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"I don't think the report is true, but these crises work for those who want to make fights between people." Kulam Dastagir, 28, a bird seller in Afghanistan

Open Letter Regarding WRAS | WABE 90.1 FM
Topic: Miscellaneous 2:36 pm EDT, Jul  2, 2014

The recent agreement between Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) and Georgia State University (GSU) regarding radio station WRAS is bad public policy—fiscally, substantively, and procedurally.  This transaction should be revisited by the parties and it should be significantly modified or rescinded.

Open Letter Regarding WRAS | WABE 90.1 FM


The significance of Riley - The Washington Post
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:56 pm EDT, Jun 25, 2014

The Court’s opinion offers a major endorsement of treating computer searches differently than physical searches. Although the opinion is phrased primarily about “cell phones,” Chief Justice Roberts makes clear that “cell phones” are really just “minicomputers.” And if you take the reasoning of Riley to apply to other minicomputers and to electronic storage devices generally — which I think is the fairest reading of the opinion — then it means that lots of other applications of the Fourth Amendment to computers are now in play. As readers of the blog know, the lower courts are struggling to apply old principles of the Fourth Amendment to the new facts of computers. I think Riley can be fairly read as saying that computers are a game-changer: We’re now in a “digital age,” and quantity of data and the “qualitatively different” nature of at least some digital records changes how the Fourth Amendment should apply.

This could have a significant impact on the question of suspicionless searches of electronics at border crossings.

The significance of Riley - The Washington Post


Supreme Court requires warrants for cell phone searches on arrest - The Washington Post
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:47 pm EDT, Jun 25, 2014

Modern cell phones, as a category, implicate privacy concerns far beyond those implicated by the search of a cigarette pack, a wallet, or a purse. A conclusion that inspecting the contents of an arrestee’s pockets works no substantial additional intrusion on privacy beyond the arrest itself may make sense as applied to physical items, but any extension of that reasoning to digital data has to rest on its own bottom.

Cell phones differ in both a quantitative and a qualitative sense from other objects that might be kept on an arrestee’s person. The term “cell phone” is itself misleading shorthand; many of these devices are in fact minicomputers that also happen to have the capacity to be used as a telephone. They could just as easily be called cameras,video players, rolodexes, calendars, tape recorders, libraries, diaries, albums, televisions, maps, or newspapers.

Supreme Court requires warrants for cell phone searches on arrest - The Washington Post


Party like it’s 1761 — in a good way - The Washington Post
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:45 pm EDT, Jun 25, 2014

From Riley v. California:

Our cases have recognized that the Fourth Amendment was the founding generation’s response to the reviled “general warrants” and “writs of assistance” of the colonial era, which allowed British officers to rummage through homes in an unrestrained search for evidence of criminal activity. Opposition to such searches was in fact one of the driving forces behind the Revolution itself. In 1761, the patriot James Otis delivered a speech in Boston denouncing the use of writs of assistance. A young John Adams was there, and he would later write that “[e]very man of a crowded audience appeared to me to go away, as I did, ready to take arms against writs of assistance.” According to Adams, Otis’s speech was “the first scene of the first act of opposition to the arbitrary claims of Great Britain. Then and there the child Independence was born.”

Party like it’s 1761 — in a good way - The Washington Post


Hospital Networks Are Leaking Data, Leaving Critical Devices Vulnerable | Threat Level | WIRED
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:44 pm EDT, Jun 25, 2014

At the time Erven’s team conducted their research, they didn’t know how many vulnerable medical devices were directly connected to the internet as opposed to simply being connected to internal networks accessible via the internet.

Erven and Merdinger set out to scan the internet to answer this question. They scanned for any systems using port 445—the port the SMB protocol uses to transmit data—and filtered for hospitals and other health care organizations while using keywords like “anesthesia” and “defibrillator.” Within half an hour, they discovered a health care organization that was leaking information on 68,000 systems. The organization, which Erven would not identify, has more than 12,000 employees, 3,000 physicians and large cardiovascular and neuroscience institutions associated with it.

Hospital Networks Are Leaking Data, Leaving Critical Devices Vulnerable | Threat Level | WIRED


Analysis: Mayor Ardis claims 'mischaracterization' of Twitter controversy - News - Journal Star - Peoria, IL
Topic: Miscellaneous 10:58 pm EDT, Jun 13, 2014

The Mayor of Peoria, Illinois had a citizen arrested and his home and place of work raided by the police because he created a parody account on Twitter that criticized him. When faced with a lawsuit from the ACLU, the Mayor stuck to his guns. He thinks the police raids were appropriate.

Mayor Jim Ardis continued to maintain Thursday that the reporting on the Twitter incident that has become a global news story has been filled with “mischaracterizations of the basic facts.”

Analysis: Mayor Ardis claims 'mischaracterization' of Twitter controversy - News - Journal Star - Peoria, IL


These are the customized Lamborghinis of Japan's underworld | The Verge
Topic: Miscellaneous 9:23 am EDT, May 26, 2014

What do you do with your Lamborghini if you think it isn't getting enough attention? For some of the Yakuza in Tokyo's underground, you customize it with vinyl wraps, flashing lights, and strings of colored LEDs.

These are the customized Lamborghinis of Japan's underworld | The Verge


The revenge of the lawn - Boing Boing
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:07 am EDT, May 11, 2014

Of course, the need to keep up with the Joneses played into Dad’s obsession: since the dawn of the ‘burbs, around 1870, the ornamental lawn, a democratized version of the rambling grounds that in Europe only nobility could afford and maintain, has been a status symbol in the States. Keeping the front yard, at least, in trim, as squared away as a marine’s high-and-tight haircut or the hospital corners on a boot-camp cot, brought out the competitive streak in Dad, a sublimated form of male threat-posturing and territory-marking.

The revenge of the lawn - Boing Boing


The Ideological Middle Is Dead in Congress | The Big Picture
Topic: Miscellaneous 4:16 pm EDT, Apr 15, 2014

The Ideological Middle Is Dead in Congress

The Ideological Middle Is Dead in Congress | The Big Picture


On Net Neutrality
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:48 pm EDT, Mar 24, 2014

Once upon a time there was one kingdom - the Kingdom of Bell. The Kingdom of Bell had many toll roads that connected the serf's homes together and allowed the serfs to travel to different marketplaces from which they could download content. Generally speaking, these roads were not as good for bringing goods to market as they were for downloading content from the marketplaces. No one seemed to care about that, because no one believed that the serfs had anything interesting to offer the marketplace anyway.

One day, a new Kingdom was born - the Kingdom of Google. The Kingdom of Google was once one of the marketplaces that the serfs downloaded content from, but it became very popular, and all the serfs wanted to travel there. In order to reach the Kingdom of Google, the serfs had to cross the Kingdom of Bell, and pay a toll. The King of Bell realized that many serfs wanted to travel to the Kingdom of Google, and decided to raise the toll on that trip.

The King of Google felt that this was unfair. He argued that all of the roads through the Kingdom of Bell should have the same price. This is referred to as Net Neutrality. The Kingdom of Google paid lawyers to extoll the virtues of net neutrality, arguing that all the different marketplaces ought to be able to compete on even footing for the interest of the serfs. If one marketplace was more expensive for the serfs to travel to than another, than the serfs might choose to do business at a less expensive marketplace because of the price, even if that marketplace was comparatively worse. The lawyers argued that it was in the best interest of all of the serfs to have access to the best marketplaces available.

The King of Bell disagreed with the King of Google. He argued that there was so much traffic on the road to Google that the road needed constant upgrade and repairs, and that the extra toll money could go toward making sure that traffic traveled along that road as fast as possible.

The King of Google didn't believe the King of Bell's explanations. The Knights of the Round Google handed pitchforks and torches to all of the serfs that visited their land and told them that the Kingdom of Bell was evil and their plans to disrupt Net Neutrality had to be stopped at all cost. Many of these serfs camped outside Bell Castle in protest of the new tolls.

Of course, it was impossible for any of the serfs to compete with the Kingdom of Google, because the roads through the Kingdom of Bell enabled the serfs to download content from the marketplaces, but they were not good for bringing new content to market or running new marketplaces. None of the lawyers paid by the Kingdom of Google to extoll the virtues of Net Neutrality ever bothered to mention the fact that the serfs were not on equal footing with the marketplaces.

In the end, neither the King of Bell nor the King of Google nor the any of the King's lawyers nor any of the King's men gave a damn about the legitimate interests of serfs. They all just want the serf's collective money. The King of Google has, nevertheless, managed to convince many of the serfs that those serfs are engaged in a revolution against the King of Bell, that this revolution is a grass roots fight against oppression, and victory is necessary to restore all that is right and good to the world.

Hence this fight over net neutrality is really no different from countless wars that have been fought for thousands of years in which serfs bled and died for the interest of Kings, believing all the while that they were defending honor, valor, good, and right, when in fact they were just defending some jerk's pile of gold.

The End.


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