[Note: This item comes from friend Steve Goldstein. DLH] (via Dave Farber) Timothy B. Lee, Vox, 18 Aug 2015 <http://www.vox.com/2015/8/18/9168977/bitcoin-constitutional-crisis> The Bitcoin community is facing one of the most momentous decisions in its six-year history. The Bitcoin network is running out of spare capacity, and two increasingly divided camps disagree about what, if anything, to do about the problem. If these two sides fail to reach a consensus, the Bitcoin network could -- according to one side, at least—slowly grind to a halt as the number of transactions exceeds the network's capacity to process them. Even worse, if a fix for this problem is forced through prematurely, it could split the Bitcoin network in two and permanently damage public trust in the network. The argument is the closest thing the Bitcoin community has had to a constitutional crisis. Bitcoiners are trying to figure out who, if anyone, has the authority to make technical changes to the Bitcoin network's foundations. So far, neither side in the increasingly heated debate has shown much willingness to compromise. The Bitcoin network is running out of capacity The Bitcoin network processes transactions in units called "blocks," which are created about every 10 minutes. To prevent malicious parties from clogging up the system with spam, the original Bitcoin software limited the size of each block to one megabyte, which corresponds to a few thousand transactions. When Bitcoin was created in 2009, that left plenty of room for growth. But Bitcoin usage has been growing, bringing the network closer and closer to its maximum capacity. Right now, the network is only 30 to 40 percent full on average, but it sometimes gets congested during periods of high demand, causing delays for users. And if current growth continues, things could get a lot worse in the next year or two, as the network gets closer to 100 percent capacity. And if Bitcoin is going to become a mainstream payment platform, it's going to have to grow a lot more. Bitcoin handles tens of thousands of transactions per day. Visa handles tens of millions. To compete with Visa and other mainstream payment technologies, the network is going to need more capacity. Changing the limit is easy—if everyone agrees The limit is just a number in the Bitcoin software. If that number were changed to a higher value, the Bitcoin network would have more capacity. The difficulty is that this only works if everyone agrees to raise the limit. The Bitcoin network is built on consensus. If some parts of the Bitcoin network raise the limit and others don't, the network would be split in two. Having two competing versions of the Bitcoin network running simultaneously would be catastrophic. It would destroy trust in the Bitcoin network, since users could never be sure which transactions were official. And it would likely cause the value of bitcoins—the unit of currency -- to plunge, as people questioned whether the network had a future at all. [...]
District attorneys in Los Angeles and San Francisco say drivers for the ride-hailing service have included some convicted of murder or sex offenses. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/20/technology/uber-missed-criminal-records-of-drivers-prosecutors-assert.html
Long Island suffered a quite spectacular electrical storm in the early hours of 4 Aug 2015. It came, evidently, with strong gusts of wind downing trees left, right, and center. Sometime during that storm one of my wireless routers reset itself. Where I used to have an encrypted access point, I suddenly had an unencrypted one with admin/admin setup. On the inside of my firewall, no less. This was somewhat mitigated by the power company which cut power in order to start clearing out the mess. And also somewhat by the cable company whose nearby cables were ripped out of the ground by a large tree's roots. Why would anyone make a router fall back to fully open wireless?
Full disclosure: I'm a Wikipedia editor, and also a friendly acquaintance of Abigail Brady, one of the authors of the Cracked article. There's no doubt that Wikipedia is a bit of a sausage factory. A lot of the time, you don't want to know what goes on under the surface; and in particular the Chelsea Manning debacle was the process at its worse. I'm quite surprised Abi did not mention the little detail at the end of this piece: http://www.philipsandifer.com/2013/10/wikipedia-goes-all-in-on-transphobia.html Which is also why this item is pseudonymous - if I tell you that someone who quite openly works for Chelsea Manning's jailers does so and so might have a bit of a conflict of interest, that'll get me permabanned. However, I'm quite amused that we've been told both that: "it's an anonymous gang bang where the opinions of idiots are valued, and authority and experience are ignored." and "anybody can declare themselves to be an anonymous expert about anything" The way it's actually meant to work (which, of course, it doesn't always) is that Wikipedia doesn't believe you're an expert just because you say you are. If you are a published expert, you can point to useful cites from your own work - but avoid citing yourself directly, because Wikipedia also doesn't believe you are right about the great controversy in your field just because you say you are. The reality is that most editors spend most of their time on damage control, and there's not enough of that to go around. (As regards Ken Knowlton's link to: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ken_Knowlton&diffa6405285&oldida3415154 that should have been edited out whether or not he was alive; it could be expunged from history as well, but if the subject thinks it's amusing there seems little point). There's a fundamental difficulty with the "like Wikipedia, but peer-reviewed and better" model - otherwise an attractive one; it's been tried (http://en.citizendium.org/ is one) and no-one used it. The risks (to get back to the topic)? The road to hell is paved with good intentions; everyone in this mess meant well, and look where it got us, in a trap where the project is driving away the very editors who could stop things getting worse.
http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/08/wikipedia-editors-for-pay/393926/ Can the site's dwindling ranks of volunteer editors protect its articles from the influence of money? The beginning of the end for Wikipedia. And it's about time, as its quality has continued sinking into the muck.
http://arstechnica.com/science/2015/08/socially-controversial-science-topics-on-wikipedia-draw-edit-wars/ The accuracy of what you see depends on whether people are happy about a topic ... Likens might be expected to be satisfied with seeing his findings become widely accepted and eventually serve as the basis for national policy. But any satisfaction he felt almost certainly took a hit because he made a terrible mistake: he tried to make sure the Wikipedia entry on acid rain was accurate. In a new paper, Likens says "we noticed that some corrections we or others made on the acid rain article had been changed by major edits to introduce (or re-introduce) balderdash and factual errors into the content."
Why the "Right To Be Forgotten" is the Worst Kind of Censorship Lauren's Blog http://lauren.vortex.com/archive/001119.html [This item in its entirety epitomizes several of Lauren's previous messages on this subject. His full text is worth reading. I have abridged this item for RISKS, perhaps to induce you to peruse the extensive scope of his blog items. Here are the final paragraphs. PGN] [...] There is no practical way to proverbially "dip your toe" into RTBF censorship, without ending up quickly and totally submerged and drowning. It's like being "a little bit" pregnant, or setting a match to a piece of flash paper. Making it crystal clear to our legislatures and political leaders that we will not accept these censorship regimes is absolutely crucial to our civil liberties—in fact, even to our knowledge going forward of what civil liberties actually are! This will be an enormously difficult battle, because censorship is very much the natural ally of governments and of politicians. But if we lose this battle, this war on our basic freedoms, it's very possible that someday—perhaps not in the very distant future at all -- even these very words you're reading right now may be impossible to ever find again.
http://arstechnica.com/security/2015/08/data-from-hack-of-ashley-madison-cheater-site-purportedly-dumped-online/ Gigabytes worth of data taken during last month's hack of the Ashley Madison dating website for cheaters has purportedly been published online--an act that, if true, could prove highly embarrassing for the men and women who have used the service over the years. A 10-gigabyte file purportedly containing e-mails, member profiles, credit-card transactions and other sensitive Ashley Madison information became available as a BitTorrent download in the past few hours. Ars hasn't had an opportunity to download the massive file to confirm its contents.
I vaguely remember a story from over a decade ago, where in a labor dispute, a city workers union was accused of hacking traffic lights to city's streets to grind almost to a halt due to the traffic jams created. I think it was in Washington state. More recent stories saying yes, this could happen: http://www.wired.com/2014/04/traffic-lights-hacking/ http://resources.infosecinstitute.com/hacking-traffic-light-systems/ A lot of risks, to a city, are in infrastructure not controlled by a city, such as public utilities. Some pipeline explosions have been due to mistakes in the control rooms of the pipeline companies. Can they be hacked to cause such an accident on purpose? Wasn't one of the great NE black outs partially caused, because an electric utility control room was pre-occupied with a virus attack, when they should have been doing their normal job? Take out electric power, phones, and that can do a lot of disruption. Some people have been trying to figure out how to do this, but not by hacking. April 4, 2013, unknown persons chopped fiber-optic cables and killed landlines, cell phones and Internet service for tens of thousands of people in Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties. Ten fiber-optic cables were cut at four locations. http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Sabotage-attacks-knock-out-phone-service-3245380.php April 16, 2013, sniper(s) took out 17 power transformers at a PG&E substation south of San Jose, nearly causing a blackout throughout Silicon Valley. 100 fingerprint-free shell casings were found at the scene, after 52 minutes of shooting. It took 27 days to repair all the damage. https://publicintelligence.net/njroic-electric-grid-threats/ http://sfist.com/2014/02/05/pge_metcalf_station_terrorist_attac.php http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2014/02/05/federal-energy-commission-says-attack-on-sj-pge-substation-was-terrorism/ http://www.nationalterroralert.com/2014/02/05/threat-to-the-grid-details-emerge-of-sniper-attack-on-power-station/
My understanding is that in US traffic light systems, there is a low-level hardware controller that prevents lights from going green in both directions, no matter what the software orders. If the Nieuwegein light rail system had similar hardware, either the tram's green light or the bicycle's would be prohibited. (The hardware will also shut the signal down and go into a fail-safe mode, such as blinking red in all directions, if the software commands are sufficiently wrong.)
And then there are the opposite aspects: if the government cannot now restrict any speech on purely content-related bases, how can governmental bodies now require you to speak in a particular content related way? Such as baking wedding cakes for gay weddings?
John Levine writes: > Setting up a Google email group that allows only the group owner to post > takes about two minutes. Why is that "not a real alternative"? Does it really take only two minutes for a 200-person group? In any case, two minutes is a lot of time to have to spend if you're only going to BCC a bunch of people once or twice. I find myself in that situation quite often. Geoff Kuenning email@example.com http://www.cs.hmc.edu/~geoff/
I had reason to use this last year. I was horrified at how easy it was.
> "Intel's new processors let you wake your computer with your voice" Don't be silly, this "feature" is nothing more than an additional facility available in hardware to partially wake the processor from deep sleep, do some processing and go back to sleep, quickly and efficiently. If someone chooses to use it for continuous voice monitoring, then that is a feature of the relevant software (eg Windows 10). It could also be used to monitor heart activity of a sick person continuously in the background - why not write a headline for that?
Am I the only one reminded of the "format c colon return" joke from last century?
Please report problems with the web pages to the maintainer