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+ - 35% of (American) Adults Have Debt "In Collections" 1

Submitted by meeotch
meeotch (524339) writes "According to a new study by the Urban Institute, 35% of U.S. adults with a credit history (91% of the adult population of the U.S.) have debt "in collections" — a status generally not acquired until payments are at least 180 days past due. Debt problems seem to be worse in the South, with states hovering in the 40%+ range, while the Northeast has it better, at less than 30%. The study's authors claim their findings actually underrepresent low-income consumers, because "adults without a credit file are more likely to be financially disadvantaged."

Oddly, only 5% of adults have debt 30-180 days past due. This latter fact is partially accounted for by the fact that a broader range of debt can enter "in collections" status than "past due" status (e.g. parking tickets)... But also perhaps demonstrates that as one falls far enough along the debt spiral, escape becomes impossible. Particularly in the case of high-interest debt such as credit cards — the issuers of which cluster in states such as South Dakota, following a 1978 Supreme Court ruling that found that states' usury laws did not apply to banks headquartered in other states.

Even taking into account the folks to lost a parking ticket under their passenger seat, 35% is a pretty shocking number. Anyone have other theories why this number is so much higher than the 5% of people who are just "late"? How about some napkin math on the debt spiral? (And unfortunately, cue the inevitable geek snobbery about how people in debt must be "idiots".)"

Comment: Time, time, time... (Score 1) 1

by niftymitch (#47561143) Attached to: 35% of (American) Adults Have Debt "In Collections"

Time, time, time again this type of information needs
a context of time to tell us anything. Without knowing
what has changed it is difficult to know if this is important
or not.

My guess is that this is astoundingly important not because
of employment or finances but because more and more
government agencies and their contracted proxies are
going after peoples deeper pockets with an escalation of
collection fees and a minimization of notification.

So often we hear that a letter has been posted telling
the delinquent payer to pay up. Yet these are non descript
bulk mailings that have no postmark and look like so
much junk mail.

I happen to have a notice for a dog license renewal by an
address in Texas some two time zones away from me.
Now how is it that my local municipality feels free to contract
a collection to a service in another state in a way that gives
that LLC the power to add a tax levy on my home in the form
of a property lean and not tell me.

If these tiny fees that I see from a five dollar bridge toll
to a dog or cat license issued and sent to collection by some
Kafka inspired process that .....

Well if this is what is going on we have trouble right here in river city
my friend.


Comment: instead of paid-for ads? (Score 1) 1

by niftymitch (#47559915) Attached to: Police placing anti-piracy warning ads on illegal sites

To my uneducated in UK law this is hacking to a degree that would
get you in trouble in the US.

It is interesting that I suspect a click through page might be
less illegal in the same way that many search engines give
you a warning page for sites with apparently BAD intentions.

The search engine page presents a link to and not an altered
version of the page. It is the alteration that might be illegal.

Since the ad content is paid for, someone paid for and did not
get what they paid for. This seems to be an open door for
loss of income litigation. It is unclear that these paid ads are
illegal or not but toothpaste advertisements when you see
a big smiling face are not illegal even when the reason for the
big smile is less than responsible.

Time will tell....

Comment: Tulips.... (Score 1) 152

by niftymitch (#47555473) Attached to: Smoking Mothers May Alter the DNA of Their Children

Many viruses affect tulips, causing streaked flowers, mottled leaves, distorted plants and stunted growth.
One evil virus is the tobacco mosaic virus and yes it impacts animals too.

For 50 years that I know many greenhouses for cut flowers have prohibited tobacco products
and sterilize their cutting knives.

Of interest a new virus has been found to infect the gut of many humans. It has only recently
been identified and the value it provides to the human gut is the hot new research topic.

The risks to humans from the the tobacco mosaic virus seem to be ignored in much
of the tobacco cancer research.... I think that is a blunder. I also want to make sure the
Colorado grower associations take precautions to keep the tobacco mosaic virus out
of their herb patches.

Comment: Yes please,,, (Score 1) 1

Yes please, but with all things free take with a grain of salt.

The DHS does have a vested interest in the internet infrastructure
working. And also an interest in keeping it free of the worst parasitic

It makes a lot of sense to give this service a test drive and look hard at the comments,
terms and conditions....

I can also think of ways to watermark my own code to make sure
it does what and is what I intend and has not been replaced in
some interesting perhaps criminal way.

Comment: Re:Thanks (Score 1) 394

Right because there is no way a little traffic analysis can't tell the difference between some typical GET and POST request sent on an SSL channel and video stream. /sarcasm off

It might be slightly harder to tell the difference between a video stream and a large file download but by no means impossible. .......

Netflix may not be the only victim and Verison may not be the only service playing games.

I noticed that it took MANY retries to download the new Beta from Apple.
My ISP is not Verision. It is that fickled one that was at the beginning
of the alphabet and now wants to be at the end perhaps because X is searched
for in all the STEM math questions (or not).

It may prove very obvious to Apple which ISPs are good guys if they look at their download logs.
The Apple download in this case apparently cannot continue after an interruption. I suspect
partly because the download requires a special token to validate the download.

But it does make the point that an OS download is big enough to trigger ISP tom foolery.
AND the Apple logs would let someone schooled in the art build a map of interesting
ISP trouble makers world wide. I think Netflix should file a legal action to get them.

+ - Ebola outbreak continues to expand->

Submitted by symbolset
symbolset (646467) writes "In the realm of "stuff that matters", the current outbreak of the world's second deadliest disease continues to expand. 63 new cases are reported in the last week, and suspected cases far afield of the hot zone are reported.

Many reports of a lack of personal protective equipment and medical professionals abandoning their posts are in recent reports. The local populace is developing processes to prevent containment.

Ebola remains the second deadliest infection only because rabies victims have only one survivor reported after onset of symptoms, ever."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Intel has worked with the NSA (Score 2) 91

by niftymitch (#47521105) Attached to: Intel Launches Self-Encrypting SSD

If I actually cared about the Government breaking into my encrypted files I'd be using a One Time Pad. ....snip....

I think this is a place where a big "Woosh" applies.

Someone does not understand the way one-time pads work.
Using a one-time pad is a blunder. To get your files you must also have the pad. For a disk this would be one monster pad.
Since it is a one time pad you use it and toss it (special flushable paper) -- now the data is lost.

One-time pads between two friends are interesting but require a physical exchange of pads.

The Intel trick has one big value in the context of repair, redeployment and intentional abandonment of content.
There may be many at the IRS that wish their devices all had this feature to invoke.

The current case of the IRS is interesting... and points out a need to manage data. Preserve it, wipe it, recover it.
When the dogs of war knock down the front door.. wiping data locally only needs a key wipe not a
full disk wipe that might take hours or weeks (central Utah disk farm). Should management make copies
of the keys recovery of a remotely wiped device may be possible.

This technology has no obvious place on a device like a flight data recorder but does represent a signature
to validate the data is on the device you expect iff logged back someplace safe.

Comment: Re:"Just let me build a bridge!" (Score 1) 368

by niftymitch (#47518193) Attached to: 'Just Let Me Code!'

Engineering any complex system requires a significant amount of planning and management overhead. ........

Engineering vs. building is an interesting distinction.

Most complex products mandate long term maintenance, long term liability and multiple people including management and oversight.

Sadly companies seem to invoke a one size must fit all process.... we have all seen the camel designed by committee of platypuses jokes.

Worse some products like Android are big thunk monolithic update piles when they look and masquerade as small elegant Unix like programming problems to developers of olden days.

Then there are bridges over puddles and other bridges over 1000 foot canyons. In one case
you get wet feet and soggy shoes...

Comment: Baby Brother is watching .... (Score 1) 1

Baby Brother is watching ....

But how does this fix bugs. Managers invoke stress on purpose to meet deadlines.
Terrible lighting in offices make a normal person blink and need to shift they eyes
a lot.

Caffeine the fuel of most high tech companies does less to make you alert than it
does to keep you awake. Recall the comment about alcohol and coffee... "you are
just a wide awake drunk". Wide awake with reduced inhibitions ....... sure check that
code in... I am wide awake and buzzing like an alarm clock.

And as for 84.38% accurate... do you want your automobile software to be 84.38% accurate?

Interesting, sure... value, hardly any in the world as we know it.


The "Rickmote Controller" Can Hijack Any Google Chromecast 131

Posted by samzenpus
from the never-going-to-give-you-up dept.
redletterdave writes Dan Petro, a security analyst for the Bishop Fox IT consulting firm, built a proof of concept device that's able to hack into any Google Chromecasts nearby to project Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up," or any other video a prankster might choose. The "Rickmote," which is built on top of the $35 Raspberry Pi single board computer, finds a local Chromecast device, boots it off the network, and then takes over the screen with multimedia of one's choosing. But it gets worse for the victims: If the hacker leaves the range of the device, there's no way to regain control of the Chromecast. Unfortunately for Google, this is a rather serious issue with the Chromecast device that's not too easy to fix, as the configuration process is an essential part of the Chromecast experience.

Comment: Re:I hope this surprises no one,.. (Score 1) 68

Restaurant fails to pay the lease.

Landlord slaps a new lock on the door.

Equipment is sold to a restaurant supply reclamation company, of which any city of any size has.

Supply company puts their crap on eBay.

This tells me that the point of sale equipment is flawed to a
degree that risks civil action. As bad as they are modern
routers must be reset if the password is lost and as a minimum

Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standards need to
address this. Please call your IEEE favorite standard person....

Comment: The primary witness is software... (Score 1) 229

by niftymitch (#47487677) Attached to: Chicago Red Light Cameras Issue Thousands of Bogus Tickets

The primary witness in all this is software.
As such the software needs to be available for cross examination the same as
any other software. Perhaps not open source but clearly open and testable

Further any revision and change must be subject to audit. The obvious issue
is bogus citations because code did not operate as per specifications in the
law. All citations issued while the bogus code was "live" would then need
to be reviewed.

A contract service should not be able to adjust anything not specified in
the law.

With a robot the notion of enforcement priority makes no sense. i.e. allocation
of staff and resources can justify priorities but a machine should simply
operate against a specification and within tolerances that make sense.
Anything else would be a legislative action and not allowed or empowered by law.

Tolerances that make sense would include normal reaction time expectations (not average).
Tolerances need to include sane and honest error parameter stackups.
Tolerances need to be population sensitive.... some are kids some have gray hair.

Consider any regulation that uses the word average is a regulation that
begins with an assumption that 50% would fail. Further average is not
a sufficient statistical metric to do anything with.

Contractors and contracts that share revenue need to be open to audit and
need to have a legal presence and legal liability in the same venue that the citations
are to be issued. Fraud and abuse should incur greater penalty than those cited.
i.e. it is not OK to simply say "my bad, here is your ten bucks back" when abuse and
fraud are involved.

Comment: Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (Score 1) 178

by niftymitch (#47447199) Attached to: Peer Review Ring Broken - 60 Articles Retracted

Wrong. [...] It should be publish or die.

I belive the phrase you're looking for is "publish or perish."

Either gets the point across.

I would like to see some data that outlines the potential
number of authors and the potential number of papers
as limited by page count.

It seems to me that this is a rigged game with rules
drawn from childhood agony playing musical chairs only
to the extreme.

With the modern internet page count is no longer the issue
but it is because that is how the game rules are written.

Qualified reviewers are few and far between as science,
literature, history and all of the academic world have carved
thing up into such fine narrow specialized fields that only
one researcher in the universe has any knowledge of the

Compound that by the rampant insertion of tenured staff names
in the author list of all papers coming out of institutions that
new science is all done by Mr Et Al.

The only process in the US that comes close to this foolishness is the process
in place for US patents where the contents of a whiteboard can be edited never
implemented and turned into a process patent. There is however overlap
where the whiteboard might be a class project or lecture note taken off line
and refactored into something apparently new but stolen outright.

Consider that if you are in a design meeting, and make a suggestion and
are not later credited as an inventor you are the victim of intellectual and
professional theft. Keep a notebook....

"I have not the slightest confidence in 'spiritual manifestations.'" -- Robert G. Ingersoll