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Comment: Re:Why do they want us to see it anyway? (Score 1) 300

by James McGuigan (#47751411) Attached to: Put A Red Cross PSA In Front Of the ISIS Beheading Video

Firstly, IS did offer to ransom James Foley, for $100 million dollars, and the US refused to negotiate with "terrorists", so there is that old saying "never make an idle threat". The public act of beheading him communicated that they where serious in their threat, which then forced the US to back up its own threat of military action in retaliation for violence towards US citizens.

The second reason was properganda, its a big public statement that not only do they not fear Amercia, they are capable of inflicting damage (a single citizen) upon the worlds great superpower.

Comment: Properganda Warfare (Score 3, Interesting) 300

by James McGuigan (#47748407) Attached to: Put A Red Cross PSA In Front Of the ISIS Beheading Video

"The internet treats censorship as damage and routes around it"

On a technical level, the video is now out there on the internet and once out you can't put the genie back in the bottle.

Islamic State is a new "empire" currently conducting a war of expansion, much like many of the Western European powers did during the last millennium. The Geneva conventions are in essence a gentleman's agreement between the members of the "nation-state" club as to how to conduct war in a "civilized" manner. Islamic State rejects the fundamental notion that it needs to be bound by the rules and traditions of "western civilization".

In essence what they have done is to publicly execute a hostage for non-payment of ransom, a common practice several centuries ago.

The more political issue is censorship and properganda warfare, who gets to control which information we see. Censorship or adding a non-skippable PSA is all about attempting to control the message, that the little people must not be allowed to think the wrong things, doubly so in a democracy. The war against communism followed a similar pattern of attempting to censor "subversive" ideas, such that Western Civilization isn't the only way to run things.

Comment: Re:In other news... (Score 1, Informative) 146

This also won't work against the "terrorist" Buddhist monks who have decades of training in maintaining a perfectly zen state of calmness even in extreme situations... however their shaven heads and robes might be a dead give away.

"The Chinese foreign ministry has accused the Dalai Lama of "terrorism in disguise" for supporting Tibetans who have set themselves on fire in protest against Beijing's rule." - http://www.theguardian.com/wor...

Comment: From a non-driver perspective (Score 4, Insightful) 218

by dada21 (#47589001) Attached to: The Great Taxi Upheaval

I stopped driving 2 years ago, voluntarily. My SUV cost me around $800 a month in replacement costs. Another $200 in maintenance. I was burning through $12,000 a year in gas. I spent an average of 1000 hours a year in the car, for work, for groceries, for fun. 999 of those hours were spent focused on the road. I hate talking on the phone while driving.

Consider my annual total: about $25,000 + 1000 hours of my time. For the "privilege" to sit in Chicago traffic.

I'm a consultant. I now use UberX every day. I also use public transportation when I'm not in a rush or when someone isn't paying me to swing by.

I spent about $5000 a year on UberX. $100 a week. While I am being driven around, I can respond to emails, make phone calls. I bill for that time. When a customer wants me to visit them, I pass the UberX fee on to them plus 50%. No one scoffs at it. Some customers will realize the cost of me visiting them is more expensive than just consulting over the phone.

I figure I'm $20,000 ahead in vehicle costs, plus I've literally gained another 600-700 hours of phone and email consulting time a year. Call it $40,000 ahead.

I don't take cabs, because they don't like to come to where my HQ is (ghetto neighborhood). UberX comes 24/7, within minutes.

My little sister had an emergency surgery a few months ago. I immediately hired an UberX driver, who took me from the office, to the hospital. He waited. We then took my sister to her apartment to get her cats and clothes, then he took us to the pharmacy. After, he drove us to our dad's house to drop her off, in the suburbs of Chicago. Then he drove me back to work. 3 hours, $90. I can't get a cab to wait even 10 minutes while I drop off a package at UPS. Forget about them taking credit cards.

UberX charges my Paypal account and they're off. If they're busy, they charge a surcharge. I can pick it or take public transportation.

I know why the Chicago Taxi authorities want Uber gone. But a guy like me is their best customer. Next year I'll budget $10,000 a year for UberX, and it will make my life so much more enjoyable and profitable.

Driving yourself around is dead. It's inefficient. Ridesharing is "libertarian" because it is truly freeing.

Comment: Re:Misuse of FOIA (Score 5, Interesting) 231

by James McGuigan (#47443961) Attached to: NSA Says Snowden Emails Exempt From Public Disclosure

Edward Snowdon understood what would happen if he where to seriously try and push the issue internally.

The global surveillance network was a core NSA policy authorized at the highest levels. This was not simply some rouge agent or rouge department. Previous individuals have attempted to raise concerns internally and failed to achieve any change underlying policy. The NSA has even deliberately lied to congress on the matter.

As a contractor, he has no employment rights. Making noise would likely get his security clearance revoked and his employer finding someone else who doesn't have a moral problem with surveillance. It would also likely get himself added to the NSA watchlist.

As a pragmatist, his decision to publicly release records has successfully created enough political pressure for congress to at least review the NSA's policies. A cowardly little shit who was willing to risk everything on a high risk venture, with a very strong possibility of getting caught, that takes some major balls from someone who knows exactly what the NSA is capable of.

Comment: Re:Come now. (Score 1) 104

by James McGuigan (#47418591) Attached to: How Japan Lost Track of 640kg of Plutonium

Though in this case, it also highlights a degree of redundancy. No material was actually lost, but there where multiple spreadsheets and a data discrepancy discovered during a audit. This triggered an alarm and an investigation, the system failed safe. Maybe that was a high degree of wasted effort over a false alarm, but it would appear to add an extra layer of security against data manipulation to hide deliberate theft.

Comment: Re:Key Point Missing (Score 2) 34

by NewYorkCountryLawyer (#47234405) Attached to: Appeals Court Finds Scanning To Be Fair Use

The summary misses a key point. Yes they scan and store the entire book, but they are _NOT_ making the entire book available to everyone. For the most part they are just making it searchable.

Agreed that it's not in the summary, but as you correctly note, it's just a "summary". Anyone who reads the underlying blog post will read this among the facts on which the court based its opinion: "The public was allowed to search by keyword. The search results showed only the page numbers for the search term and the number of times it appeared; none of the text was visible."

So those readers who RTFA will be in the know.

Comment: Re:Why don't they just convert them? (Score 1) 232

by James McGuigan (#47234249) Attached to: US To Auction 29,656 Bitcoins Seized From Silk Road

US Regulations prohibit selling assets through a foreign owned exchange (are there any major US bitcoin exchanges?). There may also be bureaucratic rules for seized assets to be offered at public auction. There may also be the worry that dumping a large quantities of bitcoin onto the open market may crash the price, and someone would have to be responsible for agreeing a selling strategy (which will be criticized with the benefit of hindsight).

The US government also wishes to keep these coins out of the underground economy (ie the digital pirates). They can't verify the identities or force a conditions of resale agreement on joe public at a bitcoin exchange.

Comment: Re:Can we blacklist these coins? (Score 1) 232

by James McGuigan (#47234201) Attached to: US To Auction 29,656 Bitcoins Seized From Silk Road

Now assuming such a system where to be widely implemented in software, a more likely scenario would be for the government to impose this address history blacklisted on government registered financial institutions. The government would no longer need to seize the Silk Road bitcoins, but simply discover their anonymous bitcoin address and freeze the the entire forward chain of the proceeds of "illicit crime" (this would be done mostly likely before a trial). Should the bitcoins themselves be recovered, the government can simply remove the address from the blacklist and then auction them back to the market.

There would still be an underground economy that didn't care for the blacklist designation, but if there was a significant amount of blacklisted coins and sufficent market demand for whitelisted coins (ie I can't pay my taxes or my mortgage with blacklisted coins, maybe the major exchanges would become legally obligated to implement the blacklists), then there would effectively become a market rate at bitcoin laundries selling blacklisted coins for whitelisted ones.

Comment: Re:Initial Offer (Score 1) 232

by James McGuigan (#47233969) Attached to: US To Auction 29,656 Bitcoins Seized From Silk Road

There are several reasons I imagine for keeping the bidding to institutional investors:

1. They can't sell the coins directly on a non US based bitcoin exchange
2. They have a stated aim of keeping these coins from going back into the underground economy (ie individuals)
3. A high barrier to entry limits the number of bidders to an amount manageable via a bureaucratic paper/in-person auction
4. Less to go wrong technically, institutional investors are less likely to claim they didn't receive their coins.
5. They get to enforce a set of unoffical financial regulations on institutional investors, which they hope to become a defacto trading standard
6. A low number of auctions/bidders makes for a more strategic bidding process, rather than "market rate" approach over hundreds/thousands of small auctions
7. Lots of small bids would likely see these coins almost immediately dumped on the exchanges, possibly causing a price crash before the auction ended
8. The fear that if the process was opened up to the public, then "digital pirates" may attempt to interfere with the process as a form of activism
9. An unofficial kickback to the financial elite, to keep them friendly to the FBIs requests

+ - Appeals Court finds scanning to be fair use in Authors Guild v Hathitrust

Submitted by NewYorkCountryLawyer
NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) writes "In Authors Guild v Hathitrust, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has found that scanning whole books and making them searchable for research use is a fair use. In reaching its conclusion, the 3-judge panel reasoned, in its 34-page opinion (PDF), that the creation of a searchable, full text database is a "quintessentially transformative use", that it was "reasonably necessary" to make use of the entire works, that maintaining maintain 4 copies of the database was reasonably necessary as well, and that the research library did not impair the market for the originals. Needless to say, this ruling augurs well for Google in Authors Guild v. Google, which likewise involves full text scanning of whole books for research."

[Crash programs] fail because they are based on the theory that, with nine women pregnant, you can get a baby a month. -- Wernher von Braun

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