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Journal: More Than Enough - Comcast declares war on Tor 17

Journal by PopeRatzo

If you haven't dumped Comcast yet, you better hurry:

http://www.deepdotweb.com/2014/09/13/comcast-declares-war-tor/

Reports have surfaced (Via /r/darknetmarkets and another one submitted to us) that Comcast agents have contacted customers using Tor and instructed them to stop using the browser or risk termination of service. A Comcast agent named Jeremy allegedly called Tor an âoeillegal service.â The Comcast agent told its customer that such activity is against usage policies.
The Comcast agent then repeatedly asked the customer to tell him what sites he was accessing on the Tor browser. The customer refused to answer.
The next day the customer called Comcast and spoke to another agent named Kelly who reiterated that Comcast does not want its customers using Tor. The Comcast agent then allegedly told the customer:

"Users who try to use anonymity, or cover themselves up on the internet, are usually doing things that arenâ(TM)t so-to-speak legal. We have the right to terminate, fine, or suspend your account at anytime due to you violating the rules. Do you have any other questions? Thank you for contacting Comcast, have a great day."

User Journal

Journal: Economics in Brief (Internet Flotsam)

Journal by lgw

Here's some internet flotsam attributed to a graduation speech by Thomas Sargent (without digging into whether this speech really happened: the content is interesting).

Economics is organized common sense. Here is a short list of valuable lessons that our beautiful subject teaches.

1. Many things that are desirable are not feasible.

2. Individuals and communities face trade-offs.

3. Other people have more information about their abilities, their efforts,
and their preferences than you do.

4. Everyone responds to incentives, including people you want to help. That
is why social safety nets don't always end up working as intended.

5. There are tradeoffs between equality and efficiency.

6. In an equilibrium of a game or an economy, people are satisfied with their
choices. That is why it is difficult for well meaning outsiders to change
things for better or worse.

7. In the future, you too will respond to incentives. That is why there are
some promises that you'd like to make but can't. No one will believe those
promises because they know that later it will not be in your interest to
deliver. The lesson here is this: before you make a promise, think about
whether you will want to keep it if and when your circumstances change.
This is how you earn a reputation.

8. Governments and voters respond to incentives too. That is why governments sometimes default on loans and other promises that they have made.

9. It is feasible for one generation to shift costs to subsequent ones. That is
what national government debts and the U.S. social security system do
(but not the social security system of Singapore).

10. When a government spends, its citizens eventually pay, either today or
tomorrow, either through explicit taxes or implicit ones like inflation.

11. Most people want other people to pay for public goods and government
transfers (especially transfers to themselves).

12. Because market prices aggregate traders' information, it is difficult to forecast stock prices and interest rates and exchange rates.

User Journal

Journal: Soylent News 4

Journal by TheRaven64

I've not been posting on Slashdot much this week, because I've been trying out Soylent News, which is using (and old version of) Slashcode (with some improvements) and lacks corporate overlords. It seems to have captured most of what I like about discussions in Slashdot, although is suffering slightly from not having nearly as many active users (50 or so comments is still the norm and it probably needs 100+ to be sustainable).
If you've not visited yet, I'd recommend giving it a go.

I'm TheRaven over there.

User Journal

Journal: Keystone XL Pipeline Will Raise Gas Prices for US Consumers

Journal by PopeRatzo

Unintended consequences:

http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/sites/default/files/resources/keystonexl_cwd.pdf

There is no shortage of available crude oil, domestic or imported, in the
United States, and for the last few years there has been a glut at the nationâ(TM)s
largest crude oil terminal in Cushing, Oklahoma. Canadian tar sands oil
would be processed for greater use in the U.S. only as other imported or domestic
sources are reduced. Replacing Mexican oil with Canadian oil would
only trade the closer source for the more distant.

User Journal

Journal: Energy Industry Under Attack from Green Terrorists 5

Journal by PopeRatzo

"Just the other day, Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers said, 'If the cost of solar panels keeps coming down, installation costs come down and if they combine solar with battery technology and a power management system, then we have someone just using [the grid] for backup.' What happens if a whole bunch of customers start generating their own power and using the grid merely as backup? The EEI report warns of 'irreparable damages to revenues and growth prospects' of utilities."

Solar Panels Could Destroy U.S. Utilities

User Journal

Journal: Ohio Sec'y of State Installs "Experimental" Patch on Voting Machines 1

Journal by PopeRatzo

Days before the US presidential election, the Ohio Secretary of State (Republican) directed that an "experimental patch" be installed on voting machines in 39 Ohio counties. Federal law makes it illegal to make any changes in hardware and software to election equipment without it being tested and certified by the Federal Elections Commission. [NOTE: if Brad Blog is not "notable" enough of a source for you, this story is being reported in many other media outlets.]

You Slashdot readers are supposed to know a little something about software and patches and security. What do you think? This sound like "best practices" to you? By the way, John Husted, the Ohio Secretary of State who ordered this "patch" installed, is the guy who tried to stop early voting in Ohio and then told his county clerks to ignore the federal courts when they issued an injunction to put those early voting dates back in place. He's also one of the Republican officials who claimed that the proposed voter ID laws and purges of voter rolls would "deliver" Ohio to the Romney campaign.

I'm a little curious about what any sysadmins who read this and support Romney think of this move.

User Journal

Journal: Militarizing the Olympics

Journal by PopeRatzo

Jeremiah Cornelius has covered this story, but if you haven't read this article about a journalist who infiltrated the G4S security firm, the private company to whom the security for the London 2012 Olympics has been outsourced, go take a look. It just gets worse and worse.

It's a pretty stunning story, not just the plan to evacuate London, not just the 200,000 body bags that were ordered, but the level of incompetence that G4S has shown thus far.

Ben Fellows, the filmmaker and journalist who went undercover as "âoeLee Hazledean", has recently revealed his true identity when the complete blackout on his story by the mainstream media, and other irregularities, have made him fear for his life.

The great Swedish alt-blogcasters Red Ice Radio also have some pretty shocking coverage (warning: includes some rather out-there material, but still interesting). In their 2 1/2 hour special, they get opinions from some pretty impressive people, but also from some, shall-we-say "less conventional" characters like David Icke. But even those interviewees have some fascinating insights (I happen to think Icke is not nearly as loony as he is portrayed). Depending on your tolerance for challenging consensus reality, YMMV.

User Journal

Journal: The Job Creators 14

Journal by PopeRatzo

As any Libertarian will tell you, there's no reason a CEO shouldn't be paid 2000 times the amount of an average worker, because they're worth it.

Keep that in mind when you read the story of Progress Energy CEO Bill Johnson. It's a tale of how mistreated the 1% are in Obama's America:

When Duke Energy announced its merger with Progress Energy last year, the two companies agreed that Progress CEO Bill Johnson would assume the same position at the combined company. So he did: On June 27, Johnson signed a three-year contract to helm Duke. When the merger went into effect on July 2, he assumed the position of CEO.

        And then, on July 3 at midnight, Johnson resigned

As the article tells us, Bill Johnson was forced out by the board after the merger, but just imagine the job he did in that one day as CEO when you read about his compensation package for that 24 hours:

Despite his short-lived tenure, Mr. Johnson will receive exit payments worth as much as $44.4 million, according to Duke. That includes $7.4 million in severance, a nearly $1.4 million cash bonus, a special lump-sum payment worth up to $1.5 million and accelerated vesting of his stock awards, according to a Duke regulatory filing Tuesday night. Mr. Johnson gets the lump-sum payment as long as he cooperates with Duke and doesnâ(TM)t disparage his former employer, the filing said.

Under his exit package, Mr. Johnson also will receive approximately $30,000 to reimburse him for relocation expenses.

Well, thank God for that $30k in "relocation expenses". Renting a U-Haul isn't cheap.

Like the saying goes "The rich are different than the rest of us. They are completely without shame." I want to know what the board of directors was doing the day this benefits package was approved.

But remember, according to Mitt Romney, Bill Johnson is a "job creator". Except, during the 24 very busy hours that Johnson was CEO, he laid off 900 workers. I wonder how much that comes to per laid-off worker?

User Journal

Journal: Getting a Job 4

Journal by TheRaven64

Someone on Slashdot recently claimed I hadn't read Keep the Aspidistra Flying because I thought the ending was depressing. After I finished my PhD in 2007, I've managed to avoid the same fate and have successfully avoided having a real job for almost five years. I've done freelance programming and written four books, and had a lot of time to post on Slashdot (as you can tell from the fact that, so far, I've posted more than anyone else this quarter) and do open source stuff (Ohloh ranks me in the top 2,000 geeks with no life^W^W^W^Wopen source developers).

That's about to change though. I had two interesting job offers recently (I seem to get job offers from banks very often, but I have a very low tolerance for tedium, so I'd probably have been fired around day 3 if I'd taken any of them). One was from Google in Paris (yay!) but working on boring things (boo!). The other was from Cambridge University, which is about as well paid as you expect in academia (aww!) but basically involves working on the same stuff I do for fun (yay!) with some very intelligent people (yay!). Oh, and it's in a city where a quick search found four tango classes (yay!) and property prices not much lower than London (oops!) and which is both small and flat enough that I can cycle everywhere (yay!) and so does everyone else (look out!).

So, in a few weeks I'm moving to Cambridge. I'll miss looking out at the sea, but being able to dance tango more than once a week should be some compensation. There also seems to be a lively salsa scene, although having to learn yet another set of names for the same Rueda steps is going to be a little tiresome...

When I visited, I went for drinks with some of the makerspace guys the night before my interview (I have no idea how much I drank, but it didn't seem to affect my interview performance too badly...) and met someone who worked on the C++11 atomics spec (which I was in the middle of implementing at the time) and someone who had ported 2BSD to a 32-bit PIC with 128KB of RAM, so it definitely seems like a city with no shortage of geeks...

User Journal

Journal: Wyoming prepares for the End Times with proposed purchase of aircraft carrier 4

Journal by PopeRatzo

I had to double-check to make sure this wasn't an Onion article. It appears that a Wyoming state legislature has advance (yes, there was a vote) to prepare for the worst. They want to create a task force to prepare Wyoming for the total social and economic collapse of the United States (aka, the Zombie Apocalypse).

The best part of the story, and the part you just can't make up, is that the preparations include the formation of a Wyoming Navy . As reported in the Wyoming news source m.trib.com,

The task force would look at the feasibility of Wyoming issuing its own alternative currency, if needed. And House members approved an amendment Friday by state Rep. Kermit Brown, R-Laramie, to have the task force also examine conditions under which Wyoming would need to implement its own military draft, raise a standing army, and acquire strike aircraft and an aircraft carrier.

Of course, an aircraft carrier costs about $6billion, but first there's the little issue of Wyoming being landlocked. The purchase of a submarine was not mentioned.

Read more in-depth analysis here.

Is anyone surprised that the amendment creating this task force was written and sponsored by Republicans? It's worth noting that Wyoming, the least populous state in the US gets back $1.11 for every $1.00 it sends to Washington in federal taxes.

It is surely a great calamity for a human being to have no obsessions. - Robert Bly

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