Collector's Weekly looks at the history of attack-pinbacks in politics. As a little kid, I remember finding an "Impeach the Cox Sacker" pinback in my big brother's desk. I had no idea what it meant at the time, but it was fun to say aloud. Wish I still had it!
Today, President Obama finally produced his long-form birth certificate, rendering this button (above, left), and a central complaint of presumptive presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign, obsolete. In 1968, candidate Richard Nixon promised to bring the troops home from Viet Nam. Two years later, as the war escalated, anti-Nixon forces accused the president of hypocrisy (above, right) in light of his religious background–Quakers are pacifists..."Vicious Vintage Campaign Buttons"
In 1980, Ted Kennedy’s lost his bid for the White House due in no small part to his actions more than two decades earlier, when he drove his car off a road in Martha’s Vineyard and left it underwater, with the body of a 28-year-old woman inside.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service says seafood from the Gulf of Mexico is safe to eat. And they aren't just making that up—there's test results that back up the decision. But a story at Scientific American explains that there's a lot of nuance and unanswered questions lingering. What unfolds is a great example of how the same data can look very different, depending on your perspective, and what you know about research methodology.
In the Sci Am story, several scientists outside NOAA explain why they continue to be skeptical of the safety of Gulf seafood. Some of their reasons are fairly obvious—there's still oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf waters, so a toxicology test from last month doesn't necessarily tell you anything about the shrimp you eat two months from now. But other problems are less apparent to the average American. Chief among these are the complications of interpreting safety of oil-exposed seafood. There's a lot in common here with the dose-to-risk comparisons that have people tied up in mental knots over nuclear energy. Worse, though, with oil exposure, it seems that there have been a lot of recent changes to the way we calculate acceptable risk—changes that tend to make us underestimate the threat.
To assess the risk posed by seafood containing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are known carcinogens, most seafood risk assessments conducted after oil spills in the United States have followed an approach used by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1990 after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska. The acceptable risk level of cancer from seafood consumption is determined by the quantity of seafood the average individual consumes, the body weight of the average consumer, the average human lifespan, the length of exposure, and the concentration of the PAH benzopyrene. Using this approach, the lifetime cancer risk should be no greater than 1 in 1,000,000.
However, the FDA is now using a less rigorous standard than it did in 1990 - one that tends to underestimate how much seafood Gulf residents actually eat.
"For the Exxon Valdez, there was more awareness of high levels of seafood consumption in local populations," says Solomon. "They used local fish consumption rates to estimate what levels of contaminants were safe or would be excessive. In contrast, with the Gulf oil spill, FDA used national seafood consumption rates that don't reflect what people on the Gulf Coast are eating."
"The assumption that they're using [...] is not as protective of human health as the one that they used for the Exxon Valdez," says Solomon.
The current FDA risk assessment protocol is based on a 176-pound man eating four shrimp a week. That doesn't account for women or children, whose body weights are lower, let alone local seafood consumption along the Gulf Coast. "Nobody in the Gulf really eats four shrimp a week, so it's unrealistic the way they are assessing risk of consumption," says Shaw.
Sara Rogness doesn't care for the Westboro Baptist Church, but she had a little fun by embedding herself into one of their boring homophobic protests.
After a customer service call gone wrong, I was very angry and couldn't seem to get a grip on it. I called Katherine and the plan was born. Most anyone who has lived in Topeka awhile knows about the angry corner: 17th & Gage. That's where (or across the street at 15th & Gage) Westboro Baptist Church holds their week-day 15 minute protests. You've seen the signs. God hates this and God hates that. I decided that it would be cathartic and funny if I could join in with a God Hates Verizon sign. So I did (I got about 10 minutes of protest in before the cold got to me).God Hates Verizon
I've just written to my MEPs and I'll be calling them tomorrow. We need people from across Europe to do the same if we're going to stop this. There's no credible reason to extend the copyright on works that have already been made; historically this has not enriched artists (there are vanishingly few recordings that are still commercially viable after 50 years), but it has stopped preservationists, fans, and remixers from re-issuing or re-using all those recordings, often to the point where all known copies of the works degrade and disappear.
But isn't making sure artists continue to be paid a good thing?Copyright term extension - you can help stop it (Thanks, Peter!)
Yes. But this won't help the majority of artists and comes at the expense of consumers and our cultural realm. The economic evidence is stacked against the proposal. Leading IP professors, the UK government's 'Gowers Review' of IP, and independent economic analysts have all said that extending the copyright term is unwise. The Financial Times labelled the proposal 'disgraceful' in an editorial in 2009. It will likely result in higher prices for consumers. It will benefit only a small number of artists and businesses - according to a joint academic statement, signed by 80 eminent academics, including several Nobel Laureates, 96% of the economic returns will go to the major record labels and top 20% of performers. Four leading IP professors this week argued that 'If there was a policy designed to suppress social and commercial innovation, retrospective term extension would be your choice.' Large chunks of our cultural history will be locked up.
Looking at the impact on the UK, the Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law at the University of Cambridge argued that extending the term of protection will 'likely to have a significant, negative effect, on balance of trade' and that 'it would be particularly inadvisable, given our present state of knowledge, for a rational policy-maker to extend the term of copyright in sound recordings.'
Some of the Virginia plant's 335 workers are trying to form a union. The International Assn. of Machinists and Aerospace Workers said a majority of eligible employees had signed cards expressing interest.Ikea's U.S. factory churns out unhappy workers (via Reddit)
In response, the factory -- part of Ikea's manufacturing subsidiary, Swedwood -- hired the law firm Jackson Lewis, which has made its reputation keeping unions out of companies. Workers said Swedwood officials required employees to attend meetings at which management discouraged union membership...
Laborers in Swedwood plants in Sweden produce bookcases and tables similar to those manufactured in Danville. The big difference is that the Europeans enjoy a minimum wage of about $19 an hour and a government-mandated five weeks of paid vacation. Full-time employees in Danville start at $8 an hour with 12 vacation days -- eight of them on dates determined by the company.
What's more, as many as one-third of the workers at the Danville plant have been drawn from local temporary-staffing agencies. These workers receive even lower wages and no benefits, employees said.
(Image: Midnight at the Glassworks: Lewis Wickes Hine/Wikimedia/Library of Congress [Public Domain])
Wisco county clerk whose homemade voting software found 14K votes for Tea Party judge is an old hand at illegal campaigning
In 2006, Nickolaus, who was elected Waukesha County clerk in 2002, was criticized for posting election returns that temporarily skewed results of a Republican primary for the 97th Assembly District. At the time, Nickolaus told reporters some returns from the city of Waukesha were entered in the wrong column.Waukesha County clerk has drawn criticisms in the past
And last summer, the Waukesha County Board ordered an internal audit of her office, citing concerns Nickolaus was secretive and refusing to cooperate with the county's technical staff in a security review of the computerized election system.
Some officials also were critical of Nickolaus' decision to stop posting municipal results to save time. Auditors who looked at the Waukesha County system found 26 of 62 counties surveyed also did not post local results -- a step that might have revealed the missing Brookfield numbers.
* We will apply the proceeds from the advanced wireless spectrum auction to ensure all Canadians, no matter where they live, will have quality high-speed broadband internet access;NDP Unveils Its Digital Economy Strategy: Reshaping Internet Access in Canada
* We will expect the major internet carriers to contribute financially to this goal;
* We will rescind the 2006 Conservative industry-oriented directive to the CRTC and direct the regulator to stand up for the public interest, not just the major telecommunications companies;
* We will enshrine "net neutrality" in law, end price gouging and "net throttling," with clear rules for Internet Service Providers (ISPs), enforced by the CRTC;
* We will prohibit all forms of usage-based billing (UBB) by Internet Service Providers (ISPs);
* We will introduce a bill on copyright reform to ensure that Canada complies with its international treaty obligations, while balancing consumers' and creators' rights.
More important than process is the substance of the proposals that have the potential to fundamentally reshape the Internet in Canada. The bills contain a three-pronged approach focused on information disclosure, mandated surveillance technologies, and new police powers.The Conservatives Commitment to Internet Surveillance
The first prong mandates the disclosure of Internet provider customer information without court oversight.
The second prong requires Internet providers to dramatically re-work their networks to allow for real-time surveillance. The bill sets out detailed capability requirements that will eventually apply to all Canadian Internet providers. These include the power to intercept communications, to isolate the communications to a particular individual, and to engage in multiple simultaneous interceptions.
Having obtained customer information without court oversight and mandated Internet surveillance capabilities, the third prong creates a several new police powers designed to obtain access to the surveillance data.
Crystal transcribed a number of "boys'" and "girls'" toy commercials and made word-clouds out of the result. The difference is stark and immediately visible.
Nonetheless, some shocked parents are attacking the new rules and accusing Ms. Jenkinson-Dix of turning the school into a "prison."U.K. school cracks down on bad manners (Thanks, Bytefire, via Submitterator!)
"I'm absolutely appalled. They are wrecking pupils' education and turning it into a prison," Amanda King, 34, who pulled her 12-year-old son Ben and daughter Shannon, 14, out of classes, told the Cambridge News.
"Staff are nit-picking for everything -for behaviour, for what they wear. Apparently they are not allowed to wear any accessories or even coats in school now."
Another mother, who asked not to be named, said, "Yes, children should be taught to respect their teachers but to punish them for wearing bright hair bobbles or having their mobile phones is petty. I'm not happy about the new rules at all."
Senator Al Franken has proposed a "Pay for War" resolution that would require Congress to raise taxes and/or cut spending before authorizing new acts of war, so that American foreign adventures can't contribute to the national debt.
"We have to ensure that Iraq and Afghanistan remain anomalies in American history," Franken said on the Senate floor Wednesday. "And that's what my resolution seeks to do. It will ensure that future wars don't make our deficit and debt problem worse. It will ensure that Congress and American citizens must face the financial sacrifice of going to war. And it will force us to decide whether a war is worth that sacrifice."Franken wants wars to be paid for (via Reddit)
"In the last ten years our wars have been paid for by borrowing," Franken said. "The Iraq War was accompanied by a massive tax cut. That failed fiscal experiment created the impression that war requires no financial sacrifice. We know that is just not true. The question is who will bear the financial sacrifice, the generation that has decided to go to war or its children and grandchildren?"
Homebrew vote-counting software from Clerk in conservative Wisconsin county gives Supreme Court win to Tea Party darling
If these newly discovered votes are allowed to stand, it will reverse the upset in the state Supreme Court election that saw the judgeship go to a candidate who attracted a large anti-Walker protest vote.
Today's announcement by Nickolaus drew immediate suspicions from Scot Ross, executive director of One Wisconsin Now, a liberal activist group.Newly discovered Waukesha County votes would give win to Prosser (Thanks, Saljake, via Submitterator!)
"Wisconsin deserves elections that are fair, clean and transparent," Ross said. "There is a history of secrecy and partisanship surrounding the Waukesha County Clerk and there remain unanswered questions."
Nickolaus, a former staffer for the Assembly Republican Caucus, has been criticized in recent months for her handling of recent elections. The Waukesha County Board sharply condemned Nickolaus after past elections, demanding an audit of her practices last year.
The auditors criticized Nickolaus for moving some sensitive files, such as election results, onto her personal computer.
Brian Krebs went browsing in an underground proxy marketplace, where criminals rent time on hijacked computers to other criminals who want to use the compromised machines as launching-grounds for untraceable networked attacks. Krebs traced down some of the people whose computers were up for rent and let them know that they were being bought and sold on the underground.
Michelle Trammell, associate director of Kirby Pines and president of TSG, said she was unaware that her computer systems were being sold to cyber crooks when I first contacted her this week. I later heard from Steve Cunningham from ProTech Talent & Technology, an IT services firm in Memphis that was recently called in to help secure the network.Is Your Computer Listed "For Rent"?
Cunningham said an anti-virus scan of the TSG and retirement community machines showed that one of the machines was hijacked by a spam bot that was removed about two weeks before I contacted him, but he said he had no idea the network was still being exploited by cyber crooks. "Some malware was found that was sending out spam," Cunningham said, "It looks like they didn't have a very comprehensive security system in place, but we're going to be updating [PCs] and installing some anti-virus software on all of the servers over the next week or so."
Will the 21st-century equivalent of an offshore call-center worker who insists he is "Bob from Des Moines" be the Guangzhou assembly-line worker who carefully "hand-wraps" a cellphone sleeve and inserts a homespun anti-corporate manifesto (produced by Markov chains fed on angry blog posts from online maker forums) into the envelope?Untouched By Human Hands
I wouldn't be surprised. Our species' capacity to commodify everything -- even the anti-commodification movement -- has yet to meet its match. I'm sure we'll adapt, though.
We could start a magazine for hobbyists who want to set up nostalgic mass-production assembly lines that use old-fashioned injection molders to stamp out stubbornly identical objects in reaction to the corporate machine's insistence on individualized, 3D-printed, fake artisanship.
I've recently lent my support to Worldreader, an innovative nonprofit program that distributes ebook readers to children in the developing world and then exposes them to a large library of donated texts from writers from across the world, as well as newspapers and other materials. I was delighted to give them access to all my books (of course), and put them in touch with a large group of other kids' and young adult writers who were happy to do the same (including my hero Daniel Pinkwater, who travelled in and wrote about Kenya and has a real love of Africa).
WR: What advice do you have for kids in developing countries who are just beginning to read and only have recently gotten access to books because of technology advancements?Writers Changing Lives: A Chat With Cory Doctorow
Cory: I have a couple of pieces of advice about reading. One is that the most dangerous thing in the world is someone who has only read one book. The great thing about reading is that you can triangulate your ideas among lots of different authors, different times, or different place. When you read widely and broadly it shows you that everything is relative. It shows that there is a lot of ways of looking at things, and often times, problems can become solutions if looked at creatively.
The other piece of advice I would give them about reading electronically is to not allow their collections to be tied to one device or platform. Devices come and go, but data can live forever. The only way you can maintain access to them is if you insist on the ability and the right to move the books into any format or any platform you want to.
From the end of last year, the time-travel themed drama is becoming more and more popular. Most of these time-travel dramas are based on real historical stories but with many newly added, and usually exaggerated elements to make it funny and more attractive. Nothing is off limits in this television genre. While some find it hilarious, others think the exaggeration and even ridiculous elements added into the story is a real source of annoyance and is a disrespectful for history."No more time-travel drama", authority says it disrespects history
The authority's decision was made on the Television Director Committee Meeting on April 1st. - but obviously it's not a prank to fans of the drama genre. The authority has a good reason to go against the genre. "The time-travel drama is becoming a hot theme for TV and films. But its content and the exaggerated performance style are questionable. Many stories are totally made-up and are made to strain for an effect of novelty. The producers and writers are treating the serious history in a frivolous way, which should by no means be encouraged anymore."
(via Making Light)
Consider the Wason selection task. Subjects are presented with four cards next to each other on a table. Each card represents a person, with each side listing some statement about that person. The subject is then given a general rule and asked which cards he would have to turn over to ensure that the four people satisfied that rule. For example, the general rule might be, "If a person travels to Boston, then he or she takes a plane." The four cards might correspond to travelers and have a destination on one side and a mode of transport on the other. On the side facing the subject, they read: "went to Boston," "went to New York," "took a plane," and "took a car." Formal logic states that the rule is violated if someone goes to Boston without taking a plane. Translating into propositional calculus, there's the general rule: if P, then Q. The four cards are "P," "not P," "Q," and "not Q." To verify that "if P, then Q" is a valid rule, you have to verify modus ponens by turning over the "P" card and making sure that the reverse says "Q." To verify modus tollens, you turn over the "not Q" card and make sure that the reverse doesn't say "P."Detecting Cheaters
Shifting back to the example, you need to turn over the "went to Boston" card to make sure that person took a plane, and you need to turn over the "took a car" card to make sure that person didn't go to Boston. You don't -- as many people think -- need to turn over the "took a plane" card to see if it says "went to Boston" because you don't care. The person might have been flying to Boston, New York, San Francisco, or London. The rule only says that people going to Boston fly; it doesn't break the rule if someone flies elsewhere.
(Image: Theory of Boundaries, 1969-1970, chalk on dry pigment on wall by Mel Bochner, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from nostri-imago's photostream)
Colombian Justice Minister ramming through extremist copyright legislation without public consultation
Since amending Copyright law was part of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) agenda between Colombia and the U.S., it should come as no surprise that the bill is similar in many ways to the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act introduced in Title II of the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act). Also France's anti-privacy/liberty law named HADOPI or Mexicos 'Three Strikes" approach, where controversy surrounds their adoption under domestic law. At first glance however the bill appears to implement its own features following the rules of both a take down and counter notice and domestic judicial procedure.Colombia's Bill to deter copyright infringement on the Internet must undergo public scrutiny (Thanks, Carolina!)
Concern is raised on topics such as abuse by copyright owners, ISP's indiscriminate removal of material, supression of freedom of speech, false claims of copyright infringement, amongst others. Worryngly though, Colombia's citizens were denied the right to study, discuss and generate public debate regarding the bill before it was put forth to Congress, although the Copyright authority had discussed the idea that there would be a space for public debate prior to the passing of the bill.
Mother Jones and Steve Brodner bring us a MAD-Magazine-style exploded diagram of the contents of Glenn Beck's brain, just in time for the news that the weeping millionaire goldbug conspiracy nut is going off the air (if life were a Warren Ellis comic, he'd reappear as a presidential candidate).
- Fox's Glenn Beck says Obama is building concentration camps for ...
- Glenn Beck gold company on how to profit from Egypt unrest - Boing ...
- Machine of Death Amazon campaign infuriates Glenn Beck - Boing Boing
- When Donald Duck met Glenn Beck - Boing Boing
- Glenn Beck believes in four insane things before breakfast - Boing ...
- Glenn Beck swipes his kooky conspiracy theories from kooky ...
- Mickey Mouse discovers that Donald Duck/Glenn Beck mashup is a ...
Add in a global union drive among the gold farmers, and you've got the plot of my last young adult novel. Funny old world.
Jobs in the virtual economy include micro-tasks like categorizing products in online shops, moderating content posted to social media sites, or even playing online games on behalf of wealthier players who are too busy to tend to their characters themselves. The study estimates that the market for such gaming-for-hire services was worth $3 billion in 2009, and it suggests that with suitable mobile technologies even the least-developed countries could benefit from this emerging virtual economy.Converting the Virtual Economy into Development Potential (Thanks, Tim!)
"Developing countries' roles in the digital world have been mostly limited to users and consumers, not producers. But today, a growing mesh of digital services is giving rise to a new layer of entrepreneurial opportunities with very low entry barriers," said Valerie D'Costa, Program Manager of info Dev.
Tim Kelly, info Dev's Lead ICT Policy Specialist, said, "Some of the poorest people in the world are already connected to digital networks through their mobile phones. The study shows that there are real earning opportunities in the virtual economy that will become accessible as mobile technology develops. This could significantly boost local economies and support further development of digital infrastructure in regions such as Africa and southeast Asia."
While the virtual economy unlocks a plethora of business opportunities, it should be noted that not all these activities are viewed positively. According to the info Dev study, certain business ventures and services offered may actually detract from the experience of other Internet users. For example, harvesting and selling online gaming currencies or mass clicking "Like" on corporate Facebook pages can create an unfair environment where legitimate game play and user opinion loses value and is represented inaccurately.
- Chinese gold farming - Boing Boing
- World of Developmentcraft: academic paper on gold farming as a ...
- Neal Stephenson's gold farming thriller, REAMDE - Boing Boing
- Gold farming makes the NYT - Boing Boing
- Similarities between gold farming networks and drug dealing ...
- Gold-farming empire linked to dot-com child abuse scandal - Boing ...
- Real-Money Trades: turning gold-farming into a game company profit ...
Are you an undergraduate or graduate student who is interested in protecting civil liberties online and fighting for a free and open Internet? Do you have strong writing and research skills? Do you love delving into the latest issues in technology, privacy, intellectual property, and transparency? Apply for EFF's Summer Activism Internship!Work for EFF's Activism Team This Summer
The Activism Intern will work closely with EFF's activism team to create new campaigns, action alerts, and issue pages, research new issues in digital civil liberties, and update existing web pages on EFF's sprawling website.
Dan smashes up a crack house, but while most of those within run, one stays and jeers at him, calls him a bully. Dan knows her: Louise was the union rep at his factory. He's ashamed: he always liked her. They get talking. 'You really want to do right by Flinton?' Louise says eventually. 'By all the other Flintons? Then quit messing with symptoms. It's time to take down the real villain.'Rejected pitch
Louise has contacts. They gather together a group of laid-off workers, from all the fields and departments of the now-dead industry, who with their combined expertise add weapons, flight capability, computers to the armour. Over Dan's initial resistance, Louise even insists they contact some of the overseas workers where the plants have been relocated, to get up-to-date information, technology, and help, because, Louise insists, they're on the same side. They make the suit vastly more powerful.
CWA is the Conference on World Affairs at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Now in it’s 63rd year, the conference brings together scientists, politicians, activists, journalists, artists, and more for a week of fascinating conversations.
CWA is the Conference on World Affairs at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Now in it’s 63rd year, the conference brings together scientists, politicians, activists, journalists, artists, and more for a week of fascinating conversations.
SSL certificate authorities put us all at risk by handing out certs for "mail" "webmail" and other unqualified domains
Although signing "localhost" is humorous, CAs create real risk when they sign other unqualified names. What if an attacker were able to receive a CA-signed certificate for names like "mail" or "webmail"? Such an attacker would be able to perfectly forge the identity of your organization's webmail server in a "man-in-the-middle" attack! Everything would look normal: your browser would use HTTPS, it would show a the lock icon that indicates HTTPS is working properly, it would show that a real CA validated the HTTPS certificate, and it would raise no security warnings. And yet, you would be giving your password and your email contents to the attacker.Unqualified Names in the SSL Observatory
To test the prevalence of the validated, unqualified names problem, I queried the Observatory database for unqualified names similar to "exchange". (Microsoft Exchange is an extremely popular email server, and servers that run it commonly have "exchange" or "exch" in their names. Likely examples include "exchange.example.net" and "exch-01.example.com".) My results show that unqualified "exchange"-like names are the most popular type of name, overall, that CAs are happy to sign.