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Sai (saizai) has been at 2 events

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Sai (saizai)8,724@117472075050913769851 & @103112149634414554669 designing vocabulary for UNLWS (s.ai/nlws), the non-linear written language. We're starting with Herodotus' story of the Egyptians' investigation of who had the most ancient language. Might do more if there's interest. For this one, you can participate w/ comments or q&a; future ones might include others on video or the like. If you're curious as to how we work on UNLWS together, this is it.UNLWS Vocab Creation Hangout #12014-12-06 21:27:563  
Sai (saizai)8,724Sai's ASL tutorial beta test, take 2 (Sun @ 4)2012-11-19 01:00:004  

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Top posts in the last 50 posts

Most comments: 43

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2017-01-29 10:58:43 (43 comments; 35 reshares; 48 +1s; )Open 

I've never seen a court order federal law enforcement to enforce an order on other federal law enforcement before, either. This is jaw dropping.

Anyone know of some precedent?

Most reshares: 35

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2017-01-29 10:58:43 (43 comments; 35 reshares; 48 +1s; )Open 

I've never seen a court order federal law enforcement to enforce an order on other federal law enforcement before, either. This is jaw dropping.

Anyone know of some precedent?

Most plusones: 48

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2017-01-29 10:58:43 (43 comments; 35 reshares; 48 +1s; )Open 

I've never seen a court order federal law enforcement to enforce an order on other federal law enforcement before, either. This is jaw dropping.

Anyone know of some precedent?

Latest 50 posts

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2017-02-19 13:52:28 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 4 +1s; )Open 

The Judicial Conference has proposed rules that would require lawyers to use electronic filing in federal courts, but prohibit people representing themselves from doing so without first getting court permission in any given case.

My formal comments explain why this has a wide range of harms that's completely unjustified by any of the concerns they raise, and suggest an alternative rule — give pro se litigants a rebuttable presumption letting them choose which method they want to use: drive.google.com/open?id=0BzmetJxi-p0VQVloa3l2c1IwZlE

All comments, proposed rules, etc are in the folders labeled 2016: drive.google.com/drive/folders/0BzmetJxi-p0VQ0lXWmJDdHBURUE

The Judicial Conference has proposed rules that would require lawyers to use electronic filing in federal courts, but prohibit people representing themselves from doing so without first getting court permission in any given case.

My formal comments explain why this has a wide range of harms that's completely unjustified by any of the concerns they raise, and suggest an alternative rule — give pro se litigants a rebuttable presumption letting them choose which method they want to use: drive.google.com/open?id=0BzmetJxi-p0VQVloa3l2c1IwZlE

All comments, proposed rules, etc are in the folders labeled 2016: drive.google.com/drive/folders/0BzmetJxi-p0VQ0lXWmJDdHBURUE___

2017-02-19 10:39:41 (3 comments; 1 reshares; 8 +1s; )Open 

Going dark; help needed to maintain MYL

1. I have to go dark for a while.

This means no public/group visible online posting at all, no comment on most political / legal issues, and a few other things. I don't know for how long; probably anywhere from a couple months to a year, starting around the end of this month. TBD.

For now, that's all I can say. I hope to have an update later this month with some more details. FWIW, it's due to a good thing for once; just one that comes with some significant tradeoffs, this chief among them.

I am of course still interested in social contact, talking about subjects unrelated to law and politics, and staying informed about current events. I would appreciate being included in social events, private chats, etc.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact me privately... more »

Going dark; help needed to maintain MYL

1. I have to go dark for a while.

This means no public/group visible online posting at all, no comment on most political / legal issues, and a few other things. I don't know for how long; probably anywhere from a couple months to a year, starting around the end of this month. TBD.

For now, that's all I can say. I hope to have an update later this month with some more details. FWIW, it's due to a good thing for once; just one that comes with some significant tradeoffs, this chief among them.

I am of course still interested in social contact, talking about subjects unrelated to law and politics, and staying informed about current events. I would appreciate being included in social events, private chats, etc.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact me privately (https://s.ai/contact), though please understand that I may not be able to respond to some things.


2. I need help to take over my ongoing responsibilities by end of month, at least for the period while I'm semi-offline.

The most important is +Make Your Laws, which will be dormant during this period. Although MYL isn't currently engaged in any political activity (let alone partisan activity), I should still separate myself as much as possible for the interim.

I need a couple reliable people to take over minimal maintenance.

If you could do any subset of these things, please contact me privately ASAP. Some of it requires being a US citizen; some does not — just let me know your status and what you could do.

* basic sysadmin (installing apt / ruby / gem security patches, restarting puma if it dies and monit fails to catch it, etc)
* basic secretarial / data entry (downloading bank statements, entering the transactions into a google spreadsheet, making sure it matches)
* filing quarterly/semiannual FEC financial reports
* filing annual reports to IRS and Delaware (~1 page each per the 3 MYL corps; DE requires payment form MYL accounts)
* ensuring they have the money to keep operating, keeping an eye on expenses, not letting accounts go overdrawn, etc; everything should be on autopay, but there might be gaps to handle manually
* dealing with random things may come up - e.g. talking to IRS about filing / status issues, to Wells Fargo about account issues (possibly in person at a branch)
** very unlikely but possible: FEC inquiries; press; action on our pending rulemaking about contribution laundering (which they've been sitting on for 2 years)


I can bootstrap new people through any of this, and help behind the scenes a little bit if there's something baffling. We have pro bono lawyers if that's needed, a simple task/reminder system, and Google Apps (mainly drive & mail).

A couple non-maintenance things that would be even more helpful:
* paperwork for a small backdated salary to me from the c3, which was previously approved and would eg let me qualify for Social Security disability; I can't touch it due to conflict of interest
* coding (mainly ruby/rails & OSS) on eg payment processing, checkout, sharing, OFX sync, automating FEC reports, etc

The coding is the crucial part to having MYL actually launch. That's what's been holding it back; the legal and planning side is pretty much totally prepped.


That's about it for now — I need to shift my social life to avoid any public presence, and ensure MYL is maintained.

If you can help, I'd very much appreciate it.

It's going to be a big change for me, and disrupt a lot of my life… but I wouldn't do this if it weren't worth it. Sorry for the necessary temporary secrecy.

Please stay in touch.___

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2017-01-29 11:45:06 (14 comments; 0 reshares; 5 +1s; )Open 

Some updates on the political situation. Everything is very preliminary right now, because it's (apparently deliberately) unclear.

Several Federal judges have issued stays against the "Muslim ban" order. However, there are confirmed reports from multiple sources that Customs & Border Patrol (CBP, part of the DHS) is willfully disregarding those stays, denying access to counsel, moving the people they're holding to undisclosed locations so that nobody can get habeas corpus, and deporting people. This is very certainly not a local commander's decision; it goes up to the Sec'y of HS at least, and directly to Trump at most.

But – and here's the kicker – it's incredibly unclear what the scope of this refusal is. There's no clear news coming out, and we're getting more useful reports from the Twitter feeds of top attorneys in the field(both... more »

Some updates on the political situation. Everything is very preliminary right now, because it's (apparently deliberately) unclear.

Several Federal judges have issued stays against the "Muslim ban" order. However, there are confirmed reports from multiple sources that Customs & Border Patrol (CBP, part of the DHS) is willfully disregarding those stays, denying access to counsel, moving the people they're holding to undisclosed locations so that nobody can get habeas corpus, and deporting people. This is very certainly not a local commander's decision; it goes up to the Sec'y of HS at least, and directly to Trump at most.

But – and here's the kicker – it's incredibly unclear what the scope of this refusal is. There's no clear news coming out, and we're getting more useful reports from the Twitter feeds of top attorneys in the field (both from groups like the ACLU, who have done heroic work tonight, and from attorneys at top firms, who have been joining this pro bono) than we are from anywhere else.

If this is a refusal of unambiguous Federal court orders, then this is serious, serious beyond the scale of anything we've seen in our lifetimes: it's DHS saying that if Trump tells them to do one thing and the courts another, they will do what Trump says and best of luck to the courts trying to enforce that. Which is to say, they're establishing a precedent that DHS actions are not subject to any sort of court review, or to anything other than the personal fiat of Trump – including their right to detain people, deport them, or hold them incommunicado.

Alternatively, this might be something else, a decision by CBP counsel that certain court orders don't apply to certain cases; this is serious too, since they're trying to create "facts on the ground" faster than the courts can react, but it doesn't mean a wholesale rejection of the system of law. I simply don't have enough information yet, and hope to update as we know more.

Separately, there was another story today: Trump reorganized the National Security Counsel. The two most prominent changes are this: Steve Bannon now has a seat on it, and the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were both demoted: they only attend meetings of the Principals Committee which "[pertain] to their responsibilities and expertise."

(The other full members of the PC, incidentally, are the secretaries of State (Tillerson), Treasury (Szubin), Defense (Mattis), and Homeland Security (Kelly), the AG (Sessions), the President's Chief of Staff (Priebus), the National Security Advisor (Flynn), and the Homeland Security Advisor (Bossert). You can read the full order here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/01/28/presidential-memorandum-organization-national-security-council-and)

The demotion of the DNI and CJCS is surprising and I don't yet know what it means. There currently is no DNI – Coats' nomination is yet to be confirmed. It's hard to imagine what meetings wouldn't pertain to their "responsibilities and expertise," especially given that secretaries with much more specific responsibilities (like Treasury) weren't demoted. Bannon's promotion, however, is more significant: Trump is known for not attending many meetings, and delegating those, and Bannon is likely to be his principal representative in the NSC.

My gut read is that this is something which will prove very important in the long run. Trump's rift with the existing military and intelligence establishments is well-known, and he's made numerous statements, directly and through surrogates, about his interest in constructing alternative establishments reporting directly to him. Bannon would be a logical person to manage that subchain, as his "Chief Strategist" role doesn't come with a large org to manage already, or with Congressionally mandated restrictions. That would be the skeleton of a new internal security system, with the DHS and FBI (both very loyal to Trump) in the loop, together with a new private "security force" rolling up to Keith Schiller that takes over a lot of Secret Service roles, and a hypothetical new intelligence force, with Bannon being either de facto or de jure in charge of all the new organizations, and little to no legal supervision over them.

It's not clear, again, that this is where it's going, but it's definitely the configuration I would keep my eyes open for. It would promote Bannon from a Goebbels to a Himmler, which I suspect he would be just fine with.

So: Many signs out there, but nothing clear yet. These could range from incredibly serious to passing things, depending on how the next week or so plays out.

Update (00:51 PST): The DHS has put out an official statement, and I'll be damned if I can figure out what it means. It starts out by saying that they will continue to enforce all of Trump's orders, and that the orders remain in place, but it does offer a nod (later on) to complying with judicial orders.

Text here: https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/01/29/department-homeland-security-response-recent-litigation

Update (02:06 PST): The Washington Post's story pulls together a range of official statements, which make it clear that this is deliberate and central policy, ordered personally by Trump. The exact meaning of the DHS statement remains unclear, but most people are reading it as an intent to continue to do whatever they want; it may involve a suggestion that if they don't want to grant a waiver to someone with a green card, they may do it by simply revoking the green card on the spot.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/refugees-detained-at-us-airports-challenge-trumps-executive-order/2017/01/28/e69501a2-e562-11e6-a547-5fb9411d332c_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_airports-1046am%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.560b5a336b45___

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2017-01-29 10:58:43 (43 comments; 35 reshares; 48 +1s; )Open 

I've never seen a court order federal law enforcement to enforce an order on other federal law enforcement before, either. This is jaw dropping.

Anyone know of some precedent?

I've never seen a court order federal law enforcement to enforce an order on other federal law enforcement before, either. This is jaw dropping.

Anyone know of some precedent?___

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2017-01-29 09:52:06 (25 comments; 0 reshares; 3 +1s; )Open 

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2017-01-28 23:45:01 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 5 +1s; )Open 

___

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2017-01-20 11:59:26 (1 comments; 6 reshares; 9 +1s; )Open 

___

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2017-01-18 12:00:02 (14 comments; 4 reshares; 10 +1s; )Open 

This is rather extremely familiar to me. Minus the infection part. Weird symptoms, never properly diagnosed, told it's conversion disorder because they have no idea what would cause me to have a halfdozen ultra-rare symptoms, etc. Not saying I have ME per se, but the overlap is pretty extensive. (https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/myalgic-encephalomyelitis/ lists "sensitivity to sunlight", which is rather an understatement for being functionally blind in bright light.) OTOH, there seems to be no diagnostic test, and no treatment. So I'm not sure that getting diagnosed with this would even be helpful to me, except perhaps for the purposes of bureaucracies… which, come to think of it, would be very valuable.

This is rather extremely familiar to me. Minus the infection part. Weird symptoms, never properly diagnosed, told it's conversion disorder because they have no idea what would cause me to have a halfdozen ultra-rare symptoms, etc. Not saying I have ME per se, but the overlap is pretty extensive. (https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/myalgic-encephalomyelitis/ lists "sensitivity to sunlight", which is rather an understatement for being functionally blind in bright light.) OTOH, there seems to be no diagnostic test, and no treatment. So I'm not sure that getting diagnosed with this would even be helpful to me, except perhaps for the purposes of bureaucracies… which, come to think of it, would be very valuable.___

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2017-01-11 18:43:03 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 14 +1s; )Open 

1. It seems to be patched now — I can't replicate it any more — but I'm waiting on a follow-up issue and coordination / comment before disclosing. I may be writing it up more formally than here; TBD.

2. Google will pay me $1,337 + $500 for this (it was counted as two bugs). Whee, I'm still a Professional H4x0r™⸮

See <https://www.google.com/about/appsecurity/reward-program/>; it's in the category "normal Google applications" / "other valid security vulnerabilities". Not big, but still in the ~<5% of bug reports that end up qualifying for a reward.

Funnily enough (to me), paying me is currently pending an issue with how they handle bug reporters' emails, rather than my name etc. (At least for now. :-P Hopefully they've had enough Indonesian suppliers that mononyms will have arisen before, but who knows.)
3. Th... more »

Whee, my name is on Google's vulnerability finders list. ^.^

I'll disclose the reason why after they've had time to fix the issue.

Direct link: https://bughunter.withgoogle.com/profile/4af56d88-1397-4da7-88fc-c10abc72b038___1. It seems to be patched now — I can't replicate it any more — but I'm waiting on a follow-up issue and coordination / comment before disclosing. I may be writing it up more formally than here; TBD.

2. Google will pay me $1,337 + $500 for this (it was counted as two bugs). Whee, I'm still a Professional H4x0r™⸮

See <https://www.google.com/about/appsecurity/reward-program/>; it's in the category "normal Google applications" / "other valid security vulnerabilities". Not big, but still in the ~<5% of bug reports that end up qualifying for a reward.

Funnily enough (to me), paying me is currently pending an issue with how they handle bug reporters' emails, rather than my name etc. (At least for now. :-P Hopefully they've had enough Indonesian suppliers that mononyms will have arisen before, but who knows.)

3. The email issue also means that my ranking on the bughunter site is lower than it should be (as I'm only getting points for one of the two bugs — the lower-value one). I'm told they'll be fixing it in a few months. Meh, no rush — though I guess it does hit a bit of the "whee being higher in public rankings" Skinner-box. Whee reward systems.

4. I just noticed that the Google security team have a new presentation about the VRP, which may be of interest to those of you who are interested in how a major bug bounty program works behind the scenes:

https://sites.google.com/site/bughunteruniversity/behind-the-scenes/war-stories-from-google-vrp
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoE0M7v84ZU

2017-01-11 17:31:42 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 4 +1s; )Open 

Updated my resume for law school applications. Mostly a tweak to reflect changes over the last year — progress in FRCP rules changes, Google vulnerability rewards, successful amicus re Klingon, progress & setbacks in IFP privacy cases. A few edits for concision & clarity.

Updated my resume for law school applications. Mostly a tweak to reflect changes over the last year — progress in FRCP rules changes, Google vulnerability rewards, successful amicus re Klingon, progress & setbacks in IFP privacy cases. A few edits for concision & clarity.___

2017-01-11 11:30:24 (4 comments; 0 reshares; 16 +1s; )Open 

Back in UK. Went to GP. Finally have my meds again, plus the stuff I was supposed to've been scripped a year ago — all without being treated like scum or an addict. The difference in how one is treated for being on government healthcare here really is extremely palpable.

Of course now it'll probably take a month for me to reacclimatize. But hopefully I'll have a mostly-working brain again. That'll be nice.

Oh, and I have a sample pack of something that may or may not treat my blindness. That would be … well, I'll try not to think about it until I reacclimatize to the regular stuff and have a chance to try it. No point getting hopes up.

Back in UK. Went to GP. Finally have my meds again, plus the stuff I was supposed to've been scripped a year ago — all without being treated like scum or an addict. The difference in how one is treated for being on government healthcare here really is extremely palpable.

Of course now it'll probably take a month for me to reacclimatize. But hopefully I'll have a mostly-working brain again. That'll be nice.

Oh, and I have a sample pack of something that may or may not treat my blindness. That would be … well, I'll try not to think about it until I reacclimatize to the regular stuff and have a chance to try it. No point getting hopes up.___

2017-01-09 16:16:54 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 3 +1s; )Open 

Cert. denied on the question (arising from D.C. Cir.) of whether an order denying appointment of counsel is immediately appealable. Maybe third time's the charm, though; cert. petition on the same question from my 1st Cir. case, which is stronger, is forthcoming. In the meantime, no lawyer for me in the FOIA case, merely because I refuse to waive my right to privacy in order to exercise my right to access the courts.

Cert. denied on the question (arising from D.C. Cir.) of whether an order denying appointment of counsel is immediately appealable. Maybe third time's the charm, though; cert. petition on the same question from my 1st Cir. case, which is stronger, is forthcoming. In the meantime, no lawyer for me in the FOIA case, merely because I refuse to waive my right to privacy in order to exercise my right to access the courts.___

2017-01-05 06:35:00 (20 comments; 5 reshares; 5 +1s; )Open 

My laptop has been near death for most of a year now. SMART tests are failing; it's overheating constantly; battery lasts <2h; RAM is wonky; random crashes; HD constantly runs out due to swap even when I have 12-20GB free; etc.

More importantly, basically anything I do, like opening a website or typing a tweet, takes like 2 minutes minimum, which completely destroys flow and mental state, i.e. my ability to be productive. That also means that some things just get wiped out of feasibility entirely, like responding to some kinds of emails or posting updates about what I've been doing lately, because the extra work involved due to computer issues doubles the spoon cost.

Because RAM and CPU seem to be repeat bottlenecks, I'm thinking of getting a new macbook pro (high spec) to replace this Air as my main work machine. That would cost roughly $4.5-5k, which I don't... more »

My laptop has been near death for most of a year now. SMART tests are failing; it's overheating constantly; battery lasts <2h; RAM is wonky; random crashes; HD constantly runs out due to swap even when I have 12-20GB free; etc.

More importantly, basically anything I do, like opening a website or typing a tweet, takes like 2 minutes minimum, which completely destroys flow and mental state, i.e. my ability to be productive. That also means that some things just get wiped out of feasibility entirely, like responding to some kinds of emails or posting updates about what I've been doing lately, because the extra work involved due to computer issues doubles the spoon cost.

Because RAM and CPU seem to be repeat bottlenecks, I'm thinking of getting a new macbook pro (high spec) to replace this Air as my main work machine. That would cost roughly $4.5-5k, which I don't really have. (I can't get a desktop, because I travel so damn often, and depend on my computer pretty much everywhere I go.)

Would any of y'all be willing to contribute to me upgrading my machine? If yes, your support would be much appreciated:
http://patreon.com/saizai (monthly USD)
http://s.ai/btc (bitcoin)
http://s.ai/pp (paypal)

It'd go to helping me not have to waste literally half my day waiting for the damn computer to load something, being able to look through documents on a call, etc. So I can get back to things that matter - law school applications, briefing litigation against TSA for transparency and disability rights, advocating for changes in federal rules of procedure for fairness to people who don't have a roomful of class action lawyers representing their interests, sharing court documents with the world, helping behind the scenes in various civil rights / civil liberties related coalition groups, posting about what's happening lately, etc. etc. Stuff I've still been doing this whole time, at snail's pace, and just not posting much lately.

(FWIW: this post took ~20 minutes to load, write, and post. And that's quite fast relative to most things today. At least I mostly wasn't watching my own text fill in at 1hz after I'd typed it.)___

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2016-12-26 16:24:57 (3 comments; 0 reshares; 3 +1s; )Open 

Very well done, fluent native ASL interpretation of Hamilton, though mostly choosing to go more for closeness to the original wording than keeping concepts and privileging rhyme over incidental lyrics. 

Very well done, fluent native ASL interpretation of Hamilton, though mostly choosing to go more for closeness to the original wording than keeping concepts and privileging rhyme over incidental lyrics. ___

2016-12-23 07:51:09 (3 comments; 15 reshares; 27 +1s; )Open 

+Yonatan Zunger: […] because you believe in [social/political/legal] systems, and the ability of systems, when well-designed, to generate good results.
me: ugh, partisans. hate, hate, hate when people fuck with the system for partisan gain
+Yonatan Zunger: exactly. People are messing with your infrastructure and PEOPLE DO NOT MESS WITH YOUR GODDAMNED INFRASTRUCTURE, THIS STUFF IS DELICATE:
me: gerrymandeirng is a sin. amen.
+Yonatan Zunger: do you understand just how deep a religion of systems it takes to say something like "gerrymandering is a sin" as a spontaneous utterance?  ☺
me: … no? this seems self-evident […]

So apparently I'm religious after all, albeit with major self-awareness lacunae? (Maybe I should get that as a church creed…)

+Yonatan Zunger: […] because you believe in [social/political/legal] systems, and the ability of systems, when well-designed, to generate good results.
me: ugh, partisans. hate, hate, hate when people fuck with the system for partisan gain
+Yonatan Zunger: exactly. People are messing with your infrastructure and PEOPLE DO NOT MESS WITH YOUR GODDAMNED INFRASTRUCTURE, THIS STUFF IS DELICATE:
me: gerrymandeirng is a sin. amen.
+Yonatan Zunger: do you understand just how deep a religion of systems it takes to say something like "gerrymandering is a sin" as a spontaneous utterance?  ☺
me: … no? this seems self-evident […]

So apparently I'm religious after all, albeit with major self-awareness lacunae? (Maybe I should get that as a church creed…)___

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2016-12-21 19:52:43 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 12 +1s; )Open 

To add to what +Yonatan Zunger said: I have (highly controlled) meds that treat multiple significant disabilities.

If a doctor refuses to continue meds I've depended on for years, how is that morally different from taking a bat to my legs? Either way, I become medically incapacitated.

Not hypothetical, sadly. I have been for the last two months or so. My untreated baseline is pretty fucked.

This article is an excellent summary of something very important: addiction and dependence are not the same thing, and dependence isn't necessarily a bad thing at all.

"Dependence" means that you experience physical symptoms when you stop taking a drug. This can happen even if the drug is highly beneficial to you; it means that your body has adapted to the substance. "Addiction" means that you can't stop taking the drugs, even if they make your life worse.

This is a crucial distinction, because both laws and treatments get these mixed up, often with dangerous consequences. All opioids, for example, lead to dependence: if you've been taking them for a while, when you stop taking them you get some extremely nasty physical symptoms ("withdrawal"). But that's also true if those opioids are simply letting you live a normal life, which is a very common situation for people with the conditions that opioids are meant to treat – like serious chronic pain. If doctors (or lawyers!) mix up "dependence" with "addiction," though, they're likely to say that the fact that you experience those symptoms mean that something is seriously wrong with you, and thus cut off your supply abruptly – which is precisely the worst thing to do.

In fact, physical dependence because your body has adapted to the drug and physical dependence because your body has a serious problem without the drug are largely part of the same spectrum. Someone using opioids is dependent on them in the same way that a diabetic is dependent on insulin – and neither should stop using it without a good reason.

To quote the article:

"Physical dependence occurs very frequently with repeated opioid exposure, but dissipates promptly after a few days of opioid tapering and discontinuation," explains Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. "Addiction occurs only in those vulnerable and is a slow process that, once it has occurred, can take months and even years to overcome and requires persistent treatment."

In other words, if pain medications are making your life genuinely better and improving your ability to love and work, what you are experiencing if you have withdrawal symptoms is dependence, not addiction. People with diabtes, for instance, are dependent on—but not addicted to— insulin; people on certain antidepressants are dependent on them, but, again, not addicted.

This confusion has its history in the medical literature itself, which had trouble getting the ideas straight over the years. The "war on drugs" has just been an excuse to make this confusion even worse.___To add to what +Yonatan Zunger said: I have (highly controlled) meds that treat multiple significant disabilities.

If a doctor refuses to continue meds I've depended on for years, how is that morally different from taking a bat to my legs? Either way, I become medically incapacitated.

Not hypothetical, sadly. I have been for the last two months or so. My untreated baseline is pretty fucked.

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2016-12-19 08:23:12 (7 comments; 1 reshares; 19 +1s; )Open 

Whee, my name is on Google's vulnerability finders list. ^.^

I'll disclose the reason why after they've had time to fix the issue.

Direct link: https://bughunter.withgoogle.com/profile/4af56d88-1397-4da7-88fc-c10abc72b038

Whee, my name is on Google's vulnerability finders list. ^.^

I'll disclose the reason why after they've had time to fix the issue.

Direct link: https://bughunter.withgoogle.com/profile/4af56d88-1397-4da7-88fc-c10abc72b038___

2016-12-15 19:53:58 (4 comments; 0 reshares; 4 +1s; )Open 

Here's our reply re certiorari on the question of whether denial of counsel is immediately appealable: <http://www.scotusblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/16-287-Pet-Cert-Reply-Brief.pdf>

We'll probably find out the Court's response ~Jan. 9.

Reading my lawyer characterizing my work is interesting. It does show a basic problem with trying to get a lawyer: if you're not good enough, then you'll get denied because you haven't presented enough merit, or you'll have failed to preserve the issue well enough to appeal correctly; if you're too good, then you must not need a lawyer.

I guess only people who somehow stumble into meritoriously presenting a case that they can't handle themselves get to actually have equal protection of law. That includes me… but this case isn't even about whether I should have a lawyer or not, butw... more »

Here's our reply re certiorari on the question of whether denial of counsel is immediately appealable: <http://www.scotusblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/16-287-Pet-Cert-Reply-Brief.pdf>

We'll probably find out the Court's response ~Jan. 9.

Reading my lawyer characterizing my work is interesting. It does show a basic problem with trying to get a lawyer: if you're not good enough, then you'll get denied because you haven't presented enough merit, or you'll have failed to preserve the issue well enough to appeal correctly; if you're too good, then you must not need a lawyer.

I guess only people who somehow stumble into meritoriously presenting a case that they can't handle themselves get to actually have equal protection of law. That includes me… but this case isn't even about whether I should have a lawyer or not, but whether I can even argue the issue on immediate appeal.

The alternative is that, even if I deserve a lawyer, I would have to somehow stumble through trying a whole case myself, possibly making irreversible mistakes in the process. Then I can ask the appeals court to reverse it, only when appealing a final loss of the underlying case, years after it could've been fixed with an immediate appeal. That makes no sense to me — it's not something where you even can have a clean "do-over", let alone should — but that's what a lot of circuits currently say.

Hopefully SCOTUS agrees that's not right, and grants cert. We'll find out in a month.

Details:
https://s.ai/tsa/legal/ifp / http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/sai-v-transportation-safety-administration/___

2016-12-15 06:02:45 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 3 +1s; )Open 

My comments to the Judicial Conference about changes to the federal rules for e-filing (CM/ECF) access for pro se litigants are at p. 112-124 of this transcript. I still need to make formal written comments; it's queued behind more important things I'm behind on. :-/

It's really weird to read a transcript of how I talk extemporaneously (even ignoring the transcription errors).

I wonder how one trains to be better at this, short of writing out a talk — or even whether it's desirable to try to make the natural cadence of spoken language match more closely to the segmentation of written language. (I have no particular training in public speaking, though I have done it regularly and seem to have at least some aptitude for it. I use an outline, not any verbatim prepared language, except perhaps a rehearsed quip or two.)

On a tangentially related note, here'sa... more »

My comments to the Judicial Conference about changes to the federal rules for e-filing (CM/ECF) access for pro se litigants are at p. 112-124 of this transcript. I still need to make formal written comments; it's queued behind more important things I'm behind on. :-/

It's really weird to read a transcript of how I talk extemporaneously (even ignoring the transcription errors).

I wonder how one trains to be better at this, short of writing out a talk — or even whether it's desirable to try to make the natural cadence of spoken language match more closely to the segmentation of written language. (I have no particular training in public speaking, though I have done it regularly and seem to have at least some aptitude for it. I use an outline, not any verbatim prepared language, except perhaps a rehearsed quip or two.)

On a tangentially related note, here's a paper entitled The politics of transcription: https://escholarship.org/uc/item/6581373n

(That's /via Al(That's /via 's interesting talk about revising the hacker ethic: http://opentranscripts.org/transcript/programming-forgetting-new-hacker-ethic/)___

2016-12-13 00:33:17 (13 comments; 5 reshares; 17 +1s; )Open 

Here's a proposal for a high-level criminal justice reform by Constitutional amendment:

1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude * shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
2. No bail, fine or punishment shall be imposed except as it is effective and proportional to effect rehabilitation, restitution, or deterrence; or to effect removal when an individual's rehabilitation or deterrence is impossible.**
3. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

* The 13th Am. says here: ", except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted,". The effect of this is to specifically remove that caveat without affecting any of the other 13th Am case law.

** "Bail, fine, or punishment" is to parallel the 8th Am. case law for applicability. The... more »

Here's a proposal for a high-level criminal justice reform by Constitutional amendment:

1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude * shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
2. No bail, fine or punishment shall be imposed except as it is effective and proportional to effect rehabilitation, restitution, or deterrence; or to effect removal when an individual's rehabilitation or deterrence is impossible.**
3. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

* The 13th Am. says here: ", except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted,". The effect of this is to specifically remove that caveat without affecting any of the other 13th Am case law.

** "Bail, fine, or punishment" is to parallel the 8th Am. case law for applicability. The effect of the whitelist is to prohibit retribution; retaliation; incarceration for poverty; and punishment in excess of the amount necessary to actually accomplish legitimate objectives.

The last part allows for imprisoning people who are truly impossible to make safe, but at a very high standard of proof — i.e. if it's possible to rehabilitate them or deter them, then you have to do that or let them go.

It also intentionally distinguishes individual deterrence as a temporary removal objective (e.g. where bail isn't effective enough for public safety) vs general deterrence as an actual policy objective. This doubles as a standard for parole, for instance.

Because the burden of proof would be on the defendant per current case law, it's implicit that the government does get to experiment with punishments whose effectiveness is not yet known.___

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2016-12-12 20:13:13 (2 comments; 2 reshares; 11 +1s; )Open 

This is hard enough that human professional jugglers etc are not able to do it… and remember that in robotics, even seemingly simple things like balanced bipedal walking or visual navigation are incredibly difficult.

h/t https://plus.google.com/+YonatanZunger/posts/iqEfokKcwjg

Triple Pendulum Control

A few years ago Dr. Tobias Glück from Technische Universität Wien, found that along with his mathematical insights, computers and numerical methods were now fast enough to swing-up and balance a pendulum, on a pendulum, on pendulum on a sliding rail under computer control.

IEEE CSS Video Clip Contest 2014 Submission

Triple Pendulum on a Cart (YT ~1 min.): https://goo.gl/XkKxHL


The presented work deals with the swing-up of the triple pendulum on a cart. The swing-up maneuver is accomplished within a two-degrees-of-freedom control scheme consisting of a nonlinear feedforward controller and an optimal feedback controller. Based on a precise mathematical model, the feedforward controller was obtained by solving a nonlinear two-point boundary value problem with free parameters. A time-variant Riccati Controller was developed in order to stabilize the system along the nominal trajectory and an Extended Kalman Filter was used to estimate the non-measurable states. The overall control strategy for the swing-up maneuver was successfully implemented and tested on an experimental test bench. Up to the authors’ knowledge, this is the first contribution so far providing numerical and experimental results of the swing-up maneuver for a triple pendulum on a cart.

Paper (open pdf): https://goo.gl/oT1cQY

Tobias Glück: https://goo.gl/RZtSte


Here is an easy to follow and graphic explanation of Kalman filters due to Tim Babb, who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, and is Lighting Optimization Lead for Pixar Animation Studios.

Related Post: https://goo.gl/5X2ZpV

Image: https://goo.gl/nt6jPW___This is hard enough that human professional jugglers etc are not able to do it… and remember that in robotics, even seemingly simple things like balanced bipedal walking or visual navigation are incredibly difficult.

h/t https://plus.google.com/+YonatanZunger/posts/iqEfokKcwjg

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2016-12-10 15:31:41 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 3 +1s; )Open 

http://www.depressioncomix.com/posts/320/

http://www.depressioncomix.com/posts/320/___

2016-12-08 19:41:52 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 5 +1s; )Open 

Maxie Oquendo, a TSA screener charged with sexually abusing¹ a passenger at LaGuardia, pled guilty yesterday² to 3rd degree sexual abuse³. He was additionally charged with attempted official misconduct⁴.

Both are class B misdemeanors (up to 3 mo jail / $500 fine); the original charges were class A (up to 1 y jail / $1k fine).

Sentencing is scheduled for April 3. He is currently out on $3k bail.

The $20 million civil suit⁵ against him, LaGuardia, and TSA is still pending.

¹ http://edition.cnn.com/2015/08/28/us/new-york-tsa-screener-charged/
² https://goo.gl/YLcrg6
³ http://ypdcrime.com/penal.law/article130.htm#p130.55
⁴ http://ypdcrime.com/penal.law/article195.htm#p195.00
⁵ https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0BzmetJxi-p0VYmpZUDB3TDM5UUk

Maxie Oquendo, a TSA screener charged with sexually abusing¹ a passenger at LaGuardia, pled guilty yesterday² to 3rd degree sexual abuse³. He was additionally charged with attempted official misconduct⁴.

Both are class B misdemeanors (up to 3 mo jail / $500 fine); the original charges were class A (up to 1 y jail / $1k fine).

Sentencing is scheduled for April 3. He is currently out on $3k bail.

The $20 million civil suit⁵ against him, LaGuardia, and TSA is still pending.

¹ http://edition.cnn.com/2015/08/28/us/new-york-tsa-screener-charged/
² https://goo.gl/YLcrg6
³ http://ypdcrime.com/penal.law/article130.htm#p130.55
⁴ http://ypdcrime.com/penal.law/article195.htm#p195.00
⁵ https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0BzmetJxi-p0VYmpZUDB3TDM5UUk___

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2016-12-08 04:07:38 (8 comments; 0 reshares; 10 +1s; )Open 

Today, in one of my three appellate cases about appealability of denial of counsel, the First Circuit ruled that even though the district court specifically refused to tell me any reason why it wouldn't give me a lawyer, that wasn't really final enough for me to appeal the denial — because it might some day change its mind under different circumstances.

How I am to know, without the benefit of telepathy, when such circumstances might occur — enough that I'd be able to know when that day had come and meaningfully / nonfrivolously ask the court to reconsider — is left as an exercise for the reader…

… and for the Supreme Court. We'll be filing a cert petition on this soon. (Thankfully, I do have a lawyer for this appeal of the denial of counsel below. It's very meta.)

See https://s.ai/tsa/legal/ifp for details.

Our reply to TSA'soppositio... more »

Today, in one of my three appellate cases about appealability of denial of counsel, the First Circuit ruled that even though the district court specifically refused to tell me any reason why it wouldn't give me a lawyer, that wasn't really final enough for me to appeal the denial — because it might some day change its mind under different circumstances.

How I am to know, without the benefit of telepathy, when such circumstances might occur — enough that I'd be able to know when that day had come and meaningfully / nonfrivolously ask the court to reconsider — is left as an exercise for the reader…

… and for the Supreme Court. We'll be filing a cert petition on this soon. (Thankfully, I do have a lawyer for this appeal of the denial of counsel below. It's very meta.)

See https://s.ai/tsa/legal/ifp for details.

Our reply to TSA's opposition to the already-pending cert petition (from the D.C. Circuit's similar ruling) will also be filed shortly. I'll post it when it's up.___

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2016-12-08 00:22:04 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 8 +1s; )Open 

Fascinating indeed. See +Yonatan Zunger's commentary @ https://plus.google.com/u/0/+YonatanZunger/posts/aHChg52Jc6U (and comments there, please).

A fascinating look at what might be the development of a new sex gene in this bird paired with a profile of the scientists but includes a tragedy: just months after publishing their last paper together, she passes away from cancer. "Every summer for more than 25 years, Gonser and his wife, Elaina Tuttle, had made the trip to this field station in the Adirondack Mountains — a 45-minute boat ride from the nearest road. Now, as he moored his boat to the shaky wooden dock, he heard a familiar and short song that sounded like 'oh-sweet-Canada'. The whistle was from a white-throated sparrow calling hopefully for a mate.

What he didn't hear was the voice or laughter of his wife. For the first time, Gonser was at Cranberry Lake alone. Just a few weeks earlier, Tuttle had died of breast cancer.

Her entire career, and most of Gonser's, had been devoted to understanding every aspect of the biology of the white-throated sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis). Less than six months before she died this year at the age of 52, the couple and their team published a paper that was the culmination of that work. It explained how a chance genetic mutation had put the species on an extraordinary evolutionary path.

The mutation had flipped a large section of chromosome 2, leaving it unable to pair up with a partner and exchange genetic information. The more than 1,100 genes in the inversion were inherited together as part of a massive 'supergene' and eventually drove the evolution of two different 'morphs' — subtypes of the bird that are coloured differently, behave differently and mate only with the opposite morph. Tuttle and Gonser's leap was to show that this process is nearly identical to the early evolution of certain sex chromosomes, including the human X and Y. The researchers realized that they were effectively watching the bird evolve two sex chromosomes, on top of the two it already had."___Fascinating indeed. See +Yonatan Zunger's commentary @ https://plus.google.com/u/0/+YonatanZunger/posts/aHChg52Jc6U (and comments there, please).

2016-12-07 20:32:02 (3 comments; 4 reshares; 6 +1s; )Open 

Dear internet: please help me liberate thousands of pages of TSA documents through FOIA. My needs, cred, docs being sought, and details on how to help are @ https://www.reddit.com/r/Assistance/comments/5h28nf/help_me_liberate_thousands_of_pages_of_tsa/

Dear internet: please help me liberate thousands of pages of TSA documents through FOIA. My needs, cred, docs being sought, and details on how to help are @ https://www.reddit.com/r/Assistance/comments/5h28nf/help_me_liberate_thousands_of_pages_of_tsa/___

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2016-12-04 17:19:40 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 8 +1s; )Open 

TSA has filed its brief in opposition to my petition for certiorari, arguing that poor people denied counsel in civil cases shouldn't have the right to immediately appeal that denial. We'll file a reply shortly. Details: https://s.ai/tsa/legal/ifp / http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/sai-v-transportation-safety-administration/

TSA has filed its brief in opposition to my petition for certiorari, arguing that poor people denied counsel in civil cases shouldn't have the right to immediately appeal that denial. We'll file a reply shortly. Details: https://s.ai/tsa/legal/ifp / http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/sai-v-transportation-safety-administration/___

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2016-12-01 22:01:43 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 8 +1s; )Open 

Something often neglected in discussions of Galileo and his trial for heresy is that the dispute wasn't about whether the Earth revolves around the Sun; it was about who had the right to say that the Earth revolves around the Sun.

From the Vatican's perspective, statements about the nature of reality are effectively policy statements, and so may only be made by the organ of policy -- namely, them. Galileo's science argued that anyone could perform experiments and learn things about the factual nature of reality, and communicate these ideas to others, and that this knowledge was not limited or controllable by the Church.

There's an important logic to the Vatican's argument here. Statements of factual reality, while they aren't policy statements in their own right, tend to have very profound policy implications. If I tell you that the roof is on fire, then you are... more »

Something often neglected in discussions of Galileo and his trial for heresy is that the dispute wasn't about whether the Earth revolves around the Sun; it was about who had the right to say that the Earth revolves around the Sun.

From the Vatican's perspective, statements about the nature of reality are effectively policy statements, and so may only be made by the organ of policy -- namely, them. Galileo's science argued that anyone could perform experiments and learn things about the factual nature of reality, and communicate these ideas to others, and that this knowledge was not limited or controllable by the Church.

There's an important logic to the Vatican's argument here. Statements of factual reality, while they aren't policy statements in their own right, tend to have very profound policy implications. If I tell you that the roof is on fire, then you are likely to place a very high priority on things like leaving the building and calling the fire department.¹ If I tell you that the Earth is not at the center of the universe, this might lend weight to arguments that the experience of the Crucifixion isn't unique and at the center of the universe (this is the heresy that Giordano Bruno was later burned for), and thus that the Church isn't the natural and unique center of political authority.

That is, organs of political power are right to think of scientific statements as having policy implications -- and organs of policy tend to be very jealous of that prerogative, and not appreciate anyone else trying to make policy without them.

Science is particularly dangerous, in this regard, because it provides testable statements about the nature of reality which are in effect available to anybody, and because those statements are sometimes surprises. A surprising change in facts which can't be negotiated away is profoundly dangerous to institutions of power, because those changes might compromise anything from a delicately negotiated balance of power to the significance of the organization itself. Encouraging science is something only done by the most confident of governments and institutions: the ones who believe that, no matter what the nature of reality may be, they will be able to face up to it.

Leaders who are more concerned with their personal survival than the fate of the country as a whole will often not see it this way: public perception, and the resulting political leverage it creates, is ultimately far more important to the exercise of power, even though it is far less important than knowledge of the facts to the protection of the nation.

A good modern example of this dichotomy can be seen in the different ways that the Department of Defense and Congress discuss climate change. To the DoD, this is a practical threat, requiring planning and advance preparation, and thus detailed knowledge whenever possible. To Congress, this is a political threat, requiring changes in policy which may compromise important bargains with people who would lose out from those changes, and thus requiring careful control of public perception independent of the underlying reality.

¹ Or alternatively, that we don't need no water; let the motherfucker burn.___

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2016-11-30 21:52:10 (5 comments; 3 reshares; 19 +1s; )Open 

Starting tomorrow — unless Congress takes action to stop it — a change to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure rule 41 will allow prosecutors to get a "hack someone's stuff" order from nearly any court in the country, instead of the court where the stuff is. That means forum-shopping — finding judges more willing to allow government hacking and surveillance.

If this concerns you, +Fight for the Future's post explains what you can do to stop it. Namely: call your senator.

See also: http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/technology/308049-congress-has-just-one-more-shot-to-delay-government-hacking

Starting tomorrow — unless Congress takes action to stop it — a change to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure rule 41 will allow prosecutors to get a "hack someone's stuff" order from nearly any court in the country, instead of the court where the stuff is. That means forum-shopping — finding judges more willing to allow government hacking and surveillance.

If this concerns you, +Fight for the Future's post explains what you can do to stop it. Namely: call your senator.

See also: http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/technology/308049-congress-has-just-one-more-shot-to-delay-government-hacking___

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2016-11-28 20:44:28 (1 comments; 0 reshares; 14 +1s; )Open 

I find this kind of low-harm arson as a tradition pretty funny. Also, there's a certain … appropriate inevitability to how Tom Scott presented this particular video.

I find this kind of low-harm arson as a tradition pretty funny. Also, there's a certain … appropriate inevitability to how Tom Scott presented this particular video.___

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2016-11-26 02:02:04 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 5 +1s; )Open 

___

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2016-11-21 19:55:50 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 3 +1s; )Open 

This is a challenging article. It contrasts three possible positions on physician-assisted suicide:

1. Physician-assisted suicide should be illegal for everyone.
2. Physician-assisted suicide should be legal for only the terminally ill.
3. Physician-assisted suicide should be legal for all competent adults.

The argument is not for or against assisted suicide, but that the second of these positions makes little to no sense, with the boundaries of "terminally ill" and the reasons why we might wish to restrict such a right to the terminally ill being so fuzzy as to end up with moral spaghetti almost immediately.

I think there's a compelling point, here: if we're going to have a discussion about a right to die, then the discussion should be broad and ask about limits which make sense.

I don't know that I have an answer to the question,... more »

This is a challenging article. It contrasts three possible positions on physician-assisted suicide:

1. Physician-assisted suicide should be illegal for everyone.
2. Physician-assisted suicide should be legal for only the terminally ill.
3. Physician-assisted suicide should be legal for all competent adults.

The argument is not for or against assisted suicide, but that the second of these positions makes little to no sense, with the boundaries of "terminally ill" and the reasons why we might wish to restrict such a right to the terminally ill being so fuzzy as to end up with moral spaghetti almost immediately.

I think there's a compelling point, here: if we're going to have a discussion about a right to die, then the discussion should be broad and ask about limits which make sense.

I don't know that I have an answer to the question, but I think that expressed this way, it's a far more meaningful question to discuss.___

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2016-11-20 23:00:57 (1 comments; 1 reshares; 3 +1s; )Open 

I am minded, perhaps because I am preoccupied with issues around getting a service dog, of a parallel with my own blindness. It's gradual and undiagnosable; I can see just fine if I am willing to tolerate the pain; but nevertheless I have planted my face into a tree and a sign when I wasn't careful enough with my cane — or just collapsed half-paralyzed from overstimulation.

There's an old Soviet joke: "Don't think. If you think, don't speak. If you speak, don't write. If you write, don't sign. If you sign, don't be surprised." While it may encode some good advice for keeping out of Siberia, the realities of living in an autocracy are somewhat more subtle. The most important rules aren't about not attracting the notice of the secret police – they're about how to keep track of your sense of reality, when you are subject to a continuous and concerted effort to redefine it.

I was reminded of this just a few days ago by my Peruvian mother-in-law, who described how Fujimori would engage in elaborate public shuffles of his cabinet, making "who's in and who's out" the center of all media attention, whenever he was up to something particularly nefarious behind the scenes. The media is hungry; if you feed it, it will eat.

Behind here is an essay by Masha Gessen, who grew up in Russia under Brezhnev, about what you need in order to survive. She gives six slightly different rules: "1. Believe the autocrat; 2. Do not be taken in by small signs of normality; 3. Institutions will not save you; 4. Be outraged; 5. Don’t make compromises; 6. Remember the future."

There's a great deal of subtlety behind each of these, especially the first three. The art of surviving in an autocracy, whether it be the USSR or a tinpot banana republic, is the art of recognizing when you are being told the simple, unvarnished truth, and when you are being treated to a spectacular song-and-dance designed to distract you from what's really going on.

What's particularly important here, and why you should read Gessen's essay, is that the instincts you have developed for understanding democracies will lead you exactly astray when trying to understand autocracies – the instincts to search for a rationalization when you hear something extreme, or to treat "small signs of normality" like stock market stability or a "normal" news story like a cabinet reshuffle as a sign that things really are normal, for example. In a democracy, this habits are frequently correct; to an autocrat, this tendency of people to assume that everything is normal is a basic part of operations.

There are many good books on the theory of propaganda, but Gessen's essay is perhaps one of the most concise and useful introductions. You will likely find it very useful when understanding anything you see or hear from a dictatorship anywhere in the world.___I am minded, perhaps because I am preoccupied with issues around getting a service dog, of a parallel with my own blindness. It's gradual and undiagnosable; I can see just fine if I am willing to tolerate the pain; but nevertheless I have planted my face into a tree and a sign when I wasn't careful enough with my cane — or just collapsed half-paralyzed from overstimulation.

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2016-11-18 23:47:17 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 15 +1s; )Open 

___

2016-11-09 21:35:13 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 3 +1s; )Open 

I don't have time to write much today, but I want to remind you all of this:

Right and wrong have not changed since yesterday. An "accommodation" which goes in the face of that is not an accommodation, it is collusion in a moral wrong which does not gain any innocence by the defense of "I had to" or "those were the orders."

We will all be sorely tried in the months and years which are to come; we will see our fellow citizens and neighbors harmed and harassed, fired and fired upon. To stand up for them will not be easy, nor will it come without a price. We will pay the price, because the price of refusing is measured in lives and in souls.

But I will also tell you this: we will survive. We will, now and always, use every tool at our disposal, to fight and to shelter, to speak and to listen, to think and to act. This country is not, and has... more »

I don't have time to write much today, but I want to remind you all of this:

Right and wrong have not changed since yesterday. An "accommodation" which goes in the face of that is not an accommodation, it is collusion in a moral wrong which does not gain any innocence by the defense of "I had to" or "those were the orders."

We will all be sorely tried in the months and years which are to come; we will see our fellow citizens and neighbors harmed and harassed, fired and fired upon. To stand up for them will not be easy, nor will it come without a price. We will pay the price, because the price of refusing is measured in lives and in souls.

But I will also tell you this: we will survive. We will, now and always, use every tool at our disposal, to fight and to shelter, to speak and to listen, to think and to act. This country is not, and has never been, the Promised Land; there was never a promise, only what we chose to build out of it. That choice is undiminished today.

I want you to remember, today, the words of Tarfon: "it is not yours to finish the task, but neither are you free to set it aside." We do not stop, we shall not stop, and we shall never surrender our morals.___

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2016-11-08 13:29:35 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 9 +1s; )Open 

Comments on OP please.

Why you should vote No on Prop. 60

I haven't taken a position on many issues in this year's election, but there's one that's bad enough that it merits more detail – I'm talking about California's Proposition 60, a shakedown racket masquerading as a public health initiative. +A.V. Flox's article, linked below, has all sorts of details, interviews, and links explaining why you shouldn't touch this with a ten-foot pole, and I want to amplify this as much as possible: this is one of the worst laws I've ever seen on the ballot.

I mean, it takes some real effort to create a "worker safety" measure whose most vocal opponents are the workers it claims to protect, which is also a measure to create a whole new cottage industry of nuisance lawsuits against small businesses and individuals, which is also set up to target minority groups more than anyone else. That's sort of a trifecta of going against liberal, conservative, and progressive principles that isn't too easy to achieve.

It's also a really good reason to vote against it.

Here's my own little FAQ, to help you navigate.

Q: What does the law say?
A: That anyone who shoots porn in California needs to use condoms. And that if you see any porn that violates this, you (personally) have the right to sue the makers, and get 25% of the take.

Q: But aren't condoms a good thing?
A: When you have sex, you're using a condom for 15 minutes or less. (That number is, shall we say, extremely generous) Porn shoots last for eight hours. Rubber isn't designed for that; the lubricants and the material degrade, causing chafing and various injuries that open up blood vessels and increase the risk of disease transmission. Then they fail, because condoms weren't designed to be used that way. Condoms actually increase the risk of disease transmission if you use them for such a length.

Q: So how do porn performers keep safe? Does everyone have horrible diseases?
A: No! There's a very thorough testing protocol which the industry has worked out over decades, which has done a great job of protecting everyone. There hasn't been a case of on-set transmission of HIV in over a decade. The industry is very serious about this, for obvious reasons.

Q: What happens if someone fails a test? Don't they fake passing?
A: No, because the protocol wasn't designed by idiots. You need a passing certificate that's fresher than the contagion period for STI's from one of the recognized databases to be allowed to shoot.

Q: But don't the studios use the lack of laws to bully performers into doing things they don't want?
A: Thanks in no small part to the Internet, there hasn't been a "the studios" and "the performers" in decades. Most producers are performers. It's a fairly close-knit industry, believe it or not.

Q: How do you know that?
A: I know lots of people in it. They're pretty nice people.

Q: So what do the people in the industry think?
A: Everyone in the industry, producers, performers, and distributors alike, has come out fervently against it, speaking, campaigning, and so on. You can find lots of links in the article below. Or if you have any favorite performers or studios, seek them out on Twitter: you'll probably see their avatar is a "No on 60" badge.

Q: If it's that bad, then why would anyone want it?
A: Part I has to do with that "25% cut" mentioned above: it's a shakedown racket. Part II has to do with a complicated history of a certain charity (the AIDS Healthcare Foundation) descending into a really bizarre mass of corruption over the past decade or so. If it helps give you a sense of what's going on, the AHF's other major issue this year is preventing investment in AIDS prophylaxis and vaccines.

Q: Wait, what?
A: The AHF decided a few decades ago that condoms prevent AIDS, and therefore condoms are the only thing which prevents AIDS, and anything else which might prevent AIDS would therefore encourage people not to use condoms, and so would actually cause AIDS. So they're furious about things like the recent development of Truvada, the first in a family of drugs shown (and FDA-approved) to prevent transmission of HIV. They're actively fighting LA county's efforts to make this drug widely available.

Q: Wait, what?
A: Don't ask. This group has gotten really bizarre. I'm hoping that its leader is just in it for the money at this point, because if he actually believes what he says that's scarier.

Q: Tell me about the money.
A: It's pretty simple. Under this law, if you see porn that was made in California and doesn't use condoms, you can personally sue the creators for violating the law. In fact, everyone in the state is allowed to sue them. 75% goes to various named organizations, and 25% goes into your pocket.

Q: So everyone would just stop making this kind of porn, right?
A: No, everyone would move to Nevada and make it there, which would uproot a lot of people and move a multi-billion dollar industry to another state. But that's not the worst problem.

Q: What is?
A: The law is, shall we say, very wide in its definitions. For example, say you and your spouse made a sex tape—

Q: I would never do that!
A: Bear with me. Lots of people do. Private ones.

Q: Private ones! I'm not distributing those!
A: What happens if your phone gets hacked?

Q: What? That's not distributing porn!
A: No, but under this law, you made porn. And you didn't use a condom, because you were at home with your spouse.

Q: So? Nobody would prosecute me for that!
A: Who said anything about prosecute? Someone will sue you for that.

Q: No court would allow it!
A: They would under this law. This law explicitly gives them the right to do that.

Q: Gives who?
A: Everyone in the state of California has the right to sue you for a few thousand dollars. And will be paid for doing so.

Q: But people don't know how to do that...
A: Wanna take some bets on how long until you see billboards on 101 saying "Seen porn without a condom? Call 1-800-SUE-PORN and find out how you could be taking home $1,000 tomorrow!"

Q: That's a horrible idea! Don't I have a legal defense?
A: Sure! Get ready to raise it in court. Against everyone who sues you. Know any good lawyers?

Q: OK, I get the point about private suits. What about porn studios, though?
A: They don't have any more money than you do. Porn is not, to be honest, a very lucrative business.

Q: OK, so will they all have to move?
A: Well, that's the tricky part. Big studios like Vivid can just pack up and move to Vegas. But up in the Bay Area, you have a lot of people who are parts of "marginalized groups" – people of color, trans people, people supporting families, and so on – who also have this as their primary source of income. They can't afford to just pack up and move to another state. And neither can all the individuals using cam shows and so on to feed their kids.

Q: They're dirty, nasty people anyway, and I don't want them in my state!
A: They're also just trying to feed their kids, pay the rent, and do the same things you're trying to do. You would literally be passing a law that lets anyone sue them and take money out of their kids' mouths.

Q: That's horribly depressing.
A: This is a terrible law. Don't vote for it.___Comments on OP please.

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2016-11-05 04:07:34 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 4 +1s; )Open 

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2016-11-05 00:09:10 (1 comments; 0 reshares; 2 +1s; )Open 

I have to admit: lawyer ads that are informational songs are amusing. See also:
pot brownies https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pbfa8Wp20q0 don't eat your weed https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQZRA7wft1I
miranda https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEt2Eit1w6Q

I have to admit: lawyer ads that are informational songs are amusing. See also:
pot brownies https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pbfa8Wp20q0 don't eat your weed https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQZRA7wft1I
miranda https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEt2Eit1w6Q___

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2016-11-04 02:47:37 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 0 +1s; )Open 

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2016-11-01 05:33:57 (3 comments; 3 reshares; 1 +1s; )Open 

Do you happen to know someone in DC who could host me Nov. 2-10 — or in Williamsburg Nov 6-8?

My main host seems likely to not be able to host me after all, and my emergency backup also can't. I need to figure out plans today, since I need a place to sleep tomorrow before I go testify. :-/ Please LMK any suggestions.

Do you happen to know someone in DC who could host me Nov. 2-10 — or in Williamsburg Nov 6-8?

My main host seems likely to not be able to host me after all, and my emergency backup also can't. I need to figure out plans today, since I need a place to sleep tomorrow before I go testify. :-/ Please LMK any suggestions.___

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2016-10-30 20:41:12 (1 comments; 1 reshares; 7 +1s; )Open 

See also: a) Detroit Free Press Inc. v. DoJ, No. 14-1670 (6th Cir. July 14, 2016) (en banc) (holding that privacy interest in booking photos trumps public disclosure interest)
https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=16799185496226679874
b) https://www.perpetuallineup.org (booking photos being used for virtual lineups, subjecting people who've ever been arrested — even those found not guilty — to increased likelihood of being charged in the future)

See also: a) Detroit Free Press Inc. v. DoJ, No. 14-1670 (6th Cir. July 14, 2016) (en banc) (holding that privacy interest in booking photos trumps public disclosure interest)
https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=16799185496226679874
b) https://www.perpetuallineup.org (booking photos being used for virtual lineups, subjecting people who've ever been arrested — even those found not guilty — to increased likelihood of being charged in the future)___

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2016-10-30 17:44:23 (10 comments; 0 reshares; 9 +1s; )Open 

Tsk on +Washington Post for failing to ID the suit. Lisa J. McCombs v American Airlines et al, No. 1:16-cv-00386-HSO-JCG (S.D. MS. filed Oct. 24, 2016). Complaint: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzmetJxi-p0VYXFCVGVaaXZaTDQ/view

h/t +Andres Soolo 

+American Airlines​​ abuses the majority of their customers. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that they barred a vet from boarding several flights, over 48 hours, preventing her from getting home, without offering any temporary accommodation, because they weren't convinced she was disabled enough to need a service dog. In spite of complete documentation.

They were very sorry afterwards. After the incident became public.___Tsk on +Washington Post for failing to ID the suit. Lisa J. McCombs v American Airlines et al, No. 1:16-cv-00386-HSO-JCG (S.D. MS. filed Oct. 24, 2016). Complaint: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzmetJxi-p0VYXFCVGVaaXZaTDQ/view

h/t +Andres Soolo 

2016-10-30 17:36:37 (1 comments; 0 reshares; 5 +1s; )Open 

With my consent, the government asked for another 30 days to respond to my petition for certiorari in Sai v TSA, No. 16-287, __ US __ (re immediate appealability of orders denying appointment of counsel to poor people, https://s.ai/tsa/legal/ifp). Their response is now due Dec. 2. Should be interesting to see how they choose to respond…

With my consent, the government asked for another 30 days to respond to my petition for certiorari in Sai v TSA, No. 16-287, __ US __ (re immediate appealability of orders denying appointment of counsel to poor people, https://s.ai/tsa/legal/ifp). Their response is now due Dec. 2. Should be interesting to see how they choose to respond…___

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2016-10-29 17:38:36 (3 comments; 0 reshares; 3 +1s; )Open 

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2016-10-27 17:20:02 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 3 +1s; )Open 

US v Turner, No. 15-50788 (5th Cir. Oct. 13, 2016) just joined two other courts in ruling a gift card magstripe swipe to not be a 4th amendment "search" when police had independently lawful possession of the physical card.

My summary:

Henderson (driver) and Turner (passenger) were stopped for a broken plate light. Turner "voluntarily" gave police his ID, and warrant check came back positive for a pot possession charge. He was arrested for that.

Police spotted a bag under Turner's seat; Henderson voluntarily gave it to the police, saying it had gift cards that the two had bought from a third party, but lacking receipt. Cards were seized as evidence, magstripes were scanned by police and then handed over to secret service.

Some of the magstripes turned out to not match the printed card numbers. Turner was charged with "aiding and... more »

US v Turner, No. 15-50788 (5th Cir. Oct. 13, 2016) just joined two other courts in ruling a gift card magstripe swipe to not be a 4th amendment "search" when police had independently lawful possession of the physical card.

My summary:

Henderson (driver) and Turner (passenger) were stopped for a broken plate light. Turner "voluntarily" gave police his ID, and warrant check came back positive for a pot possession charge. He was arrested for that.

Police spotted a bag under Turner's seat; Henderson voluntarily gave it to the police, saying it had gift cards that the two had bought from a third party, but lacking receipt. Cards were seized as evidence, magstripes were scanned by police and then handed over to secret service.

Some of the magstripes turned out to not match the printed card numbers. Turner was charged with "aiding and abetting the possession of unauthorized access devices", and moved to suppress.

CA5 found that Henderson's consent to jointly owned cards gave lawful possession to police. It then found that the magstripes swipe was not a separate search, because cards are not commonly writeable, have limited data on them specifically meant for third party access, Truner had no reasonable expectation to privacy to the content of the magstripe.

The opinion is limited to current gift cards (i.e. low information magstripe only, not commonly writeable), and explicitly does not extend to future cards, e.g. if they have a smartchip or are commonly writeable.

US v. Turner:
https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=2778350748494981589

Previous opinions, similar holdings:

United States v. DE L'Isle, 825 F.3d 426, 432-33 (8th Cir. 2016)
https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=9367862597220917553#p432

United States v. Bah, 794 F.3d 617, 630-36 (6th Cir. 2015)
https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=9367862597220917553#p630


My opinion:

The CA5 decision fails to adequately address the question that arises in e.g. cases about thermal imaging of pot growing houses, i.e. whether the information is commonly accessible by others with ordinary tech.

It's commonly used by merchants, but even merchants don't typically actually have access to the data on the card's magstripe, which is just transmitted to the card processor. Merchants, like people who own thermal goggles, are not really ordinary members of the public. Nor is it IMO plain see, because even in a merchant transaction, people have to voluntarily have their card swiped.

Henderson's consent to the initial search is probably not dispositve, given that it was within Turner's reach. The cards could have been searched incident to arrest anyway (at least for the physical cards).

Consent was not a factor in CA5's second-step-search analysis — though as IMO the swipe is a second-step search, I think it would have been dispositive, and that Henderson's consent didn't extend to magstripe search.

Of course, if they'd just shut up and not consented to any search more than Henderson handing over license/insurance/registration — e.g. if Turner hadn't handed over his ID — that probably would have avoided the situation. AFAICT, there's nothing justifying getting ID for him in the first place.

/via +Robert Hansen @ https://plus.google.com/+RobertHansen75/posts/f5VM4xeBxbE___

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2016-10-27 15:22:04 (0 comments; 2 reshares; 1 +1s; )Open 

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2016-10-27 04:02:59 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 5 +1s; )Open 

See previously +ERB on Obama v Romney: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dX_1B0w7Hzc
Also Trump v Scrooge https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cP6VqB4klpQ

See previously +ERB on Obama v Romney: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dX_1B0w7Hzc
Also Trump v Scrooge https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cP6VqB4klpQ___

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2016-10-26 21:10:13 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 4 +1s; )Open 

Comments on OP please.

+Steven Flaeck shared this article, together with an apt critique: "Liberty University is a good example of a problem with institutions on the right: they were built largely as a response to classically liberal institutions but the model wasn't those institutions themselves, it was the conservative caricature of them. So it's unsurprising to find that Liberty University runs like a communist country, since the people who founded it and run it sincerely believed that's how mainstream universities operate."

The article is well worth reading, but with an understanding that it isn't about Trump in particular so much as it is about the profound disconnect between the "religious right" and the "populist right." While these groups have been forced into an uneasy marriage within the Republican party, they have profound and fundamental differences. This is especially true in the younger (Millennial) generation, for whom there is no automatic relationship between religion and segregation, and many of the whispered truisms which kept that marriage going in previous generations start to sound more like what they are -- anathema to the Christian tradition.

There was a similar shotgun marriage between the religious right and the "business right," forged between the late 1940's and the late 1960's on a basis of shared anti-Communism. This relationship started out no less strained, as Brad Hicks' famous essay "Christians in the Hands of an Angry God" (http://bradhicks.livejournal.com/118585.html) details, because many of the core ideas of the business right are fundamentally incompatible with Christianity.

If that last sentence makes you immediately want to interject that this isn't true, and that Christianity can (for good or for ill) accommodate ideas such as the positivity of the accumulation of wealth, or the evil of providing social services, then what you're responding to is the profound shift in American Christian teaching in the decades since this marriage -- for example, a profound shift in emphasis from the "red letter" (the personal word of Jesus) to the Pauline epistles, with their focus on ideas like grace and resurrection, and on the organization of the Church. A reading of the Gospels (especially the earlier ones) with a focus on Jesus' own preaching would suggest that placing him in a room with most modern business leaders would lead to overturned tables at the best and a riot at the worst.

This marriage was far harder to accomplish than the one with the populist right, and for several decades church and party were extremely wary partners. What changed it was the observed public reaction to Roe v. Wade, which was really the sum of a built-up reaction among what would become the religious right to the social (especially sexual) changes of the 1960's and 1970's. The focus of both Republican party and Evangelical political discourse on "social issues" like abortion and homosexuality (as opposed to "social issues" like poverty or war) ever since is not a coincidence: it was something which the religious right could be passionate about, and which the business right was compatible with, which could thus energize the base without splitting the party.

In fact, it's fair to say that the "religious right" didn't exist as a group prior to this. The original deal chronicles in Hicks' essay wasn't between existing political ideologies; it was between a coalition of business-friendly and anti-Communist groups in control of the Republican party and a number of churches and theological institutes (like DTS) about cooperation during elections. But these churches didn't see themselves as a unified "cultural ideology" so much as Christian institutions, in the world but not of it. The post-Roe world saw the creation of a group which referred to itself as the "religious right" (and formal groups like the "Moral Majority"), largely defining itself as an antithesis to the "social left" which emerged during the 1960's.

The religious right, however, became increasingly associated with both a regressive-seeming intolerance (around sex and gender, for example) and with the racism of the populist movement it had involved itself with. (There was a profound mixing of the two, not just because of their alliance within the Republican party, but because of things like the "segregation academies;" it was in fact this early mixing which made the fusion of the populist right into the Republican coalition such a workable strategy in the late 1960's) This has led to a real shrinkage of its political clout in recent years, as a younger generation sees it as increasingly hostile and outdated.

If the "social issues" which it has used to unify itself cease to hold, we may end up seeing a schism between the religious and business wings of the Republican party comparable to the schism currently seen between the pair of those wings and the populists, as Trump has made clear that his followers support Republicanism only insofar as it supports him.

This has all the ingredients of another "great reshuffling" of American politics, much like the breakdown of the Democratic coalition after FDR's famous swing towards economic populism in 1932. ___Comments on OP please.

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2016-10-26 03:15:35 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 5 +1s; )Open 

I don't care who you are, this is funny. :)

(A little background: earlier this year, Jonah endorsed the Sweet Meteor of Death for President, believing nothing less than an extinction-level meteor impact could possibly cleanse us of our political stain.)

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/441113/smod-v-mcmullin

I don't care who you are, this is funny. :)

(A little background: earlier this year, Jonah endorsed the Sweet Meteor of Death for President, believing nothing less than an extinction-level meteor impact could possibly cleanse us of our political stain.)

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/441113/smod-v-mcmullin___

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2016-10-25 14:53:04 (0 comments; 2 reshares; 4 +1s; )Open 

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