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Comment What Twitter *really* needs to do: (Score 2) 47

What Twitter really needs to do is change from hearts-only, to a visible thumbs-up count (same as the heart) and a visible thumbs-down count.

Why?

Because politicians -- pretty much all of them -- sit there with these asinine tweets that have "hearts" on them in the thousands, sometimes tens of thousands. And there is no indication whatsoever from the people who disagree on the tweet; you have to wade through unending BS to see that, and there's no telling how far you'll have to go.

But if a politician says "X", and it's 10,000 thumbs-up / hearts, and 150,000 thumbs-down, now you know what you're looking at. And for that matter, so does the politician.

I don't care -- at all -- about other folk. But I think Twitter is doing the nation a direct disservice by going hearts-only on politician's accounts. I don't think it would hurt anyone to see both sides of the opinions of their tweets either (goes for slashdot comments, too.) Politicians, though... that hearts thing is straight-up misleading at times.

Anyway. I doubt they care. But I thought I'd speak up here. (Yeah, I sent them a support item on this. It disappeared into the usual darkness over there.)

Wouldn't it be nice if some politician posts X, and you could actually show them what you thought? I think so.

Comment Re:"We're" loosing it? (Score 2) 364

Because by saying that you of course suggest the other side of the coin, being that conservatism in the US has shifted towards ignorance, populism and a science-denying base of people with simple solutions to complex problems.

Reminds me of a similar flaw I've loved to point out in some so-called feminist claims that putting emphasis on things like "logic" or "justice" is emphasizing the masculine over the feminine: "really? do you realize you are thereby claiming that logic/justice/etc are unfeminine; that women are illogical/unjust/etc? and you call yourself a feminist?"

Nice catch that conservatives are basically doing the same thing with their attacks on intellectualism: unwittingly claiming willful ignorance as a trait of their side in contrast.

Comment Even smart people fail at basic epistemology (Score 1) 364

"Your brain tells you 'Hey, I got this from three different sources,'" Starbird says. "But you don't realize it all traces back to the same place

I had none less than a philosophy professor once (philosophy of religion, natch) try to argue that multiple non-independent attestations to a claim do in fact add up to more reason to believe the claim than fewer (equally non-independent) claims do.

Say for instance there are two eye-witnesses to an event, one of whom is immensely social, and the other of whom is a shut-in who only knows a few other shut-ins like himself. In time, all of the many friends of friends of friends of friends of the more-social eye-witness are repeating his account of the event, while only a handful of people will recount the less-social eye-witness's version of events. You, coming into the scene, thus have many attestations to one claim, but all deriving from the same original source; and a few attestations to a counter-claim, likewise deriving from a single source. The logic here is obvious: you really have only two competing versions of events each with a single attestation and different numbers of what are effectively echoes of each based on nothing more than the metaphorical volume with which they were asserted.

The matter at hand in that class was reason (or lack thereof) to believe religious claims, with the professor claiming that the widespread popular attestation of a religion does actually give (still quite weak but) greater epistemic justification to that religion than to a less-popular one. But that's unsound reasoning there and equally unsound here, and if even a philosophy professor can't get basic epistemology like this straight I've no hope for the rest of mankind.

Comment Re:You may not like this (Score 1) 382

No, this is not promoting race hatred, it's an explanation of the political differences between two parties and what they mean to the little people.

It's not only the Blacks who are having their chains forged right now. Loss of privacy, loss of social safety-nets, loss of ecological protection (so that people who breathe bad air or drink polluted water get sick all of the time), each one of those is a link in a chain.

Comment Re:As someone who grew up disadvantaged (Score 1) 382

Uhm... okay, so care to explain to me how you know all the kids at the library are rich?

It's the designer sneakers, iPhones, and the glow of good nutrition and medical care.

Go out on the street and see what you can tell about the people who walk by from what they wear and the appearance of nutrition and medical care. It's pretty easy.

Comment Re:Background and the real issue (Score 1) 382

Allowing states to block issuance of lifeline broadband to the poor influences how they vote, whether they get jobs, and many other aspects of their lives.

Some providers just got ordered to disconnect their poor customers and let those customers wait for the states to provide them another way to connect - or more likely for the states to not provide them a way to connect.

Comment Re:Background and the real issue (Score 1) 382

Yes. If you had some variant of Condorcet as the voting process, you would have cast a valid first choice for Stein and a second choice for Clinton, and perhaps Clinton would have gotten the same number of votes overall but not more, and Stein would have had a fair chance

The proposition here that I have a problem with, however, is that Trump would have gotten more votes if some people were convinced that those votes did not matter. He would at best have gotten the same amount of votes, and other conservative candidates would have had at least a fair chance against him if they didn't win.

Comment VPNs kinda sorta ... they will help, a little. (Score 2, Informative) 120

I've been running an openvpn link from my home to our colo for years. I also have it set up on all my devices so I can use it while traveling. Some of our DFly devs also use it when they are traveling. Here's my cumulative wisdom on the matter:

Generally speaking it works quite well. I use a medium-numbered port but I also have a server running on port 443 because the many weird networks one runs through when traveling often block most parts, but usually leave the https port open.

* Use UDP for the transport when running openvpn over a broadband link. This provides the most consistent experience.

* Use TCP for the transport for connections from mobile devices. This provides the most consistent experience. There are several reasons for this not the least of which being that the telco infrastructure seems to devalue UDP by a lot verses other traffic. TCP is also a lot easier to run on the server-side if you potentially have many devices connecting in, because you can run one server instance.

* Configure a smaller mss, I use 1300, so the encapsulation doesn't get fragmented by the transport. This is very important.

* Configure a relatively frequent keepalive in openvpn over a WAN link (I use 1sec/10sec), but a less frequent one over mobile (I use 20sec/120sec). This is particularly important on mobile because cell tower switches can cause long disruptions. You don't want to drop the VPN link in such circumstances if you can help it. DO NOT DISABLE THE KEEPALIVE. Always have an openvpn keepalive setup, particularly over TCP, because the TCP connection backoff can prevent your sessions from recovering or cause them to take a long time to recover if one or the other direction is not actively sending data (such as with most web connections, downloads, streaming, etc).

I personally like 'OpenVPN Connect' on IOS (which I use to connect to our project colo). And of course I run openvpn on all the DragonFly boxes including my laptop.

--

Reliability of the VPN depends entirely on the path between your location and the VPN server. The packet must travel this path in addition to the path from the VPN server to the nominal destination, and even in the best of circumstances it will double the chances of something going wrong.

I've had a number outages at home where my cable link is still operational but the cable company's path to the VPN server is having problems. Also, recovery times are longer because not only does the dead network have to revive, but the openvpn setup has to reconnect and renegotiate.

--

Commercial services are going to be hit or miss. VPN'ing your broadband link might be problematic and you have no real visibility into what the commercial service is doing with your data. That said, they are probably going to be a lot better than trusting your data to the telco and wifi hot-spots you connect from when you are mobile.

Netflix and other video streaming providers will often block-out commercial VPN IPs from the service. Generally speaking, using a commercial service for high-bandwidth connections is really hit-or-miss. You are using their bandwidth as well as your own.

When using a VPN, you are bypassing any special deals your broadband provider has made with the likes of YouTube, Netflix, etc. Remember that if the cell bandwidth is supposed to be free, because it won't be over the VPN.

--

In terms of security, its a mixed bag. The VPN will secure your traffic from your immediately ISP/Telco (aka Comcast, AT&T), and that's actually very important. However, you are not anonymous and once your traffic reaches the egress point its up for grabs by any network it flows through and, in particular, the target web page or whatever might be doing its own data collection.

But the telco data collection is MUCH more valuable to third parties than target data collection, and the VPN link at least protects you from that.

The VPN will not do a whole lot for your internal network security. If someone breaks into an IOT device on your home network you are pretty much screwed. The best defenses here are (A) to not use IOT devices in your home - disable their internet access for the most part, and (b) is to have a router inbetween your cable modem / U-verse device and your home network:

cable modem home router home network + WIFI router

I run all the NAT and openvpn stuff on my home router, so a compromised cable modem has no access to my home network. I also segregate the wired ethernet's IP space from the wireless router's IP space, and firewall the IPs, so nothing on the wireless router can fake my wired IPs.

More on the IOT devices. Obviously things like a printer or AppleTV have to be on the wifi network. But your refrigerator, 'smart' TV, Blueray player, receiver, and other junk does not. And you can further segregate the wifi devices by running several different WIFI SSIDs with different passwords. I don't quite go that far even though my printer is almost certainly vulnerable to a LAN hack.

-Matt

Comment Re:Background and the real issue (Score 1) 382

Supression of the Black vote is well documented, and doesn't particularly concern the race of the Black people, but the fact that they tend to vote Democratic and are an easy target for suppression because they are already disenfranchised and poverty-stricken.

If the Republicans suppress someone's vote, they can not shield themselves by saying that anyone who fights it is accusing them of racism. They have to face the well-documented evidence that those votes have been suppressed, and continue to be suppressed.

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