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  1.  (11025.481)
    Okay, more shameless blogspam from me but I just had something hit home in a concrete way.

    In our government and legislation there are still tons of people who think “computers” is a nerdy fringe hobby and that the net is somehow separate from “the real world” – and they don’t even realize they are the weirdos now.


    If You Think “Computers” Is a Hobby, I May Have Bad News For You
    •  
      CommentAuthorsneak046
    • CommentTimeAug 2nd 2013
     (11025.482)
    @Scrymgeour, @Foamhead - On that very point have either of you read Charles Stross' recent post where he states that what we are seeing is a pre-emptive counter-revolution by Western powers desperate to shore up their power base? Excuse the uber-long quote but Ithink it's worthwhile:

    The racism is utterly, dismally, predictable when times are bad—frightened, stressed people with no economic security look around for someone to blame, and they can be very easily manipulated into blaming others. It's important also to remember that the 1930s were populated by people coming to terms with rapid technological change-induced future shock, and looking for certainty in the face of the future. Today, we have similar levels of future shock, largely social in nature: thanks to the internet we can't ignore other people whose views we find repugnant.

    But racism isn't the key issue here. The real question we should be asking is not "what" but "why".

    I have a new speculative hypothesis to stand alongside the Martian invasion and the bad dream. It is this: the over-arching reason for the clamp-down on dissent, migration, and freedom of expression, and the concurrent emphasis on security in the developed world, constitutes the visible expression of a pre-emptive counter-revolution.

    The fuse for a revolution was lit by the global financial crisis of 2007/08, in a process that looked alarmingly close to triggering the Crisis of Capitalism (a hypothesized event which is associated with an ideology to which the current political elite of the USA and EU are for the most part highly allergic, for anyone aged over 50 spent their formative years under the bipolar tension of the Cold War). It sputtered briefly in the west in the form of the Occupy and related movements, but truly caught fire in 2009 with the failed Green revolution and in 2010-11 with the Arab spring—which were inflamed by the spike in global food prices caused by capital fleeing into commodities in the wake of the banking crisis. Meanwhile, the imposition of disaster capitalism in the west (as a purported "solution" to the debt-based spending bubbles various western governments embarked on during the boom years of the 1990s-2007) inflamed popular tensions in those countries, with results like this (undirected rioting) that never adhered to any political direction, but nevertheless terrified the ruling elite, leading to their retaliation via draconian punishments.
    •  
      CommentAuthorsneak046
    • CommentTimeAug 2nd 2013
     (11025.483)
    @Vornaskotti

    I really (REALLY) disagree with digital dualism but it's easy to see how/why people tend to fetishize the 'real' over the 'virtual' (though I wish that term could be banished as it is completely irrelevant to the world today - just because something is digital, or only exists online does not make it non-real).

    I dunno if you've read around the subject much but Nathan Jurgenson did quite a lot of ontological digging about the subject at Cyborgology
    • CommentAuthorWood
    • CommentTimeAug 3rd 2013
     (11025.484)
    Here is a side of the UK web-censorship I hadn't really considered and who makes it all the more scary :

    UK Sliding into Something Worse than Censorship

    The other central issue is how easy it would be to extend the categories at any time - to include "undesirable political" sites, for example. That's really the key danger of censorship: once it's in place, it can be extended very easily.

    To which people would doubtless answer - indeed have already answered - well, just opt in to the material you want: what's the problem? Well, the problem was pointed out succinctly by Mikko Hypponen on Twitter. His tweet shows a mock-up of an option box for accessing extremist and terrorist related content, with the minor addition at the end:

    (Your choice might be used against you in a court of law)

    That encapsulates brilliantly the real problem with opt-in: it requires you to make a non-secret declaration that you want to access a certain class of material, some of which might be socially unacceptable, to say the least. The first time this fact is used in court - divorce cases seem an area where it could be relevant - most people will naturally start to leave certain "dodgy" categories of sites blocked in case it reflects badly on them.
    •  
      CommentAuthorOsmosis
    • CommentTimeAug 5th 2013
     (11025.485)
    Wood, that's a very good article.
    • CommentAuthorKradlum
    • CommentTimeAug 5th 2013
     (11025.486)
    Which side of the line would Avatar comics fall? I expect there are plenty of people who would want to ban C:WYWH.
    •  
      CommentAuthorFoamhead
    • CommentTimeAug 5th 2013
     (11025.487)
    Paulo Henrique Machado has lived almost his entire life in hospital. As a baby he suffered infantile paralysis brought on by polio, and he is still hooked up to an artificial respirator 24 hours a day.

    But despite this, he has trained as a computer animator and is now creating a television series about his life.
  2.  (11025.488)
    I actually interviewed Glen Moody last year when he was in Iceland for a piece I was doing about Iceland's music royalties collection society, STEF. He was a really sharp cookie and knows his stuff. More people should be reading his stuff.
    •  
      CommentAuthorFoamhead
    • CommentTimeAug 5th 2013 edited
     (11025.489)
    Forget identity theft, corporate espionage, nuclear power plants, hacking weapons systems, etc. This is where the coming cyberwar will be won or lost.

    A luxury toilet ($5,686/£3,821) controlled by a smartphone app is vulnerable to attack
  3.  (11025.490)
    I don't know where else to say this but I had to share it with someone who would understand...

    Apparently same-sex sexual relationships in prison are now called a "faux-mance".

    That is all.
    •  
      CommentAuthorFoamhead
    • CommentTimeAug 6th 2013
     (11025.491)
    Liberty targets Home Office 'Go home' vans campaign
    Vans with the slogan "Stirring up tension and division in the UK illegally? Home Office, think again" have been driven around London by civil rights campaign group Liberty.
    The organisation is using the vans in opposition to the government's "go home" immigration campaign vans.
    •  
      CommentAuthoroldhat
    • CommentTimeAug 6th 2013
     (11025.492)
    Vorn, could you maybe form a comment on here and then link to your blog instead of just linking to the post as a response? I recall even Ariana warning you about that.
    •  
      CommentAuthordorkmuffin
    • CommentTimeAug 6th 2013
     (11025.493)
    THE FATTEST FATBERG EVER RECOVERED FROM THE LONDON SEWERS.

    "A fatberg," says Simon Evans, media relations manager at Thames Water, "is a vile, festering, steaming collection of fat and wet wipes." Fatberg creation is a vicious cycle, according to Evans, who coined the term. "Fat clings to wipes, wipes cling to the fat," he explains. "They are the catalysts in this horrible fatberg game."
    •  
      CommentAuthorVornaskotti
    • CommentTimeAug 6th 2013 edited
     (11025.494)
    @oldhat:

    Oh, of course - I don't recall that warning, which of course doesn't mean it didn't happen - but I'll do that in the future and sorry about disregarding previous instruction o7
    •  
      CommentAuthoroldhat
    • CommentTimeAug 7th 2013
     (11025.495)
    It was a while ago, to be fair. Not against you linking to your blog, but also want to encourage a discussion on the forum, you know? Just find a balance and it'll be all good.

    So it looks like that poor kid who got kidnapped and tortured in Russia for being gay has died of his injuries.
    •  
      CommentAuthorStoto
    • CommentTimeAug 7th 2013
     (11025.496)
    That story is fucking grim.
  4.  (11025.497)
    @oldhat:

    Gotcha, definitely a rationale I can and will back :)
  5.  (11025.498)
    Wanted mafia boss Domenico Rancadore arrested in London

    The Italian Interior Ministry said he had run a travel agency in London and had led a comfortable life.
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeAug 8th 2013
     (11025.499)
    Did he offer them (travel) deals they couldn't refuse?
    •  
      CommentAuthorFoamhead
    • CommentTimeAug 8th 2013
     (11025.500)
    Another long one from The New Yorker, sorry, but definitely worth sticking with.

    Taken: Under civil forfeiture, Americans who haven’t been charged with wrongdoing can be stripped of their cash, cars, and even homes.
    On a bright Thursday afternoon in 2007, Jennifer Boatright, a waitress at a Houston bar-and-grill, drove with her two young sons and her boyfriend, Ron Henderson, on U.S. 59 toward Linden, Henderson’s home town, near the Texas-Louisiana border.
    Just after dusk, they passed a sign that read “Welcome to Tenaha: A little town with BIG Potential!”
    Near the city limits, a tall, bull-shouldered officer named Barry Washington pulled them over. Were there any drugs in the car? When Henderson and Boatright said no, the officer asked if he and his partner could search the car. The officers found the couple’s cash and a marbled-glass pipe that Boatright said was a gift for her sister-in-law, and escorted them across town to the police station.
    The county’s district attorney, Lynda K. Russell, arrived an hour later. Russell told Henderson and Boatright that they had two options. They could face felony charges for “money laundering” and “child endangerment,” in which case they would go to jail and their children would be handed over to foster care. Or they could sign over their cash to the city of Tenaha, and get back on the road. “No criminal charges shall be filed,” a waiver she drafted read, “and our children shall not be turned over to Child Protective Services.
    “Where are we?” Boatright remembers thinking. “Is this some kind of foreign country, where they’re selling people’s kids off?” Holding her sixteen-month-old on her hip, she broke down in tears.