Wednesday July 23rd, 2014

Wat, take 2

Wat? Fuuu... broke something.

Never give up, never surrender!

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A few from shadow

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Just closing off a few tabs from Shadow:

Tuesday July 22nd, 2014

Foreign and Domestic

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Arizona’s Checkpoint Rebellion: Liberals, libertarians, retirees, and activists protest against immigration patrols far from the border.

“I am not politically active,” says Richard Rynearson during a Skype call from South Korea. “I am a military officer, and I took an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States from foreign and domestic enemies. When I am deployed I focus on foreign enemies, and when I am here, I focus on the domestic ones.”

Via MeFi.

Meta sign is meta

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Monday July 21st, 2014

Manufacturing terrorism

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Government agents 'directly involved' in most high-profile US terror plots:

The lengthy report, released on Monday by Human Rights Watch, raises questions about the US criminal justice system's ability to respect civil rights and due process in post-9/11 terrorism cases. It portrays a system that features not just the sting operations but secret evidence, anonymous juries, extensive pretrial detentions and convictions significantly removed from actual plots.

Uber and the Denver PD

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My Uber got pulled over by the Denver police — and then things got really weird.

Did I really want to take a ride from an individual who clearly lied to me, then was evasive when I asked one basic question?

Believe me, this is not an easy thing to do when we are taught as youngsters to respect authority, the uniform, the badge, the gun (which was clearly visible in his holster).

I’m proud of my decision. I’m proud of my Uber driver (he was very professional, honest and calm).

reckless driving on a bicycle

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It's good to see that reckless vehicle operators are getting charged. Now if we can get reckless motor vehicle operators charged... Court rules that even on a bicycle, it's reckless driving.

Velasquez's lawyer sought to have the charge dismissed and said bicycles aren't considered vehicles under California's traffic laws. The defense cited a law that defines a "vehicle" as a device that can carry a person or property on a roadway, "excepting a device moved exclusively by human power."

The court found that a 1982 law determined that a bicycle operator "has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle." Which we know isn't true, but worked for the sake of this argument. But it is interesting that we have this place carved out for vehicle operation, rather than "dude got drunk and attacked somebody". Seems silly that the law carves out categories for what weapon the drunk was wielding.

CJR talks with Lucy Morgan

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RT Derek Willis ‏@derekwillis:

Whenever I get too proud of myself, I remember that Lucy Morgan's reporting in 2 FL counties sent 250 ppl to jail:

That is real journalism.

critiquing CUNY

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CUNY Professor Throws Shade on the Whole Damn System, Man: Epic resignation letter from a very disgruntled teacher.

I'm predisposed to agree with the critiques of the system, but there could be some hyperbole here. However, I hope this is so well written I really hope it leads to a book deal.

Red light cameras & fraud

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I am actually generally a fan of automated traffic enforcement. However: Chicago Tribune: Red light cameras tag thousands for undeserved tickets: Analysis of 4 million violations recorded since 2007 reveals suspicious patterns at dozens of intersections, raises questions about system's management.

Seems like two issues: First, this "partner with an outside company, they share the profits", rather than "buy the damned things like we do signals" is fraught with motivation for fraud.

Second: People in positions of law enforcement power, be they police officers or bureaucrats changing light timing and sensors, need to be held accountable to very high standards.

ie: This is the sort of thing that should have a guilty party looking to flee the country because life as an international fugitive is better than the punishment for trumping up a few quarters worth of reports.

New Republic: The Russian Public Has a Totally Different Understanding of What Happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. On how the Russian media are promoting conspiracy theories about the shooting down of that flight, and how that's impacting attitudes around Putin and response from the rest of the world.

Also worth thinking about how media outlets everywhere are probably doing similar things, ie: the various changing headlines and reframings of what's happening between Israel and Gaza right now.

Sunday July 20th, 2014

I know I have whined before

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I know I have whined before, but: FU engineers who spec 50 in/lbs on pot metal bolts w/straight cut screwdriver slots in electrical panels.

It's just eight o'clock I'm already

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It's just eight o'clock & I'm already into thinking about ripping out & replacing all the stuff the contractor who worked on this last did.

Am exploring retooling my productive coding environment, again. One driving factor is updating everything to the "improved" MySQL connectors in PHP, or using a database abstraction layer to be able to support MySQL/Maria 5.6 or other databases. Another is better supporting some of the good stuff in HTML5. I've been browsing various PHP frameworks this morning and I still find them overly abstract. I might as well learn a new language as well. Am seriously considering writing, from scratch, again, everything.

How often do most of you "retool"? ie: Start over with the same tools using what you have learned, or with a completely new language/toolset?

Or maybe I can make a living as a metal sculpture artist?

Saturday July 19th, 2014

For all the ways that EZPass fails

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For all the ways that EZPass fails, that you have to have a balance > $10 to close your account is probably the stupidest.

Friday July 18th, 2014

People's History of Tattoine https

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Verizon to Netflix

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Verizon to Netflix: Slow. Verizon through VPN to Netflix: Fast #netneutrality

Over 65 lines of boilerplate to set up

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Over 65 lines of boilerplate to set up a Perl module under this framework. Suddenly I know how the Cobol folks feel.

Legalized prostitution means less rape

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Study: Rhode Island accidentally decriminalized prostitution, and good things happened:

More surprising was the finding that forcible rape offenses fell by 31 percent in Rhode Island from 2004 to 2009, as decriminalized indoor sex work scaled up in the state. This translates to 824 fewer reported rapes. The majority of the reduction in rapes came from Providence, where the state's sex work is concentrated.

Bubinga slab

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Shadow forwarded along: I bought an 8ft long, 4ft wide, 12/4 thick slab of Bubinga... this IS that story.

Yeah, it's basically just wood porn, a love story to a 4x8 foot slab. I drooled.

Attention drivers

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Attention drivers: If you complain about cyclist behavior, I can assume you are a reckless asshole unaware of your driving incompetence.

Watched some seriously clueless drivers this morning. And Shadow sent me a link that's a first person account of getting run over, I thought it was a little thin for a post and have been saving up bicycle disaster notices and now I'm thinking that maybe wallowing in all that driver hate isn't a good idea...

Thursday July 17th, 2014

On psych wards, incarceration, and being human

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Flirty hip poses

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Verizon accidentally tells the truth

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Level 3: Verizon's accidental mea culpa:

Verizon has confirmed that everything between that router in their network and their subscribers is uncongested – in fact has plenty of capacity sitting there waiting to be used. Above, I confirmed exactly the same thing for the Level 3 network. So in fact, we could fix this congestion in about five minutes simply by connecting up more 10Gbps ports on those routers. Simple. Something we’ve been asking Verizon to do for many, many months, and something other providers regularly do in similar circumstances. But Verizon has refused. So Verizon, not Level 3 or Netflix, causes the congestion. Why is that? Maybe they can’t afford a new port card because they’ve run out – even though these cards are very cheap, just a few thousand dollars for each 10 Gbps card which could support 5,000 streams or more. If that’s the case, we’ll buy one for them. Maybe they can’t afford the small piece of cable between our two ports. If that’s the case, we’ll provide it. Heck, we’ll even install it.

CT state trooper stole from dying motorcyclist

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Connecticut State Trooper admits to stealing $3,700 and a gold crucifix from a dying motorcyclist after being caught doing so by his dash cam. The deal allows him to get off with a 16 month prison term, rather than 10 years:

Huntsman walked out of the courtroom with a big smile on his face following the hearing. He declined comment.

A plea made under the Alford Doctrine means Huntsman didn’t admit his guilt but conceded there was a good chance he could have been found guilty of the crime if he went to trial. The judge then found him guilty.

Good on Assistant State’s Attorney Tiffany Lockshier for being willing to take this to trial, it's a shame the slimeball got off that easily.

TSA keeping us safe....ish

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Fake screener probes passengers at SFO:

A man suspected of being drunk posed as a security screener at San Francisco International Airport long enough to direct a couple of women into a private booth for pat downs before real security staffers caught on to him, authorities said Wednesday.

TSA agent doesn't recognize DC license.

Wednesday July 16th, 2014

Ugh. Fire detection. Matching building code requirements to product lines to what different vendors can get us just sucks.

Trying to figure out wired smoke alarm

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Trying to figure out wired smoke alarm options, seeing a lot of reports of false alarms. Anyone got experience with best devices?

How do I get my Android phone to sync

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How do I get my Android phone to sync contacts and call logs to something I can develop with?

I hate Elon Musk for PayPal and the whole Hyperloop thing, but it's hard not to like the guy for Tesla: Musk on why the new Tesla will be the "3" and not the "E":

“We had the model S for sedan and X for crossover SUV, then a friend asked what we were going to call the third car,” Musk told us. “So I said we had the model S and X, we might as well have the E.

“We were going to call it model E for a while and then Ford sued us saying it wanted to use the Model E – I thought this is crazy, Ford’s trying to kill sex! So we’ll have to think of another name.”

(Which was quoting from Auto Express: Tesla Model 3 to challenge BMW 3 Series - World Exclusive

stenography masquerading as journalism

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Anti-news: Study: Political journalists opt for stenography over fact checking during presidential debates.

A look at the Twitter usage of journalists during the 2012 campaign reiterates that we're getting recaps of what candidates said, not actual facts.

Tuesday July 15th, 2014

Read JackWilliamBell's work so far on

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Read @JackWilliamBell's work so far on Closing The Circuit. Consider sponsoring him for Clarion

Why loyalty programs suck #8524

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Why loyalty programs suck #8524: @OrchardSupply gives you 2% back, spot check suggests prices ~3.25% higher than Friedman's.

Wi-Fi Honk intervenes before cars hit pedestrians

Other systems that have tried to do something similar have relied on dedicated short-range wireless channels that have required specialised equipment. Wi-Fi Honk relies on putting extra information into the Wi-Fi beacons about the (Android) phone's position as determined by GPS, the speed from the phone's accelerometer and direction of travel (from its gyroscope). Phones send out these beacons every 100 milliseconds by default. Wi-Fi Honk picks up signals from other devices and then uses a collision prediction algorithm to work out whether a user needs to be warned about an approaching car or pedestrian. If a collision is expected, the app automatically generates alerts that are sent to drivers and pedestrians using vibrations, sound and on-screen messages.

Time to first parent being excoriated in the press because their kid's tricycle didn't have a phone running this in 3... 2... 1 ...

Edit: Bonus: LG unveils KizON for kids’ safety:

The wearable device designed exclusively for pre-school and primary school children provides real-time location information allowing parents to monitor their children on a compatible smartphone.

Lines of crow crap along sidewalks and

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Lines of crow crap along sidewalks and across intersections are a pretty strong argument for underground utilities.

TextQL -Allows you to easily execute SQL against structured text like CSV or TSV.

SQLite for text files. In case any of y'all ever need to do reporting or summarizing of data delivered in field/comma separated structured text, or write out to it...

Abused children and the courts

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Rogers Cadenhead: M.C. Moewe and the Story That Got Away is an intro to a series of stories over at Daily Kos about mandatory reporters who've faced retaliation for coming forward with reports of sex abuse, and situations where children's reports of abuse are not taken seriously.

My reading so far is mixed. The Most Powerful Person in a Child Custody Case Isn't the Judge points out that the judges are often making decisions based solely on the decision of a single custody evaluator, and offers as an example:

The Seattle forensic psychologist Stuart A. Greenberg helped build the multimillion-dollar court expert industry of today.

In 2007, Greenberg committed suicide after being arrested for secretly filming people in his office bathroom. If his staff had not become suspicious of an air purifier, Greenberg would probably still be commanding $450 an hour to determine what's best for children in custody cases. He was a well-respected past president of the American Board of Forensic Psychology, helped develop a national certification exam for his field and taught training classes to other experts.

To a large extent this feels like some of the stories I read about foster families. I both know adults who have been through foster homes who campaign against the abuses of that system, and many of those abuses are particularly egregious, and then I also know foster parents who have dropped everything to go pick up a toddler from horrific circumstances because the kid needs a roof.

There's room for improvement, obviously, and we need more exposure and examination of the processes.

Monday July 14th, 2014

GCHQ: worse than 4chan

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Hacking Online Polls and Other Ways British Spies Seek to Control the Internet

The secretive British spy agency GCHQ has developed covert tools to seed the internet with false information, including the ability to manipulate the results of online polls, artificially inflate pageview counts on web sites, “amplif[y]” sanctioned messages on YouTube, and censor video content judged to be “extremist.” The capabilities, detailed in documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, even include an old standby for pre-adolescent prank callers everywhere: A way to connect two unsuspecting phone users together in a call.

As TechDirt puts it, Latest Snowden Revelations Suggest GCHQ Is Just Like 4Chan Trolls, But With More Firepower. And, really, if we look at the foreign policy of the major superpowers as informed by a bunch of asshole 5cr1pt k1dd13s... well... all of a sudden the 20th Century snaps into sharp focus.

The sad part is that we keep voting for assholes that leave these assholes in power.