Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Site musopen.com collects public domain classical music, a step towards what I'd like to see in the way of a public domain library/warehouse.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

FBI drops investigation of boarding pass generator.

One for the wishlist:
Good to see Filthy Pierre has found a new home for his "how to start your own country"

In which I comment on a volokh post:

[Orin Kerr, November 27, 2006 at 3:35pm] 0 Trackbacks / Possibly More Trackbacks
Building A Better Mousetrap
turns out to be less useful than designing a better nail. More details about the HurriQuake nail are available here. Thanks to RBIII for the link.

arbitraryaardvark (mail) (www):
Don't rule out the need for a better mousetrap just yet.
Hurricanes and earthquakes may or may not be increasing due to factors such as global warming, but the past 5 years have seen major developments in better mice. We have mice that live longer, mice that are stronger, mice with better memories, glow in the dark mice, mouse-human hybrid chimeras, and the rate of artifical mouse evolution is just getting started.
Currently most of these better mice are contained inthe lab, but it's just a matter of time, or ALF, before they go feral, and the demand for better mousetraps will increase. Not knocking the nail, just sayin'
11.27.2006 6:17pm
hey (mail):
Best comment I've seen in months, Mr. too many "a"s.
11.27.2006 8:06pm

Sunday, November 26, 2006

John Gilmore has appealed to the Supreme Court. Ok, it turns out this was filed back in August. The EFF brief is newer, and the case remains pending.

To do: contact public officials to get copy of "secret" law.

Ebert's back, with a review of a Penelope Cruz movie.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Identify theft links.
Want to learn more? Select from these helpful links: from Indiana's attoney general.

Federal Trade Commission: http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft/
US Department of the Treasury: http://www.treas.gov/offices/domestic- finance/financial-institution/cip/identity-theft.shtml
BBBOnline: http://www.bbbonline.org/IDTheft/
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse: http://www.privacyrights.org/idenity.htm
Identity Theft Resource Center: http://idtheftcenter.org/index.shtml
Fight Identity Theft: http://fightidentitytheft.com/
Anti-Phishing Working Group: http://www.antiphishing.org/consumer_recs.html
Carnegie Mellon: http://cert.org/homeusers/HomeConputerSecurity/

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Here at Stewart & Associates, all of our suits are custom tailored.
This photo in an ad in a lawyer's newsletter resulted in complaints.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

That's just Sikh: Howard points to a decision about a First Amendment right to bear arms.
Sikhs have a regilious requirement to wear their daggers, and have been hassled at airports and such places.

More Kelo backlash: House has passed, Senate has stalled, a bill to halt for 2 years certain federal aid to states found to be misusing eminent domain a la Kelo. Incidentially, doesn't Kelo rhyme with hello? I heard it called "kilo" at a CLE the other day.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Of course, in addition to the flaws that plague the prior two films, we can add the bizarre behavior of Obi-Wan Kenobi, who ignores facts and denies the reality in front of him so furiously, he could have a cabinet-level position the Bush administration. - Wil.

Richard Nixon dollar coin coming for 2016
The US Mint is issuing a new one-dollar coin that will feature a new president every year. 2016's president will be Richard "Lying Scumbag" Nixon. I predict the "Nixie" will be hoarded and used to pelt George W Bush at his kid's birthday party appearances, as he attempts to eke out a living by supplementing the meager nest-egg left to him by his handlers after they are through looting the US public coffers. Link
posted by Cory Doctorow at 07:40:45 AM

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Rodents of unusual superpowers.
These brave new mice sightings are becoming common enough to be a pre-singularity effect.

Boingboing reports student tasered at library for not showing ID.
Scary stuff. I post this from a library. The security guards here are friendly, although there are too many of them compared to librarians. I was hassled one time over at the law library by campus security goons. I was once threatened with a taser by a county cop. There've been lots of stories recently of taser-related deaths.

Updates: video of the guy's lawyer and the tasering, video of a demonstration/protest. ACLU comment. Ohio cop fired in taser incident. Closer to home, purdue student attacked by cop w taser. www.campaignagainstthetaser.com

Comparative regulatory stupidity department:
Dragon Sausage Co. will have to rename their product, didn't actually contain dragon.

An upcoming movie about Bobby will, for many Americans, be all they know about the late Kennedy.
Here, from Howard, is an article that tells of 4 men wrongfully imprisoned for life in order to shift blame away from FBI mob informants.
It says, or claims, that the FBI knew the murder would happen, didn't stop it, knew that the killers were their own snitches, set up the frame of the guys who got convicted, that Hoover and Kennedy set the policies, whether or not they had hands-on involvement in the case. These things, if true, would send to support the theory that Hoover had advance info on the mob planning to kill JFK, didn't stop it, and let a patsy take the fall.
The LBJ library has recently released new tapes of LBJ on Vietnam. Nothing earthshaking in what I've seen so far.

Florida rules that Florida can regulate email to Florida without infringing the dormant commerce clause, based on some factual distinctions with Pataki, the leading internet dormant commerce clause case. Cases like this make it more complicated as to whether each state, town and hamlet can have its own internet rules. While this case was about porn and sex, the issue often comes up in terms of spam and the web.

Here, pdf , on the other hand, is a case between Cruise.com and Suaspammer.com, which found that the federal canspam act preempts state regulation (at least Oklahoma's) and that the spammer had not violated the federal act. The Oklahoma regulation would ban anonymous email, a bad and probably unconstitutional rule, so it being preempted by the feds is in this case a net good thing for internet speech.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Aussies and Kiwis suppress prodemocracy riots in Tonga. Meteor shower this weekend, the leonids, so of course it's raining here.

Hubble confirms dark side of the force.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

RIP Milton Friedman. Survived by son David and grandson Patri.
A reliable source mentions Rose as well, but I only had three panels.
Baude collects links, and here's some video.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

One of the advantages of living in the future is that we get to see parts of the past we missed at the time. Utube video of the runaways, that girl group Joan Jett was in.
Bonus: earth girls are easy clip.
the clash.

South Africa joins Mexico City in spreading the gay marriage meme.

Diamond age approaches: Article on diamond coating nanowires for 100x better conductivity at low temps.
This morning I watched Gentlemen Prefer Blonds, with the song Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend. This post is a placeholder for an upcoming rant on why the diamond market is most likely to collapse soon.
Short version:
Artificial diamonds are cheaper than real ones, and will get cheaper still.
This means a diamond is no longer a store of value. It also means that the time to dump is now - the price will only go down from here. As this news filters down more widely,
hoarded diamonds will glut the market, driving prices down, which will be newsworthy, so regular folks will try to sell their diamonds, driving prices down further, till only sentimental value is left. Basicly, a diamond is worthless today, except for its current value in industrial use, and that there are stil greater suckers out there who havent heard or don't get it.

The good news is that home furnaces that cogenerate electricity are finally on the market. (If they weren't already.) The bad news is that they are priced at "up to $20,000", making them uneconomical for home use. Look for prices to come down fast over next few years.

Monday, November 13, 2006

March of the penguin. Video. Caution: cute.

V versus W.

Useful, but watch out for sales pitch.

At Marginal Revolutions, Alex has independently rediscovered a technique I used to use 25 years ago when I was a bum pretending to be a philosophy grad student.
Any useful ethical theory can be expressed in terms of people sitting down to order either chocolate or vanilla ice cream.
My professor had a pet theory that seemd to boil down to the golden rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
My disproof went like this: John likes chocolate. Mary likes vanilla. There are two servings left, one of each. John gives the chocolate to Mary, since what he would have her do is give the chocolate to him. Mary gives him the vanilla, since it's what she would have him do. The result seems less than optimum, and is intended as a criticsm of the professor's theory.
[All that was before I was vegan.]
What's important about this technique is not whether I was right or wrong above - it's that ice cream can be used to model and test ethical theories.
Alex uses the ice cream example as a way of introducing his topic, in which some actual empirical research was done, showing why previous research overstated "fairness" as way of describing how people allocate resources. What they really want is to be perceived as fair. Interesting, maybe even true, but the significance of the post is the way he uses ice cream to illustrate the points. If a vegan substitute (dark chocolate?) can be found, this might be a way to do some low cost empirical experiments.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

from fight aging blog. More Blog Interviews, Answers to the Questions

As you might recall, Attila Csordás of Partial Immortalization put out a set of questions on healthy life extension - primarily aimed at bloggers - and set out to get folk to answer them.
1. What is the story of your life extension commitment?
2. Is it a commitment for moderate or maximum life extension?
3. What is your favourite argument supporting human life extension?
4. What is the most probable technological draft of human life extension, which technology or discipline has the biggest chance to reach it earliest? (regenerative medicine, nanotechnology, gene therapy, caloric restriction, bionics, hormones, antioxidants, …)
5. When?
6. What can blogs do for LE?

updating with a few thoughts of my own:
1. Like most futurists, I started with a thorough study of speculative fiction, SF, during the golden years - I was 12. It was pretty clear that I and we were in a race to get off the planet and achieve immortality, or die trying. The news trends were gooid, then bad, then good. In my teen years I got a copy of Futurist magazine, read a bit of Timothy Leary, but didn't run into my first Extropian until I was in my 20s in the 80s. Later came Vinge and Varley and so forth. So since I was a kid, I've kept in mind the possibility that I would live a long time in an interesting and unknowable future - this set me a bit at odds with the dominant culture.
2. My commitment is to moderate life extension - I want to live another 100 years, at least until the singularity,and then evaluate my options.
3. My favorite argument? Hmm. Not sure I have a fave, but, here's one: Archimedes' lever. Archimedes said that with a long enough lever and a place to stand, he could move a planet. The point is that choices have consequences that get bigger over time, so if you can extend the timeframe, we become more able to create our own destinies, and free will matters.
4. Which is the more likely technology?
Offhand, I'd say robotics has a bit of an edge over cloning - I'm willing to settle for a computer similation that thinks it's still me, when it's time to go explore strange new worlds. So, transhumanism.
5. When? I think the singularity could come as early as 2012. One can already see singularity effects as the rate of change speeds up. I like to read slashdot for the gee whiz stories of superscience. Most days, not every day, there's some story about a revolutionary worldchanging new discovery. Today's story, a roundup of 50 trends from popular mechanics, says the government is well on its way to a goal of having individualized DNA readouts for about $1000 by 2015. I'm going to revise that to 2012, to fit my singularity predictions. Knowing what your DNA is will have practical benefits worth $1000, while meanwhile more people than now will carry $1000 around as pocket change. So as the price comes down, the market goes up, so applications will be widespread. Knowing what my DNA is should be helpful in knowing what drugs can cure my depression or improve my memory recall or improving various skills, so that I'll be able to do something socially useful, more so than just blogging, not especially well. Time magazine's 50 cool new inventions article is less interesting.
5. Blogs are replacing or augmenting older models of change dissemination.
Blogs are part of the crowdsourcing revolution which is part of the transition to the post-scarcity open-source economy. Instead of waiting for university department chairmen to die off before a new idea can take hold, or waiting 17 years for a patent to expire, or waiting a year for a journal article to be published, blogs can spread a new idea in hours, fast cheap and well.

I'm an early adopter of the post-scarcity lifestyle. I have a little money, not much, so I get by. I enhance that by salvaging cast-off junk, since the worker bees always need the lastest gadget and don't have storage space for the old gadgets. My real wealth is access to all the free info online. I blog, not very well, in order to do my small bit in the crowdsourcing revolution. I cultivate my wuffie, reputation capital, by blogging and small projects such as litigation about privacy.
Today's privacy litigation tasks aren't going well, my ongoing struggle with writer's block, which is one reason I blog - to get in the habit of writing, so that when I need to write something that will matter, it should come more easily. Doesn't always work as well as I'd like.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Rumsfeld out, Schumer in. Meh.

I quit my temp job a couple weeks ago, for reasons that I think are pretty good but are covered by a confidentiality agreement. Friendly Hostility.

Oh! and filthy lies is back.

Monday, November 06, 2006

To Read:
Last best gifts, by Kieran Healy of Crooked Timber. Kieran's book updates Titmus's research on blood and organ donation policy.
Contents page.
He mentions his book in response to my questions at volokh here. A review.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

When is a crescat still a crescat?

William Baude
to me
More options 10:44 pm (5 minutes ago)

We have moved Crescat to www.crescatsententia.net. Would you mind
updating the link in your blogroll at your earliest possible
convenience? If you'd be willing to post an announcement on your blog
itself, we'd greatly appreciate it as well, but I understand if you
aren't willing to.

Last month, without my knowledge or consent, crescatsententia.org was
purchased by a Search Engine Optimization firm, which makes money by
buying up popular sites (especially those with high Google pageranks)
and then selling links to websites looking to boost their search terms.
The new purchaser offered to sell back the blog for several thousand
dollars-- more than I can afford-- so we have moved shop. This means
that I can't post an announcement on the old blog about the move, so we
are reliant upon word of mouth to tell our readers what has become of
us. (Changing over the links on your blogroll as soon as possible also
decreases the amount that the abandoned site can be used to mislead
Google and other search engines.)

[If your blog runs on Movable Type, you can use the search and replace
feature to update any links you might have to entries on our blog. Just
search for crescatsententia.org , then use the replace function to sub
in crescatsententia.net, making all of the old links functional again
(though you'll have to rebuild to publish the changes).]

Thanks very much for your help. I'm hoping we can reach as many of our
former readers as possible.


Wil Wheaton, my blogfather, writes at suicidegirls about 5 books geeks should read.
One of them is Bruce Sterling's The Hacker Crackdown. Bruce told me this is the book that has let him make a living as a writer; it outsells his fiction. It doesn't shock me that he gives it away - that's how we sell books these days. I first met bruce in 1992. He was giving a talk at an eff conference, where I was sitting at a table with Craig Neidorf and the editors of Phrack and some lady from the IRS, with Emanuel Goldstein at the next table and Phiber Optik wandering by. The Hacker Crackdown is Craig's story. Also at the table was a high school kid with a badge that said "Robbin Stewart", which is my name. He'd stolen my badge in order to hack his way into the conference. I'd used a different method myself, and we got along well.

Another of the 5 is I Robot, the book, not the movie that Wil tried out for. My dad took me to hear Asimov one time. It was a rare bonding moment for us.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Many years ago I has a request for some pro bono work from a guy who was, rightly, concerned that the city of Gary was infringing his right to bear arms by suing gun manufacturers. I turned that down - my pro bono activity tends to be focused on election law, but I found the case interesting. It was an obvious abuse of process,and I expected it to be quickly dismissed. 7 years later, it's alive and kicking.
The indiana law blog has a real scoop, and detailed coverage.

“He [Kerry] was for the joke before he was against it,” Mr. Cheney said.

When is a crescat not a crescat?

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