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Comment: When Banks Were Able to Print Their Own Money (Score 1) 118

by westlake (#47424697) Attached to: Judge Shoots Down "Bitcoin Isn't Money" Argument In Silk Road Trial

The Constitution does not say this. It states that the Federal Goverment can issue and regulate money but not that it has a moneopoly. In fact, for the majority of US history private money was very common. i.e. Bank notes issued by private banks.

with predictably disastrous results:

There were significant problems with this system, in which money often wasn't worth the paper it was printed on. In theory, a bank note derived its value from its ability to be redeemed for gold or silver at the issuing bank, but what banks could live up to that promise? Those that were poorly capitalized went to great lengths to ensure that their notes weren't redeemed. For example, the Union Bank of Tennessee issued notes only redeemable in New Orleans.

In this unpredictable environment, spending a dollar required some serious thinking. A wallet might have three, five or a dozen different bank notes -- a bull's head staring back at you from a Bull's Head Bank note, or a Marine Bank bill illustrated with ships -- not to mention foreign coins from around the world and personal checks, which also circulated as money. Most bank notes traded at a discount based on the reputation of the bank and how far the note was from where it originated.

A shop owner had even more variables to consider. When a consumer opened his wallet to pay, the proprietor turned to his local edition of ''Bicknellâ(TM)s Counterfeit Detector and Bank Note Reporter,'' or to ''Van Court's Counterfeit Detector and Bank Note List.''

Thumbing through a counterfeit detector, the store owner would try to assess the value of the bank notes at hand. He took a hard look at the person handing over the bills, judging value based on the person's race, class, dress, comportment and reputation.

Counterfeiters exploited this feature of the system, and passed themselves in addition to their notes, dressing and acting as proper ladies and gentlemen. And with so many bank notes from so many banks, counterfeiters flourished. Some simply invented whole banks. Others erased the name of a failed bank and replaced it with that of a reputable one.

Of course, as 19th-century observers frequently noted, a poorly capitalized bank that printed notes it couldn't redeem was, in the end, little different from a counterfeiting operation.

When Banks Were Able to Print Their Own Money, Literally

Comment: Article 1 Section 10 (Score 1) 118

by westlake (#47424457) Attached to: Judge Shoots Down "Bitcoin Isn't Money" Argument In Silk Road Trial

Now if you can tell me where in that line it says that ONLY congress is able to make money I will bow down to your constitutional knowledge.

Fair enough.

No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

You can. of course, use foreign currencies to make ordinary purchases in the US, but no one is obliged to accept them, and you will likely be surcharged over and above the exchange rate posted at a bank.

Comment: Re:Bitcoin isn't money but it's still a financial (Score 2) 118

by westlake (#47424013) Attached to: Judge Shoots Down "Bitcoin Isn't Money" Argument In Silk Road Trial

Of course, if you take cash from some people and then give it to other people, well then you must be a criminal.

If you know where you stand as middle man in a criminal transaction - such as a money laundering scheme - you most certainly are a criminal yourself.

Comment: Re:No-ip isn't shady (Score 1) 105

The point is a free service being abused is expected. It is not as if noip encouraged abuse and were paid by abusers.

Expected: That the owners of no-ip should continue to make their own profits from advertising revenue, and a bunch of legitimate users should continue to get free dyndns service, and the benefit to these two groups comes at the expense of a wider pool of internet users who suffer from malware (and at the expense of unpaid volunteers to police no-ip since they're not spending enough resources to do it effectively themselves).

Does that sound like a fair trade to you? Not to me. Count me out.

Comment: Re:No-ip isn't shady (Score 1, Interesting) 105

I think No-ip sound very shady...

April 2013: the OpenDNS blog reported that no-ip was the second most popular dynamic-DNS site for malicious software. http://labs.opendns.com/2013/0... -- No-IP responded that they have a very strict abuse "policy", and they want other people to help by reporting violations of the TOS to them. They also scan daily and filter by keyword. http://labs.opendns.com/2013/0...

February 2014, the Cisco blog reported that no-ip had risen to be the worst offender: http://blogs.cisco.com/securit... -- No-ip again responded that they have a strict abuse policy, and they want other people to report violations of the TOS to them, and they scan daily and filter by keyword. http://www.noip.com/blog/2014/...

Were no-ip doing a good enough job at policing themselves? It doesn't sound like it to me, not at all. It sounds like they have a decent "policy" but don't go out of their way to enforce it, their daily manual scans aren't up to what's needed, their keyword filters are easily bypassed. They can sound hurt all they want that OpenDNS and Cisco and Microsoft wrote public blogs or took action rather than reporting the individual offenders to No-IP first. But the fact that No-IP does so badly, and got worse, shows they weren't taking adequate action themselves.

You say they're "very responsive" to reports of abuse. But honestly, if their strategy for combating abuse rests SO HEAVILY upon volunteers to report abuse, and their strategy hasn't been working so far, then they have a bad business model.

Disclaimer: I work at Microsoft, but in an entirely unrelated division (I'm on the VB/C# compiler team).

Comment: A list done by a 15 years old (Score 2) 276

by swissmonkey (#47409931) Attached to: The World's Best Living Programmers

This truly is the crappiest list I've seen, and I have seen crappy lists. Creating a 'cool' site like Quora somehow gets you on that list, so does answering StackOverflow questions. I guess you either have to create websites or have Google on your resume to be on that list.

How about creating 2 of the most successful and important operating systems the world has ever seen ? Namely, VMS and Windows NT.

Oh yeah, David Cutler for example isn't on that list, I guess he should have stuck to creating websites in PHP...

Leslie Lamport anyone ? Oh no, he didn't work on some crappy website either, doesn't count !

Comment: A single point of failure? (Score 1) 463

There are numerous reasons pilots can't see out real windows. Things like clouds, fog and night. Yet pilots can flight on instruments just fine and it is routine.

If I understand the idea correctly, isn't it true that all the instrumentation on board is to be integrated into this one big window?

Comment: Re:Prior art (Score 1) 463

Science Fiction is not prior art.

Prior art implies that almost all of the practical problems that stand in the way of progress have already been solved. That the path ahead lies clear.

The bridge of the Enterprise.

The concept is quite carefully worked out in Heinlein's "Methuselah's Children." 1941, 1958.

The Enterprise bridge is a regression.

The New Frontiers had no mechanical switches or controls of any kind and none that could be triggered accidentally --- which is one-up on the touch screens of ST:TNG. The engineers who designed Heinlein's generation ships understood trigger guards, low voltage wiring, fuses, circuit breakers and so on.

Comment: Re:Will local rights holders sue? (Score 2) 153

by westlake (#47399669) Attached to: New Zealand ISP's Anti-Geoblocking Service Makes Waves

Geo-locking content has been declared illegal in New Zealand

New Zealand isn't a country.

It is a Hollywood back lot complete with tour guides. Film and TV Theme Tours

With a population of 4 million, New Zealand's value as a media market is less than 1/4 that of metropolitan New York City.

Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself. -- A.H. Weiler

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