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User Journal

Submission + - Flickr Boots Users For Making Simple Mistakes (laist.com)

Andy Sternberg writes: "Recently a rather popular Flickr member was involved in a ridiculous flame war against some angry trolls. As an intended joke, she posted a GIF of some bouncing (covered) breasts in the comments thread, which appeared to most Flickr users (including myself) to be rather silly, a joke amongst friends. The GIF was rather small and, unbeknownst to the poster, contained an explicit image in the upper corner. The owner of the photostream did not complain. But someone else did. In a rather impulsive act of nepotism, Flickr went ahead and started deleting every comment ever made by this person, or as they said chillingly "we're scrubbing your comments from the Flickrverse." Over 10,000 of them.

(WTF is a Flickrverse and when did they get so damned important that they are not just Flickrland or even Flickrworld but a whole Flickrverse?)

Flickr stated that putting dirty animated GIFs in the comments is a way of circumventing their safety filters and a means of spreading porn to the public. Sure, maybe it is, and that behavior should be flagged if it happens, let's say, repeatedly. But once? As a joke? Coming from a user whose photostream is comprised of stuffed animals and flowers and a few dead leaves, one would think a more appropriate response would be deleting that comment, erasing all of her comments with embedded GIFs, or giving her a warning and saying "what the hell were you thinking?" Instead they took their big giant Flickrverse sterilizer and went through and sanitized everything she'd laid her dirty little paws on and bleached it out, saving the souls of Flickr users everywhere. Even those of us who really wanted needed her comments there to boost the entertainment value of their otherwise mundane and dull photostreams, yes, we've been saved as well.

Maybe what is comes down to is that Flickr should stop calling itself a community and reiterate that it is not nearly as friendly or democratic as it would like to sound. Its users are not entitled to specific rights and privileges. Mistakes are not allowed. Cruel and unusual punishments are not beyond the reach of the powers that be. There is no writ of habeas corpus. And there are many rules prohibiting the exercise of free speech which are not clearly delineated but can be enforced at any time to the fullest extent of the law."

Government

Submission + - First-ever national identity card system (yahoo.com)

lo5 writes: The Homeland Security Department has spent years crafting the final regulations for the REAL ID Act, a law designed to make it harder for terrorists, illegal immigrants and con artists to get government-issued identification. The effort once envisioned to take effect in 2008 has been pushed back in the hopes of winning over skeptical state officials
The Courts

Submission + - Police subpoena MySpace over Meier suicide

Stony Stevenson writes: A federal grand jury has subpoenaed MySpace in an investigation into the suicide of teenager Megan Meier. The girl killed herself after being harassed by someone on MySpace, whom she believed to be a boy but who was in fact the parent of a schoolmate. Police in California are now investigating to see whether they can prosecute the parent for defrauding the MySpace social networking website after she set up a false identity on the site. Los Angeles police feel that they have jurisdiction since MySpace is headquartered in Beverley Hills.
Spam

Submission + - SPAM: Spam printers from the Web? Researcher shows how

alphadogg-nw writes: Aaron Weaver has made a discovery the world could probably do without: He's found a way to spam your printer from the Web. By using a little-known capability found in most Web browsers, Weaver can make a Web page launch a print job on just about any printer on a victim's network. The Web site could print annoying ads on the printer and theoretically issue more dangerous commands, like telling the printer to send a fax, format its hard drive or download new firmware.
Link to Original Source
Government

Submission + - Airport profilers learn to read facial expressions 2

nldavepc writes: Cory Doctorow at boingboing.net comments on a rather scary development in airport security. Airport profilers are watching people's facial expressions for clues of terrorist intent. Corry's comments can be read here:http://www.boingboing.net/2008/01/01/tsa-to-punish-fliers.html And here is a link to the original article: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/344868_airportprofiler26.html
United States

Submission + - Is 2008 the time for digital gold currency? (smh.com.au)

wikinerd writes: "Gold as an investment is frequently used when investors are worried about the economy, the geopolitical situation, and inflation. Generally, the higher the price, the more desirable gold is by investors. Gold just now made the jump to a new all-time high price, at the time of writing being 856.70 USD (see recent charts). While this does not signify anything about the value of gold as a short-term investment, as the price often drops after the holidays, the fact that it reached such a record and has been generally upward for the last 10 years should make us think of the reasons investors prefer tangible commodities to papers (currency or stock).

One possible reason is the currency situation: A softer US dollar is often cited as a driver for rocketing gold prices, but alternative currencies, such as digital gold currency, time-based money or similar schemes are sometimes viewed with suspicion, but not by everyone. According to Wikipedia, in response to a recent FBI raid in the offices of Liberty Dollar, a firm circulating private alternative currency, presidential candidate Dr Ron Paul said: "We stand on the precipice of an unprecedented monetary collapse, and as a result many people have begun to look for alternatives to the dollar...I believe that the American people should be free to choose the type of currency they prefer to use. The ability of consumers to adopt alternative currencies can help to keep the government and the Federal Reserve honest, as the threat that further inflation will cause more and more people to opt out of using the dollar may restrain the government from debasing the currency".

As it is recognised by economists that there is profit in the issuing of currency, wouldn't it be a reasonable to encourage the establishment of alternative parallel currencies, particularly digital gold money or time-based schemes, in a free market system controlled by the laws of competition in order to avoid a monopoly in currency? Such an environment could, in theory, help keep a nation's main currency in stability, thus solving one of the prime reasons that make investors worry and seek safety in gold."

The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Feds Raid LibertyDollar.org

An anonymous reader writes: (Disclaimer: This reporter is affiliated in no other way than empathy with any of the named parties. Surely people should learn from this?)

US citizens' rights to property and free enterprise are under attack again. From TFA:

"For approximately six hours they took all the gold, all the silver, all the
platinum and almost two tons of Ron Paul Dollars that where just delivered last
Friday. They also took all the files, all the computers and froze our bank
accounts. ...all the gold and silver that backs up the paper
certificates and digital currency held in the vault at Sunshine Mint has also
been confiscated. Even the dies for mint the Gold and Silver Libertys have been
taken.

This in spite of the fact that Edmond C. Moy, the Director of the Mint,
acknowledged in a letter to a US Senator that the paper certificates did not
violate Section 486 and were not illegal. But the FBI and Services took all the
paper currency too."

http://libertydollar.org/ld/legal/raid.htm

This story, in various forms, has been covered today and yesterday by the Evansville Courier & Press and appears in several places on Digg.
Businesses

Submission + - FBI Raids Liberty Dollar

Smeedoo writes: "The FBI has apparently decided that Liberty Dollar was taking too many liberties with their printing of private currency and raided them today. Liberty dollar has posted a page detailing the raid and what was taken (everything)."
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - "LIberty Dollar" office raided (courierpress.com)

vallor writes: Folks led by Von NotHaus were selling "Liberty Dollars" (since 1998), which were $20 silver pieces, it appears — FBI raided them this morning. There is apparently some legal history, including a letter from a mint telling the Liberty Dollar folks that their coinage was illegal.

Here's the thing, though — the company also has/had paper notes, which were backed by gold and silver in their vaults. And _all_ _that_ was confiscated in the raid, too. This raises my eyebrows: the raid was conducted by the FBI (DOJ), _not_ the Secret Service (Department of Treasury)...

There is an email from NotHaus circulating, in which he proclaims: "We have nothing but the will to push forward and overcome this massive assault on our liberty and our right to have real money as defined by the US Constitution."

You can read the guy's email at: http://soapboxspectacle.com/

-vallor

The Almighty Buck

Journal Journal: If we truly had a "free market" THIS wouldn't occur. 23

http://courierpress.com/news/2007/nov/15/liberty-dollar-office-raided/

So to those who say "the free market doesn't work"... I must ask... how is this "free"? I have known more than few individuals who dealt with this company and none seem to have been "cheated" or dealt with in a way that warrants a Jack Booted Thug squad kicking in this particular door.

Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Make your own Plasma Weapon! (rmcybernetics.com)

Rich writes: Here's a use for that old cordless drill you have lying around. Ok, so it won't shoot balls of plasma through the hulls of alien space craft, but it does look pretty cool.
This thing is made from some ignition coils a tesla coil and an old cordless drill!

Microsoft

Journal Journal: /. is Phising now?

I was checking my email this morning, using Microsoft Outlook 2007 and came across my normal [Slashdot] Stories subscription; when I noticed that Microsoft Outlook had applied a red banner to the top of it; saying "This might be a phising message and is potentially unsafe. Links and other functionality have been disabled". Is this just a software Malfunction, is Microsoft starting to hate Slashdot, or is there another reason deep within the headers of the email message?

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