Archives for Rants and Rambling

Apple’s iMessage encryption trips up feds’ surveillance | Politics and Law – CNET News

Categories: Crypto, IM, iPhone, Politics and Local Topics, and Rants and Rambling.

The DEA has figured out that getting a wiretap order for an iPhone, executed at the phone company, doesn’t get them iMessage content. It’s pretty obvious the various TLAs engaged in law enforcement will use this as a concrete example to push the “Going Dark” initiative to get CALEA reinterpreted (or legislated) to cover various internet based communication services. And designing a service to use end-to-end protection will be right out.

iMessage is a special case here, since it inserts itself into the normal text message user interface. It’s the phone’s preferred way to send messages, and from the user’s (and law enforcement’s) perspective, it’s a native feature of the phone rather than an app.

I’m worried this will bring up yet another concern–even if they get what they want with CALEA, they are going to discover that they have execute multiple, maybe even many, wire tap orders to track a single subject. How long until we require each ISP to be able to MiTM attach every TLS connection? Or another clipper chip initiative?

Apple’s iMessage encryption trips up feds’ surveillance | Politics and Law – CNET News

(Via MacRumors.)

Political Fallout

Categories: Dear God, Make It Stop!, Politics and Local Topics, Rants and Rambling, and Tech.

It’s started. We knew it would.

Japan current nuclear plant problem is real. I don’t want to take anything away from that.

But the anti-nuclear rhetoric is already starting. This big scary nuke plants must be a danger to us all. And I freely admit, there are dangers involved. The only rational response I can think of, is a quote from Wikipedia:

Comparing the historical safety record of civilian nuclear energy with other forms of electrical generation, Ball, Roberts, and Simpson, the IAEA, and the Paul Scherrer Institute found in separate studies that during the period from 1970 to 1992, there were just 39 on-the-job deaths of nuclear power plant workers worldwide, while during the same time period, there were 6,400 on-the-job deaths of coal power plant workers, 1,200 on-the-job deaths of natural gas power plant workers and members of the general public caused by natural gas power plants, and 4,000 deaths of members of the general public caused by hydroelectric power plants.In particular, coal power plants are estimated to kill 24,000 Americans per year, due to lung disease as well as causing 40,000 heart attacks per year in the United States. According to Scientific American, the average coal power plant emits more than 100 times as much radiation per year than a comparatively sized nuclear power plant in the form of toxic coal waste known as fly ash.

Now, don’t think for a minute that I believe nuclear plants are a good idea. No centralized, high-capital approach to energy is a good idea. But since we seem to be limited to centralized, high-capital approaches, nuclear power is about the best option we’ve got.

Here’s to hoping Japan can solve this problem with the least possible damage to life and property. And to hoping we can learn the lessons needed to make this sort of thing safer in the future. But any discussion about the risks of nuclear power must consider the relative risks of just about every other energy source we currently have.

Texas May have Banned Marriage

Categories: Dear God, Make It Stop!, Politics and Local Topics, Rants and Rambling, Silly Stuff, and United States of America.

Texas passed an amendment in 2005 with the intent of banning gay-marriage. But they may have banned more than they intended.

The amendment contains the text:

This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.

Logically, it seems like “marriage” is a member of the set of legal statuses “identical or similar to marriage”. Of course, there’s no telling how a judge would interpret the idea of something being “identical or similar” to itself.

Hit & Run > The Whole Foods Plan for Health Care Reform – Reason Magazine

Categories: Health, Politics and Local Topics, Rants and Rambling, and United States of America.

Reason’s Matt Welch points out what I consider the single biggest bang-for-the-buck health-care reform opportunity in his blog on Whole Foods CEO John Makey’s proposal:

“As someone who h-a-t-e-s the health care system, I’ve never understood why de-linking insurance from employment isn’t a central part of every serious crack at reform, given that a preponderance of analysts on all sides of the debate agree that the post-war linkage of health benefits to the workplace is one of the system’s Original Sins.”

Hit & Run > The Whole Foods Plan for Health Care Reform – Reason Magazine

Database Schema Abuse

Categories: General and Rants and Rambling.

I recently received shipping notice for an in-warranty replacement of a UPS for my house. Check out the tracking number:

Order summary:

Line Quantity Product Description Carrier Tracking # Shipped Date
4 1 BR1300LCD APC BACK-UPS RS 1300VA LCD 120V FedEx 7.69766E+14 5/7/2008

Yes, Freud, sometimes digits really are just digits.

Un Elefante

Categories: Languages, neither-camelids-nor-goats, and Rants and Rambling.

In anticipation of an upcoming trip to Costa Rica, I dusted off my online membership for RosettaStone Spanish I. As usual when this happens, I have to start over at the beginning. This time I noticed something that I had not noticed before.

One of the very basic noun constructs is “Un Elefante“. So, how often have you run across un elefante in a Spanish speaking country?

Stepping our way to the panopticon…

Categories: Politics and Local Topics, Rants and Rambling, and United States of America.

OK, I admit that I can no longer count the times I’ve been waiting for a green light, see the opposing traffic slow and stop, have my light turn green and then see a car whizz past me through the light that just turned red. It’s stupid and dangerous (not to mention definitely a moving violation).

Some cities have begun using automated Red Light Cameras. Some of them have notable misconfigurations enhancing the ideas that it is merely all about revenue rather than safety. There are other devices besides only red-light monitors, and I just have to wonder if there are better ways.

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