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Homage to Simone Veil

Posted on July 10th, 2017 at 3:39 by Sueyourdeveloper in category: News

Quote

Who are you when you are deported to Auschwitz just days after receiving your baccalauréat and survive the impossible, having looked death directly in the eye? How can you do anything but keep your distance when you have experienced, bodily, both disaster and miracle?

The real heroes are leaving us.


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Australian Political Editor Chris Uhlmann Provides  On Trump At G-20

Posted on July 9th, 2017 at 10:10 by John Sinteur in category: News


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Poverty, Crime and Causality

Posted on July 8th, 2017 at 16:19 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

The authors found (no surprise to anyone) that kids born into the lowest income twentieth percentile of the population are far more likely to get convicted of violent criminal activity or become substance abusers. But, by accounting for changes in a family’s income over time and how that affected (or didn’t) criminality and substance abuse outcomes of siblings and cousins, the authors were able to conclude that a family’s income was not associated with violent criminal activity or substance abuse except insofar as income was being driven by some other unobserved factor(s) that itself was associated with negative outcomes. That unobserved factor (or factors) runs in families.

The authors are not as clear as I’d like in describing the data adjustment, and the process they use is not one I have employed myself at any point.  But if I understand the limited description of the process correctly, they are basically noting that a kid in a 60th percentile income family is no less likely to become a criminal than his younger brother will be several years later when the family has dropped to below the 20th percentile of income.   Furthermore, within each income level, crime tends to run in families.

To take the paper’s findings a bit further, there is a serious implication here: it isn’t so much that poverty drives people into crime, but that families whose members have a tendency toward criminal behavior have an increased likelihood of ending up poor. Perhaps those who lack empathy are both more likely to commit crimes and less willing or able to behave in ways that allow them to get and retain good jobs. Of course, some of the smarter criminals can fake empathy enough to do quite well for themselves. It is also important to note that most poor people are not criminal. Nevertheless, the reason crime correlates with poverty is not that poverty leads to crime, but rather that for a not insignificant piece of the population, criminal tendencies is associated with traits that increase a person’s likelihood of being in poverty.


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EU Parliament calls for longer lifetime for products

Posted on July 8th, 2017 at 16:16 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Europe’s Parliament called on the Commission, Member States and producers Tuesday to take measures to ensure consumers can enjoy durable, high-quality products that can be repaired and upgraded.

At their plenary session in Strasbourg, MEPs said tangible goods and software should be easier to repair and update, and made a plea to tackle built-in obsolescence and make spare parts affordable.

77 per cent of EU consumers would rather repair their goods than buy new ones, according to a 2014 Eurobarometer survey, but they ultimately have to replace or discard them because they are discouraged by the cost of repairs and the level of service provided.

“We must reinstate the reparability of all products put on the market,” said Parliament’s rapporteur Pascal Durand MEP: “We have to make sure that batteries are no longer glued into a product, but are screwed in so that we do not have to throw away a phone when the battery breaks down. We need to make sure that consumers are aware of how long the products last and how they can be repaired”.


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I shared my toddler’s hospital bill on Twitter. First came supporters — then death threats.

Posted on July 8th, 2017 at 6:48 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

At first, the comments were almost entirely supportive. With the exception of the guy who thought that Ethan should have been more personally responsible (in utero, I guess, although I’ve never been sure how best to explain that concept to an 8-week-old fetus), the vast majority of people were either in shock at just how high the lines on the bill had added up or else they were staunchly on our side. People were ready to fight for a kid they’d never met, and they were sharing their stories with me in the hopes that I’d fight for their children too.

But as more and more people saw the original tweet, the tide seemed to shift. I was still seeing lots of people on our side, but as articles were churned out and shared, it was clear that people weren’t reading much past the headlines. They came at me swinging, picking fights I’d never asked for. They called me ungrateful, a thief, a lazy mooch, an attention whore.

The attacks became increasingly personal and increasingly violent. Strangers were telling me it would have been cheaper to make a new kid, as if anyone in the history of the world could ever replace this bright light of mine, the boy who loves animals and can’t keep himself from kissing babies and always wants to sleep with one arm wrapped around my neck.

 

This poster (from around 1938) reads: “60,000 Reichsmark is what this person suffering from a hereditary defect costs the People’s community during his lifetime. Fellow citizen, that is your money too. Read ‘New People


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Comments:

  1. Oh, those “Death Panels”? What was that about, then?

    “The love of money is the root of all evil.”

Catholic Church: Women Are To Blame For Pedophile Priests

Posted on July 7th, 2017 at 11:42 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

According to Pope Francis’s former competitor for the role of the Vatican’s leader, Cardinal Raymond Burke, the rampant crisis of pedophile priests was brought on by women who “feminized” the church and discouraged “manly” men from participating in clerical life.

Serving mass is a “manly” job argues the Irish American Cardinal, as he claims that the participation of women and girls into the daily life of the church has a chilling effect on priests, causing them to turn to “immoral and unpriestly vocations” such as “abusing minors”.

My bet: he’s gay.


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Comments:

  1. Oh, clean shaven men in dresses, wearing beads and carrying smoky handbags is “manly”? Everybody knows.

    It’s kind of interesting that Ireland has moved on so rapidly. Now electing a mixed-race gay conservative as Prime Minister. (Not that there’s anything that wrong with being a conservative.)

  2. @Sue : “smoky handbags” is brilliant.

  3. @porpentine: Like all my jokes, it’s stolen…more energy efficient 🙂

Chicago won’t allow high school students to graduate without a plan for the future

Posted on July 6th, 2017 at 8:18 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

To graduate from a public high school in Chicago, students will soon have to meet a new and unusual requirement: They must show that they’ve secured a job or received a letter of acceptance to college, a trade apprenticeship, a gap year program or the military.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) said he wants to make clear that the nation’s third-largest school system is not just responsible for shepherding teenagers to the end of their senior year, but also for setting them on a path to a productive future.

“We are going to help kids have a plan, because they’re going to need it to succeed,” he said. “You cannot have kids think that 12th grade is done.”

Having trouble finding a job? We’ll deny you your diploma so it gets even harder!

 


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Comments:

  1. “Onion” article?

U.S. Flag Recalled After Causing 143 Million Deaths

Posted on July 6th, 2017 at 0:02 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

WASHINGTON—Citing a series of fatal malfunctions dating back to 1777, flag manufacturer Annin & Company announced Monday that it would be recalling all makes and models of its popular American flag from both foreign and domestic markets.

Representatives from the nation’s leading flag producer claimed that as many as 143 million deaths in the past two centuries can be attributed directly to the faulty U.S. models, which have been utilized extensively since the 18th century in sectors as diverse as government, the military, and public education.

“It has come to our attention that, due to the inherent risks and hazards it poses, the American flag is simply unfit for general use,” said Annin & Company president Ronald Burman, who confirmed that the number of flag-related deaths had noticeably spiked since 2003. “I would like to strongly urge all U.S. citizens: If you have an American flag hanging in your home or place of business, please discontinue using it immediately.”


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The Founders definitely anticipated this

Posted on July 4th, 2017 at 23:02 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Tuesday, June 5

Now Franklin is suggesting that we ought to make provisions in case the president fires the FBI director. What is the FBI? Why would the president fire this man?

He also said that if we later protected everyone’s right to bear arms we should specify muskets and not “like really big guns that can fire 25 rounds in 2.5 seconds” but George Mason said that this was surely sorcery and that the men of the future would surely understand, to which Franklin retorted that perhaps they might be Women, at which point we took Franklin home again in his sedan chair to general outcry.


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Chris Christie said he didn’t get any sun. Then, a newspaper showed him the beach photos

Posted on July 3rd, 2017 at 20:40 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

“He did not get any sun. He had a baseball hat on.”


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Comments:

  1. I’ve got to be fair here. I think he did the world a favor by not letting anyone else be on the beach, directly subjected to his “beach bod”

  2. @Mudak: Quite right. It’s my own stupid fault for clicking on the link. Eww.

Some people really don’t like their kids all that much.

Posted on July 3rd, 2017 at 11:21 by John Sinteur in category: News


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How Much Is a Dead Poor Person Worth to the Wealthy? $3 Million

Posted on July 3rd, 2017 at 11:17 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

The Congressional Budget Office scored the new Senate proposal and found it would leave 22 million more people without insurance over the next decade. That’s a low estimate of total impact because it doesn’t take into account how many insurance policies would be cut back, how many spending ceilings would again be permitted by states, how many preventative tests and services might no longer be available as “essential” benefits, how many deductibles would rise causing people to avoid treatment than spending money they might not have.

But, fine, start with the 22 million who won’t have insurance, taking the lower of the Senate and House numbers.

There is a cost in lives for a lack of healthcare. How many additional people die a year is up for some debate by experts. Numbers range from 18,000 to almost 45,000, and that’s at current population levels. But they agree that more people die when healthcare isn’t available.

So, assume the population won’t go up and that the estimated number who will die is on the low end of the spectrum. The repeal or delay of taxes is expected to be $541 billion over ten years, or an average $54.1 billion a year. Divide that by 18,000 and you get about $3 million a person. Each person will be allowed to die so that taxes can decrease and that the wealthiest can collectively retain that much money.

That may seem harsh or inflammatory, but it isn’t. This is an expression of what the United States historically has been and continues to be. As a country, we’re at a point of defining in a life-and-death way our ultimate preferences. The GOP, pushing an agenda, looks to reduce coverage for the poor as a way to lower taxes on the rich. A foreseeable byproduct of reducing coverage is the death of many who otherwise wouldn’t have died. What other conclusion is there but that each of those deaths is deemed acceptable because it enables $3 million more to be distributed among the wealthiest?


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Comments:

  1. I still don’t get why rich Americans are too poor to pay higher taxes. Bunch of whiners.

Push Away Your Privacy: Precise User Tracking Based on TLS Client Certificate Authentication

Posted on July 1st, 2017 at 23:48 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

The design and implementation of cryptographic
systems offer many subtle pitfalls. One such pitfall is that
cryptography may create unique identifiers potentially usable
to repeatedly and precisely re-identify and hence track users.
This work investigates TLS Client Certificate Authentication
(CCA), which currently transmits certificates in plain text. We
demonstrate CCA’s impact on client traceability using Apple’s
Apple Push Notification service (APNs) as an example. APNs is
used by all Apple products, employs plain-text CCA, and aims
to be constantly connected to its backend. Its novel combination
of large device count, constant connections, device proximity to
users and unique client certificates provides for precise client
traceability. We show that passive eavesdropping allows to pre-
cisely re-identify and track users and that only ten interception
points are required to track more than 80 percent of APNs
users due to global routing characteristics.

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New Girl Scout badges focus on cyber crime, not cookie sales

Posted on June 30th, 2017 at 22:44 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Cookie sales may take a back seat to fighting identity theft and other computer crime now that Girl Scouts as young as 5 are to be offered the chance to earn their first-ever cyber security badges.

Armed with a needle and thread, U.S. Girl Scouts who master the required skills can attach to their uniform’s sash the first of 18 cyber security badges that will be rolled out in September 2018, Girl Scouts of the USA said in a press release.

The education program, which aims to reach as many as 1.8 million Girl Scouts in kindergarten through sixth grade, is being developed in a partnership between the Girl Scouts and Palo Alto Networks (PANW.N), a security company.

The goal is to prevent cyber attacks and restore trust in digital operations by training “tomorrow’s diverse and innovative team of problem solvers equipped to counter emerging cyber threats,” Mark McLaughlin, chief executive officer of Palo Alto Networks, said in the release.

[Quote:]

1. The Cookie Monster Badge: earned for successfully hacking into 20 strangers computers running Firefox and turning cookies off surreptitiously.
2. The Thin Mint Badge: earned for enticing twenty people into a honeypot,
3. The Snitcherdoodle Badge: earned for infiltrating any Tor hidden service using a tool from Metasploit
4. The More S’more Badge: earned for infiltrating a Tor hidden service hosting child pornography and deleting all content. (Must have earned The Snitcherdoodle Badge first).
5. The DOS-si-dos Badge: Fending off any Denial Of Service attack of 2000 mb/s or greater
6. The Savanna Smile Badge: Getting your security-related tweet re-tweeted by @TheGrugq
7. The Burnt Brownie Badge: Using any SCADA exploit to compromise a public electrical system
8. The Junior Junior Badge: Finding your first 0-day in any kids toy
9. The Cadette Cabal Badge: Creating a new fake identity from multiple real identities and opening a bank account with it. (must be earned as a group).
10. The Senior Thesis Badge: Sending all e-mail encrypted with PGP for six months
11. The Cute Ambassador: Using steganography to successfully communicate with a Girl Scout in a foreign country.
12. The Plucked Daisy Badge: Meeting Julian Assange in person
13. The Green Machine Badge: Uncovering the real identity of Satoshi Nakamoto
14. The Boys Have Cooties Badge: Infecting 100 computers with ransomware
15. The CIA Badge: Communicating with a boyfriend via the drafts folder of Google email
16. The NSA Badge: Forgetting to delete the draft of the email (must have earned The CIA Badge first)
17. The Bald Eagle: Using Amazon’s Alexia to successfully spy on your parents
18. The Apple: Jailbreaking an iPhone

19. The Surprise President: Hack the student body election results to make the class stoner student council president
20. The Instaqueen: Compromise the Instagram accounts of the starting quarterback and like all of your own photos


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Brexit 1776

Posted on June 30th, 2017 at 20:31 by John Sinteur in category: News


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De digitale dreiging

Posted on June 29th, 2017 at 14:20 by John Sinteur in category: News


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Comments:

  1. Nice John (@58:00): “Lets start using common sense.”

Here’s Why There Is No Legitimate Healthcare Debate In This Country

Posted on June 28th, 2017 at 10:29 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

We are debating between two horrific, criminal versions of healthcare designed to make people rich off of the pain and suffering of every American. Yes, Obamacare is better. Yes, Trumpcare is worse. Yes, I don’t care. By acting like this is a legitimate debate, we are subconsciously solidifying cultural hegemony for the idea that healthcare should be something exploited for profit. It should not. Stop dignifying that thought process.

This is why I have a tough time running around yelling endlessly about how bad the GOP healthcare plan is. Make no mistake, it’s on par with Caligula’s healthcare plan (which was shoddy at best). But, let’s put it this way, imagine there were a Ferris Wheel that was poorly constructed and therefore was decapitating everybody on it (and for some reason each decapitation made a lot of money for the CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield). And I noticed two people standing next to the Ferris Wheel arguing over which was sadder – the fact that a 10 year-old angel of a child had just died on the Ferris wheel or that a 12 year-old asshole of a child had just died on the Ferris wheel. I would not weigh in on the debate. I would think both people are psychopaths for standing there arguing, and I would yell, “How do we turn off the fucking Ferris wheel?!” …Well, when it comes to our national dialogue on healthcare, I think it’s time we all asked how we turn off the fucking Ferris wheel.


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Comments:

  1. The rich are killing the goose that laid their golden eggs.

  2. I’ve negotiated insurance contracts for a medium sized corporation for years. The insurance companies always say the same thing: “Groups, the bigger the better.” So why don’t we make the whole country one group? Seems obvious. That can easily be done with Medicare buy-in (everybody gets Medicare, under 65 you pay for it if you can). So, with the biggest possible group, and Medicare’s low 2-3% overhead, you get the lowest costs. Throw in some sane drug policy, like negotiating for part D drug pricing, and you have everybody insured – at way less cost than any current plan. The insurance companies can still sell supplemental insurance to anyone who wants it, our healthier country with more spending money makes a better economy, and the rich people make more money. Win win.

  3. “The bigger the better” ?

    The biggest group possible is also the simplest group possible: everybody

    Is your insurance company in favor of single payer?

  4. I haven’t asked, but I can predict their answer. But some are willing to talk about it:
    http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/333100-aetna-ceo-called-for-debate-about-single-payer-healthcare-report

  5. Make healthcare providers charge everyone the same price. Stop penalizing people for not having insurance. We punish people for not having insurance and this is inexcusable.

  6. Or, you could all just move to Canada or Mexico.

  7. We don’t need to move to Canada or Mexico. Your doctors are already moving here.

  8. @will: I know a few doctors who have worked in the US. Quite a lot of them have come back again, especially the ones with children. It’s pretty normal for professionals to change country, though.

    My SO’s heart surgeon is from France, our GP is from India, my mother’s GP is from Iraq and so on…

  9. @Sue: So none of them are from Canada?

Inmates Who Saved Guard Who Collapsed Get Reduced Sentences

Posted on June 28th, 2017 at 0:27 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Six convicts are getting their sentences shortened after saving a guard who collapsed on duty last Monday in Polk County, Georgia.

The deputy, who wished to remain anonymous, collapsed during a work detail at a local cemetery with six inmates who he’d grown to know well from working alongside for seven hours a day, five days a week, reported NBC Atlanta affiliate WXIA.

“I started coughing spells, and every time I got those, I’d get hotter,” the deputy told the station. “It was just harder to keep up… I just finally went down after a couple of minutes doing that.”

As soon as the officer dropped, the six inmates he was overseeing came to his aid. They removed the officer’s outer bulletproof vest to help cool him off and took his phone to call 911, according to a statement released by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office on Friday.

“None of my guys ran,” the deputy told WXIA. “None of them did anything they shouldn’t have done.”

Oddly enough, it appears that incarcerated people are, in fact, also human beings. Many American minds are blown.

 

Or, to phrase it a bit different…. “You’ll never believe what these inmates – who are systematically disenfranchised and trapped in a system that favors dehumanization and brutality over rehabilitation and humanity – did when faced with the remote prospect of temporary reprieve from a system that maximizes profit and extended incarceration over trying to keep them from cycling out of, and subsequently back into prison! They chose to show compassion to their captors in a manner that is never afforded them, for which were bestowed a meager reward which will do nothing to improve their chances of living a normal life or earning a living wage once they’re beyond the prison walls!”


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An Open Letter from Al Jazeera

Posted on June 27th, 2017 at 0:50 by Sueyourdeveloper in category: News

Quote

Despite the pressure being exerted on Al Jazeera by these countries, and their calls for our closure, we have covered the region and events with balance and with impartiality, and we will continue to do so.

We are a network that exists to cover all peoples; to hear human stories from all corners of the world; and to ensure that our information stands up to scrutiny in every country and from every person who watches or reads our news.

The attempt to silence Al Jazeera is an attempt to silence independent journalism in the region, and to challenge everyone’s freedom to be heard and to be informed. This must not be allowed to happen.

Regardless of what you think about Al Jazeera, this is a part of a worrying development.


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Comments:

  1. Agreed.

The TSA is going to look through your books but promises not to notice what you’re reading

Posted on June 25th, 2017 at 16:11 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

In the new system, passengers are required to take all reading material and food out of their carry-on luggage and place it in a separate bin. TSA screeners can “fan” through travelers’ books to see if anything is hidden in the pages, but agency officials insist they will not pay attention to the content. Critics have long argued passengers selected for extra screening are not chosen as randomly as the TSA claims, and book content — particularly of a political or religious nature — could re-ignite that debate.

As if any TSA agent ever read a book..


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Comments:

  1. I’m reading a book called Cod, by Mark Kurlansky. It’s tough going; I keep losing my plaice. Do you think they’ll confishcate it?

  2. Yeah, I floundered with that one too. Salmon told me it was brill. That was the sole reason I haddock try it. But I hake it. He manta well but…etc and so on

  3. @porpentine: Tarn it! I just got schooled!

  4. @Sue & Porpetine — Article must be a fluke…

  5. What’s a book?

Theresa May and the Holy Grail

Posted on June 25th, 2017 at 15:14 by John Sinteur in category: News


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Comments:

  1. Sorry, plucky British persons, this mockery will continue until you jolly well sort your deplorables out.

Why didn’t great painters of the past reach the level of realism achieved today by many artists?

Posted on June 25th, 2017 at 15:07 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

The biggest misconception among non artists and amateurs is that more detail equals more realism in art.

Detail is not congruent with realism.

Day in and day out, we are inundated with photography and high res videos. We’re conditioned to think that clarity and resolution equal realism, and don’t question all the false visual information that we’re fed from these media. Our attention spans are small, and we don’t spend more than a few seconds with art before deciding if it’s good or bad and moving on. If it passes the 2 second “could be a photo” test, it’s considered good.

Let’s assume that by “realism” you mean “lifelikeness”, like the painting could jump off the wall and breathe. Let’s also assume that you – through no fault of your own- have been conditioned to see those little freckles and cracks in the lips and think “Wow! Detail! So real!”

First and foremost, the great artists of the past worked from life, and did not copy from photos. While the artist clearly demonstrates a strong command of his materials, I can tell at first glance that this painting is done from a photograph. The values are blown out and unorganized, the form and anatomy aren’t the most convincing, especially in the helix of the ear and the missing philtrum. The planes of the form follow no definitive light source, and the head is a bit distorted towards the chin. The lips are drastically too dark compared to the rest of the information in the painting. Look at the picture-right temple- notice how haphazardly the form turns around the plane. While I respect the time spent on paintings like this, as well as the ability to use a brush, it’s easy to consider this a sexualized “detail” painting. A copy of a photograph.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing inherently wrong with using photography in your reference. Many famous artists of the past, including several painters I reference, used photographs to aid in their work. The problem is that today’s artists blindly copy photographs with no understanding of anatomy, perspective, or the laws of light. What the old masters possessed was a complete mastery of the fundamentals of representational art- an understanding of structure, proportion, and anatomy, as well as form and light. They could see THROUGH detail, and grasp the very essence of a subject. The lifelikeness isn’t found in details, but beyond them.

Many great examples in the article…


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Comments:

  1. Somebody needs to take a stroll through the Rijksmuseum.

Before You Hit ‘Submit,’ This Company Has Already Logged Your Personal Data

Posted on June 23rd, 2017 at 19:14 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

If you’re daydreaming about buying a home or need to lower the payment on the one you already have, you might pay a visit to the Quicken Loans mortgage calculator. You’ll be asked a quick succession of questions that reveal how much cash you have on hand or how much your home is worth and how close you are to paying it off. Then Quicken will tell you how much you’d owe per month if you got a loan from them and asks for your name, email address, and phone number.

You might fill in the contact form, but then have second thoughts. Do you really want to tell this company how much you’re worth or how in debt you are? You change your mind and close the page before clicking the Submit button and agreeing to Quicken’s privacy policy.

But it’s too late. Your email address and phone number have already been sent to a server at “murdoog.com,” which is owned by NaviStone, a company that advertises its ability to unmask anonymous website visitors and figure out their home addresses. NaviStone’s code on Quicken’s site invisibly grabbed each piece of your information as you filled it out, before you could hit the “Submit” button.

During a recent investigation into how a drug-trial recruitment company called Acurian Health tracks down people who look online for information about their medical conditions, we discovered NaviStone’s code on sites run by Acurian, Quicken Loans, a continuing education center, a clothing store for plus-sized women, and a host of other retailers. Using Javascript, those sites were transmitting information from people as soon as they typed or auto-filled it into an online form. That way, the company would have it even if those people immediately changed their minds and closed the page.


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Instructions for a Happy Life

Posted on June 23rd, 2017 at 14:17 by John Sinteur in category: News


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Comments:

  1. So true. I think.

  2. number 46

  3. @porpentine: OK, I have had a crush on Paul Atreides for most of my life, so no difficulty there 🙂

  4. Not bad. Bit of a rip off of this from Baz Luhrmann https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTJ7AzBIJoI

I moved my kids out of America. It was the best parenting decision I’ve ever made.

Posted on June 22nd, 2017 at 19:16 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Some of our friends turned on us, calling us terrible parents, or saying we were unpatriotic. Why would we want to leave the land of the free and the home of the brave? And where was Ecuador, anyway? Somewhere near Mexico? Africa? We were taking our children to a country that most Americans can’t even point to on a map. What were we thinking?

Well, we were thinking a lot of things, and taking a number of factors into consideration. In America, it seemed every third child was taking pharmaceuticals to treat behavioral issues, anxiety, or depression. High school students were unloading automatic weapons into their classmates. Opioid use was reaching all new highs. Bank executives were defrauding their customers and Wall Street was walking an increasingly thin tight rope. It felt like The American Dream as we knew it was all but gone, having transformed into a shadowy unknown. We fretted about what the future would hold for our family. We thought maybe, just maybe, a simpler lifestyle somewhere else was the answer. And so, in 2011, our family walked up to the edge of the unknown, took a deep breath, and jumped.


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Comments:

  1. What’s his point? Everyone can’t move to a commune in South America. Why didn’t he just move to Europe or Canada, or do they have the same problems as the US.

Macron pledges pragmatism and cooperation with post-Brexit Britain

Posted on June 22nd, 2017 at 14:54 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Macron said the biggest challenge and the starting point for his foreign policy was tackling the “crisis that is hitting western democracies”.

He asked: “When you look at the planet today, what do you see? A rise in illiberal democracies, and extremes in Europe, a reappearance of authoritarian regimes that question the vitality of democracy, and the US in part withdrawing from the world. That context is worsened by a rise in uncertainty and troubles – crises are growing in the Middle East and the Gulf, inequalities are growing everywhere in the world.”

He said the crisis came “in part from the profound inequalities created by the world order, and from Islamist terrorism” but he said climate issues were also key. “Anyone who thinks the fight against climate change is mere whim by middle-class liberals is deeply wrong.”

Macron said Europe had no choice but to become the standard-bearer in the fight against illiberalism in the world. “Because democracy was born in Europe. The US likes freedom as much as we do, but it doesn’t have our love for justice. Europe is the only place in the world where individual freedoms, the spirit of democracy and social justice are so closely joined. So the question now is: will Europe succeed in defending the deep values it brought to the world for decades, or will it be wiped out by the rise in illiberal democracies and authoritarian regimes?”


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Comments:

  1. When did democracy start in Europe? Is he referring to the Magna Carta?

  2. maybe in Greece about 2500 years ago?

Kafka – The Problem of Our Laws

Posted on June 21st, 2017 at 15:08 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote: (“The Problem of Our Laws”, published 1931)]

Our laws are not generally known; they are kept secret by the small group of nobles who rule us. We are convinced that these ancient laws are scrupulously administered; nevertheless, it is an extremely painful thing to be ruled by laws that one does not know. I am not thinking of possible discrepancies that may arise in the interpretation of the laws, or of the disadvantages involved when only a few and not the whole people are allowed to have a say in their interpretation. These disadvantages are perhaps of no great importance. For the laws are very ancient; their interpretation has been the work of centuries, and has itself doubtless acquired the status of law; and though there is still a possible freedom of interpretation left, it has now become very restricted. Moreover the nobles have obviously no cause to be influenced in their interpretation by personal interests inimical to us, for the laws were made to the advantage of the nobles from the very beginning, they themselves stand above the laws, and that seems to be why the laws were entrusted exclusively into their hands. Of course, there is wisdom in that–who doubts the wisdom of the anicent laws?–but also hardship for us; probably that is unavoidable.

The very existence of these laws, however, is at most a matter of presumption. There is a tradition that they exist and that they are a mystery confided to the nobility, but it is not and cannot be more than a mere tradition sanctioned by age, for the essence of a secret code is that it should remain a mystery. Some of us among the people have attentively scrutinized the doings of the nobility since the earliest times and possess records made by our forefathers–records which we have conscientiously continued–and claim to recognize amid the countless number of facts certain main tendencies which permit of this or that historical formulation; but when in accordance with these scrupulously tested and logically ordered conclusions we seek to orient ourselves somewhat towards the present or the future, everything becomes uncertain, and our work seems only an intellectual game, for perhaps these laws that we are trying to unravel do not exist at all. There is a small party who are actually of this opinion and who try to show us that, if any law exists, it can only be this: The Law is whatever the nobles do. This party see everywhere only the arbitrary acts of the nobility, and reject the popular tradition, which according to them possesses only certain trifling and incidental advantages that do not offset its heavy drawbacks, for it gives the people a false, deceptive and over-confident security in confronting coming events. This cannot be gainsaid, but the overwhelming majority of our people account for it by the fact that the tradition is far from complete and must be more fully enquired into, that the material available, prodigious as it looks, is still too meager, and that several centuries will have to pass before it becomes really adequate. This view, so comfortless as far as the present is converned, is lightened only by the belief that a time will eventually come when the tradition and our research into it will jointly reach their conclusion, and as it were gain a breathing space, when everything will have become clear, the law itself will belong to the people, and the nobility will vanish. This is not maintained in any spirit of hatred against the nobility; not at all, and by no one. We are more inclined to hate ourselves, because we have not yet shown ourselves worthy of being entrusted with the laws. And that is the real reason why the party which believes that there is no law has always remained so small–although its doctrine is in certain ways so attractive, for it unequivocally recognizes the nobility and its right to go on living.

Actually one can express the problem only in a sort of paradox: Any party which would repudiate, not only all belief in the laws, but in the nobility as well, would have the whole people behind it; yet no such party can come into existence, for nobody would dare to repudiate the nobility. We live on this razor edge. A writer once summed up the matter up in this way: The sole visible and indubiatable law that is imposed upon us is the nobility, and must we ourselves deprive ourselves of that one law?

[Quote:]

…in 2014, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) rejected a service provider’s request to obtain other FISC opinions that government attorneys had cited and relied on in court filings seeking to compel the provider’s cooperation.

[…]

The provider’s request came up amid legal briefing by both it and the DOJ concerning its challenge to a 702 order. After the DOJ cited two earlier FISC opinions that were not public at the time — one from 2014 and another from 2008­ — the provider asked the court for access to those rulings.

The provider argued that without being able to review the previous FISC rulings, it could not fully understand the court’s earlier decisions, much less effectively respond to DOJ’s argument. The provider also argued that because attorneys with Top Secret security clearances represented it, they could review the rulings without posing a risk to national security.

The court disagreed in several respects. It found that the court’s rules and Section 702 prohibited the documents release. It also rejected the provider’s claim that the Constitution’s Due Process Clause entitled it to the documents.


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Donald Trump boasts about construction of Panama Canal before being reminded it was built 100 years ago

Posted on June 20th, 2017 at 22:49 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Sat side by side while cameras flared, the mogul-turned-politico claimed he and Mr Varela had many important issues to discuss, but nevertheless found time to declare: “The Panama Canal is doing quite well. I think we did a good job building it, right – a very good job.”

Turning to Juan Carlos Varela, Mr Trump asked: “Right?”

The President of Panama made sure to interject with: “Yeah, about 100 years ago.”


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Comments:

  1. What, is the US supposed to stop being proud of the moon landing when it becomes 50 years ago?

    Worst gripe about Trump ever.

  2. I think the US is still proud of a certain tea party without any complaints. It’s not being or not being proud that’s the issue here.

  3. The tea party built the Panama Canal? I don’t doubt that Trump is ignorant, but he is a gazillionaire.

What if companies interviewed translators the way they interview coders?

Posted on June 20th, 2017 at 9:32 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Yes, let’s get started, here I have some introductory questions tailored for the position. Question number one: how did the Arabic invasion in the Iberian Peninsula between the years of 711 and 1492 affected the Spanish language?


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Comments:

  1. Perfect simile. 🙂

A surprising number of American adults think chocolate milk comes from brown cows

Posted on June 18th, 2017 at 17:07 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Seven percent of all American adults – roughly 16.4 million people – do not know that chocolate milk is made of milk, cocoa, and sugar, according to a new nationally representative survey by the Innovation Center for US Dairy.

Instead, they reported it comes from brown cows.


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Comments:

  1. …and I’ll bet 100% of that 7% voted for the Chumpster in Chief.

  2. And what percentage believe that condensed milk comes from terribly squeezed cows?

  3. Were the 7% mostly children or Hillary voters? Seriously, the poll suggest the Dairy association is not too intelligent either.

  4. Most kids seem to not get any kind of milk now, but those wretched “juice boxes”. 10g sugar in 250ml.(Judging by what is available in NA supermarkets.)


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