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Sai (saizai) has been at 2 events

HostFollowersTitleDateGuestsLinks
Sai (saizai)8,784@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)8,784Sai's ASL tutorial beta test, take 2 (Sun @ 4)2012-11-19 01:00:004  

Shared Circles including Sai (saizai)

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Top posts in the last 50 posts

Most comments: 28

2016-05-19 10:53:13 (28 comments; 0 reshares; 5 +1s)Open 

Serious question: what are the chances (& likely outcomes) of the Republican establishment letting Trump have "the Republican Party", and going off to make a separate party (<insert Monty Python sketch>) — taking all their toys etc with them and running as a "major third" party, so that they get their dignity (partially) & Trump is the de facto "minor third" (a.k.a. "pre-split Republcan") party candidate? (<insert music joke>)

This seems like something they could still pull off if they get their act together quick enough, admit that they've been subjected to a successful hostile takeover, and react while they still have the power to perform a corporate inversion.

Most reshares: 9

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2016-04-30 09:17:44 (4 comments; 9 reshares; 7 +1s)Open 

If you haven't yet, do read the +Language Creation Society's amicus brief in +Paramount Pictures v. +Star Trek Axanar on #Klingon  copyright. Yes, I'm biased (I helped make it happen), but it legitimately is the funniest serious legal brief I have ever read. See http://conlang.org/axanar for background (& extensive press coverage).

Most plusones: 18

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2016-05-06 16:03:19 (0 comments; 2 reshares; 18 +1s)Open 

+Jason Koebler (of +VICE / +Motherboard) interviewed me, +qurgh lungqIj, & Sarah Jeong about the +Language Creation Society's amicus brief in +Paramount Pictures v. +Star Trek Axanar.

More press (including interviews w/ +David Peterson, +Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets, +George Corley, & +Marc Randazza) @ http://conlang.org/axanar/#press

Latest 50 posts

2016-05-27 23:46:16 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 2 +1s)Open 

If you are in the greater Boston area, and have an interest in helping with something fun & Just which has to be planned in secret over the next couple months, please let me know privately. If that sounds like someone you know, tell them to do so.

If you are in the greater Boston area, and have an interest in helping with something fun & Just which has to be planned in secret over the next couple months, please let me know privately. If that sounds like someone you know, tell them to do so.___

2016-05-25 23:04:46 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 1 +1s)Open 

See also comments on https://plus.google.com/u/0/+AndreasSchou/posts/9t8qA5th9At — please comment on one of those two, not here.

This is the most demonically clever computer security attack I've seen in years. It's a fabrication-time attack: that is, it's an attack which can be performed by someone who has access to the microchip fabrication facility, and it lets them insert a nearly undetectable backdoor into the chips themselves. (If you're wondering who might want to do such a thing, think "state-level actors")

The attack starts with a chip design which has already been routed -- i.e., it's gone from a high-level design in terms of registers and data, to a low-level design in terms of gates and transistors, all the way to a physical layout of how the wires and silicon will be laid out. But instead of adding a chunk of new circuitry (which would take up space), or modifying existing circuitry significantly (which could be detected), it adds nothing more than a single logic gate in a piece of empty space.

When a wire next to this booby-trap gate flips from off to on, the electromagnetic fields it emits add a little bit of charge to a capacitor inside the gate. If it just happens once, that charge bleeds off, and nothing happens. But if that wire is flipped on and off rapidly, it accumulates in the capacitor until it passes a threshold -- at which point it triggers that gate, which flips a target flip-flop (switch) inside the chip from off to on.

If you pick a wire which normally doesn't flip on and off rapidly, and you target a vulnerable switch -- say, the switch between user and supervisor mode -- then you have a modification to the chip which is too tiny to notice, which is invisible to all known forms of detection, and if you know the correct magic incantation (in software) to flip that wire rapidly, will suddenly give you supervisor-mode access to the chip. (Supervisor mode is the mode the heart of the operating system runs in; in this mode, you have access to all the computer's memory, rather than just to your own application's)

The authors of this paper came up with the idea and built an actual microchip with such a backdoor in it, using the open-source OR1200 chip as their target. I don't know if I want to guess how many three-letter agencies have already had the same idea, or what fraction of chips in the wild already have such a backdoor in them.

As +Andreas Schou said in his share, "Okay. That's it. I give up. Security is impossible."___See also comments on https://plus.google.com/u/0/+AndreasSchou/posts/9t8qA5th9At — please comment on one of those two, not here.

2016-05-25 23:02:42 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 8 +1s)Open 

See also comments on +Andreas Schou's post, https://plus.google.com/u/0/+AndreasSchou/posts/9t8qA5th9At — comment on either of those, please, not on mine.

This is the most demonically clever computer security attack I've seen in years. It's a fabrication-time attack: that is, it's an attack which can be performed by someone who has access to the microchip fabrication facility, and it lets them insert a nearly undetectable backdoor into the chips themselves. (If you're wondering who might want to do such a thing, think "state-level actors")

The attack starts with a chip design which has already been routed -- i.e., it's gone from a high-level design in terms of registers and data, to a low-level design in terms of gates and transistors, all the way to a physical layout of how the wires and silicon will be laid out. But instead of adding a chunk of new circuitry (which would take up space), or modifying existing circuitry significantly (which could be detected), it adds nothing more than a single logic gate in a piece of empty space.

When a wire next to this booby-trap gate flips from off to on, the electromagnetic fields it emits add a little bit of charge to a capacitor inside the gate. If it just happens once, that charge bleeds off, and nothing happens. But if that wire is flipped on and off rapidly, it accumulates in the capacitor until it passes a threshold -- at which point it triggers that gate, which flips a target flip-flop (switch) inside the chip from off to on.

If you pick a wire which normally doesn't flip on and off rapidly, and you target a vulnerable switch -- say, the switch between user and supervisor mode -- then you have a modification to the chip which is too tiny to notice, which is invisible to all known forms of detection, and if you know the correct magic incantation (in software) to flip that wire rapidly, will suddenly give you supervisor-mode access to the chip. (Supervisor mode is the mode the heart of the operating system runs in; in this mode, you have access to all the computer's memory, rather than just to your own application's)

The authors of this paper came up with the idea and built an actual microchip with such a backdoor in it, using the open-source OR1200 chip as their target. I don't know if I want to guess how many three-letter agencies have already had the same idea, or what fraction of chips in the wild already have such a backdoor in them.

As +Andreas Schou said in his share, "Okay. That's it. I give up. Security is impossible."___See also comments on +Andreas Schou's post, https://plus.google.com/u/0/+AndreasSchou/posts/9t8qA5th9At — comment on either of those, please, not on mine.

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2016-05-24 11:30:09 (1 comments; 0 reshares; 10 +1s)Open 

Quoth +Yonatan Zunger, on point: "A sadly accurate summary of why airport security in the US is increasingly tedious, yet persistently ineffective. The short version is: the TSA has all the wrong incentives, and especially its upper management has every reason to steadily do worse.

If you reward things like "total organizational headcount" and "didn't fail an audit," as opposed to the actual metrics you're trying to improve, like "make aircraft no longer a logistically useful target for terror attacks while minimizing total load on the system," you'll get people optimizing for the things you don't want them to. It's as simple as that."

"But that’s not how political and bureaucratic logic works. If the TSA loosens up its screening procedures to the point where almost everything gets through, the lines move -- but then there’s not really any point in having the TSA."___Quoth +Yonatan Zunger, on point: "A sadly accurate summary of why airport security in the US is increasingly tedious, yet persistently ineffective. The short version is: the TSA has all the wrong incentives, and especially its upper management has every reason to steadily do worse.

If you reward things like "total organizational headcount" and "didn't fail an audit," as opposed to the actual metrics you're trying to improve, like "make aircraft no longer a logistically useful target for terror attacks while minimizing total load on the system," you'll get people optimizing for the things you don't want them to. It's as simple as that."

2016-05-23 23:10:24 (6 comments; 0 reshares; 8 +1s)Open 

The +City of Cambridge +Cambridge Arts Council has a blatantly unconstitutional ordinance prohibiting anyone from "acting, singing, playing musical instruments, pantomime, juggling, magic, dancing, reading, puppetry, sidewalk art and reciting" (plus unspecified other things) in "public sidewalks, parks, playgrounds and other … pedestrian areas" without first getting a $40 permit.

I predict they'll be getting a nice letter in the near future telling them to revoke the ordinance or face litigation. :-)

The +City of Cambridge +Cambridge Arts Council has a blatantly unconstitutional ordinance prohibiting anyone from "acting, singing, playing musical instruments, pantomime, juggling, magic, dancing, reading, puppetry, sidewalk art and reciting" (plus unspecified other things) in "public sidewalks, parks, playgrounds and other … pedestrian areas" without first getting a $40 permit.

I predict they'll be getting a nice letter in the near future telling them to revoke the ordinance or face litigation. :-)___

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2016-05-23 15:32:20 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 2 +1s)Open 

… yes a school-desegregation opinion actually just issued, 50 years after SCOTUS settled the issue in Brown.

Here's the opinion, from Cowan et al v Bolivar County Board of Education, No. 2:65-CV-31-DMB (N.D. MS. May 13, 2016):
https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=9931804652275477331

… yes a school-desegregation opinion actually just issued, 50 years after SCOTUS settled the issue in Brown.

Here's the opinion, from Cowan et al v Bolivar County Board of Education, No. 2:65-CV-31-DMB (N.D. MS. May 13, 2016):
https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=9931804652275477331___

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2016-05-23 14:51:23 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 7 +1s)Open 

Update: I've asked the court to strike, stay, redact, compel provision of citations, & appoint interim counsel about this — basically, because the case was put on hold specifically to protect me from having to brief core issues of the case pro se. Most of TSA's "problems" with preserving evidence actually aren't (had they bothered consulting with me first), and the rest is their own fault for maintaining an entire body of secret law in violation of the APA.

motion: drive.google.com/file/d/0BzmetJxi-p0VOFhNVHBUMWtHakk
response: drive.google.com/file/d/0BzmetJxi-p0VX2JxMG1BcEtqZWc
reply: drive.google.com/file/d/0BzmetJxi-p0VejlxRTdVU3FkYzQ

TSA is really not happy with my having won an evidence preservation order from the 1st Circuit.___Update: I've asked the court to strike, stay, redact, compel provision of citations, & appoint interim counsel about this — basically, because the case was put on hold specifically to protect me from having to brief core issues of the case pro se. Most of TSA's "problems" with preserving evidence actually aren't (had they bothered consulting with me first), and the rest is their own fault for maintaining an entire body of secret law in violation of the APA.

motion: drive.google.com/file/d/0BzmetJxi-p0VOFhNVHBUMWtHakk
response: drive.google.com/file/d/0BzmetJxi-p0VX2JxMG1BcEtqZWc
reply: drive.google.com/file/d/0BzmetJxi-p0VejlxRTdVU3FkYzQ

2016-05-23 14:03:04 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 8 +1s)Open 

More progress! My proposals for changes to the federal rules are on the agenda for the June 6-7 Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure Meeting in D.C.

One portion of my proposal is now up for formal approval (& subsequent public comment) — the appellate committee approved striking the part of the appellate IFP affidavit that asks for an applicant's SSN last 4. See Tab 3A part C.

See 2016-06 tabs @ https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0BzmetJxi-p0VV01xTFExMC1XbU0&tid=0BzmetJxi-p0VLUFmYk1LRHdHU1U#list

My proposals are
a) 15-AP-E / 15-BK-I / 15-CR-D / 15-CV-EE (main proposal — same thing,
different committees)
b) 15-CV-GG (re. FRCP rules & forms stating notice pleading being invalid
post-Iqbal)

Just submitted this formally to the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.

If they approve, it'll be submitted for public comment. *

If you support my proposals, I would imagine that you could make it rather more likely that they would approve a draft by emailing Rules_Support@ao.uscourts.gov with your own position. (Please note that this is a formal process, you probably shouldn't comment unless you are making a formal legal or policy argument, and such comments may be made public.)

* http://www.uscourts.gov/rules-policies/about-rulemaking-process/how-suggest-change-rules-practice-and-procedure-and-forms
** http://www.uscourts.gov/rules-policies/proposed-amendments-published-public-comment


Dear Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure -

I hereby propose the following four changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.


1. FRCP 5.2: amend (a)(1) to read as follows:
(1) any part of the social-security number and taxpayer-identification number

The last four digits of an SSN, prior to a recent change by the SSA, is the only part that is random. The first digits can be strongly derived from knowing the person's place and date of birth.

Disclosure of the last four digits of an SSN effectively gives away all of the private information, serves no public purpose in understanding the litigation, and should therefore be sealed by default (absent a court order to the contrary, as already provided for by FRCP 5.2).

See, e.g.:
Alessandro Acquisti and Ralph Gross, Predicting Social Security numbers from public data, DOI 10.1073/pnas.0904891106, PNAS July 7, 2009 vol. 106 no. 27 10975­10980 and supplement
https://www.pnas.org/content/106/27/10975.full.pdf
http://www.heinz.cmu.edu/~acquisti/ssnstudy/

EPIC: Social Security Numbers (Nov. 13, 2014)
https://epic.org/privacy/ssn/

Latanya Sweeney, SSNwatch, Harvard Data Privacy Lab; see also demo
http://latanyasweeney.org/work/ssnwatch.html
http://dataprivacylab.org/dataprivacy/projects/ssnwatch/index.html


2. FRCP 5.2: add a new paragraph, to read as follows:

(i) Any affidavit made in support of a motion under 28 U.S.C. 1915 or 18 U.S.C. 3006A shall be filed under seal and reviewed ex parte. Upon a motion showing good cause, notice to the affiant and all others whose information is to be disclosed, and opportunity for the same to contest the motion, the court may order that such affidavits be
(1) disclosed to other parties under an appropriate protective order; or
(2) unsealed in appropriately redacted form.

For extensive argument, please see the petition and amicus briefs in my petition for certiorari regarding this issue: http://s.ai/ifp


3. Add new rule 7.2, matching that of S.D. & E.D. NY:

Rule 7.2. Authorities to Be Provided to Pro Se Litigants
In cases involving a pro se litigant, counsel shall, when serving a memorandum of law (or other submissions to the Court), provide the pro se litigant (but not other counsel or the Court) with copies of cases and other authorities cited therein that are unpublished or reported exclusively on computerized databases. Upon request, counsel shall provide the pro se litigant with copies of such unpublished cases and other authorities as are cited in a decision of the Court and were not previously cited by any party.

See:
Local Civil Rule of the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York 7.2
Lebron v. Sanders, 557 F.3d 76 (2d Cir. 2009)


4. Add new subparagraph to rule 5(d)(3):
(1) A court may not require a pro se litigant to file any paper by non-electronic means solely because of the litigant's pro se status.

Pro se litigants should still be permitted (not required) to file by paper, to ensure that those without access to CM/ECF or familiarity with adequate technology have access to the courts.

Pro se litigants may of course be required to register with CM/ECF in the same manner as an attorney, including signing appropriate declarations or passing the same CM/ECF training or testing required of attorneys.

However, courts should not prohibit pro se litigants from having CM/ECF access where represented parties would have it. Doing so imposes a disparate burden of time, expense, effort, processing delays, reduction in the visual quality of papers due to printing and scanning, removal of hyperlinks in papers, and reduction in ADA / Rehab Act accessibility.


I request to be notified by email of any progress related to the four changes I have proposed above.

Respectfully submitted,
/s/ Sai


ETA:
I further request parallel changes to the non-civil rules, and defer to the Committee on how to mirror them appropriately, as I am only familiar with the civil rules.

In particular, I note an error in my draft below for proposal #2: 18 U.S.C. 3006A (the Criminal Justice Act) would of course come under the FRCrP, not the FRCvP, so the FRCvP rule should refer only to 28 U.S.C. 1915 (the IFP statute).

ETA 2: Progress! The rules committee is considering my proposals.

See https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0BzmetJxi-p0VV01xTFExMC1XbU0&tid=0BzmetJxi-p0VLUFmYk1LRHdHU1U#list :
2015-10-appellate-agenda-book_0 - tab 12A - 15-AP-E
2015-11-civil-agenda_book - tab 11E - 15-CV-EE
2016-01-standing-agenda-book - draft appellate advisory minutes 2015-10-29 - 15-AP-E
2016-01-standing-agenda-book - draft civil advisory minutes 2015-11-05 - 15-CV-EE___More progress! My proposals for changes to the federal rules are on the agenda for the June 6-7 Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure Meeting in D.C.

One portion of my proposal is now up for formal approval (& subsequent public comment) — the appellate committee approved striking the part of the appellate IFP affidavit that asks for an applicant's SSN last 4. See Tab 3A part C.

See 2016-06 tabs @ https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0BzmetJxi-p0VV01xTFExMC1XbU0&tid=0BzmetJxi-p0VLUFmYk1LRHdHU1U#list

My proposals are
a) 15-AP-E / 15-BK-I / 15-CR-D / 15-CV-EE (main proposal — same thing,
different committees)
b) 15-CV-GG (re. FRCP rules & forms stating notice pleading being invalid
post-Iqbal)

2016-05-23 13:55:47 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 5 +1s)Open 

Updates: 1. 1st Cir. denied* the petition for initial hearing en banc … but said that they're going to let it go ahead for panel briefing anyway, because there's a major circuit split on the jurisdictional question.

(The jurisdictional question is "can you appeal a district court denial of counsel before waiting for the case to end". We think yes, their precedent says no. If no, they can't even hear the argument about IFP privacy. See s.ai/tsa/legal/ifp for the circuit split cases pro/con.)

This is a very good sign. It implies that at least some of them think that maybe their precedent about this is either wrong or inapplicable to my situation — and also, my lawyers get to actually brief the underlying privacy issue to the 1st Cir.

It's not quite as good as if they had actually granted an initial en banc hearing, but that's extremelyrar... more »

Today, my pro bono lawyers filed simultaneous petitions for initial hearing en banc for my IFP affidavit privacy cases in the D.C. & 1st Circuits: https://s.ai/tsa/legal/ifp

Unlike the 3rd, 5th, 8th, 9th, & Federal Circuits, the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 6th, 7th, 10th, 11th, & D.C. Circuits have previously held* that a denial of counsel is not immediately appealable (under the Cohen "collateral order" doctrine).

In other words, under the 1st & DC Circuits' view, if you're denied a lawyer, you have to prosecute the case yourself… and after it's finished you can ask the appeals court to look back and see whether you should've gotten a lawyer in the first place. If you've preserved the issue properly — and if you don't know what that means, chances are you haven't. And if it turns out that actually you should've had a lawyer all along, then evidently you go back to the beginning… i.e. the point where other courts say you should've been able to ask for an appeal about it in the first place.

However, because a panel doesn't have the authority to overrule a previous circuit court decision, and it's a more or less direct conflict, we have to ask the circuits to hear the case en banc. En banc review, let alone initial en banc review specifically to overturn a wrongly decided case, is very rarely granted.

If the petition for en banc hearing is denied, the next step is most likely going back to the Supreme Court to try to resolve the conflict between the circuits about when you can appeal a denial of counsel.

Only after they resolve the question of whether or not they can even hear the issue do we get to ask the 1st & D.C. circuits whether or not I can file for IFP status with my financial affidavit under seal and ex parte.

And after that — if I win both issues — then I can finally ask the district court to give me a lawyer without having to make my finances public record.

When you hear someone say about a poor civil rights plaintiff that if the case was really worthwhile, they'd have gotten a lawyer appointed… this is how much effort I have to go through to do so (without waiving my right to privacy).

The idea that a "normal" poor, pro se plaintiff would be able to do this is simply absurd.

Fortunately, I'm pretty privileged for a poor person. Hopefully this sets nationwide precedent, so that others don't have to go through all this ever again.

* See https://s.ai/tsa/legal/ifp

For the full argument, please see the briefs my lawyers wrote. The one attached here is the D.C. one, but they're nearly identical.___Updates: 1. 1st Cir. denied* the petition for initial hearing en banc … but said that they're going to let it go ahead for panel briefing anyway, because there's a major circuit split on the jurisdictional question.

(The jurisdictional question is "can you appeal a district court denial of counsel before waiting for the case to end". We think yes, their precedent says no. If no, they can't even hear the argument about IFP privacy. See s.ai/tsa/legal/ifp for the circuit split cases pro/con.)

This is a very good sign. It implies that at least some of them think that maybe their precedent about this is either wrong or inapplicable to my situation — and also, my lawyers get to actually brief the underlying privacy issue to the 1st Cir.

It's not quite as good as if they had actually granted an initial en banc hearing, but that's extremely rare.

Note that the 1st Cir. is also where my pro se case against the entire body of secret TSA law is pending. See s.ai/tsa/legal/46110 (just updated).

It's currently on pause (abeyed) because of this IFP privacy issue. Basically, I want a lawyer for the 46110 case — but to get a lawyer I (mostly) have to be IFP. To file for IFP, I would have to be allowed to have my affidavit under seal / ex parte, because I refuse to give up my constitutional right to privacy as a cost of access to the court.

Yay complex litigation. :-)


2. D.C. Cir. also denied initial hearing… but still hasn't ruled on the order to show cause re jurisdiction.

So technically, it's still pending. It's been >3 months, which is unusually long; if they were going to deny for jurisdiction, they could've done so by now. No way to really know why. For now we have to just wait.

* https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzmetJxi-p0VZG9rRTlTYm1vclk/view

posted image

2016-05-22 00:07:45 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 1 +1s)Open 

___

posted image

2016-05-21 19:01:38 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 12 +1s)Open 

Ruth Coker Burks is practically a saint. And the parents of her patients are … not worthy of the word parent. I'm not sure what TW could be adequate for people being utterly horrible to people dying of AIDS, but … that.

See also: https://www.gofundme.com/RuthCokerBurks

Ruth Coker Burks is practically a saint. And the parents of her patients are … not worthy of the word parent. I'm not sure what TW could be adequate for people being utterly horrible to people dying of AIDS, but … that.

See also: https://www.gofundme.com/RuthCokerBurks___

2016-05-20 07:38:09 (15 comments; 0 reshares; 1 +1s)Open 

Googlers: How can I link to a G+ search limited to a specific author (e.g. me)?

I can search by that in a limited way — e.g. https://plus.google.com/s/ice%20cream -> "more" -> "from you" (but no "from X"). However, it doesn't give me a link that would work for others. Nor is there (AFAICT) something like https://plus.google.com/+saizai/s/ice%20cream.

Googlers: How can I link to a G+ search limited to a specific author (e.g. me)?

I can search by that in a limited way — e.g. https://plus.google.com/s/ice%20cream -> "more" -> "from you" (but no "from X"). However, it doesn't give me a link that would work for others. Nor is there (AFAICT) something like https://plus.google.com/+saizai/s/ice%20cream.___

posted image

2016-05-20 06:44:04 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 5 +1s)Open 

Something I did not know: at the Statue of Liberty's feet are broken chains, and in the original design of the statue, she did not hold a book in her left hand, but rather the chains she had shattered.

Edouard de Laboulaye and Frédéric Batholdi, the two men behind the statue, were fervent abolitionists, and the initial impetus for the statue was the ratification of the 13th Amendment.

The final design of the statue, in which the chains are visible only from a helicopter, was the result of strong objections from the project's American backers, upon whom de Laboulaye and Batholdi were relying to fund the pedestal and the site; they wanted no mentions of slavery. In 1885-6, the United States was fully in the throes of "reconciliation," the process of the official forgetting of pre-War history, the rehabilitation of the political image of the South, and thef... more »

Something I did not know: at the Statue of Liberty's feet are broken chains, and in the original design of the statue, she did not hold a book in her left hand, but rather the chains she had shattered.

Edouard de Laboulaye and Frédéric Batholdi, the two men behind the statue, were fervent abolitionists, and the initial impetus for the statue was the ratification of the 13th Amendment.

The final design of the statue, in which the chains are visible only from a helicopter, was the result of strong objections from the project's American backers, upon whom de Laboulaye and Batholdi were relying to fund the pedestal and the site; they wanted no mentions of slavery. In 1885-6, the United States was fully in the throes of "reconciliation," the process of the official forgetting of pre-War history, the rehabilitation of the political image of the South, and the formalization of the "New Slavery" system in both North and South which was to prove so immensely profitable. Such a public decree of slavery as an evil, and the antithesis of liberty, would have been an entirely unwanted political problem to those who wanted the country to "just get over it."

The chains remained virtually unknown until recently, with even the National Park Service not mentioning their existence in its publications. Ordinary tourists never saw them; thanks to the steep angle of the plinth, they're completely invisible from the ground. It was only in 2011 that (for reasons not fully clear) this changed, and the USNPS now discusses this history at length on its site.

Via +Ralf Haring and +Peter da Silva.___

2016-05-20 00:49:35 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 4 +1s)Open 

This ability

I once felt the sun as a warmth;
my skin tingled at the touch,
curled up in grass so soft…
pure shearing pain.

I once crested hills at the dawn
below me vast greens and space
so wide, so old, so magic…
two sticks to grocer's.

I once cooked some strange, tasty foods
inspiration from nowhere
plum vinegar ice cream…
no spoons to eat.

I once spoke so eloquently
on any topic to mind
be law, or art, or newspiece…
my signs aren't known.

I once knew as first we touched eyes
that you, too, reflected
emotions purest felt…
mere silence — gone.

I once walked down sanctum inside
with its glade, cat, and stream
rest there, away from death…
three graves — two mine.

I once wrote as if poetry
would just form verse fromthought
ch... more »

This ability

I once felt the sun as a warmth;
my skin tingled at the touch,
curled up in grass so soft…
pure shearing pain.

I once crested hills at the dawn
below me vast greens and space
so wide, so old, so magic…
two sticks to grocer's.

I once cooked some strange, tasty foods
inspiration from nowhere
plum vinegar ice cream…
no spoons to eat.

I once spoke so eloquently
on any topic to mind
be law, or art, or newspiece…
my signs aren't known.

I once knew as first we touched eyes
that you, too, reflected
emotions purest felt…
mere silence — gone.

I once walked down sanctum inside
with its glade, cat, and stream
rest there, away from death…
three graves — two mine.

I once wrote as if poetry
would just form verse from thought
chip off the words unwanted…
this, too, has passed.___

2016-05-19 10:53:13 (28 comments; 0 reshares; 5 +1s)Open 

Serious question: what are the chances (& likely outcomes) of the Republican establishment letting Trump have "the Republican Party", and going off to make a separate party (<insert Monty Python sketch>) — taking all their toys etc with them and running as a "major third" party, so that they get their dignity (partially) & Trump is the de facto "minor third" (a.k.a. "pre-split Republcan") party candidate? (<insert music joke>)

This seems like something they could still pull off if they get their act together quick enough, admit that they've been subjected to a successful hostile takeover, and react while they still have the power to perform a corporate inversion.

Serious question: what are the chances (& likely outcomes) of the Republican establishment letting Trump have "the Republican Party", and going off to make a separate party (<insert Monty Python sketch>) — taking all their toys etc with them and running as a "major third" party, so that they get their dignity (partially) & Trump is the de facto "minor third" (a.k.a. "pre-split Republcan") party candidate? (<insert music joke>)

This seems like something they could still pull off if they get their act together quick enough, admit that they've been subjected to a successful hostile takeover, and react while they still have the power to perform a corporate inversion.___

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2016-05-19 01:14:21 (15 comments; 0 reshares; 10 +1s)Open 

So… remember how I said that finally TSA had agreed how much they have to pay me? Well, now they want the court to not actually make them have to pay me what the court said I had won. See their opp. below for their "reasons", & the emails for what we actually negotiated. We'll see how the judge reacts.

Stipulation drive.google.com/file/d/0BzmetJxi-p0VM3I3eE9YTmNQSVU/view
Motion drive.google.com/file/d/0BzmetJxi-p0VTzNWbXZYQVBjWkE/view
Opposition drive.google.com/file/d/0BzmetJxi-p0VdXFscFhYOWRhSG8/view
Reply drive.google.com/file/d/0BzmetJxi-p0VS3dtWjEtbzBjME0/view
Emails drive.google.com/file/d/0BzmetJxi-p0VS2UyT3VhQVNramM/view

Etc. drive.google.com/folderview?id=0BzmetJxi-p0VS1RDTkZfZHRrdmM&tid=0BzmetJxi-p0VLUFmYk1LRHdHU1U#list
https://s.ai/tsa/legal/rehab_act

So… remember how I said that finally TSA had agreed how much they have to pay me? Well, now they want the court to not actually make them have to pay me what the court said I had won. See their opp. below for their "reasons", & the emails for what we actually negotiated. We'll see how the judge reacts.

Stipulation drive.google.com/file/d/0BzmetJxi-p0VM3I3eE9YTmNQSVU/view
Motion drive.google.com/file/d/0BzmetJxi-p0VTzNWbXZYQVBjWkE/view
Opposition drive.google.com/file/d/0BzmetJxi-p0VdXFscFhYOWRhSG8/view
Reply drive.google.com/file/d/0BzmetJxi-p0VS3dtWjEtbzBjME0/view
Emails drive.google.com/file/d/0BzmetJxi-p0VS2UyT3VhQVNramM/view

Etc. drive.google.com/folderview?id=0BzmetJxi-p0VS1RDTkZfZHRrdmM&tid=0BzmetJxi-p0VLUFmYk1LRHdHU1U#list
https://s.ai/tsa/legal/rehab_act___

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2016-05-18 15:12:49 (2 comments; 1 reshares; 3 +1s)Open 

___

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2016-05-17 21:18:09 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 1 +1s)Open 

Comment on OP. I haven't the energy to moderate.

Sanders lost the Nevada caucuses.

Sanders supporters, guided by the campaign, played the county delegate selection process to appoint more delegates than the caucus votes would entitle them to. Many of the delegates who were selected didn't show up to the state convention; some of the rest were, as it turns out, not Nevada residents or party members. They were kicked out by a party with equal representation for the Sanders and Clinton camps.

Then, when the Sanders supporters arrived, they objected to the rules. The rules were posted in April. Sanders supporters didn't read them. Or understand what they meant.

On the floor of the convention, they attempted to strike the rules related to decorum. They failed to do so. They then started screaming misogynistic insults and throwing chairs. I don't mean that metaphorically: they were literally throwing chairs. They couldn't get the floor under control, so the police closed down the convention.

Then the threats began. Not just threats against the chair of the convention: death threats against her children and grandchildren. Similarly full of misogynistic insults.

These aren't disputed facts. These are actual things which were recorded.

And Sanders does what?
___Comment on OP. I haven't the energy to moderate.

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2016-05-17 15:07:34 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 10 +1s)Open 

It's nice how Chris Matthews on +Hardball very directly tries to pin down his anti-trans guest Travis Weber on what bathroom his other guest +Jennifer Boylan should go to (n.b. she's a trans woman).

The closest Weber gave to cogent answer is that he thinks Boylan should go to a single-person bathroom, which might not be available. He never admitted that she should go to a "male" bathroom, though that's what it says in the law he's defending. Making it personal like this is, I think, an excellent counter to abstract fear-mongering.

Note recent DoJ guidance on this:
https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/us-departments-justice-and-education-release-joint-guidance-help-schools-ensure-civil-rights

See previously:
https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/attorney-general-holder-directs-department-include-gender-identity-under-sex-discrimination

h/tS... more »

It's nice how Chris Matthews on +Hardball very directly tries to pin down his anti-trans guest Travis Weber on what bathroom his other guest +Jennifer Boylan should go to (n.b. she's a trans woman).

The closest Weber gave to cogent answer is that he thinks Boylan should go to a single-person bathroom, which might not be available. He never admitted that she should go to a "male" bathroom, though that's what it says in the law he's defending. Making it personal like this is, I think, an excellent counter to abstract fear-mongering.

Note recent DoJ guidance on this:
https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/us-departments-justice-and-education-release-joint-guidance-help-schools-ensure-civil-rights

See previously:
https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/attorney-general-holder-directs-department-include-gender-identity-under-sex-discrimination

h/t Savage Lovecast #499___

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2016-05-17 11:09:41 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 0 +1s)Open 

Here's a playlist of all Hamilton parodies I've found on YouTube.

If you want to help collaborate & add more, here's the auth link:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLfijmJ80Ezes8tRd8jDkBaOk63BhypfTL&jct=sNh0oFTT6EpMuhPjk_wxwsd5p4nbjA

I've also set it to auto-add videos with the term "hamilton parody".

Since I may have to deactivate that link if it's abused, if you want to stay a collaborator, please LMK in comments. Please also LMK if there's anything on the list that oughtn't be.

Here's a playlist of all Hamilton parodies I've found on YouTube.

If you want to help collaborate & add more, here's the auth link:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLfijmJ80Ezes8tRd8jDkBaOk63BhypfTL&jct=sNh0oFTT6EpMuhPjk_wxwsd5p4nbjA

I've also set it to auto-add videos with the term "hamilton parody".

Since I may have to deactivate that link if it's abused, if you want to stay a collaborator, please LMK in comments. Please also LMK if there's anything on the list that oughtn't be.___

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2016-05-17 10:21:05 (0 comments; 2 reshares; 3 +1s)Open 

Whee, patter songs.

Whee, patter songs.___

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2016-05-17 09:02:22 (2 comments; 1 reshares; 5 +1s)Open 

There are a lot of things you don't realize are unusual until you step outside of them for a while.

The article below is by +Brad Templeton, and his experience of being questioned by the FBI for taking a photo of the Sun. (His camera was apparently pointed in a direction which could have also caught a Federal building, although the building wasn't marked as such) If you live in the US, you're probably nodding your head and thinking that "yes, that's about what you should expect" – whether your second thought is "and that's horrifying" or "the government has to protect its buildings."

A few years ago, I was in Tel Aviv, and was carrying my camera, having spent some time photographing the city. My cousin (a professor of political science) and I were talking as we went to a meeting she had with some government official she wasin... more »

There are a lot of things you don't realize are unusual until you step outside of them for a while.

The article below is by +Brad Templeton, and his experience of being questioned by the FBI for taking a photo of the Sun. (His camera was apparently pointed in a direction which could have also caught a Federal building, although the building wasn't marked as such) If you live in the US, you're probably nodding your head and thinking that "yes, that's about what you should expect" – whether your second thought is "and that's horrifying" or "the government has to protect its buildings."

A few years ago, I was in Tel Aviv, and was carrying my camera, having spent some time photographing the city. My cousin (a professor of political science) and I were talking as we went to a meeting she had with some government official she was interviewing at a Ministry of Defense building. When I realized that we were right next to the building, I said "Oh, shit!" and hurriedly put my camera away. She was completely confused; why was I doing this?

It was only when she didn't understand at all that I realized how the behavior that I'm completely used to – that having a camera out in the vicinity of a government building (a military one, at that!) would be taken as such an open provocation that I would be almost certainly detained and the camera seized, if I was lucky – is neither historically normal in the US, nor is it common in the rest of the world. Even in Israel, a country that has good reason to have an extremely alert security posture, it had never occurred to anyone that possession of a camera in the vicinity of a government building should draw an immediate armed response.

The rest of that trip was a similar exercise in noticing small differences. Re-entering the United States was another one; surrounded by signs warning you not to attempt to use a phone or photograph anything, you are moved through passport control, screens playing videos about the various crimes you are warned not to commit. At the end you show papers, and are fingerprinted, photographed, and interrogated. (This is what they did for citizens; I can't imagine what the non-citizens line was like) All the officials present, from the people inspecting papers to the people moving people about through the line, were overtly hostile; after the INS/DHS merger, USCIS clearly viewed its primary mission as preventing people from entering the country.

Not all of it has to do with "national security;" consider how children are allowed to play. In the US, they need to be monitored 24/7; playing in the front yard, much less going to the park on their own, is a sign of possibly criminal neglect. As a child in the US, I would go all over the neighborhood when playing; in Israel, my friends and I would roam over a good mile's radius, and my mother would routinely send seven-year-old me to the grocery store to pick things up.

When in the US for any length of time, this entire situation seems perfectly normal, and people wonder what I'm complaining about. And that's the thing: it had been feeling perfectly normal to me as well, until being out of the country for a few weeks reminded me that not only do other places not do this, but until recently, the US didn't, either.

Brad Templeton now has a police record, and any future investigations that touch on him will turn up that he was questioned for suspicious photography (and maybe more) of a government building. The fact that he has only this, and wasn't arrested or imprisoned, is largely because he looks like a respectable, white, professor.

I would ask when we started considering this "normal," but we all know the answer to that: after 9/11, when "security" became the watchword which would trump any question of legality or constitutionality. What worries me is that, fifteen years later, we are entering a world where there are adults with no memory of any other world. How do you move a world towards freedoms that nobody remembers, or argue against safety measures that "everybody knows" are required, since they've always been there?___

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2016-05-15 20:05:11 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 11 +1s)Open 

The United States has been at war continuously since 2001, and by most metrics, this is the longest war in our history – with no signs of ending anytime soon. But it's a profoundly different kind of war experience for several reasons, and this article (almost accidentally) gives an interesting perspective on that.

"The president has tried to reconcile these truths by approaching his wars in narrow terms, as a chronic but manageable security challenge rather than as an all-consuming national campaign."

This, I think, is a key insight: we are experiencing war now as a chronic, rather than acute, phenomenon. Several things have enabled this. First is the fact that the wars we have been fighting in the past decades (with the exception of some idiotic bungling in Iraq in 2003) have not been wars against specific foes with concrete objectives; rather, they have beenlo... more »

The United States has been at war continuously since 2001, and by most metrics, this is the longest war in our history – with no signs of ending anytime soon. But it's a profoundly different kind of war experience for several reasons, and this article (almost accidentally) gives an interesting perspective on that.

"The president has tried to reconcile these truths by approaching his wars in narrow terms, as a chronic but manageable security challenge rather than as an all-consuming national campaign."

This, I think, is a key insight: we are experiencing war now as a chronic, rather than acute, phenomenon. Several things have enabled this. First is the fact that the wars we have been fighting in the past decades (with the exception of some idiotic bungling in Iraq in 2003) have not been wars against specific foes with concrete objectives; rather, they have been long-term holding actions against whoever happens to be fighting our troops, be it al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, arbitrary sides of a chaotic civil war in Iraq, or ISIS in the wreckage of Iraq and Syria. The very name "War on Terror" indicates its infinite duration; having no particular enemies, it can have no clear goals.

Second is a combination of changes which mean that wars can be operated without requiring the full commitment of US resources – most importantly, that perpetually scarce resource of political attention. The most important change was probably the elimination of the draft; in an all-volunteer force, membership in the military is highly socially separated, so that you either know a lot of people in the military or you know none. As military families tend to come from political "outsider" classes, this makes it very easy to go on sending troops and never having this be front and center in the press. (And it also makes it very easy to ignore the costs of war on these families, or to not talk about what properly funding the VA would look like)

Another such technology has been the increasing rise in asymmetric warfare on our part, especially the use of armed drones in areas like Yemen. Bombing raids against semi-military targets (typically individuals who mission planners have concluded are military targets, but who are living and targeted within a civilian environment) are routine, but highly classified and so never discussed. Even without classification, the press has generally shied away from any mention of it; so when American weapons were used by Saudi proxies to kill nearly 100 people at a market in Yemen in March, nearly the entire European-language press, from Fox News to the BBC, said nothing.*

This creates a deadly form of blindness: the Arabic and Farsi-language press most certainly did cover this, just as they cover all such stories. You can imagine how our outcry would be if a foreign country bombed a shopping mall and our government were powerless to react; outcry over there was no smaller, and for the same reason. But because the press never discusses these matters, we find ourselves shocked and surprised when we are attacked.

"Why do they hate us?," one facile article after another writes; if it's from a left-wing newspaper, it's because of our cultural imperialism, and if it's from a right-wing newspaper, it's because of our freedom, and both smack of pompous self-justification: "it's because we're so damned powerful and great." The suggestion that, just maybe, people in these countries aren't particularly different from us, and the things that upset them are things which are actually pretty upsetting, almost never gets aired.


You may think that this is an anti-war article. Actually, it's not.

The fact is that chronic warfare is the rule in human history, not the exception. Giant set-piece wars like those of the 19th and 20th centuries are (thankfully) the anomalies. The wars we are seeing now are the chronic consequence of the ultimate limitation of resources. There is good reason to believe that some of them, at least, are reasonable choices: for example, ISIS is determined to be a bloodthirsty, expansionist force, and any solution to the longer-term problems of the region almost certainly will need to begin with their military defeat.

What this article is against is blindness. We cannot fight chronic wars for the rest of American history without being aware of what we are fighting, how we are fighting, and why we are fighting it. Our tactical decisions today in Yemen – to contain a politically unstable area in which groups like al-Qaeda may form a powerful foothold with a combination of continuous (highly classified) drone strikes from bases in Africa and the funding, quasi-managing, and arming of Saudi proxy forces, as a way to avoid the costs of a direct on-the-ground military intervention there – are not obvious and will have serious long-term consequences for the future. The children growing up in Yemen today will not see Americans as heroes; they will see them as monsters, an unknowable enemy which blows people up out of a clear blue sky for reasons nobody understands. Is this the right choice of costs and benefits? Are there other ways we could approach this problem which would be wiser?

Or take our military deployments. While we're no longer in quite as much chaos as in the mid-2000's, where stop-loss orders and blue-green rotations were feeding every available service member into the Middle East for years on end, the way we're fighting these chronic wars has led to a profound change in the nature of military life, and especially of family life for soldiers. What support systems do we need to be offering? Does it make sense to turn soldiering into a specialized field, the province of just a subset of the population, or does the nature of war (and of the political decisions that come with it) require that we share this across all of society to avoid either going to war foolishly or having a military elite take over?

I think that this article's appraisal of warfare as a chronic condition is a very astute one, and it's one worth considering seriously. Chronic and acute conditions are managed very differently. With medical conditions, the objective is no longer to end the condition (which is not generally possible), but to live as healthy and meaningful a life as possible in its presence. With political conditions, the options are no different – and a decision to "manage" the condition by a process of willful ignorance is a profoundly terrible one. We cannot allow the ordinariness and continuity of war to make it invisible to us, any more than one could manage diabetes by deciding not to think about it.

* You can see one of the few English-language coverages of this at The Intercept, which ran an excellent and well-researched story: https://theintercept.com/2016/04/07/u-s-bombs-were-used-in-saudi-led-attack-on-market-in-yemen-rights-group-finds/___

2016-05-15 18:02:20 (4 comments; 0 reshares; 5 +1s)Open 

What are good metrics on law school quality of instruction? IDGAF re biglaw opportunities, but do care re clerk/judge opportunities as well as litigation & intellectual preparation. I'm concerned that the cost of a school like W&M (or higher ranking) may not be merited by quality alone. Thoughts?

What are good metrics on law school quality of instruction? IDGAF re biglaw opportunities, but do care re clerk/judge opportunities as well as litigation & intellectual preparation. I'm concerned that the cost of a school like W&M (or higher ranking) may not be merited by quality alone. Thoughts?___

2016-05-12 11:43:56 (28 comments; 0 reshares; 12 +1s)Open 

Me: <goes to GP> My last specialty neurologist said I should see sub-specialist Dr. X. Could you please refer me? <shows letter from fancy specialty neurologist>
GP: We can't refer you to Dr. X specifically. But we'll refer you to their clinic. <gives referral>
Me: <goes to NHS for referral, gets told that there are no appointments available but at some point they'll call me back>
<months pass, heard nothing>
<calls up NHS>
NHS: We have no idea. Call the neurology clinic. <gives #>
Me: <calls clinic> So what's up with that referral?
Clinic: Oh, we booked that for you for July. It's with Dr. Y.
Me: Um… why didn't you tell me? Why Y not X?
Clinic: No idea. Try this other number. <gives other #>
Me: <calls 2nd clinic #> So what's up with that referral?
Clinic: Oh, webo... more »

Me: <goes to GP> My last specialty neurologist said I should see sub-specialist Dr. X. Could you please refer me? <shows letter from fancy specialty neurologist>
GP: We can't refer you to Dr. X specifically. But we'll refer you to their clinic. <gives referral>
Me: <goes to NHS for referral, gets told that there are no appointments available but at some point they'll call me back>
<months pass, heard nothing>
<calls up NHS>
NHS: We have no idea. Call the neurology clinic. <gives #>
Me: <calls clinic> So what's up with that referral?
Clinic: Oh, we booked that for you for July. It's with Dr. Y.
Me: Um… why didn't you tell me? Why Y not X?
Clinic: No idea. Try this other number. <gives other #>
Me: <calls 2nd clinic #> So what's up with that referral?
Clinic: Oh, we booked that for you for July. It's with Dr. Y.
Me: Um… why didn't you tell me? Why Y not X?
Clinic: It was mailed to you a month ago. And we can't assign you to X, because your GP didn't tell us to.
Me: My GP said he couldn't. So you're saying he can?
Clinic: Of course. He just has to say so in the referral.
Me: <calls GP> The clinic said they just want you to put Dr X's name in the referral notes. Could you please do that? I'm concerned that if I have to see Y first, and then Y refers me to X, it'll take another few months, by which point I won't even be here any more.
GP: No.
Me: … why?
GP: Not allowed to, and our system can't handle that.
Me: Could you call the clinic to help things?
GP: No.
Me: … Well, thanks for "trying".
<calls back clinic>
I just talked with my GP, and told him what you told me, but he says he can't. Could you please talk to him, or switch me from Y to X?
Clinic: We can't switch it once it's been referred. Your GP has to tell us to send you to X.
Me: … but he didn't refer me to X because he says he can't. I'm concerned that if I have to see Y first, and then Y refers me to X, it'll take another few months, by which point I won't even be here any more.
Clinic: Please hold.
Me: <waits 20 minutes>
Clinic: We can't switch it once it's been referred. Your GP has to tell us to send you to X.
Me: Could you please call my GP and tell him that you are in fact willing to send me to X if he just tells you so?
Clinic: No.
Me: Could you give me something in writing saying you are willing to do so, so I can show it to my GP?
Clinic: No.
Me: So… what exactly am I supposed to do to fix this?
Clinic: Not our problem. Talk to your GP.
Me: … Well, thanks for "trying".


\o/ jobsworths.

Where do I even file a complaint, when neither side is willing to take any responsibility for basic communication with each other, and both claim it's the other side's fault?___

2016-05-12 07:30:37 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 5 +1s)Open 

+Alex Fink, discussing a linguistics question: "I grant you that it's not obvious, but it is." #outofcontext

+Alex Fink, discussing a linguistics question: "I grant you that it's not obvious, but it is." #outofcontext___

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2016-05-11 20:39:26 (2 comments; 1 reshares; 5 +1s)Open 

This is a hilariously awesome way of coming out as trans. \m/

For the serious version, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDAKBzFFa6U

This is a hilariously awesome way of coming out as trans. \m/

For the serious version, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDAKBzFFa6U___

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2016-05-11 18:27:00 (7 comments; 1 reshares; 4 +1s)Open 

___

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2016-05-11 18:14:19 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 7 +1s)Open 

Finally reached stipulation w/ TSA on the court's order (scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=15200843811748394798) that they pay my costs of suing them (s.ai/tsa/legal/rehab_act). So I'll get a $600 check at some point.

That's actual costs only. I don't get a cent for my time, because SCOTUS (in Kay v Ehrler) said Congress meant the "Equal Access to Justice Act" to not let pro se plaintiffs get paid for their work, even if we win against an agency violating the law. Yay, "justice".

Finally reached stipulation w/ TSA on the court's order (scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=15200843811748394798) that they pay my costs of suing them (s.ai/tsa/legal/rehab_act). So I'll get a $600 check at some point.

That's actual costs only. I don't get a cent for my time, because SCOTUS (in Kay v Ehrler) said Congress meant the "Equal Access to Justice Act" to not let pro se plaintiffs get paid for their work, even if we win against an agency violating the law. Yay, "justice".___

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2016-05-11 10:22:04 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 3 +1s)Open 

We just recently rolled out a new section of My Account - a list of the accounts you've blocked.

No more jumping through hoops to find someone if you need to unblock them, or to check if you already have someone blocked. Just visit https://myaccount.google.com and click on "Your personal info" -> "Blocked users" to open the list.

Want to unblock someone? Find them in the list and click the 'X' next to their name.

Note that you can't create blocks from My Account. New blocks are created in the products where you interact with people. This helps avoid blocking the wrong account: as it turns out there are a lot of people with similar names out there. We put the 'create block' option in places like G+ post menus or Hangouts conversation options so you know exactly who you'll be blocking.

We just recently rolled out a new section of My Account - a list of the accounts you've blocked.

No more jumping through hoops to find someone if you need to unblock them, or to check if you already have someone blocked. Just visit https://myaccount.google.com and click on "Your personal info" -> "Blocked users" to open the list.

Want to unblock someone? Find them in the list and click the 'X' next to their name.

Note that you can't create blocks from My Account. New blocks are created in the products where you interact with people. This helps avoid blocking the wrong account: as it turns out there are a lot of people with similar names out there. We put the 'create block' option in places like G+ post menus or Hangouts conversation options so you know exactly who you'll be blocking.___

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2016-05-10 23:49:11 (4 comments; 1 reshares; 7 +1s)Open 

I would add to +John Green that I think this applies even more so for purely internal pain, e.g. from depression. It is even harder to empathize with a pain that has no source, no location, no explanation. Just pain essentialized. I don't know what someone can even hook onto to try to empathize, without having had similar (e.g. migraines). Ah well.

I would add to +John Green that I think this applies even more so for purely internal pain, e.g. from depression. It is even harder to empathize with a pain that has no source, no location, no explanation. Just pain essentialized. I don't know what someone can even hook onto to try to empathize, without having had similar (e.g. migraines). Ah well.___

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2016-05-08 18:51:11 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 0 +1s)Open 

Here's a YouTube series about https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Unusual_articles

Enjoy.

Here's a YouTube series about https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Unusual_articles

Enjoy.___

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2016-05-08 17:47:54 (3 comments; 1 reshares; 7 +1s)Open 

___

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2016-05-08 13:34:53 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 2 +1s)Open 

Interesting interview w/ father of the Cult of Scientology's leader.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDbG36A5CUo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXyI0x3A0NM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esjykphNZI4

Interesting interview w/ father of the Cult of Scientology's leader.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDbG36A5CUo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXyI0x3A0NM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esjykphNZI4___

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2016-05-07 23:29:38 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 5 +1s)Open 

I particularly like 21:12 & 1:51:00. :-)

But seriously, watch the whole thing. It's a very good discussion by +TWiT  w/ our lawyer, +Marc Randazza on the Klingon case as well as 1st Amendment & privacy issues.

I particularly like 21:12 & 1:51:00. :-)

But seriously, watch the whole thing. It's a very good discussion by +TWiT  w/ our lawyer, +Marc Randazza on the Klingon case as well as 1st Amendment & privacy issues.___

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2016-05-06 16:03:19 (0 comments; 2 reshares; 18 +1s)Open 

+Jason Koebler (of +VICE / +Motherboard) interviewed me, +qurgh lungqIj, & Sarah Jeong about the +Language Creation Society's amicus brief in +Paramount Pictures v. +Star Trek Axanar.

More press (including interviews w/ +David Peterson, +Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets, +George Corley, & +Marc Randazza) @ http://conlang.org/axanar/#press

+Jason Koebler (of +VICE / +Motherboard) interviewed me, +qurgh lungqIj, & Sarah Jeong about the +Language Creation Society's amicus brief in +Paramount Pictures v. +Star Trek Axanar.

More press (including interviews w/ +David Peterson, +Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets, +George Corley, & +Marc Randazza) @ http://conlang.org/axanar/#press___

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2016-05-06 14:33:24 (7 comments; 0 reshares; 2 +1s)Open 

O.o … any Korean speakers in the audience able to verify the translation?

O.o … any Korean speakers in the audience able to verify the translation?___

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2016-05-06 11:52:43 (17 comments; 0 reshares; 4 +1s)Open 

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2016-05-06 10:07:47 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 3 +1s)Open 

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2016-05-05 11:08:46 (1 comments; 1 reshares; 6 +1s)Open 

More seriously: http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/why-republican-voters-decided-on-trump/

More seriously: http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/why-republican-voters-decided-on-trump/___

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2016-05-04 20:38:32 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 1 +1s)Open 

For some reason, Trump's clinched nomination reminds me of this…

Смерть пармезана ("Parmesean's Death")
Lyrics: Андрей "Орлуша" Орлов (Andrei "Orlusha" Orlov) - http://v-n-zb.livejournal.com/8472389.html
Singer: Заза Заалишвили (Zaza Zaalishvili)
Filk of Смерть комсомольца ("Death of a Young Communist League member"), by Николая Кооля (Nikolai Koolya), 1924: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOxFqSKtUa8
Which in turn was from Там вдали за рекой ("In the distance, by the river"): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKFREM_9EQU
Original: https://www.facebook.com/zaza.zaalishvili.79/videos/vb.100007367019236/1630922173830001
Context: https://www.metafilter.com/152234/Next-Step-Cheese-Subs-No-real-homebrew-submarines-In-the-Baltic
More context: https://plus.google.com/+YonatanZunger/posts/NJtGZdKmR4M
John Oliver's version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkmKdaP3i5c

Translation (by Sai):

In the distance by the river, bright ovens burn;
the fearsome border guards can't sleep.
But not knowing of that, the parmsean squad
was moving to the Russian border.

There walked salmon and cheeses, their footsteps unheard;
they walked not in step, without jokes or songs.
So the enemy wouldn't track them using dogs,
in the front walked a Roquefort mold.

They walked across the border removing their labels;
documents forged, as needed.
Suddenly, in the distance, by the river flashed bayonets —
it was an Agricultural Department ambush.

Children of the Alps, Pyrenees, Barcelona and Lausanne
disrupted the hiking and equestrian operation.
But the fearless hoary old cheese
first went into the fighting column.

Looking around his Camembert army,
he smiled brightly and radiantly;
and exclaimed, "There's no fear to die in battle
for an Italian smuggler!"

And in the last, decisive, cruel battle
a sanctioned ton went forth.
The Iberian ham perked his head up
(even though hams have no heads).

And suddenly the paunchy officer furrowed his eyebrows
someone timidly reported to him:
from the massacre walked the old parmesan
and his radio operator, Mozzarella.

The sharpest fighter climbed up on a birch,
looked around at everything with binoculars.
To find the parmesan, they cut down the whole forest.
In any case, they seized him - with his girlfriend.

Torture by grater and knives, without words he endured
(from the nature of cheeses, to be silent);
only in the end, he answered the last question,
smiling without fear, in disgust:

"What did you ask? How I would like to die?
Not at the hands of those who have a brain concussion.
I want that I could be grated
by an old woman on her miserable dinner!

I'll tell you, that the ham asked that I let you know,
so that you in the Kremlin would tell of it:
he dreamed that a volunteer would bring him
to all the homeless at the Kazansky railway station!"

"It's a pity that your people have nowhere to run from you" -
so said Parmesan before his death,
and with a smile, he stepped in the kindled oven,
without asking for mercy, believe me.

From hunger, cold, prison and bags
by tradition, we didn't renounce ourselves,
and in the distance, by the river, smoke was rising,
on the border, produce were burned…


(ETA: thanks to +Yonatan Zunger for the extra context,  +Dmitriy Bykov for the pointer to the original original song, and +Victor Zverovich for help fixing the translation)___For some reason, Trump's clinched nomination reminds me of this…

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2016-05-04 13:54:40 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 1 +1s)Open 

ICYMI: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/ted-cruz-suspends-2016-campaign-indiana-primary-loss/story?id=38842769

… hail Eris?

As of today, the second seal has been broken and a rider on a red horse has come forth Donald Trump is essentially the guaranteed Republican nominee for president. Let me give some predictions of what's going to happen next:

(1) People will start to argue harder and harder that Trump isn't really that bad, and he doesn't actually mean all the things that he says. Even while you'll never hear this from his campaign, it'll be a major theme among commentators, especially those tied to the Republican establishment. 

The main thing driving this will be cognitive dissonance: if you believed that the American public had just nominated a not-particularly-crypto-Nazi, then you would have to conclude that the people around you are either evil or fools, and that's not something nice to think about. But if he's not really that bad, then it's OK. The second thing driving this will be the underlying urge of many disaffected (white, working or middle class) people to support him and the things he actually says; if you've got a narrative where it's not really that bad, it's fine to vote for this, then you can feel more comfortable considering it. And the third thing (affecting mostly professional politicians and media heads) will be simple professional party loyalty; the cost of defection away from a nominated candidate, in terms of career and so on, is just too high.

(2) You will hear a strong campaign from the Republican establishment (not Trump) that Clinton is the Devil and must be beaten. They won't be able to put together a clear story of why; to be honest, almost nobody ever has been able to. It's become so reflexive to see her this way that people have forgotten where it started. (That's not to say that Clinton isn't deeply flawed, but none of those flaws have anything to do with the weird conspiracy theories that will be circulating) 

This is mostly a way for the people in the establishment, the ones with the most dissonance to deal with, to focus themselves on saying "not Clinton" so they don't have to spend too much time saying "yes Trump."

It's going to be an incredibly nasty campaign, but that shouldn't surprise anyone.

(Yes, Clinton is going to be the Democratic nominee. I know Sanderistas can come up with arguments until the cows come home about how it's still perfectly statistically possible for him to win 64% of the remaining pledged delegates or somehow convince all the superdelegates to join him but... no. There is no way that actually works. Sanders gets to shift the party platform but he has no serious chance of being the nominee)


And if, God forbid, Trump were to be elected? I suspect that we would find that he is quite an honest man after all, at least insofar as he has no incentive to lie. I suspect that his promises about immigrants will quickly become a priority for him, with a certain amount of reality gating. Things we'd actually see:

(1) Punitive taxes and/or seizure of remittances abroad. This would cause massive economic disruptions all over the world (about $125B per year, most of it going to poor communities) and would probably ultimately be moderated in some way, but not before causing tremendous pain and chaos.

(2) Laws demanding strong proof of citizenship to work, and enforcing severe penalties against employers who violate them. These would cause a different kind of chaos, because a good quarter of citizens don't actually have such strong proof. Presumably offices would be set up to help people get that, and deployment of the law would be staged -- but that assistance would be sharply canted towards white communities. The intent, and effect, of the law would be to cause mass unemployment among Latino and Black communities. This would, indeed, cause many to flee the country, but even more to be dropped into extremely dire straits. I have no idea how this would play out.

(3) Laws enforcing Draconian penalties against anyone who helps people without knowing their immigration status. This would run into actual trouble for Trump once it started to affect better-organized churches; the Vatican may actually end up being a major counterforce, and this might have long-term consequences.

(4) Laws restricting employment of legal immigrants in various ways. Not in service industries, but in places where a demonstration of nativism will be politically useful. This will often be used as a negotiating tactic against businesses.

(5) Actual wall-building might start in a symbolic fashion, but the absurd logistics of it would prevent anything other than a flashy display.

Of course, none of this even starts to deal with his plans to institute trade wars with both China and Mexico (two of our three largest trading partners), or the effects that would happen when the leaders of politically savvy rival countries (e.g., China) realize that he can easily be goaded into foolish moves. Or what might happen if someone else (e.g., Kim Jong Un) tried to rattle sabers; I doubt that he has any deep understanding of just why the US hasn't tried to blow up North Korea in the past. (Answer: we could do it, but in the process South Korea would be turned into rubble, and Japan would probably lose a city or two. And it might escalate into a full regional war.)

So even though I anticipate several months of people telling me how he really isn't that bad, and of the curious experience of seeing a politician's supporters get exasperated and angry ("you're not repeating that old lie again!") when I suggest that their candidate might be honest, I don't think that just because he's the nominee, he's suddenly going to change his white sheets stripes.___ICYMI: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/ted-cruz-suspends-2016-campaign-indiana-primary-loss/story?id=38842769

… hail Eris?

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2016-05-04 09:28:14 (4 comments; 0 reshares; 4 +1s)Open 

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2016-05-04 08:08:08 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 1 +1s)Open 

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2016-05-03 12:55:43 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 1 +1s)Open 

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2016-05-02 09:15:00 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 4 +1s)Open 

+Alex Fink & I are thinking of having some sort of housewarming w/in next couple weeks. If you're in London and interested in meeting up (incl 1:1), please contact me privately.

+Alex Fink & I are thinking of having some sort of housewarming w/in next couple weeks. If you're in London and interested in meeting up (incl 1:1), please contact me privately.___

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2016-05-01 22:04:35 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 3 +1s)Open 

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2016-04-30 19:04:24 (1 comments; 1 reshares; 6 +1s)Open 

+Jim Sterling is trolling YouTube ContentID trolls by putting them in deadlock with each other. I am very amused.

Article on it: http://kotaku.com/game-critic-uses-brilliant-workaround-for-youtubes-copy-1773452452

+Jim Sterling is trolling YouTube ContentID trolls by putting them in deadlock with each other. I am very amused.

Article on it: http://kotaku.com/game-critic-uses-brilliant-workaround-for-youtubes-copy-1773452452___

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2016-04-30 09:17:44 (4 comments; 9 reshares; 7 +1s)Open 

If you haven't yet, do read the +Language Creation Society's amicus brief in +Paramount Pictures v. +Star Trek Axanar on #Klingon  copyright. Yes, I'm biased (I helped make it happen), but it legitimately is the funniest serious legal brief I have ever read. See http://conlang.org/axanar for background (& extensive press coverage).

If you haven't yet, do read the +Language Creation Society's amicus brief in +Paramount Pictures v. +Star Trek Axanar on #Klingon  copyright. Yes, I'm biased (I helped make it happen), but it legitimately is the funniest serious legal brief I have ever read. See http://conlang.org/axanar for background (& extensive press coverage).___

2016-04-28 08:53:56 (6 comments; 2 reshares; 5 +1s)Open 

The LCS has filed an amicus brief in Paramount v. Axanar, opposing Paramount’s claim to copyright in the Klingon language. Full details, including the legal brief (which is well worth reading), are at http://conlang.org/axanar/

The LCS has filed an amicus brief in Paramount v. Axanar, opposing Paramount’s claim to copyright in the Klingon language. Full details, including the legal brief (which is well worth reading), are at http://conlang.org/axanar/___

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