September 28, 2014

iPhone 6 Encryption

The new iPhone 6 will encrypt "emails, photos and contacts based on a complex mathematical algorithm that uses a code created by, and unique to, the phone's user." "Breaking the code, according to an Apple technical guide, could take 'more than 5 1/2 years to try all combinations of a six-character alphanumeric passcode with lowercase letters and numbers.'" That, of course, would be a brute force method, and I'm pretty sure the NSA and FBI have more sophisticated techniques than that.

The FBI objects to this.

At Apple and Google, company executives say the United States government brought these changes on itself. The revelations by the former N.S.A. contractor Edward J. Snowden not only killed recent efforts to expand the law, but also made nations around the world suspicious that every piece of American hardware and software — from phones to servers made by Cisco Systems — have "back doors" for American intelligence and law enforcement.

permalink | September 28, 2014 at 11:57 AM | Comments (0)

August 17, 2014

The Effectiveness Of DUI Checkpoints

There were three DUI checkpoints last night that were operated by the Riverside County Sheriff's Department: Perris, Coachella, and Norco.
DUI Checkpoints 8-16-2014

The numbers for the three checkpoints combined are
DUI: 7 (0.4%); Invalid/No/Suspended License: 50 (2.5%); Other arrests 8 (0.4%); "Clean" 1,920 (96.7%).

permalink | August 17, 2014 at 12:57 PM | Comments (1)

June 30, 2014

More About The FAA's Rules On Drones

Bruce Simpson shares his well informed opinion on the FAA's recent "recommendations" regarding UAVs.

permalink | June 30, 2014 at 10:48 AM | Comments (4)

June 21, 2014

U.S. Congress Chipping Away At Anti-Medical Marijuana Actions

A brief article about Senator Rand Paul's introduction of a budget amendment that would bar the DEA from using federal funds to go after medical marijuana operations in any state where it's legal. The House has already approved a similar measure.

Also, Senator John Walsh of Montana has introduced an amendment that would block ATF from using federal funds to violate the Second Amendment rights of medical marijuana patients. Here's the text of Walsh's amendment:

SA 3285. Mr. WALSH submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by him to the bill H.R. 4660, making appropriations for the Departments of Commerce and Justice, Science, and Related Agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2015, and for other purposes; which was ordered to lie on the table; as follows:

At the appropriate place, insert the following:

Sec. __. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, none of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms , and Explosives may be used, with respect to registered medicinal marijuana patients in the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, to enforce the provisions of subsection (d)(3) or (g)(3) of section 922 of title 18, United States Code, against a registered medicinal marijuana patient based on either the status of the patient as a registered medicinal marijuana patient or the lawful use of medicinal marijuana under the laws of the State in which the patient resides.

He has listed the states where medical marijuana was legal when he proposed the amendment on the 18th. This seems an odd way to do it. Why not just say "where it is legal." New York state is on the verge of legalizing medical marijuana. Will the Senate re-write the amendment or will the medical marijuana patients in New York be left to the meager mercy of the ATF?

I find the strange jargon of the Senate to be interesting. The appropriations bill "was ordered to lie on the table." Then it "was ordered to get up and dance, dance if you value your life!"

permalink | June 21, 2014 at 07:21 PM | Comments (1)

April 24, 2014

Freedom To Sweep Nevada

Hell's Angels, the Gay Men's Chorus of L.A. and no toilets! Just try to keep me away!

If you don't like the message from the long-haired hippie wing, maybe you'll prefer this one:


permalink | April 24, 2014 at 10:40 AM | Comments (0)

April 22, 2014

Meanwhile In Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania's Attorney General has wisely refused to defend his state's ban on same-sex marriage, so the office of Governor Corbett (a Republican) took on that task. But the defense is no defense. The Governor's office has said they will call no expert witnesses and they will not dispute any of the specific harms caused to the plaintiffs by the marriage ban. Essentially, then, this would seem to be like the Oregon suit - defenseless. But it's got one advantage over Oregon because there is a nominal defendant. The defendant (the Commonwealth) agrees with the plaintiffs that there is no need for a trial so they will not be going through the motions. Both sides are filing requests for summary judgement.

Governor Corbett is to be commended for saving taxpayers' money and minimizing everyone's misery while still staying faithful to what he thinks he has to do as Governor.

Judge John E. Jones III who will be making the decision is a Republican appointed by George W. Bush in 2002. He is a native of Pennsylvania. He ruled in 2005 that a school district's mandate to teach "intelligent design" was unconstitutional. Thereupon, he was attacked by Phyllis Schlafly and Bill O'Reilly; O'Reilly calling him a fascist activist judge. He has defended himself saying that his duty is to the Constitution, not special interests.

OTOH, when he was the Chairman of the state Liquor Control Board he banned the sale of Bad Frog Beer after determining that the frog on the label was giving the finger. Anyone who looks at the label will see that the frog has only 4 toes on both front feet and all 4 toes are extended on both feet. IMO "the finger" was in the mind of the beholder. But even if it was flipping off the drinker, it would seem to be a free speech issue.

permalink | April 22, 2014 at 04:55 PM | Comments (0)

January 8, 2014

National Review Tepidly Supports Legalization of Marijuana

National Review Online says "It is perhaps a little dispiriting that of all the abusive overreaches of government to choose from, it is weed that has the nation’s attention, but it is a victory nonetheless." And "One of the worst consequences of marijuana use is the development of saucer-eyed arguments about the benefits of legalizing it."

The payoff is not in tax revenue gained but in losses avoided. A great many people will avoid being convicted of crimes for a relatively benign recreational indulgence — and those criminal convictions often have much more severe long-term consequences on pot-smokers’ lives than marijuana does. The business of policing covert marijuana dealers has been replaced with the relatively straightforward business of regulating them in the open. A large and fairly nasty criminal enterprise has lost its raison d’être, at least so far as the Colorado market is concerned.

permalink | January 8, 2014 at 11:19 AM | Comments (0)

January 7, 2014

A Different View On Drug Addicition

Dr. Carl Hart was interviewed by Amy Goodman. Dr. Hart is a tenured "professor in the sciences at Columbia University, where he is an associate professor in the psychology and psychiatry departments. He is also a member of the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse and a research scientist in the Division of Substance Abuse at the New York State Psychiatric Institute."

He is the author of High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society

There is a video of this interview but I read and copied from the transcript.

One of his main points is that 80% to 90% of people who use drugs (alcohol, marijuana, crack, meth, all recreational drugs) are NOT addicted.

If we were really concerned about drug addiction, we would be trying to figure out precisely why each individual became addicted. But that's not what we're really interested in. We are interested, in this society, of vilifying a drug. In that way, we don't have to deal with the complex issues for why people really become addicted.
AMY GOODMAN: Your response to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Carl Hart?

DR. CARL HART: On the one hand, I applaud Sanjay. But on the other hand, I might be embarrassed if I was a physician and I'm this late in the game. The evidence has been overwhelming for quite some time. And if you read the literature and have been reading the literature, this position or this change should have come earlier. But still, it takes some courage to say you were wrong. But I think that it's been overstated how much praise he deserves.

And when we think about the dangers of marijuana from a scientific perspective, let's really evaluate this. When we think about the dangers of marijuana, they are about the equivalent of alcohol. Now, I don't want to somehow talk about the dangers of alcohol or to besmirch the reputation of alcohol, because I think that every society should have intoxicants. We need intoxicants. And every society has always had intoxicants. So alcohol is fine.

permalink | January 7, 2014 at 03:46 PM | Comments (0)

January 4, 2014

Cannabis Legalization Update

A survey of what's happening with marijuana legalization outside of Colorado and Washington:

permalink | January 4, 2014 at 04:32 PM | Comments (0)

December 14, 2013

Nudes Restored At San Bernardino County Government Center

For five years the Hispanic Employees Alliance of San Bernardino County has hosted an art display at the San Bernardino County Government Center in observance of National Hispanic Heritage Month. This year the exhibit included a few nudes. The county removed those from the exhibit on November 26. A first amendment issue was raised by the ACLU and the National Coalition Against Censorship. The county settled yesterday, agreeing to put the nudes back on display and extend the exhibit until January 17. Originally it was to end on December 2.

It sounds like if the county had rules set up ahead of time as to what could not be displayed then that would have worked, but removing a work from display constituted censorship.

I think that as long as Desert Hot Springs has Dot Reed curating the exhibits at the Carl May Center we will be able to steer clear of any interference from the ACLU.

permalink | December 14, 2013 at 06:15 PM | Comments (0)