* Posts by Matt

47 posts • joined 23 Jul 2007

US cops called to McDonalds menu cock-up

Matt

Civil not criminal...

>The officer DIDN'T have enough time to deal with McDonalds bait and switch. But DID have

>enough time to arrest her for calling the police?

Her offense was criminal.

McDonald's offense was civil and therefore the police had no jurisdiction. It wasn't theft. McDonalds had a verbal contract they made in good faith by failed to deliver on, thus civil.

Now often the police will try to mediate disputes that are civil, but they won't waste too much time on before telling the parties it's a civil offense and if they can't get along, go sue each other. Have a nice day.

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NSA offering 'billions' for Skype eavesdrop solution

Matt

Never fear.

With the Democrats back in power, they can complete the plans started under CALEA.

They'll just buy Skype under the guise of saving the economy, have the source code, and game over. What's a couple billion in a Porkulus Bill anyway?

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Feds: IT admin plotted to erase Fannie Mae

Matt

Not hard...

>That includes looking at all root cronjobs, atd and anyone's cronjob/atd which references

>privileged accounts. Yes, they will have to look at all the scripts and binaries that run too

I think there's lots of good ideas here, reinforcing many lessons learned.

Day to day review of those files should be easy with a system that looks for executable files, and known dependencies (such as files read by the scripts for variables), then generates a hash. If hashes change, trip an alert to Security to review the issue. I'm thinking a Unix system with root locked down by Security, and well configured sudoers would keep files from being hidden.

There's always vulnerabilities -- Security could be the disgruntled employees (I say employees...I would imagine if you're that worried about a sysadmin having root rights, it should also take TWO people in Security to grant authorization...) I would think if I was a sysadmin trying to be as discrete as possible I'd hide the logic bomb in a SQL database...have some fairly obscure script that just runs, looks up someting in the DB, does it thing...until it sucks in some malicious code similiar to a SQL injection attack on web servers. With an ever changing SQL database, you wouldn't have it flagged merely by a hash. Someone leaves, Security is likely to see no changes to cron, executables, or included files and think all is well if they don't remember about that nightly ETL script...

For remote access, this is a reminder of the importance of two factor authentication. Have all the servers setup to only accept SSH from internal addresses to force sysadmins to come in through the VPN. Since sysadmins often know user's passwords...and have access to password files to run rainbow attacks on them...simply disabling their personal access isn't very secure. But even if they know someone's password, without the token to get through the VPN authentication they're still off the network.

Yes, disable access right away. I have had times before with a co-worker being suspended (which turned into a termination because they took it less then gracefully) where I was directed to secure their company laptop when he was called into the boss' office. Since the most likely place to store the code is on your office PC to cut-n-paste when the time comes to plant it, at the very least secure the input devices if you don't outright remove the computers from their cube while they're in being given the bad news.

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I'm a sceptic now, says ex-NASA climate boss

Matt

Warmer? Rubbish.

To counter the observations of the poster above about it being warmer in 40 seasons, I've only seen 38.

There is at least as many "old fashioned" winters here in Connecticut as there was in the 70s. In the 10 years I've owned by current home, it's pretty consistent I only have one January in three that lacks a true thaw. I can remember many years in the 70s and 80s with no snow on the ground at Christmas. This year it was snowy, and we've gone about six weeks now since I last saw grass.

The Wooly Adelgid, which is attacking our hemlocks, has been checked in recent years by several seasons since 2000 where temperatures have dropped below -5ºF -- a critical temperature that kills them. That is consistent with our USDA planting zone since the 1970s of average lows between 0 and -10F, and is an indicator of a return to more normal temperatures after a fairly mild period in the 80s and 90s -- in other words, just normal weather fluctuations.

Looking at our historical recording of weather, there is nothing to indicate our current times -- at least here in New England -- are aberrent. They're not as mild and calm as the best years, but historically we've seen weather just as active as it is now.

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US to postpone analog TV death

Matt

Just to clear up...

I'm not sure you can call this "waste of taxes." Waste, probably -- given the Bush & Obama's nanny state philosophies they'd probably be buying us 8 track convertors if it was the 70s -- but not taxes.

Ok, so $1.34 Billion was allocated to buy convertors.

However, FCC auctioned off part of the bandwidth being freed up by this switch last January for $19.5 Billion (remember that Google v. Verizon bidding? That's old analog TV bandwidth they were after)...and proper financial accounting I'd say would attribute the $1.34 B as part of the expenses for realizing the $19.5 B in revenue.

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Thai court jails 'swirly-face' paedophile

Matt

I dunno...

Would you rather see someone sentenced to 30 years in a U.S. prison (and I presume Canada, the U.K., or any Western European prison are similiar)

Or 3 years in Thailand?

I'd bet the punishment value of the latter is greater; in the former you get three squares a day, full healthcare, extensive support networks to move you to protective facilities if you're threatened, pyschological counseling, addicition counseling, adult education, work release, etc, etc. While many of those are important services, and others simply go too far, it does mean comparing third world prison time to those in the west is difficult. One case near me has Massachusetts fighting in court whether just hormone therapy is enough, or if they state has to pay for a murder serving a life sentence to get a sex change operation. Do you think authorities in Thailand wouldn't have just laughed at someone's request for the drugs alone?

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US Air Force halts plans to establish a Cyber Command

Matt

That, and the nasty habit losing Nukes...

If I heard the radio right, just in the past few days the USAF just received it's new, permanent command general following the firing of the civilian & military bosses after the two incidents of flying armed nukes over the continental U.S. (without realizing it...) and the nuke fuse that ended up in Okinawa or somewhere way were it shouldn't have been.

Anyway, my guess is he's put a halt to all the peripheral stuff until they can get the basic SOPs clicking again.

Oh, and with the guns of August once again sounding in the distance, figuring out how to fight a two front war against Iran and Russia. Because God, and every other sentient being, knows Bush, McCain, and Obama are all fully capable of stumbling into it.

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Windfall taxing big oil: how to make the gas crisis worse

Matt

I am shocked

>Yes, approx 9% profit isn't a high margin, but as the market increases in size,

>the profit margin is supposed to shrink. Think AT&T before the breakup.

At the utter blissful ignorance of so many posters here are buying left wing propaganda hook, line, and sinker.

Profit margins shrink as size grows? How on earth do you attract capital that way since by definition it would be in your economic interest to invest in other areas you can attain higher rates of return?

AT&T before breakup was a highly regulated monopoly. It's profits weren't low due to market size, they were low because those profits were guaranteed by a complex system of regulations that assured them a set rate of return under favorable accounting rules in exchange for providing universal service and being protected from competetion.

One recent show one proud liberal was waxing poetically about how good the high energy prices are, and she felt the pain of the working class, so we should provide them energy tax credits (i.e. tax everyone else already paying more for energy in order to encourage more consumption by others for whom the energy would be relatively cheap).

Oh well...if energy costs do not collapse soon, next year's municipal budget season in the U.S. is going to be a hoot. Taxpayers, particularly the fixed income seniors who turn out consistently and in large numbers (unlike the mythical Obama Youth), will not tolerate even zero-increase budgets after this winter. They'll be looking to squeeze blood from the stone of municipal budgets in those communities that approve them by referendum, and even where it's all by represenative government...the city councils will be under enormous political pressure to cut taxes.

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Aussies: Eat roos, save the planet

Matt

Wrong Answer

>Any form of meat isn't going to be environmentally friendly compared to a

>vegetarian diet.

So you'd plow under native grasslands to plant a vegetable garden?

There is a big disconnect -- yes, many modern methods of factory farming meat are not environmentally sound. Confined animal feeding operations dependent on grains have a plethora of ethical, environmental, and health issues.

But because vegetarians/vegans may have an advantage in that narrow view does not follow that they are superior in all ways to proper meat production.

The simplest example is a goat.

Why, in an arid region like the Mediterreanean, should you limit your diet to vegetables when there are large areas of where goats can go up in the hills where you can't grow your own food, and convert plants inedible to humans into valuable human food?

Even cows are perfectly understandable. It doesn't take many man-hours to maintain pasture. For relatively few man hours, the cows can go out, eat, convert something inedible to man (grass), and produce large amounts of valuable food in milk, meat, and if you're a Massai tribesman even blood.

Pigs provide a great way to take spoiled foods -- breads don't do much for a compost pile, nor cheese or eggs for that matter, or the odd dead chicken found in the yard -- and produce useful meat for people (as well as good manure for gardens, properly composted of course.) Like cattle, certain cuts of pork are also easy to cure for long term storage of a year or so at room temperatures...providing high density protein and fat year round even if weather has caused crops to fail.

Vegetarianism / Veganism is not environmentally responsible, truly adopted it requires limiting our food choices and expanding the land we intensively raise human foods on while abandoning to human consumption much land where food animals can co-exist quite nicely with a diverse ecosystem. A mixed diet including responsibly raised meat on pasture and open rangeland would have a smaller footprint on this planet.

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Hack ushers in the insatiable toll booth

Matt

Always the license plate?

I'm sure if there is wide scale fraud, they can OCR to match transponders to plates.

I do not believe they currently do that match for EVERY transaction -- only when the transponder isn't read do they run the plate and either bill fastrak account, or send you a bill for non account holders.

http://www.thetollroads.com/home/common_fastrak.htm#8

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American man too fat for execution

Matt

Interesting...

>No man should have the right to take the life of another (disregarding the

>complex situation of eutinasia).

Let's remember, George Orwell was not writing training manuals. Is there much difference between that line and "all animals are equal, some animals are more equal then others." You can't use weasel words when your belief of absolutely no man has a right to take the life of another conflicts with another belief of yours. Either stick with the absoluteness, or admit there is room for flexibility and enumerate the situations where the taking of life of another man is acceptable.

Now on to the point I was originally going to post

1) I don't, in general, support capital punishment in modern society. Chose your litany of reasons -- most crimes are not premeditated enough for it serve as a detterent, it's imposition in the U.S. is very flakey -- both in quality of counsel and who ends up with it being imposed, we can easily afford to keep them incarcerated. There are situations I'm willing to listen to it being of deterent value -- premeditated crimes, particulalry targeting agents of the state (such as prisoners killing guards), or situations such as espionage / sabotage.

2) The bigger point...the U.S. legal system is a bit more complex then many realize. For better, and worse.

The U.S. Federal government, including the Supreme Court, can't directly ban capital punishment. They could directly do so only through a consititutional amendment that would require the majority of state legisltatures to ratify...so even there it's not entirely within their control.

The adoption of an international treaty by the U.S. government is not binding on the state governments. Normally this is not a problem, as the vast majority of issues covered under international agreements are items the U.S. Constitution already invests the sole or joint authority for with the Federal government. But as the recent case of the Mexican national on death row in Texas showed, such international treaties are not binding on the criminal laws of the individual states. That's the rule, and in the past it hasn't been pushed to the limit often because normally states will voluntarily acquiese to the treaties signed by the federal government.

The Congress can ban it for federal crimes, and they could provide incentives to the states to drop it (we'll pay 10% of your prison costs if you drop the death penalty). Many "national" laws such as blood alcohol content for driving being .08% are set that way -- Congress can't establish the BAC since driving is regulated by the states, but they will withhold highway funds from states that don't adopt it. That will continue unless, bless the day, we have a Supreme Court that stands up to the rampant abuses of the commerce clause by Congress.

The Supreme Court can peck away at the edges. The Supreme Court can question the pain involved; they can question if it is being enforced in a fair manner. States could respond easily, chosing less painful procedures (if one buys the pain argument)...and even addressing fairness issues by mandating it across the board. The Supreme Court can question the competency of counsel, and states can address that issue as well.

They may even, as the recently have done, declare it unconstitutional in certain circumstances where few if any other states still impose it (the "unusual" part of "cruel and unusual"). Punishments are only banned if they are both cruel and unusual and a lot of the whining about the cruelty of lethal injection today is I am certain part of a strategy by the death penalty opponents to first get it accepted that lethal injection is cruel; once that is established they will attack the death penalty roulette and the lack of any defenitive rational as to why some murderers receive it and others don't to establish the "unusual" part. That second part is going to be a much longer constitutional row to hoe.

But the legal precedents are deep and the constitutional issues are clear that capital punishment itself is allowed and primarily left to the fifty individual states to decide whether to impose it.

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eBay sues Craigslist as family squabble goes public

Matt

Extremely common

Most public and many private corporations are incorporated in Delaware thanks to beneficial state laws and a court system that specializes in lawsuits like this.

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World Bank chief: Ethanol cars run on human misery

Matt

Naive?

>The comments above seem a little naive..That is standard capitalism, where

>short term profit is put before long term investment, note the quick fix ethanol...

That's beyond naive.

Ethanol had nothing to do with capitalism and market forces.

It got it's start in dunderheaded environmentalists.

Back 20 years ago they required oxygenators in the fuel in certain parts of the U.S. to reduce pollution. The industry chose the cheapest one -- MTBE. Which is a water soluble carcinogen. Ok, that wasn't smart.

So the laws started to change that said no more MTBE -- you need Ethanol instead!

Problem was...you don't need oxygenators today. Advances in the computer controls for the cars address the problems that chemical additives like MTBE or Ethanol are meant to address. But dunderheaded environmentalists wouldn't accept fuel with oxygenators.

Then the farm lobby -- about as warped as you can think of from capitalism with a large number of federal programs and subisidies that muck with the market -- realized that having 10% of the fuel supply be ethanol was a way to increase farm profits...and they took up the cause of requiring Ethanol everywhere, not just where oxygenators had been needed twenty years ago for pollution control.

Big oil's response? Shrug their shoulders. Ethanol can't be mixed at the refineries, nor pumped by existing pipelines. And you need a lot more of it the MTBE to achieve the same effect. So they bought the extra tanker trucks, barges, and rail cars...and removed petroleum storage capacity at terminals to store ethanol instead, and did all the other steps to meet the law requiring ethanol to be used -- much more expensive, but they don't really care, they just add on the standard 15% profit to whatever it costs them to produce the fuel.

That Ethanol has a lower energy content which means you need to consume a few percentage points more fuel to drive as far...oh well, oil companies get to sell more fuel, too. Oh, that of course stresses a refining and distribution network already maxxed out driving up costs to constrain usage somemore...

Ethanol has nearly nothing to do with capitalism. It has to do with out-of-date environmentalists who like to make nice incomes going by continously suing somebody for something, combined with a farm lobby that would make Karl Marx proud. Plus politicians that pander to both of those groups, and healthy dose of bureaucrats who enjoy their government jobs in [agriculture|environmentalism], and corporations that just shake their head at stupidity and simply tack on their pre-determined profit margin to whatever the cost of producing goods are...even if substantial parts of those costs had nothing to do with their own decisions or how they would have made investments in a free market.

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Network Solutions hijacks customer sub-domains for ad fest

Matt

Plonkers.

I hope before I die I may once be in a position as a IT Director or such with seven figures or better worth of business with VeriSign.

Just so I can go out to an expensive restaurant on with regional sales managers, on their dime of course, and at the end of the meal tell them my company will do business with VeriSign over my dead body.

Their policies screwed with me on my main personal domain back in the 1990s.

It's the only company (or person) I truly hold a grudge against and they so soured me back then with detestable policies and piss poor attitudes I will never, ever under any circumstances voluntarily conduct with business with the slithering snakes again.

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Old people can sabotage software too

Matt

Heh..

And remember, it's nine-one-one.

Saying nine eleven for the phone number went out 20 years ago when it was realized too many people couldn't find the eleven button on a phone. Anyone get the impression we really should let nature take it's course and weed out the gene pool a bit more?

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Québec cops bust massive botnet ring

Matt

Why thank you for that advice

>Maybe it is time to drop that e-mail. You should have AT LEAST two emails.

I have more domains than that. And public email addresses for web businesses, etc. Having "spam" email addresses don't work for everyone or every company.

But we do thank you for giving elementary advice on a geek specific news site.

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Wikileaks judge gets Pirate Bay treatment

Matt

Just remember...

>For the sake of brevity, this explains it all:

>Lecturer Jeffrey S. White has been nominated by President Bush to the federal

>bench

How long do judges typically serve? 20 years? 30 years?

They seldom are appointed younger the 40 -- an age which barely gives them 15 years experience since they passed the bar. 25 years and most are looking to the golf course then the court room.

GWB's been in office 8 years, so it's safe to assume about 1/3rd of all judges are his appointees.

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Secret bidder delivers 'open access' to US airwaves

Matt
Jobs Horns

Chill down my spine...

GoogleHealth...mining the worlds medical records.

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Dallas man accidentally shoots self in head

Matt

Why's that?

>To the outside world, (well from the UK,) the US gun laws seem crazy!

Had he lived, he'd be charged with multiple crimes...and potentially felonies. Considering discharging guns into the air are associated with inner city gang bangers, the gun was almost certainly illegally posessed to begin with.

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US looks to old Herr Kohle for energy security

Matt

Be careful what you wish for.

Because the environmentalists of the 1970s were so succesful in generating paronia over nuclear and tying up projects with endless litigation, if you give the average person today the choice between a coal plant and a nuclear plant, they choose coal.

Despite estimates by the U.S. EPA (off the top of my head) that air pollution from coal prematurely claims the lives of 25,000 Americans a year. A figure deaths attributed to nuclear power in the west...even under the most cynical of accountings, over the last 50 years does not approach.

Changing our energy systems is really a win / win / win economically, geopolitically, and environmentally. But it takes a willingness to address problems rationally and move forward with aggressive engineering solutions -- building the nuclear plants in the interim while geothermal technology is developed.

Solar and Wind power can't produce the volume those two do, and Coal even if you address the pollution concerns with schemes like sequestration does nothing for the scares on the landscape from mountain top removal and strip mines.

The goals of carbon reduction set by Kyoto or any other mainstream proposal are ridiculously low compared to what could be achieved if we really wanted to -- by building the nuclear plants, by building the geothermal plants, and eliminating carbon use for electricity, heating, air conditioning, train transport, and short trip automobiles (under, oh, 40 -- 80 miles per day), and accomplish that within 20 years.

That keeping money within the U.S. immediately helps with the trade deficit and starts to strengthen the dollar, while the money spent is also providing good jobs in the U.S. and building important engineering and construction experience. Money kept in the U.S. also means it circulates internally that much longer and is taxed at that many more transactions helping to reduce federal deficits. I suspect many other nations would do well to reduce their imports of energy.

However, rest assured we need not worry about such bold visions -- rational thought has long left mainstream environmentalism, and business interests hate the risk of leaving what they know to try something new. So we'll putz around with half-hearted measures and tax breaks for very, very unbold things like ethanol and windmills built in the middle of nowhere that actually needs power. You could elect Al Gore in November and give him a veto proof Congress, and based on what he's said over the years...we wouldn't achieve 1/4th of what we could in carbon reductions because of irrationality and people pissing in each other's cheerios.

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Scottish Government to block wind farm plan

Matt

Windmills are for those not serious about Carbon.

Our carbon emmissions could be virtually eliminated in 20 years.

But that takes nuclear as an interim solution until we further improve geothermal power systems (deep well -- drill wells 4-5 miles deep to tap the heat). It takes cars that can plug in and recharge overnight, it takes power to make hydrogen to run them after that.

Hundreds of thousands (millions?) of windmills around the U.K. -- yes, that's what it would take -- are a very poor option. Serious impact on the ecology, massive visual pollution. I honestly don't think many proponents even have an idea how many windmills it would take to eliminate carbon burning. Hydropower is even worse on it's impact on flowing rivers.

Getting off carbon can be a huge win / win / win for domestic economy, national security, and global environmental concerns for all the western nations. But rather then see the benefits and pick the engineering option to get us there the fastest we all end up pissing in each other's cheerios not on issues but dogma.

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Showdown over encryption password in child porn case

Matt

Two Factor Authentication

>While cracking PGP would seem a pretty tall order, surely using a password

>cracker to throw random passwords at it would stand a fair chance of success,

>given that most non-techie people dont really get the need for complex

>passwords

My guess is a lot of people in these nefarious circles do understand strong passwords -- and even if they have a weak one, many are smart enough to use two-factor authentication. You probably don't want the 2nd factor to be your fingerprints which you can be forced to provide :D

Yeah, you can rainbow table at the password.

So you use passphrase like, "Whn in th Cours of human vnts it bcoms ncssary for on popl to dissolv th political bands which hav connctd thm with anothr and to assum among th powrs of th arth, th sparat and qual station to which th Laws of Natur and of Natur's God ntitl thm, a dcnt rspct to th opinions of mankind rquirs that thy should dclar th causs which impl thm to th sparation."

Very common phrase, not that tough to memorize, readily available in most libraries or having a book with that phrase in your house isn't attention getting in case you forget it. And deleting the "e"s just make it that much tougher for a rainbow table to be generated since plain words alone aren't enough. That would take one heck of a rainbow table to match.

But that's absolutely useless without knowing the keyfile.

So I open up my favorite ASCII editor and from memory, or just a common history book in my house or any library, type out:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. "

And now let's reverse a couple lines...

"but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue,"

And let's use search-and-replace to get rid of "u" and replace "a" with "xyz734" and finally just sequentially change the 4 in a repeating pattern that's easy to memorize but means simple substitutions alone are not sufficient:

"bt pon probxyx734ble cxyx735se, spported by oxyx736th or xyx737ffirmxyx738tion, xyx739nd pxyx734rticlxyx734rly describing the plxyx733ce to be sexyx732rched, xyx731nd the persons or things to be seized. The right of the people to be secre in their persons, hoses, pxyx734pers, xyx735nd effects, xyx736gxyx737inst nrexyx738sonxyx739ble sexyx734rches xyx733nd seizres, shxyx732ll not be violxyx731ted, xyx734nd no wxyx735rrxyx736nts shxyx737ll isse"

Save it, open the encrypted partition using my password and the keyfile. Then use a shredder program to erase the keyfile -- after all, I know the three simple steps to recreate it in the future.

Oh, and you might even give them plausible deniability and a low-value "win" -- an encrypted partition within and encrypted partition that can not be proven to exist by the standards of a court of law. So you put the child porn you only obtained off the internet in the outer partition, "Blimy, you got me, I give up! Give me my 2 years in jail and 10 years of probation!" Of course the pictures you produced yourself are hidden in the inner encrypted partition you don't tell them about.

Will this save you from active police or intelligence surveillance? Nope. Keyloggers, hidden cameras, etc could all provide the clues they need to figure out what you're doing.

But it will pretty darn well fustrate them if they didn't do the surveillance and are instead relying on you being intimidated to being self incrimination.

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Matt

Activist judges folks

Once upon a time in America we had judges who strictly interpreted the law and only ventured forth opinions in uncharted territory when the Legislature hadn't addressed the issue.

Then sometime in the 1950s we lost that. They declared the Constitution was a "living document" that needed to be reinterpretted to fit contemporary values by the courts, not amended by a Constitutional process. This isn't mere hyperbole -- one of the Justices in the early 1960s became physically ill and retired early when the court imposed one man, one vote -- because as much as he supported the principle, it sickened him to see the Supreme Court violating the seperation of powers and imposing new law on the Legislatures.

So in a country where the Police are allowed to implement such unreasonable searches as Drunk Driving checkpoints that stop everyone going through a spot without cause to intimidate them into having a conversation (i.e waive their right to remain silent)...it gives hope to activist Prosecutors that a Judges somewhere will similiarily figure it's good to reinterpret the Constitution to allow this too.

But hey, if it's:

a) Drunk Driver

b) Drug Dealer

c) Child Pornographer

d) Terrorist

then you have good reason to believe in a living consitution to meet the needs of prosecuting those really bad guys. If it just sets precedent for everyone else, hey, what are you trying to hide Comrade?

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Sun pulls MySQL into its orbit

Matt

Why worry about downloading?

Sun now has a now bought all the licenses they need for the low-end side of their utility computing model.

I really don't think it will be much longer (3, 4 years) before may small to mid-size web projects simply lease DB space from companies like Sun and connect over the internet -- or just across the colo.

For me, it would mean not managing drivespace for backups, when is it time to buy another server, how to balance RAM between different applications, etc. Just rent capacity from high-performance, optimized database servers.

The developers at work, on their side plate, already have one project this year of moving much of our routine image storage and resultant bandwidth off to Amazon S3.

And MySQL has a huge role to fill without becoming Postgres or Oracle or Sybase -- and my background is largely MS SQL & Sybase (both before and after the split), and I'm doing some Postgres tuning this week. But for the last year or two I've done a lot of MySQL. So I've played with many of the rdms's and find they all have advantages and disadvantages.

For databases that need more flexibility then SQLite, but aren't that sophisticated to need the features of Postgres...I find MySQL easier to setup and tune then Postgres.

For anyone with a ten or twenty million and would like to start a database utility company, fell free to hire me :)

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California to snatch control of citizens' air-con

Matt
Stop

The Mother Of All Hacks

Seriously, short of NORAD, how much fun could you have with this?

Go to a Ham radio flea market, buy some parts for cash well away from store surveillance cameras, buy a jug of helium from a party supply store and improvise your own weather ballon that 20,000' above Los Angeles on the hottest day of the year as the electrical grid is straining...tells every a/c to go to maximum output simultaneously.

Three days later when the engineers finally have the power grid back up and running, it'll be the biggest story on TV.

The utility folks saying it's all "encrypted" is just tempting fate...unless these thermostats cost $400 a pop, I can't see them having anything even remotely resembling secure.

Oh wait, I get it -- it's more profitable for the power companies to speculate and trade on electrical futures and conspire with the envirowhackos and the envirosheep (mostly the envirosheep) to artificially constrain electric supplies and drive up prices and profits! Charge more...spend less! Bloody good business model.

Why on earth would you charge more, but invest the money building nuclear / geothermal plants in geologically stable parts of the state, improve your transmission system, and upgrade your distribution system to higher voltage (the lines in the street, not the ones in your home)...when instead you can charge more and not make those investments!

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IT contractors cry foul over HMRC income splitting law

Matt

Fair Tax

While it probably will eventually whimper away like other proposals, it's stuff like this that helps give the proposed "Fair Tax" in the U.S. some traction.

Effectively it's a 30% sales tax on just about everything from bread to bonds. The supporters figure it will drop retail prices about 22% (from tax savings on income & payroll taxes by the corporations), so a net increase in prices paid of about 8%. In exchange, no income taxes, no withholding from your paycheck, etc.

To satisfy concerns over regressive taxes there would be a monthly "prebate" check from the U.S. Treasury that's calculated to be what a household at the poverty level will pay in a month in sales tax -- so effectively they're in the 0% tax bracket.

From hundreds of millions you get down to just a few million companies and individuals who are responsible to collect and forward the taxes.

Ok, so that's just the realy 30,000' view and I'm sure some of my details are off, but you get the idea. Consumption is easier to tax and more difficult to scheme around then taxing income.

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Academics kick off nuclear power war of words

Matt

Um, geothermal folks?

Hydro power -- both conventional river dams and tidal based -- have dramatic ecological impacts that render them unacceptable.

Coal, Oil, and other fossil fuels have the current screamers over global warming, and even if that's nowhere near as siginificant as portrayed they still have serious pollution issues with much more specific science behind them like acid rain and mercury emmissions. More over they can represent a tremendous balance of trade issue -- some 20% of the U.S. trade deficit currently goes to energy imports from outside of North America. I'd assume Britain, like the U.S., would benefit from keeping a like sum of money ashore with local investments and good paying jobs instead of building a palace for a middle eastern sheik.

Wind will not be tolerated at the scale that would be necessary. To completely displace other forms of electric generation for my state (Connecticut -- pop. 3 Million in 5,000 sq. miles), displace fossil fuels for heating, and displace fossil fuels for trips under 40 miles / day would take something like 10 to 20 thousand 100 Meter high turbines. In a state that has caniptions over cell phone towers, and is paying hundreds of millions of dollars extra to install a new 40 mile long electric transmission line underground because the people near it didn't want the visual pollution of it on the skyline. Plus the ecological impacts of all those spinning blades, and if you put them out to see of burying electric transmission cables on the sea floor.

Solar thermal for electric generation is not practical in northern climes. Solar photovoltaic has grave concerns about it's abiltity to scale up to truly revolutionary size -- even if they can get the costs low enough to compete with wind, they probably can't physically make enough PV cells to make it practical.

Nuclear is the proven technology with the smallest environmental footprint. It should be pursued immediately -- for environmental, economic, and geo-political reasons.

However, deep-well Geothermal probably offers the best long term solution. We currently drill average oil wells 10-15,000 feet and go up to 20,000'. 20,000 feet will start to produce, in average places, superheated steam which can be used in a closed-loop system to drive electric turbines 24x7x365 without regard to weather. Hmmm, can you say synergies between oil well drilers and geothermal? It has a fairly small foot print as many wells can be drilled from one site (going laterally as well as down), and will be more tolerable then nuclear in urban areas -- providing electricity and steam for heating in immediate vicinity of the concentrated loads of urban cores.

In my own nation, I'd like to see Nuclear with an eventual transition to Geothermal as the main source of energy. Transportation for freight shifted to an electrified, high-speed rail network. And cars that are battery hybrids, charging off the grid for 40 miles / day of range, and as the batteries get low kicking in a compressed natural gas powered generator (no need to mess around with that hydrogen stuff if you don't want to). Which also means after the big ice storm knocks out the electric grid, you plug your car into the house to keep running the electric heat :)

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'Draconian' Microsoft promises to make Office work again

Matt
Stop

Wait, did he say "too?"

The Microsoft guy said it was "too draconian?"

Is a little draconian possible? I'd think it would be akin to a little pregnant.

I'm not trying to have a long discussion about torture over the dunked waterboard here...but is he saying Microsoft has a line they've defined as sufficiently but not too draconian?

Will a future EULA refer to drawing and quartering? Sigh...let us remember good ole Drako's words...

"It is said that Drakon himself, when asked why he had fixed the punishment of death for most offences, answered that he considered these lesser crimes to deserve it, and he had no greater punishment for more important ones"

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Microsoft hopes to patent 'automatic goodbye messages'

Matt

For a split second, it makes you...

Sympathize with Musharef and Dick from King Henry VI. This smacks of lawyers needing to keep themselves employed with busy work at mother Micro.

And we won't get into the waste of a college education -- never mind oxygen -- represented by the attornies in the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for the last 15 years.

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Pentagon: Our new robot army will be controlled by malware

Matt

GPL

The idea of re-writing the GPL to preclude military use is, err, silly.

The GPL is meaningless without a Government structure (executive and judicial) to enforce it. If there was no copyright laws to protect the work in the first place, how could you license it?

Even if you sued and won an injunction to stop the military from violating the GPL, in the U.S. all Congress would do is add eighteen words to Title 17, "In no case does copyright protection extend to the use of original works by the United States Government." End of discussion, government granted thee copyright, goverment took it away.

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Ruling allows US tech firms to dodge an immigration bullet

Matt

Has anyone complaining how tough this is worked in the U.S.?

"Gee, I have a letter from the SSA for Doe, John."

Walk over to filing cabinets"...D...Doe...ah, here we go, John Doe." Pull file with hiring paperwork out.

There's a W4 and whatever that INS form used since 1988 or so that in 99% of the cases has a driver's license and social security card photocopy with it.

Look at SSA letter, look at W4 & INS paperwork...

Now either do A or B

A) "Hi, SSA, we got a letter from you about John Doe, but the SSN you were questioning doesn't match our paperwork. You had 123-45-6789. It's actually 132-45-6789. Ok. Have a nice day."

B) "Uh, John...we have problem. SSA sent us this letter saying the SSN you provided us doesn't match. I've double checked, and the number you gave us matches the number on the photocopy of the SS Card you gave us...so you have to call SSA and straighten this out. And don't wait, because as of today we have 90 days to get this straightened out or we have to let you go."

Wow. Oh my god. That is so overwhelmingly onerous, it will cause the economy to screech to a halt.

--------------------------

Yes, we've tolerated wink-wink nod-nod with immigration and other issues for years. Yes, IRS benefits with increased tax receipts that aren't filed for refunds. Yes, SSNs are not unique identifiers (you can't ask for a copy of "your" credit report by SSN...since all the credit agencies realize it will likely reveal confidential information about other people).

Where do we pick and choose? Is using someone else SSN more or less of a crime then using an RNC email address to get around Freedom of Information act requirements? Do you enforce laws based on your poltical opinion du jour? Or is Cheney ignoring one like deleting emails down right evil, but you're a racist if you enforce immigration and tax laws?

I think what you're supposed to do is your best to enforce & follow the existing laws while filing legislation to fix what is broken.

While I also used to subscribe to the starve-the-beast theory...let's face it, it ain't working. War and all and the deficit is continuing to go down, and the Democrats certainly don't care about it either (gee, let's tax cigarettes -- not that it's regressive or subject to purchasing habits, we'll count it as an offset! Or my favorite..."The deficit is out of control! Why with what we're spending for ____ we could have done ______ instead!" Huh, but what does that do for the deficit? )

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California court tilts towards mandating web accessibility

Matt

Don't joke.

>Then again, the blind people might demand that they be given a human reader

>for their computer access (look it could happen with the courts these days!).

>One never knows.

Don't joke.

"..the Treasury Department’s failure to design and issue paper currency that is readily distinguishable to blind and visually impaired individuals violates section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act." http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/paperchase/2006/11/federal-judge-rules-us-currency.php

One proposed remedy is it would be far cheaper to purchase currency readers for all the blind then to change the design of U.S. currency -- which would have a cascade effect of necessitating changing cash drawers, currency counting machines, ATMs, wallet sizes, etc to handle multiple sizes of bills.

Sorry Maisie, the disability doesn't exist because of barriers. It exists because a person does not share the same abilities as an normal, average person, no matter how trite a saying it may be.

Lawsuits such as this are done more out of ego -- complete, absolute self-centeredness -- then of reality. Lawyers make much money. Deliberate misapplication of ADA similiarily have been used by architects and builders to pad their profits, such as constructing handicap accessible bunkrooms at firestations.

Businesses should make accomodations for their customers, and it's proper to bring consumer and peer pressure on businesses about it (such Nick Ryan's comments on what is current good, state of the art design principles).

The marketplace can adequately address this issue. Don't like that Target is not accessible to the visually impaired? Open your own store tailored to the market -- the cyberworld has far lower barriers to entry then bricks and mortar.

What is worrisome, though, is the stagnation that can occur when you combine goverment regulation beyond what is necessary to assure a level playing field in the market (such as this ruling) and attitudes towards standardization like Nick Ryan's. Internet commerce is less then 10 years old. What if, in 1995, businesses had been told they couldn't launch a site in a primarily visual medium that wasn't equally accessible to visually and hearing impaired persons? Would've e-commerce, or even most commerical sites like newspapers, dared venture into the new medium? And without building a critical mass of users in the new medium, would've much of the innovation taken place?

"Hi, we have an idea that does ________" "Well, legally we can't provide you with any venture capital unless it's fully handicap accessible." "Errr, it'll cost five times as much and take three times as long to get to the beta stage if that's the case..." "Yeah, but even for us VCs, it's too great a chance to get sued now over that."

Somewhere there is a balance between regulation and laissez faire, standardization and open innovation, between handicap and reasonable accomodation. To often we have people who take dogmatic positions like the plaintiff in this case that anything less then everything is unacceptable, and judges who end up having to interpret laws to provide that everything far beyond the original legislative intent.

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Gore wins Nobel Peace Prize

Matt

Oh JeffyPooh...

I dunno...

I think most of us could agree an aggressive program to get off of fossil fuels by moving on a massive scale to nuclear or wind power would be a good thing. It gets out of the geopolitical issues of depending on particular regions for massive amounts of energy. And it eliminates the carbon issue of global warming.

Whether or not you agree with all the points, it gets countries much more self-sufficient, it reduces pollution regardless of whatever impacts that pollution has, etc.

But do you think for a moment the people who are rallying that climate change is proven beyond a doubt science that we must do something on NOW... would allow construction to begin on new nuclear plants or massive windfarms without decades of questioning if the science and engineering is sufficient?

Not going to happen. That science doesn't fit the liberal agenda -- you know, nuclear is bad and building things out in the countryside is bad.

Here in the U.S. we have big arguments over Yucca Mountain and piles of spent fuel rods sitting around the country -- yet if we'd get over Jimmy Carter's Kumbya policy of not recycling nuclear fuel we'd be able to extract much more energy from those "spent" rods and have a smaller volume of waste to manage in the end.

By the way, regarding Global Dimming one of the interesting things in the U.S. NIST report on Global Warming (completed largely before George W. was in office) is the theory that the reason we saw a cooling trend from 1945-1975 was from other pollutants that had been reflecting sunlight. Without cleaning up earlier pollution problems in the 60s and 70s (a good thing), we likely wouldn't be worrying now about warming.

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Matt

People only lost respect for the Peace Prize now?

Like others said, any notion of it meaning anything went out with Arafat.

Gore did lose the election, by any recount means that were on the legal table including his own proposals.

Yes, there where irregularities. Yes, it's likely all things being equal having local officials and districts that could actually run an election would've cleaned it up enough for him to have won.

At the same time, let's realize the complexity of the factors that lead to such incompetency.

One is the voting reforms of the 1960s that enfranchised illiterates and feeble minded. Gee, allow people who aren't able to read to vote, and they can't understand the simple directions. Wow, shocking they screw up. This sillyness is continuing to this day -- Massachusetts is currently considering going with photographs of the candidates on the ballots. What a joke.

Two is the long-term corruption in Democratic machine-politics areas with voting. These institutional irregularities (like Richard J. Daley's Chicago proclaimation of "Vote Early and Often!" or New Orleans and many other areas long history of the dead voting). These weren't an issue of much national concern until those irregularities that had developed to within local party politics bled over into affecting national elections. The Republicans aren't harmless in this today, as they brought along the Democrat's dirty trick and sillyness book as the south moved from solidly Democrat to much more Republican on the edges.

These institutionalized irregularities in voting are continuing -- Elliot Spitzer, Democratic Governor of New York, is pushing for illegal aliens to be issued driver's licenses. All it takes in NY to register to vote then is to show your Driver's License and "swear or affirm" by your signature on the form that you're a citizen eligible to vote. Hmmmm. Numerous other 1990s era reforms in voter registration help with fraudlent voting -- from motor / voter laws, to the utter ridiculousness of accepting "forms of ID" such as utility bills in order to cast votes.

In time we will get these issues cleaned up, but right now neither party is interested in cleaning up the areas there are problems -- as long as their Poltical Science majors are working up spreadsheets about how to divide the country into tiny little segments.

We have been through periods of national malaise and corruption like this before, we will get in cleaned up for a few generations, and we will see the return of the corruption again in the future.

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Student suspended in gun rights email row

Matt

@Curtis

Thanks for the clearer explanation of the Castle Doctrine then I had made.

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Matt

Those in glass houses should be careful.

>I think that a lot of folk in the USA are bred and raised on fear.

Yep. The Democrats count on it. Unfortunately we have too many Republicans in Washington today who've left the principles of Goldwater behind and joined in the fear mongering power grabbing the Democrats had raised to a high art form.

Along with utopian claptrap like no guns, would you care to explain how you will win the war on drugs (you know, something else involving today considerable manufacturing processes and cross-national smuggling). It won't happen.

In particular, let's turn attention to Gower's questioning if someone would've really been raped or killed -- after they had just described a gang of four battering down the door to his childhood residence. Ignore the truth and spin it to your own ends -- yep, that's a rational view point.

Oh well, us Americans will continue to be the laughing stocks of the Europeans, put down for how violent a society we are and how awful it is we allow individual citizens to protect themselves with force. By the way, what was the homicide rate for Europe in the last century compared to North America? And don't forget to count those pesky time frames like 1914-1918, 1936-1939, 1939-1945, and the majority of 1991-2001. I wonder if German homicide statistics included those shot by East German border guards?

Oh wait, I must be imagining all that violence in Europe, after all, there seems to be a lot of people here who believe personal ownership of firearms and carrying weapons for self-defense causes violence.

Hey, no guns = no gun crime is a nice feel good poster slogan, completely ignoring whether it's practical or would indeed reduce the long term trends quantity or lethality of violence. It takes no thought about the deeper differences between societies and a broad range of conditions that affect violence and crime and it's manisfestations. But what do I know, I'm just a un-thinking right winger.

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Matt

@Sharon

> I'm fairly sure most robbers, rob during the day when your not at home, when

>making a noise isn't much of an issue, and when the gun isn't much practical

>use.

That's true, but you don't buy a gun to defend your things -- and in few states are their castle laws that allow you to protect your things with deadly force.

People, largely, have weapons in the home due to stories like the Petit's:

http://www.courant.com/news/custom/topnews/hc-petit,0,7927780.storygallery

Or, for situations like Virginia Tech.

As to violence and handguns, that's not the correlation. There are others -- urban gangs skew the statistics tremendously, but their social problems run far deeper then guns; similiar cultural issues are found in places like Texas and Florida. Yet in Vermont has one of the lowest murder rates in the country, no death penalty, and allows carrying of concealed firearms with no permits and few other restrictions. In the towns north, west, and south of mine -- particularly in the midnite shift -- a 15 minute response to an emergency by law enforcement is not considered unusual. There aren't many State Troopers because crime isn't a large issue in the rural areas, but at the same time when something occurs you have a greater responsibility for your own protection then people living in an urban area and paying much higher taxes for higher (and still often overwhelmed) levels of service do.

More jobs and less welfare and more reason in our drug laws targetted at urban areas will have far bigger impacts then trite slogans and political posturing over gun laws.

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Matt

Yes, help...

It's a time honored tradition by the left -- normally referred to as Re-education.

There is nothing in those bigotted writing that warrants being removed from school -- you just had right wing bigot spouting off against liberal prejudices and the liberals threw back their typical tantrum wrapped in intellectual words. Black kettles and pots all around.

It's the single greatest black mark on the George W. Bush administration in his incompetency, and the actions of far too many Republicans in Congress and the state level over the last 7 years who started acting just like the corrupt, power hungry Democrats they had replaced, who gave breathing room to hard left who have begun an attack on freedoms unprecedented in my lifetime.

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US demands air passengers ask its permission to fly

Matt

Don't worry, just fly to Mexico.

Since we can't build a fence between the two countries without violating the Environmental Protection Act, just fly to Mexico and walk over.

Probably no more time consuming or inconvienent then TSA.

Yeah, the gobstoppered bureaucracy is quite astonishing when it comes to that failed abortion known as TSA.

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Judge rules Gore's film an inconvenient catalogue of errors

Matt

Title

> And yet, they refuse to analyse the scientific evidence pointing to man's

>impact on the climate (or refuse to accept the consensus in the scientific

>community)

Yeah, silly me.

Refusing to accept consensus that pesticides are safe (that was and continues to be the predominate view) while I garden organically. And gosh, the scientific consensus was right on the money about over-population in the 1970s.

Problem with going along with the Leftie's own solutions is...they don't even take it serious.

Like I said folks, we could elimate 80% of our carbon emissions in 15 years, with profound geopolitical implications that are much less in dispute then global warming. After all, if CO2 is such a grave threat to the planet, wouldn't that make a lot more sense to commit to radical action to make the transformation now then trying to achieve it over the next 50 years? There are posts here that say it may already be too late after all.

But does anyone honestly believe the left wouldn't

1) Decry the visual pollution, construction of the infrastructure to support, impact on wildlife, noise pollution, and potential local micro-climate changes of windpower projects on the scale needed to serious displace fossil and nuclear fuel?

(We're tearing out hydroelectric dams currently in North America due to their environmental impacts...)

2) Would stubbornly refuse to consider nuclear energy, with it's much smaller environmental impact then any of the "green" energey sources with the zeal of a bible thumping anti-abortion creation science Kansan

3) Would argue back against fast switch to alternatives to "conserve" when you simply can't conserve your way out of this situation and maintain economic output at levels sufficient to support the welfare states of the west.

But wait, people who actually think for themselves and can see how technology like robotic cultivation machines, fueled by hydrogen produced from nuclear power, would enable us to virtually eliminate the use of herbicides in western agricultural; or that new machines similiarily powered would be able to control bugs with pesticides...nah, we're just dumb right wingers. We can't possibly see that Emperor Gore is wearing no clothes, living in his mansion with heated swimming pools and making proposals he knows darn well he won't be accountable for failing to meet forty years down the road.

Come on Al, propose something bold -- let's see you propose the U.S. generates 80% of it's power from Nuclear by 2020, and has it's car and truck fleet converted over to hydrogen by 2030. Come on, I double dare you.

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Matt

From a Yank...

Yeah, I have no problem eliminating CO2. There's a lot of compelling reasons -- without even considering global warming -- to make a push to an electric and hydrogen economy powered by Nuclear or Windmills.

Of course, if today's environmental zealots were in place in 1961, we still wouldn't have the environmental impact statements approved today for the first rocket launch, never mind achieving the goal of getting to the moon before the decade was out.

Is the economic and technical capability here today to displace 80% of our carbon usage with either nuclear or windpower within 15 years? Absolutely.

Do you think for one second the liberal dogmatics would accept hundreds of thousands of 100 meter tall windmills or the nuclear power plants needed to do so?

Hah! They'd throw a complete snit.

I do know a few facts. I know 11,000 years ago where I now live was under a couple hundred feet of ice. I know since the ice sheet retreated, there has not been a time the ecology of New England was not influenced by the activities of man. I know it snowed in my state in June, 1816. I know we've been breaking a lot of record temperatures recently...set in the 1930s. The same 1930s known for the dust bowl in parts of the great plains. I know when those dust bowl areas where known as the Great American Desert to the first American explorers of that region...and later as the best farmland conceivable...and then as a dust bowl...and then again as great farmland. Seems that things run in cycles, with a very long term trend towards a warmer planet (and the resulting rise in sea levels) whether modern technolgical man is present or not. Certainly many species and ecosystems will be affected by more rapid changes; however it's not like mammals would develop gills if the seas rose over 10,000 years instead of 1,000 years.

I also know humanity has adapted to those great changes in climate over a geological blink of an eye.

I also, unfortunately, know the left will not accept bold solutions that would address both the concerns over pollution while also maintaining and improving our quality of life. To the left, we must feel guilty about our lives, and we must flagellate ourselves for the simple act of breathing.

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Florida man faces trial for feeding homeless

Matt
Thumb Up

You're not homeless in America unless you want to be.

There are more then enough social programs and funding to eliminate street people -- and it's an important difference to differentiate between "homeless" (which includes people the vast majority of "homeless" who living full time in shelters, welfare-paid hotel rooms, and transitional housing) and "street people." The media and liberals love to not differentiate between the two, because calling people in a with a roof over their heads, hot meals, and a warm bed "homeless" makes the problem seem much worse then it is.

The Street People are there because they choose to be -- the make choices not to become and/or stay sober or live by other rules of society.

Mentally ill? Perhaps -- but not so ill as to have their freedoms taken away and be involuntarily committed. So when they are placed in treatment programs, they decide it's crimping their style and check themselves out.

Today's street population is directly responsible to two trends in the 1970s that met: Liberals whining about "mental illness is not a crime" and how people should be free to check themselves out of pyschiatric hospitals, and fiscal conservatives quite happy to oblige in reducing the size of said hospitals.

They are by and large the ones mentally ill and/or addicted who at the same time don't represent an immediate threat to others or themselves sufficient to justify the denial of their freedom.

Unless you support criminalization of mental illness and/or addiction, you will never make a dent on the current street people populations. They chose this life as their preference, and most will continue to do so unless kept locked up.

Keep giving them opportunities to decide to take advantage of programs and let them become sober, but don't have sympathy for their self-imposed exile from normal society. Programs like Orlandos are aimed at those who enable their street life.

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Tax man praised for owning up to lost laptop

Matt

Two Comments...

One, assuming properly implemented encryption with two-factor authentication...and the token wasn't also stolen...there was no data loss. Unlike a locked box the contents of which retain their value once you physically break in, the complexity of breaking a two-factor system remains sufficient we will all be retired by the time technology is able to break it. And I don't see criminals hanging on to thirty year old hard drives just to see what might be on it down the road.

Two, at least they seem to be a bit more forthright and competent then Connecticut (the Julie Amero Porn Popup State) was when thousands of records that had no business being on a laptop were stolen. The Department of Revenue Services refused to reveal who the employee was who lost it, "It's not a public record, blah blah blah." So the main newspaper in the State called up the Police were it was stolen...and had a copy of the stolen property report faxed over. Oh, the irony that after experiencing one data theft you still don't know how to keep information private...

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Sprint Nextel and Verizon jury trials have Vonage on the brink

Matt

Um, yeah they do.

U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8:

The Congress shall have power to ... promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;

U.S. Constitution, Article III, Sections 1 and 2:

The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court ...[and such]... power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution...

So we clearly have two matters under that the Supreme Court could decide on:

1) Whether the limited times established by the Congress actually promote science and useful arts. If the times are so long as to retard progress, Congress has exceeded it's legislative authority;

2) Whether the patent is for a discovery. If it's not a discovery, then Congress does not have the authority to protect it by patent.

Matt

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Pentagon bins home-front threat database

Matt

Oh, warm fuzzy names are more then just bunnies.

They come in terms like "Social Security" (let's add another 10% tax, but let people think they're actually "buying" insurance for the future...).

Or "Universal Healthcare" (let's force people to purchase services from private companies that give us nice, fat political donations).

Or "Progressive" (well, calling ouselves Liberal after progressive programs like prohibition failed miserably and gave Progressivism a bad name isn't working so well anymore, so let's go back to it now that people have forgetten what a mishmash of policies it was the first time around...)

Or "Conservative" when it's used by right winger who'll expand the breadth and depth of government -- the only difference being they get a less scrutiny in achieving the ends then the Liberals do because the name "conservative" has been more trustworthy lately then "liberal". Let's face it folks, Patrick Leahy isn't mad the Bush Administration is using the technology he championed to be installed to wire tap modern packet switched telephone networks -- he's pissed off it's a Republican and not a Democrat doing it.

Matt

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Congress approves six-month blanket wiretap warrant

Matt

Not in your lifetime

You have the rights.

It's just we have a system full of activist judges -- on both the left and right -- who will interpret the law as it seems fit to the political wind of the day.

And a Congress & Executive branch, again on both sides of the aisle, that doesn't care, either.

What do expect when the Democrat's lead bloviator on the horrors of "warrantless" wiretaps is Patrick Leahy -- who was quite proud of his work in drafting and passing the legislation in the 1990s that paid the Telcoms billions of dollars to install the central wiretaps.

Technology had made the system the U.S. had systemically applied to all outgoing telcoms since WWII and selectively at least back to WWI no longer effective. And that wasn't "secret" as in no one knew about it -- a High School civics teacher told my class about the monitoring of all international calls back in the 1980s.

When the Telcoms bought equipment the Feds couldn't listen to easily...Congress paid to "upgrade" it so they could and mandated all future equipment would be easy to listen in on.

Today in the U.S. you have the Democrats who pursue the normal socialist agenda of expanding government's intrusion into and control over private lives, and you have Democrat Light politicians like the Bush / Cheney administration who use the same tactics to herd the sheeple too. Expand welfare to attract votes? Here you go! Warrantless eavesdropping on all international phone calls? Awe heck, why worry, all the administrations have been doing that for decades! Don't like a law? We'll just have our own judges and lawyers come up with new definitions for it...after all, law shouldn't be something static and changed by the Legislative process...law is a living document!

True Conservative icons like Barry Goldwater are spinning in their graves over what passes for "conservative" today -- again, another page taken from Democrats who read George Orwell books as a manual on how to manipulate language...right wingers co-opted the term for their own activist government agenda. The same Barry Goldwater who said the Government had no business intruding into private business with "public accomodations" acts, or mandating reverse discrimination called "affirmative action" is the same Barry Goldwater who felt the government had no business interfering with medical decisions like abortion, and no reason to care what sexual practices soldiers engaged in off-duty.

The only glimmer of hope -- and it's a distant one coming from a Bush appointee, was Chief Justice Robert's recent lucid opinion that, "The way to stop discrimination, is to stop discriminating."

The way you stop tolerating government intrusions is to stop tolerating government intrusions -- not tolerate them only when it suits your political belief at the moment.

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Amp'd shuts up shop

Matt

Hmmm, website is also copyright 2005

Probably in a classic BOFH scenario, they've laid off the only guy who knew how to update it :D

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