shanen’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Jul 5th, 2016 @ 1:39pm

    Problems of democracy?

    Problems of democracy? Whoa, lad, you're going too fast there. There are SO many problems of democracy that it's probably crazy even to try to pick #1.

    However, I can take a shot at why technology is making things worse, and it comes down to bad economic models. Consider the google, for example. On the surface, it looks great and extremely profitable, but in their never-ending quest for more of your time and attention because they NEVER have a "big enough" profit, they are now focused on stuffing your eyeballs and earholes with exactly what you want to hear for fear of losing your attention.

    Per my sig, freedom (as a justification for democracy) is about meaningful and unconstrained choice. Choice is NOT meaningful when all of the information has been slanted in favor of not offending you. Even worse, choice is NOT unconstrained when your personal information is being collected and used to manipulate you.

    Not just the google, but I think they are probably the worst corporation on these lines. The 'no evil' thing is dead. The google's current motto must be "All your attention are belong to us, the google."

    Weirdly enough, I think there is a solution, and it could begin on websites such as TechDirt. It would involve a different economic model focused on SOLVING the problems that the website's articles (or videos etc.) are telling us about.

    My new motto is "Details available upon (polite) request, or even better if maybe you have a better idea."

  • Jun 19th, 2016 @ 1:36pm

    Insightful? Not so much.

    The helicopter thing was kind of amusing, but not insightful. Mostly a political screed.It could have gotten up to informative if it had included some of the numbers, but insightful would have called for something like the fundamental conflict between the freedom of flying and the need for absolutely reliable computer control (sans human freedom) to make it remotely plausible, given our poor human reflexes and worse judgment. (Writing as a pilot who lost his ticket for taking out a few harmless runway lights.)

    The one about Hillary also failed to be insightful, but might have been slightly humorous to some people. Why would she want to buy a gun? She has secret service protection. Insight might have been to consider if people under FBI investigation should be allowed to hire armed bodyguards. Still don't see how to make it a problem for Hillary, at least on the theory that the secret service will probably cooperate with the FBI if they want to arrest someone.

  • Apr 26th, 2016 @ 5:53pm

    Re: Re: Good GMO versus bad

    Much to say, but not in response to an AC.

  • Apr 25th, 2016 @ 5:24pm

    Good GMO versus bad

    Tomatoes. Genetically modified for even outside color and higher retail prices even if the insides are half unripe. Bad.

    Humans. Genetic testing to avoid Tay-Sachs. Good.

    Even the simple example will confuse many people. No need for abortion. The genetic testing could be used to deter people with the recessive gene from marrying each other in the first place. Still GMO and eugenics, though you might prefer a different flavor, eh?

    Actually, a lot of the confusion involves misunderstanding what the genes represent. They are NOT a blueprint for a unique organism or even a set of genetically identical organisms. They are more like a set of recipes for a rather large set of possible organisms... Your results will differ depending on many factors, but especially the nutrients.

    (I sympathize since I only came to understand this difference a few years ago. Probably thanks to Richard Dawkins?)

  • Mar 4th, 2016 @ 10:58pm

    Finally! But don't you want MY money?

    Glad to see that they got their funding, but why not replace that project with another deserving project to consider? Even better, why not offer several choices for us to consider? Even better than that, why doesn't someone (could be TechDirt) act as the charity share brokerage and hold the money for to-be-funded projects?

  • Mar 3rd, 2016 @ 4:38pm

    Wrong economic model

    Unless the economic models make it unprofitable, our privacy will continue to be abused. The funny part is that we don't need new laws in America. It's basically in the Bill of Rights, and it would be obvious if certain so-called justices didn't think that corporations are real people rather than legal fictions (that occasionally must be regarded as having status in lawsuits involving contracts).

    The solution is actually an old quasi-joke: "Possession is nine points of the law." Before we had all these computers and stuff, your personal information was mostly in your head, and if someone wanted to know when you visited a convenience store, they had to ask you, not the recordings of the surveillance cameras. That information should be owned by the person it relates to, and even stored where that person wants it stored. Accessing the information for any purpose should require the permission of the owner AKA the person involved.

    If there are several people involved (and there usually are), then the natural solution is that all of them share ownership and have copies of the information. Anyone else has to get permission after explaining why, and can't legally retain the information after the purpose of the why has been satisfied.

  • Feb 24th, 2016 @ 4:24pm

    Learning from idiots?

    "When encryption is outlawed, only outlaws will have encryption."

    If you have nothing to hide, you don't need it, so wanting the ability to keep anything a secret from the government proves you're a criminal.

    Of course, the FBI is not doing this as a political scam on the "lucky" opportunity of using an infamous case to outlaw encryption. They are just trying to drum up business, since they know EVERYONE has some secret.

    By the way, there is too much focus on the negative side of dirty secrets and hidden crimes used as sticks. The carrot side is just as bad, less noticeable, and MORE in use.

    Actually, Apple is a leading abuser on that side. The personal data about your interests, tastes, and even your strengths is used by the marketeers to manipulate you and sell you all manner of stylish crape you don't need.

    (My dark secret is a propensity to use four-letter words like crape.)

  • Jan 11th, 2016 @ 4:43pm

    I hate typos

    Sorry about the typos, but I don't see any way to fix them now. Honest, I thought I reread it carefully twice before posting, but there's a tendency to see what you know you meant to write, eh?

  • Jan 11th, 2016 @ 4:33pm

    Painfully obvious: Divide and conquer

    Not a general solution, but for the specific problem of Daesh/ISIL the American phools on the neo-GOPpy far right need to stop playing by THEIR rules. They WANT to be called "Islamic extremists" precisely because they are NOT the mainstream. They want ALL Muslims to be driven into their funny farm in insane violence.

    The most important thing rational non-partisan "We HATE Obama most of all" opponents of Daesh need to do is describe them narrowly, NOT broadly. The lunatic extremists need to be clearly separated from the mainstream mass of peaceful and rational Muslims, not pushed together. Daesh sincerely (and insanely) WANTS an all-out war against Islam.

    Once divided from the rest of the Muslims, that leads to the conquer question of who is going to put the boots on the ground to finish cleaning up the mess, and that's where it gets messy in a political sense. I really expected the response to the latest major atrocity in Paris was going to be an unleashing of Iran. They are the only source of eager boots, but... If Daesh is most precisely described as Wahabbi extremist terrorists... Well, you should see where that is leading and why we do NOT need cheap imported oil, but NO oil at all.

  • Dec 10th, 2015 @ 9:39pm

    Like Abe Lincoln said:

    Like Abe Lincoln said when he created the Internet: " that government of the corporations, by the lawyers, for the richest 0.1%, shall rule the earth."

  • Dec 8th, 2015 @ 4:36pm

    Re: Mathematically impossible?

    Ha! You haven't seen how well he gerrymandered his own district. Considering his own incompetence and stupidity, he must be some kind of idiot savant genius at rigging elections.

    And you thought elections were about voters picking politicians, didn't you? It's the OTHER way around, with phools like McCaul picking their voters first!

  • Dec 8th, 2015 @ 4:30pm

    McCaul is a worthless TOOL and a coward, too

    I don't actually want to claim to be brave, though I have done a few things that might have looked that way, and even come close to death a few times--but I shure (sic) know a yellow-belly coward when I sneeze at one, and I sneeze at McCaul, my very own fake representative to Congress. None of the comments nor the article mentioned gerrymandering, but that's the ONLY way this worthless tool could have been elected to the House of so-called Representatives.

    McCaul's district was created for him in a massive gerrymandering about 12 years ago, but he is such a worthless piece of garbage that they had to repack it again a few years ago. He does NOT represent Austin, which is supposed to be the largest city in the country without a SINGLE actual Representative in the House. Neo-GOP partisan dictatorship at its worst.

    (I should retract that statement, because whenever you say it's the worst, they go farther. Most recently, my own vote was disenfranchised by the new voter ID system created to solve the fake and nonexistent problem of voter fraud. Disenfranchising large numbers of voters certainly WILL influence actual elections, while a few double voters never could. If there were many fake voters, then the odds of getting exposed and arrested would rise rapidly. NO such problem.)

    Never heard McCaul say anything that wasn't worthless or cowardly or both. He even contributed in his own typically minor way to my renunciation of my birthright Texian citizenship. I now regard myself as a stateless American.

  • Nov 23rd, 2015 @ 5:09pm

    Probably the warning on the right side?

    Hey, here's a silly idea: Why not make more valuable email by cutting the spam?

    Anyway, as regards your question, I'm pretty sure it relates to some warnings I've been getting about an ad blocker. They pop up in the right side in an area that is probably supposed to get a Flash garbage of some kind.

    Only problem is that I'm NOT using any ad blocker that I know of. Evidently something about my security settings is triggering a false alarm. Can't say I care a hill of beans, even though I still check my Yahoo email and it would cause me a tiny bit of inconvenience of Yahoo disappeared tomorrow...

    Anyway, I want to focus on the positive side, something that Yahoo (or any of the large email providers) could do for better email: Give us tools to put the spammers out of business. Obviously not possible to eliminate all spam and all insane sociopathic spammers, but we could hurt them in their most sensitive and intelligent organ, their wallets. I really want tools to help disrupt ALL of the spammers' infrastructure, pursue ALL of the spammers' accomplices, and even help and protect ALL of the spammers' victims. Insofar as many of those victims are corporations like Yahoo itself, it's kind of hard for me to understand "Live and let spam" as a viable business model.

    Anyway, 'nuff said, but details available upon polite request.

  • Nov 18th, 2015 @ 4:32pm

    Total bogosity of the help desk idea

    No one is commenting on the ludicrous bogosity of the help desk idea? None of you see it? Or are you ignoring it just because it's peripheral to the encryption topic?

    Let me just say that the notion of ISIS/ISIL setting up such a locus of communication is completely insane. Well, yes, they are insane, but it's also completely stupid.

    The fake reports say six of their senior leaders would be working the help desk. Okay, right there is a prime target for a bomb. However, the REAL risks of such a stupid idea are vastly larger. The Daily Show did a skit on fake help, but better to leave it in place. This is a case where just tapping the metadata would be incredibly effective. Pretty safe bet that everyone who calls a 'how to be a terrorist' help desk is a person of interest.

    Even more obviously, the fundamental notion of a help desk is that you have to distribute the contact information widely. Oh, wait. How long until a copy of the contact information leaks out? Or some fool drops his wallet with the help desk number in it?

  • Nov 16th, 2015 @ 12:43pm

    Constructive responses? In a flying pig's eye.

    The pig reference was intended to offend the winners, who I predict will be the Iranians. Increased surveillance is another short-term shortsighted misdirected solution, especially since the terrorists are NOT going to hide where they know you are looking even if the light is better there. We don't need to worry too much about any terrorist who is still stupid enough to carry a phone.

    The only obvious response to this tragedy will be to unleash the Iranians, another short-term shortsighted misdirected "solution". No one else can put the boots on the ground, and insofar as the terrorists are largely the same people who attacked Iran in that nasty war, they have the revenge motivation, too.

  • Feb 15th, 2015 @ 4:34pm

    Torture is stupid, too

    This is the only reference I could find for "trap", but I wish the system was smart enough to look for obvious synonyms, etc.

    However, just to make the point clear: If your enemy knows you use torture, then they can use that against you. Not just for recruitment and motivation of their fighters, which has frequently been mentioned, but more directly, as with the baiting of traps mentioned in this post, but indirectly by relying upon complicated techniques that a person is not able to recall or use under torture. The torture may seem to authenticate the revealed information, whereas all it has actually done is authenticate the trap.

    However, I think the strongest argument against torture is that if you become as EVIL as your enemy, then your enemy has won. You can't defeat evil by becoming the greater evil.

  • Sep 11th, 2014 @ 5:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: LOTS of good charities

    Spoken like someone who truly has reason to be afraid of being linked to his "thoughts".

  • Sep 10th, 2014 @ 7:54pm

    Re: Re: LOTS of good charities

    Convince me your question is sincere (for example, by asking a more specific question), and I'll be glad to explain any specific aspect of the suggestion.

    Otherwise, I'll just dismiss you as part of the problem (or problems), which mostly seems to be the way of the world lately.

  • Sep 10th, 2014 @ 6:07pm

    LOTS of good charities

    I agree that this is an important cause, and if I was made of money, then I would probably support it. Too bad I'm not so rich.

    Hey, how about #MDFC (More Democratic Funding Campaign) options after such articles. There would be 3 to 5 links to SOLUTIONS for the problems. Aren't you just too tired of hearing about all these problems? I could look at the options and pledge some money to support one (or more). If enough people agree with me that the project is good--which includes SUCCESS criteria, in stark contrast to Kickstarter--then the project gets the money.

    Not sure if I would support TechDirt to hold the money, however... Maybe I just don't know them well enough, but I think I'd prefer a charitable foundation, though they could give TechDirt a small return for their support. (In other words, if 5,000 people pledge to support some specific project after arriving from TechDirt, then there would be a monetary incentive.)

  • Mar 3rd, 2014 @ 5:29pm

    (untitled comment)

    Which of the nine musicians from Wikipedia's giant disambiguation page do you mean? Probably the Monkey, per the earlier comment?

    Actually, I just wanted to note that I've never seen such an impression disambiguation page. They have a deep hierarchy of related articles and categories just under the human references there. On my google results for "david jones", this page was only the 3rd among 5 Wikipedia results.

    By the way, remember "All your attentions are belongs to the google." True corporate motto.

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