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Comment: Re:AWS losing $2 billion a year? (Score 1) 150

by danheskett (#48148783) Attached to: If Your Cloud Vendor Goes Out of Business, Are You Ready?

Agreed. Three is an intense price war going on in the cloud providers right now, with unprovoked cost decreases hitting my bottom line all the time. I am fine with it, except as the big vendors fight for marketshare I am well aware at some point the products become mature, the market becomes mature, and I may find myself on a vendors platform which is not the one I want to be on.

There is good revenue to go around. Right now I don't see any cloud providers actively trying to really manage support, hardware and acquistion costs for new customers. I suspect as the industry matures margins will improve.

Comment: The Frame is a Frame of Dictators, Not Free People (Score 2) 279

by danheskett (#48138009) Attached to: Who's In Charge During the Ebola Crisis?

The frame of the question is essentially "who will be the dictator who can fix things if one is needed". This frame is inherently anti-American, and also, deeply counterproductive.

It is firstly, and most importantly, anti-American because it supposes that the default state of things is order and control, that liberty and a free society are conditions that must be suspended when order and control are in jeopardy. The "resting state" of the United States, however, is not tyranny, but rather, freedom. Importantly, there is no provision in which the "resting state" in some way changes to "tyranny". That idea is deeply preposterous. Even if the country was in the throws of a world-ending pandemic, we are still a nation governed by the supreme law of the land - namely, the Constitution, Federal Laws, and treaties appropriately made and ratified. This doesn't change in a time of crisis. It doesn't change in a time of need.

It is a deeply disturbing character flaw on American that so many citizens reduce themselves to half-retarded infants in the face of danger. After Sept. 11, 2001, it became fairly obvious that the rational exercise of faculties was suspended without question by large chunks of the public. A widespread Ebola outbreak could lead us back to that infantile state once again.

The question is also deeply counterproductive because it assumes that having a single point of authority will be helpful. Turning over authority to deal with a large problem is not the way to solve difficult problems. Doing so will ensure inefficiency and increase the odds of failure. There is a role for national policy making (which should be done via our elected representatives, acting in concern with the Executive), but it is not to assign authority to a single person for whom all solutions or failures will flow.

As Americans we have many stupid ideas that make it into policy, and granting power to a single person or even a small group of people just increases the odds that something stupid (and deadly) becomes official policy. During hurricanes, and extended power outages, we have idiots governors and attorneys and local government officials arresting and charging people with price gouging for bringing in generators and selling them at market prices. They would rather deny the realities of the iron clad laws of supply & demand and have no spare generator capacity, than have more people with generators who paid higher pricing. The ideology of fairness trumps the realities observable in nature. This and thousands of other outrages upon liberty and nature happen without constraints when Americans turn off their brains and give in to the instinct to obey authority at all costs.

One of the many hidden design advantages of the American system of government is that we have a redundant array of independent actors. There is no central fount of power, from which authority flows. Instead, people act on their own, in their own interests, under the constraints of law established by representatives. In a crisis, especially a large one, this is more workable than a centralized authority. A layered model of decision making and authority creates a mesh that is efficient at transmitting information about successes and failures, and is resilient to localized problems. There are no great success stories of the Federal government handling nationwide emergencies and problems. In past regional problems we have seen systematic problems from mass information loss, inefficiency, and communication failures. These are problems that have solutions, for sure, but they are not universally solvable. The premise of a "czar" is that a single forceful person can reconcile the many uncertain states and create order from chaos. But it is implied that this is inefficient - the implication that moving fast is better than not moving carefully is only true for a limited subset of problems.

Comment: Re:For the love of god... (Score 0) 144

Even just 15 years ago there were a lot more.

Can you post your sources for this? I have not seen solid data that indicates a net decline in the numbers. I have seen some numbers that start to suggest this, but they do not separate out foreign born workers from domestic workers. I think that if we are going to actually look at the numbers, and make a policy prescription, we have to discount that the imported foreign-born workers coming in are disproportionately male. US-policy should not try to fix the gender imbalances in foreign work forces.

Yes, it is, so I don't know why you keep bringing it up. It isn't the stated goal of any of the major schemes to get women into engineering, and it isn't the stated position of any prominent feminists or feminist groups. It is a classic straw man.

This I don't think is totally fair. You don't see any attention being given, to say, the percentage of women who are garbage collectors. And very little attention being given to those percentage of women are death row. Both of which are well below their overall demographic representation. Just because something isn't the stated goal doesn't mean it's not a goal or at least a priority. The fact this story continues to re-appear in the popular media suggests that someone is paying attention to it. I do think it is a good question which is, is there any grass roots effort to actually change this, or is it simply a corporate/business priority?

Comment: Re:Critics should take positive action (Score 3, Insightful) 993

This is, in the larger world, usually where people with a level head stop and consider if they are not on the wrong-side of a polar issue. If you use Debian, trust it, and love it, and Debian has made this change, and you abhor the change, it's a good wakeup call opportunity. Most people will take this chance to say "perhaps I am on the wrong side of this issue" and then adjust accordingly.

In the OSS world though, it's a chance to troll and vent. I

Comment: Re:What does it matter? (Score 1) 191

by danheskett (#48064931) Attached to: Silk Road Lawyers Poke Holes In FBI's Story

Furthermore, metadata is not content -- and even that data is only queried for specifically articulated counterterrorism purposes, which means it would have nothing to do with this case. Even now, no one has ANY idea whether NSA or any other agency was involved...the FBI could be hiding its own sources and methods, or could have even omitted information or made a mistake.

This is exactly the problem - we can't know, and we can no longer trust. The problem is broken trust. We have a clear pattern of lies to the very top of the national intelligence agencies, and when the lies are not brazen enough, they will invent new legal justifications supposed onto overly technical redefinition of common words - i.e. "collect".

As far as metadata not being content, that is 100% in the eye of the beholder. As you say, we'll see if it gets re-evaluated in a modern context. I am skeptical that any challenge will survive standing.

Parallel construction requires trust and oversight, and what we have learned in the last two years is that there is no trust, and no effective oversight.

Comment: Re:What does it matter? (Score 2) 191

by danheskett (#48057119) Attached to: Silk Road Lawyers Poke Holes In FBI's Story

Parallel construction, however, has limits, and those limits are pretty well explored. For one thing, the judge typically can know about it. And so, he or she has a way to balance the the provenance of evidence versus a defendants right to open trial and confront accusers.

Secondly, the basis of a parallel construction is incidental discovery. The NSA or other agency in the course of it's lawful duties incidentally discoveries domestic crime, and it can be turned over for investigation and prosecution. That's fair game.

What's not fair game is when an agency like the NSA is used in order to skirt the 4th amendment. That's a different story. The FBI cannot engage the NSA in order to avoid legal restrictions, or because they have technology that they themselves don't. Prior to the Snowden leaks, it was easy to take the FBI or DEA at face value. What we learned from the Snowden leaks is that the NSA conducts massive meta-data collection and that this collection is not "collection". That program hasn't been challenged because no one has standing (thanks to various officials refusing to disclose who has standing).

The premise of parallel construction fails when we can't know that the discovery was incidental.

Comment: Re:Perjury (Score 4, Informative) 191

by danheskett (#48056659) Attached to: Silk Road Lawyers Poke Holes In FBI's Story

" That's not a conflict of interest. The prosecutors are always supposed to represent the state's interest. It'd be like saying "conflict of interest because the defendant is paying his lawyer". It's kinda silly."

This is not true, Federal prosecutors have an oath and a duty to protect the Constitution, not the state. And that may mean siding with a defense motion or a defendant. It is patently false that a prosecutor must do everything possible to secure a "win".

Comment: Re:What does it matter? (Score 1) 191

by danheskett (#48056631) Attached to: Silk Road Lawyers Poke Holes In FBI's Story

And speaking of the law, the only person doing anything illegal here -- under our system and body of law, whether anyone agrees with it or not -- was Ulbricht.

The point is we don't know that, we only know that the government has told us. And the way they have told us, so far, indicated to be less than honest.

Parallel construction is not nearly as well supported legally as you make it out to be. In fact, much of it has never been tested in court because the government denies the information about the source being the NSA, in order to prevent legal challenges. The Solicitor General lied to the Supreme Court in order to avoid having to disclose anything.

Comment: Re:is anyone really surprised here (Score 3, Interesting) 201

by danheskett (#48005941) Attached to: The Secret Goldman Sachs Tapes

"Throwing people in jail" also isn't a very good solution. The financial collapse was a result of mistakes, not crimes. We don't arrest people for making bad investments. Ironically, the biggest company betting against mortgage backed securities, was Goldman Sachs. Yet they have probably been demonized more than any other company. That makes no sense.

There were endless amounts of laws that broken all the time. Daily, in fact. We'll never even know about them because most were not investigated, and now we've just decided that jailing people isn't good policy. Throwing people in jail and taking all their stuff is the way to fix white-collar crime.

Banning revolving door employment deals isn't a good solution either. The government already has enough trouble attracting good people. If you want people that know how the system works, you need to hire people that have worked in the system. After their stint in government is over, those people expect to continue in their profession.

This is very easy to solve with good policy:

1. After leaving government employment, your private sector salary above your top government salary is taxed a 100% the first year, declining by 10% each year thereafter.

2. Pay after bonuses for regulated industries is tied to the pay of the regulators. Pay and bonuses and equity in excess of the government regulator salary is taxes at a rate of 90%.

As a matter of fact, this will solve just about 99% of all problems in the financial services industry, because it will remove the absurd profit motive that drives bankers to take massively inappropriate risks. We'll end up with a nice, respectable, small, non-dynamic, stable financial services industries, doing things like encouraging savings, and lending out money that is accumulated through savings at a reasonable rate of interest.

Comment: Re:And thus the balance shifts. (Score 1) 354

by danheskett (#48005155) Attached to: FBI Chief: Apple, Google Phone Encryption Perilous

Not to my knowledge. The problem comes down to two things:

a. No one has standing. If the person is blown to smithereens, there is no standing. You can't get a write of habeus corpus, as there is no person left to produce.

b. Actions that have been filed get killed by the States Secrete privilege, the government can produce no evidence, can make no response because doing so would reveal state secrets.

It's a perfect kangaroo court. Kill someone, can't face accountability because doing so would expose how you killed them.

If a listener nods his head when you're explaining your program, wake him up.