Saturday December 14th, 2019

Kidnapping for Profit

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For 20 years, a Tennessee baby thief kidnapped more than 5,000 children from the streets, hospitals, and shanty towns of Memphis. Now, 70 years later, survivors of her 'house of horrors' are confronting the past.

In the 1900s and 1910s, formalized adoptions were fairly rare, but in the 1920s adoption began to be marketed as a shortcut to societal improvement. According to one ad from the National Home Finding Society, adopting would "reduce divorces, banditry, murder, and control births, fill all the churches and do real missionary work at home and abroad, exchanging immigrants for Americans and stopping some of the road leading to war."

Any correlation with current events is your own extrapolation.

Life expectancy vs health expenditure

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raging cyclist

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Shadow forwarded along a couple of Reddit links over an incident in England where a cyclist and guy driving a big ol' truck met on a narrow one lane road, and the cyclist decided to not budge.

This time it is an idiot on a bike. The huge truck has to move so his mountainbike doesn't get muddy.

and the follow-up

Cyclist raging at trucker for not giving him enough space to pass.

And I don't know enough to make a judgment here, but I do think that my initial "dude, just grab the bike and let the 4 wheeled vehicles by" does reflect some ingrained pro-automobile biases that I need to introspect on.

Congestion Pricing paper du jour

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Can Tolling Help Everyone — Estimating the Aggregate and Distributional Consequences of Congestion Pricing, Jonathan D. Hall, University of Toronto, June 28 2019

Abstract Economists have long advocated road pricing as an efficiency-enhancingsolution to traffic congestion, yet it has rarely been implemented because it is thought to create losers as well as winners. This paper uses survey and travel time data, combined with a structural model of traffic congestion, to estimate the joint distribution of agent preferences and evaluate the aggregate and distributional effects of road pricing. I find that adding tolls on half of the lanes of a highway yields a Pareto improvement. Further, the social welfare gains from doing so are substantial—up to $1,740 per road user per year.
JEL Classification: D62, H41, R41, R48.

Legislating from Stupidity

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Lawmaker Says He Didn't Research Ectopic Pregnancy Procedure Before Adding To Bill

State Rep. John Becker, a southwestern Ohio Republican, got help from Barry Sheets, a lobbyist for the Right to Life Action Coalition of Ohio, as he crafted a measure that's since drawn international scrutiny for its questionable medical grounding, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported Wednesday.

Windows 10 kyes

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RT 👅 @grufwub

`strings /sys/firmware/acpi/tables/MSDM | tail -n 1`

if you bought a PC with Windows 10 embedded product key and wanna get it from within Linux

Followed up by: RT A:\NEINI @neingeist

sudo hexdump -s 56 -e '"MSDM key: " /29 "%s\n"' /sys/firmware/acpi/tables/MSDM

Some people have amazing gingerbread

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Some people have amazing gingerbread fabrication technology #petalumagingerbread

Totally like the concept and execution

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Totally like the concept and execution of this gingerbread Hotel Petaluma #petalumagingerbread

Friday December 13th, 2019

Overheard: "The difference between a million and a billion is about a billion."

Stand-in Student

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The "study double" probably got paid more than the adjunct professor teaching the class... Varsity Blues, Online: Georgetown U. Parent Paid $9K for Stand-In to Take Courses for Her Son

Lumen fraudulent takedown database

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Shedding light on fraudulent takedown notices — Berkman Klein Center’s Lumen database helps bring attention to falsified court orders

Volokh found that over a four-year period, close to 200 out of 700 court orders submitted to Google were what he characterizes as “either obviously forged or fraudulent or at least highly suspicious cases,” including at least 80 outright forgeries. It is possible, Volokh says, that this is still only the “tip of the iceberg.”

As usual, tip o' the hat to

You're a sultry mean one

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Okay, I still love the Small Town Titans version more, but this takes You're A Mean One, Mr Grinch in an entirely different direction that I quite enjoy: You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch - Lindsey Stirling ft. Sabrina Carpenter

Thursday December 12th, 2019

Fact-based discussion

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Catherine na Nollag @cafernblue

i still think my favourite thing that's ever happened to me on the internet is the time a guy said "people change their minds when you show them facts" and I said "actually studies show that's not true" and linked TWO sources and he said "yeah well I still think it works"

Today's moment of sympathy with a

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Today's moment of sympathy with a StackOverflow commenter: "So no, I have no idea what NSSplitView uses to decide if a setPosition: should work..." Yep. I'd swear this call was working previously, but now it isn't and I have no freakin' idea why.

Internet of publicly accessible things

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Just being neighborly, I'm on the email lists of a couple of local real estate agents. A few days ago one of 'em mailed around a Christmas giveaway email, offering a chance at a couple of different "smart home" packages. So let's talk about smart homes....

From exploiting Bluetooth or WiFi enabled locks to hacking your Ring cameras to holler insults in the middle of the night and watch your family for giggles...

Inside the Podcast that Hacks Ring Camera Owners Live on Air

In the NulledCast hackers livestream the harassment of Ring camera owners after accessing their devices. Hundreds of people can listen.

She installed a Ring camera in her children’s room for ‘peace of mind.’ A hacker accessed it and harassed her 8-year-old daughter.

Digital lockpicking - stealing keys to the kingdom

In the era of smart devices, it should come as no surprise that more and more appliances "turn" smart. The KeyWe Smart Lock is no exception. In order to make life more convenient, it is designed to have both the mechanical lock mechanism and additional functionalities on top of it. Those include, but are not limited to, generating one-time guest codes and unlocking the door based on proximity.

Convenience does, however, always come at the cost of security.

Maybe cloud-connecting everything isn't such a good idea.

I find myself needing to implement a

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I find myself needing to implement a parser. Hopefully a friendly one with some really good support for interactivity, like autocompletion and template presentation. I know peg/leg is the current hotness. What other resources should I read up on?

I saw the QR code

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I saw the QR code, and beyond being surprised that "encourage your phone to do something you don't understand" was still a tying, was struck by how it looked like television static. Skeuomorphic snow crash.

Cancel Culture: in reruns

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When "Finding Neverland" was released, I saw some discussion among party DJ circles about whether it was still possible to play Michael Jackson songs.

I've also heard the argument that as heinous as Spade Cooley's actions were, his kids are arguably the surviving victims, and since his estate went to them, that buying his music was actually a way to support the victims.

I've got a few Michael Jackson tunes in my roster for square dancing, and haven't played them since, but... really, I mean we all kinda knew, right? So how do we separate the art from the artist? As entertainers where do we draw the line?

Turns out "cancel culture" is a big ol' non-existent thing. Now that streaming revenue provides us a real-time view of what people listen to, major revelations about musicians committing heinous deeds leads to an immediate spike in people listening to their music.

I'm not sure what this proves, but it's a data point. And I'm not sure what to take from this, but it's a reminder to me to try to reprogram myself from "oh, celebrity I've never heard of did heinous thing, let me acquaint myself with their work".

Jezebel: These Musicians Were 'Canceled,' But People Kept Listening

Via MeFi

Wednesday December 11th, 2019

OIG Crossfire Hurricane report

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As ineffective as the War on Christmas

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As ineffective as the War on Christmas has been, you have to wonder if it's being run by the same people running the war on Afghanistan...

cat | lpr

I'm gonna continue to believe that

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I'm gonna continue to believe that excommunicated is one's state after successful communication

Electric Truck In Service

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Napa freight carrier Biagi Bros. tests all-electric heavy truck to haul bottled wine. It's a Transpower repowered Peterbilt model 579 class 8 cab.

Tuesday December 10th, 2019

Great. Suddenly the app is refusing to start about 50% of the time, apparently blocking on something deep down in AppKit layout issues under a scroll view (I'd blame NSOutlineView, but maybe that's actually an NSTable stack bit?)

Paying to circumvent Facebook standards

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Exclusive: Facebook Fired A Contractor Who Was Paid Thousands In Bribes To Reactivate Banned Ad Accounts:

The individual was paid to reactivate ad accounts connected to Ads Inc., a San Diego–based marketing firm BuzzFeed News previously revealed was running a sophisticated Facebook scam that involved placing more than $50 million in ads that typically made false claims about celebrities. The ads were part of a scheme that tricked consumers into signing up for an expensive monthly subscription for a product that was initially marketed as a free trial. Ads Inc. announced it was shutting down in October as a result of the BuzzFeed News investigation.

Hat tip to Research Buzz

Ernest Borgnine on longevity

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GQ: Exit Interview: Karl Urban Is Excited to Be One of The Boys — The star of Amazon’s darkly funny superhero series looks back at 2019, his career, and some unusual elder wisdom.

The other thing is just an anecdote. I once worked on a movie called Red with Ernest Borgnine, who was 92 at the time. And I asked him what the secret of his longevity was. And he looked at me, he smiled, and he said, "Well, I masturbate twice a day." I'm always looking to pick the brains of the elders and to learn where I can. So I'm not quite sure where to place that one, but I'm passing it on.

Women as objects

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Essential Oil poisonings

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Fascinating: Essential Oil Poisoning Is on The Rise. Here's What You Need to Know

Not all oils are of equal concern, either. Most commonly essential oils produce skin irritations or contact dermatitis. Others contain naturally occurring compounds known as endocrine disruptors, which have the potential to interfere with our hormones in unwanted ways.

But the researchers found just under half of the calls made to the centre were for eucalyptus essential oils. Taking just a few millilitres can result in stomach pains, nausea, and in some cases, even convulsions.

Paid article which I have not read: Essential oil exposures in Australia: analysis of cases reported to the NSW Poisons Information Centre

Violet Blue's Cybersecurity Round-Up: December 10, 2019 talks a little about the "NotPetya" attack that was targeted at the destruction of online backups of any company doing business with Ukraine, and <href="">took down a big chunk of Maersk's infrastructure, and did extreme damage to two other US companies that have tried to keep the damage secret, one of those might have been FedEx.

NotPetya was attributed by the U.S. and U.K. to Russia. It was deployed in June 2017 to harm Ukraine — on the same day a Ukrainian military officer was assassinated by a car bomb. He just happened to be the man who was investigating and gathering evidence for The Hague of Russia’s military aggression, for Ukraine’s case against Russia in the International Court of Justice

Charter School waste & graft

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Report: Federal government wasted millions of dollars on charter schools that never opened

More than 35 percent of charter schools funded by the federal Charter School Program (CSP) between 2006 and 2014 either never opened or were shut down, costing taxpayers more than half a billion dollars, according to a new report from an advocacy group that reviewed records of nearly 5,000 schools. The state with the most charter schools that never opened was Michigan, home to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

The report, titled “Still Asleep at the Wheel,” said that 537 “ghost schools” never opened but received a total of more than $45.5 million in federal start-up funding. That was more than 11 percent of all the schools that received funding from CSP, which began giving grants in 1995.

Monday December 9th, 2019

A Polar Affair

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‘A Polar Affair’ delves into a centurylong cover-up of penguin sex

During his months observing Adélie penguins, which included an entire breeding cycle, Levick witnessed the birds engaging in same-sex mating rituals. He also saw the birds engage in a variety of other sexual behaviors that in humans we might call promiscuity, infidelity, even prostitution. Levick recorded these scandalous details in a second manuscript, “The sexual habits of the Adélie penguin,” in 1915. But the manuscript was stamped “Not for Publication” and remained unpublished for nearly a century.

Looks like the book, A Polar Affair: Antarctica's Forgotten Hero and the Secret Love Lives of Penguins is a delve into the culture around why that manuscript never got published, and how we look at animal behaviors through the lens of current morals.

At War With The Truth

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Washington Post: The Afghanistan Papers — A secret history of the war: At war with the truth — U.S. officials constantly said they were making progress. They were not, and they knew it.

“What did we get for this $1 trillion effort? Was it worth $1 trillion?” Jeffrey Eggers, a retired Navy SEAL and White House staffer for Bush and Obama, told government interviewers. He added, “After the killing of Osama bin Laden, I said that Osama was probably laughing in his watery grave considering how much we have spent on Afghanistan.”

Who'd have thought that the institutions involved in the war on Vietnam might have had similar results in Afghanistan?

Amazing telephone tester

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Amazing telephone tester, Tandy, we couldn't find the manufacture date, at Thrifty Hippy in Petaluma (now with picture, apparently Firefox Beta has a bug)

Amazing telephone tester

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Amazing telephone tester, Tandy, we couldn't find the manufacture date, at Thrifty Hippy in Petaluma

Sunday December 8th, 2019

The Deep Sea

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Saturday December 7th, 2019

Psychologists tacking anti-masturbation shame

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Stripchat Partners with Psychologist to Crush Anti-Masturbation Shame

Adult cam site Stripchat has partnered with the Sexual Health Alliance (SHA) to offer live and private virtual counseling sessions to cam viewers concerned about their consumption of adult entertainment.

The ultimate goal of Stripchat and the SHA’s Dr. David Ley is to ease the greater awareness and acceptance of sexual freedom

Amazon opens New York office anyway

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Hey, remember when everyone was calling New York City stupid for not caving in to every single Amazon demand... Amazon signs lease for new Manhattan office space less than a year after scrapping plans for Queens headquarters

Friday December 6th, 2019

Baltimore sex workers abused by cops

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Soldiers flying an enemy flag

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Today someone called my office for advice about what to tell a Soldier with a "confederate" flag on his car. My advice was that, as an Army officer, he needs to infom the SM of Lee's order to surrender, and should accept the SM's surrender.

School seeks immunity

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I was recently at a tech conference, and at modern tech conferences there's a lot of discussion about makerly things and kids, so it came out that I went to a Waldorf school through 7th grade. And someone else in the circle introduced themselves as a "fellow Waldorf survivor".

I was the runt of my class, and there was at least one instance where I was beaten pretty severely on the playground by a mob, one instance where it was bad enough that adults intervened, at least, and in critiques of Waldorf I've often seen references to such things and the general philosophy of a hands-off letting kids find their own social structures.

I never know how much of that is specific to Waldorf. I keep seeing indications that, no, in fact all grade school education is pretty fucked up. Which I guess is good, there are some things in the Waldorf process that I think are valuable.

But, yeah, I think I know something of playing dead while being kicked and poked, and why this kid chose the path they did.

An 8-year-old killed himself after being bullied, police say. The school district wants immunity.

Two days before 8-year-old Gabriel Taye ended his life, his classmates wandered around him as he lay motionless on a bathroom floor. They nudged and poked him, a school surveillance video shows, but no one helped until an assistant principal walked in several minutes later. Gabriel's parents allege....

Mistress Snow

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Academia is predicated on abusive behavior: I Told My Mentor I Was a Dominatrix

She rescinded her letters of recommendation

Any of y'all done anything with the

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Any of y'all done anything with the JavaScript AudioContext API? What is epsilon for ramps? I'm trying to set up arpeggios with an oscillator and a gain control, and it gets weird when notes get short.

Homegrown alternative energy

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Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch: Emergency crews investigating report of possible small nuclear reactor in Northwest side garage

As a precaution while authorities investigate, Chippenhook Court, a cul-de-sac has been evacuated. Cranston Drive is closed between Route 33 and Dummerston Court, the next street east in the subdivision.

Religious creeps of the moment

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Thursday December 5th, 2019

Seed rounds

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Hackers Trick Venture Capital Firm Into Sending Them $1 Million

A Chinese VC firm and an Israeli startup had the money stolen right out from under their noses thanks to spoofed emails and bogus domains.

Evernote releases user data

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Evernote Gave Dark Web Dealer’s Notes to the DEA

"One flashdrive provided by Evernote consisting of 18 data folders in Evernote proprietary software," the executed search warrant from July 2018, listing what data Evernote provided, reads.

Some self-hosted (although you've still gotta figure out how to hide that from your hosting provider) alternatives: