two weeks ago
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World Health Organization Calls For Decriminalization of Drug Use

davidwr There is at least one substantial benefit (474 comments)

"...while providing no substantial benefit."

I'm going to be pedantic and call BS on this one. If they hadn't been so bold and instead said "while in almost all cases failing to provide enough benefits to justify the cost" I wouldn't be making this reply.

Why am I upset about their hyperbole? Because it cuts into their credibility.

What's the specific counter-example I can provide? Read on..,.

In some societies, criminalization leads to social stigmatization even if the laws are not enforced or only lightly enforced, a stigmatization that would be absent or less strong otherwise. You see this in some parts of the United States, where the existence of little-enforced laws such as laws against littering, talking on the cell phone while driving, etc. reinforce and amplify the existing social stigma against such activities to the point that it's the stigma of being seen doing "the wrong thing," not the fear of getting a ticket or getting arrested, that drives people to follow the social norm.

Even if the enforcement of drug laws doesn't lead to reduced usage in and of itself, the stigmatization can.

Reducing the use of harmful drugs can benefit society in many ways, including fewer early deaths and fewer health problems.

The key though is that whether stigmatization by itself will lead to less drug use or not will vary from society to society and even sub-culture to sub-culture. A sub-culture which is known for being defiant of the larger society may in fact see doing things that are stigmatized by the larger society as a way to rebel. The 1960s young-adult/youth counterculture sub-culture in the United States is one example where a "main culture" stigmatizing an activity may lead to more, not less, overall use.

Now, does the existence of drug laws result in an enhanced stigma that leads to overall reduced drug use worldwide? I don't know. Is there someplace on this planet where drug laws are creating or reinforcing a stigma where the social stigma (not necessarily the fear of being caught by the police) is driving lower drug use? Almost certainly.

What's the bottom line?

* Don't summarily throw out drug laws worldwide.
* Do encourage every country and locality to ask itself to examine the totality of effects of its drug laws both within its own borders and on the rest of the world, and make an educated, informed decision about whether to change the drug laws to achieve the desired goals (which I assume are nominally a safer and healthier society, but which I sadly acknowledge may include things like keeping trading partners happy, keeping a dictator's friends flush with cash, and other factors that are irrelevant to the nominal purpose of drug laws), and if so, how.

about two weeks ago
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Seat Detects When You're Drowsy, Can Control Your Car

davidwr Better idea (106 comments)

A wearable medical-alarm device that detects when I'm driving and when I'm dozing off (or legally drunk, or whatever) at the same time. Let it beep at me and let it do whatever per-programmed task I tell it to do if I don't respond.

This task may be to alert the car that the driver is impaired, so the car can take action (assuming the car is equipped to receive such a message). On the other hand, I may program it to call my doctor or the local police.

A device that can tell I'm driving can also tell my phone to send all calls to voicemail and defer notifying me of texts until I am no longer driving.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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

davidwr davidwr writes  |  about a year and a half 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
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Congress, at Last Minute, Drops Requirement to Obtain Warrant to Monitor Email

davidwr davidwr writes  |  about a year and a half 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."

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

davidwr davidwr writes  |  about 2 years 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."

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

davidwr davidwr writes  |  about 2 years 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."
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What is a reasoanble immigration policy for highly-trained workers?

davidwr davidwr writes  |  more than 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."
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Hot pigs on the loose

davidwr davidwr writes  |  more than 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???"
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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

"INTERNET UNLIMITED ANALYTICS SURVEILLANCE SERVICES"
ANNOUNCES SUITE OF "FACEBOOK COMMENTS" STRATEGIC SURVEILLANCE TOOLS

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

- — -

--Lauren--
"Yes. This posting is a satire.""

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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."
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ADHD kids treated with instant gratification

davidwr davidwr writes  |  more than 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."

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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!"
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Owned by cat - yes, your cat controls you

davidwr davidwr writes  |  about 5 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."
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Poll: Favorite non-electric calculator

davidwr davidwr writes  |  more than 5 years ago

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

Abacus
Antikythera mechanism
Astrolabe
Babbage's Analytical engine
Fingers and toes
Pascal's calculator
Slide rule
CowboyNeal's bones"
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The Ten Commandments as seen in Star Trek (redux)

davidwr davidwr writes  |  more than 5 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."
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The Ten Commandments as seen in Star Trek

davidwr davidwr writes  |  more than 5 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."
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Kentucky judges: No to domain name siezure

davidwr davidwr writes  |  more than 5 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..."
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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."
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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|\|
*I CAN HAS BARAK OBAMA AN JOE BIDEN?
*Vote for the guys who are better than the other guys
*Vote CowboyNeal/CmdrTaco"

Journals

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davidwr davidwr writes  |  about 3 months ago

Storing a private key "in the cloud":

Key is K1. Key is thousands of seemingly-random bits, probably based on a pair of 1024-bit-or-larger prime numbers. You typically store K1 on your computer using a good encryption algorithm. Your password to decrypt the key is P1. P1 is typically tens of characters. Decrypting K1 with P1 is a fast (in human-time-scale) operation, under a second.

Although K1 is typically used to encrypt or decrypt data, for the purposes of this document, K1 is the thing to be encrypted. It will not be used to encrypt or decrypt anything.

Problem:

How to safely store a backup of key K1 online such that the end user can access it from any device if he has both the password P1 and something else that is not mathematically related to K1.

Method 1, the "something else" is a one-time pad:

Create a random one-time pad, R1, which is the same size as K1.
"Encrypt" (XOR) K1 with R1 then encrypt both with P1, creating the safe copy S1. Store S1 online.
Print off a copy of R1 such that it can be easily photographed and re-constructed. Store R1 or an encrypted version of it in a safe place, such as a safe-deposit box or distributed in parts to trusted secret-keepers.
Without R1 it is provably impossible to extract K1 from S1, so S1 is "safe."
R1 by itself is useless.
R1 with S1 constitutes a compromise but it will mean the attacker has to either guess P1 or exhaustively search for it.

If the person loses their local copy of K1, they can use R1, P1, and S1 to reconstruct K1.

Method 2, create a file S2 which from which is computationally hard to extract K1 without P1, acceptably moderately difficult to extract K1 with P1 and no other information, and easy to extract K1 with P1 and "something else" not related to K1.

For example, create a one-time pad R2 which consists of P1 combined with some random-ish filler-number B2 whose size is dependent on how "moderately difficult" it can be to extract K1 given only P1.

If this pad R2 is at least as long as K1, proceed on as in Method 1: "Encrypting" (XOR) K1 with R2 and encrypting both with P1, creating a safe copy S2. As neither P1 nor B2 are known or predicatble, S2 is safe.
The time to recover K from S2 with only P1 will be the time it takes to go through all (or, on average, half) of the possible values of B2. Since the length of B2 was chosen in advance based on how hard this decription should be, K1 will be recoverable in a predicable, acceptable amount of time. With B2 and P1 recovering K1 from S2 is quick.

If the pad R2 is not as long as K1, one option is to re-use the one-time pad and as such will not satisfy the goal o being "comptationally hard to extract K1 without P1," but it may be good enough for some applications.

A different solution is to encrypt K1 with P1 (the file that is normally stored on the person's local computer will qualify) then encrypt the result with either B2 or some combination of P1 and B2 to create S2. The difficulty of extracting K1 from S2 with only P1 depends on the time it takes to go through all (or, on average, half) of the possible values of B2. Depending on the lenghts of P1 and B2 and the encryption algorithms used, this may not be safe enough. With B2 and P1, recovery is quick.

This method has the advantage that the "something else," B2 in this case, need not be kept at all.

A typical scenario where the "B2" method would be preferred over the "R1" method is where it is acceptable if key K1 becomes unavailable for an extended period of time in exchange for a zero-risk that an adversary will acquire or discover R1.

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A self-proving identification card:

davidwr davidwr writes  |  about 6 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.

OPTIONAL:
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.

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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:

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/quickly-mirandize-arrested-people-no-matter-how-serious-crime/DncN0Pm2

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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.

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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.

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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.

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davidwr davidwr writes  |  more than 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

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NSA line-eater redux - 2012 DHS Media Monitoring terms

davidwr davidwr writes  |  about 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):

2600
Abu Sayyaf
Afghanistan
Agent
Agriculture
Agro
Agro Terror
Aid
Air Marshal
Airplane (and derivatives)
Airport
Al Queda (all spellings)
Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF)
Al-Shabaab
Ammonium nitrate
AMTRAK
Anthrax
Antiviral
AQAP (Al Qaeda Arabian Peninsula)
AQIM (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb)
Arellano-Felix
Artistics Assassins
Attack
Avalanche
Avian
Bacteria
Barrio Azteca
BART
Basque Separatists
Beltran-Leyva
Biological
Biological infection (or event)
Biological weapon
Black out
Blister agent
Blizzard
Body scanner
Border
Border Patrol
Botnet
Bridge
Brown out
Brush fire
Brute forcing
Burn
Burst
Bust
Cain and abel
Calderon
Canceled
Car bomb
Cartel
Cartel de Golfo
Center for Disease Control (CDC)
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
Chemical
Chemical burn
Chemical fire
Chemical Spill
Chemical weapon
China
CIKR (Critical Infrastructure & Key Resources)
Ciudad Juarez
Closure
Cloud
Coast Guard (USCG)
Cocaine
Collapse
Colombia
Communications infrastructure
Computer infrastructure
Conficker
Consular
Contamination
Conventional weapon
Crest
Critical infrastructure
Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
Cyber attack
Cyber Command
Cyber security
Cyber terror
DDOS (dedicated denial of service)
Decapitated
Delays
Denial of service
Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
Dirty bomb
Disaster
Dock
Drug
Drug Administration (FDA)
Drug cartel
Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)
Drug trade
Drug war
E. Coli
Earthquake
Ebola
Eco terrorism
El Paso
Electric
Emergency
Emergency Broadcast System
Enriched
Environmental terrorist
Epidemic
Erosion
ETA (Euskadi ta Askatasuna)
Evacuation
Execution
Exposure
Extreme weather
Extremism
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)
Flood
Flu
Food Poisoning
Foot and Mouth (FMD)
Forest fire
Fort Hancock
Fundamentalism
Fusion Center
Gang
Gas
Grid
Gulf Cartel
Gunfight
Guzman
H1N1
H5N1
Hacker
Hail
Hamas
Hazardous
Hazardous material incident
Hazmat
Help
Heroin
Hezbollah
Home grown
Homeland Defense
Human to ANIMAL
Human to human
Hurricane
Ice
IED (Improvised Explosive Device)
Illegal immigrants
Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE)
Improvised explosive device
Industrial spill
Infection
Influenza
Infrastructure security
Interstate
IRA (Irish Republican Army)
Iran
Iraq
Islamist
Jihad
Juarez
Keylogger
Kidnap
La Familia
Leak
Lightening
Listeria
Los Zetas
Magnitude
Malware
Mara salvatrucha
Marijuana
MARTA
Matamoros
Meth Lab
Methamphetamine
Metro
Mexican army
Mexicles
Mexico
Michoacana
MS13 or MS-13
Mud slide or Mudslide
Mutation
Mysql injection
Narco banners (Spanish equivalents)
Narcos
Narcotics
National Guard
National infrastructure
National laboratory
National Operations Center (NOC)
Nationalist
NBIC (National Biosurveillance Integration Center)
Nerve agent
New Federation
Nigeria
Nogales
North Korea
Norvo Virus
Nuclear
Nuclear facility
Nuclear threat
Nuevo Leon
Outbreak
Pakistan
Pandemic
Phishing
Phreaking
Pirates
Plague
PLF (Palestine Liberation Front)
PLO (Palestine Libration Organization)
Plot
Plume
Pork
Port
Port Authority
Powder (white)
Power
Power lines
Power outage
Public Health
Quarantine
Radiation
Radicals
Radioactive
Recall
Recruitment
Red Cross
Red Cross
Relief
Resistant
Reynose
Reyosa
Ricin
Rootkit
Salmonella
San Diego
Sarin
Scammers
Secret Service (USSS)
Secure Border Initiative (SBI)
Service disruption
Shelter-in-place
Shootout
Sick
Sinaloa
Sleet
Small Pox
Smart
Smuggling (smugglers)
Snow
Social media
Somalia
Sonora
Southwest
Spammer
Spillover
Storm
Strain
Stranded/Stuck
Subway
Suicide attack
Suicide bomber
Suspicious package/device
Suspicious substance
Swine
Symptoms
Taliban
Tamaulipas
Tamiflu
Tamil Tiger
Target
Task Force
Telecommunications
Temblor
Terror
Terrorism
Tijuana
Tornado
Torreon
Toxic
Toxic
Trafficking
Transportation security
Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
Tremor
Trojan
Tsunami
Tsunami Warning Center
TTP (Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan)
Tuberculosis (TB)
Tucson
Twister
Typhoon
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS)
U.S. Consulate
United Nations (UN)
Vaccine
Violence
Viral Hemorrhagic Fever
Virus
Warning
Watch
Water/air borne
Wave
Weapons cache
Weapons grade
Wildfire
WMATA
World Health Organization (WHO and components)
Worm
Yemen
Yuma

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.

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

davidwr davidwr writes  |  more than 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.

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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

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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.

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Poll: I think life on Mars...

davidwr davidwr writes  |  more than 6 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.

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

davidwr davidwr writes  |  more than 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."

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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
* I GIVE UP NOTHING!
* Life itself
* Reading Cowboyneal's Blog

Previously archived comments: here and here

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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
* I GIVE UP NOTHING!
* Life itself
* Reading Cowboyneal's Blog

Previously archived comments: here

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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
* I GIVE UP NOTHING!
* Life itself
* Reading Cowboyneal's Blog

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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.

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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.

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The inflation-adjusted morgtage payment

davidwr davidwr writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Problem:
Adjustable rate mortgages rise too fast.

Solution:
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.

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

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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.

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