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Comment Re:You are a spammer (Score 5, Interesting) 345

His behaviors are _similar_ to those of a spammer in number only. Having visited his site: it seems that he gets his email list from people subscribing to it on his site. If I understand it correctly, people who sign up for this list are looking for regular updates to proxies so that they can avoid censorship. As proxies are discovered by governments or certain companies , they are blacklisted, and new proxies must be created and sent out to the interested masses:

"Of course, employees of blocking software companies have gotten on this list as well, so they add our sites to their blocked-site database as soon as we mail them out, but in most places it takes 3-4 days for the blocked-site list to be updated. So the latest one that we mail out, should usually still work. "

Now it could be that there is a better way of doing this, but it seems to me that no matter how this game is played, constant updates to users should be the norm...

Now that I think of it, perhaps a Firefox extension could do the trick. Signed extensions can be updated automatically. The extension could have obfuscated URLs that are decrypted with something like this: and then wired in to automatically select an available proxy from the current batch. Not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it solves the "spam" problem. Also, it maybe easier for users and harder for censors? Crap... now I'm not going to get any work done...

Comment Re:Simple summary (Score 4, Interesting) 345

Bingo. Good summary. I gave up using my own server to send email a couple of years ago for precisely these reasons. It wasn't worth trying to get de-blacklisted every few weeks because my server had an obscure domain name. If I recall, when I sent out more than 10 emails in a batch (we're talking maybe as many as 30) to members of a class, this triggered the anti-spam bots. When I did it from gmail or from other major providers, things worked beautifully. I had too many irons in the fire to deal with this, and while I would love to use my own server's email capability, it's not worth it anymore.

Comment Re:IANAL, but (Score 4, Interesting) 377

Read this interview with Josh Davis first. This is one of several he has given. From this interview:

"He is a very eccentric person; there is no question. He is a very complex person. In fact, in one instance in August, I had heard a rumor that he had in fact killed somebody, and I asked him about that. And he says, “That he actively encouraged the rumors about him.” And I said, “Why would you do that?” He said, “Because I wanted people to be scared of me.” He said, “Remember I am living here, in a place where I feel very threatened. Where I think people are trying to harm me, and I want them to be afraid of me, and if they think that I am capable of some brutality, then all the better” So clearly he is living a life that most people would never choose, never even dream of. And yet, I asked him, point blank, “Why don’t you leave? If you think people are trying to kill you, why don’t you leave?” He says, “I love it here! What do you mean?” That’s why I said he is complex; it is very hard to figure him out."

There are some other interviews with or stories by Josh Davis who has interviewed him for over 100 hours over 6 months.

McAfee sounds crazy and paranoid, but that doesn't mean that people aren't out to get him.

Comment Re:Disruption (Score 2) 401

Please see the book: Merchants of Doubt.: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming.

From Publishers Weekly:
"Oreskes and Conway tell an important story about the misuse of science to mislead the public on matters ranging from the risks of smoking to the reality of global warming. The people the authors accuse in this carefully documented book are themselves scientists—mostly physicists, former cold warriors who now serve a conservative agenda, and vested interests like the tobacco industry. The authors name these scientists—all with powerful connections in government and the media—including Robert Jastrow, Frederick Seitz, and S. Fred Singer. Seven compelling chapters detail seven issues (acid rain, the dangers of smoking and secondhand smoke, the ozone hole, global warming, the Strategic Defense Initiative, and the banning of DDT) in which this group aimed to sow seeds of public doubt on matters of settled science. They did so by casting aspersions on the science and the scientists who produce it. Oreskes, a professor of history and science studies at UC–San Diego, and science writer Conway also emphasize how journalists and Internet bloggers uncritically repeat these charges. This book deserves serious attention for the lessons it provides about the misuse of science for political and commercial ends. "

Comment Re:Businessmen (Score 1) 400

I couldn't agree more. At my school we use ANGEL which (IMHO) is head and shoulders above much of the competition for course management. Many of us take large amounts of time putting up functionality that is similar to what the textbook publishers have: online quizzes, screencasts and the like so that students don't have to pay twice. If such content is on ANGEL, they can access it without paying extra. Although in many schools, profs go with the costly textbooks because 1) they are familiar and therefore take up less time to plan a class around and 2) they get promoted based on their research so why bother putting more than the minimum effort into teaching? I have an ethical issue with professors who don't "profess" but let the publishers do most of the work. Often such folks get graders and grad students to actually do all the interactions with students. The bottom line is that you reap what you sow. If you as the instructor put time into the students and are willing to work with them to help understand the material even outside of class, the textbook matters little. If, on the other hand, you have a sink or swim mentality, and aren't willing to put in any effort in teaching your subject, then you might actually need the textbook publishers. When do the students benefit most?

Comment Re:Never buy from the student bookstore (Score 2) 400

Yeah... I did this too, but then got brought onto the carpet by an administrator for undermining bookstore profits. The book cost $140 new and $8.99 used and was for a class of non-majors. Considering the huge costs of education these days, especially at big schools, it is unconscionable to require students to spend this amount of money. I've started switching students in my calc level physics classes over to MIT's Open Course Ware and students in my algebra level classes to the OpenStax College Physics textbook. I've found that much of what is in the price of commercially available physics books is name recognition and high quality photos. I have yet to find a good high quality, basic open source astronomy book for my gen-ed class.

Submission + - Android Whips iPhone Sales -- Apple Off The Hook? (

CWmike writes: Think the iPhone rules the world of smartphones and cool apps? Think again. The NPD group reports that in the first quarter of 2010, Android-based phones outsold iPhones by a good-size margin of 28% to 21%. Believe it or not, though, this may be good news for Apple. How so? Both the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission are considering an anti-trust suit against Apple over banning non-Apple tools for developing for the iPhone. But if the iPhone is only number 3 in smartphone sales, Apple might argue that the suit should be thrown out because it is not dominant in the market, writes Preston Gralla.
The Military

Submission + - System to surgically jam electronics taking shape ( 1

coondoggie writes: Raytheon BBN has gotten $8.3 million to begin developing a sophisticated electronic system to surgically jam specific digital signals generated by everything from cell phones to GPS devices, satellites and radios. Known as the Precision Electronic Warfare (PREW), the goal of the technology will be able to surgically disable targets in small areas on demand without hindering or disabling friendly devices in the surrounding area.

Comment Re:Non-peer Review (Score 5, Insightful) 617

It is everybody's job to get involved in politics in a democracy, whether they be scientists or no. And whereas we are all qualified to evaluate the merits of our politicians, there are very few of us who can evaluate the merits of science. In fact, it is often quite difficult to evaluate the merits of science outside of one's discipline.

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