Here’s some music that’s been getting stuck in my head 190mb >>>>>>>>>
I added a new article to the “homepage” of recommended articles. >> The floating island >>>
I think everyone who is paying attention knows about the Silk Road bust already. Ars Technica has the best coverage of the event that I’ve seen. This article is really worth reading >>>>>
+ My opinion is that given a choice between a drug market marked by violence and mayhem vs a drug market that has almost no violence at all, the FBI should have arrested DPR on murder charges and chosen to leave Silk Road operational. It is worth noting that the third choice, no drug market doesn’t exist and is not a choice. So to me, the choice with fewer dead people seems like a no brainer. I value human life more than the arbitrary moral judgement that someone choosing to alter their own brain chemistry is somehow inherently a crime. Most people agree and the laws are slowly changing.
+ I am tentatively dubious about the detective work used to catch Altoid (dpr’s alternative screenname). He used the screenname altoid on a website called stack overflow and then used his real email address (rossulrich@gmail) before quickly changing it to something else. This was something like three years ago. The FBI says it subpoenaed stackoverflow and they presented the records. So there are two possibilities here:
1. Stackoverflow structures it’s database so that they keep every email forever. If you enter one email and then change it, that email is kept in another area. This is not unlikely!
2. It strikes me that email fields in databases are just written over when they are changed. I’m certainly not a database engineer. Especially not a database engineer at a website devoted to programming. However, the NSA is purportedly caching everything that happens on the internet, sharing that information illegally with other police organizations and then coaching them on how to lie about it. It just seem that could be a possibility is all. Now, on the other hand, working and responsive emails are very, very valuable. It could make sense to save them. Also, it seems like the people at stack overflow would probably say something if they thought the FBI was lying about the case. Or maybe not, if they were under legal threats of some sort. Say national security letters or something of the like. I’d say that option one is most likely the case. However, two is not unreasonable. It disappoints me that it’s even a remote possibility
IN OTHER DRUG NEWS >>>
Even with a new batch of purported cases of Krokodil being used in the U.S., federal authorities say they are skeptical that the nightmare drug that originated in Russia has reached American soil.
Fears that the drug — which is made by cooking codeine with various toxic chemicals, including lighter fluid, gasoline and industrial cleaners — could make its way to the United States have mounted since 2011, when a Drug Enforcement Administration official told FoxNews.com it was on the agency’s radar overseas. But even with a Joliet, Ill., drug treatment physician going public this week with word that he’s seen as many as four users of the drug, the DEA is not ready to recognize it as an immediate threat.
“We, the DEA, are not seeing cases of it,” agency spokeswoman Dawn Dearden told FoxNews.com. “Nothing’s been turned into any of our labs. As far as the DEA is concerned, we have not seen any cases.”
::: DEA dubious :::
I basically lean toward full drug legalization even for horrible, horrible drugs that people shouldn’t do like crack and heroin. Practically speaking, I don’t think anyone would do Krokodil if they could just get pure, consistent heroin cheaply and easily. More importantly, the evidence indicates that fewer people would do heroin if treatment programs were accessible. Prison is obviously not the place to cure someone of any drug addiction.
The university system now is like the record industry in 1997. Things are going to get real interesting over the next 10 years.
Relatedly, this is from the BBC:
Ramanujan was born in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu [in 1887]. At the age of two he survived a bout of smallpox, but his three younger siblings were less fortunate, each one dying in infancy. Although he was enrolled in a local school, Ramanujan’s most valuable education was thanks to a library book, A Synopsis of Elementary Results in Pure Mathematics by GS Carr, which contained thousands of theorems. He investigated these theorems one by one, relying on a chalk and slate for calculations, using his roughened elbows as erasers.
Aged 21, he married Janakiammal, who was just 10 years old. Unable to afford college fees and needing to support his wife, Ramanujan got a job as a clerk. Nevertheless, he continued his interest in mathematics in his spare time, developing novel ideas and proving fresh theorems.
Curious about the value of his research, Ramanujan began to write to mathematicians in England in the hope that someone would mentor him, or at least give him feedback. Academics such as MJM Hill, HF Baker and EW Hobson largely ignored Ramanujan’s pleas for help, but Hardy was mesmerised by the two packages he received in 1913, which contained a total of 120 theorems.
Hardy’s reaction veered between “fraud” and so brilliant that it was “scarcely possible to believe”. In the end, he concluded that the theorems “must be true, because, if they were not true, no-one would have the imagination to invent them”.
The British professor made arrangements for the young Indian, still only 26, to visit Cambridge. Hardy took great pride in being the man who had rescued such raw talent and would later call it “the one romantic incident in my life”.
The resulting partnership gave rise to discoveries in several areas of mathematics and Ramanujan’s genius was recognised in 1918 when he was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society.
Simon Singh is the author of The Simpsons & Their Mathematical Secrets.
He has a PhD in particle physics from Cambridge University and has studied at the Cern research institute in Geneva.
The young Indian savant would later say that many of his theorems were whispered to him in his sleep by Namagiri, an avatar of the Hindu goddess Lakshmi: “While asleep, I had an unusual experience. There was a red screen formed by flowing blood, as it were. I was observing it. Suddenly a hand began to write on the screen. I became all attention. That hand wrote a number of elliptic integrals. They stuck to my mind. As soon as I woke up, I committed them to writing.”
Ramanujan’s career was brilliant, but ended prematurely when he began to suffer from tuberculosis. He returned to India in 1919 and died the following year, aged 32.
What if the cure for cancer is trapped inside the child without access to education?
Hey. That’s me… I’m the guy who designed this dispenser, and many others like it.
This is actually an electronic version of the handsfree dispensers, but same principle.
So, a lot of times, when the dispenser isn’t working properly, it isn’t a dispenser issue, it’s a paper or janitor issue. We designed this specific dispenser for a customer. That customer gives the dispenser to the company using it for free, in exchange, they lock them in to a paper contract, so they have to buy the paper from the company who gave them the dispenser.
The company who gave the dispenser away builds the price of the dispenser into the price of the paper, so if the company using it, switched to another brand to save money, the company who gave it away and installed it for free loses.
So, we designed the dispenser in such a way, that it locks out other brands of paper. This means, it is designed to put massive friction on the paper roll if the proper roll isn’t purchased from the company who gives away the dispenser for free. It’s called a lockout mechanism and it ensures the company who bought it from us, gets a return on their investment.
Unfortunately, the end user with wet hands doesn’t see what is going on inside the dispenser, they just know that they get tiny little pieces of paper instead of full sheets. It sucks that we needed to punish the end user for the transgression of the building who is trying to cheat the system, but it’s the only way to be alerted to the fact that they are trying to cheat the system. People complain, the building manager calls the paper company, they send out a rep, the rep looks, sees they have violated their contract and forces them to either buy the proper paper, or they pull the dispensers off the wall.
EDIT to add more reasons why the dispensers don’t work properly.
Sometimes, the dispensers are mounted to an uneven surface, which torques the base. That causes the rotating drum to be out of alignment and have friction. Any amount of friction when using paper as the belt that drives the engine is obviously bad. Mix in wet hands, and you get little tabs or paper in your hands. They need to be mounted flat against the wall. (What I mean by this, is I’ve seen dispensers mounted with half the plate for the light switch under the base. The unit was so torqued, you could barely get the lid to open or close.)
Paper unrolling inside the cabinet causes quite a bit of paper dust to accumulate inside the dispenser. We designed the dispenser to deal with the dust, and designed flow channels to keep it from accumulating in the moving portions of the dispenser. However, some janitors will try to clean out the dust, and spray window cleaners and stuff inside the cabinet. This causes a very sticky, paper mache that can gum up the internal mechanism. Really, just use air or a rag if you’re a janitor, not water and def not cleaning products
Also, with the lockout mechanism, sometimes the paper company who makes us put that into the dispenser can’t hold their own tolerances and make out of spec paper. The company using the paper hasn’t broken the contract, but the paper is so large, or too short and it activates the lockout mech. If the dispenser works, works work, then stops, it’s probably the roll is out of spec. Should be fixed with the next time it’s refilled.
Everyone agrees that wild swings in markets are destructive and hurt economic productivity. This is handled with currency by the fed expanding and contracting the monetary supply as necessary to keep prices stable. What if cities used a similar system?
So lets say that in order to combat wild price fluctuations in the housing marking the city of San Francisco owned a bunch of housing units and either allowed them to be occupied (to bring down the price of housing) or kept them empty (to drive up the price of housing) as necessary to prevent wild swings in the housing market.
This is kind of a random idea but it could be interesting. It seems like this could be pretty easy with the rental market but the sales market would be more tricky.
“It’s not about being famous, it’s about pushing culture forward—and to do that we need everyone’s attention.” — Johnny Hwin
The New Yorker did a nine page piece on the silicon valley tech scene anchored around Johnny. It’s an accurate portrayal of how progressive AND fucking insane San Francisco is.
How San Francisco’s new entrepreneurial culture is changing the country.
This is an interesting snippet:
Leap, like Lyft, is an example of the helpful, Mr. Fix-It style of local techie culture. If a system isn’t working well, your neighborhood entrepreneur will build a better one. The approach has clear benefits for transportation, but it has risks, too. Say you’re a lawyer who rides the Muni bus. You hate it. It is overcrowded. It is always late. Fed up, you use your legal expertise to lobby an agency to get the route fixed. And the service gets better for all riders: the schoolkid, the homeless alcoholic, the elderly Chinese woman who speaks no English. None of them could have lobbied for a better bus on their own; your self-interested efforts have redounded to the collective benefit. Now the peeved lawyer can just take Leap. That is great for him. But it is less good for the elderly Chinese woman, who loses her civic advocate. Providing an escape valve for a system’s strongest users lessens the pressure for change.
[+] In some very big and obvious ways the bay area is one of most absurd places in the United States. There is also more subtle ridiculousness that even I sometimes get so used to that I forget about it. Buzzfeed hits both with an enjoyable listicle here (this seems like a good time to mention that I think the word “listicle” is super weird) >>>>>>>>>>
[+] Many people would buy a friend a bite to eat but for the same price you can buy someone a good book, which will could have a vastly larger impact that a meal. Just bought The 5 Love Languages for a friend. Thanks amazon prime!
[+] Blondtron had a terrific time at burning man and had some great insights:
Every clever pun you have ever thought you were so great for coming up with not only exists there but there is an entire camp of it. And being too cool seriously gets you nowhere there. You will miss everything. If you see something awesome and you want to do it you have to do it in that moment or you won’t see it again. “Oh we’ll go roller disco later.” Nope!
“Hey they are casting butts. Let’s do it.” YUP! And then you park your bike and cover your butt in coconut oil and lie down on a cushion with your friends and 20 minutes later you are the proud owner of your glutes as art. But if you don’t stop you miss it all. The whole mentality of like, showing up to the club not too early, and standing in or near the dj booth, or checking to see if cool people laugh just gets you nowhere there.
[+] Speaking of drugs, Victor Jeffries at gawker notes “I have seen more people tweaked out on coke in the breakroom at Goldman Sachs than I did on the playa.” and also notes that the Burning Man media policy is a bit draconian. FWIW, I support it.
[+] on the burning man blog Halcyon discusses people whining about turn key camps:
After a lifetime of aiming towards goals given to us by well meaning parents & teachers (and less-benign marketers and politicians) – we may have lost the connection with the inner voice that that says, “This is my bliss. Follow this.” We had it in the crib. We had it on the playground. When did we lose it? The gift of rediscovering that connection can be so profound. It can also turn us into zealots and make us overly-defensive of the circumstances that broke us free. It can be tempting to feel like the way WE got to that rediscovery is the right way. >>>>>>>>>
[+] the lewis model of international cultures is interesting for anyone that’s done serious traveling. Obviously it’s an over simplification and is terribly inaccurate but the attempt is worth noting >>>>>>>
[+] ZenPencils is consistently good but this Bill Waterson quote is fucking amazing. >>>>>>>>>>>
[+] In Mexico, locals are forming self defense militias to battle drug cartels. In a fascinating plot twist, the main cartel actually set up a fake self defense militia to confuse authorities. It’s a fascinating story >>>>>>>>
“If people were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern people, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by people over people, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught humanity the necessity of auxiliary precautions.”
― James Madison, The Federalist Papers
“In no case shall information be classified… in order to: conceal violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error; prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency… or prevent or delay the release of information that does not require protection in the interest of the national security.”
—Executive Order 13526, Sec. 1.7. Classification Prohibitions and Limitations
“Is this embarrassing? Yes. Is this awkward? Yes. Consequences for U.S. foreign policy? I think fairly modest.”
—Robert Gates, Unites States Secretary of Defense
“D.C. interns continue to shine like a jewelry box of crazy diamonds that, upon closer inspection, are actually several thousand pieces of confused, translucent plastic.” >>>>> via Gawker >>>>
+ On June 19, 1950, 4 a.m., among other things, Ernest Hemingway wrote in a letter to Marlene Dietrich the following, “What do you really want to do for a life work? Break everybody’s heart for a dime? You could always break mine for a nickel and I’d bring the nickel.” Earnest Hemingway is, of course, an asshole but hey that’s funny for reasons I don’t understand.
+ The following sentence will tell you everything you need to know about terrorism and education in the United States: “On Friday, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano resigned to take up a post running California’s university system.” The rest of the article is full of other zingers.
…This low risk isn’t evidence that homeland security spending has worked: It’s evidence that the terror threat was never as great as we thought. A rather pathetic Heritage Foundation list of 50 terrorist plots against the U.S. foiled since Sept. 11 includes such incidents as a plan to use a blowtorch to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge and “allegedly lying about attending a terrorist training center”—but nothing involving weapons of mass destruction. Further, these are alleged plots. The list of plausible plots, let alone actual crimes, is considerably smaller. From 2005 to 2010, federal attorneys declined(PDF) to bring any charges against 67 percent of alleged terrorism-related cases referred to them from law enforcement agencies.
>>>>> The Case for Abolishing the DHS
+ The Onion nailed the Trayvon Martin verdict.
Now, I realize many of you are incredibly upset by our verdict, but in our defense, these laws are completely fucked up, and our responsibility as jurors was to rule in accordance with them. Perhaps you should focus your anger not on us, but the moronic—I might say insane—statutes we were charged with upholding.
I mean, for the people who are angry at us, you do realize that we can’t just use our own personal ethical guidelines as a basis to determine a defendant’s innocence or guilt, right? That’s not how it works. And if you think that’s how it works, you’re idiots. In many ways, making a judgment based purely on our own moral compass would have been way, way easier to do. This guy pursued an unarmed kid who was doing absolutely nothing wrong and shot him to death. Seems pretty clear-cut to me that the guy should be punished in some way, shape, or form.
>>>>>> The Onion: In Our Defense
+ I am stupidly fond of the movie How to Train Your Dragon. I adore it in so many ways. A teaser for the sequel just came out.
>>> How to Train Your Dragon 2
An excessive amount of something: “a surfeit of food and drink”.
Cause (someone) to desire no more of something as a result of having consumed or done it to excess.
verb.overfeed – satiate
formatting on this post isn’t what I’d like but that’s what happens when you make blog posts about fat pumas from airplanes.