* Posts by Charles 9

6871 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Congress strips out privacy protections from CISA 'security' bill

Charles 9
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Re: Wht we need to work on is...

That's kinda tough when the average Joe Public isn't interested in learning. Please note all those people who swear on their Bibles or whatever that the world is only 6,000 years old, that anyone and anything that's been to space has been tricked by the Devil, and that Final Judgment is nearly 20 years overdue. As a comedian once said, "You can't fix Stupid."

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Charles 9
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Re: "data handed over is immune from freedom of information requests."

I believe income tax (which the 16th Amendment allowed by exempting it from existing restrictiong) was addressed separately from the matter of excise taxes. Income tax had been tossed around since the Civil War, but the Pollock case forced a resolution because SCOTUS got involved and limited income tax to that from labor (the states were supposed to get a proportional cut from income tax from other sources).

There had also been a discussion in the past about which was better: an income tax or a sales tax. They settled on the income tax primarily because it was harder to hide income under the table.

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Charles 9
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Re: What fucked up approach to democracy

Truth is, Congress had actually had gentlemen's agreements to avoid non-germane riders. Thing was, riders were also the best tool to get lesser Congresspeople to sign on to controversial bills (IOW, if persuasion doesn't work, try bribery). Since the lesser Congresspeople lacked the power, they couldn't get anything done directly for their constituents, so it became something of a necessary evil to tempt these votes with riders to keep those districts happy so they can be re-elected

So basically, removing riders prevented bridges to nowhere but it also burned the bridges needed to get the tough acts passed, meaning Congressional activity (and approval) tanked.

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Charles 9
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Re: What fucked up approach to democracy

Problem is two can play that game, and the House in particular has historically blamed President Obama for everything that goes wrong in the country regardless of its real cause; they just use the "six degrees" technique to connect everything to him. In such an environment, admonishment doesn't work because they can ignore it in their heads and just admonish Obama back, piling on extra reasons to make their story look like the real one. Remember, the game of chicken did end up crashing at least once with a shutdown of about two weeks, and they keep blaming Obama for that shutdown, even when public opinion showed otherwise; after all, the GOP regained the Senate in 2014 in spite of it.

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Charles 9
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Re: Mass protests

And plenty of money, seeing as how you probably won't have a job to come back to once you're done in DC. I mean, what happened to all the people who tried to Occupy Wall Street?

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Charles 9
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Re: No, not quite

That won't help in Congressional election. A huge chunk of them run uncontested, meaning there aren't even two parties on the ballot, let alone three.

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Charles 9
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Re: "data handed over is immune from freedom of information requests."

By their standard, any law that is still standing and hasn't been overturned can't be too f-witted to stand.

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Charles 9
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Re: What fucked up approach to democracy

They better be careful, though. Obama's already called the bluff a few times, even during a shutdown negotiation. He actually has vetoed bills he wanted because they'd been poisoned.

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ZOMBIE Commodore PET lurches out of its 1970s grave – as a FONDLESLAB

Charles 9
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Re: Not *another* cheap nostalgia-exploiting "revival"

Because I believe its slogan is trademarked ("His prices are INSANE!"), plus there's the whole image of a crazy electronics dealer and the fact the name "Crazy Eddie" rolls off the tongue so easily. I lived in Nassau County during Crazy Eddie's height, and there was a store near Roosevelt Field that I visited a few times as a kid. I believe the name's being held by an online retailer, and seeing as it's been nearly 30 years since the fall of the Antars, some feel the image can be safely re-introduced. Problem is, a store like Crazy Eddie can't compete anymore in the world of big-boxers like Best Buy. Its biggest rival, Circuit City, bit the dust shortly before the turn. Even the vaunted Radio Shock has closed up shop.

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13,000 Comcast customers complain to FCC over data caps

Charles 9
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Re: Yep... I figured half as much

They can't. They have this thing called "fiduciary duty." Also, in a competitive world, nice guys finish last. You take what you can when you can get it or someone else leaves you hungry.

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Let's shut down the internet: Republicans vacate their mind bowels

Charles 9
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Re: Conservative = stupid

"The liberal position, which I have held for decades and you have never understood, is "I have a good life, but I observe others do not. How can I, as a citizen, work to ensure that others have a good life as well?""

Which makes no sense in a world of 12 islanders but only 10 coconuts. It sounds all nice on paper, but eventually the game turns zero sum and it's you or him.

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Charles 9
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Re: Fucking appalling

No, it succeeded. The Arab Spring was a bust. The popular uprisings fizzled out, and the governments in Egypt, Syria, et al are no better than what was there before. Sure, some information got out, but not enough to make a difference. They didn't have to squelch all communication, just enough of it. Also consider the ramifications for those people who did manage to leak. Have we ever heard from them again (implying they allowed some information to leak so as to trace them)?

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Charles 9
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Re: Encryption

"Which, of course, will change nothing. Have they forgotten that all the WW2 communications intercepted by places like Bletchely park were in clear text, easily intercepted by anyone with a radio, because the spies had first encrypted their stuff by hand using Enigma, one-time pads, etc."

Then it was still transmitted in an encrypted form. The thing about encrypted communications is that they're typically not human-comprehensible, which makes them stand out. The only way around that is through steganography (hiding a message within another innocuous message), but even that has its limitations, especially for messages of arbitrary subject and length.

"Even if "they" could somehow force the internet and every device connected to it to use only non-encrypted messages, those who want secrecy will still be able to encipher their stuff before it gets anywhere near the internet, and one-time pads (or their opensource software equivalents) have no back doors."

But has a bandwidth limit and, again, will make it stand out and make it easier to spot and trace. Plus it's tricky to combine the one-time pad with stego and still make it able to get past detection and mangling techniques while still able to produce a message of usable length. Another consideration. If the enemy figures out even one of the messages is suspect and mangles it such that the other side can't decipher it, you've defeated the one-time pad for the duration because now the two ends are out of sync.

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Charles 9
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"Have you read Plato's Republic? It makes an interesting argument in its effort to answer your exact question."

Interesting, yes, but highly unrealistic and one that assumes a knowledgeable and informed public when the opposite is true. The average American has a narrow scope of knowledge that can have a detrimental effect in a highly-interconnected society where one's decisions, made even in isolation, can affect the whole, perhaps even boomeranging back and hitting the decision maker.

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Charles 9
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Re: Bring on James Kipper for President of the United States

Uh, one little detail. Only people born in the United States (more or less) can run for President. And that's right in Article II, so the requirement can't be removed easily.

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Charles 9
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Sorry, but they're part and parcel. The only way to remove the dumb blonde is to remove humanity, full stop.

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Charles 9
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Re: Looks like Rand Paul made the smartest observation

Many reckon it wouldn't exist as evil would take advantage of the Constitution's guarantees of freedom to destroy it. It's either Big Brother or Big BOOM.

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Charles 9
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Re: He's not completely wrong

But satellite requires a subscription which can be revoked. As for the microwave towers, they still need to be able to communicate with towers outside the borders to be able to connect to the greater Internet. It may not be so much "shut down" the Internet in those regions as "isolate" it so that those within the borders can't easily talk to those outside them.

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Charles 9
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Re: Conservative = stupid

And in contrast the position of the typical liberal is that, "Everything of value has already been taken from me by the affluent, so what's left to lose in trying to take it back?"

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Charles 9
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Re: Fucking appalling

"What about dark fiber, what about bands of citizens making a mesh-net out of their consumer routing hardware"

They can talk to each other (which they can still do by telephone and in person), but that says nothing about being to talk to the outside world, which by definition needs some sort of outside link. Unless, as I requested before, they DO possess this link, and it's with an "unfriendly" state that would refuse to cooperate with the West.

PS. Even meshnets will have a hard time getting past broadband jammers, as the Arab Spring showed. If a leader doesn't want the people to talk, they'll find ways to reduce it to such a crawl that anyone who dared would stand out, such as by simply outlawing all encryption not under state control.

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Charles 9
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Re: Fucking appalling

"[Shutting down parts of the Internet] is something that only a government can really do and even then only if there is a reasonably stable rule of law in a country."

Oh? What about a chokepoint undersea cable located in international waters? Unless they already have links that go through countries like Russia that will refuse to cooperate.

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Charles 9
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Which then implies a contrapositive: "Those most suited to lead others are the people least desiring to do so."

Presenting a hard problem. How does society find the people best suited for the job when they are, by definition, least desiring of it and indeed may be preoccupied with other, important matters?

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Charles 9
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Re: You're making a mistaken assumption here

We're not "moist robots" as Adams puts it but animals who don't realize it. We still have this bank of lower thought processes--mainly emotions--that can override our higher reasoning when pushed enough, such as during a crisis. Historically, humans tend to lash out during a crisis because our emotions demand a response. Otherwise, we go nuts even before our reason is able to kick in. You punch someone out of the blue, their usual response is to retaliate, the cerebrum usually doesn't even come into play. We like to think of ourselves as higher-thinking creatures, but let's face it; we're no Vulcans. That's why elections are such a farce; candidates worth their salt know that winning elections requires appealing to the gut, not to the brain.

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Microsoft steps up Windows 10 nagging

Charles 9
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Re: I'd like to know...

Rotting in the ADX Florence Supermax in Colorado under eight LWOP sentences (he pled guilty to avoid the death penalty). Given he's 73 now, I don't know how much use he'll be even if he was eligible for parole, which he's not.

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Charles 9
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Re: Bring on the law suits!

You're forgetting that Microsoft covered their butts my making the upgrade automatic only on home installations. Enterprise installations are neither eligible for the free upgrade nor given the automatic upgrade, last I checked. So if a business computer gets snarled by an automatic update, it will be assumed to be a Home installation in a business: against the license, so there will be some questions. As for the loss of data in a home, a home user would have a weaker standing because home data accumulation is less likely to be of enough value to warrant a suit.

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Charles 9
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Re: Oi Microsoft

With that kind of attitude, you'd think they'd attach GWX to every single update they provide, including the security updates so that you end up between Scylla and Charybdis. Remove the update to get rid of GWX and you're left open to pwnage.

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Charles 9
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Re: They're not helping themselves here.

Nothing. It's just I've never seen it from my personal first-hand experience, which tells me either people are doing it wrong or are lying. Until I see otherwise firsthand, which is the only viewpoint I can trust, my point stands.

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Charles 9
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Re: FFS Microsoft (AKA F*** Microsoft)

Using VirtualBox requires a copy of Windows, which basically means "Why bother?" And Crossover is based on WINE, which you'll note can be hit or miss, particularly with newer games. And now with Windows 10, they'll be pushing DirectX 12 games, which hasn't been translated over to Vulkan at this point in time.

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Charles 9
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Re: They're not helping themselves here.

Hmm, never had that happen to me, and I've checked.

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Charles 9
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Re: FFS Microsoft

"Have a look at SteamOS, it's now working great. Spent the night playing games on it (with a steam controller) ..."

In case you haven't read, I've been to Linux and back. And the Steam on Linux catalog pales compared to that of the original Steam on Windows catalog. Too many titles even now are Windows-only. I just recently checked their popular sellers list. Of all 207 on that list, there were about 62 that were on Linux. Of them, 2 were dev kits, 2 were Valve accessories (the Steam Controller and Steam Link), 1 was a video, and all but 2 or 3 of the rest were indie games. No headliners like Fallout 4 from big-name companies. This includes companies like Square Enix who develop for the PS4 and therefore should have some experience with working with a Linux target, yet not a peep from them. Most of my current collection are Windows only and likely will be staying that way for a long time. So you know what, until that changes, Steam on Linux can take a hike,

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Charles 9
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Re: They're not helping themselves here.

"You say you have 3 home PCs running windows 10 and I'm glad that they're running well, but that's 15GB worth of downloads that happened and to many, they happened without their knowledge and without any meaningful approval."

Nah, just 5GB. Download it once and install it to a USB stick. Voila, you can install on as many (or as few) machines as you wish while only downloading it once.

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Charles 9
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Re: oh this is so funny

"If MS can't provide it then they can go get hosed."

Then they hose you right back with Windows-only, WINE-incompatible, VM-not-recommended software.

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Canadian live route map highlights vulnerabilities to NSA spying efforts

Charles 9
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Re: The Traveling Salesman Problem

That's what's happening, as the Internet can't see things too well in terms of physical distance, just in terms of time, and packets can be delayed by more than just sheer distance, such as a slow leg along the way.

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Charles 9
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Re: How much extra bandwidth does this require?

Not shortest; fastest. That's why you have beltways and so on, because if you had to cut through the downtown of a highly-congested city just to get past it, you find that taking the beltway around it, which is usually a motorway as well, still saves you time even if the trip is further in terms of distance. IOW, a speedy dogleg down a motorway can still beat a straight-on trudge through rough and crowded surface streets.

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Charles 9
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Re: Hey

You can't. You're already screwed as every ISP in America must submit to the NSA by law or they can't operate. And they've become savvy enough to say their laws take precedence over any other law, even those that prohibit lying, so that you can't use warrant canaries.

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Lettuce-nibbling veggies menace Mother Earth

Charles 9
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Re: @Frumious Bandersnatch - An apples to apples comparison would surely show...

And to be fair, to be able to live on an Inuit diet you pretty much have to be an Inuit due to biological adaptations to consuming such a specialized diet (if I recall, it's notably high in fat, so much so that visitors can't handle the diet straight up).

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Charles 9
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Re: but who eats lettuce?

The US has similar restrictions, too. I think it's more due to the "unknown" nature of human leftovers that warrants the ban: in particular for animals destined for human consumption. Basically, if you don't know what the animal's eating, you could be contaminating it (and some of these contaminants can bioaccumulate, meaning they stay in the animal for a long time), making it unsafe for consumption,

Anyway, uneaten food can be separated and composted, so it's not like it'll be a total loss.

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Charles 9
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Trollface

"From compressed and processed ocean-bred algae. Not at all from people."

Fine, but algae still counts as a plant, meaning plants do get harmed (and killed) in the process. If there were such a thing as PETPV, they'd be throwing fits.

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Charles 9
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But where will the raw materials for our food grade 3D printers come from?

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Charles 9
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Are there any long term studies regarding growing, harvesting, and consumption of tomatoes, given they are related to nightshade ?

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How to solve a Rubik's Cube in five seconds

Charles 9
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Re: Algorithm./ Technique

Point is, either way, you end up with a solved cube, a fixed computer, or in an earlier example, a sorted list. May not be the optimal solution, but unless utmost efficiency is critical, many times you can get away with "good enough". Selection sort may not be the fastest sort around, but it has its uses when space is tight because it can sort in situ.

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Samba man 'Tridge' accidentally helps to sink request for Oz voteware source code

Charles 9
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Re: Don't rely on just one system

Trouble with your ideas:

Sometimes an election doesn't result in a goverment. With no outright majority and no coalition to take it over the line, you have to try again, which leads to the other problem.

Waiting for a new government to form before dissolving the old one can put a bias towards the incumbent to keep a rival government from forming, corrupting the system.

And meanwhile, what if some urgency occurs between governments? Even with a fallback, some could be banking on the fallback.

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Charles 9
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Re: First past the post

But sometimes, simple isn't the best solution. Consider this. The US has been pretty much stuck at two parties for the better part of two centuries (the parties shift here and there, but third parties usually don't last long as a major political player in the US). It's a natural consequence of a winner-take-all system like first past the post: it causes political affiliations, and everything that goes with them, to polarize to maximuze the potential to be the winner. The differences grow over time to the point that he key element of politics, compromise, becomes less viable like the situation today.

Say what you will of complexity, but some complexity can be considered necessary complexity in order to help protect the ability of outside voices to have a say.

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Charles 9
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"The machine should be probed with different inputs (all unknown beforehand to the machine), only one of which is the real one, the others being test suites with known outputs."

Still, designed carefully, a secret subversion system may only be reachable by an intricate series of inputs (like a knocking or multiple ping-pong system) such that the odds of hitting it by chance are infinitesimally small. In every other case, it will work as designed...until that once-in-a-billion-plus input.

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Charles 9
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Re: Complex? It's an STV election...

The trick is not the ballot itself, it's making sure the ballot isn't changed, switched, or removed after the vote is cast as well as making sure no additional "stuffed" ballots are inserted into the process. The reason for a move to machines is to find a system such that any given vote is counted once, only once, never changes, and can be proven to be all three. Having a machine reading the votes provides an alternate set of eyes that requires a different kind of technique to subvert than bribing vote counters (and once a person is found to be a vote counter, that person could be persuaded or coerced). Also, a system that leaves a receipt to the voter provides a way for the voters themselves (if they wish) to triple-check the results outside the scope of the election machine.

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Charles 9
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The problem is that voting software is valueless even with open source because the machine can just be subverted elsewhere.

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Adobe: We locked our customers in the cloud and out poured money

Charles 9
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Re: re: For an indie, it's a bit of a piss take.

Last I checked, plumbers don't rent their wrenches and painters don't rent their canvas.

As for the struggling artist, don't forget the rent/property taxes, the groceries, and the utilities (particularly in this case electricity and Internet access) among other things.

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US House okays making internet tax exemptions permanent

Charles 9
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Re: Legal limits

"Additionally, many Americans do not recognize any government claim to authority over the Internet, so people ignore all claims to taxes."

But the governments and ISPs can counter that the Internet runs on their pipes, airwaves, and sovereign territory. It's like with oil: you have to get it from point A to point B somehow, which means transport is as essential as the commodity itself. And data does have a physical form in the electrons. So like it or not, data that flows through privately-owned cables or through government-regulated airwaves is subject to regulation.

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Charles 9
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No state can enforce interstate commerce because the Constitution (via the Interstate Commerce Clause found in Article I) explicitly makes it a federal matter (which also means the Tenth Amendment can't be used as it's an enumerated power). And the feds aren't interested in helping the states in this matter because it means giving away power, so they're basically SOL unless they can push a compelling case before Congress. And who runs such a brokerage? A private firm would gain power that can corrupt it, and too many people distrust the government to get it done right, either.

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Charles 9
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Re: Hidden Stuff

"We don't recognize any governments claim of authority over any aspect of the Internet, and we will actively obstruct any corporate or government actions that we believe to be an infringement on our rights or freedoms."

Good luck. What's the Internet without bandwidth? ISPs own the landlines and the governments both own the airwaves and hold sovereign power over any landlines in their territory.

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