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Monday, January 22, 2018

Who could've seen this coming?


Hackers are stealing millions in cryptocurrency during ICOs



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A new report from Ernst & Young details just how big of a problem security is when it comes to cryptocurrencies. Researchers collected data on 372 initial coin offerings (ICOs) that took place between 2015 and 2017 and found that over 10 percent of ICO proceeds are stolen by hackers, a percentage that amounts to the theft of up to $1.5 million per month.

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And in addition to monetary theft, hackers are also gaining access to personal information like addresses, phone numbers, bank details and credit card numbers.


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Ernst & Young's report also points out that along with poor security, problems like lack of regulation and poor standards for ICO valuations also plague the crypto world. The researchers said that instead of important aspects like project development forecasts and the nature of the token, ICO tokens are often valued based on hype and FOMO -- fear of missing out.


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Y'know, it's almost like maybe internet libertarian douchebags aren't smarter than everynody else!

Aughhhhh!!! My post disappearded!

I guess you'll just have to take my word for it, it was the funniest thing anyone has ever written.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Offensive Product of the Day

The last few days I've been seeing TV ads for this real estate app or website or whatever called "Trulia."






So, this Trulia thing lets you check out neighborhood info before you buy a house. A lot of this makes sense. You can see how good the schools are or what the crime rate is. But what's that second one there?  Second from the right?

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Oh. "Demographics."


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So. . . . hmm. You know, it's one thing to be able to see how good the schools are or whether there's easy freeway access, but if you really want to be sure that you're buying in the "right kind of neighborhood," well only Trulia has the helpful "how many minorities" feature.

Seriously, is there any other reason to have a "demographics" search function?

How is this a product that exists in 2018? And they're not even ashamed of it! They mention it prominently in their ads. They don't even do a sort of "you can see if it's a good neighborhood, wink wink" kind of thing.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Our 51st State.





New California declares "independence" from rest of state


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Oy.

Okay, first of all, "New California," no you didn't. You absolutely did not get a majority of the people living in whichever part of the state you think should secede to sign on to this. It's like me saying that my neighborhood is seceding from Atlanta without getting any of the neighbors to sign on.






What do ya got there, about 10 people? Maybe a dozen? Do all the millions of other people who live in your part of California even have an inkling that you've just declared Independence on their behalf?


SACRAMENTO -- With the reading of their own version of a Declaration of Independence, founders of the state of New California took the first steps to what they hope will eventually lead to statehood. CBS Sacramento reports they don't


want to leave the United States, just California.

Well, sure. Wanting to leave the United States would just be silly. You need to set realistic goals.


And which part of California would you like to slice off into the creatively-named "New California?"





The blue part?


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I mean.
You do know where the money comes from, right?
You're going to excise Los Angeles, San Francisco and Silicon Valley? I mean, sure you'll have Fresno and the surrounding agricultural area, but No film industry, no Bank of America, no Google,  no Marriott Hotels, no Intuit, no Oracle,  no Northrup Grumman, no Occidental Petroleum, no Mattel Toys, no Kaiser Permanente, no Clorox, no Facebook. . . well, you get the picture. Good luck replacing all that revenue.

So, anyway, what is the problem you have with California Classic?


"Well, it's been ungovernable for a long time. High taxes, education, you name it, and we're rated around 48th or 50th from a business climate and standpoint in California," said founder Robert Paul Preston.

Ungovernable? What does that even mean? I mean, I know what "ungovernable" means. Like the nation of Afghanistan is considered ungovernable because it is more a collection of independent clans than a coherent nation, but in the context of an American state, what the hell do you mean by "ungovernable?" Are the Governor, State Senate, State Assembly and state courts unable to enforce the laws? It's been several years since I've been back to California, but I find it hard to believe that the state has descended into anarchy since then and neither of my sisters would have called to let me know.

Also "high taxes, education, you name it" is an awfully vague listing of grievances. High taxes? Okay, I get why you'd object to that, but education? What about education? I assume you are saying that the California educational system is doing a poor job? Something like that? To be fair, the verrrrry conservative US News & World Report listed California as the 25th ranked state in education. Not great, but not terrible. Not as good as Massachusets, not as bad as South Carolina. Right in the middle. Do you really think that score will improve when you cut the big cities out and your schools are populated mainly by rural meth heads and migrant farm workers?






And sure, California has a fairly high tax rate, compared to a lot of states, but how high do you think your taxes are going to be when you no longer have the Bay Area and Los Angeles/Orange County paying in to the government coffers? When your tax payers are farmhands and river rafting guides, you're going to have to pay a much higher percentage to make up for no longer having computer programmers and aerospace engineers chipping in.




And you say California consistently ranks 48th or 50th in "business climate," but 5 seconds on Google (an "Old California" company) showed me that Forbes ranks them 31st. CNBC ranks them 28th. Sure, there are states that are more attractive to businesses, but do ya really think a bunch of CEOs are gonna decide "hey, let's move the home office to Yosemite!"?


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And, you know, it's not like new companies are ever springing up in, say, Silicon Valley, amirite?
The state of New California would incorporate most of the state's rural counties, leaving the urban coastal counties to the current state of California.
"There's something wrong when you have a rural county such as this one, and you go down to Orange County which is mostly urban, and it has the same set of problems, and it happens because of how the state is being governed and taxed," Preston said.


Wait, what?

If your rural county has the same problems as (sub)urban Orange County, then you've pretty much blown your only real argument for secession. If you could argue that the problems of inland California are so vastly different than the problems of the coastal urban areas that no one government could really address both, you might have a leg on which to stand. But if you're saying that the problems are the same, then what's the advantage of splitting up?

What is it about coastal California that is so troubling to you?

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Ohhhhhhh, right! Of course! Well, good luck to you. All ten of you. Good luck explaining to the millions of other people in rural California why you need them to join your new state.






Wednesday, January 10, 2018

You Know What We Don't Need?




Oprah Winfrey for president: a wild idea that just got dramatically more real

The entertainment entrepreneur’s electrifying speech at the Golden Globes produced an outpouring of reaction urging the celebrity to run in 2020


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As far as I can tell, Oprah Winfrey is a very smart woman. And she has been very successful. And she has done many nice things. And I would think she's probably on the right side of a lot of issues. But no. No, we do not need another god damn celebrity president. And we don't need a celebrity candidate pulling the votes of the "Yass Queen" #Resistance away from actual qualified candidates.


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Pictured: What qualified candidates look like.


If the lesson that Democrats learned from losing to Donald tRump was "voters want a teevee person to be President,' well that's actually not that surprising, given Dems' insistence on always learning the exact wrong lesson. But no. We do not need Oprah running for President. We do not need Mark Zuckerberg running for president. We don't need Mark Cuban or Kanye West or Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson or any other half-baked celebrity or zillionaire who thinks that President of the United States is an entry-level position.

Running a nation requires a very different skill set than starring in movies, or running a computer company or providing housewives with untold hours of garbage television. You want to run for president? Fine. Run for Congress. Spend a few years learning about how governance works. Get on some important committees. Prove your worth. Then you can be considered for the top job. You don't walk out of business school and apply for the job of CEO. You'd be laughed out of the office. And this is harder. President of the United States of America is a HARDER job than being CEO of a company. I shouldn't have to point this out.


Now, as I may have mentioned, I believe that Oprah Winfrey is a very smart person, so I assume she's smart enough to know that she's not qualified to be President. She's obviously smarter than Ross Perot, or Steve Forbes, or Herman Cain, or Carly Fiorina, or Ben Carson, or Cheeto Mussolini, or any of the other right-wing idiots that think being good at one thing equals being good at every other thing too.

So here's what we do need in a candidate for President in 2020:

1. Applicable job experience.
     Have a resume that includes words like "Senator," "Governor," "Congressional Representative," and/or "Secretary of. . ."

2. A commitment to equality.
     That is equality between men and women, between cis/het and LGBT, between white and black and brown. You name it. Name a group of people, and we want full equality for them.

3. A commitment to a minimum wage that is a living wage.
     I don't know if $15/hr is the right number, someone smarter than me can figure that out, but it needs to be a wage that allows workers to pay their rent and their car note and not be constantly on the brink of destitution.
And then it needs to be pegged to inflation so that we don't have to keep fighting this battle over and over again. Inflation was 3% last year? Minum wage goes up 3 % Jan 1st. Easy-peasy.


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4. Must support universal single-payer healthcare.
      Not "managed competition." Not "market-based whatever."
 Universal single-payer everyone-is-covered healthcare.

5. A willingness eagerness to raise taxes on the wealthy.
      Not even just the one percent. Everyone who is "affluent" or "financially comfortable" needs to chip in. But especially the very wealthy and corporations. The candidate should have no problem facing the camera and saying "hell yes, I'm going to raise taxes on rich people." Bonus points for becoming physically aroused when saying it.

6.  A commitment to preserving what's left of our environment and to fighting global warming.
     Solar, wind, geo-thermal, bio-fuels, etc etc etc. There are so many things we can do to get off of fossil fuels, it just takes the political will to fucking do it. To look the oil and coal companies in the eye and say "sorry, we're moving forward without you. Tough luck."

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7. An embrace of regulations.
     Let the right-wing baboons hoot all they want about "job-killing regulations." That pesky government red tape is what keeps our water drinkable, our air breathable, our food edible. Do you think people really want to go back to this?

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Or this?


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8. Support for marijuana legalization.
     Not because marijuana is so great and everyone should try it (although it is and you totally should), but because smoking marijuana is something that virtually everyone does at some point in their life and people shouldn't have their lives ruined because they did something that didn't hurt anyone and made them feel a little better.

9. Plans for a federal program to address police brutality.
     Something along the lines of: every time a cop kills someone, it automatically triggers an investigation by the justice department. If there is evidence that the killing was not justified, a special prosecutor is brought in to try the case. NO bullshit grand juries. No local D.A.s that have to work with the police in the future. You bring in an experienced defense attorney, someone who has made a career of going up against the police, who isn't afraid to oppose the police department and won't have to work with them in the future. You convict a few of these trigger-happy sobs and see what happens.


So that's all I can think of off the top of my head, but I don't think it's too much to ask. Democrats/progressives/liberals are constantly being told that we have to choose between economic justice and "identity politics." That is, of course, bullshit. Republicans don't. They have no difficulty promising prosperity through tax cuts and budget-balancing while also promoting straight, wite, Christian identity politics. And it works for them. A lot.

This is the approach that, in my humble opinion, we need.

What we don't need is President Oprah.