Uriel-238’s Techdirt Profile


About Uriel-238

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  • Jul 20th, 2018 @ 12:47pm

    "More than anyone in the presidency before him"

    I see that Trump does more interviews and is more open about his ideas than anyone in the presidency before him.

    That claim is conspicuously akin to the kinds that our peerless leader commonly makes, himself.

    Trump's false claims have crossed the 3,000 mark and continue steadily.

    His popularity is low, but not as low as I'd rather.

    How's that for looking out the window?

    I suspect his popularity is higher than I'd expect because the average American is rather uninformed thanks to heavy workloads and multiple disinformation campaigns. They can't all afford to research the facts and ascertain their own truth. And we are generally used to the President being truthful when he speaks.

    Trump's ideas are notorious for being based on false pretenses. Anonymous Coward, do you believe his claims of MS-13 no-go towns? Do you approve of his imprisoning asylum-seekers and separating families? Do you approve of his cozy relationship with President Putin? Do you approve of his tax plan that is enriching the affluent and driving the US faster toward critical debt?

    Feel free to cite the good works of President Trump that you approve, Anonymous Coward, I'm eager to hear what you believe he's done right.

  • Jul 20th, 2018 @ 12:14pm

    Anything to harrass the left.

    One of the neatest subjects in tech right now is the topic of antagonistic input. See, we're developing AI systems that can (say) determine images that contain zoo animals and even identify the zoo animal species. This not common utility in science and data processing, but even security applications.

    The problem is, AI is subject to antagonistic input. You take a horse and superimpose it with a panda mask (which is imperceptible to the human eye, and the AI will think it's a panda, where as we humans see it as a horse. So, when the FBI starts web crawling with child-porn-detecting software, all the naked kids are disguised as pandas, and the feds are back to using human eyes to discern what is criminal porn and what isn't.

    Curiously, when they use the same mask over and over again, it becomes easy. A preliminary scanner detects the mask and then scans, and if it still doesn't look like porn, it gets flagged for human scrutiny, as it may indicate a new technology being used to obfuscate illegal imagery.

    Sometimes,though, they go through all that analysis and find that there's really nothing there. It's an ordinary pedestrian image that really doesn't mean anything, encoded just to provoke the scanners. Of course, the industry would need to distribute the task of encoding such pics to a massive group before it would prove effective at overwhelming the webcrawlers.

  • Jul 19th, 2018 @ 4:20pm

    Re: Re: To the contrary, let's connect them.

    I think it is possible, if not by using hash-codes, digital signing, asymmetric encryption and blockchaining then by using a technology related to them.

    Eventually there would be a public blockchain of any given election that anyone could access, and confirm that their own vote is still in there. They should also be able to run the tallying software and get a sum of all the votes for any given election.

    Granted it may require that individuals are responsible to keep and back-up their own access keys. If you lose your key, your own data is gone. But this is a degree of password hygiene we've wanted to encourage the public to sustain anyway.

    The problem human beings cannot be assured to be honest or competent. We've just long assumed they were because the darkness in which they worked was securely impenetrable.

  • Jul 19th, 2018 @ 4:10pm

    "Sounds totally legit"

    I'm not sure the point of your comparison. Maybe you thought when I said when someone says a thing... I was referring to private individuals. I wasn't I was talking about elected officials and people running for office, and referencing what they've said, how that aligns with facts and evidence, and what their positions are and how and when it changes.

    Essentially the same as the congressional review system we have for appointed positions, but performed instead by journalists and news agencies to help the public stay informed.

    Does that still sound overly intrusive to you, Anonymous Coward?

  • Jul 19th, 2018 @ 4:01pm


    Many of us welcome the non-tech-related articles about failures of justice.

    Things change. I'm annoyed that Star Trek turned from what was a vehicle for 20th century social sci-fi into a canon-laden vehicle for space-opera. I'm sure plenty of people like it better now, but I don't. But that doesn't necessarily make Star Trek bad.

    You're allowed to be sad that Techdirt has drifted away from what you wanted it to me. But that doesn't make it bad.

  • Jul 19th, 2018 @ 1:11pm

    Liberalism as "People are fundamentally good"

    I wouldn't take my perspective as indicative of the liberal world view. Yes, it's tempting to categorize large groups of people according to a common set of traits, but I'm far from a typical liberal (and stereotypical liberals in recent eras have become a fictional caricature). And when it comes to large enough identity groups (liberal, conservative, Christian, Muslim, feminist, gun enthusiast, whatever) it is impossible to find a notion that is consistent among the entire set. This included those notions that one might think are axiomatic to their ideology.

    (I'd argue that my most consistent disagreement with folks on the right is this: I think we need a large, pluralistic society in order to attain and maintain all the large-population infrastructure services we enjoy, such as running water, power, internet, big science programs and so on, and many have argued either they'd rather reduce the size of their society, or that they could build that big infrastructure without a big society, or that our society should be non-pluralistic.)

    Moreover, as someone in the psychiatric sector, it is not enough for me to look at human characteristics (flaws, as you put it) and judge people when their behaviors become dysfunctional. I need to know why, sometimes in the hopes of facilitating treatment. When it comes to normal people (or, for the psychiatric model, mentally healthy) people, they behave in consistent ways. Acquisitiveness, avolition and aggression (outside of moderation) are outside the realm of healthy behavior. I assume you don't believe we should purge or otherwise hinder those who are disabled or downtrodden, at least until they are a danger to themselves or others. Yes?

    And also, my indictments of the US civic system (which, granted, I did not lay out in length) are ones that should be addressed regardless of whether or not they would reduce crime, yes? Our legislators often have vested interests contrary to those of the pubic. Our legislators do not comb their laws sufficiently for perverse incentives or for means to circumvent regulation. Our police are not expected to know the laws they enforce (yet citizens are expected to know when they're violating law), and they do a poor job of enforcing what they believe is law. And our court system is assessed not on the number of cases successfully adjudicated but on the number of convictions, leading it to favor convictions outside of reasonable proof, or by using false evidence, or by violating established rights of the individual. And we have no other means to confirm the veracity of court rulings.

    Even if you think crime would not be reduced, I assume you still would rather crimes be limited to real threats to society. I assume you would rather criminals were fairly convicted, and innocents fairly exonerated. I assume you want sentences proportionate to the crime committed. Yes? I assume you would want law enforcement officers to follow proper protocol and not resort to violence unnecessarily, only as a last resort. Right? I assume you would want our laws to be few and reasonable and serve the good of the public and for their function to match their intent. Does all this make sense?

    To me, these are no-brainer goals toward a more perfect union. Even if we can't achieve perfection, we can certainly get closer by orders of magnitude. And right now our officials and agents of the state are not even trying.

  • Jul 19th, 2018 @ 12:45pm

    Food and Shelter

    That seems to be the first order of business of every dystopian state: Keep the proles busy just sustaining themselves and they'll never have time to look up and see how awful everything is.

    Giving the US the benefit of the doubt, I think we attained that by accident, encouraging everyone to be competitive and to offer themselves as an low-cost, high-performance employee, especially once it became an employers' market.

    So now everyone is overworked and underpaid and has not even the energy to rear their children, let alone be mindful of civic affairs.

    Which is just the way our corrupt aristocracy wants it. Score!

  • Jul 19th, 2018 @ 10:51am

    Uriel's Conclusion (based on many observations)

    It's a great era for hackers.

  • Jul 19th, 2018 @ 10:47am

    A press fundamentally at odds with politicians

    Given that our politician-in-chief already declared the press an enemy of the state, really they have nothing to lose and everything to gain by sustaining a consistent evidence-based reality perspective.

    We're part way there, now with several agencies that regularly fact-check statements by officials, and track the number of specific lies told by specific persons.

    We just need to take that extra step and note when someone says a thing, how that compares to reality, and how that compares to that person's prior positions. We might ultimately be able to give people quantifiable integrity ratings which can inform future elections.

  • Jul 19th, 2018 @ 10:29am

    Posting security findings anonymously

    Even the super-temporary fake-email address services?

  • Jul 19th, 2018 @ 10:27am

    To the contrary, let's connect them.

    As soon as it is feasible to make voting machines robustly secure without the air gap, let us do so. I think that is ultimately what the future of voting holds.

    I get that we're struggling to get there. I get that among the obstacles to a net-secure voting system is lack of concern by those officials who got themselves elected / appointed through outside meddling.

    But ultimately, being able to vote while connected is a step towards being able to vote by connecting, which will increase voter turn out.

    And yes, some people don't want that. Screw those guys.

  • Jul 19th, 2018 @ 1:54am

    "proper companies have multiple catalogs"

    I hope you don't mean to imply companies with single catalogs or a small product line are not proper companies.

    Most large companies I've encountered are disinclined to offer proper customer support or consideration. EA, Sony and Microsoft have all demonstrated the willingness to brick a customer's account for even minor social impropriety.

    Curiously, both Apple and Microsoft have demonstrated that when more people use a product, that user-base will often come through and provide technical support where the company fails.

  • Jul 18th, 2018 @ 2:34pm

    That runs contrary to Linus' law

    Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow

  • Jul 18th, 2018 @ 2:31pm

    The advantage of electronic voting machines...

    ...is that they count the votes better than humans do.

    Unless we count them much the way we did in the 2000 Florida recount in which a small committee examines each ballot and deliberates over whether hanging chads nullify a vote.

    The problem is not the electronic voting machine, but the security problems presented by them, and if we solve that we might even be able to enable internet voting.

    Open sourcing software would make it difficult to cheat.

    In Europe there's been some looks into using blockchain tech to affirm that votes are registered and counted correctly without interference.

  • Jul 18th, 2018 @ 1:31pm

    Crime as a failure of state

    Crime as a failure of state is a huge topic, on which volumes have been written. As Madison observed, human society is not governed by angels. We don't make good laws. We don't enforce them well. We judge a lot of people who were innocent or justified and throw them into prison. The specific item list regarding these failures is extensive, many of which have made for running topics on TechDirt

    And yes, if personal responsibility was regarded equally, then large-scale fraud and embezzlement be prosecuted and judged proportionally to theft by common burglars. Police killings would be prosecuted and sentenced consistently with gangster slayings. People in power would not be able to coerce their victims into silence or stop judicial investigations. Law would apply evenly, and would apply always, and we'd quickly discard laws that incriminate too many people. Speed limits (for example) would be abolished, or at least would be elevated above the speeds that drivers ordinarily go.

    But in the United States, large-scale white collar crime often goes unpunished. Bribery of our elected representatives and officials is legal and normal. Black drivers get pulled over for no cause. Public defenders are hobbled in contrast to prosecutors, and police are notorious for lying in court to back the false testimonies of their brethren.

    But yeah, a lot of crime is reduced when a state does bolster its social welfare to assure fewer are starving, fewer go without a home, when fewer are unable to find employment and when fewer are sick without medical care

    A lot of crime is reduced when laws are vetted to actually serve the public and not the aristocratic elite, and when they are reviewed to show they are actually serving their intent.

    A lot of crime is reduced when laws are enforced evenly and consistently, regardless of sex, race, religion or social stratum, and unpopular laws are stricken down.

    Of course we've never seen a society that is perfect in these regards, but if we did, at that point yes, I'd expect crime to all but disappear. I'd expect to see the remaining crime to occur only due to rare individuals with mental disorder that cause antisocial behavior. And even they shouldn't be sent into a prison system like the current one in the states, but rather should be contained without mistreatment, and then they might even be treatable for their illness.

    Many societies are far closer to it than the US is. Some societies have implemented policy that has very clearly shown reduction in crime: Portugal's rate of drug addiction has plummeted since they decriminalized possession and now regard addiction as sickness (and have established clinics to support them toward recovery). Germany's abortion rate is the lowest in the world, and they have full access to abortion. They also have massive social welfare programs to support women with kids and full (free) access to contraceptives.

    Why don't we do what they're doing? That we don't (largely due to mass corruption) is a failure of government, id est, a failure of state.

    I've found the writings of Rick Falkvinge (Wiki) to be helpful. A simple web search should be sufficient to find some of them.

  • Jul 18th, 2018 @ 1:13pm

    So we have a vector for a LOT of meddling.

    Can they trace if it's ever been used to tamper with an election?

    Can they fix the machines so they're not remotely accessible?

    Because if the answer is no this is going to crush confidence further regarding elections in the US.

  • Jul 18th, 2018 @ 1:33am

    "lack of an erection"

    That's your argument? To imply that I'm impotent?

    Oh wait, you're the Democrats are deranged virtue-signaler.

    Consider lurking more, until you have something actually relevant to say.

  • Jul 18th, 2018 @ 12:18am

    Always preview when ranting.

    Of course, if we admitted that people break laws typically out of ignorance (three felonies a day, worth) or because laws prohibit common behavior (speeding, sharing), or out of desperation, because we make it easy for folks in the ghettos to become felons, and then hard for felons to earn a living...

    ...then we'd have to admit that the whole justice system is based on the false pretense that crime is a choice.

    Crime is a failure of state more often than it is a failure of the citizen. But we'd rather just lock warm bodies in a massive-yet-impacted prison system and pretend that's helping.

  • Jul 18th, 2018 @ 12:12am

    "Good People" "Bad People"

    And that's where you lose me. Who decides who is a good person or a bad person?

    The police decided Tamir Rice was a bad person before they stopped and talked to him. Philando Castile had proven to law enforcement he was not a bad person fifty-two times before they shot him on the fifty-third.

    How many good deeds does it take to make up for dead kids and dead teachers.

    And this is before we get to our ambitious district attorneys, whose determination of good person and bad person is based largely on their own political ambitions. Our criminal system has a nearly 100% indictment rate and a 90% conviction rate, not because our DAs are that good, but because our public defenders are grossly underpaid and overworked, and because it's easy to convince a jury of twelve that some shlub is a menace.

    And DAs have prosecutorial discretion which means they get to choose what cases to pursue. Incidentally, 90% of them are white and male, which probably is only coincidental to our disproportionate non-white prison populations.

    Of course, if we admitted that people break laws typically out of ignorance (three felonies a day, worth) or because laws prohibit common behavior (speeding, sharing), or out of desperation, because we make it easy for folks in the ghetto to become felons, and then hard for felons to earn a living.

    So to Hell with your good people / bad people bullshit. When police stop indiscriminately murdering people, when they stop using false drug tests and false detection dogs to attain arrests, when they stop SWAT-raiding houses indiscriminately, then they can enjoy spit-free coffee in public then.

    Until then, our law enforcement agent-of-state are nothing short of the enforcers of a provisionary occupational government who has extensive privileges over the rest of us, and abuse them daily with impunity. They are like Nazis in Paris and deserve the same spite and malice as they do.

    Especially now that they have work camps and are detaining people without due process. Anyone with integrity or dignity remaining should resign today, because it's really gotten that bad.

  • Jul 17th, 2018 @ 7:17pm

    If someone else feels uncomfortable...

    Eventually n0tbyingit either you or friend of yours will have a run in with the law and find themselves on the receiving end of a blue beatdown, or just doing time for what should have been a minor incident. And then you'll get it.

    More and more people fall into that category every day. The police are operating outside law or even protocol, and decades of administrations have been accepting it. This one wants the brutality ratcheted up to eleven.

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