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Submission + - Privacy Advocates Pay for Politicians Browsing Histories

lazarus writes: In a protest movement that we can all hope will get the attention of US lawmakers Salon reports that multiple fund-raising campaigns have sprouted up to buy the browsing histories of politicians.

"Angry internet users have targeted Republican lawmakers in Congress who passed a bill this week that would allow internet service providers to sell customer data without obtaining consent. Viral GoFundMe campaigns have cropped up to return the apparent invasion of privacy, seeking to buy politicians’ web histories and publish them online for all to see."

Max Temkin of "Cards Against Humanity" fame has pledged to purchase the browsing histories of everyone in Congress if the bill gets signed. However he has cautioned people on Reddit and Twitter that because this data is not yet publicly available that they should be suspicious of any funding campaigns to collect it, and has also said that it will take a long time to actually do. Without the funding campaigns, however, it seems unlikely that the folks in Washington and Trump in particular will get the message.

Comment Re:Marsupials (Score 1) 78

No problem. My understanding was a based on a conversation that I had with an Australian anthropologist. But you will find this article interesting and a good place to start:

"New evidence based on accurate optically stimulated luminescence and uranium-thorium dating of megafaunal remains suggests that humans were the ultimate cause of the extinction of megafauna in Australia.[5][6] The dates derived show that all forms of megafauna on the Australian mainland became extinct in the same rapid timeframe — approximately 46,000 years ago[1] — the period when the earliest humans first arrived in Australia. Analysis of oxygen and carbon isotopes from teeth of megafauna indicate the regional climates at the time of extinction were similar to arid regional climates of today and that the megafauna were well adapted to arid climates.[5] The dates derived have been interpreted as suggesting that the main mechanism for extinction was human burning of a landscape that was then much less fire-adapted; oxygen and carbon isotopes of teeth indicate sudden, drastic, non-climate-related changes in vegetation and in the diet of surviving marsupial species. However, early Australian Aborigines appear to have rapidly eliminated the megafauna of Tasmania about 41,000 years ago (following formation of a land bridge to Australia about 43,000 years ago as ice age sea levels declined) without using fire to modify the environment there,[7][8][9] implying that at least in this case hunting was the most important factor. It has also been suggested that the vegetational changes that occurred on the mainland were a consequence, rather than a cause, of the elimination of the megafauna.[7] This idea is supported by sediment cores from Lynch's Crater in Queensland, which indicate that fire increased in the local ecosystem about a century after the disappearance of megafaunal browsers, leading to a subsequent transition to fire-tolerant sclerophyll vegetation."

Comment Marsupials (Score 3, Interesting) 78

The article doesn't mention it, but the Tasmanian Tiger is a marsupial. It is essentially a dog (wolf) that carries its young in a pouch. Most mammals in Australia were marsupials but many became extinct after the Australian Aborigines discovered the continent.

Marsupials evolved pouches to deal with the extreme climate and unreliable vegetation in Australia. A mother will remove and discard her young if the available food is not sufficient for both. Pregnant mammals with long gestation cycles don't have that luxury...

Comment Re:The proof would disprove itself (Score 1) 418

I agree. My problem is the term "computer simulation". We are making assumptions right away about what the words computer and simulation mean in this context. If a simulation is defined as something that has a set of "pre-programmed" reactions to stimulus then by virtue of the laws of physics governing our universe I would say that we are quite obviously living in a "simulation". The use of "computer" in this context is simply laughable, but it may imply (by the authors) that there is a processing outcome that the simulation owners are looking for, and the further implication that there are "owners" or "programmers". That would beg the question "What is outside of the simulation?" If it was a simulation and there was something outside of it, it seems very unlikely that we could ever detect whatever that is (to your point).

It seems much more likely that the set of rules responsible for our universe came into existence randomly and were such that our universe could and does exist. And that there exists many other universes with not quite the same rules and which would be unrecognizable (and undetectable) to us. And further that many would come into existence and collapse immediately because the parameters were not quite right to support existence.

This view is more in line with our observations of the evolution and iterative and ongoing changes in the universe we know. I believe you can make inferences about the larger whole from the behavior of the component parts.

"God does not play dice." I'm afraid that God does not exist, but the dice are real (my own immortal existence notwithstanding).

Comment Franchise (Score 1) 519

You know, Trump, the AntiPresident reminds me of Norman Muller from the Asimov short "Franchise". Takes place in 2008 (so Asimov was only off by 8 years!) and instead of just one person selected to vote for president, current affairs make it seem like Norman -became- president...

In any case, Asimov was certainly prescient insomuch as the "future" presidential state of affairs is mind boggling.

Comment Age Discrimination (Score 4, Informative) 391

I'm in the same situation right now, albeit I'm a -little- older than 63... Employers are not allowed to ask you questions related to your age, but it's pretty obvious when you forget and start relating sexism in the workplace to the synod of Rome in 850. The bigger issue (at least for me) seems to be that it doesn't matter if your 63 or 2022, employers are looking for young cheap people that have exactly the skills they think they need without considering the advantages of experience and adaptability. If they can't find that locally, they outsource.

Seriously, you would think that 200 decades of experience would count for something, but no. It seems far more important that you are a tiny square peg they need to fill the tiny square hole they have. Sheesh.

Comment How to Solder (Score 1) 615

My first computer came as a bag of components that needed to be soldered to a board before the computer was operational. Early hackers were electronics geeks because there was nobody else. If you didn't have a background in electronics you weren't in the game.

I miss the days when digital communication wasn't easy and you had to be particularly motivated to be part of the community.

Comment Management Is Hard (Score 5, Insightful) 229

So this comes down to actually being a good manager. It's hard, and lots of people do it wrong / pretend they are good but aren't / etc. Ask yourself what you really want in a developer and then manage your team to that standard understanding that each member has their own strengths and weaknesses. Something like:

- Elegant and easily understood code
- Good at estimating and meeting deadlines
- Productive and participative in scrums
- Thoughtful and supportive of alternative views
- Etc.

Coders are people. They are a unique breed of people, sure, but if you want to gauge their worth, then you manage and treat them like people. Not monkeys at a typewriter. A small group of talented and creative coders can save a company millions in just a day of work. I've seen it. You need to appreciate their value by paying attention, not coming up with some arbitrary metric that makes your job easier.

Comment Re:Some helpful context: (Score 1) 406

If I were developing, deploying and operating multi-million dollar drones in an area currently under a great deal of military and economic tensions, I'd be loading that drone with every type of sensor, (active and passive) that I could possibly fit in its hull.

The drone was worth $150,000.

It's just sabre rattling.

Comment Re:Not -Exactly- Renewable (Score 1) 160

This sounds like bad news for the Earth's outer core (and eventually our magnetic field and atmosphere). Serious question: Is the cooling of this a long-term problem or will it re-heat on the basis of the mass of the earth over time?

I'm assuming that this is not dangerous so long as the total rate at which we cool the outer core does not exceed the capability of it to re-head through gravity. Is that correct? (not a geologist).

Comment Re:It's not the vinyl, it's the subscriptions (Score 1) 188

There is another aspect to this that I have not seen mentioned yet too. When you buy a vinyl album you will often get either download codes or FLAC files or in the case of a retailer like Amazon they add the digital version right into your amazon music library.

So you don't actually have to play the vinyl if you don't want to -- but you still have music that you can hold in your f*cking hand and know that you own it.

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