conuly: (Default)
Ex-NSA chief calls for Obama to reject recommendations

Would NSA surveillance have stopped 9/11 plot?

NSA targets foreigners, catches Americans: Column

Your USB cable, the spy: Inside the NSA’s catalog of surveillance magic
Latest batch of documents from Snowden shows NSA's power to pwn.

Feds admit start of NSA surveillance, still say it’s too secretive for court

Obama says Snowden’s actions have “done unnecessary damage”
President will spend winter holiday in Hawaii reflecting on surveillance policy.

The NSA's TAO hacking unit is considered to be the intelligence agency's top secret weapon. It maintains its own covert network, infiltrates computers around the world and even intercepts shipping deliveries to plant back doors in electronics ordered by those it is targeting.

NSA Uses Windows Error Messages To Spy On People

The NSA's elite hackers can hijack your Wi-Fi from 8 miles away

Report: NSA Intercepting Laptops Ordered Online, Installing Spyware

Also, it's got a creepy/snazzy octopus... logo... badge... thing?

U.S. Spy Rocket Has Octopus-Themed 'Nothing Is Beyond Our Reach' Logo. Seriously.

See? I couldn't make that up!

The U.S. National Security Agency has the ability to snoop on nearly every communication sent from an Apple iPhone, according to leaked documents shared by security researcher Jacob Appelbaum and German news magazine Der Spiegel.

Appelbaum: ‘Scary’ NSA will spy on you – every which way they can

U.S. to China: We Hacked Your Internet Gear We Told You Not to Hack

Good or not, change is coming to the NSA

Microsoft responds to report NSA snooped in Windows
conuly: (Default)
Police Take On Family Violence to Avert Deaths

The comments are pretty overwhelmingly positive about this.

Read more... )

Several comments mentioned the following article in The New Yorker as well.

Read more... )

U.S. Prison Populations Decline, Reflecting New Approach to Crime

Read more... )
conuly: (Default)
On Decimated Shore, a Second Life for Christmas Trees

Read more... )

Focus on Mental Health Laws to Curb Violence Is Unfair, Some Say

Read more... )

Mutations Found in Melanomas May Shed Light on How Cancers Grow

Read more... )

Prison Population Can Shrink When Police Crowd Streets

Read more... )
conuly: (Default)
One on suits by prisoners to obtain dental floss. I sympathize, but since I know that dental floss has been used in multiple - that's more than one! - prison escapes, I can kinda see the point of the prisons as well.

One on teenager's and sleep needs. Nothing new here, but the commenters make it sound like we haven't known this for 20+ years already!

And here's one on this kid who is on a mission to get a picture of himself posing with one of every animal on the earth.

Also, a freebie I got from a couple of people on whether or not monkey bars are dangerous. Read this with it.
conuly: (Default)
This is, of course, nothing but a(nother) purely isolated incident. I'm sure there is absolutely no cause for alarm.

And there definitely is never any danger with publishing the names of those who perform or have abortions. Those laws are all in everybody's best interest! Nobody's going to get hurt or anything.
conuly: (can't)
6 Things Rich People Need to Stop Saying

A set of artwork formed with mold and bacteria. Fascinating, especially the Mario.

Here's an article about curfew in... San Diego, I guess? Some of the comments are pretty pointless. "Oh, do you WANT your kid out after 10 without knowing where they are?" Obviously the only reasonable response to that is "Yes", because how can you argue with people so determined to use that line of attack?

And a fairly long article on lead in America which I'm far too tired to read right now. I can't even type, I keep putting in the wrong words. So read it and tell me if it's any good : ) I'll be sure to actually read it tomorrow.
conuly: (Default)
We've been having spotty internet lately, and have finally tracked down the problem: My router, which was cheap when I bought it, is eight years obsolete. I need to get a new one. Well, they can't possibly have gone up in price, so it won't break the bank, I don't think.

Gave away a kitten today. Apparently, this was Evangeline's favorite kitten. Tough for her. I didn't say it to her face, but I'm sure he'll be happier in a home with three doting grown-up people who are at home all day than in a home where his needier siblings hog most of the attention and the only one who dotes is six years old and still thinks he likes being hugged. (No, I don't let her squeeze kittens around the middle, even though she wants to.)

Anyway, on to those links!

Israelis Facing a Seismic Rift Over Role of Women
There are pictures

Read more... )

New Definition of Autism May Exclude Many, Study Suggests

Read more... )

Here's an article about segregated housing for vegetarians only in Bombay

And one on Bastøy, a very free prison in Norway

State notes alarming spike in starvation of adopted children. They list the signs of potential starvation in a child, but of course it's worth noting that with adopted children, many of these psychological signs (like hoarding food or bolting it down quickly) could be a sign that they went hungry BEFORE being adopted.

Report: Medical Marijuana Laws Reduced Traffic Fatalities

Texas doctors lead open-notes movement

And finally, BSG (remake) as an 8-bit RPG!


Aug. 18th, 2011 02:19 am
conuly: (can't)
No Cause for Marijuana Case, but Enough for Child Neglect

The comments are all going "Oh, well, it's illegal, of course, so what did they expect???" but that seems to be to be absurd. Lots of things are illegal, and many of them really are dangerous and harmful to others, but we don't expect for people to lose their children just because they ran a red light or cheated on their taxes! And while I'm not about to claim that the marijuana laws are so unjust that nobody in good conscience could uphold them, neither do I think they have as much merit as, say, laws against shoplifting. Or, I don't know, laws against child abuse, you know, that thing you normally have to do to your kids to get them removed from you?

“Drug use itself is not child abuse or neglect, but it can put children in danger of neglect or abuse,” Mr. Fagan said. “We think the argument that use of cocaine, heroin or marijuana by a parent of young children should not be looked into or should simply be ignored is just plain wrong.”

Well, poverty or drinking can put a child in danger of neglect or abuse, but we don't go around arresting people or taking away their children* just because they happen to be poor or drunk!

*At least, we're not supposed to. Wasn't there a case about taking away children of homeless families where the Supreme Court decided in favor of the families? Because it was stupid?

Read more... )

But here, read this comment, which is marked out specially in the comments:

I have 15+ years of experience in working the NYS child welfare system.

Firstly "Simply admitting past use to a caseworker is grounds for a neglect case." is contradictory to the foundations of child welfare law in NY which require that whatever the condition or concern there must be a demonstrated effect on a child, that effect being harm or a substantial risk of harm to warrant any intervention.

Admitting past use of any drug, in and of itself, is insufficient to meet this standard. The Administration for Children's Services (ACS) seemingly far exceeded the limits of the law in removing the son in this case (based on the reported facts). The standard for removal in NYS is evidence of imminent danger to a child. This standard is not met by the mere presence of marijuana in the home. If the parent in question in the article was truly a licensed foster parent, caring for her niece, then the standards for her in that role are understandably significantly higher. I would not be surprised if ACS' action in this case was in part motivated by anger at this parent's failure to to meet the higher standards required of a licensed foster parent. If this is the case, punishing this parent by removing both of these children from her care indisputably caused more harm to the children than was posed by the presence of a drug in this home.

For comparison, consider the danger posed by the cleaners under most people's sink, or perhaps the legally prescribed drugs in many people's medicine cabinets. Is the presence of these substances in a home mutually exclusive with the safety of children in that same home? This type of assessment is what child welfare workers are taught in the first weeks of their employment. It is not complicated.
conuly: Good Omens quote: "Kids! Bringing about Armageddon can be dangerous!" (armageddon)
Apparently, as a pushback against laws requiring patients diagnosed with a mental illness to give up their guns, some people are going to judges and getting their gun rights restored.

I would say I am of two minds about this, but that's not true. I'm of several minds about this, some of which happen to incidentally agree with each other. Hoo boy.

1. I am aware that mostly, mentally ill individuals are more likely to be the victims of violent crime than the perpetrators of violent crime.

2. However, I am always in favor of careful gun laws and thought on the subject. Whatever people say about "oh, I feel safe because of my guns!!!", I always think that if one loser on the train were to pull out a gun, the last thing we'd need is for two losers (or more!) on the train to pull out guns!

3. However again, allowing some rights to some people and not others should always be done with serious consideration. "Mentally ill" is such a broad term. Whom does it encompass?

4. But once we've gone ahead and done that, shouldn't we have a real system in place to restore these rights, rather than asking judges (who are no more educated about mental illness than the average person in the street) to make decisions for which they probably do not have all the information?

5. Of course, any preferable system might well be hijacked in the other direction.

So, in short - I don't know.

Read more... )
conuly: (equawity)
I'm moderately proud of my state, though upset that it didn't pass with more votes. Still, the passing's the thing, right? In another generation or two we'll wonder what all the fuss was about!

Naturally, the comments over at yahoo are a pain. "This isn't the time, there are more important things to worry about!" Well, it's never the right time to right a wrong, is it? If the "more important" squad had their way we'd still be living in the Dark Ages!


Feb. 24th, 2011 10:17 pm
conuly: A picture of the Castleton Castle. Quote: "Where are our dreams? Where are our castles?" (castle)
Tennessee Bill Wants to Make Shariah Law a Felony

I'm just going to quote Pat's Papers directly: Two Republican state legislators in Tennessee have introduced a bill that would make practicing Islamic Shariah law a felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. The bill categorizes any adherence to Shariah law—including prayers—as a “danger to homeland security” reports the Tennessean. Other states have attempted similar motions though most have focused on excluding Shariah law from US courtrooms. Critics call the bill “nonsense,” pointing out that “people of all faiths have to follow secular law.”

This is just silly. Aside from the snarking in the article ("Well, sharia law prohibits stealing, does this mean I should become a thief?") it's just absurd. "Well, of course, sharia law would have to apply to everybody and then they'd kill us all for not being Muslim! OMG!" Except... not so much. It's my understanding that things like sharia law (or, something more common in the US, Beth Din, the pluralization I'm not sure of) is optional. You have two parties who can't agree, and rather than take it to the secular courts they decide to take it to the appropriate religious courts instead. And why not? If you want your rabbi or your priest or your next door neighbor's cat to settle your dispute for you, who's to argue? So long as everybody agrees that this is the way to go, go you! It's just another form of alternative dispute resolution.

But - and correct me if I'm wrong here - in countries such as the US this is used for civil suits, not for criminal suits, mostly because you're not going to get the state to agree to try you in anything other than the state courts. So it pretty much as no effect on anybody outside the two parties who agreed to use this method.

Incidentally, speaking of Wikipedia, they say something interesting which I'm not going to try to back up at this time, instead trusting one of you to correct me if they're wrong:

One contribution Islamic law made to Western law, was the legal procedure. Until the Crusades, legal procedure in the West often consisted of "God's judgments" by boiling water (or another "ordeal") or by duel. By contrast, Islamic law decided on the basis of proof and allowed the defendants to express freely, a practice that had been established in the time of the second Caliph of Islam, Umar. Marcel Boisard argues that these procedures were transmitted to Europe via Louis IX, who instituted several reforms upon returning from the Crusades.[208]

If this is right, using the sarcasm employed earlier I can safely say... "Well, shariah law calls for a strict level of proof and for the defendants to, uh, defend themselves. You want to take that away?" Of course, that may very well be what some parties wish to do, but I'm a pessimist.
conuly: Good Omens quote: "Kids! Bringing about Armageddon can be dangerous!" (armageddon)
Another article on "sovereign citizens", this time featuring a cop who wanted to become one, and now wants to take it back.

Two TSA employees were busted for stealing from baggage. Repeatedly. You have to admire their keen reasoning in only robbing from drug dealers on the grounds that they can't exactly go to the cops, but I wonder if either of them stopped to consider that people who won't go to the cops are exactly the sort of people you do NOT want to piss off. I think they got off lucky, frankly.

And then there's this two-year-old question at Yahoo. A teenager wants to know if it's okay to run a lending library of books her private school has banned. That is just awesome. (I want to know if it's okay to start charging money every time Ana lends out one of the household books to a friend. I don't trust her grubby little classmates!)
conuly: Fuzzy picture of the Verrazano Bridge. Quote in Cursive Hebrew (bridge)
(Quite a lot of them have to do with the TSA situation, I'll try to group them together.)

Placards, kilts part of plans for scanner protests
Oversecured America
AP Exclusive: Color-coded terror alerts may end
Schneir on Security's recent update about it all
And an LJ link
An update from the ACLU saying the TSA isn't training its scanners
Why Cavity Bombs Would Make the TSA Irrelevant
TSA chief: Resisting scanners just means delays
For the First Time, the TSA Meets Resistance
TSA Chief: US Will Never Ease Screening Policy
You, apparently, can't just say "Screw it, I don't need to fly today"
Shirtless 8-Year-Old Boy Gets TSA Pat Down
A Pat's Papers article on flying dead bodies
And he happens to think the TSA blog is "actually sort of fun"

Whew! That's a lot!

Bizarre squidworm discovered

Behavior change causes changes in beliefs, not vice versa

On turkeys. Hey, could I raise my own heritage turkey for the holiday next year? You *can* keep poultry in the city if they aren't noisy. And we already have wild or feral turkeys in Staten Island, among other places.

On stuffing your turkey with White Castle burgers.

Coyotes have been released in Chicago to help keep down the rodent population. I suppose that's not very much different than encouraging peregrine* falcons in NYC.

*Peregrine means wandering, of course, and is related to the word pilgrim in the obvious way.

A fluffy little article on Yiddish.
And for that matter, you can check out a nifty language map to see where Yiddish is spoken in the US!

It's time to sign up for SantaThing. This also makes a good gift. However, I will get you nothing in return, so bear that in mind.

University Kicks Student With Down Syndrome Out Of Classroom; Other Students Protest And Are Ignored

On tattoos to improve/monitor your health

Our Disappearing Apples

On taxes

Some graphs on race and the death penalty

Obama, S. Korea leader agree to hold joint military exercise. If somebody manages to start the Korean war up again, I'll be very irked. I'm already irked, frankly, because I see the likelihood of this.

Allergic Teen Seeks High School Perfume Ban

Conservatives at odds with Vatican over condoms

Children Born 'Late Pre-Term' More Prone to Low IQ
Minnesota is using paperwork to deter induced labor

The use of braces for younger kids is increasing

And one from that's... just well-worth reading for the fun of it.

And FINALLY (I think) one on a school which banned... wait for it... wait for it...

conuly: (Default)
First, let me say that I'm told the previous article in diabetes IS, in fact, really bad. My apologies.

One on the avoidance of the term "rape" for children who clearly WERE raped.

On the trend of diagnosing children with bipolar disorder - worth reading

A 1960s parody of commercials

The Pope has more or less approved condom use by male prostitutes to prevent the spread of AIDS. This is one of those situations where, if you can get inside the logic that leads to "condoms for male hookers = yes, condoms for married couples = no" it makes internal sense. I guess.

On good airport security

Canada wants more immigrants.

Read more... )

For Catholics, Interest in Exorcism Is Revived

Read more... )

Cigarette Giants in Global Fight on Tighter Rules

Read more... )

Catholics in Belgium Start Parishes of Their Own

Read more... )

On Nov. 4, Anderson Cooper did the country a favor. He expertly deconstructed on his CNN show the bogus rumor that President Obama’s trip to Asia would cost $200 million a day. This was an important “story.” It underscored just how far ahead of his time Mark Twain was when he said a century before the Internet, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” But it also showed that there is an antidote to malicious journalism — and that’s good journalism....

Read more... )

For Saudi Women, Biggest Challenge Is Getting to Play

Read more... )

Small Cheesemaker Defies F.D.A. Over Recall

Read more... )

I.R.S. Sits on Data Pointing to Missing Children

Read more... )
conuly: Picture of Darth Vader, with word "darkside" (darkside)
Firstly, somebody just yesterday said they really like the articles I post. :) This is prompting me to make my own confession - I really like the articles I find here. In fact, I rarely crosspost any of them because then I'd have to crosspost all of them and then I might as well just link to the entry itself and too much of that is a little weird.

Here's an article on the criminalization of gay marriage. I don't understand what happened to the whole state's rights concept. Isn't one of the rights of the states to be able to deal with marriages?

Scary wage data - and it is scary!

Some judges chastise banks over foreclosures. All the bank people quoted in the article are going "boo-hoo-hoo, this is very bad, very bad indeed, it's not good for judges to do this!" but if the issue at hand is that they didn't bother to do paperwork or do it correctly - or even if they did it fraudulently, whom do they have to blame but themselves?

So, this is scary. Some Muslims heading to Mecca had their passports seized by Customs for... who knows? They missed their flight, because, you know, Muslims making their pilgrimage is something you totally can't predict will happen *every year* and it's *scary*. Or something.

I had no idea the citizenship laws were so... arcane.

On Jewish vampires
And just FYI, vampires don't eat Hindus :)

Automation Insurance: Robots Are Replacing Middle Class Jobs

How much can you make collecting cans and bottles?


Aug. 13th, 2010 11:50 am
conuly: (Default)
(Wow, it's like all I ever do anymore!)

So Pretzel Crisps has changed their icky ads to... MORE icky ads. This is a pity, because their pretzels actually taste pretty good.

Here's some information on actual shelf life (compared to use-by dates)

One on the media and 11 year old girls using the pill (most likely for medical reasons)

Another editorial on the NOT-A-MOSQUE that would NOT be at the WTC site. (Also, an interesting version of the twenty zillion words for snow myth.)

On using superheroes to teach philosophy

Apparently, orangutans will mime to communicate. Cool!

And here's aNOTHER editorial on the non-mosque. One of the comments goes "Why here, when there isn't a big Muslim population here?" Well, I don't know if many Muslims live in Lower Manhattan, but a lot of them work there. I have another article coming for a later post about two mosques in the area that have to regularly turn away worshippers due to lack of room. That kinda indicates to me that they need a new place to pray.

Apparently, you're legally required to have tons of bright lights and signage in Times Square. (Even the cops and the train station have neon lights.) I had no idea!

"What stimulus could mean if it included the formerly incarcerated"

On an article about prisons and voter representation. Fascinating and disturbing.

And finally, on the proposal to close schools in NYC for Muslim holidays. (Of course, IF we were to do this, we wouldn't have to cut school days. We could start the year earlier, or end it later. Or we could increase school HOURS somewhat to make up the lost instructional time. It needn't be in small increments, it could be one half-hour a week or something. There are so many options.)
conuly: (Default)
Apparently, there are quite a few men out there who are perfectly willing to admit to rape so long as you just don't use that word.

A later comment purports to gives the exact wording of the questions, but I don't know where he got them from:

Read more... )
conuly: Picture taken on the SI Ferry - "the soul of a journey is liberty" (boat)

The details appear to be: There's this cross in the park, erected to honor war dead. Religious services are held at this cross. The park officials have refused to let other religious groups put their own memorials at the site. In a deal that sounds shady even to type out, that little patch of land was sold on the condition that the memorial be kept up - if the memorial comes down, it's again part of the national park, so it's like this little patch of technically private land in the middle of a public park, like that makes all the difference.

The comments contain the normal amounts of fail. And once again, I will dredge through the comments to drag them up here and tell you all how annoyingly wrong they are. Truly, I deserve a medal.

Read more... )
conuly: (Default)
Prosperity gospel. Huh. I'm not a Christian, but I'm fairly damn certain that's not actually supported in any canonically accepted scripture. Accepted by anybody.

People want to throw away their money, that's their business, but it's wrong to scam them out of it any faster. Comments in bold are mine.

Read more... )
conuly: image of Elisa Mazda (Gargoyles) - "Watcher of the City" (watcher of the city)
One on adding two Muslim holidays to the school calendar.

I understand the reasoning that you can't reasonably add EVERY possible holiday to the calendar, but it occurs to me that they get off all of July and August, plus part of June and September. They don't *actually* have to be off until the Tuesday after Labor Day, they really can start school the Thursday before if necessary to fit these extra holidays in.

Read more... )

An article on laws requiring electronics companies to safely dispose of electronics

Read more... )

An article on how some societies have children who don't crawl. They're calling this research *new*, but as I've been referring people to these *very same studies* for years I wonder how new it can be.
conuly: (Default)

Read more... )

This editorial really hit a nerve. There's close to 300 comments, and several letters on it.
conuly: (Default)
Ten words:

Never Let The Cops Into Your House Without A Warrant.

In that vein, there's two videos here about talking to the cops: One Two

(Hint: After 50 minutes of talk, the advice can be boiled down to five words - Never Talk To The Cops)

So, next time there's a crime committed in your vicinity (or you commit a crime), save yourself a few thousand dollars in legal fees and just start not talking to the police from the start.
conuly: (Default)
I read an issue of Parents magazine.


Honestly, that magazine is blander than the pulp it's printed on. But I'd read all my books! They had an article on sex offenders (it seems to be the big topic lately) and, interestingly, it had a whole page devoted to saying the same thing I've been saying for ages now:

Very restrictive laws make children less safe.

So I'm going around today and yesterday saying "Hey, mainstream media agrees with me! Now... is this good or bad?" when I pop across this article on my Friends page.

Churches slam doors on sex offenders )

In *this* case, I think they're just courting the controversy by printing (kinda) the article, but it was interesting to read. It even has a few interesting letters in response.


Apr. 19th, 2007 08:57 pm
conuly: (Default)
Now, we all should know that, contrary to popular belief, state health departments don't ban going barefoot in businesses.

But recently, somebody told me that this sort of thing is regulated by the locality, and not the state. Interesting, interesting.

Well, it's official:

Dear Ms. Baker:

I am writing in response to your recent inquiry addressed to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) asking whether there are sanitary regulations requiring that food service establishment (FSE) patrons have on footwear.

Neither the New York City Health Code nor the New York State Sanitary Code contain any provisions which address the issue of clothing or footwear worn by patrons in New York City FSE’s.

Thank you and I hope this adequately addresses your inquiry.

(I assume that they do not have stricter rules for places which do not serve food.)

So the shoelessness is not, legally, a problem for the niecelings - at least, not so long as we stay in the state :)

That post got deleted a while back, I'm sad to say, but all the same - HAH! Ha-HAH!
conuly: (Default)
This article gets its own separate entry, because it's so cool. I'd like to see him hoisted on his own petard.


conuly: (Default)

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