Monday, August 9, 2010

Vulture Droppings - catchup

Vulture Droppings is a semi-regular feature of this blog. It's a kind of "Random Thoughts" post in which I try to quickly summarize a particularly large event or series of events. Think of it being sort of like what a vulture leaves behind after devouring a horse. You don't get the whole horse, just highly processed leftovers.

Given that it has been nearly a week since I last posted (my, how time flies when you're having hell!), I thought I would "drop" a VD to catch up with what has been going on in the world.

The first two items are courtesy of xfloggingkylex.

This comes from an article on a study by UC Berkeley computer scientists.
A new security threat revealed by computer scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, may be enough to drive some people away from their computer keyboards and back to pen and paper. The researchers show that a simple audio recording of those keyboard clicks can betray the text you just entered, from passwords to secret love notes.

The researchers were able to take several 10-minute sound recordings of users typing at a keyboard, feed the audio into a computer, and use an algorithm to recover up to 96 percent of the characters entered.
So the question becomes: is this REALLY a cause for concern? Yes and no. Yes in the sense that the contents of a document or email can be trapped for nefarious use. No for the fact that the software cannot really differentiate the control, alt, or shift least not yet. But, as the article states, the utility of typed passwords is rapidly drawing to a much-deserved end.
"There are different forms of authentication that could be used, including smart cards, one-time password tokens or biometrics," said Tygar.
Please, make it so. If I have to change one more password, I'm gonna go mental.

This one causes me great ambivalence.
I have told this trick to several friends and it has lead to instant dismissal from the courtroom each time. By the end of this article you’ll understand why it works guaranteed 100% of the time. Knowing will not only empower you, but also disturb you. Judges and prosecutors are wary of the common excuses. Who knew that court turned so many people into racists, caused people to forget the English language and trigger sudden terminal illness! Once you’ve been picked to serve on a jury and the trial is about to commence, the judge informs the jury of its duty. Duty – singular.1) The jury must decide the facts of the case.It should actually be duties though – plural.2) The jury must decide on the law in question.Judges do not inform juries of their 2nd responsibility and if you come into court for the voir dire process aware of it - you will be dismissed from the court.

A jurors right to veto the law is probably the best kept secrete of the court system and is what separates democracies from republics
What disquiets me about this blog post is that the type of person who believes in the concept of jury nullification is EXACTLY the kind of person who NEEDS to be on a jury.  This is NOT the person who need to be skipping out on jury duty.

For the record, I'm a huge fan of jury nullification. There are laws that are, quite frankly, nothing more than excuses for Leviathan to stick its nose into our business; those laws NEED nullification.

Last week those aligned in opposition to the anti-freedom agenda of Il Duce had what they thought was a huge victory in the form of a vote in Missouri to prohibit Big Brother from enforcing the mandatory parts of Obamacare. It was a short celebration.

Just hours later, a Federal Judge threw out the result of the Proposition 8 initiative. This proves, once again, that our ruling class doesn't give a rat's ass what we the people want. They'll get what they want, one way or another. Our "votes", inasmuch as they align with the goals of the ruling class, will be honored; inasmuch as they collide with their goals, an avenue will be found to negate those results.

So Missouri can celebrate now, but their victory will be every bit as short lived as that of the Prop 8 voters.

Elena Kagen was confirmed. Hey, how 'bout that? [/sarcasm] For those of you in the "Vote Republican" crowd, take note that 5 of your team voted to confirm this patently unqualified Harriet Miers clone with a decidedly authoritarian worldview. Hey, how 'bout that? [/sarcasm]

Hopefully life will slow down a little bit for me and I'll be able to blog more frequently. This Summer has been one for the ages. And "age" is what I've done.