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There are great benefits to connectedness, but we haven't wrapped our minds around the costs.

State of Washington v. Oliver C. Christensen
Topic: Politics and Law 12:43 am EST, Dec 20, 2004

A mother, using the speakerphone function of the family's cordless telephone system, surreptitiously listened to a conversation between her daughter and her daughter's boyfriend in which a crime was discussed. The mother was permitted to testify against the boyfriend at his trial about what she overheard. We conclude that under the Washington privacy act, the conversation in question was a private one and the base unit of the cordless telephone was a device designed to transmit. We reverse [the decision of the lower court].

We have repeatedly held that the mere possibility that intrusion on otherwise private activities is technologically feasible does not strip citizens of their privacy rights.

The Washington act, with its all-party consent requirement, contains no such parental exception and no Washington court has ever implied such an exception. We decline to do so now.

State of Washington v. Oliver C. Christensen


Mom's eavesdropping violates Privacy Act, Supreme Court rules
Topic: Surveillance 12:38 am EST, Dec 20, 2004

In a victory for rebellious teenagers, the Washington state Supreme Court has ruled that a mother violated the state's privacy act by eavesdropping on her daughter's phone conversation.

Federal wiretap law has been interpreted to allow parents to record their child's conversations. But Washington privacy law is stricter. Washington is one of 11 states that requires consent from all parties involved before a conversation may be intercepted or recorded.

"The Washington statute ... tips the balance in favor of individual privacy at the expense of law enforcement's ability to gather evidence without a warrant," Justice Tom Chambers wrote in the unanimous opinion.

Mom's eavesdropping violates Privacy Act, Supreme Court rules


The Economics of the Internet Backbone
Topic: Technology 12:25 am EST, Dec 20, 2004

This paper discusses the economics of the Internet backbone.

The author discusses competition on the Internet backbone as well as relevant competition policy issues.

In particular, he shows how public protocols, ease of entry, very fast network expansion, connections by the same Internet Service Provider (“ISP”) to multiple backbones (ISP multi-homing), and connections by the same large web site to multiple ISPs (customer multi-homing) enhance price competition and make it very unlikely that any firm providing Internet backbone connectivity would find it profitable to degrade or sever interconnection with other backbones in an attempt to monopolize the Internet backbone.

The Economics of the Internet Backbone


Hyper-Encryption by Virtual Satellite
Topic: Cryptography 12:23 am EST, Dec 20, 2004

As part of the Harvard University Science Center Lecture Series, Michael O. Rabin, the T.J. Watson Sr. Professor of Computer Science at Harvard University, lectures on hyper-encryption and provably everlasting secrets.

In this lecture, Professor Rabin confronts the failure of present-day computer systems to provide minimal network security. As a solution, Professor Rabin presents the theory of hyper-encryption and attempts to prove its security against an adversary possessing unlimited computer power. This hyper-encryption method provides secure data exchange even if the adversary mounts an adaptive attack and obtains the secret decryption key. This program offers over an hour of video content and slides from the presentation.

Hyper-Encryption by Virtual Satellite


What is happening to Silicon Valley's talent pool?
Topic: Local Information 12:06 am EST, Dec 20, 2004

If you are a current or former tech worker in the SF bay area, then this data may be of particular interest to you. For the more casually interested reader, two items in particular are notable.

Slide 15 shows where workers who left high-tech industry went, as a function of what they were doing at the height of the boom.

Slide 16 shows that workers who bailed out of high tech have fared poorly, whereas those who stayed in tech jobs have done well.

(I found it amusing that the surveyors refer to parts of the Golden State outside the bay area as "ROC".)

What is happening to Silicon Valley's talent pool?


Engineering Expressiveness
Topic: Technology 11:49 pm EST, Dec 19, 2004

I got to thinking once again about how computers have changed the way we engineers communicate in writing and in planning presentations.

On the one hand, computers have given us this vast freedom of expression, but at the same time they have established a pattern of conformity that has narrowed the range of expression to a tiny sliver.

In the future, perhaps the paper clip will ask whether you would prefer this in the style of Hemingway, or perhaps in the style of Dickens.

As computers empower our expressiveness, they also plot to take it away.

Engineering Expressiveness


Menus document history of Chinese eateries in US
Topic: Current Events 7:33 pm EST, Dec 19, 2004

dmv wrote:
] I thought that, in today's column, I would heal the
] nation.
]
] The nation suffered a wound during the recent
] presidential election as a result of the rift between the
] red states -- defined as "states where 'foreign cuisine'
] pretty much means Pizza Hut"
-- and the blue states,
] defined as "states that believe they are smarter than
] the red states, despite the fact that it takes the
] average blue-state resident 15 minutes to order a single
] cup of coffee."

I know Dave is trying to be funny, but those characterizations are just dead wrong.

Here's an excerpt from a New York Times article published on September 22, 2004.

There are now close to 36,000 Chinese restaurants in the United States, according to Chinese Restaurant News, a trade publication, more than the number of McDonald's, Wendy's and Burger King franchises combined. What began in this country as exotic has become thoroughly American. A study by the Center for Culinary Development, a food product development company, found that 39 percent of children between the ages of 10 and 13 who were surveyed said Chinese was their favorite type of food, compared with only 9 percent who chose American.

"It has become part of our consciousness."

"It is quintessentially American."

Menus document history of Chinese eateries in US


God Speaks To Me Through Scrabble...
Topic: Arts 4:53 pm EST, Dec 19, 2004

... so I joined the NSA. Life is a game of patterns and chance. Be the craziest. Triple triple.

Eight minutes of flash you will enjoy.

God Speaks To Me Through Scrabble...


Long Life, Fleeting History and the Wisdom of Silence
Topic: History 12:03 pm EST, Dec 19, 2004

The end of the year is near, a time for reflection. So, in search of understanding, I recently visited my grandmother, who is 104.

Over 104 years, a lot happens.

Although she has seen a lot of it, she never liked change much. "The things you see when you don't have a gun" was a favorite expression, delivered on encountering any novelty or irritant.

Long Life, Fleeting History and the Wisdom of Silence


Sizing Up the New Toned-Down Bin Laden
Topic: War on Terrorism 11:28 am EST, Dec 19, 2004

Counterterrorism officials and terrorist experts are listening closely and debating an important question:

Is Mr. bin Laden committed to destroying America, or has he become more pragmatic, trying to begin a rational foreign policy debate about its presence in the Middle East and even appealing to Americans' pocketbooks?

"He is tuned out by most Americans and Europeans, and it's begun to really annoy him."

Sizing Up the New Toned-Down Bin Laden


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