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Comment Can I prosecute Sergeant Sousa for harassment? (Score 0) 202

Sergeant Sousa of the San Jose, California Police Department rang me up at work then shouted at me for a solid hour about how he would arrest me for making terrorist threats, when in reality I had but pointed out to the opposing counsel in a civil lawsuit that I was bound to prevail, and further, that I would work to overturn the law behind IRS Section 1706 as being in violation of our constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law.

He threateningly pointed out that our call was being recorded, so anything I said could be used against me in a court of law. but I had a hard time incriminating myself because every time I tried to speak he angrily shouted at me to shut up and would not let me speak.

I grew weary of his abuse as I had a lot on my plate, so whenever he would pause for breath I would demand that he tell me whether I had committed a crime. if I had, he need not send someone after me as I would drop what I was doing RIGHT NOW so I could drive to his station and have him arrest me.

Despite that it is my right as an American to represent in both civil and criminal court, he threatened to arrest me if I did not retain counsel with the week, then hung up on me.

I continued to represent myself but never heard from him again.

now I'm not so stupid as to actually do without counsel, but I wasn't born yesterday. our dispute simply had not reached the point that I required a lawyer.

It has been about 22 months so even if he could be prosecuted, the statute of limitations may apply. even so, if he would do that to me he would do it to others, so I'm going to find some way to obtain that recording, post it on my site then blast it's link all over Creation.

I do not yet provide full details but you can read more at

I'll be posting another essay soon that discusses this in more depth.

if you'd like to drop Sgt Sousa a dime the SJPD nonemergency number is 408 277 8900. from outside the US our country code is 1.

Be sure to let my dear friend now that if my new gig works out I'll be making a generous donation in his name to the Silicon Valley Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Comment PayWare Can Be Free As In Freedom (Score 1) 1

A quite common, quite angrily stated misconception is that Free Software cannot be sold for non-zero monetary charge.

  The most casaul reading of the GNU General Public License as well as most if not all the other licenses that comply with the Free Software Foundation's Free Software Definition makes clear that one can charge whatever one wants for Free Software. Consider Red Hat Enterprise Linux, which is collosally expensive, yet largely GPL or LPGL, and all Free Software.

Neither is charging money for the source code forbidden. The GPL specifically provides that one may charge a reasonable fee for duplication and shipping of the media, as well as the labor involved. For many years, the FSF raised much of its money by charging a premium for source tapes as well as binary tapes for various platforms.

One is not required to provide source over the Internet. Posting one's source on the Internet but not making it available through other means upon request violates not just the spirit but the letter of the GPL. One isn't actually required to openly release the source, but to make a written, legally binding guarantee that one will provide source upon request, as well as of course to actually provide the source upon receiving an actual request.

What one cannot do is retrict distribution of source by others, or to require those who redistribute source or binaries to pay a fee to the copyright holder.

Comment Sorry 'Bout Borking the Title (Score 1) 1

That was meant to be "World-Reknowned Basebell Player Fidel Castro Not Dead Yet, Feels Happy".

Perhaps some Slashdot editor could shorten that to just "Baseball Player Fidel Castro Not Dead Yet".

A couple of the other pages I linked to are broken because my server fell over. I'll fix that in the next hour or so.

Submission + - World-Renknowned Baseball Player Fidel Castro Not ( 1

MichaelCrawford writes: "At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality. Ernesto "Che" Guevara

Truly a Latin American icon, attempted, yet strictly speaking, failed Washington Sentator's pitcher Fidel Castro won't actually be missed quite yet as recent reports of his death are not merely premature, but a hoax propagted by an email Trojan.

Che was completely correct regarding true revolutionaries.

Consider that Karl Marx, far from hurling Molotov Cocktails from behind hastily improvised street barricades, lived in desperate poverty for decades, while performing quiet, scholarly literature research in the reading room of the British Library in hopes of finding some way to end the incredible cruelty of government through royal inheritance as well as the what at the time was the profoundly dehumanizing Industrial Revolution.

My name is Jonathan Swift. I am to Solve what I call the Software Problem. But the software I aim to debug does not run on a computer made of Silicon, rather a computer made of meat, that being the human brain.

The Social Software Problem concerns humanity's history of endless conflict, the primary danger of which arises from Milleniarian Movements such as Stalinism, the Heaven's Gate UFO Cult mass suicide in San Diego in the Spring of 1997 as well as former US President Ronald's Reagan's publicly-stated purpose for having been sent to Earth by G-d Almighty Himself, that being to initiate the War against Gog, consuming it in fire as prophesied by by The Book of Revolation. Reagan was completely convinced that meant he was divinely appointed totally vaporize Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in order to bring about The End Times and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior."

Comment Mom was a librarian; my sister is one now (Score 1) 390

My sister calls herself the "Fat Witch With A Gun". Besides being heavily into books, one of her missions in life is to convince other women to learn how to use guns and to carry them around should the need to use one in self defense ever arise.

Should she ever hear you teasing your cute girlfriend about her love handles, the best that you can hope for is that you'll be turned into a newt then released into a cold yet refreshing Idaho mountain stream. Your only alternative would be puzzling over how to put your brain back together after you found it spattered all over the wall.

Don't Piss Her Off.

I sent my sister, my mother and my mother's twin sister this email just now. My sister is heavily into computing but Mom and Aunt Peggy are quite computationally challenged. However all three of them as well as myself regard libraries as one of the most valuable public services any government or school could ever hope to provide.

If you feel as I do that the word needs to be gotten out about what follows, please forward this email to anyone you might feel would be interested in or would benefit from it.

Something came up on one of the web sites I like to hang out on that is of vital importance to anyone that cares in any way about the continued existence of public libraries.

      The Looming Library Lending Battle

      Publishers vs. Libraries: an eBook Tug-of-War

Book publishers have NEVER thought highly of public libraries, but it is only recently that they've gotten the idea of getting every public library in the land completely shut down. This isn't the first I've heard of that effort, but is the most serious threat to libraries that has come up since the publishing industry started working to put a stop to the free lending of books.

When a library purchases or is given a book printed on paper - what computer geeks call a "dead tree book" - it has the perfectly legal right to lend that book out as many times as readers want to check it out. If we could come up with books that never wore out, in principle every library book could be repeatedly lent out until The End of Time.

However I am sure you have heard that with the widespread availability of reference information, entertainment and reading material available on the Internet, traditional printed book libraries have suffered. When I was in school and was assigned to write a research paper, I would perform all that research from "dead tree books" in a library.

Today's students do the vast majority of their scholastic research on the Internet, at websites such as Wikipedia, without ever setting foot in a library. That has resulted in the loss of public support for libraries, as well as fewer people ever visiting one. Because libraries, like most government services, argue for the continuation of their funding by keeping records of the public's use of their services, public funding to libraries has been cut back drastically. Branches are being closed everywhere, with those that do remain open having to cut back on hours, staff and the purchase of new books.

However, just in the last couple of years libraries have found new relevance by - among other ways - lending out what are called "eBooks" or Electronic Books.

They aren't books in the traditional sense, but they are electronic documents just like the documents you save on the Desktop of your iMac. One always requires some kind of electronic computing device to actually read them.

One can read them with a traditional computer. I can use my iPad as an eBook reader. The Amazon online shopping website sells a popular eBook reader called the Kindle, as well as a wide selection of eBooks that can be read by the Kindle. The Barnes and Noble bookstore sells a competing eBook read called the Nook. The main advantage of the specialized eBook readers over computers like your iMac is that they are much smaller, lighter and so easier to carry, and can be powered just by batteries for quite a long time rather than having to be plugged into the wall.

Because eBooks are data files, and so are not subject to wear, tear, soiling, water damage or mechanical stress, they NEVER wear out and so really could be lent out repeatedly until The End of Time.

Unfortunately, while Amazon and Barnes and Noble sell eBooks, they are actually published by the same companies as publish dead tree books. eBooks are wildly popular these days, so all the publishers are coming out with new titles every day, but they are easily able to see that eBooks cut into the sales of traditional print books.

The traditional book publishers have come to regard eBooks in much the same way as buggy whip manufacturers regarded the automobile. Rather than finding some way to work with the new technology, to embrace it and to make the most of computing, readers such as the Nook, Kindle and iPad, and so to make a lot of money from eBooks in the same way as software publishers make money by publishing software, the traditional publishers are struggling to restrict what one can do with eBooks.

One such proposal that is being widely promoted among the traditional publishers is to forbid libraries from freely lending eBooks. Instead they have the idea that after an eBook has been lent a specific number of times, the library ought to be required to pay the full purchase price of that eBook, as if it had just purchased an additional copy from a bookstore.

That's Just Wrong. That's not why we have libraries.

Ever Faithful,


Comment The Soviets once reverse engineered our chips (Score 2) 201

But that got harder when we shrunk our processes. That had the result of forcing them to learn how to design their own chips, thereby boosting their economy.

My cousin speaks fluent Russian. There is no room to stand let alone sit in his apartment because of all the giant stacks of books. I know enough Russian that I could tell what the books were about. All of them were advanced physics and electrical engineering texts.

The Russians are no fools. Their educational system is excellent. It had to be under the soviets to have any hope of them surviving the cold war.

Comment Are You Saying Private Business Is Efficient? (Score 1) 630

You must not have ever worked for one.

A government-funded agency called the Manhattan Project avoided the need for one million American troops to give their lives by having a few hundred thousand residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki give theirs instead.

NASA put a dozen men and a few dune buggies on the moon in a government operation.

But on private industry's side, Enron manipulated what was intended to be a free market for electrical supply by creating rolling blackouts in California during its notoriously hot summer. I expect that more than a few elderly or sick people died when they couldn't run their air conditioners. It didn't work out so well though, as Enron when tits up after getting caught.

Or take the current economic crisis. created largely by "The Invisible Hand" developing a new form of investment vehicle that anyone with half a neuron knew was impossible to reliably valuate, with the result that Silicon Valley alone how has twenty-four thousand homeless people.

I don't live there anymore, but when I did, I used to see those poor fuckers all the time, smartly dressed and toting those rolling suitcases that are so popular, all night long on empty streets, because they had nowhere else to go. At least they were able to keep their fine luggage after their homes got foreclosed.

Comment Lower taxes lead the rich to export jobs (Score 1) 630

For the life of me I cannot understand why the Capital Gains Tax Rate is any less, let alone in any way different from the Income Tax Rates.

If one has the means to provide for oneself by investing in the stock market, why should one be required to pay significantly less taxes than those of us who provide for ourselves by working regular jobs?

Making more money available to the rich, or to large, powerful and highly profitable corporations, only enables them to build facilities in other countries.

My MacBook Pro was labeled as having been "Designed by Apple in California". But it was actually MADE in China. The very first Apple computers were made in Silicon Valley. It has been many years since Apple has had a manufacturing plant of any sort in the United States.

I'm self-employed, and hope to grow my business someday, but I am still of quite modest means. When I get to the point that I can hire employees, there is no way that I'll be contracting with an outsourcing firm in some other country. Instead I'll hire my employees from my local community.

It has been quite well established for DECADES that most new jobs are created by small businesses such as my own. All that making things easier for large business does is to make it easier for them to lay off their American workers when they move our jobs to other countries.

Comment Take the Bahamas. They don't have taxes there. (Score 1) 630

Of course the Bahamian government has to have some money for what few services it provides, so the only tax is an incredibly steep import duty. But many of the Bahamian people work around that by just not importing anything. Provided you live modestly and you enjoy seafood, you could live there your whole life without paying any taxes at all.

The Bahamas is one of the Caribbean Tax Havens. There are many financial firms that operate there to avoid the taxes they would pay in other countries. I wrote some quantitative investment software for a hedge fund there a while back.

The company owner wanted me to hire on as a permanent employee, and offered quite generous compensation, a housing allowance, a company-paid car and so on. My ex was quite excited at the prospect as she was an avid SCUBA diver.

But I took one look at the place and decided right then and there that I would not only never live in the Bahamas, but I would avoid even visiting it to the extent I possibly could.

The divide between rich and poor in the Bahamas is absolutely appalling. Very basic public infrastructure that most of us who live in industrialized countries take for granted is absolutely thrashed in the Bahamas because there is no money to maintain it. But here and there are completely private real estate developments where the infrastructure looks like its right out of Beverly Hills.

Even in the United States there are some communities where the Fire Department is not funded out of regular taxation. Instead one must pay a fee specifically for fire protection.

Not long ago I read quite a horrible news story about some guy who had not kept his fire protection fees up-to-date. When his house burned down the fire crew did show up, but only to prevent the fire from spreading to his neighbors home. Despite his desperate please, they made no effort at all to douse the flames that consumed his home, his possessions, and his memories.

That man's fate is what would befall us all if Ron Paul wins the presidency, and America loses all willingness to tax ourselves to provide for the common good. Rather than a nation whose prosperity is ensured in part by a well-maintained and extensive system of roads, the vast majority of us will live in horrible poverty, riding horsecarts perhaps on dirt roads, while only the very wealth can afford to pay road tolls.

Comment One cannot call oneself a Software Engineer... (Score 1) 630

... in Canada, unless one has the very same kind of background that Professional Engineers in the US do, with a different kind of education - Software Engineering is NOT the same as Compute Science! - and having served an appenticeship, taken exams, and been accepted by a professional engineering society.

The Ontario Society of Engineers maintains a website about their many lawsuits against Microsoft and the various "certification" companies for violating Candian Law by issuing Microsoft Certified Solutions Engineer certifications. The OSE always wins those suits, and Microsoft always loses them, yet Microsoft persists in issuing MCSE certs. I would not be at all surprised if the OSE were to eventually obtain an injunction that forbid MS from doing business in the province at all.

Even so, despite being completely self-taught and having neither a software engineering nor computer science degree, I persisted in advertising myself as a Software Engineer the whole time I was in Canada. I awaited with glee the first time I was challenged for this, but no one ever did. I even did a human-life critical gig for a Canadian government agency, and got a job as a "Computer Programmer" - but NOT "Software Engineer" - for an engineering firm.

At that firm I persisted in calling myself an engineer, despite their being a clear line drawn between who were the computer programmers and who were the engineers. Our engineers were mostly mechanical or electrical engineers. My whole point in being such a jackass about that distinction the whole time I was there was that, despite our consulting engineers being very good at their work, our Computer Programmers did not have the first clue as to how to code themselves out of a wet paper bag.

Human Machine Interface / Software Control And Data Acquisition software is some of the most human-life critical software there is. The Iranian Stuxnet worm that destroyed all those Uranium centrifuges attacked an HMI/SCADA product made by Siemens, one of our competitors.

I resigned in furious protest from the place because I was completely convinced their lax development practices were going to get someone killed someday. I remain convinced of that, but I'm not completely clear how to warn the authorities that they need to hunt down and destroy every installation of this company's products before the Iranians figure out how to get even with us for Stuxnet.

Comment How much is spent on weapons development? (Score 1) 630

Do you have any concept of how much the American taxpayer still spends on missile defense research? This despite the fact that every single time there is an actual field test, they fail to shoot down the incoming target?

Do you have any concept of how much was spent to develop the B-1 bomber, which is such a poor weapon that it did not see action in any of the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan?

The latest news is that America's latest development fighter jet kills its own pilots by cutting off their oxygen supply. The account I read of one such death was quite chilling. That plane is equipped with emergency oxygen, but to deploy it, the pilot has to pull on a metal ring with forty pounds of force. That's quite hard to do when your oxygen supply has been cut off.

A woman I once dated was a US Air Force Brat. Her father told her that USAF once got the idea that they could improve flight crew morale by issuing them all real sheepskin jackets just like in The Good Old Days. They issued a request for bids, but were dumbounded at how much those jackets would actually cost.

It seems that they dug up some manner of MIL-SPEC leather tanning process out of an old archive somewhere, that turned out to be from the United States Civil War. Back in those days you tanned leather by burying it under big heaps of cow manure then leaving it there for weeks.

Happily they revised the specification, but the fact that the USAF would issue such a specification when soliciting bids indicates that something is fundamentally wrong with the US military's procurement process.

Don't even get me started about all the contracts that were let to Halliburton and the like without any manner of competitive bidding. Just don't.

Comment Many of those loans were outright usury (Score 1) 630

There is a damn good reason that at one time it was forbidden to lend money for interest, no matter how small that interest might be. That was considered the Sin of Usury.

Many who received subprime loans did not have the means to pay anything down at all on their principle. To enable loan approval, their payments were so small that with the usual interest rate, their principal was actually steadily increasing, rather than decreasing.

Of course that cannot go on forever, so eventually their promissory notes called for much larger "balloon payments" that only at that later time would reduce the principle.

Variable-Rate Mortgages were created for the purpose of allowing people who were just starting out to get into a home of their own, with the interest rate increasing after they had been working in their careers long enough to receive raises in pay that would then enable them to afford the balloon payments. But those kinds of Variable Rate Mortages do pay down the principle. It's just that the interest rate is reduced for a few years.

There's a proper name for the kinds of loans where the principal grows, but I don't recall what it is.

The people to whom those loans were made were not financially sophisticated enough to know what they were getting into. I know from my own experience of Beneficial Finance being bound and determined to give me a usurous second mortgage so they could foreclose on my home, despite having already been fined hundreds of millions of dollars for that exact kind of behaviour, that lenders are not always honest.

Lenders are required to provide loan recipients with disclosure terms documents, but the two that I received from Beneficial required quite close examination for me to be able to determine that if I signed them, I would lose the only home I ever owned.

Those kinds of increasing-principal loans, if not already illegal, absolutely should be. Most of not all who purchased homes with that kind of fraudulent financing are now homeless and on the street.

Why aren't the responsible financiers doing hard time in Federal ass-pounding penitentiaries?

Comment Regarding Your Signature (Score 1) 630

I don't think noscript is available for Mobile Safari. Is there some way I could prevent some newbie Slash coder's half-baked idea of Javascript from totally borking my Slashdot experience on both my iPhone and my iPad?

I'd be happy to file proper bug reports, but most of these bugs have persisted for so long I have a hard time accepting that they have not already been reported.

Comment What could we do to change this? (Score 2) 99

An idea I've had for a long time is that corporate executives shouldn't be paid based on the quarterly stock price, as is so often the case, but the stock price five years from now.

One way to do that would be to still pay them with options, but they would be contractually forbidden to sell the stock until five years after each vesting.

If they had exercised their options in the meantime, they would still get dividends. That's the way it should be - companies should drive investment by actually earning profits, not through market manipulations that drive up short-term stock prices.

I once worked for a privately-held hedge fund that had a software package that I referred to as "A License To Print Money". While not perfectly accurate, it did a pretty good job of predicting the commodities futures market.

There were just two dozen employees of that company which invested just one very wealthy guy's cash, but even so they traded in ONE THOUDAND different commodities. They got real-time quotes via a high-speed point-to-point wireless link to an ISP in a nearby city, which I imagine was tied into the Internet via either satellite or optical fiber.

That's not what the commodities futures markets are for! That kind of "investment" is not investment at all. It's Just Wrong.

The commodities futures markets were created to provide financing for farmers to grow their crops, for livestock herders to feed their cattle and so on. When one bought a contract for pork bellies, for example, when a pig farmer's pigs were eventually slaughtered, one's meat-packing plant would receive a bunch of refrigerated boxcars full of pork.

The guy I worked for "invested" in pork bellies as well, but to prevent a bunch of pig carcasses from ever showing up on his doorstep, one of my tasks was for my code to perform what is called a "roll", in which it would keep track of the delivery date of the contract, then sell it back on the Chicago market.

I don't know what can be done about the stock market, but perhaps one way to control the wild gyrations in the commodities market would be to forbid participation by parties who have no actual use for the physical commodities.

Comment I Once Invented A Lossless Image Compressor (Score 1) 99

It was the result of a long commute.

The compressors we were using made the image files small enough but the decompressors were pathetically slow on the 20 MHz CPUs of the day.

One reason for that is that most compressors are designed to eliminate the redundancies resulting from frequently repeated sequential patterns. Zip, GZip, LZW and so are on great for compressing natural language text, but it's a totally dumbfuck idea to compress two-dimensional graphics with them. I was totally appalled when I learned that PNG used Zip compression.

My whole invention was the result of nothing more than whiling away a long drive home while contemplating what about a picture is the really essential part of making it a picture and not something else.

I'm sorry but I don't have space in the margin of this book to actually explain it. But I do intend to write it up sometime soon rather than leaving it to future generations to figure out. :-)

Sometime after this I asked around for a good tool for losslessly compressing audio files. Everyone responded with clueless answers like "Why don't you just used Zip?" The reason that Zip is a poor audio compressor is that the compression algorithm does not in any way take into account what it is about digitized audio that makes it digitized audio and not something else.

Now we have FLAC and the Apple Lossless Encoder.

A really good way to do purely theoretical research is to have a really long and really boring commute to and from work.

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