Amit's Planet

November 02, 2016

giitaayan - Recently posted songs

har ek nazar idhar udhar... ik nayaa taraanaa

Album: Faraar / Dev Anand In Goa

har ek nazar idhar udhar hai beqaraar mere li_e
mahafil kaa dil dha.Dak rahaa hai baar-baar mere li_e

huu.N mai.n 
ik nayaa taraanaa ik nayaa fasaanaa ik na_ii kahaanii huu.N mai.n
ek ra.ng ra.Ngiilii ek chhail chhabiilii ek mast jawaanii huu.N mai.n

ruup kii raanii naam hai meraa dil ta.Dapaanaa kaam hai meraa
ko_ii kahe matavaalii koi kahe bholii bhaalii ko_ii kahe diiwaanii huu.N mai.n 
ek ra.ng ra.Ngiilii ek chhail chhabiilii ...

merii adaa_e.N mere bahaane ko_ii na samajhe ko_ii na jaane
ik pavan jhakolaa ek u.Dan khaTolaa ek yaad khaanii huu.N mai.n
ek ra.ng ra.Ngiilii ek chhail chhabiilii ...

Contributed by Anonymous

November 02, 2016 01:35 PM

jii bhar ke pyaar kar lo

Album: Faraar / Dev Anand In Goa

jii bhar ke pyaar kar lo a.Nkhiyaa.N do chaar kar lo
suno ye raat nahii.n hai ek tiin chaar kii
suno ye raat hai bas do dilo.n ke pyaar kii

dil hai diiwaanaa samaa suhaanaa 
uff ye jawaanii uff ye zamaanaa
jab tak hai.n jhuum sako jhuumate jaanaa haay re jhuumate jaanaa
jii bhar ke pyaar kar lo 

ra.ngii.n fizaaye.n mast hawaaye.n
kal kaun jaane aaye na aaye
jii bhar ke pyaar kar lo 

ulfat ke pyaale pii le pilaa le
kar de ye duniyaa dil ke hawaale
jii bhar ke pyaar kar lo 







Contributed by Anonymous

November 02, 2016 01:18 PM

ek raat kii ye priit

Album: Faraar / Dev Anand In Goa

ek raat kii ye priit ek raat kaa hai giit
kahii.n to.D ke ye sapane ye raat na jaa_e biit

ai chaa.Nd na jaanaa so ai taaro na jaanaa kho
jo bhii ho so ho jag me.n ek bhor kabhii na ho

ye uu.Nchaa aasamaa.N ik baar jo kah de ho
to ye raat maa.Ng luu.N de ke dono.n jahaa.N



Contributed by Anonymous

November 02, 2016 01:06 PM

dil churaa luu.N

Album: Faraar / Dev Anand In Goa

dil churaa luu.N churaa luu.N dil me.n chhupii baat
ba.De-ba.De dil waale bhii rah jaa_e.N malate haath

subah kii a.Nga.Daa_ii huu.N mai.n raat kaa huu.N mai.n Kvaab
duniyaa kii mahafil me.n huu.N mai.n apanaa aap jawaab
mukh dekhe to, dekhe to chandaa khaa_e maat
ba.De-ba.De dil waale bhii ...

muskuraake jidhar dekhuu.N khilane lage phuul
aane jaane waale raahii rastaa jaa_e.N bhuul
mai.n chaahuu.N to, chaahuu.N to din ko karuu.N raat
ba.De-ba.De dil waale bhii ...

bhole-bhaale suurat waale matavaale diladaar
bachake rahanaa phir na kahanaa kiyaa na Khabaradaar
ba.Dii hai zaalim, hai zaalim in naino.n kii ghaat
ba.De-ba.De dil waale bhii ...

Contributed by Anonymous

November 02, 2016 12:57 PM

October 29, 2016

giitaayan - Recently posted songs

raadhe tere aa.Nsuu pii ko rok na paae.Nge

Album: Sanskar

raadhe tere aa.Nsuu pii ko rok na paa_e.Nge
lagan ba.Dhaa le aur shyaam tere dau.De aa_e.Nge

itane hii dukh se man ko kar lenaa chuur nahii.n
tere gokul se mohan kii mathuraa duur nahii.n
suune aa.Ngan tere vRRindaavan ban jaa_e.Nge
lagan ba.Dhaa le aur ...

kabhii kabhii aa jaatii hai naino.n me.n tere namii
abhii pyaar me.n kamii hai tere tyaag me.n abhii kamii
kamii na ho to jaane vaale kaise jaa_e.Nge 
lagan ba.Dhaa le aur ...

Contributed by Anonymous

October 29, 2016 02:54 PM

October 23, 2016

giitaayan - Recently posted songs

koii samajhaave ye priit sakhii kyaa hai

Album: Lagan

koii samajhaave ye priit sakhii kyaa hai
koii samajhaave
dil muii kyaa hai, ye riit muii kyaa hai
koii samajhaave

naar navelii nahii.n ye pahelii
buujh na paave ki priit sakhii kyaa hai
koii samajhaave

bha.Nvaraa gaave kalii musakaave
koii batalaave ye riit sakhii kyaa hai
koii samajhaave

sab koii jaane mai.n nahii.n jaanuu.N 
ye man_har se le.n siikh sakhii kyaa hai
koii samajhaave

Contributed by Vijay Kumar K

October 23, 2016 03:32 PM

October 20, 2016

giitaayan - Recently posted songs

ek dil ka do jahaa.N se

Album: (Non-film)

ek dil kaa do jahaa.N se haath (?) uThaa sakataa huu.N mai.n
jiite jii lekin tumhe.n kyuu.N kar bhuulaa sakataa huu.N mai.n

chaa.Ndanii raato.n kii nii.nde.n zi.ndagaanii kaa sakuun
in Kazaano.n ko bhii tum bar (?) se luTaa sakataa huu.N mai.n

pyaar kii nazaro.n se mujhako tum agar dekhaa karo
chaa.Nd suuraj se bhii zyaadaa jagamagaa sakataa huu.N mai.n

Contributed by Prithviraj Dasgupta

October 20, 2016 11:14 PM

October 16, 2016

giitaayan - Recently posted songs

ek din aur gayaa

Album: Door Ka Raahi

ek din aur gayaa haay roke na rukaa
chhaayaa a.Ndhiyaaraa
aaj bhii naav na aayii, aayaa na khevan_haaraa
ek din aur gayaa ...

kaalii naagin-sii ghirii rainaa kajaraarii
sahamii-sahamii-sii hai ye nagarii hamaarii
de ke aavaaz thakaa, o~ de ke aavaaz thakaa
man dukhiyaaraa, aaj bhii naav na aayii ...

phir vahii raat kaThin, chhup gay taare
abhii se bujhane lage diip hamaare
duur ba.Dii duur saveraa, duur ba.Dii duur ujaalaa
duur hai aashaao.n kaa phuul kinaaraa
aaj bhii naav na aayii, aayaa na khevan_haaraa ...

Contributed by Vijay Kumar K

October 16, 2016 06:17 AM

October 06, 2016

giitaayan - Recently posted songs

ye maaTii sabhii kii kahaanii kahegii

Album: Navrang

naa raajaa rahegaa naa raanii rahegii
ye duniyaa hai faanii aur faanii rahegii

na jab ek bhii zi.ndagaanii rahegii
to maaTii sabhii kii kahaanii kahegii-2

dikhaayegii raaNaa ke raN kii nishaanii
kahegii shivaajii ke praN kii kahaanii
bataaegii muGhalo.n kii baate.n ajaanii
us Gaddaar jayacha.nd kii zi.ndagaanii
ye aapas kii sab badGumaanii kahegii
ye maaTii sabhii kii kahaanii kahegii-2

jo the desh dushman Ghulaamii ke raahii
lage pherane is vatan par siyaahii
videsho.n kii karane lage vaah-vaahii
gayaa desh haatho.n se aayii tabaahii
ye bhar-bhar ke aa.Nkho.n me.n paanii kahegii
ye maaTii sabhii kii kahaanii kahegii-2

fir swaata.ntra kaa aisaa sa.ngraam aayaa
ki har aadamii desh ke kaam aayaa
la.Dii viir jhaa.Nsii kii raanii bhavaanii
hazaaro.n ne laakho.n ne Jauhar jalaayaa
ye kurbaaniyaa.N Khud zubaanii kahegii
ye maaTii sabhii kii kahaanii kahegii-2

swaata.ntra kaa sa.ngraam nahii.n vo baGaavat thii,  yahii itihaas kahataa hai

(jalaa do)-2 ye itihaas jhooThe tumhaare
yahaa.n zarre-zarre pe sach hai likhaa re
zulam vo tumhaare sitam vo tumhaare
karo yaad uf kaaranaame vo kaare
ki patthar se aa.Nsuu kii dhaaraa bahegii

ye maaTii sabhii kii kahaanii kahegii-2
ye maaTii hai tab se ki jab tum naa aaye
ye maaTii rahegii na jab tum rahoge
is maaTii ke niiche dabii hai.n kathaaye.n
jo Khud hii kahegii re tum kyaa kahoge
zamii.n aasamaa.N tharatharaa ke rahegii

ye maaTii sabhii kii kahaanii kahegii-2
 

Contributed by Saket Jain

October 06, 2016 12:37 PM

September 25, 2016

Abnormal Returns

Sunday links: steeped in technology

by abnormalreturns at September 25, 2016 12:33 PM

Brad DeLong - Grasping Reality with Both Hands

Must-Read: Since Dick Schmalensee left the GHWB Council of Economic Advisers, it has been nearly impossible to get any Republicans on board for a serious push to do smart pro-growth regulatory reform--patents, copyrights, occupational licensing, land-use NIMBYism. Instead, Republicans' ideas of regulatory "reform" have been either a broad-brush approach that on net does more harm than good, or have been positively focused like a laser on getting rid of regulations with strong positive benefit-cost ratios: enabling consumer fraud, the freedom to pollute, and the manufacture of financial-sector toxic assets of one sort or another have been at the core of the Republican regulatory reform agenda. That and more tax cuts for the rich.

We get that powerful monied groups in the Republican coalition seek the freedoms to pollute, to manufacture toxic financial assets, and to engage in consumer fraud. But why have so many right-leaning economists been willing to enable them, and why have their been so few voices on the other side pushing for real pro-growth regulatory reform? Why hasn't Dick Schmalensee the Lord God King of Republican economists is somewhat the way Henry Aaron and Charlie Schultze have been of Democrats? There was a moment when Dick would say that Doug Holtz-Eakin would do the job... but simply no...

Paul Krugman comments on the Economists for Trump.

Paul Krugman: The Curious Confidence of the Charlatans and Cranks:

Notable... [is] the absence of many usually reliable Republican hired guns economists. But they do have a Nobelist, Eugene Fama, at the top...

And the substance of the letter--government bad! taxes and regulation bad! free markets rool like Reagan!--is pretty standard. What’s curious is why, exactly, anyone should believe this story.... GW Bush failed to deliver the promised Bush boom and eventually presided over disaster.... The job growth of the past three years and the income growth that has finally emerged would have been hailed as triumphs if Mitt Romney were president.... Clinton > Reagan and Obama > Bush, by almost any measure. Why doesn’t this reality seem to register?

One big answer... profound ignorance.... Way back Mr. Fama was caught insisting that there was a great takeoff of global growth after 1980 due to financial deregulation.... [But] growth in advanced countries has been slower... and it’s really, really hard to attribute Chinese growth under Deng Xiaoping to U.S. banking deregulation. But this is the right: legends... trump... facts.... This is a problem that won’t go away even if Trump goes down to defeat. People like Paul Ryan are barely more in touch with reality than @ilduce2016.

The Curious Confidence of Charlatans and Cranks The New York Times

by J. Bradford DeLong at September 25, 2016 12:13 PM

RubyFlow

Priority queue implementation

pq – yet another priority queue implementation.

September 25, 2016 12:06 PM

The Simple Dollar

Nine Employers That Will Help You Pay Off Your Student Loans

When searching for a new employer, most people look at the full package of benefits they’ll get in return. How much will your new salary or hourly rate be, and will you have paid vacation, health insurance, and dental? After those considerations, things like company culture, long-term career objectives, and your daily commute come into play.

But, what about other benefits? With private pensions going the way of the dinosaur, employees typically look for a 401(k) – and a company match – to help in that respect. Beyond retirement help, however, a new study has concluded that many workers – and especially young people – are looking for help paying down their student debt.

The new study from Student Loan Hero, which surveyed 1,763 adults, found that, out of adults with student loan debt, more than 50% considered student loan debt repayment an important workplace benefit. Further, 46% of adults with debt revealed that, if given the option, they would choose student loan repayment assistance over a 401(k) match.

While student loan repayment assistance isn’t the norm yet, many employers – and especially firms who hire young people – have heeded the call for this extra layer of help. That includes Student Loan Hero itself, a company that was created to help young people navigate their student loan issues and pay down debt faster. As of last year, the company began offering student loan repayment assistance to employees who need help and chose to opt in.

Eight More Companies that Help Employees Pay Down Student Loans

This type of help may be growing in popularity, but it’s not widely offered quite yet. According to the Society of Human Resources Management, only 3% of U.S. firms offered student loan repayment as a workplace perk in 2015. Still, 3% is something – and it’s definitely better than nothing. If you’re struggling with student loan debt and looking for help, consider an employer that offers this up-and-coming workplace benefit. Here are eight more businesses whose loan repayment programs are already up and running:

Chegg

Textbook behemoth Chegg announced a student loan repayment assistance benefit for employees back in 2015. Created for both employees with existing student loans and lifelong learners who want to head back to school, this benefit is extended annually and based on employment, position, and hours worked. The company also plans to roll out an online loan management tool to help employees optimize payments and pay down loans faster.

Chegg hopes to get the word out and increase the prevalence of this benefit nationwide. “We will continue to speak out publicly and nationally on this subject,” said Chegg CEO Dan Rosensweig in a press release. “But we also want to start helping our own employees now and start a new trend in business benefits. With any luck, other companies will soon follow our lead.”

CommonBond

Another student loan refinance firm, CommonBond, claims to offer the most comprehensive student loan repayment assistance program in existence. With their new program, which was announced late in 2015, employees can receive up to $1,200 in loan repayment assistance annually. The big difference is, this benefit lasts as long as the employee has loans and remains employed by CommonBond.

Why so generous? Here’s what they said about it in a press release: “Half of our team is currently paying off student loans, so we decided to launch this benefit to help our team reduce their monthly student loan payments,” said CommonBond CEO and Co-Founder David Klein. “Our team members are very excited about it, and so am I.”

Fidelity

Fidelity may be better known for its 401(k) offerings, but the mutual fund giant deserves some praise for its own workplace benefits as well. Not only does Fidelity offer an adoption benefit, they offer backup dependent care, a commuter benefit, and yes, student loan repayment assistance. With their new “Step Ahead Student Loan Assistance” program, employees can receive up to $2,000 per year in student loan assistance with a lifetime cap of $10,000. These funds are paid directly to your loan servicer on your behalf.

Kronos

Workplace innovation firm Kronos offers its own form of student loan repayment assistance along with tuition reimbursement assistance for continued learning. The annual benefit is capped at around $500, but can extend as long as you have loans and work for the firm. As far as tuition reimbursement goes, Kronos offers generous coverage of pre-approved continuing education or degree-seeking courses related to employment.

LendEDU

Earlier this year, student loan repayment experts at LendEDU announced a new program meant to help their employees pay down student loan debt faster. One of the largest benefits available, this program ponies up an amount that can reach $2,400 per year – or $200 per month – towards eligible employee’s student loans. Not only will this benefit help LendEDU employees tremendously, but it aligns with the firm’s goal of helping its clients eliminate student loans on a grander scale.

“Rapidly rising costs of higher education has left seven out of ten graduates with some form of student loan debt. It has gotten so bad that the average graduate leaving campus with about $35,000 in debt.” said Nate Matherson, co-founder and CEO, on the company website. “At LendEDU, we work to help graduates better manage their debt. We created this benefit to help our current employees pay off their debt sooner. And we believe this benefit will be an attractive recruiting and retention tool for new employees.”

Natixis Global Asset Management

Although a student loan repayment benefit existed before, Natixis Global Asset Management enhanced this perk in early 2016. Starting this year, the $1,000 annual payment is available to all Natixis employees who have private or federal student loans. That works out to around $83 per month paid directly to your loan provider while you remain employed with the firm. A cap of $10,000 in total repayment applies.

“Helping people achieve their financial goals is at the heart of our business and our industry, so we knew that leading by example was the right thing to do,” said John Hailer, CEO of Natixis Global Asset Management in a press release. “Today’s student loan burden is tomorrow’s underfunded retirement problem, so it is imperative for companies to join with policymakers, educators and employees to address this critical issue.”

Powertex Group

Wisconsin-based Powertex Group started offering their own student loan repayment program earlier this year, mostly as a means to gain and retain top-notch workers in their niche. According to Gray Powers, the company’s vice president of sales, it’s a win-win. “Based on that ability to help those folks who come in and engage with our organization and that will also provide benefits to the organization as well as we help them achieve their goals,” said Powers in an interview with Eau Claire-based WEAU News.

Their Student Loan Paydown Plan, which should be used by around a quarter of the firm’s employees, provides around $100 in monthly student loan repayment assistance.

PricewaterhouseCoopers

Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) offers an array of benefits that make working there lucrative, and that includes the Student Loan Paydown program. Employees who choose this option can receive up to $1,200 per year in loan repayment assistance with a total cap of $10,000.

Why offer this benefit? Here’s what PwC had to say: “We see student loan debt as a major societal issue. The current state of student loans is troubling—$1.3 trillion of outstanding student loans, a $35,000 average loan balance for the class of 2015, and 40 million Americans with student debt—we need to start somewhere to help alleviate the burden.”

Student Loan Repayment Assistance: What to Watch Out For

If you think student loan repayment assistance sounds like a dream come true, make sure you know what you’re getting into. First, it’s important to note that some companies offer tuition assistance and not loan repayment assistance. While tuition assistance can help you pay if you choose to go back to school, it won’t help with your existing loans. All of the companies on this list offer student loan repayment assistance, however, which is a distinction we want to make.

Second, depending on the program, you may be required to pay income taxes on any assistance you receive. It all depends on how the program is set up and how your repayment assistance is reported. Check with your employer or potential employer for more details before you make assumptions about getting off scot-free.

Another factor to consider is what you may be giving up. Where student loan repayment assistance may be available to you, it’s possible you’re giving up another perk to receive this help. Make sure you know the whole picture before you commit to one workplace benefit over another. The math may work in favor of student loan repayment assistance, but it doesn’t hurt to ask questions and run the numbers, either.

Still, student loan repayment assistance can be a huge boon to your finances if you need help paying down loans and find an employer willing to help. All things considered, this is one employee benefit you don’t want to overlook.

Holly Johnson is an award-winning personal finance writer who is obsessed with frugality, budgeting, and travel. She blogs at ClubThrifty.com and teaches others how to write online at EarnMoreWriting.com.

Related Articles:

Does your employer offer student loan repayment assistance? Would you accept this benefit? Why or why not?

The post Nine Employers That Will Help You Pay Off Your Student Loans appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

by Holly Johnson at September 25, 2016 12:00 PM

The Big Picture

10 Sunday Reads

My easy-like-Sunday morning reads: • Apple-Target McLaren Is a Tech Company Disguised as a Carmaker (Bloomberg) • Income inequality is cyclical: Periodic rises and falls in the gap between the rich and poor over centuries indicate that inequality will not grow forever. (Nature) • Reckoning Comes for U.S. Pension Funds as Investment Returns Lag (Bloomberg) see also Think a 401(k)…

Read More

The post 10 Sunday Reads appeared first on The Big Picture.

by Barry Ritholtz at September 25, 2016 12:00 PM

Krebs on Security

The Democratization of Censorship

John Gilmore, an American entrepreneur and civil libertarian, once famously quipped that “the Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.” This notion undoubtedly rings true for those who see national governments as the principal threats to free speech.

However, events of the past week have convinced me that one of the fastest-growing censorship threats on the Internet today comes not from nation-states, but from super-empowered individuals who have been quietly building extremely powerful cyber weapons with transnational reach.

underwater

More than 20 years after Gilmore first coined that turn of phrase, his most notable quotable has effectively been inverted — “Censorship can in fact route around the Internet.” The Internet can’t route around censorship when the censorship is all-pervasive and armed with, for all practical purposes, near-infinite reach and capacity. I call this rather unwelcome and hostile development the “The Democratization of Censorship.”

Allow me to explain how I arrived at this unsettling conclusion. As many of you know, my site was taken offline for the better part of this week. The outage came in the wake of a historically large distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack which hurled so much junk traffic at Krebsonsecurity.com that my DDoS protection provider Akamai chose to unmoor my site from its protective harbor.

Let me be clear: I do not fault Akamai for their decision. I was a pro bono customer from the start, and Akamai and its sister company Prolexic have stood by me through countless attacks over the past four years. It just so happened that this last siege was nearly twice the size of the next-largest attack they had ever seen before. Once it became evident that the assault was beginning to cause problems for the company’s paying customers, they explained that the choice to let my site go was a business decision, pure and simple.

Nevertheless, Akamai rather abruptly informed me I had until 6 p.m. that very same day — roughly two hours later — to make arrangements for migrating off their network. My main concern at the time was making sure my hosting provider wasn’t going to bear the brunt of the attack when the shields fell. To ensure that absolutely would not happen, I asked Akamai to redirect my site to 127.0.0.1 — effectively relegating all traffic destined for KrebsOnSecurity.com into a giant black hole.

Today, I am happy to report that the site is back up — this time under Project Shield, a free program run by Google to help protect journalists from online censorship. And make no mistake, DDoS attacks — particularly those the size of the assault that hit my site this week — are uniquely effective weapons for stomping on free speech, for reasons I’ll explore in this post.

Google's Project Shield is now protecting KrebsOnSecurity.com

Google’s Project Shield is now protecting KrebsOnSecurity.com

Why do I speak of DDoS attacks as a form of censorship? Quite simply because the economics of mitigating large-scale DDoS attacks do not bode well for protecting the individual user, to say nothing of independent journalists.

In an interview with The Boston Globe, Akamai executives said the attack — if sustained — likely would have cost the company millions of dollars. In the hours and days following my site going offline, I spoke with multiple DDoS mitigation firms. One offered to host KrebsOnSecurity for two weeks at no charge, but after that they said the same kind of protection I had under Akamai would cost between $150,000 and $200,000 per year.

Ask yourself how many independent journalists could possibly afford that kind of protection money? A number of other providers offered to help, but it was clear that they did not have the muscle to be able to withstand such massive attacks.

I’ve been toying with the idea of forming a 501(c)3 non-profit organization — ‘The Center for the Defense of Internet Journalism’, if you will — to assist Internet journalists with obtaining the kind of protection they may need when they become the targets of attacks like the one that hit my site.  Maybe a Kickstarter campaign, along with donations from well-known charitable organizations, could get the ball rolling.  It’s food for thought.

CALIBRATING THE CANNONS

Earlier this month, noted cryptologist and security blogger Bruce Schneier penned an unusually alarmist column titled, “Someone Is Learning How to Take Down the Internet.” Citing unnamed sources, Schneier warned that there was strong evidence indicating that nation-state actors were actively and aggressively probing the Internet for weak spots that could allow them to bring the entire Web to a virtual standstill.

“Someone is extensively testing the core defensive capabilities of the companies that provide critical Internet services,” Schneier wrote. “Who would do this? It doesn’t seem like something an activist, criminal, or researcher would do. Profiling core infrastructure is common practice in espionage and intelligence gathering. It’s not normal for companies to do that.”

Schneier continued:

“Furthermore, the size and scale of these probes — and especially their persistence — points to state actors. It feels like a nation’s military cyber command trying to calibrate its weaponry in the case of cyberwar. It reminds me of the US’s Cold War program of flying high-altitude planes over the Soviet Union to force their air-defense systems to turn on, to map their capabilities.”

Whether Schneier’s sources were accurate in their assessment of the actors referenced in his blog post is unknown. But as my friend and mentor Roland Dobbins at Arbor Networks eloquently put it, “When it comes to DDoS attacks, nation-states are just another player.”

“Today’s reality is that DDoS attacks have become the Great Equalizer between private actors & nation-states,” Dobbins quipped.

UM…YOUR RERUNS OF ‘SEINFELD’ JUST ATTACKED ME

What exactly was it that generated the record-smashing DDoS of 620 Gbps against my site this week? Was it a space-based weapon of mass disruption built and tested by a rogue nation-state, or an arch villain like SPECTRE from the James Bond series of novels and films? If only the enemy here was that black-and-white.

No, as I reported in the last blog post before my site was unplugged, the enemy in this case was far less sexy. There is every indication that this attack was launched with the help of a botnet that has enslaved a large number of hacked so-called “Internet of Things,” (IoT) devices — mainly routers, IP cameras and digital video recorders (DVRs) that are exposed to the Internet and protected with weak or hard-coded passwords. Most of these devices are available for sale on retail store shelves for less than $100, or — in the case of routers — are shipped by ISPs to their customers.

Some readers on Twitter have asked why the attackers would have “burned” so many compromised systems with such an overwhelming force against my little site. After all, they reasoned, the attackers showed their hand in this assault, exposing the Internet addresses of a huge number of compromised devices that might otherwise be used for actual money-making cybercriminal activities, such as hosting malware or relaying spam. Surely, network providers would take that list of hacked devices and begin blocking them from launching attacks going forward, the thinking goes.

As KrebsOnSecurity reader Rob Wright commented on Twitter, “the DDoS attack on @briankrebs feels like testing the Death Star on the Millennium Falcon instead of Alderaan.” I replied that this maybe wasn’t the most apt analogy. The reality is that there are currently millions — if not tens of millions — of insecure or poorly secured IoT devices that are ripe for being enlisted in these attacks at any given time. And we’re adding millions more each year.

I suggested to Mr. Wright perhaps a better comparison was that ne’er-do-wells now have a virtually limitless supply of Stormtrooper clones that can be conscripted into an attack at a moment’s notice.

A scene from the 1978 movie Star Wars, which the Death Star tests its firepower by blowing up a planet.

A scene from the 1977 movie Star Wars, in which the Death Star tests its firepower by blowing up a planet.

SHAMING THE SPOOFERS

The problem of DDoS conscripts goes well beyond the millions of IoT devices that are shipped insecure by default: Countless hosting providers and ISPs do nothing to prevent devices on their networks from being used by miscreants to “spoof” the source of DDoS attacks.

As I noted in a November 2015 story, The Lingering Mess from Default Insecurity, one basic step that many ISPs can but are not taking to blunt these attacks involves a network security standard that was developed and released more than a dozen years ago. Known as BCP38, its use prevents insecure resources on an ISPs network (hacked servers, computers, routers, DVRs, etc.) from being leveraged in such powerful denial-of-service attacks.

Using a technique called traffic amplification and reflection, the attacker can reflect his traffic from one or more third-party machines toward the intended target. In this type of assault, the attacker sends a message to a third party, while spoofing the Internet address of the victim. When the third party replies to the message, the reply is sent to the victim — and the reply is much larger than the original message, thereby amplifying the size of the attack.

BCP38 is designed to filter such spoofed traffic, so that it never even traverses the network of an ISP that’s adopted the anti-spoofing measures. However, there are non-trivial economic reasons that many ISPs fail to adopt this best practice. This blog post from the Internet Society does a good job of explaining why many ISPs ultimately decide not to implement BCP38.

Fortunately, there are efforts afoot to gather information about which networks and ISPs have neglected to filter out spoofed traffic leaving their networks. The idea is that by “naming and shaming” the providers who aren’t doing said filtering, the Internet community might pressure some of these actors into doing the right thing (or perhaps even offer preferential treatment to those providers who do conduct this basic network hygiene).

A research experiment by the Center for Applied Internet Data Analysis (CAIDA) called the “Spoofer Project” is slowly collecting this data, but it relies on users voluntarily running CAIDA’s software client to gather that intel. Unfortunately, a huge percentage of the networks that allow spoofing are hosting providers that offer extremely low-cost, virtual private servers (VPS). And these companies will never voluntarily run CAIDA’s spoof-testing tools.

CAIDA's Spoofer Project page.

CAIDA’s Spoofer Project page.

As a result, the biggest offenders will continue to fly under the radar of public attention unless and until more pressure is applied by hardware and software makers, as well as ISPs that are doing the right thing.

How might we gain a more complete picture of which network providers aren’t blocking spoofed traffic — without relying solely on voluntary reporting? That would likely require a concerted effort by a coalition of major hardware makers, operating system manufacturers and cloud providers, including Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft and entities which maintain the major Web server products (Apache, Nginx, e.g.), as well as the major Linux and Unix operating systems.

The coalition could decide that they will unilaterally build such instrumentation into their products. At that point, it would become difficult for hosting providers or their myriad resellers to hide the fact that they’re allowing systems on their networks to be leveraged in large-scale DDoS attacks.

To address the threat from the mass-proliferation of hardware devices such as Internet routers, DVRs and IP cameras that ship with default-insecure settings, we probably need an industry security association, with published standards that all members adhere to and are audited against periodically.

The wholesalers and retailers of these devices might then be encouraged to shift their focus toward buying and promoting connected devices which have this industry security association seal of approval. Consumers also would need to be educated to look for that seal of approval. Something like Underwriters Laboratories (UL), but for the Internet, perhaps.

THE BLEAK VS. THE BRIGHT FUTURE

As much as I believe such efforts could help dramatically limit the firepower available to today’s attackers, I’m not holding my breath that such a coalition will materialize anytime soon. But it’s probably worth mentioning that there are several precedents for this type of cross-industry collaboration to fight global cyber threats.

In 2008, the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) announced that researcher Dan Kaminsky had discovered a fundamental flaw in DNS that could allow anyone to intercept and manipulate most Internet-based communications, including email and e-commerce applications. A diverse community of software and hardware makers came together to fix the vulnerability and to coordinate the disclosure and patching of the design flaw.

deathtoddosIn 2009, Microsoft heralded the formation of an industry group to collaboratively counter Conficker, a malware threat that infected tens of millions of Windows PCs and held the threat of allowing cybercriminals to amass a stupendous army of botted systems virtually overnight. A group of software and security firms, dubbed the Conficker Cabal, hashed out and executed a plan for corralling infected systems and halting the spread of Conficker.

In 2011, a diverse group of industry players and law enforcement organizations came together to eradicate the threat from the DNS Changer Trojan, a malware strain that infected millions of Microsoft Windows systems and enslaved them in a botnet that was used for large-scale cyber fraud schemes.

These examples provide useful templates for a solution to the DDoS problem going forward. What appears to be missing is any sense of urgency to address the DDoS threat on a coordinated, global scale.

That’s probably because at least for now, the criminals at the helm of these huge DDoS crime machines are content to use them to launch petty yet costly attacks against targets that suit their interests or whims.

For example, the massive 620 Gbps attack that hit my site this week was an apparent retaliation for a story I wrote exposing two Israeli men who were arrested shortly after that story ran for allegedly operating vDOS — until recently the most popular DDoS-for-hire network. The traffic hurled at my site in that massive attack included the text string “freeapplej4ck,” a reference to the hacker nickname used by one of vDOS’s alleged co-founders.

Most of the time, ne’er-do-wells like Applej4ck and others are content to use their huge DDoS armies to attack gaming sites and services. But the crooks maintaining these large crime machines haven’t just been targeting gaming sites. OVH, a major Web hosting provider based in France, said in a post on Twitter this week that it was recently the victim of an even more massive attack than hit my site. According to a Tweet from OVH founder Octave Klaba, that attack was launched by a botnet consisting of more than 145,000 compromised IP cameras and DVRs.

I don’t know what it will take to wake the larger Internet community out of its slumber to address this growing threat to free speech and ecommerce. My guess is it will take an attack that endangers human lives, shuts down critical national infrastructure systems, or disrupts national elections.

But what we’re allowing by our inaction is for individual actors to build the instrumentality of tyranny. And to be clear, these weapons can be wielded by anyone — with any motivation — who’s willing to expend a modicum of time and effort to learn the most basic principles of its operation.

The sad truth these days is that it’s a lot easier to censor the digital media on the Internet than it is to censor printed books and newspapers in the physical world. On the Internet, anyone with an axe to grind and the willingness to learn a bit about the technology can become an instant, self-appointed global censor.

I sincerely hope we can address this problem before it’s too late. And I’m deeply grateful for the overwhelming outpouring of support and solidarity that I’ve seen and heard from so many readers over the past few days. Thank you.

by BrianKrebs at September 25, 2016 11:58 AM

A VC

Blockchain Nation States

I went on a walk through the Chelsea Art Gallery district yesterday afternoon. One of the galleries I visited was the Petzel Gallery and they have a show up by the New Zealand artist Simon Denny. The show is called Blockchain Future States and it compares Blockchain efforts like Ethereum and Digital Asset Holdings to the board game Risk.

img_20160924_133520

Given the comparison to Risk, I thought the name Blockchain Nation States would be more appropriate for the show.

As I was walking out of the gallery, I saw a tweetstorm come through on my phone from Naval Ravikant. It’s a good one, talking about how open protocols are going to change a lot of things.

But given the context of what I had just seen, this one particularly got my attention and I replied to it.

I agree with Naval that open protocols and the blockchains that underly them will be the driver of the next big wave of technology and that they will force big changes that will ultimately impact the global economy. That’s a big statement and I don’t make it casually. I do believe this.

The questions in my mind about this are when it will happen, which blockchains and protocols will emerge as the most important and valuable, and which nation states will embrace this and which nation states will not.

Sitting here in the US, I think the US is not likely to be one of the winners in this next big technological wave because our government and institutions are captured by the incumbent economic system and companies that define it. So many of the blockchain companies we invest in are forced to seriously consider leaving the US or get bypassed by companies and technologies that are being developed more freely outside of the US.

So what nation states are playing this game (of Risk?) better? That was the question I asked in my tweet reply and I got a lot of replies. Here are some of the top suggestions:

  • China (2)
  • Hong Kong (2)
  • Canada (2)
  • UK
  • Japan (2)
  • Estonia
  • Georgia
  • Singapore
  • Switzerland
  • Rwanda
  • Zimbabwe
  • Barbados

It is revealing that the big conferences where entrepreneurs, developers, and computer scientists gather to discuss the latest in blockchain technology are not often in the US. Last week, many in the blockchain world, including two people on our team, were in Shanghai to discuss the latest developments around the Ethereum blockchain. It does seem like China and its environs are emerging as an important center of gravity for blockchain technology.

It is not too late for the regulators in the US to change their tune and become more open to these new technologies and the capabilities of them. But, like the game of Risk, large pools of talent are being built on other continents and countries now and eventually they will be unbeatable.

by Fred Wilson at September 25, 2016 11:31 AM

SANS Internet Storm Center, InfoCON: green

Defining Threat Intelligence Requirements, (Sun, Sep 25th)

Introduction

Setting up the requirements is the first task to be completed before investing time in researching and collecting any type of intelligence. However, in many conversations on the topic I have been into, requirements are too often confused with which tool do we need? and how many people do we need?
Even if you would focus only on the amount of information that interests your organization, most of the times such amount of data would still be well over what is the analyst(s) capacity.

Therefore a proper model has to define the requirements and also their priority, in order to be sure that the most relevant and most critical information is processed and not lost in the noise.
I like to split the types of requirements in three different groups:

  • High Level Requirements
    • As the name suggests, these are general requirements like defining what type of threat actor is of interest, understanding which are the business industries of operation, etc.
  • Functional Requirements
    • These are more practical and technical requirements, based on what type of infrastructure your organization has.
  • Capability/Visibility Requirements
    • This is literally what information the analyst needs to have access to, in order to get the proper internal visibility needed to meet the requirements defined in the previous two categories.

Defining Threat Intelligence Requirements

Following are the three types of requirements explained in (slightly) more details, to give an example of what each one means. This list does not want to be exhaustive, but rather to set up an initial direction that will have to be tailored to your specific organization.

High Level Requirements

  • Countries of Operation
    • This is a very high level one. The granularity of this has to be defined. It could be referring just to the macro regions of operation (quite high level though for big organizations), to each country were major operational branches are, or to each county were the organization has a presence (even with small branches).
      • E.g. if your organization has no presence/business in Asia or country X, you may not be interested in activities targeting specifically that region/country.
      • E.g. actions led by this could be blocking traffic towards countries your organization has no business with (and/or generating an alert).
        • E.g. your organization (e.g. core business finance) is also involved in oil plants, with access to blueprints for business reasons. Are there groups after these specific IP/info? Which ones?
    • Business Top Critical Assets
      • Assets refers to both type of critical data for the organization (Credit Card and Financial account data, Personal Identifiable Information, Intellectual Property, Confidential business information, Credentials and IT System Information), and Operational Systems for which their availability is business critical.
    • What type of Adversary may be targeting your business?
      • E.g. Hacktivist, Organized Crime, Corporate Espionage, Nation-State, etc.
    • Who will consume the Intelligence you collect/produce?
      • SOC analysts, CISO, etc., to understand whether you need to collect/produce technical, tactical and/or strategic intelligence.

    Functional Requirements

    • Physical external/perimetral exposure
      • Servers facing external network:
        • What services are publicly exposed? What OS version do they run? What DB + version? Etc. (selecting those of major importance first)
      • Which devices are reachable from the outside?
        • E.g. printers with remote maintenance access.
    • Physical internal exposure
      • What systems do you use internally (i.e. that have access to the internal network)?
        • Windows / OSX / *nix ? Which version?
        • Mobile?
      • What software/version do you use internally? (IE, Outlook, Flash, etc.). Are there unpatched vulnerabilities to be monitored? Are any of those being exploited in the wild?
      • What type of attachments do you allow? What types of file are allowed to be downloaded from the internal network?
      • Network infrastructure (yes, that famous diagram no one ever has)
    • What type of attacks/threats does your organization fear most?
      • DDoS attacks
      • Banking Trojan
      • Drive-by / EK
      • Credentials Phishing
      • Intellectual Property (IP) exfiltration
      • Etc.

    Capability/Visibility Requirements

    Given that the best intelligence is the one you can gather from your own environment, and higher visibility into your environment will lead you to use information and tools in a more efficient way. Following there are the resources needed to have visibility on the data needed to fulfill those requirements.

  • Having access to the email header as well would be a great plus.
  • Network: Proxylogs, Firewall logs, IDS logs, DNS logs, etc.
  • Third-party pDNS: always useful to get a broader view.
  • Endpoint visibility
    • Being able to search/collect information and artifacts from endpoints (i.e. memory, registry hives, running processes, etc.)
  • External feeds and sources
    • Free/Paid feeds of indicators
    • Hopefully eachanalyst belongs to one or more trusted sharing communities, which are usually not public. If not, create your network of trusted peers, this is a must have for an analyst.
  • Centralized storage and correlation
    • This may be full-fledged Threat Intelligence Platform (TIP) or an Excel spreadsheet
    • Useful as central collection point of the collected intel.
    • Ideally can be integratedwith other internal tools to allow automation
  • ActionPlan

    The following is a list of actions to take, which is mapped on the above requirements:

    1. Enumerate your environment (functional requirements: internal and external exposure)
    2. Evaluate your most critical assets the business wants you to protect (high level requirements: business top critical asset).
    3. Identify your Adversaries (high level requirements: what type of adversary may target our business)
    4. Prioritize the type of attacks/threats most dangerous for the business (functional requirements: what type of attacks/threats do you fear?)
    5. Identify the main countries and especially business industries of operation (high level requirements: countries and business industries of operation)
    6. Identify who will be the TI consumers (high level requirements: who will consume the TI?)

    Once it is clear what you need to protect and what type of information needs to be collected, it is time to move to the capability/visibility requirements, keeping in mind what information you need in order to cover all the requirements defined above.

    We have already mentioned that the first and best intelligence feeds you can get are from your own internal environment. Specifically, as also mentioned by Scott J. Roberts in his blog [1], starting from the analysis of your past incident can give you immediately a good indication about your requirements. Do those incidents fit into the requirements you have set? If not, refine them. From the past incidents, it will be possible also to check how mature are the capability/visibility requirements. If that incident will happen again, would you be able to either prevent or detect it? The requirements will tell you.
    Last but not least, remember that this is an iterative process and all those requirements need to be reviewed and refined periodically, because the threat landscape will change, as well as the organization infrastructure and/or secondary business industries may change as well. How often? This is really tailored to the organization (e.g. 6 or 12 months).

    Did you define your TI requirements? What approach did you use? Please share your experience.

    Happy Hunting,

    Pasquale

    References and Suggested Readings
    [1] Scott J. Roberts, CTI SquadGoals - Setting Requirements, https://sroberts.github.io/2016/03/30/cti-squad-goals-intro-to-requirements/
    [2] CIA, A Fresh Look at Collection Requirements, https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/kent-csi/vol4no4/html/v04i4a03p_0001.htm
    [3] Scott J. Roberts, Intelligence Collection Priorities, https://sroberts.github.io/2016/07/26/intelligence-collection-priorities

    (c) SANS Internet Storm Center. https://isc.sans.edu Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

    September 25, 2016 11:23 AM

    Brad DeLong - Grasping Reality with Both Hands

    Taped from the Journamalists' Self-Made Gehenna: One reason we are in so much trouble now is that our TV and newspaper "journalists" have spent and continue to spend so much of their time and energy grasping at straws and finding excuses to normalize that which not should be normalized. Sarah Palin never should have been a vice presidential nominee--somewhat less, in fact, than Dan Quayle, or Spiro Agnew, or indeed Richard Nixon (very smart and very hard-working, but already by 1952 clearly a psycho). Yet here is David Brooks:

    David Brooks (2008): [The Palin Rebound][]:

    There are some moments when members of a political movement come together as one, sharing the same thoughts...

    ...feeling the same emotions, breathing the same shallow breaths. One of those occasions occurred Thursday night when Republicans around the country crouched nervously behind their sofas, glimpsed out tentatively at their flat screens and gripped their beverages tightly as Sarah Palin walked onto the debate stage at Washington University in St. Louis. There she was, resplendent in black, striding out like a power-walker, and greeting Joe Biden like an assertive salesman, first-naming him right off the bat....

    With a bemused smile and a never-ending flow of words, she laid out her place on the ticket--as the fearless neighbor for the heartland bemused by the idiocies of Washington. Her perpetual smile served as foil to Biden’s senatorial seriousness. Where was this woman during her interview with Katie Couric?... The presidency and the vice presidency once was the preserve of white men in suits.... If, in 1984, Geraldine Ferraro had spoken in the relentlessly folksy tones that Palin used, she would have been hounded out of politics as fundamentally unserious. But that was before casual Fridays, boxers or briefs and T-shirt-clad Silicon Valley executives. Today, Palin can hit those colloquial notes again and again, and it is not automatically disqualifying. On Thursday night, Palin took her inexperience and made a mansion out of it. From her first “Nice to meet you. May I call you Joe?” she made it abundantly, unstoppably and relentlessly clear that she was not of Washington, did not admire Washington and knew little about Washington. She ran not only against Washington, but the whole East Coast, just to be safe.... In the casual parts of the country, I suspect, it went down fine....

    She held up her end of an energetic debate that gave voters a direct look at two competing philosophies. She established debating parity with Joe Biden. And in a country that is furious with Washington, she presented herself as a radical alternative. By the end of the debate, most Republicans were not crouching behind the couch, but standing on it. The race has not been transformed, but few could have expected as vibrant and tactically clever a performance as the one Sarah Palin turned in Thursday night.

    by J. Bradford DeLong at September 25, 2016 11:18 AM

    Wired Top Stories

    Forget VR. The Future of Roller Coasters Is About Maglev

    Forget VR. The Future of Roller Coasters Is About Maglev
    What if there was no friction at all? What if electro magnets propelled the cars? This is the idea behind the Sfrear Mountain Coaster. The post Forget VR. The Future of Roller Coasters Is About Maglev appeared first on WIRED.

    by Charles Bombardier at September 25, 2016 11:16 AM

    Four Months in, I Still Can’t Get Enough Overwatch

    Four Months in, I Still Can’t Get Enough Overwatch
    Overwatch is a vibrant game with a vibrant community. Four months in, it still feels like one of the best games on the market right now. The post Four Months in, I Still Can’t Get Enough Overwatch appeared first on WIRED.

    by Jake Muncy at September 25, 2016 11:00 AM

    Abnormal Returns

    naked capitalism

    Seth's Blog

    Anxiety loves company

    Somehow, at least in our culture, we find relief when others are anxious too.

    So we spread our anxiety, stoking it in other people, looking for solace in the fear in their eyes.

    And thanks to the media, to the microphone we each have, to our hyper-connected culture, it's easier than ever to spread our anxiety if we choose. And when someone who seeks power offers to hear our anxiety in exchange for attention or a vote, it gets even worse.

    It's worth noting that there's no correlation between the real world and anxiety. In fact, it's probably the opposite--when times are good, people with a lot to lose start to get that itch.

    Absorb the anxiety if you wish, spread it if you must, but understand that it's an invention, and it's optional.

           

    by Seth Godin at September 25, 2016 10:49 AM

    Wired Top Stories

    naked capitalism

    Class Action Lawsuit Against Wells Fargo Seeking $2.6 Billion for Wrongful Terminations Unlikely to Go Very Far

    A case arguing that Wells Fargo fired and demoted employees who didn't commit fraud to meet sales targets, does not deliver the goods.

    by Yves Smith at September 25, 2016 10:05 AM

    The Big Picture

    Puerto Rico Insured: Third Quarter 2016 Review

    Puerto Rico Insured: Third Quarter 2016 Review Shaun Burgess, Portfolio Manager & Fixed Income Analyst September 24, 2016     Puerto Rico started off the third quarter with a bang: a historic default and a seminal moment in the drama that has played out over the past two years plus on the little island in the…

    Read More

    The post Puerto Rico Insured: Third Quarter 2016 Review  appeared first on The Big Picture.

    by David Kotok at September 25, 2016 09:00 AM

    Advaita Vision

    Overview of Western Philosophy – Part 8

    (Read Part 7 of the series.)

    Empiricism and Idealism         Locke and Berkeley)

    Empiricism

    Born some eighteen years before the death of Descartes, the Englishman John Locke claimed that reason was not the principal means for finding out about the world, as the earlier philosopher had contended. Instead, he advocated an empirical approach to knowledge, i.e. using one’s senses actually to see what is the case. This is the only means for obtaining raw data and we use reason subsequently to make sense of it. Only then can it become knowledge. He believed his own purpose in life was to enquire into human knowledge to discover its limits and the extent to which we could be certain of it.

    Unlike modern, evolutionary psychologists, he believed that we are effectively born with no innate knowledge, a metaphorical ‘blank slate’. All of our knowledge and understanding is therefore built upon information derived from our senses. Everything we know or think about ultimately comes from experience. The limits of what we can know about reality are fixed by the abilities of the senses and the associated mental equipment.

    As an aside, there is a danger of wondering what all of this has to do with the meaning of our lives. Is it not all simply airy imaginings, arguing about concepts that have little relevance in our everyday world? Well, no. If we are wondering what we ought to do, we are bound to ask ourselves what reasons there might be for acting in one way rather than another. Any grounds for such reasons must come from our existing knowledge about the world and our place in it. This knowledge can only arise from a few sources. The main ones are by reasoning from a more basic set of premises (which is what Descartes was doing) or by observing the world and drawing conclusions or making inferences in a broadly scientific way (which is what empiricism proposes). Therefore we do need to be aware of this and decide for ourselves how trustworthy the data might be, even if we do not actually make any significant investigation into them. (The term for ‘source of knowledge’ in Advaita is pramANa and, if you search for this term, you will find several pages of articles which discuss them in more or less detail.)

    Locke believed that external objects had what he called ‘primary’ qualities, which were aspects that could be measured scientifically such as length, mass, velocity and so on. Those aspects such as smell and taste, he called ‘secondary’ qualities and he said that these were not ‘intrinsic’ to the object itself (they could not be measured scientifically) but were simply a subjective interpretation in our mind, triggered by the primary qualities.

    He said that we can only ever be aware of these qualities, which are effectively transactions between an actual object and ourselves as the subject; we cannot know anything about the matter itself independent of these characteristics nor of ourselves independent of these experiences. Most importantly, the conclusions of this approach meant that we can never know any absolute truths about the universe, only develop possible hypotheses that seem to explain our observations. Once we accept this, we can stop wasting our time trying to understand things that are forever beyond our ken.

    He recognised several varieties of knowledge. The most certain type of knowledge that we have is ‘intuitive’, as in the certainty with which we know that 2 + 2 = 4. We may not be able to say how we know this to be true but we have no doubt about it. Sometimes, we can see the truth about something by reasoning from something that is intuitively obvious via several steps, each of which, in turn, is also intuitively obvious. In this way we can arrive, by what he called ‘demonstration’ at some new knowledge that we did not have to begin with. This knowledge is almost as certain as the first, though we might make a mistake in the reasoning process.

    A third type is that which arrives via our senses, ‘sensitive’ knowledge, which has a quality about it that is different from something that is simply remembered or dreamt. The smell of a flower, for example, may be brought to mind but is so much more immediate and positive when we actually go out into the garden and put our nose to the flower. Here however we know that the senses can be mistaken, as in an optical illusion, so that the knowledge is less certain. But in general the difference in quality between actual sense and remembrance of it gives us a high degree of confidence of the existence of external objects.

    With these three types of knowledge, then, we discover that we can be directly certain of only one thing, namely our own existence – to this extent he agreed with Descartes. Beyond this, we could demonstrate, he thought, the existence of God. But as regards everything else, we could only know those things about which we could derive sensitive knowledge. If they were not accessible to our senses, then we couldn’t find out anything about them at all and could not even be sure of their existence.

    As regards how we ought to act, Locke believed that the aim of all our desires is to achieve happiness, which is effectively the ultimate pleasure. Things are ‘good’ to the extent that they bring about pleasure or minimise pain. But, believing in God as he did, he also insisted that we should exercise control over our desires so as to live a virtuous life – breaking the commandments would lead us to hell. God has provided us with senses for acquiring data and from these we derive beliefs and He has given us the faculty of reason in order to be able to turn this into knowledge.

    The idea of using reason to validate the moral instructions of the bible did not go down very well with many of his contemporaries, who thought this tantamount to encouraging atheism. They also preferred to think that the basic principles of morality were somehow innate rather than instilled into us during childhood. (More about morality later.)

    Idealism

    Bishop George Berkeley in particular objected to Locke’s classification of qualities into primary and secondary. This suggested that our senses were unreliable; that reality was one thing while our senses told us something else. Such ideas could only lead us into doubt and scepticism. If the ordinary person saw that philosophers, who had devoted their lives to studying the nature of knowledge and reality, were coming up with ideas that were contradictory to all of their experience and common sense, it could only lead to atheism.

    He showed that, if we accepted the empiricist view that all of our knowledge derives from experience then we are inevitably led to deny any objective reality to the world. We can only ever know anything via our senses. Locke had said that there were real objects possessing primary qualities but Berkeley argued that our awareness of primary is really no different from our awareness of the secondary qualities. We are only aware of form, size and motion and so on as a result of sight and touch, and these are ultimately only perceptions in our minds just the same.

    That this is all subjective can be shown by the fact that our interpretation depends upon where we are and what we are doing at the time. We can easily misjudge the size of something if there is no known object in the vicinity with which to compare it. If we ourselves are moving, we can mistake the degree to which another object is moving. Everything about a supposed external object is in fact in our mind and there can never be any independent validation that it exists other than when we are aware of it.

    It is pointless trying to argue that an object has certain qualities that we cannot perceive and that these are the cause of our perceptions since, by definition, this could never be proven. Furthermore, it would not make any sense to say that our ideas and impressions are like the supposed real object because we are attempting to claim that the object exists relatively unchanging over time whereas our thoughts are transient and change frequently. Our sensations are like sensations, which only exist within living things. We cannot even imagine something, with qualities other than those that we perceive, existing alone without someone to perceive them. As soon as we imagine it, it is by definition an idea in our minds. And if qualities that we cannot perceive did exist, again by definition, we could never be aware of them.

    Berkeley argued that all of this followed from the Empiricist assumption that all of our knowledge derives from experience. Since that experience itself comes from sense data alone and all these consist of ideas in mind, we can only ever experience ideas and never any ‘real objects’. Everything that we perceive is an idea and ideas cannot exist outside of the mind. (This includes the brain itself, so that the brain is in the mind, not vice versa!) As he famously put it, ‘to be is to be perceived’.

    But he did not claim that the contents of a room disappeared when he left it (nor that we disappear when we are in deep sleep). He also acknowledged that he was not able to dictate how particular objects appeared, as one might expect to be able to do if they existed entirely within one’s own mind. He believed that objects appear to continue to exist independently of any specific observer because the ‘ideas’ actually exist in the mind of God.

    Thus his claim was that there are only two elements to our perceptual experience: the perceiver and the ideas in mind that he perceives. There are no such things as ‘material objects’. This theory was called Immaterialism or Idealism (nothing to do with the pursuit of ideals but the theory that what is real is effectively contained within our minds or ideas). Needless to say, most people find his claims fantastical to say the least, despite the fact that they are unable to find any obvious counter arguments. In fact, at the time, Berkeley believed his theory corresponded most clearly with common sense and said that it was held alike by ordinary men (the ‘vulgar’) and philosophers.

    In fact, so-called objects in dreams seem perfectly real whilst we are still in the dream; it is only after we wake up that we feel them somehow to be different. Furthermore this difference is not based upon the belief that dream objects are ‘only in our minds’ whereas waking objects consist of matter. Our perception of the relative reality of waking objects is based upon such things as their seeming duration in place and time. E.g. the table that was in the room next door will almost certainly still be there next time that we go into the room in the waking state but quite likely will not if it is a dream. Also, in the waking state, objects tend to remain the same, whereas in a dream a table might well change into a rhinoceros before our very dream eyes. Finally, the amount of control that we can exert over objects differs. E.g. we may be able to throw the dream table/rhinoceros into orbit or be unable to budge it at all whereas the waking table will usually behave in a predictable fashion.

    We do not typically use the idea of matter at all when we identify an object as real or imaginary. Matter is simply a rationalisation after the fact of the observed behaviour and is not necessarily a useful concept. And, of course, we can never see ‘matter’, we only experience different physical properties.

    And why should matter exist? Just because we perceive round plates and windows does not mean that these things are partly made out of roundness; this is simply one of the properties that we discern. Similarly, the word ‘material’ is used to describe a particular set of properties, such as solidity, shape, colour, texture and so on. It is mere linguistic convenience to talk of something called ‘matter’ that exhibits these sorts of properties.

    It should be noted that Idealism is not the same as Advaita (although there are some points of similarity). Advaita accepts the existence of objects independent of the perceiver from a vyAvahArika viewpoint. They are neither in the mind of the perceiver, nor in the mind of Ishvara. To this extent, Advaita is a realist philosophy, not an idealist one. The universe is a ‘manifestation’ of Ishvara, i.e. objects (and jIva-s) are a physical part of Ishvara, like the web is a physical manifestation of the spider. From a pAramArthika viewpoint, of course, all is mithyA. There are neither objects nor perceivers.

    To be continued…

    by Dennis at September 25, 2016 07:19 AM

    Planet Python

    Krzysztof Żuraw: Archives from memory- libarchive

    This blog post is about python wrapper around libarchive and how to use it to generate archive from memory.

    Libarchive & python-libarchive-c

    If you happen to learn more about how to create archives in various formats like tar, iso or zip I bet you heard about libarchive. It is widely used archive library written in C.

    To use it within python you can choose from a few libraries but one that is currently maintained is called python-libarchive-c. When in my work I was to implement the feature of adding entries to archive from memory I decided to use existing module and give something back to a community in form of an open source contribution.

    Add entry from memory

    To make such a feature I have to reread carefully code examples in libarchive c itself. I also get familiar with few archive formats and their limitations. But enough talking lets jump to the code:

    import requests
    import libarchive
    
    def create_archive_from_memory_file():
        response = requests.get('link', stream=True)
    
        with libarchive.file_writer('archive.zip', 'zip') as archive:
            archive.add_file_from_memory(
                entry_path='filename',
                entry_size=int(response.headers['Content-Length']),
                entry_data=response.iter_content(chunk_size=1024)
            )
    
    if __name__ == '__main__':
        create_archive_from_memory_file()
    

    My changes in code have not been released so make sure that you install python-libarchive-c from github like this (to run this script you also need requests library):

    $ pip install git+https://github.com/Changaco/python-libarchive-c
    

    In this snippet, I use request feature that doesn't require loading the whole content of the response to memory but instead I add the argument: stream=True and then I use response.iter_content(chunk_size=1024). Rest of the code is simply calling add_file_from_memory with a path (entry_path) and size of the entry in an archive (entry_size).

    Under the hood, python-libarchive-c is using c_types with ffi to call libarchive functions. At first, it setup path to entry then sets its size, filetype and permission which file will be saved in the archive. Then write the header and start iterating through the entry_data by chunks and write them. At the end, header is set and archive is ready for user.

    To see it in action have snippet above as example.py and run this script:

    $ python example.py
    $ ls -la
    -rw-r--r--. 1 kzuraw kzuraw 11M 09-24 13:04 archive.zip
    -rw-rw-r--. 1 kzuraw kzuraw 511 09-24 12:59 example.py
    

    That's all for this week. Feel free to comment and if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask them.

    Special thanks to Kasia for being editor for this post. Thank you.

    Cover image by Archivo-FSP under CC BY-SA 3.0.

    September 25, 2016 07:00 AM

    Barry's news

    Smaller git downloads

    This is a very useful bit of information. A couple of weeks ago, I downloaded a project from a git repository, and it was 5.5GB, which used up the rest of my monthly data allowance (which is only 12GB, from Virgin Mobile, 4G wireless, using the Optus network).

    Now, I want to compile the Linux kernel on my Odroid XU4, and followed the instructionss here:
    https://blogs.s-osg.org/install-ubuntu-run-mainline-kernel-odroid-xu4/

    Which is:
    # git clone git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/next/linux-next.git linux_odroid

    ...it started to download, but I did a CTRL-C when I realised it is 5GB.

    So, I did a bit of reading, found this:
    http://ask.systutorials.com/956/how-to-clone-snapshot-remote-repository-at-specific-branch

    The solution:
    # git clone git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/next/linux-next.git linux_odroid --depth 1

    Which is only 59MB.

    September 25, 2016 06:43 AM

    The India Uncut Blog

    Why Modi Must Learn to Play the Game of Chicken With Pakistan

    This is a guest column published today in the Sunday Times of India edit page.

    There are few things as satisfying as being macho on social media, and this is quite the season for it. After the terrorist attack in Uri, every Righteous Internet Patriot (RIP) wants our government to teach Pakistan a lesson by going to war. I have two things to say about this: One, it is the worst of all available solutions; Two, it is the best possible stance to take. Let us unravel that.

    War is a solution that would be worse than the problem. Let’s look at this conflict using the metric of human lives. A rational aim of any solution would be to minimise the loss of Indian lives. What is the cost we currently bear through Pakistan-sponsored terrorism?

    In a reply to an RTI petition this July, the government of India stated that 707 Indian lives have been lost to terrorism since 2005. Over 11 years, that comes to 64 deaths a year. If the status quo is maintained, with the usual empty diplomatic posturings, this figure should not rise too drastically. But what if, in an exasperated search for closure, we go to war?

    A modern war with modern weaponry could cost us tens of thousands of lives, and maybe millions if it turns nuclear. (This does not take into account downstream effects on survivors, the economy, the environment and so on, all of which would blight the future.) Whatever the precise number, the cost of war would be orders of magnitude worse than even the long-term cost of the status quo. For any rational person, therefore, war is off the table.

    This creates an obvious problem. If the rational course for India is to avoid war no matter what happens, then Pakistan can keep escalating with impunity. They could kill hundreds of Indians a year, or even thousands, confident in the belief that because we are rational, because we can do the math, we will be restrained. So what are we to do?

    The field of game theory contains an insight to this dynamic. The game most relevant to two nuclear powers is called Chicken. Here’s an illustration: two cars are racing towards each other, and a crash is imminent. (Mutually Assured Destruction.) The driver who loses his nerve and swerves first loses the game. Now, every rational driver will swerve before he crashes into the other guy. So a surefire way to win the game is to convince the other guy that you are irrational, prepared to die, and will not concede. (One way of doing this is by breaking the steering wheel and throwing it away.) Your opponent, if he is rational, must swerve.

    Pakistan has played this game brilliantly with a so-far rational India. Their venal generals and mad mullahs, the world believes, are capable of going nuclear at any provocation. India’s rationality and restraint is applauded in diplomatic circles—but we’re being pwned in the geopolitical sphere by Pakistan.

    One way out is for India to portray itself as equally irrational, and show a willingness to go nuclear—even if we actually remain rational and intend to avoid war. Richard Nixon did this during the Cold War in 1969, when he ordered the US army to full war-readiness, and sent 18 B-52s loaded with thermonuclear weapons towards the Soviet border, where they flew around in pretty oval patterns for three days. The Soviets, who weren’t exactly ballerinas themselves, were spooked. Nixon called this ‘the Madman Theory’.

    Recent Indian prime ministers would have had a tough time portraying themselves as mad men. (Imagine Manmohan Singh letting off an evil laugh.) But Narendra Modi seemed to be suited for the role – until he became PM. Ironically, the rhetorical belligerance that Modi articulated towards Pakistan while on the campaign trail has been replaced by a subdued, reasonable demeanour on the world stage.

    Modi cares deeply about how the world views him, and wants to be seen as a mature statesman. Sadly, he has succeeded. This is reassuring to those of us who fear excessive military adventurism—I live in Mumbai and would be bummed if Pakistan nuked my beloved city—but is counter-productive when it comes to dealing with Pakistan. If Pakistan’s generals saw Modi and his minions as unhinged reactionaries driven by bigotry, Islamophobia and a virulent nationalism, they might back off. But regardless of how he is regarded in JNU, his image on the global stage is exemplary. On all his foreign visits, he comes across as an avuncular dove, a personable connoisseur of the photo-op.

    Our conflict with Pakistan will not be ended by diplomacy. China supports Pakistan, America needs Pakistan for Afghanistan reasons, and all diplomatic manouvering on this subject is just theatre. To get Pakistan to stop poking us, we have to play the game. Modi has so far been a master of optics – and playing Chicken with Pakistan is his greatest challenge yet.

    The India Uncut Blog © 2010 Amit Varma. All rights reserved.
    Follow me on Twitter.

    by Amit Varma at September 25, 2016 06:06 AM

    FFFFOUND! / EVERYONE

    naked capitalism

    Planet Python

    Python 4 Kids: Python for Kids: Python 3 – Project 10

    Using Python 3 in Project 10 of Python For Kids For Dummies

    In this post I talk about the changes that need to be made to the code of Project 10 of my book Python for Kids for Dummies in order for it to work with Python 3. The main difference between the Python 2.7 and Python 3 code for this project is that Python 3 uses raw_input and that has been renamed to input in Python 3. Most of the code in project 10 will work with this one change. However, in a lot of cases what Python outputs in Python 3 is different from the output in Python 2.7. This project has a lot of code. In order to shorten the length of this post I am only showing the Python 3 versions of the longer pieces (rather than both Python 2.7 (from the book) and Python 3). Look at the book to see the Python 2.7 code (it’s very similar).

    Disclaimer

    Some people want to use my book Python for Kids for Dummies to learn Python 3. I am working through the code in the existing book, highlighting changes from Python 2 to Python 3 and providing code that will work in Python 3. If you are using Python 2.7 you can ignore this post. This post is only for people who want to take the code in my book Python for Kids for Dummies and run it in Python 3.

    ######## Page 283

    The code on this page uses raw_input, which has been renamed to input in Python 3. You can either replace all occurrences of raw_input with input or add a line:

    raw_input = input 
    

    at the start of the relevant code. In order to reduce the amount of code being repeated, I am adding raw_input = input to the Constants section of the code. You will need to remember that all of the later code assumes that this line has been added.

      
    """
    Python 2.7
    math_trainer.py
    Train your times tables.
    Initial Features:
    * Print out times table for a given number.
    * Limit tables to a lower number (default is 1)
    and an upper number (default is 12).
    * Pose test questions to the user
    * Check whether the user is right or wrong
    * Track the user's score.
    Brendan Scott
    February 2015
    """
    #### Constants Section
    TEST_QUESTION = (4, 6)
    QUESTION_TEMPLATE = "What is %sx%s? "
    #### Function Section
    #### Testing Section
    question = TEST_QUESTION
    prompt = QUESTION_TEMPLATE%question
    correct_answer = question[0]*question[1] # indexes start from 0
    answer = raw_input(prompt)
    if int(answer)== correct_answer:
        print("Correct!")
    else:
        print("Incorrect")
    
    >>> ================================ RESTART ================================
    >>>
    What is 4x6? 24
    Correct!
    >>> ================================ RESTART ================================
    >>>
    What is 4x6? 25
    Incorrect
    
    
         
    
    """
    Python 3
    math_trainer.py
    Train your times tables.
    Initial Features:
    * Print out times table for a given number.
    * Limit tables to a lower number (default is 1)
    and an upper number (default is 12).
    * Pose test questions to the user
    * Check whether the user is right or wrong
    * Track the user's score.
    Brendan Scott
    February 2015
    """
    #### Constants Section
    raw_input = input # this line added
    TEST_QUESTION = (4, 6)
    QUESTION_TEMPLATE = "What is %sx%s? "
    
    #### Function Section
    
    #### Testing Section
    question = TEST_QUESTION
    prompt = QUESTION_TEMPLATE%question
    correct_answer = question[0]*question[1] # indexes start from 0
    answer = raw_input(prompt)
    if int(answer)== correct_answer:
        print("Correct!")
    else:
        print("Incorrect")
    
    >>> ================================ RESTART ================================
    >>>
    What is 4x6? 24
    Correct!
    >>> ================================ RESTART ================================
    >>>
    What is 4x6? 25
    Incorrect
    

    ######## Page 286-296

    All code on this page is the same, and all outputs from the code is the same in Python 3 as in Python 2.7.
    Remember that for the code to work in Python 3 code an additional line

    raw_input = input
    

    as added in the Constants section of the code.

    ######## Page 297

    All code on this page is the same, and all outputs from the code is the same in Python 3 as in Python 2.7.

    ######## Page 298
    The code in this section is different in Python 2.7 v Python 3.
    The Python 2.7 code assumed that there was a list and that a while loop repeatedly removed things from that list. When everything was removed then the loop stopped. This was achieved by a test

    batch != []
    

    that is, stop when the variable batch is an empty list.
    Ultimately, what is in batch comes from a call to the range builtin:

    tables_to_print = range(1, upper+1)
    

    In Python 2.7 this is a list which is generated in full and stored in tables_to_print. In Python 3 it’s not. Rather the range builtin generates the values that are needed at the time they are needed – not before. In Python 3 batch is a “range object”, not a list. And, while batch gets shorter and shorter, it’s never going to be an empty list (it would need to stop being a range and start being a list), no matter how long the program runs. To get this code working in Python 2.7 you can either:
    (A) explicitly make batch a list by changing the line:

    tables_to_print = range(1, upper+1)
    

    to

    tables_to_print = list(range(1, upper+1))
    

    this changes all the relevant variables (and, in particular batch) into lists so the condition in the while loop will evaluate as you expect; or

    (B) change the condition in the while loop to check the length of batch rather than whether or not it is an empty list. That is change:

     
        while batch != []: # stop when there's no more to print
    

    to

     
        while len(batch) > 0: # stop when there's no more to print
    

    That is, once the length is 0 (ie no more elements to display), stop the loop. I think this is the better of the two options because it makes the test independent of the type of variable used to keep track of batches.

    Remember that the Python 3 code has an additional line

     
    raw_input = input
    

    in the Constants section of the code.

     
    #Python 2.7
    
    TIMES_TABLE_ENTRY = "%2i x %2i = %3i "
    
    def display_times_tables(upper=UPPER):
        """
        Display the times tables up to UPPER
        """
        tables_per_line = 5
        tables_to_print = range(1, upper+1)
        # get a batch of 5 to print
        batch = tables_to_print[:tables_per_line]
        # remove them from the list
        tables_to_print = tables_to_print[tables_per_line:]
        while batch != []: # stop when there's no more to print
            for x in range(1, upper+1):
                # this goes from 1 to 12 and is the rows
                accumulator = []
                for y in batch:
                    # this covers only the tables in the batch
                    # it builds the columns
                    accumulator.append(TIMES_TABLE_ENTRY%(y, x, x*y))
                print("".join(accumulator)) # print one row
            print("\n") # vertical separation between blocks of tables.
            # now get another batch and repeat.
            batch = tables_to_print[:tables_per_line]
            tables_to_print = tables_to_print[tables_per_line:]
    
    
         
    
    #Python 3                            
    TIMES_TABLE_ENTRY = "%2i x %2i = %3i "
    
    def display_times_tables(upper=UPPER):
        """
        Display the times tables up to UPPER
        """
        tables_per_line = 5
        tables_to_print = list(range(1, upper+1))
        # get a batch of 5 to print
        batch = tables_to_print[:tables_per_line]
        # remove them from the list
        tables_to_print = tables_to_print[tables_per_line:]
        while len(batch)>0: # stop when there's no more to print
            for x in range(1, upper+1):
                # this goes from 1 to 12 and is the rows
                accumulator = []
                for y in batch:
                    # this covers only the tables in the batch
                    # it builds the columns
                    accumulator.append(TIMES_TABLE_ENTRY%(y, x, x*y))
                print("".join(accumulator)) # print one row
            print("\n") # vertical separation between blocks of tables.
            # now get another batch and repeat.
            batch = tables_to_print[:tables_per_line]
            tables_to_print = tables_to_print[tables_per_line:]
            
    

    ######## Page 302, 304
    All code on this page is the same, and all outputs from the code is the same in Python 3 as in Python 2.7.
    Remember that the Python 3 code has an additional line

       
    raw_input = input 
    

    in the Constants section of the code.

    ######## Page 305-306

    All code on this page is the same, and all outputs from the code is the same in Python 3 as in Python 2.7.

    ######## Page 307
    All code on this page is the same, and all outputs from the code is the same in Python 3 as in Python 2.7.
    Remember that the Python 3 code has an additional line

       
    raw_input = input
    

    in the Constants section of the code.

    #########################################
    ### Full Code:
    #########################################

    The code in this section is different in Python 2.7 v Python 3.
    The Python 3 code has an additional line
    raw_input = input
    in the Constants section of the code and the line

       
        while batch != []: # stop when there's no more to print
    

    has been changed to

       
        while len(batch) > 0: # stop when there's no more to print
    
         
    """
    math_trainer.py
    Train your times tables.
    Initial Features:
    * Print out times table for a given number.
    * Limit tables to a lower number (default is 1) and
    an upper number (default is 12).
    * Pose test questions to the user
    * Check whether the user is right or wrong
    * Track the user's score.
    Brendan Scott
    February 2015
    """
    
    #### Imports Section
    import random
    import sys
    import time
    
    #### Constants Section
    TEST_QUESTION = (4, 6)
    QUESTION_TEMPLATE = "What is %sx%s? "
    LOWER = 1
    UPPER = 12
    MAX_QUESTIONS = 10 # for testing, you can increase it later
    TIMES_TABLE_ENTRY = "%2i x %2i = %3i "
    
    INSTRUCTIONS = """Welcome to Math Trainer
    This application will train you on your times tables.
    It can either print one or more of the tables for you
    so that you can revise (training) or you it can test
    you on your times tables.
    """
    CONFIRM_QUIT_MESSAGE = 'Are you sure you want to quit (Y/n)? '
    SCORE_TEMPLATE = "You scored %s (%i%%) in %.1f seconds"
    
    #### Function Section
    def make_question_list(lower=LOWER, upper=UPPER, random_order=True):
        """ prepare a list of questions in the form (x,y)
        where x and y are in the range from LOWER to UPPER inclusive
        If random_order is true, rearrange the questions in a random
        order
        """
        spam = [(x+1, y+1) for x in range(lower-1, upper)
                           for y in range(lower-1, upper)]
        if random_order:
            random.shuffle(spam)
        return spam
    
    def display_times_tables(upper=UPPER):
        """
        Display the times tables up to UPPER
        """
        tables_per_line = 5
        tables_to_print = range(1, upper+1)
        # get a batch of 5 to print
        batch = tables_to_print[:tables_per_line]
        # remove them from the list 
        tables_to_print = tables_to_print[tables_per_line:]
        while batch != []: # stop when there's no more to print
            for x in range(1, upper+1):
                # this goes from 1 to 12 and is the rows 
                accumulator = []
                for y in batch:
                    # this covers only the tables in the batch
                    # it builds the columns
                    accumulator.append(TIMES_TABLE_ENTRY%(y, x, x*y))
                print("".join(accumulator)) # print one row
            print("\n") # vertical separation between blocks of tables.
            # now get another batch and repeat. 
            batch = tables_to_print[:tables_per_line]
            tables_to_print = tables_to_print[tables_per_line:]
    
        
    def do_testing():
        """ conduct a round of testing """
        question_list = make_question_list()
        score = 0
        start_time = time.time()
        for i, question in enumerate(question_list):
            if i >= MAX_QUESTIONS:
                break
            prompt = QUESTION_TEMPLATE%question
            correct_answer = question[0]*question[1]
            # indexes start from 0
            answer = raw_input(prompt)
    
            if int(answer) == correct_answer:
                print("Correct!")
                score = score+1
            else:
                print("Incorrect, should have "+\
                      "been %s"%(correct_answer))
    
        end_time = time.time()
        time_taken = end_time-start_time
        percent_correct = int(score/float(MAX_QUESTIONS)*100)
        print(SCORE_TEMPLATE%(score, percent_correct, time_taken))
    
    def do_quit():
        """ quit the application"""
        if confirm_quit():
            sys.exit()
        print("In quit (not quitting, returning)")
    
    def confirm_quit():
        """Ask user to confirm that they want to quit
        default to yes 
        Return True (yes, quit) or False (no, don't quit) """
        spam = raw_input(CONFIRM_QUIT_MESSAGE)
        if spam == 'n':
            return False
        else:
            return True    
    
    
    #### Testing Section
    
    #do_testing()
    ##display_times_tables()
    
    #### Main Section
    
    if __name__ == "__main__":
        while True:
            print(INSTRUCTIONS)
            raw_input_prompt = "Press: 1 for training,"+\
                               " 2 for testing, 3 to quit.\n"
            selection = raw_input(raw_input_prompt)
            selection = selection.strip()
            while selection not in ["1", "2", "3"]:
                selection = raw_input("Please type either 1, 2, or 3: ")
                selection = selection.strip()
    
            if selection == "1":
                display_times_tables()
            elif selection == "2":
                do_testing()
            else:  # has to be 1, 2 or 3 so must be 3 (quit)
                do_quit()
    
    
         
    
    """
    math_trainer.py (Python 3)
    Train your times tables.
    Initial Features:
    * Print out times table for a given number.
    * Limit tables to a lower number (default is 1) and
    an upper number (default is 12).
    * Pose test questions to the user
    * Check whether the user is right or wrong
    * Track the user's score.
    Brendan Scott
    February 2015
    """
    
    #### Imports Section
    import random
    import sys
    import time
    
    #### Constants Section
    raw_input = input
    TEST_QUESTION = (4, 6)
    QUESTION_TEMPLATE = "What is %sx%s? "
    LOWER = 1
    UPPER = 12
    MAX_QUESTIONS = 10 # for testing, you can increase it later
    TIMES_TABLE_ENTRY = "%2i x %2i = %3i "
    
    INSTRUCTIONS = """Welcome to Math Trainer
    This application will train you on your times tables.
    It can either print one or more of the tables for you
    so that you can revise (training) or you it can test
    you on your times tables.
    """
    CONFIRM_QUIT_MESSAGE = 'Are you sure you want to quit (Y/n)? '
    SCORE_TEMPLATE = "You scored %s (%i%%) in %.1f seconds"
    
    #### Function Section
    def make_question_list(lower=LOWER, upper=UPPER, random_order=True):
        """ prepare a list of questions in the form (x,y)
        where x and y are in the range from LOWER to UPPER inclusive
        If random_order is true, rearrange the questions in a random
        order
        """
        spam = [(x+1, y+1) for x in range(lower-1, upper)
                           for y in range(lower-1, upper)]
        if random_order:
            random.shuffle(spam)
        return spam
    
    def display_times_tables(upper=UPPER):
        """
        Display the times tables up to UPPER
        """
        tables_per_line = 5
        tables_to_print = range(1, upper+1)
        # get a batch of 5 to print
        batch = tables_to_print[:tables_per_line]
        # remove them from the list 
        tables_to_print = tables_to_print[tables_per_line:]
        while len(batch) > 0: # stop when there's no more to print
            for x in range(1, upper+1):
                # this goes from 1 to 12 and is the rows 
                accumulator = []
                for y in batch:
                    # this covers only the tables in the batch
                    # it builds the columns
                    accumulator.append(TIMES_TABLE_ENTRY%(y, x, x*y))
                print("".join(accumulator)) # print one row
            print("\n") # vertical separation between blocks of tables.
            # now get another batch and repeat. 
            batch = tables_to_print[:tables_per_line]
            tables_to_print = tables_to_print[tables_per_line:]
    
        
    def do_testing():
        """ conduct a round of testing """
        question_list = make_question_list()
        score = 0
        start_time = time.time()
        for i, question in enumerate(question_list):
            if i >= MAX_QUESTIONS:
                break
            prompt = QUESTION_TEMPLATE%question
            correct_answer = question[0]*question[1]
            # indexes start from 0
            answer = raw_input(prompt)
    
            if int(answer) == correct_answer:
                print("Correct!")
                score = score+1
            else:
                print("Incorrect, should have "+\
                      "been %s"%(correct_answer))
    
        end_time = time.time()
        time_taken = end_time-start_time
        percent_correct = int(score/float(MAX_QUESTIONS)*100)
        print(SCORE_TEMPLATE%(score, percent_correct, time_taken))
    
    def do_quit():
        """ quit the application"""
        if confirm_quit():
            sys.exit()
        print("In quit (not quitting, returning)")
    
    def confirm_quit():
        """Ask user to confirm that they want to quit
        default to yes 
        Return True (yes, quit) or False (no, don't quit) """
        spam = raw_input(CONFIRM_QUIT_MESSAGE)
        if spam == 'n':
            return False
        else:
            return True    
    
    
    #### Testing Section
    
    #do_testing()
    ##display_times_tables()
    
    #### Main Section
    
    if __name__ == "__main__":
        while True:
            print(INSTRUCTIONS)
            raw_input_prompt = "Press: 1 for training,"+\
                               " 2 for testing, 3 to quit.\n"
            selection = raw_input(raw_input_prompt)
            selection = selection.strip()
            while selection not in ["1", "2", "3"]:
                selection = raw_input("Please type either 1, 2, or 3: ")
                selection = selection.strip()
    
            if selection == "1":
                display_times_tables()
            elif selection == "2":
                do_testing()
            else:  # has to be 1, 2 or 3 so must be 3 (quit)
                do_quit()
    
    

    September 25, 2016 04:06 AM

    Andrew Tobias

    Trust Hillary

    If you liked Hamilton, you’ll love Spamilton — in a little walk-up above a Turkish restaurant. The Times raves. The Tribune raves. “I laughed my brains out” — Lin-Manuel Miranda*



    From the heartland:

    . . . The [Cincinnati] Enquirer has supported Republicans for president for almost a century – a tradition this editorial board doesn’t take lightly. But this is not a traditional race, and these are not traditional times. Our country needs calm, thoughtful leadership to deal with the challenges we face at home and abroad. We need a leader who will bring out the best in all Americans, not the worst.  That’s why there is only one choice when we elect a president in November: Hillary Clinton.

    Clinton is a known commodity with a proven track record of governing. As senator of New York, she earned respect in Congress by working across the aisle and crafting bills with conservative lawmakers. She helped 9/11 first responders get the care they needed after suffering health effects from their time at Ground Zero, and helped expand health care and family leave for military families. Clinton has spent more than 40 years fighting for women’s and children’s rights. As first lady, she unsuccessfully fought for universal health care but helped to create the Children’s Health Insurance Program that provides health care to more than 8 million kids today. She has been a proponent of closing the gender wage gap and has stood up for LGBT rights domestically and internationally, including advocating for marriage equality.

    Trump is a clear and present danger to our country. He has no history of governance that should engender any confidence from voters. Trump has no foreign policy experience, and the fact that he doesn’t recognize it – instead insisting that, “I know more about ISIS than the generals do” – is even more troubling. His wild threats to blow Iranian ships out of the water if they make rude gestures at U.S. ships is just the type of reckless, cowboy diplomacy Americans should fear from a Trump presidency. Clinton has been criticized as being hawkish but has shown a measured approach to the world’s problems. Do we really want someone in charge of our military and nuclear codes who has an impulse control problem? The fact that so many top military and national security officials are not supporting Trump speaks volumes.

    Clinton, meanwhile, was a competent secretary of state, with far stronger diplomatic skills than she gets credit for. . . .

    We have our issues with Clinton. Her reluctance to acknowledge her poor judgment in using a private email server and mishandling classified information is troubling. So is her lack of transparency. We were critical of her 275-day streak without a press conference, which just ended this month. And she should have removed herself from or restructured the Clinton Foundation after allegations arose that foreign entities were trading monetary donations for political influence and special access.

    But our reservations about Clinton pale in comparison to our fears about Trump.

    This editorial board has been consistent in its criticism of his policies and temperament beginning with the Republican primary. We’ve condemned his childish insults; offensive remarks to women, Hispanics and African-Americans; and the way he has played on many Americans’ fears and prejudices to further himself politically. Trump brands himself as an outsider untainted by special interests, but we see a man utterly corrupted by self-interest. His narcissistic bid for the presidency is more about making himself great than America. Trump tears our country and many of its people down with his words so that he can build himself up. What else are we left to believe about a man who tells the American public that he alone can fix what ails us?

    While Clinton has been relentlessly challenged about her honesty, Trump was the primary propagator of arguably the biggest lie of the past eight years: that Obama wasn’t born in the United States. Trump has played fast and loose with the support of white supremacist groups. He has praised some of our country’s most dangerous enemies – see Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un and Saddam Hussein – while insulting a sitting president, our military generals, a Gold Star family and prisoners of war like Sen. John McCain. Of late, Trump has toned down his divisive rhetoric, sticking to carefully constructed scripts and teleprompters. But going two weeks without saying something misogynistic, racist or xenophobic is hardly a qualification for the most important job in the world. Why should anyone believe that a Trump presidency would look markedly different from his offensive, erratic, stance-shifting presidential campaign?

    Some believe Trump’s business acumen would make him the better choice to move America’s slow recovery into a full stride. It’s true that he has created jobs, but he also has sent many overseas and left a trail of unpaid contractors in his wake. His refusal to release his tax returns draws into question both Trump’s true income and whether he is paying his fair share of taxes. Even if you consider Trump a successful businessman, running a government is not the same as being the CEO of a company. The United States cannot file bankruptcy to avoid paying its debts.

    Trump’s rise through a crowded Republican primary field as well as Sanders’ impressive challenge on the Democratic side make clear that the American people yearn for a change in our current state of politics. However, our country needs to seek thoughtful change, not just change for the sake of change. Four years is plenty of time to do enough damage that it could take America years to recover from, if at all.

    In these uncertain times, America needs a brave leader, not bravado. Real solutions, not paper-thin promises. A clear eye toward the future, not a cynical appeal to the good old days.

    Hillary Clinton has her faults, certainly, but she has spent a lifetime working to improve the lives of Americans both inside and outside of Washington. It’s time to elect the first female U.S. president – not because she’s a woman, but because she’s hands-down the most qualified choice.


    To be fair and balanced, I hereby present all the editorials from traditionally liberal-leaning papers that have endorsed Trump.


    There being none, I now bend over backwards for balance and present all the editorials from any newspaper to endorse Trump!


    There are sort of none of those either.

    Yes, the New York Observer and New York Post did endorse him during the primary. But the Observer is owned by Trump’s son-in-law; and this week it shared an op-ed titled, “Trump’s Brand of Ugly Will Be the Ruin of Our Country.”

    Let’s cut to the chase [it begins]: Donald Trump is a liar. He doesn’t stretch the truth, misspeak, shoot from the hip, tell it like it is, refreshingly unvarnish or have his own version. He lies. He has no relationship to the truth. Truth should be important. His campaign is built on lies. His proposition is a series of lies. Americans should have a problem with that.

    Each and every one of Trump’s surrogates are liars—morally vapid validators, town criers doing the dirty work of the village idiot. I don’t care how poised, slick or sleek some acting coach’s version of sophisticated they are. They push his lies in an attempt to normalize his message and persona, using the fascist technique of repetition equals truth.

    Nowhere was this more visible than across the Sunday shows last weekend, during which Christie, Conway and Pence fanned out to do Trump’s bidding, magnifying his racist lies and capping off a five-year crusade to delegitimize our first black president. How embarrassing for them. How sick for us. . . .

    The New York Post, meanwhile, predicated its April endorsement on the expectation Trump would pivot if he won the primary.  Maybe they will decide he has and endorse Trump over Clinton, as they endorsed him over Cruz, Carson, Christie and crew.  But so far: no.


    Nor is the Cincinnati Enquirer alone in its man-bites-dog break with the Republican Party. The Dallas Morning News had also not endorsed a Democrat in forever — more than three quarters of a century — yet opines“There is only one serious candidate on the presidential ballot in November. We recommend Hillary Clinton.”


    Yes, Ted Cruz now finally endorses Trump (having previously called him “a pathological liar,” “a sniveling coward,” “a bully,” “a narcissist,” and “utterly amoral”) but some prominent Republicans, like President George H. W. Bush, are voting for Hillary.

    So why is this not a rout?

    It’s that a lot of people — justifiably furious with Washington’s dysfunction — don’t see that that dysfunction is largely by Republican design — Mitch McConnell made Obama’s failure his top priority — and stems largely, as well, from the Tea Party’s proud refusal to compromise.

    It’s also that a lot of people don’t trust Hillary.


    Carlos Granados: “Don’t people realize the reason they don’t trust Hillary is the same reason they doubt Obama was born in the U.S.?  Lee Atwater, Karl Rove’s mentor, admitted a long time ago that his strategy for destroying opponents was to plant so many lies over a long period that the uninformed will begin to suspect there must be some truth to them.  Think how this strategy worked to beat Gore and Swift Boat Kerry.  Trump is master of this type of con. Yet Hillary is the one not to trust? Come on!”

    Not to say she is perfect. But perfect is a high bar for most of us to meet.

    Enjoy the debate tomorrow. Focus on who would make the wisest, steadiest, most competent leader of the free world.


    *I own a little piece.

     

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    by A.T. at September 25, 2016 04:02 AM

    RubyFlow

    turn mere words(+code) into more wealth

    Hey Kingmakers, join me for this free virtual summit where you can learn tried-and-true copywriting from the world’s best copywriters and marketers…from the comfort of your home. And turn mere words(+code) into more wealth

    September 25, 2016 03:59 AM

    Milliblog!

    Hitman – September 24, 2016

    Originally published in The Hindu.

    Texas pogiren – Chennai 2 Singapore (Tamil – Ghibran)
    The lyrics video on YouTube for this song starts with a warning: ‘This song is not for the faint-hearted. Listen at your own discretion’! If Tamil pedants were mildly annoyed by Udit Narayan’s ‘Yedho sowkiyam parva ille’, they’d perhaps be speechless and shell-shocked by Texas pogiren! Ghibran unleashes a singer named Narrow Smith (an obvious parody of Aerosmith) who sings Tamil lyrics in the form of heavy metal, including a manic ‘Aaathaaa, Maariaatha kaapaathu’ which makes a child (in the song) cry inconsolably! The result is a mind-bogglingly inventive song that screams for attention!

    Aave re hitchki – Mirzya (Hindi – Shankar Ehsaan Loy)
    Aave re hitchki is what happens when you are traveling on a camel cart, one night in Rajasthan, with a guitarist for company! Shankar Mahadevan rocks this swaying melody, set to a stunning mix of sarangi (Mame Khan Troupe) and guitar (Neil Mukherjee), and also an enchanting vaudevillian interlude. There’s a point in the song’s beginning where Shankar goes—hiccup-like—’Hitch!’ before getting back to ‘Hitchki’… it’s these little, nifty touches that make this song so enjoyable!

    Oththa mazhayila – Kadalai (Tamil – Sam C.S.)
    Composer Sam C.S made a noteworthy debut in the Vijay Sethupathy starrer Mellisai, though that film is yet to release. Kadalai is his second film as composer and he proves that his impressive debut was no flash in the pan. In fact, this one has even better music, as a whole soundtrack! Sam gets Hariharan to croon Oththa mazhayila, a simple and gorgeous melody. The simplicity of the lovely tune is reminiscent of Deva’s style, though Sam’s sense of sound, consisting primarily of guitars and flute, is far more updated and modern.

    Dibbaradindi (Kannada Pop), Singer: Shachina Heggar. Music: Judah Sandhy
    Kannada composer Judah Sandy has already made his mark in the two films he has worked on. Here comes the 3rd, a pop song. The song is obviously and incredibly catchy, with an insanely addictive hook. On that hook – it may sound mighty familiar to many people, though. That’s because you’d perhaps end up singing ‘Yela yela yela, yela yelamma’ from Anniyan’s Andankaakka Kondakkaari… which itself owes its existence to Chinnanchiru chitte endhan, from the MGR-Bhanumathi starrer Alibabavum 40 Thirudargalum, with music by S.Dakshinamurthy!

    Neelakkannulla maane – Kochavva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho (Malayalam – Shaan Rahman)
    There’s a whiff of yesteryears’ retro in Neelakkannulla maane that’s very, very inviting! The beautifully melodic song features Vijay Yesudas and Shweta Mohan, who, given the retro-feel bring back pleasant memories of Yesudas and Sujatha Mohan in the way they sing. Shaan Rahman is usually adept at creating such hummable melodies and this one works effortlessly too.

    by Karthik at September 25, 2016 03:55 AM

    Wheaties for Your Wallet

    5 Things to Think about Before Quitting Your Job to be a Freelancer

    If you’re deciding whether or not to leave your day job to go it alone as a freelancer, there are many factors to consider. Before you resort to basing your decision on a coin flip or by pulling petals off of a daisy, here are some things to consider before you take the plunge into freelancing.

    1. Work to live

    If flexibility is high on your priority list when it comes  to work, freelancing might be the perfect fit for you. Many freelancing jobs can allow to adjust your schedule without having to deal with the confines of a regular job. Thishich is extremely beneficial for many reasons. You can wrap work around your lifestyle instead of the other way around. If you have children, you can be home when they are sick, pick them up from school or go to their special activities during the day. It also suits those who like to travel, attend events that would normally happen during working hours and the list goes on and on.

    2. Knock out a nest egg or two

    If you are stuck in limbo wavering between staying at your job or leaving,  it’s much easier decision to make if you have your financial house in order. If you aren’t sure if can afford it, take steps to figure out how much you will need for an emergency fund to cover living expenses and consider making one for your new venture as well. Writing out a simple business plan helps to  flesh out potential scenarios and plan strategies in advance to make things work or to know in advance what you will do if they don’t.

    3. Stick your toe in

    You can also test out the situation by starting while you’re still at your job. Take on the work you want to do outside of your regular job. This way if you decide to leave it doesn’t feel like such a drastic change. Have a number in mind for how much money you need to make before you think about going. Work up to that number before you decide. This can also helps you get a feel for how to manage your time and clients before quitting and summons the courage to actually take the leap. This makes for a smoother transition and can potentially ease any anxiety you have about leaving your job. It won’t seem as daunting since you’re already doing the work and making the money you need. Remember that there are many factors to consider besides income. Health benefits are big piece of the financial puzzle outside of income. You want to make sure you can afford benefits if you won’t receive them anymore after leaving.

    4. Your job might be failing you

    While there’s a lot to consider, sometimes staying at a 9-to-5 works against you. If you’re spread too thin already, you may not have any time to put your ideas into place, gain enough traction or allow yourself to build any momentum when it comes to freelancing. I personally had to divorce my former career to devote time to freelance writing and offering podcast services. It took some time to get established but it eventually worked out nicely.

    5. Self-starting is key

    Setting your own schedule and sticking to it can be hard when you don’t have a boss looking over your shoulder. You have to be okay with setting your own deadlines, staying organized and imposing structure on yourself. It’s also an adjustment socially to no longer having colleagues.

    The Bottom Line

    Deciding to make the leap from a full time job to full time freelancing is a big decision. Use the tips above to have some basics in place before deciding. Also, remember that if you try and it doesn’t work out, you can always go back to another job.

    The post 5 Things to Think about Before Quitting Your Job to be a Freelancer appeared first on Due Payments Blog.

    by Karen Cordaway at September 25, 2016 03:30 AM

    Zero Hedge

    Washington Mall Shooter Caught: Suspect Is 20 Year Old Turk

    Following last night's shooting at the Cascade Mall in Burlington, WA mall, when an unidentified gunman killed 5 then managed to slip away from authorities for nearly 24 hours, moments ago the Washington State Patrol tweeted that the shooter has, after a daylong manhunt, been captured.

    The man was arrested without incident, and is in custody, said Sgt. Keith Leary, of the Washington State Patrol.

    Below is a photo of the arrest courtesy of Q13fox

    As reported early this morning, the suspect fled the Cascade Mall after the deadly shooting at Macy’s. The motive behind his shooting is still not yet known. Authorities have not identified the victims, but local media said they ranged in age from mid-teens to mid-90s, and included a mother and her daughter.

    While the police previously described the mall shooter as Hispanic, the suspected gunman, Arcan Cetin of Oak Harbor, Washington, is originally from Turkey. Police said he was taken into custody without incident in Oak Harbor, some 30 miles (48 km) southwest of Burlington where the shooting occurred on Friday night.

    Police described Cetin's demeanor when apprehended as "zombie like," and said he was unarmed.  According to his facebook profile, Cetin was born in the Turkish city of Adana, but the police described his status as that of a "legal, permanent resident" in the United States.

    Several photos of Cetin's Myspace page were released on twitter, suggesting he had a fascination with weapons:

    Some more of his facebook pictures:

    And then there was this odd tweet from January 2015:

    ... followed by this one from April, 2015

    Police said what motivated Cetin's rampage remains unclear. The FBI said while they had no indication the attack was a "terrorism act," it could not be ruled out

    by Tyler Durden at September 25, 2016 03:08 AM

    Bill Clinton's Ex-Girlfriend, Gennifer Flowers, Confirms She Will "Definitely Be At The Debate"

    Following Trump's earlier tweet, "If dopey Mark Cuban of failed Benefactor fame wants to sit in the front row, perhaps I will put Gennifer Flowers right alongside of him!"; Bill Clinton's old girlfriend confirmed she will indeed be attending the debates on Monday.

    In response to Hillary Clinton giving Mark Cuban front row seats at the debate, Trump tweeted:

    As a reminder, Bill Clinton testified under oath in 1998 that he had a sexual affair with Flowers.

    In his January 1998 deposition, the President, though finally confirming a sexual encounter with Ms. Flowers, was precise in denying Ms. Willey's report that he had sought to kiss her and feel her breasts in an encounter in his private dining room off the Oval Office.

    Trump said earlier this week that he did not plan to bring up the Clintons’ marriage at the debate.

    “I don’t think I’m looking to do that Bill. I don’t know what I’m going to do that exactly,” Trump said during an interview on “The O’Reilly Factor.” “It depends on what level she hits you with, if she’s fair, if it’s unfair, but certainly I’m not looking to do that.”

    That may have changed, however. To be sure, Saturday isn't the first time Trump has referenced Bill Clinton's infidelity. He brought the former president's sex scandals into the campaign late last year around the time Hillary Clinton announced her husband would join her on the campaign trail. At the time, she had recently accused Trump of having a "penchant for sexism" over his charge that she had been "schlonged" in the 2008 primary.

    "Hillary Clinton has announced that she is letting her husband out to campaign but HE'S DEMONSTRATED A PENCHANT FOR SEXISM, so inappropriate!" Trump tweeted in December. Trump later labeled Clinton "one of the great women abusers of all time."

    Sure enough, just to make Monday's debate even more memorable, moments ago Gennifer Flowers confirmed she will be at the debate.

    Grab your popcorn because the "best. election. ever" just got even better.

     

    by Tyler Durden at September 25, 2016 02:56 AM

    Charlotte Police Release Dashcam, Body-Cam Footage Of Keith Scott's Death, Chief Says "Absolutely" Had A Gun

    Update:  Charlotte police have just released the following bodycam footage of the event.

    Here is the dashcam footage...

     

     

    And additionally, the Charlotte Police released evidence images...

     

    *  *  *

    As we detailed earlier, having exclaimed "drop the gun" 11 times in the video of the fatal shooting of Keith Scott provided by his mother, Charlotte police have just stated in a press cobnference that they have agreed to release the body-cam video of the event. Despite earlier saying that it wouldn't release police video for fear of compromising its review, the State Bureau of Investigation has succumbed to public pressure despite a lack of "absolute, definitive, visual evidence" that Scott brandished a weapon at the officers.

    Keith Scott's mother's view of the event...

    OFFICER: Hands up!

    RAKEYIA SCOTT: Don’t shoot him. Don’t shoot him. He has no weapon. He has no weapon. Don’t shoot him.

    OFFICER: Don’t shoot. Drop the gun. Drop the fucking gun.

    RAKEYIA SCOTT: Don’t shoot him. Don’t shoot him.

    OFFICER: Drop the gun.

    RAKEYIA SCOTT: He didn’t do anything.

    OFFICER: Drop the gun. Drop the gun.

    RAKEYIA SCOTT: He doesn’t have a gun. He has a T.B.I. (Traumatic Brain Injury).

    OFFICER: Drop the gun.

    RAKEYIA SCOTT: He is not going to do anything to you guys.

    RAKEYIA SCOTT: He just took his medicine.

    OFFICER: Drop the gun. Let me get a fucking baton over here. [muffled]

    RAKEYIA SCOTT: Keith, don’t let them break the windows. Come on out the car.

    OFFICER: [muffled]

    OFFICER:Drop the gun.

    RAKEYIA SCOTT: Keith! Don’t you do it.

    OFFICER: Drop the gun.

    RAKEYIA SCOTT: Keith, get out the car. Keith! Keith! Don’t you do it! Don’t you do it! Keith!

    OFFICER: Drop the gun.

    RAKEYIA SCOTT:Keith! Keith! Keith! Don’t you do it! [SHOTS]

    RAKEYIA SCOTT: Fuck. Did you shoot him? Did you shoot him? Did you shoot him? He better not be fucking dead. He better not be fucking dead. I know that fucking much. I know that much. He better not be dead. I’m not going to come near you. I’m going to record, though. I’m not coming near you. I’m going to record, though. He better be alive because ...I come You better be alive. How about that?Yes, we here, over here at 50 ... 50 ...9453 Lexington Court. These are the police officers that shot my husband, and he better live. He better live. Because he didn’t do nothing to them.

    OFFICER: Is everybody good? Are you good?

    RAKEYIA SCOTT: He good. Nobody ... touch nobody, so they’re all good.

    OFFICER: You good?

    RAKEYIA SCOTT: I know he better live. I know he better live. How about that I’m not coming to you guys, but he’d better live. He better live. You all hear it, you see this, right? He better live.

    OFFICER: [muffled]

    RAKEYIA SCOTT: He better live. I swear, he better live. Yep, he better live. He better fucking live. He better live. Where is...He better fucking live, and I can’t even leave the damn...I ain’t going nowhere. I’m staying in the same damn spot. What the fuck. That’s O.K. did you all call the police? I mean, did you all call an ambulance?

     

    Some have argued that there was a gun seen...

    *  *  *

    Press Conference has concluded.

    The body-cam footage will be released by 1715ET.

    During the press conference, Charlotte police chief Putney said "Officers are absolutely not being charged by me, but again, there's another investigation ongoing." Putney said that Scott was "absolutely in possession of a handgun," and that officers also saw marijuana in his car — prompting officers to act.

    • There was a crime that Keith Scott had committed that led cops to him and "the gun exacerbated the encounter."
    • He can't assure Keith Scott's wife and 7 children that every effort was made to avoid deadly force.
    • Officers Are ‘Absolutely Not Being Charged By Me at This Point’
    • Keith Scott Had Marijuana and Gun, Prompting Police Encounter
    • "No single piece of evidence...proves all the complexities" of Keith Lamont Scott case
    • Police have said Scott was shot on Tuesday because he refused commands to drop a handgun. Residents have said he was unarmed. Putney says Scott "absolutely" had a gun but that it's not shown in his hand in the videos.

     

    by Tyler Durden at September 25, 2016 02:49 AM

    Ramanand - Clipboard Conversations

    It's been 2 years since the Mars Orbiter Mission (also known as 'Mangalyaan' when it's at home, sipping tomato juice) officially began its orbit around the Red Planet. They hoped it would be there for six months - another 18 months and it seems to be doing just fine.

    I wrote this piece for Architectural Digest last year about MOM on its first orbital anniversary. Here's to MOM painting the town red for some more time.

    by Ramanand J (noreply@blogger.com) at September 25, 2016 02:46 AM

    Zero Hedge

    Here's How CIA Puppet-Masters Are Deliberately Picking A 'World War III Level' Fight

    Via DasiyLuther.com,

    It’s really quite embarrassing on a global scale when members of our own government seem to be deliberately trying to pick fights with people who aren’t interested in fighting with us. If you’ve traveled outside of the United States much, you probably know that we Americans have a rather negative reputation off of our own shores. Now, generally speaking, that isn’t our fault as individuals. You and I don’t create headlines that make waves throughout Europe and Asia.

    While average Americans aren’t directly responsible for this, our federal officials are. I’ve written recently about President Obama doing things in Syria that are worsening the conflict there. I’ve also written about the fact that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin are starting to butt heads. And finally, I’ve warned time and time again that war is upon us – and everyone knows but the US.

    Michael Morell is the director of the CIA. Here’s a little blurb from Wikipedia about him.

    Michael Joseph Morell (born September 4, 1958) is an American intelligence analyst. He served as the deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency as well as its acting director twice, first in 2011 and then from 2012 to 2013. Since November 2013, he has been a Senior Counselor to Beacon Global Strategies LLC. He is a proponent of the CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques which many consider to be torture, and is also a proponent of the CIA’s targeted killings by drones.

    Wow, and just think. He’s a guy that has almost unfettered power to call a hit on anyone in the world.

    This video shows us how the global situation is being manipulated towards war by our own Central Intelligence Agency. Watch as Michael Morell boasts about how the CIA operates – and then watch as his boasting comes to life.

    This is the creepy, sadistic little puppetmaster that is going to deliberately get our sons and daughters sent off to fight the next war “for our freedom.” This is just more proof that nothing we see on the mainstream news is as it seems and that the federal alphabet agencies are never what they present themselves to be.

    by Tyler Durden at September 25, 2016 02:00 AM

    Extensive Immigration Study Finds Impact On "Aggregate Wealth Of Natives Is, At Best, A Wash"

    Immigration has been and will continue to be a hot button topic in the 2016 presidential campaign.  Trump has called for a wall along the U.S. southern border with Mexico and a halt to all immigration from certain "countries of concern to national security."  Meanwhile, Hillary has called for more relaxed immigration policies that would grant illegal immigrants a path to citizenship and a surge in Syrian refugees. 

    But, no matter where you stand politically on immigration, a group of the nation's "smartest" professors from the most elite schools in the country recently came together to publish a 500-page study for the "National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine" on the economic and fiscal impacts of immigration.  After what must have been countless months of research, the report seems to confirm what most people could have derived from applying simple logic, namely that while immigration expands the economy it also negatively impacts the employment of low-skilled native workers and places undue burden on federal and state entitlements like food assistance programs and Medicaid.

    The full 500-page immigration study can be reviewed at the end of this post but here are the key takeaways...

    First, the study finds that the lower median age of immigrants is a positive offset to the aging U.S. population and serves to enlarge the economy but notes that the key beneficiaries are the immigrants themselves and not the native citizens.

    Immigration enlarges the economy while leaving the native population slightly better off on average, but the greatest beneficiaries of immigration are the immigrants themselves as they avail themselves of opportunities not available to them in their home countries.

    Immigration

     

    That said, low-skilled immigrants, which represented nearly 50% of the total in 2012, were found to have a higher employment rates than low-skilled natives indicating that U.S. citizens are being displaced at least at the lower bound of the income spectrum. 

    Shortly after arrival in the United States, immigrant men—especially recent cohorts—experience a disadvantage relative to native-born men in terms of the probability of being employed. However, for cohorts of immigrants arriving since the 1970s, after this initial period of adjustment in which their probability of employment is lower, they became slightly more likely to be employed than their native-born peers. The higher employment rate among immigrant men is mainly represented in the population with education of a high school degree or less.

     

    Immigration

     

    Immigrations

     

    Finally, first-generation immigrants were found to be more costly for entitlement programs than native-born citizens.

    Beyond wage and employment considerations, policy makers and the general public are interested in the impact that an expanding population, and immigration in particular, has on public finances and the sustainability of government programs. All population subgroups contribute to government finances by paying taxes and add to expenditures by consuming public services—but the levels differ. On average, individuals in the first generation are more costly to governments, mainly at the state and local levels, than are the native-born generations; however, immigrants’ children—the second generation—are among the strongest economic and fiscal contributors in the population.

     

    Immigrant households’ use of food assistance programs and Medicaid is much higher than that of native-headed households—not as a result of not working (in 2009, 95 percent of immigrant households with children had at least one person working) but because of lower levels of education and income.

    But perhaps, Harvard University’s George Borjas summed up the study best by telling the Wall Street Journal simply that “the impact of immigration on the aggregate wealth of natives is, at best, a wash."

     

    by Tyler Durden at September 25, 2016 01:30 AM

    Siiimple

    The Big Picture

    Rising in the East: China’s Film Industry

    The Chinese economy is struggling, plagued by slowing growth and uncertainty in the stock markets. But there is one industry that is not suffering: the movie business. For China and its 1.3 billion people, going to the movies has become a national pastime, and China is expected to become the biggest movie market in the…

    Read More

    The post Rising in the East: China’s Film Industry appeared first on The Big Picture.

    by Barry Ritholtz at September 25, 2016 01:00 AM

    Zero Hedge

    America's 24/7 Circus Maximus

    Authored by Pepe Escobar, originally posted op-ed via SputnikNews.com,

    Perplexed global public opinion holds its breath at the (circus) best American “democracy” is able to conjure.

    The first cage match this coming Monday between a Queen of War profiting from a mighty (Clinton) Cash Machine and a billionaire uber-narcissist adored by a “basket of deplorables”.

    This is a circus quite fitting for a self-described “indispensable nation” where “evil” has been propelled – seriously – to the status of philosophical category.

    For the basket of deplorables, and even beyond their circle, the temptation is immense to equate voting for Donald Trump with raising a finger against the establishment.

    Ultra-savvy at playing mainstream media for invaluable free publicity, elevating Outrageousness to an art form and being impervious to irony and derision, Trump has been a master at tapping wave after wave of anger against the new liberal elite — including a nomenklatura of crypto-intellectual Ivy league-educated “experts” who could not give a damn about understanding the (real world) consequences of United States Government (USG) policies.  The anger is manifested by declassified blue collars, the unemployed, the functionally illiterate, white trash. Whatever you call them, they are the excluded form the Neoliberal Banquet, not only economically but also culturally. But this being Trump, a master of self-promotion, the battle is more like Ego against The Establishment. And it gets juicier when we learn from powerful, discreet New York-based interests – supporters of Trump’s platform — about who’s really winning:

    The Trump campaign is hardly spending any money at all and holding all over. They may use their money in the last month after the debates if Hillary recovers for those debates from what appears to be an attack of Parkinson’s. He has a shot though no matter who wins I predict there will be peace with Russia; the oil price will rise; imports from Asia of military parts will be repatriated and rigging of currencies is over; there will be offsetting measures to stop the flood of immigrants and products under mis-valued currencies. The masters do not lose.”

    The “masters” are of course the Masters of the Universe who really run the USG.

    And here’s the clincher on how’s in control:

    Both sides are controlled and that explains everything. Lenin said that the way to defeat our opponents is to take over their leadership of the opponent. Look at the Moral Majority which Jerry Falwell disbanded when it became too powerful.  Look at Ross Perot who exited when he started making a real dent. Both were taken care of and Ross made money out of it.”

     

    “Their internal lingo for it is the concept of  “dynamic silence”. This is a technique by the masters to block out all news coverage of let’s say a Nazi so that he could gain no following. That they could have done to Trump if he were not theirs. Who could have complained? He was just an apolitical real estate operator that no one was interested in.”

     

    “So what do we have in the end? An entertaining gladiatorial contest that they control both sides of and the winner gets all the money — as with the Clinton Foundation. And the public is no wiser.”

    The 24/7 Circus Maximus 

    There are subtle gradations to this scenario. Rothschild interests are not supporting Trump – according to these well-connected sources, because Trump has not been anointed by the club and is thus unreliable. They recall, for instance, how “Greenspan was so incompetent that Wall Street leaders had to give him trades so he could make money before they put him as the head of Federal Reserve. Then he was so out of it that they had to direct his every move as he had no comprehension what they do.” “They”, of course, meaning Rothschild interests.   On the Cold War 2.0 front, things are even hazier. Since 2010, when Obama was ordered to keep the US nuclear first-strike strategy, Russia and China know where this is heading. It’s no wonder Trump is being relentlessly attacked as Putin’s own Trojan Horse – because he’s against Cold War 2.0 and the demonization of Russia.

    But the Pentagon’s strident Ash Carter, soon out of a job, is one thing; another thing entirely is what the Masters of the Universe really want, according to these Trump-supporting sources; “Hillary would be following Trump’s guidelines should she win, as the US military will explain to her that she has no other options based on Russian military superiority in submarines, and defensive and offensive missiles. Trump’s policies are wise.”

    There’s even a P.R. move that could literally devastate the already wobbly Hillary campaign:

    “Hillary’s reckless threats against Russia, risking nuclear war, could bring back the Lyndon Johnson TV ads against Goldwater by Donald Trump, where we had a little child in a meadow picking flowers while a nuclear bomb goes off. It was an ad of genius and destroyed Goldwater. The first strike nuclear attack policy and the reckless provocations combine to form an excellent Johnson style ad. This time Trump can use it against the Democrats, who have created almost all the wars in the last 125 years.”

    The daisy cutter ad is here.

    A Force for Farce?

    Even considering that virtually the whole US establishment – from the Beltway nomenklatura to Wall Street — is arrayed against him, the jury is still out on whether Trump is a real threat to their interests.

    Because Trump could also be the perfect Trojan Horse. Evidence relies for instance on his appointment of perfect insiders Larry Kudlow and Steven Moore as his senior economic advisors. That’s the Trump as a Force for Farce scenario. So “dynamic silence” seems to be the rule. Here’s how dynamic silence works;

    If you oppose those above the President, the news media blacks you out and the masses do not hear anything, so how can they be stirred up? Donald is an insider and he represents the military industrial complex including the CIA, DIA, etc. They will deny it, of course, so they have deniability and he can say he is against the establishment when he is an insider.”

     

    “That is the first line of defense. If you manage to outsmart them, then they characterize you as a nut. That is the second line of defense.

     

    Now, if you persist in making them uncomfortable, then you end up as William Colby, Vince Forster or Jack Kennedy.  Richard Nixon was ousted and he went quietly so that, to quote Tricky Dick, “I am not going to end up as Jack” as he went out the back door of the White House.”

     

    The key here is Donald is receiving more publicity than Hillary, and by attacking him for being an America Firster his polls have risen dramatically. The public loves it so the Masters of the Universe are helping him. The military industries have to be repatriated as we no longer control the seas and this will require either currency adjustments or tariffs. Hence, Donald’s correct calls for an end to currency rigging which had as part of their purpose the building up of Germany and Japan at the sacrifice of our industries. Absurd that we did that but that is how it was. That is ending now with Donald and the emergency situation of lack of control of the Pacific Ocean for the component transportation by sea for our military production. Japan and Germany will be cut loose.”

     

    Brzezinski said that if any opponent leaps ahead of the United States militarily, the US ceases to be a global power. That is the case and the military knows it.  And Trump knows it or he would not have said that much. They need a crash program to catch up. That costs big money.  It will probably require force and base reductions and an increase in technological expenditure in a massive way. That is what the Russians did. They can obtain this from massively reducing the welfare transfers on illegal immigrants. That is what Donald is committed to.”

    If this analysis is correct, it ties in with Trump’s push to organize an immediate rapprochement with Russia in case he’s elected, so the US industrial-military-surveillance complex can catch up and at least try to remedy the danger of losing the next war Hillary and her own  neocon bag of deplorables are so bullish on.

    As we approach the first cage match, the jury is still out on whether the Queen of War may lose the election because millennials absolutely detest her, because the “basket of deplorables” absolutely detests her, or both.

    But one thing seems to be certain in the whole Les Deplorables saga – at least for those Masters of the Universe-connected sources; who the real winner will be. So let’s give them the last word, for now; “It will be very difficult for Hillary to beat Trump in a debate as he is quick on his feet and will take no prisoners. Let me say this. If Hillary were to win, and we don’t think she will, she will do what she is told and follow the same policies as Trump would.

    by Tyler Durden at September 25, 2016 01:00 AM

    "Eight Election Trades For November 8th"

    No matter the outcome of the presidential election, according to BofA's Chief Investment Strategist, Michael Hartnett, 2017 will likely be a year of small absolute returns as the bank expects higher rates will collide with high bond and equity valuations, but it will be a year of big rotations "as investors shift from ZIRP winners like bonds, US, growth stocks to ZIRP losers like commodities, banks and Japan", where BofA forecasts 20,000 on Nikkei, although for that to happen the currency would have to implode in what may be a terminal loss of faith in the central bank.

    Still, with all attention now focused on the key risk event until a potential December rate hike, namely the November 8 presidential election, BofA provides 8 specific election trades for the election.

    In a note titled "Eight election trades for Nov 8th", Hartnett shares a variety of trade ideas, some "election-specific and some result-dependent: long VIX futures; long AUDUSD vol; long TIPS;  long global E-commerce, short fast restaurants (inequality); long US materials and largecap banks (fiscal); long US small caps, short emerging markets (Trump protectionist); long gold, short EU banks (Trump geopolitics); long Mexican peso (Clinton victory)."

    This is what he says:

    On November 8th, the US Presidential election will take place. Below we list eight trades, all specific to the election, some applicable to whoever wins, some dependent on the election result:

    Long VIX futures. It seems an obvious trade, but the election is likely to be close (see latest projected electoral college result - Chart 4). There could even be a statistical tie in the Electoral College if Trump wins FL, OH, NC, WI, IA, and Clinton wins PA, VA, CO, NV, MI, NH, arguably the most volatility-inducing event of all. VIX futures are the most liquid expression of volatility, and ahead of the first Presidential debate, the cost of a Nov’16 hedge has fallen to the 19th percentile vs. the past year.

    Long AUDUSD volatility. One way to invest in a risk-off scenario in the event of a Trump victory is long AUDUSD volatility. In our most recent FMS, a Republican victory was seen as a much greater “tail risk” for markets than a Democratic win. Trump has a more protectionist stance, and has threatened import tariffs against China, a stance that would unsettle Asian FX markets. David Woo recommends buying AUDUSD volatility to hedge election uncertainty. AUDUSD volatility is correlated with quant-fund selloffs: it is a top hedge for our BofAML MAST index.

    Long TIPS. Populism is on the rise across the globe and both candidates have redistributive policies targeted at raising wages and reducing inequality. This could lead to higher inflation. It could lead to stagflation. Either way, it will likely be positive for TIPS.

    Long Main Street, short Wall Street. Both candidates want to boost Main Street rather than Wall Street and thus propose higher minimum wages, paid family leave and higher taxation on the rich. This would be positive for US municipal bonds (U0A0). Main Street-Wall Street pair trades: long global E-commerce (BIGECOM), short fast restaurants (BINAFCRC); long mass retailers (BRUSMASS), short luxury goods makers (SPGLGUP).

    Long fiscal stimulus. Best way to leverage fiscal stimulus under either president is via infrastructure spending and defense spending. Clinton has proposed $1.65tn of additional fiscal spending and Trump has proposed $2tn, according to the justreleased Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget report; Congress-approved budgets are likely to be significantly lower. Nonetheless, the direction is clearly toward more fiscal stimulus. Long US aerospace & defense (S5AEROX), US materials (S5MATR), and large-cap banks (S5BANKX). Fiscal stimulus is the primary reason our rates strategists see higher US bond yields in 2017.

    Protectionism pair-trade: anti-globalization is on the rise, and Trump has a more isolationist/protectionist agenda; our economists believe that the Trans-Pacific Partnership is at greater risk under Trump; a reduction in global trade would likely be most negative for EM and the mercantilist economies of Germany and Japan; should US protectionism lead to a bout of inflation in the US, we think US small caps would benefit from inflation and have less foreign exposure. In our view, the best protectionist pair trade: long US small caps (RTY), short emerging markets (MXEF).

    Geopolitical pair-trades: a Trump win could mean lower capital flows to the US, a rise in Treasury yields, and a weaker US dollar, all of which would be positive for gold. A Trump victory would also raise expectations that populist parties in Europe in 2017 could rise to power and increase the European Union disintegration risk premium. Long gold, short European banks (SX7E).

    Short USD/MXN on a Clinton victory as MXN appears 15% undervalued after better Trump polls. Long health care services (SPSIHPTR), short biotech (XNBI). Best way to leverage a Clinton win, with promised tax break for health care services versus higher pharmaceutical regulation.

    by Tyler Durden at September 25, 2016 12:28 AM

    Planet Python

    Podcast.__init__: Episode 76 - PsychoPy with Jonathan Peirce

    Summary

    We’re delving into the complex workings of your mind this week on Podcast.__init__ with Jonathan Peirce. He tells us about how he started the PsychoPy project and how it has grown in utility and popularity over the years. We discussed the ways that it has been put to use in myriad psychological experiments, the inner workings of how to design and execute those experiments, and what is in store for its future.

    Brief Introduction

    • Hello and welcome to Podcast.__init__, the podcast about Python and the people who make it great.
    • I would like to thank everyone who has donated to the show. Your contributions help us make the show sustainable.
    • Hired is sponsoring us this week. If you’re looking for a job as a developer or designer then Hired will bring the opportunities to you. Sign up at hired.com/podcastinit to double your signing bonus.
    • Once you land a job you can check out our other sponsor Linode for running your awesome new Python apps. Check them out at linode.com/podcastinit and get a $20 credit to try out their fast and reliable Linux virtual servers for your next project
    • You want to make sure your apps are error-free so give our last sponsor, Rollbar, a look. Rollbar is a service for tracking and aggregating your application errors so that you can find and fix the bugs in your application before your users notice they exist. Use the link rollbar.com/podcastinit to get 90 days and 300,000 errors for free on their bootstrap plan.
    • Visit our site to subscribe to our show, sign up for our newsletter, read the show notes, and get in touch.
    • By leaving a review on iTunes, or Google Play Music it becomes easier for other people to find us.
    • Join our community! Visit discourse.pythonpodcast.com to help us grow and connect our wonderful audience.
    • Your hosts as usual are Tobias Macey and Chris Patti
    • Today we’re interviewing Jonathan Peirce about PsychoPy, an open source application for the presentation and collection of stimuli for psychological experimentation
    Linode Sponsor Banner

    Use the promo code podcastinit20 to get a $20 credit when you sign up!

    Rollbar Logo

    I’m excited to tell you about a new sponsor of the show, Rollbar.

    One of the frustrating things about being a developer, is dealing with errors… (sigh)

    • Relying on users to report errors
    • Digging thru log files trying to debug issues
    • A million alerts flooding your inbox ruining your day…

    With Rollbar’s full-stack error monitoring, you get the context, insights and control you need to find and fix bugs faster. It’s easy to get started tracking the errors and exceptions in your stack.You can start tracking production errors and deployments in 8 minutes - or less, and Rollbar works with all major languages and frameworks, including Ruby, Python, Javascript, PHP, Node, iOS, Android and more.You can integrate Rollbar into your existing workflow such as sending error alerts to Slack or Hipchat, or automatically create new issues in Github, JIRA, Pivotal Tracker etc.

    We have a special offer for Podcast.__init__ listeners. Go to rollbar.com/podcastinit, signup, and get the Bootstrap Plan free for 90 days. That’s 300,000 errors tracked for free.Loved by developers at awesome companies like Heroku, Twilio, Kayak, Instacart, Zendesk, Twitch and more. Help support Podcast.__init__ and give Rollbar a try a today. Go to rollbar.com/podcastinit

    Hired Logo

    On Hired software engineers & designers can get 5+ interview requests in a week and each offer has salary and equity upfront. With full time and contract opportunities available, users can view the offers and accept or reject them before talking to any company. Work with over 2,500 companies from startups to large public companies hailing from 12 major tech hubs in North America and Europe. Hired is totally free for users and If you get a job you’ll get a $2,000 “thank you” bonus. If you use our special link to signup, then that bonus will double to $4,000 when you accept a job. If you’re not looking for a job but know someone who is, you can refer them to Hired and get a $1,337 bonus when they accept a job.

    Interview with Jonathan Peirce

    • Introductions
    • How did you get introduced to Python? - Chris
    • Can you start by telling us what PsychoPy is and how the project got started? - Tobias
    • How does PsychoPy compare feature wise against some of the proprietary alternatives? - Chris
    • In the documentation you mention that this project is useful for the fields of psychophysics, cognitive neuroscience and experimental psychology. Can you provide some insight into how those disciplines differ and what constitutes an experiment? - Tobias
    • Do you find that your users who have no previous formal programming training come up to speed with PsychoPy quickly? What are some of the challenges there? -Chris
    • Can you describe the internal architecture of PsychoPy and how you approached the design? - Tobias
    • How easy is it to extend PsychoPy with new types of stimulus? - Chris
    • What are some interesting challenges you faced when implementing PsychoPy? - Chris
    • I noticed that you support a number of output data formats, including pickle. What are some of the most popular analysis tools for users of PsychoPy? - Tobias
      • Have you investigated the use of the new Feather library? - Tobias
    • How is data input typically managed? Does PsychoPy support automated readings from test equipment or is that the responsibility of those conducting the experiment? - Tobias
    • What are some of the most interesting experiments that you are aware of having been conducted using PsychoPy? - Chris
    • While reading the docs I found the page describing the integration with the OSF (Open Science Framework) for sharing and validating an experiment and the collected data with other members of the field. Can you explain why that is beneficial to the researchers and compare it with other options such as GitHub for use within the sciences? - Tobias
    • Do you have a roadmap of features that you would like to add to PsychoPy or is it largely driven by contributions from practitioners who are extending it to suit their needs? - Tobias

    Keep In Touch

    Picks

    Links

    The intro and outro music is from Requiem for a Fish The Freak Fandango Orchestra / CC BY-SA

    Summary We're delving into the complex workings of your mind this week on Podcast.__init__ with Jonathan Peirce. He tells us about how he started the PsychoPy project and how it has grown in utility and popularity over the years. We discussed the ways that it has been put to use in myriad psychological experiments, the inner workings of how to design and execute those experiments, and what is in store for its future.Brief IntroductionHello and welcome to Podcast.__init__, the podcast about Python and the people who make it great.I would like to thank everyone who has donated to the show. Your contributions help us make the show sustainable.Hired is sponsoring us this week. If you're looking for a job as a developer or designer then Hired will bring the opportunities to you. Sign up at hired.com/podcastinit to double your signing bonus.Once you land a job you can check out our other sponsor Linode for running your awesome new Python apps. Check them out at linode.com/podcastinit and get a $20 credit to try out their fast and reliable Linux virtual servers for your next projectYou want to make sure your apps are error-free so give our last sponsor, Rollbar, a look. Rollbar is a service for tracking and aggregating your application errors so that you can find and fix the bugs in your application before your users notice they exist. Use the link rollbar.com/podcastinit to get 90 days and 300,000 errors for free on their bootstrap plan.Visit our site to subscribe to our show, sign up for our newsletter, read the show notes, and get in touch.By leaving a review on iTunes, or Google Play Music it becomes easier for other people to find us.Join our community! Visit discourse.pythonpodcast.com to help us grow and connect our wonderful audience.Your hosts as usual are Tobias Macey and Chris PattiToday we're interviewing Jonathan Peirce about PsychoPy, an open source application for the presentation and collection of stimuli for psychological experimentation Use the promo code podcastinit20 to get a $20 credit when you sign up! I’m excited to tell you about a new sponsor of the show, Rollbar. One of the frustrating things about being a developer, is dealing with errors… (sigh)Relying on users to report errorsDigging thru log files trying to debug issuesA million alerts flooding your inbox ruining your day...With Rollbar’s full-stack error monitoring, you get the context, insights and control you need to find and fix bugs faster. It's easy to get started tracking the errors and exceptions in your stack.You can start tracking production errors and deployments in 8 minutes - or less, and Rollbar works with all major languages and frameworks, including Ruby, Python, Javascript, PHP, Node, iOS, Android and more.You can integrate Rollbar into your existing workflow such as sending error alerts to Slack or Hipchat, or automatically create new issues in Github, JIRA, Pivotal Tracker etc. We have a special offer for Podcast.__init__ listeners. Go to rollbar.com/podcastinit, signup, and get the Bootstrap Plan free for 90 days. That's 300,000 errors tracked for free.Loved by developers at awesome companies like Heroku, Twilio, Kayak, Instacart, Zendesk, Twitch and more. Help support Podcast.__init__ and give Rollbar a try a today. Go to rollbar.com/podcastinit On Hired software engineers designers can get 5+ interview requests in a week and each offer has salary and equity upfront. With full time and contract opportunities available, users can view the offers and accept or reject them before talking to any company. Work with over 2,500 companies from startups to large public companies hailing from 12 major tech hubs in North America and Europe. Hired is totally free for users and If you get a job you’ll get a $2,000 “thank you” bonus. If you use our special link to signup, then that bonus will double to $4,000 when you accept a job. If you’re not looking for a job but know someone who is, you can refer them to Hired and get a $1,337 bonus

    September 25, 2016 12:15 AM

    Zero Hedge

    Dead People Are Voting In The Key Swing State Of Colorado

    Colorado has been a key swing state in recent presidential elections after flip-flopping back and forth between support for Democratic and Republican candidates.  Obama won the state in the past two elections but George Bush prevailed for the two preceding contests while Bob Dole narrowly eked out a victory against Clinton in 1996. 

    That said, the margin of victory has often been very tight in Colorado which is what makes the recent discovery of voter fraud there so concerning.  An investigation by CBS Denver recently found that dozens of deceased Colorado citizens continued voting multiple years after their death...even though Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams assured CBS that “it is impossible to vote from the grave legally.”  While we're disturbed by the voter fraud in Colorado, we're so glad that the legality of the issue could be cleared up so easily. 

    According to CBS, one of the most glaring cases of voter fraud they found was of Sara Sosa who lived in Colorado Springs. Sosa died on Oct. 14, 2009 but CBS found that she continued to cast her ballot in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.  Likewise, her husband, Miguel, died on Sept. 26, 2008 but voted later in 2009.

    Colorado's Secretary of State confirmed the cases of voter fraud discovered by CBS, saying:

    “We do believe there were several instances of potential vote fraud that occurred.  It shows there is the potential for fraud.  It’s not a perfect system. There are some gaps."

     

    Of course Colorado isn't the only place where voter fraud occurs.  Project Veritas recently recorded a  series videos in Michigan showing just how easy it is to vote as someone else.  In the following video, the Project Veritas journalist claims she is Jocelyn Benson, the Dean of Wayne State University Law School, but that she lost her ID.  The "Poll Supervisor" is quick to reassure Mrs. Benson that as long as she signs the affidavit on the back of the ballot she is free to vote.  When the journalist pushes back and insists that she feels an obligation to prove her identity the Poll Supervisor reassures her that "nobody can vote twice" because if the real Jocelyn Benson subsequently comes in she won't be able to vote "because you already voted."  Perfect logic if we understand it correctly.  So just to clarify, each registered voter only gets one ballot...great, this seems reasonable...but it doesn't necessarily matter so much who casts that ballot...wait, what?

    PV Journalist:  "I feel like I should prove that I am who I am."

     

    Poll Supervisor:  "Your word is your proof is right here."

     

    PV Journalist:  "And that's fine?"

     

    Poll Supervisor:  "Yup.  Because if somebody else comes in and says that they're you, they can't because you already voted.  So, you can't vote twice, nobody can vote twice.  So once you vote, I don't care who you are."

     

    PV Journalist:  "You guys are fine with me just voting."

     

    Poll Supervisor:  "Yup I'm fine.  You're not the first one that's left you ID at home.

     

     

     

    All signs point to a very interesting 2016 election.  Which candidate do you think appeals to dead voters the most?

    by Tyler Durden at September 25, 2016 12:00 AM

    September 24, 2016

    Zero Hedge

    Foreign Buying Plummets In Vancouver: Sales To Foreigners Crash 96%

    China's favorite offshore money laundering hub is officially no longer accepting its money.

    According to data released by British Columbia’s Ministry of Finance on Thursday, foreign investors officially disappeared from Vancouver’s property market last month after the local government imposed a 15% surcharge to curb a record-shattering surge in home prices. Overseas buyers accounted for a paltry 0.7% of the C$6.5 billion of residential real estate purchases in August in Metro Vancouver; this represents a 96% plunge from the seven weeks prior, when foreigners were responsible for 16.5% of transactions by value.

    According to the latest data overseas buyers snapped up C$2.3 billion of homes in the seven weeks before the tax was imposed, and less than C$50 million in the next four weeks. The government began collecting data on citizenship in home purchases on June 10. The ministry said auditors are checking citizenship or permanent residency declarations made by buyers and also reviewing transactions to determine if any were structured to avoid tax (spoiler alert: most of them were).

    Across the province, the participation of foreigners dropped to 1.4% of transactions by value in August, from 13% in the preceding seven weeks.

    Prior to the new real estate tax home prices were almost double the national average of C$473,105; however we expect a sharp corretion in the coming weeks - as we pointed out at the beginning of September, the average price of detached Vancouver properties promptly crashed following the news tax, dropping 17% on the month, and 0.6% on the year, to C$1.47 million ($1.13 million) in August, wiping away one year of gains in a few weeks.

    As Bloomberg notes, the plunge in foreign participation joins other signs of a slowdown in Canada’s most expensive property market. 

    The silver lining is that while transactions may have ground to a halt, the government did pick up some extra tax revenues: British Columbia has raised C$2.5 million in revenue from the new levy since it took effect. Budget forecasts released last week indicated that the Pacific coast province expects foreign investors to scoop up about C$4.5 billion of real estate through March 2019.

    That may prove optimistic, because as reported two weeks ago as Chinese buyers wave goodbye to Vancouver, they have set their sights on another Canadian city: Toronto.

    According to the Star, sales of $1-million-plus Toronto-area single-family homes rose 83% year over year in July and August. That’s 3,026 homes, with 55 per cent of them inside Toronto’s borders.  That’s not entirely surprising given that the average cost of a detached home in Toronto was about $1.2 million, said Sotheby’s CEO Brad Henderson.

    “While $1 million is still a considerable amount of money, it’s difficult to find a single-family home in the city of Toronto for less than $1 million and it is not uncommon to find homes in the $2-million, $3-million or even $4-million-plus range,” he said.

    Sotheby’s says sales of homes in the $4-million-and-up category rose 74 per cent in the region and 58 per cent in the city in July and August. Sotheby’s said it expects Toronto’s luxury market to take the lead among Canada’s cities, outpacing Montreal, which probably will become a target for investors from Europe, China and the Middle East.

    “What the (Vancouver) tax introduced is . . . some uncertainty as to what other policy issues the city or the province may introduce, which would adversely affect investors,” Henderson said, adding that  investors are looking elsewhere, including cities outside Canada.

    “But, if they are looking in Canada, we believe Toronto will be the most logical place for people to consider. Montreal and Calgary will probably also get a look-see,” Henderson said.

    Or maybe not.

    As CBC reported earlier this week, economist Benjamin Tal of CIBC said that Ontario will have little choice but to copy Vancouver and implement a tax on foreign house buyers.  In a recent note to clients, the economist said the biggest problem facing policymakers with regard to hot housing markets in Toronto and Vancouver is a limit on the supply of new homes.

    "The main reason behind higher prices in the [Greater Toronto Area] is a policy-driven lack of land supply," Tal said. "And with no change on that front, policymakers have to use demand tools to deal with what is essentially a supply problem."

    Tal doesn't speculate how much of a tax could be under consideration for Toronto, nor does he have any insight as to when and how it might be implemented.

    A foreign buyer tax is not the only possible response to the problem of high house prices. Among other possibilities, Tal cites:

    • Compelling banks to tighten their lending practices by making them pay for their own mortgage insurance.
    • Raising the down payment minimum to 10 per cent, even for homes under $1 million,
    • Closer monitoring of lending to subprime buyers.
    • Offering tax incentives to developers to make more purpose-built rental buildings, including more flexible rent control rules, as ways of cooling Toronto's housing market.

    Tal says Toronto's housing market has been inflated by cheap lending to people who would have no business getting a mortgage if rates returned to more typical levels.

    Of course, if Toronto does what Vancouver did and tries to spook away foreign buyers, the housing bubble will simply keep jumping city to city, first in Canada, then in move to the US, and back over to Europe, until soon the entire world makes it clear that China's $30 some trillion in deposits that are just itching to be parked offshore are no longer welcome, forcing the Chinese government to finally deal with the alarming consequences of its own unprecedented monetary injections, which now amount to some $4 trillion in new money creation mostly by way of bank "loans" (and thus deposits) every single year.

    by Tyler Durden at September 24, 2016 11:28 PM

    GOOD

    NASA Just Got A Huge Budget, And Orders, To Send People To Mars

    Today’s Congress - regardless of what side of the political spectrum you fall on, most people would like to send this body of elected officials far away into the reaches of outer space. Congress, it turns out, has a similar idea but one that actually aims to rekindle some of greatest galactic ideals.

    In a move that may surprise skeptics, Congress appears to be formally moving forward with a major new funding bill for NASA that includes language about sending a team of humans to Mars in that not too distant future.

    Maybe most shocking of all, an announcement of support came from none other than Ted Cruz, who said in a statement:

    “We have seen in the past the importance of stability and predictability in NASA and space exploration – that whenever one has a change in administration, we have seen the chaos that can be caused by the cancellation of major programs. The impact in terms of jobs lost, the impact in terms of money wasted has been significant.”

     

    Credit: NASA

     

    NASA had requests a $19 billion budget for 2017, one that was mirrored by the White House. The Republican-controlled House approved that budget and it just passed its first major hurdle in the Senate, passing through a Republican-led committee. The bill’s specific language sets a 25-year-goal for sending a manned mission to the Red Planet.

    The bill still has to be approved by the full Senate and then signed into law by President Obama but it appears the major obstacles to approving NASA’s long-gestating plans for a manned mission to Mars just took a major step forward toward becoming a reality.

    All of the spacey good feelings were echoed by Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat from Florida, who said:

    “Fifty-five years after President Kennedy challenged the nation to put a man on the moon, the Senate is challenging NASA to put humans on Mars. The priorities that we’ve laid out for NASA in this bill mark the beginning of a new era of American spaceflight.”

    by Leo Shvedsky at September 24, 2016 11:05 PM

    Zero Hedge

    We Are Stuck In Depression Until The Legend Of The "Maestro" Finally Dies

    Submitted by Jeffrey Snider via Alhambra Investment Partners,

    Alan Greenspan is confused – again. The man who admitted to the world a decade ago he didn’t know much if anything about interest rates is now trying to change that reputation by suggesting yet again interest rates are set to rise. In testimony before Congress in February 2005, the then-Chairman of the Federal Reserve actually said:

    For the moment, the broadly unanticipated behavior of world bond markets remains a conundrum. Bond price movements may be a short-term aberration, but it will be some time before we are able to better judge the forces underlying recent experience.

    To an economist, it was a “conundrum” especially where econometrics and statistics and take the dominant view (if it can be called that). That is one facet to the Greenspan story that is so odd yet so compelling in all the wrong ways. Though he was an economist by schooling, he had more practical experience in the “real” world. He served on boards of such illustrious companies as Alcoa, General Foods, even Mobil. But he was also a director for JP Morgan and Morgan Guaranty.

    He should have known better, as his infamous 1966 essay on gold reveals. Thus, we can reasonably assume that what transformed his worldview was not economics (small “e”) but rather power. Not only had he been appointed to major corporate boards, he was heavily involved in politics, including the kinds that are the stuff of conspiracy theories.

    By 1995, as Fed Chairman, Greenspan was widely and wildly credited as guiding the US economy through what he claimed was an existential crisis with the Savings & Loan industry bust. Though George HW Bush would blame Greenspan’s Fed in part for his 1992 election lost because of the first “jobless recovery” (a major clue no economist or policymaker investigated honestly), by the middle 1990’s it was believed he had created the recovery itself and then tamed it when he raised rates in 1994 and engineered what many still call a “soft landing.” There have been many who have been dubbed the “bond market king”, but for a long time Dr. Greenspan’s status in that regard was a cut above.

    His confusion and “conundrum” in the 21st century belies the reputation that had been given him in the 20th. The US (and global) economy of the middle 1990’s didn’t bother about rate hikes because there were other processes at work, especially with the S&L’s no longer a further restraint on finance (yes, restraint). With traditional banking all but relegated to second tier status, wholesale finance of the eurodollar had been given an unrestricted path to all marginal growth – money as well as credit.

    And Alan Greenspan knew it, or at least he knew of it and what it was doing. Many times during this period he would acknowledge the changing nature of money including in his “irrational exuberance” speech. By the dawn of the new millennium, that’s all there was – eurodollars were the dominant setting. The real world got a close look at what it was doing first with the dot-com bubble and then the mania of the coincident housing bubble. Overseas, the eurodollar system was financing the EM “miracles” in what might fairly be called the third major bubble (the one yet to be fully reckoned with, though in some places like Brazil it has started to be).

    By the middle 2000’s, monetary behavior was no longer as economists had come to expect and what they had encoded in their econometric models. In trying to reconcile the bond market with those models, Greenspan had his conundrum which Ben Bernanke put into the concept of a “global savings glut.” It was the final signal that economics, especially mainstream monetary economics, had lost all connection with actual, operative finance.

    Because, however, his pedigree and credentials remain impeccable, his opinion still carries some weight; that is the world we live in, especially where the media is concerned. It doesn’t matter how much you failed, it matters where you went to school and what jobs you held while you failed. Appearing on BloombergTV yesterday Dr. Greenspan claimed yet again that the treasury bull market is over with, and once more demonstrating his confusion.

    “Whenever you have a bull market, it looks as though it is never going to turn,” Greenspan, the second-longest serving Fed chairman, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. “This is a classic case of a peak in a speculative security.”

    I doubt there was any mention of his other such “calls” between his “conundrum” and now, including one just last year. Speaking at a private conference in DC in May 2015 before “global turmoil” erupted globally (it was only “overseas turmoil” at that time), Greenspan said:

    Just remember we had the taper tantrum. And we are going to get another one.

    He made that proclamation as interest rates were, in fact, rising. In late January, the 10-year UST yield had fallen all the way below 1.70%; but from that point through the spring interest rates had been increasing again as Janet Yellen’s “transitory” theme seemed to gain evidence. By the time Greenspan spoke of this next “tantrum”, the 10s had moved back up in yield to around 2.30%. Rather than continue toward 3.30% as he was suggesting, the benchmark bond yield would be nearly 1.30% by this July and proving yet again he is nothing more than an empty suit with a filled out resume.

    It’s not just that he has been wrong about the direction of interest rates, it is why he has been wrong but more so because it perpetuates this same, very basic financial misunderstanding. In putting together the story on Greenspan’s BloombergTV appearance, the article’s authors clearly share the former Fed Chair’s muddled misunderstanding.

    Investors globally have regarded monetary policy with growing skepticism that there’s more central banks can do to stoke inflation and economic growth. Asset-purchase programs and negative interest rates have pushed yields on more than $9 trillion of government securities worldwide below zero, according to Bloomberg Barclays index data. The European Central Bank triggered a global selloff this month after signaling it wouldn’t pursue further stimulus.

    This is all demonstrably false and backward. The bond market hasn’t sold off because it is just now losing faith in central banks; bond rates have been falling for years as that market no longer has any faith in them whatsoever. The history of UST yields since 2007 is, pardon the pun, unyielding on this score. Bond rates rose in the aftermath of the panic because of ZIRP and all throughout QE1 as bond market participants didn’t understand what QE actually was. Believing it to be actual money printing, bond rates reflected both increased inflation and economic growth that were judged likely to result – only to stumble into shocking illiquidity in early 2010.

    abook-sept-2016-greenspan

    To that, the Fed responded with QE2 and the process started all over again. Treasury rates rose once more, not fell, while the Fed was purchasing UST’s – only to stumble all over again into even more shocking illiquidity in the middle of 2011 that finally registered as the realization of this eurodollar chasm between money and the actual role of bank reserves. Yet, despite all that, the bond market gave the Fed one more chance, though this time it was after QE3 and QE4, waiting to act in the same manner only when the Fed was willing to taper them. In other words, the bond market on the third try demanded some confirmation first that QE had worked before reflecting expectations of inflation and growth. The idea of taper itself was that confirmation; thus, the “tantrum” of 2013 wasn’t that the Fed was no longer buying bonds (at least as far as the treasury market was concerned) but that the bond market judged the success of QE at that point in time the most likely.

    abook-sept-2016-greenspan2

    It didn’t last, of course, and ever since the bond market no longer has much faith in “stimulus”, harkening back to the questions about money and balance sheet expansion exposed by the 2011 crisis. Declining yields and a flattening curve leave no doubt as to the scenario that has been expected, one that has already been proved true. These periodic, almost regular selloffs that occur are not “growing skepticism” of global monetary policy, rather they are the brief and comparatively subdued flirtations with renewed faith that policy might achieve some results. And, as usual, those hopes are dashed in relatively quick fashion by reality.

    Economists view everything in finance through the filter of monetary policy, and therefore attribute all results to that perspective no matter how illogical and strained. That is why their view of the world is so often upside down and/or backward. It is the legacy of the myth of the “maestro.” There is no reason, however, for that to have become and further remain the mainstream view propagated through the media. Greenspan’s credentials say nothing; his track record is all that should matter when judging the worth of his opinions. He doesn’t know what he is talking about and there is a mountain of evidence, including his own words, that show that he never did.

    We are stuck in this economic depression not just because of his past tenure, but more so now because constant reverence prevents acceptance of these facts. The recovery doesn’t start until the “maestro’s” legend dies, and with it all the confusion and misconstruction about how markets and the economy actually work.

    by Tyler Durden at September 24, 2016 11:00 PM

    Brad DeLong - Grasping Reality with Both Hands

    Must-Read: Mark Pesce: Zombie Moore's Law: Hardware Eats Software:

    Intel announce some next-generation CPUs that aren’t very much faster... delays... some of its 10nm process CPUs; and Apple’s new A10 chip, powering iPhone 7, is as one of the fastest CPUs ever...

    Intel’s slavish devotion to [the] single storyline [that] more transistors and smaller transistors are what everyone needs. That... gave us thirty years of Wintel, but... the CPU is all grown up. Meanwhile... every twelve months another A-series System-on-a-Chip makes its way into the Apple product line, and every time performance increases enormously.... But the bulk of the speed gains in the A-series (about a factor of twelve over the last five years) don’t come from making more, smaller transistors. Instead, they come from Apple’s focus on using only those transistors needed for their smartphones and tablets.... Every aspect of Apple’s chip is highly tuned to both workload and iOS kernel-level task management. It’s getting hard to tell where Apple’s silicon ends and its software begins. And that’s exactly the point....

    Apple isn’t alone; NVIDIA has been... adding custom bits to move... work previously done in software--such as rendering stereo pairs for virtual reality displays--into the hardware. A process that used to cost 2x the compute for every display frame now comes essentially for free.... For the last fifty years... the cheap gains of ever-faster CPUs versus the hard work of designing and debugging silicon circuitry meant only the most important or time-critical tasks migrated into silicon. Now... wringing every last bit of capacity out of the transistor... is already well underway...

    by J. Bradford DeLong at September 24, 2016 10:52 PM

    GOOD

    New ‘SNL’ Cast Member Caught Deleting Racist Tweets

    Melissa Villaseñor / Flickr

    Melissa Villaseñor is Saturday Night Live’s first Latina cast member. For a historic live comedy show that has struggled with diversity over its 41 season history, the new addition to the cast should be welcome and even celebrated news.

     

     

    Instead, the headlines across the Internet are all about how the 28-year-old comedian was caught deleting more than 2,000 tweets from her history, several of which have been confirmed to contain culturally insensitive material where it’s unclear if Villaseñor is trying to be funny or actually making offensive, racist comments.

    Writer Aura Bogado noticed that Villaseñor had made her account private and then further notices that hundreds and then literally thousands of tweets were suddenly disappearing from her history

    'I'm excited about the first latina on SNL but not gonna lie: deleting 2K tweets in 5 days is... odd,’ Bogado posted to her own Twitter account.

    Unfortunately, Bogado’s skepticism was confirmed when she and other people online began tracking down some of Villaseñor’s deleted tweets, many of which are targeted at African-Americans and Asians. However, in one deleted tweet, she also made a joke about Mexicans. 

     

    Since Saturday Night Live and Villaseñor have yet to respond to the tweets it’s unclear how many were purely meant as jokes and how many, if any, were rooted in actual prejudice or stereotypes.

     

    On the surface, the situation sounds similar to that of “Daily Show” host Trevor Noah, who it was revealed had many disparaging comments on his own Twitter account before getting the big promotion to replace Jon Stewart. Noah survived that controversy and has even slowly began to win over viewers and critics after a rock first year on the job. In the meantime, Bogado isn’t buying the claim of many on Twitter that the earlier tweets were “just jokes” from someone developing their comedic voice.

     

    by Leo Shvedsky at September 24, 2016 10:20 PM

    "Subramanian Swamy" - Google News

    China is also pained by Pak, India should win its trust: Subramanian Swamy - India Samvad


    India Samvad

    China is also pained by Pak, India should win its trust: Subramanian Swamy
    India Samvad
    New Delhi, Sep 25: Known for his open and extreme views, BJP leader and economist Subramanian Swamy on Saturday, who thinks war has begun unannounced against neighbouring country, said China trust should be won back as it is also pained by ...

    and more »

    September 24, 2016 09:40 PM

    Sr Bachchan

    DAY 3099

    Jalsa, Mumbai                   Sept 24/25,  2016                 Sat/Sun  2:46 am





    With love 


    Amitabh Bachchan

    please read the Blog number on the hand written card as Blog 3099 .. nd not 3089 ..

    September 24, 2016 09:19 PM

    SANS Internet Storm Center, InfoCON: green

    .PUB Analysis, (Sat, Sep 24th)

    Xavier reported a maldoc campaign using Microsoft Publisher files. These files can be analyzed just like malicious Word files.

    oledump.py reveals VBA macros in this sample:

    The VBA macro contains calls to the chr function. This could encode a URL or some other payload:

    If you want more details, I made this video.

    Didier Stevens
    Microsoft MVP Consumer Security
    blog.DidierStevens.com DidierStevensLabs.com

    (c) SANS Internet Storm Center. https://isc.sans.edu Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

    September 24, 2016 09:10 PM

    Arun Shourie - Google News

    Rahul Gandhi should retire, BJP will be hegemonic force for next 15-20 years: Ramachandra Guha - Economic Times


    Economic Times

    Rahul Gandhi should retire, BJP will be hegemonic force for next 15-20 years: Ramachandra Guha
    Economic Times
    If the BJP is in power for the next 20 years or so and if there is no serious, rigorous thinking informing its policy — and where they have kept Arun Shourie, their only intellectual, outside their portals — it is worrying. Rajagopalachari, who could ...

    and more »

    September 24, 2016 09:00 PM

    GOOD

    George Bush Hilariously Hits Up Obama For Help With A Selfie

    In today’s divisive political climate it’s nice to see that some politicians can come together to celebrate diversity. And, you know, to take some amazing selfies.

    In a rare example of Democrats and Republicans coming together, this weekend saw the official opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. President Obama was on hand and by all accounts gave a powerful and stirring series of remarks about the new museum’s significance. 

    And then former president George W. Bush hit him up for a little help with a selfie that just wasn’t working out.

    That’s right. Bush was on hand with his wife Laura to help mark the occasion. The two men who have vastly different political visions seem to be getting along well enough now that Bush is nearly eight full years removed from his historically disastrous presidency. And he seems to have really mellowed out in those years.

     

    So when a woman attending the opening asked for a photo with the Texan, he appeared all to happy to comply. The only problem was he couldn’t get the wrong angle for the kind of snap the woman would cherish for years to come. So, without hesitation, he tapped the current president, aka the most powerful man in the world, on the back and asked him for a solid.

     

    Obama seemed momentarily surprised by the request but then his better nature kicked in as he helped coach Bush and the woman into the best shot possible.

     

    Now, that’s teamwork, fellas. 

    by Leo Shvedsky at September 24, 2016 08:45 PM

    First Things First. Still.

    If Trump wins it's because liberals have been too focused on pointing individual lies instead of pointing out that he’s a fucking fascist.

    If Trump wins it's because liberals have been too focused on pointing individual lies instead of pointing out that he’s a fucking fascist.

    by Shane Becker (veganstraightedge@gmail.com) at September 24, 2016 08:40 PM

    Planet Android

    Registrations for Sony’s Nougat Beta Program Now Open to Xperia X Performance Users

    There’s good news coming in for owners of the Sony Xperia X Performance, especially for those users that are always looking to try out new software. While Sony had cancelled off the Beta program earlier for the Xperia Z3, they had kept the program with a view to get it running for the Xperia X Performance.

    Registrations for this Beta program are now open to users of the X Performance, and Sony is notifying users of the same through the Xperia Longe app. However, the registrations for the Beta program are open to users in select countries only, which includes the Nordics, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Iceland, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Netherlands. To register, you need to download the app from the Google Play Store and follow along the instructions in the app.

    To clarify, this Beta program will let you try out Sony’s pre-release firmware of Android 7.0 Nougat. As the name implies, it is beta in nature. There will be bugs, and there’s likely to be expectations of feedback that Sony wishes to receive out of this, so that they can iron out issues before they can start rolling out stable release for the general public. Also to note, these are not builds for AOSP, but are Android 7.0 Nougat with Sony’s skin on top.

    The Beta program will be available to limited users, so if you are interested, live in an eligible country and have the eligible device, head on over to the Play Store to download the app and register.

    Source: XperiaBlog

    Read on for related content:

    by Aamir Siddiqui at September 24, 2016 08:27 PM

    RubyFlow

    GOOD

    Trump’s Ohio Campaign Chair Says, ‘No Racism Until Obama’

    Ohio is one of the nation’s most pivotal swing states in 2016 and whoever wins it stands a much stronger chance of capturing the White House. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have been neck and neck in the state, trading leads in a number of polls. So, the Trump team can’t be happy about this incredibly embarrassing and racist interview that one of his state county campaign chair gave to The Guardian.

    In the interview, Mahoning County Chair Kathy Miller tells a visibly shocked reporter, “I don’t think there was any racism until Obama got elected. We never had problems like this.”

    The look on the reporter’s face is priceless, as he twice seems unable to hide his shock and disbelief at what Miller is saying.

    Her uninterrupted statement on racism and Obama reads as follows:

    “Now, with the people with the guns and shooting up neighborhoods, and not being responsible citizens, that’s a big change. And I think that’s the philosophy that Obama has perpetuated on America. And if you’re black and you haven’t been successful in the last 50 years, it’s your own fault. I think that, when we look at the last 50 years, where are we? And why? We have three generations of all still having unwed babies, kids that don’t go through high school, I mean when do they take responsibility for how they live? I think it’s due time and I think it’s good that Mr. Trump is pointing that out.”

    Miller went on to criticize Black Lives Matter and to basically ignore the significance of the entire civil rights movement. When told by the reporter that some might interpret her comments as offensive or even racist, Miller was unmoved, saying, “I don’t care. It’s the truth.”

    However, for all of it’s own pratfalls with the issue of race, it does appear the Trump campaign cared about Miller’s shocking statement. She was fired from her post shortly after the interview was published.

    by Leo Shvedsky at September 24, 2016 08:20 PM

    The Big Picture

    $23?!? Leonard Cohen Complete Studio Albums Collection, 11 CD Box Set

    Leonard Cohen Complete Studio Albums Collection, 11 CD Box Set     I cannot figure out how this 11 CD box set is for sale at Amazon for $23. I ordered two (one for me, one for a friend).       Track Listings Disc: 1   1. Suzanne   2. Master Song   3.…

    Read More

    The post $23?!? Leonard Cohen Complete Studio Albums Collection, 11 CD Box Set appeared first on The Big Picture.

    by Barry Ritholtz at September 24, 2016 08:00 PM

    Boy Genius Report

    Snapchat unveils $129 sunglasses that can record video in 10-second snippets

    Snapchat Glasses
    In an unexpected if not utterly bizarre move, Snapchat over the weekend introduced a new piece of Snapchat-oriented hardware: Snapchat glasses. That's right, Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel believes that the exceedingly popular instant messaging and photo sharing app can succeed where Google Glass failed. Dubbed Spectacles, Snapchat's new glasses are equipped with a video camera and, as you might expect, are pretty straight forward to use. Users simply tap a button on the frame and the glasses will record successive clips of 10-second video all from a first person perspective.

    (more…)

    Trending right now:

    1. $17 gets you a 10,000 mAh portable battery that can recharge your phone 5+ times
    2. iPhone 7 review
    3. Latest batch of iPhone 7 Plus photo samples are truly remarkable

    by Yoni Heisler at September 24, 2016 07:55 PM

    datameet Google Group

    ISRO released Mars Mission data of 1 year

    ISRO today released one year worth of Mars orbiter's camera data. You need to register on the portal to download it though and the admin has to approve you after you submit all of your personal data including address and phone number (sad). http://www.isro.gov.in/pslv-c25-mars-orbiter-mission/f

    by srinivas kodali at September 24, 2016 07:50 PM

    Brad DeLong - Grasping Reality with Both Hands

    Brookings Productivity Puzzle Panel: VIdeo

    The Productivity Puzzle:

    On September 9, 2016 the Initiative on Business and Public Policy and the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at Brookings hosted a forum on the policy implications of the growth slowdown.

    by J. Bradford DeLong at September 24, 2016 07:40 PM

    Piggington's Econo-Almanac

    August 2016 Housing Data

    Prices have leveled off in the last couple of months...



    read more

    by Rich Toscano at September 24, 2016 07:19 PM

    Planet Android

    Indian DGCA Bans Use of Note Series in Flights After Galaxy Note 2 Catches Fire During Flight

    It seems the Note series has become the favorite dropping point for all recent controversy. What started off with the Note 7 exploding and then Samsung initiating a massive recall of millions of the phones sold and pushing back much more of those unsold, the series of unfortunate event continues on with the Note 2 being involved in a controversy that could have widespread impact on the reputation of the Note lineup.

    As NDTV reports, a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 caught fire in India during an active flight. The incident occurred on Friday on a Chennai-bound IndiGo aircraft (6E-054), where passengers complained of a smoking smell in flight. The crew narrowed down the smoke coming in from an overhead luggage compartment, and after relocation of passengers away from the problem area, found the cause of smoke to be a Galaxy Note 2 inside a passengers baggage. The aircraft crew informed the ATC, and followed protocol to take care of the device and ensured a safe landing.

    This incident has prompted the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which is the Indian regulatory body that concerns itself with aviation incidents, to ask all airlines to ban the use of Note series of devices inside flights. Samsung officials have been summoned by the regulator on Monday, and the concerned departments will subject the device to further examination. Until then, all airlines in India will advise passengers to switch off all Galaxy Note phones while on-board.

    Whatever be the result of the pending investigation, the damage to Samsung’s reputation has been done. With the arguably unjustified blanket ban on Note-series usage, consumers with Note devices will be subject to more restrictions and inconvenience during air travel, thus making them vary of carrying the device in the first place. Depending on how the investigation shapes up in the future, the Note series could have some tough times ahead in the Indian market.

    Do you think it’s fair to ban all Note devices over an old one (and not a Note 7) burning up? Discuss in the comments!

    by Aamir Siddiqui at September 24, 2016 07:04 PM

    Wheaties for Your Wallet

    Five Forms of Blockchain-Enabled Money that are Already LIVE

    You’ve heard of blockchain, the revolutionary shared ledger that powers bitcoin. But blockchain offers far more for money – and much else besides – than bitcoin alone.

    Here are five forms of blockchain-based cash that are either already with us, or will be shortly.

    Truly anonymous cash

    Much has been made of bitcoin’s anonymity, due to the fact that it has been the currency of choice on the Silk Road and other online drug markets. Bitcoin can be essentially anonymous, if it is used extremely carefully. But the reality is that the transparency of the blockchain means transactions can often be traced. That’s bad news for criminals, but also for anyone with a legitimate reason for keeping their finances to themselves (arguably all of us). A slew of cryptocurrencies has sprung up in the last two or three years offering much more robust privacy.

    Monero and Dash are currently two of the most popular. But there’s a lot of buzz around a new generation of privacy-centric currencies based on Zcash, a powerful protocol that uses strong cryptography to hide the sender, recipient and value of every transaction from view. One thing is for certain: financial privacy isn’t going out of fashion any time soon, and more and more robust forms of anonymous blockchain money are likely to appear in the future.

    Fiat on the blockchain

    At the other end of the scale, there’s the regular state-backed fiat money we all know and tolerate, but turbocharged by the blockchain. A number of online payment services are already exploring how blockchain technology can make them more efficient by enabling fast and low-cost cross-border transfers, and early versions of the concept already exist.

    Tether is backed by funds held in an audited, insured bank account. Tokens representing $1 each are created or destroyed for every dollar that is deposited or withdrawn through their wallet, and these move around the world almost frictionlessly using an extra layer built on top of the bitcoin network. Whilst Tether dollars (USDT) are still ultimately dependent on the US government to guarantee their value, what the blockchain does is free them from the restrictions of the traditional payments system – preventing blocked or reversed transactions and high transfer fees.

    Digital gold

    Taking this principle a step further, it’s possible to issue tokens representing a share of any commodity on the blockchain. DigixDAO did just that after a remarkably successful crowdfunded campaign that raised $5.5 million in just 12 hours. Like Tether, they have real assets stored in insured and audited vaults. Tokens that represent units of gold (one ounce each) circulate on the blockchain – this time hosted on smart contracts platform Ethereum rather than bitcoin. Because it’s a blockchain asset, though, each unit is highly divisible, down to 0.001g or around $0.04 at current prices, and can be sent anywhere in the world instantly.

    These features mean that gold can once again be used as a form of everyday currency fit for the 21st century. The final twist is that senders pay a small transaction fee in gold tokens, and these are bundled up and distributed to assets held and traded by those who pledged money in the crowdfunded campaign.

    Private money

    The blockchain allows any company to issue its own currency. This might take the form of a traditional loyalty token that trades on secondary markets due to the open nature of distributed ledgers. It’s reasonable to assume these will circulate as forms of parallel money and some will be used outside of their original networks. But the principle can be taken a step further – as in the case of the Incent project, which is current crowdfunding and will be hosted on the Waves blockchain.

    As a universal currency of loyalty, backed by an expanding ecosystem of merchants, demand for Incent will drive its value every time a customer makes a purchase. Thus it forms a new kind of asset class that can be held as an appreciating investment or spent with participating businesses – giving customers a new set of reasons for brand loyalty outside of the paradigms of conventional reward schemes.

    Central bank reserves

    Finally, we can’t ignore the huge interest in distributed ledger technology by banks and governments. A number of countries including the UK, China, South Korea and Dubai are pouring money into blockchain research, recognising that it offers all kinds of benefits over legacy systems. It’s highly likely that in the next ten years we will see central banks issuing currencies on their own ledgers. To get more of an idea on how the blockchain is going to affect the financial industry you can also take a look at RegTech. RegTech is paving the way for tons of new financial solutions and opportunities.

    Whilst commercial banks would likely still have a role in creating and administering part of the money supply, central bank-issued digital currencies (CBDC) could be extended to everyone so that households and businesses also had access to them – moving beyond the current system, which limits holdings of central bank reserves to financial institutions.

    The post Five Forms of Blockchain-Enabled Money that are Already LIVE appeared first on Due Payments Blog.

    by Guy Brandon at September 24, 2016 06:53 PM

    Columnists: tavleensingh

    Not terrorism, we must accept we are at war with Pakistan

    We must hope that the Defence Minister will now punish those who were careless enough to allow 18 Indian soldiers to be killed so easily.

    September 24, 2016 06:31 PM

    Not terrorism, we must accept we are at war with Pakistan

    Written by Tavleen Singh | Updated: September 25, 2016 2:49 pm
    narendra modi, modi uri, modi pakistan, pakistan terrorism, Modi Uri attack, uri attack, uri terror attack, modi on uri attack, modi pakistan, narendra modi pakistan, bjp, india news, indian express Uri attack: The Army Brigade camp which was attacked by militants in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday. PTI Photo

    What happened in Uri last week was an act of war, but as usual we diminished it by describing it as terrorism. Ever since it was defeated in Kargil nearly 20 years ago, Pakistan has made it absolutely clear time and time again that it will wage a new kind of war against India, and yet the men in charge of India’s security remain in denial. If we had acknowledged at least after 26/11 that India was in a state of war, then it is possible that the urgency that wartime brings may have become evident by now, and it would not have been so easy for four men to inflict the damage they did at a brigade headquarters so close to the border.

    The Defence Minister acknowledged later that mistakes must have been made for the attack to have been so successful. We must hope that he will now punish those who were careless enough to allow 18 Indian soldiers to be killed so easily. The horrible truth is that Pakistan’s military strategists seem to know exactly what they are doing while in India our strategists continue to deal with national security in a dangerously lackadaisical fashion. So as we approach the eighth anniversary of 26/11, we need to truthfully admit that neither Mumbai, nor the coast on which our commercial capital sits is any safer today than it was in 2008. It is true that armoured cars can be seen in the streets of Mumbai when there is a ‘high alert’ and true that there are patrol boats visible now and then in the waters that separate this island city from the mainland of India. But, it is equally true that the men involved in these operations have no special training.

    So if the men spotted in Uran last week were Pakistani jihadists, it is very possible they will find it just as easy to hold Mumbai to ransom for as long as Ajmal Kasab and gang did. It is also possible that like last time, it will take 24 hours for trained commandos to be transported to Mumbai, and that after landing in this city, there will be the logistical delays we saw last time. If we want things to change, we will have to begin by acknowledging that we are not dealing with random religious fanatics but with Pakistani soldiers trained in a new kind of warfare. Jihadist groups like Jaish-e-Mohammad, Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Toiba are assets of the Pakistani army.

    After 18 soldiers were killed in Uri, spokesmen of the government of India did an excellent job internationally defining Pakistan as a country that uses terrorism as State policy. This is good but unnecessary since Pakistan is already viewed as the headquarters of the worldwide jihad by almost every country except China. What we should be concentrating more on is strengthening India’s defences exactly as we would in a time of war.

    Also Read P Chidambaram’s column: In search of a Pakistan policy

    Instead of dithering between dialogue and hostilities, we should recognise that the military men who control Pakistan’s foreign policy have a vested interest in hostilities. Tea parties with Nawaz Sharif will make no difference. What may make a difference is if we deal directly with the military men. Dr Manmohan Singh did this with Pervez Musharraf and, from all accounts, came closest to bringing about a Kashmir solution. Musharraf himself admitted at a press conference I was present at in Davos that a solution was possible if everyone took one step back from their stated positions. Then he lost his job and the rest is history.

    Speaking of Kashmir, we need also to accept that Pakistan’s hatred of India is unlikely to end even if our Kashmir problem does. It is no longer the ‘core issue’ but merely an excuse to pursue the ultimate dream, which is to break India into pieces. It is frightening how many ordinary Pakistanis believe that this is one day going to happen. It seems to comfort them in their own failed Islamic republic to think that one day Pakistan will become India’s equal. India’s economic achievements since we abandoned Nehruvian socialism frighten Pakistanis almost more than our military strength. It is no accident that of all Indian cities it was Mumbai that was targeted in 2008.

    So we must accept that it is no longer just Kashmir that is the issue. And that we are at war. Pakistan does indeed produce an endless supply of recruits for the worldwide jihad but the men it sends to India to kill innocent people are a different breed. They may be soldiers of Islam like ordinary jihadists but they have also been trained to think of India as an ‘existential threat’. If we are to defend our beloved Dar ul Harb against Allah’s soldiers, we must begin by accepting that we are at war with Pakistan.

    Follow Tavleen Singh on Twitter @ tavleen_singh

    by tavleen-singh at September 24, 2016 06:31 PM

    Daring Fireball

    Beware Desktop and Documents Folder Syncing on MacOS Sierra

    Josh Marshall had a really bad experience with the new Desktop and Documents folder iCloud syncing feature in Sierra:

    So today at work I had Sierra start syncing my work Desktop and Documents folders. Later I checked in iCloud and there it all was. Awesome.

    What I didn’t see were my Desktop files from my home computer. That was odd because I’d upgraded to Sierra at home the night before. So why hadn’t it worked from home?

    When I got home I checked to see if I’d enabled this syncing operation on my home machine. I hadn’t. So I checked the box to enable it. But when I did it said I had too many files or too many nested folders to use this service. I poked around on Google to find out about this because I hadn’t seen any reference to any storage limits. I couldn’t find any information about this. So I moved some files off my desktop to see if I could get under whatever this limit I was bumping up against.

    After moving a bunch of files, I tried again. Success! It let me do it. Then in a flash all the files on my desktop disappeared and were replaced by the files from my work desktop.

    It sounds like his files weren’t vanished — they were moved to a sub-folder of the iCloud Desktop folder. But it sure looked like his files were vanished. From Ars Technica’s Sierra review:

    Enable iCloud Desktop and Documents on a second Mac you’ve upgraded to Sierra, one that already has files in its Desktop and Documents folders, and you will momentarily panic, as all of your existing files are removed and replaced with the “canonical” iCloud versions. But don’t worry; everything that was already on your desktop has been moved to a subfolder in the iCloud Desktop folder named “Desktop — [Name of Mac].” From there, move files around however you want to reconcile the desktops on your Macs. […]

    It takes a while for your Mac to upload all your files into iCloud the first time you turn it on — the service seems reluctant to overload your Mac or to completely saturate your Internet connection, both of which can easily happen while syncing a service like Dropbox for the first time. Going to the iCloud Drive folder in the Finder will give you status updates as well as show you how much storage space you have left in your iCloud account.

    So it’s not so much that the feature is dangerous but that the experience of enabling it on a second Mac is really poorly designed. When you enable it on a Mac when there’s already an existing iCloud Desktop folder, there should be some sort of dialog that explains exactly what’s going to happen.

    by John Gruber at September 24, 2016 05:41 PM

    iFixit’s Pro Tech Toolkit

    My thanks to iFixit for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote their new Pro Tech Toolkit. It’s a set of tools specifically designed for modern electronics repair. They sent me one a few weeks ago and it is excellent. Even the case is nice. It has every little oddball screwdriver you might need. Last year the Apple Watch came out with a new tri-point screw, smaller than anything iFixit had seen before. Now their toolkit contains a screwdriver for that screw — which is also now used in the iPhone 7.

    I actually have an older iFixit toolkit (I think I might have picked it up at a Macworld Expo, years ago?), and this new one is better in every way. These are just damn good tools. Check out iFixit’s recent teardowns of the latest phones from Apple and Samsung, and, if you’re interested in the toolkit, use coupon code “courage” (ha!) and you’ll save $5.

    by John Gruber at September 24, 2016 05:22 PM

    Philip Greenspun's Weblog

    Politics in Nevada

    The Reno Air Races attracts a political demographic more or less 180-degrees opposite of what prevails in the Boston area. The national anthem was played every morning around 10:30 pm as a military parachute team carried the flag down from the sky. As shown in the photo below, it was hands-on-hearts (easy to find your heart when you’ve been breakfasting on deep-friend Twinkies and Snickers, both readily available at the races) and hats-off time. I didn’t see anyone protesting!

    ke0c3480

    I shared a table in the VIP tent (highly recommended for food, drinks, and shade!) with a local divorce litigator: “I’ve been in Nevada nearly all of my life because I like my guns, my space, and low taxes.”

    ke0c2059

    The other locals at the table agreed that they did not want to hand over their wages to the government so that it could be redistributed to the non-working. (Fact check: Nevada taxes are low, at 8.1 percent of income and $3,349 per resident (Tax Foundation); compare to New York at 12.7 percent and $6,993 per resident. On the other hand, the state has a full range of welfare programs and for many citizens it will be better to collect welfare than to work.)

    [The divorce litigator would be a lot better off in Massachusetts. She is able to charge only a flat $3500 per divorce, plus $6000 additional for the 5 percent of cases that go to trial. Compare to $100,000 to $300,000 (or more!) in the Boston area. Her female customers would also be a lot better off financially if they’d chosen a different state. “We got a new law in October 2015 that slipped by the lawyers and judges,” said the litigator. “Judges are interpreting 125c.0035 to require joint custody [a 50/50 schedule] in almost all cases.” What about the domestic violence escape clause that works for plaintiffs in Alaska? “It works only if she can get an actual conviction for domestic violence,” said the litigator. “Most moms are going into court saying ‘I want primary custody because I’m the mom’ and judges aren’t persuaded.” The law also applies to children that result from one-night encounters. Let’s compare outcomes for a woman earning $125,000 and suing a father earning the same.

    Massachusetts Nevada
    Mom wins “primary parent” status with greater than 90 percent probability. Free babysitting from the defendant every other weekend.

    Along with primary parent status comes $20,000 per year until child reaches 23 years of age (up to $460,000 total, tax-free).

    Given approximately equal costs of having a child around 1/3 time versus 2/3 time, assuming continuing equality of income at $125,000/year, winner parent will be nearly $900,000 richer than loser parent after 23 years.

    Child receives week-on/week-off access to both parents. (better expected well-being for the child) No winner/loser parent division.

    Mom receives no cash due to equal incomes and equal schedule (her revenue would have been limited to $13,000 per year per child regardless).

    Potential for litigation and child support profit ends when child turns 18.

    Minimal opportunity to become wealthier than defendant; parents who start with equal incomes will have approximately the same level of wealth after 18 years.

    ]

    Affection for Donald Trump was in short supply but resistance to Hillary, the Democrats, and the idea of a bigger government was strong.

    Of course this is a selected group due to the passion for aviation and the tendency of pilots to valorize personal responsibility. On the third hand, the folks with whom I had lunch were not pilots, just airport neighbors.

    Related:

    by philg at September 24, 2016 05:14 PM

    The Big Picture

    E-Books Die

    They’re killing the book business. The old guard, the ones married to paper and indie bookstores, the publishers afraid of big bad Amazon, have achieved their goal, they’ve killed the e-book. That’s right, e-book sales are down by 21.8%, the entire book business has declined by 2.7%, this is what happens when Luddites living in…

    Read More

    The post E-Books Die appeared first on The Big Picture.

    by Bob Lefsetz at September 24, 2016 05:00 PM

    Deposit Accounts

    Fifth Bank Failure of the Year - Allied Bank in Arkansas

    The fifth bank failure of 2016 occurred on Friday. Allied Bank was closed by state regulators, and the FDIC arranged for Today's Bank to assume all of the deposits.

    September 24, 2016 04:42 PM

    Philip Greenspun's Weblog

    Peter the Great’s idea for truly ending a war

    Peter the Great: His Life and World has an idea that we might be able to use, given the number of wars in which we are involved:

    Before leaving Moscow for St. Petersburg in early March 1723, Peter invited his friends to another astonishing spectacle: the burning of the wooden house at Preobrazhenskoe in which he had first secretly planned the war against Sweden. With his own hand, the Emperor filled shelves and closets with inflammable colored chemicals and fireworks and then he put the house to the torch. Many small explosions and brilliantly colored flames erupted from the burning structure, and for some time before it collapsed, the heavy log frame of the house stood silhouetted against an incandescent rainbow. Later, when only the blackened, smoking rubble was left, Peter turned to the Duke of Holstein, nephew of Charles XII, and said, “This is the image of war: brilliant victories followed by destruction. But with this house in which my first plans against Sweden were worked out, may every thought disappear which can arm my hand against that kingdom, and may it always be the most faithful ally of my empire.”

    [The war with Sweden above was the Great Northern War, which had lasted for 21 years.]

    More: Read Peter the Great: His Life and World 

    by philg at September 24, 2016 04:24 PM

    Boy Genius Report

    This crazy helmet-cam video of a wingsuit flier is the coolest thing you’ll see today

    Daredevil Wingsuit
    Daredevil Graham Dickinson has a flair for the dramatic. Last we saw, Dicksinson stared death in the face when he jumped offf of a cliff in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc and reached speeds of 111 MPH as he barely grazed by trees, rocks and any number of objects that would have undoubtedly killed him upon impact. Well, Dickinson a few days ago uploaded new helmet-cam footage of that harrowing jump and, as you might expect, it needs to be seen to be believed. The video would feel right at home in a Hollywood action movie, and is all the more impressive because there's no special effects wizardry or camera tricks in play. On the contrary, it's just a man equipped with nothing more than a wingsuit, a video camera and pure adrenaline.

    (more…)

    Trending right now:

    1. $17 gets you a 10,000 mAh portable battery that can recharge your phone 5+ times
    2. iPhone 7 Plus photo samples: The ‘DSLR’ iPhone in action
    3. A new Pokemon Go update is about to be released but don’t expect any trading support

    by Yoni Heisler at September 24, 2016 04:00 PM

    FFFFOUND! / EVERYONE

    "Subramanian Swamy" - Google News

    Ram Mandir is more important than development: Subramanian Swamy - Janta Ka Reporter


    Janta Ka Reporter

    Ram Mandir is more important than development: Subramanian Swamy
    Janta Ka Reporter
    The BJP Rajya Sabha MP, Subramanian Swamy, has said that Ram Mandir was more important than the agenda of development. Speaking to ABP News' flagship programme, Press Conference, Swamy said that the construction of Ram temple was more ...

    September 24, 2016 03:20 PM

    Boy Genius Report

    $17 gets you a 10,000 mAh portable battery that can recharge your phone 5+ times

    Portable iPhone Charger

    See the iPhone 7 at the top of the screen? It's an incredible phone — easily the best handset Apple has ever made. It has a killer design, a class-leading camera and it's finally water-resistant enough to dunk. But it has one major problem that everyone can agree on: the battery life stinks. In fact, there isn't a smartphone on the planet that people own without wishing the battery lasted longer on a charge.

    It'll be years before we see any real progress where battery technology is concerned. In the meantime, check out the SlimLine 10,000 mAh Light Weight Charger for your Smartphone with Dual USB, which can charge your smartphone five or more times before needing to be recharged itself.

    (more…)

    Trending right now:

    1. iPhone 7 Plus photo samples: The ‘DSLR’ iPhone in action
    2. A new Pokemon Go update is about to be released but don’t expect any trading support
    3. Replacement Galaxy Note 7s might be safe, but they also don’t work

    by Maren Estrada at September 24, 2016 02:30 PM

    Wired Top Stories

    The Simple Dollar

    What Should I Do With My Life? The Fundamental Question of Personal Finance – and a Surprising Answer

    For most of my life, I’ve just drifted. I would work passionately at one thing for a while, then I’d burn out on that thing and move on to something else. I felt like I had a good grip on what I needed to do today, but in terms of thinking about the big picture of my life, I just didn’t have any idea.

    I would often hear people ask questions like “What do you want to do with your life?” and I would come away with the conclusion that there was some sort of scam involved. I never really had any sense of what I wanted to do with my life.

    That overall lack of direction went a long way toward fueling my overspending back in the day. My general lack of any kind of life direction sort of bothered me, so I often covered it up with short-term pleasures. I spent money and did things at least in part so that I wouldn’t have to consider my lack of life direction.

    I think that feeling is common for a lot of people. If you don’t have any sense of what you want to do with your life to guide you, it becomes really easy to just drift through life, living paycheck to paycheck and simply trying to get the most momentary enjoyment that you can from what life hands you.

    Even when I started my financial turnaround, my idea of saving for the future was entirely based around the idea that, although I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life right now, I’d probably figure it out in the future and I wanted to give my “future self” plenty of resources for that moment when it all became clear.

    My friends have had very similar experiences in life, actually. Most of them blanch at the question of what they want to do with their life. And, based upon the emails I’ve read from many, many readers of this site, it’s a common feeling.

    I think that, in the end, the question of “what do I do with my life” and the fact that for so many it remains unanswered lies at the root of a lot of financial problems. People don’t have a sense of what they want to do with their lives, so they stumble in random directions. They spend money on short-term fixes and pleasures and try to not think about it too much.

    So, how do you answer that question?

    Rather than talking about what my own answer is, I’m going to instead talk about what I went through to figure this out in my own life, so that maybe you can use the same steps to figure things out for yourself.

    It Starts With You

    Here’s the truth of it: you are the only person who lives within your skin. At the end of your life, you really only have one person to answer to: yourself (and your god, depending on your theological beliefs, but that doesn’t really qualify as a person).

    Thus, the number one question that really matters above everything else is what do you want? What do you want out of life?

    This isn’t about what your wife wants or your husband wants or your kids want or your parents want or your friends want. This is about what you want. What do you want out of life?

    Finding the Flow

    That seems like a tough question on the surface, so I’m going to break it down into some pieces.

    One, at what points in your recent adult life have you felt genuinely fulfilled and happy? There is no right or wrong answer here. For some people, it may happen when they’re working. For others, it may happen when they’re spending time with people. For still others, it may come when they’re engaged with a hobby.

    I find that the greatest moments of fulfillment in life tend to line up really well with the moments in which I’ve lost all track of time and space, and I’ve found that, through conversations with other people, a lot of people feel that way, too. When I’m doing something that I’m so involved with that I’ll happen to look up at a clock and be completely confused by what the clock is telling me. Where did the hours go?

    That, in my eyes, is the peak state of living – when you’re so engaged physically and/or mentally with something that the constraints of your life – the clock being a big one – just kind of disappear. You’re lost in the experience of the moment. To me, that’s incredibly joyful; to me, that’s why people were put here on this earth.

    For me, it happens sometimes when I’m writing. It happens sometimes when I’m hiking. It happens sometimes when I’m doing things with my children or with my wife. It happens sometimes when I’m reading. It happens sometimes when I’m playing a game that makes me think in some fashion. It happens sometimes in the midst of a great conversation with a thoughtful friend or two. It happens sometimes when I pray or meditate. It occasionally happens when I’m cooking or when I’m gardening when I’m exercising or when I’m fixing or repairing something.

    Those moments truly are the best moments of my life. I’m so lost in something that the stresses of my life tend to disappear for a while and I feel “whole” in a way that I never really feel outside of those moments. I feel incredibly fulfilled and happy when that happens. I call those periods my “flow state,” because time and other aspects of life just flow around me – I don’t even really notice them.

    So, the next question I ask myself is this: what do I need to do in my life to maximize the amount of time I spend in that kind of “flow state”? What do I need to do to create a life that has as many “flow state” moments as possible?

    Remember, as you keep reading, that I’m just using “flow state” to describe something that happens at the best moments for all of us: when we’re so engaged mentally and physically and emotionally with something in our life that we lose all track of time and space for a while. That’s all “flow state” is, and I’m pretty sure we all experience it sometimes.

    To me, that’s really the answer of what I want to do with my life. I want to create a life where I have as many of those “flow state” moments as possible, where my mind, heart, and soul are so engaged with something that I lose track of time and distractions and physical pain and emotional pain and I just get lost in doing whatever it is that’s in front of me due to my deep love for it.

    Here’s the thing: the elements of your life that bring you into that “flow state” are going to be different than what clicks for me. I have a close friend that gets there when he’s fishing; he even jokingly calls it his “fishing trance.” I have another friend who can get there in the midst of doing lab work, as he’s an incredibly passionate researcher. My wife says that she gets there sometimes during the middle of teaching a lesson to her students, where she feels so engaged with them that she’s completely startled by the bell signifying the end of the period.

    So, what brings out that “flow state” in your life? Keep that in mind for the rest of this article.

    Preserving, Maximizing, and Enhancing

    We’ve established the basic premise that doing whatever puts you into a “flow state” is what you should be doing in life and that the best life is one that puts you into that “flow state” as much as possible.

    Let’s look at some of the elements you need to put together to make this a reality in your life.

    First, you need some significant blocks of time. It’s hard to get into a flow state without having some blocks of time set aside for those things. Obviously, this means that time management needs to play a role.

    Second, you need enough financial security so that you’re not “living on the edge.” If you’re in a situation where you’re stressed out constantly about money, you’re going to find it hard to focus on other things for any significant period (and even when you manage to do it, you find yourself in a rough spot when you “snap back”). You’re also in a position where you can’t take a stand for yourself at work because there would be major problems if you lost your job.

    Finally, you need enough financial security to afford whatever tools you need to achieve that flow state. This is achieved with budgeting, of course.

    How do you get these things? Here are several strategies for achieving that.

    Strategy #1 – Be frugal with everything else, as they’re relatively unimportant anyway

    Everything in your life that isn’t connected to that sense of “flow” should be enormously secondary to you. You should strive in every possible way to minimize the time and money you commit to those things.

    The first and most obvious way to do that is to simply find ways to minimize your spending in all of those areas. If food doesn’t bring you to a “flow state,” look for ways to minimize the cost necessary to adequately meet your nutritional needs and don’t spend beyond that. If laundry doesn’t bring you to a “flow state,” look for ways to minimize the cost necessary to dress yourself cleanly and presentably and don’t spend beyond that. The same thought goes for every single thing in your life that you spend time or money on – if they don’t lead to a great experience for you, minimize the money and time you spend on them.

    There are countless frugal strategies you can adopt along the way. You can cut back on everything from housing (live in a smaller cheaper place – remember, does it help bring you to a joyful state?) to transportation to utilities to household supplies to entertainment (why spend money on stuff that doesn’t bring genuine lasting joy into your life, especially when there is so much free stuff to do?). Just start cutting back on everything that doesn’t bring you to that joyful “flow state” – if it doesn’t do that, why are you spending money on it?

    Strategy #2 – Have “compressed” days and “uncompressed” days

    This is a strategy I’ve found incredibly helpful in terms of finding blocks of time in which to get lost in the flow of things that I really care about. Without it, I don’t know how I’d ever find, say, an afternoon to get lost in a great book or an evening to go to the community board game night or a day to go hiking with my family.

    To put it simply, I have “compressed” days in which I fill basically every waking second with what I call “life management” – the tasks that aren’t really very fun but are necessary for professional employment and day-to-day life. Laundry. Dishes. Work. Paying bills. Cleaning. Errands. All of those kinds of endless things.

    Rather than spending some time each day “unwinding” – which is time basically spent not really doing anything – I try to pack some days so full of little tasks that I basically don’t “stop” for the entire day. I go to bed feeling utterly worn out, and that’s a good thing because it means that I’ll have a day (or part of a day) in the very near future where I can devote real blocks of time to the meaningful things in my life.

    Those “uncompressed” days serve as an incredible motivator to get me through my “compressed” days. I might be tempted to just kick back for a while and not do much of anything in the evening on a “compressed” day, but if I do that, I’m directly sacrificing time that I’d set aside for the big hike this weekend or for a Sunday afternoon curled up and getting lost in a book.

    Strategy #3 – Slowly decommit from less-important things in your life

    Most of us have life commitments and relationships and other things in our lives that we’ve committed to over the years, only to realize later on that they’re really not something that brings lasting value into our lives. They just take up time and energy, but we still keep chugging along with them.

    The truth is that, in most cases, if you’ve reached a point where you’re just “chugging along” and you don’t feel any real commitment to something, you’re probably turning in a pretty poor performance at that thing and that someone else will probably bring much more to the table than you do.

    For those commitments, commit instead to winding down your commitment. Do everything you can to prepare that commitment for transition to someone else and then find someone to hand that commitment to.

    Naturally, this doesn’t apply to every single responsibility and commitment in your life, just the ones you can sensibly hand off to others. What about the ones you have to follow through on?

    Strategy #4 – Treat your responsibilities not as “downers,” but as the essential things you need to do for more “flow time”

    Many people look at their life responsibilities in a negative light, as things that have to be joylessly done. The truth, however, is that the vast, vast majority of your life’s responsibilities only are responsibilities because they directly support the things in life that you want.

    For example, I really don’t enjoy doing laundry. It’s a task that is just… drudgery for me if I look at it in isolation. Sorting clothes, putting them in the washer, moving them to the dryer or putting them on racks, then folding them and putting them away… it’s just not something I relish. At all.

    However, when I put it in a different context, it’s not bad. It’s that laundry task that makes it possible for me to have clean clothes to wear. It’s doing the dishes that makes it possible for me (and my family) to have clean dishes to eat and drink from.

    In other words, I focus on the outcome of the drudgery and how it helps me to do the things I most want to do in life. I don’t think about how un-fun the actual task is; instead, I look entirely at the result. The end result of laundry is clean clothes in my drawer, which means I can just grab a shirt during an “uncompressed” day and jump right into doing something meaningful, thus doing laundry really supports that task.

    What about things like parenting? Many people have children but don’t find deep meaning in being parents. What if you have a real responsibility in life that doesn’t lead to something deeply meaningful?

    The thing to remember in those situations is that you owe it to yourself and to the other people involved to take care of your responsibility to the best of your ability. Doing so means the best possible outcome over the long term for you and for the other people involved. For example (and this is just one aspect of a much bigger picture), it’s pretty difficult to ever have a healthy family relationship with your adult child or a relationship with any grandchildren if you don’t do your best to be a good parent. That’s not just a benefit for you in the long term, but a benefit for your child as well.

    Strategy #5 – Treat your physical and mental health as a major responsibility

    Almost everything you want out of life relies on a firm foundation of physical and mental health. Without those, it’s often much more difficult – even impossible – to reach that joyful flow state.

    I find that four things go a long way toward preserving and enhancing my physical and mental health foundation.

    First, I get adequate sleep – not too much, not too little. I prefer to wake up on my own each morning, but I try to get out of bed as soon as I awaken. To do that, I try to have a consistent bedtime and minimize the light in my bedroom so that I go to sleep as quickly as possible. The time at which I have to wake up is at the very far end of how long I normally sleep, so I usually naturally awaken well before I need to be awake in the morning.

    Second, I (try to) eat a well-balanced diet with tons of fruits and vegetables. That’s pretty straightforward. I try to have more vegetables on my plate than anything else at meal times and I usually make fruits into my snacks. I don’t go to extreme ends, but I think that those principles make for a pretty good dietary foundation. (My only weaknesses are portion size, craft beer, and cheeses, and I consciously try to minimize those.)

    Third, I (try to) get some exercise every day, even if it’s just a walk. I usually try to exercise for at least half an hour each day. Many days, this just takes the form of a two to three mile walk. I use that time to relax my mind and to brainstorm ideas. I find that exercise is good for both my mental and physical health.

    Finally, I meditate. I try to practice mindful meditation each day, and I find that this is pure gold for my state of mind. I use guided mindful meditation routines like those found at calm.com; sometimes, I do them while I’m walking.

    Strategy #6 – Chart out what your ideal week looks like and make that your goal

    Imagine for a moment that you were in good enough financial shape to basically do whatever you want with a given week, and that your goal was to find yourself in a “flow state” as often as possible. How would you arrange that week? How would you open the door to as many deep and joyful activities as possible?

    I’d fill my hours with big blocks of time for the things that bring me into a flow state. I’d go on a big half-day or full-day trail walk / hike twice a week or so. I’d spend at least a couple hours a day reading. I’d spend three or four hours early in the morning writing. I’d spend enormous chunks of time one-on-one with my children after school and on weekends. I’d make a lot of homemade meals from scratch. I’d make a much more formal exercise routine. I’d spend some time each week working for a local volunteer group that does gardening and gives away the proceeds. I’d be involved in several different community board game nights. We’d host a ton of dinner parties to boot.

    That life sounds incredible to me. It’s a life that would be deeply fulfilling to me, day in and day out. I want that life.

    So, how do I get there? The key, to me, is to mix in some strong samples of that life – in my “uncompressed” days – with a concerted effort to live a frugal life and to do my best to earn a strong income during my “compressed” days. It’s as simple as that – spend less than you earn and make that gap as big as possible. That way, I can reach that dream as soon as I can, giving me many many years to enjoy that life.

    Final Thoughts

    Some people might find it strange that I associate the “flow state” with the best life, but if you give it some thought, it makes sense. The most joyful moments in life are the ones where we lose track of time because we’re so thoroughly engaged with what we’re doing. There’s no clearer sign that we’re dissatisfied and unhappy with the moment than if we’re looking at our watch or the wall clock or fidgeting with our smart phone or browsing some website. All of those things are signs that we’re not mentally engaged with what we’re supposedly doing in that moment, which I find is at the root of a lot of dissatisfaction in life. Satisfaction and joy comes from the opposite – complete engagement with whatever you’re doing at the moment.

    If you make it your goal in life to seek out those moments of “flow” – of complete engagement in the moment – you’re going to find a much better life. The challenge, of course, is that the realities of life sometimes stand in the way of doing that. Financial independence is one big tool for overcoming that challenge.

    For me personally, this is as close as I’ve come to the meaning of life – to be so fully engaged in something that the rest of the world flows around you. It means that you’re using at least some of the things you have at your disposal to their fullest potential, and not only does that feel great, it usually has tremendous results as well.

    All of the things I most want to achieve in life boil down to achieving that state in some form or another. Personal finance, time management, and many other things all work to make my life as open to those moments as possible.

    I hope that you can find that central meaning in your life, too. I encourage you to seek out those moments of natural flow and see how meaningful they are for you. You might be surprised as to how powerful they really are and how they tie together big parts of your life, and if you can find that central principle, too, it can provide a really powerful foundation upon which to base your plans for financial independence.

    Good luck.

    The post What Should I Do With My Life? The Fundamental Question of Personal Finance – and a Surprising Answer appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

    by Trent Hamm at September 24, 2016 02:00 PM

    Steve Pavlina's Personal Development Blog

    Time to Find a New Web Host

    I’m probably going to have to find a new web host soon. I was hoping to work on that near the end of the year or early next year, but I’m not sure I can wait that long anymore.

    For my web hosting, I’ve been leasing a VPS from ServInt for more than 12 years. They hosted my computer games business during the early 2000s, and I kept using them after I started blogging in 2004. In all the time I’ve been blogging, I’ve never used another web host, and I haven’t regretted that. I’ve paid ServInt tens of thousands of dollars in hosting fees, and for most of those years I’ve been very pleased with their service. Their support has been among the best I’ve experienced in my 21 years of doing business online, with the possible exception of Rackspace. When I had a tech issue with the server, they’d normally respond within an hour or two, and I could expect it to be resolved professionally and skillfully. Most of the time, I’d rate their support 5 out of 5. They aren’t cheap, but I felt the price they charged was fair for the quality support and reliability they provided.

    This year I’ve been pretty disappointed with their level of support and service, however. They’ve been much slower to respond to support requests, frequently taking several hours even when I’m reporting a critical problem like the site being offline. When I’ve used their live support to ask if they can please speed things along, they tell me they’ll look into it, but it doesn’t seem like it makes the support ticket get answered any sooner. To their credit they’ve always been polite, but the technical competence I saw in the past seems largely absent this year. They’ve made numerous inaccurate diagnoses and tried repeated quick fixes that didn’t actually work. Meanwhile the original problems I reported continue to occur.

    Given how long I’ve hosted with ServInt and how reliable and professional they’ve been in the past, I’ve done my best to be as patient as possible, and I’ve trying to work with them, but for the past several days, it just seems like I’m getting the runaround. I tried contacting other departments there to see if anyone can intervene to help speed along the resolution of recurring technical issues, at least to stop the server from going offline so much, but that hasn’t made any difference so far, and I don’t have good reason to believe the situation will improve. I get the impression that the skill and professionalism they expressed during most of the years I’ve been with them has somehow evaporated. Even if they fix these problem now, it’s going to be difficult to trust them going forward. If there’s ever another problem with the server going offline, I need to know that my host has my back and will get critical issues fixed quickly and accurately. Letting critical problems linger for days unresolved simply isn’t acceptable.

    I’m sure I should consider myself extremely lucky to have found such a reliable host for most than a decade, which is pretty rare in web hosting circles. But it’s looking like this lucky streak is coming to an end this year, so I think it’s time to look for a new host. Unfortunately for me, the timing isn’t good since I’ll be on the road for most of the next two months, and even when I’m back at home, I’ll be busy doing the two October workshops. Choosing a host is a decision I like to make carefully. If ServInt can at least stabilize the server for two more months, I can stick with them for that time, but otherwise I can’t go for so long with an unstable server that experiences daily downtime.

    In the meantime, I’m well aware that the site has been plagued with slow response times and frequent inaccessibility, and I’m sorry about that. Jetpack Monitor reports that it’s been offline for many hours this week. Traffic levels are normal, and the server should have more than enough capacity to handle the traffic without so much as a hiccup. Twice now ServInt has reported that the problem was caused by an issue with one of their host nodes, which they said they corrected, but the problems would just come back within a day. The WordPress error log, which normally should be empty or nearly empty, swelled to more than 120MB in size within a week, mainly because database queries keep timing out. Much of the time I can’t even access the server myself to see what’s going on, so I’ve been at the mercy of ServInt to diagnose and fix the problem, which hasn’t felt particularly merciful this week. Now I feel like I’m merely waiting for them to attempt the next quick fix that won’t actually work.

    It’s been a long time since I’ve had to research web hosts. I’ve already started researching some options, but I’m not yet up to speed on the current quality offerings for high-traffic WordPress hosting. As a programmer I’m pretty comfortable with the tech side, but I still prefer a managed hosting environment since I don’t like worrying about updating server software and keeping up with security issues. If you happen to know of any reliable hosts that provide serious speed and solid support for hosting a WordPress site with tens of thousands of daily visitors and at least 1TB of monthly bandwidth, please let me know. I’m not super price sensitive, and I’m used to paying hundreds per month for strong service and support.

    I do want to avoid hosts with less than stellar reputations for support; that isn’t an area where I want to gamble. I also want to avoid hosts that have uncompetitive pricing models for high traffic sites. One otherwise promising host that I ruled out was Kinsta, which offers puny bandwidth packages and then charges a ridiculous $1/GB for bandwidth overage (Seriously… $1000 per TB!). Another I had to rule out was WP Engine due to its per-visit pricing scheme and inconsistent support reviews, whereby the definition of “visit” is left to its discretion and includes bot traffic (by their own admission); this blogger sure wasn’t happy about the surprises on his bills. I don’t want a host that plays pricing games to pad their revenue at the client’s expense. At least to their credit, ServInt never played pricing games, so I always knew what the monthly bill would be.

    Switching hosts isn’t my favorite kind of challenge to tackle, but it’s worth the effort for a site that’s fast, responsive, and accessible to people worldwide. Even if it takes a while to get there, I hope you’ll be patient and can forgive the site’s current accessibility issues till this is resolved. Perhaps I’ll get lucky again this time and will find a host that’s great for at least another decade. 🙂

    The post Time to Find a New Web Host appeared first on Steve Pavlina - Personal Development for Smart People.

    Update: The early bird discount for Steve's upcoming Conscious Entrepreneur Workshop has been extended until Sunday, September 25.

    by Steve Pavlina at September 24, 2016 01:41 PM

    The Big Picture

    MiB: Michael Murphy, Conservative Political Consultant

    This week on Masters in Business I sit down with Michael Murphy, co-founder of the Right to Rise Super Pac, partner at Revolution Agency, and former campaign manager for Jeb Bush. The timing could not have been better — as the race has tightened just before the first Presidential debate. A self-described conservative, he has been called a…

    Read More

    The post MiB: Michael Murphy, Conservative Political Consultant appeared first on The Big Picture.

    by Barry Ritholtz at September 24, 2016 01:30 PM

    Dark Reading: Dark Reading Column

    7 New Rules For IoT Safety & Vuln Disclosure

    In the Internet of Things, even the lowliest smart device can be used for a malicious purpose. Manufacturers take heed!

    by Lysa Myers at September 24, 2016 01:30 PM

    Deposit Accounts

    Bank 21 (MO) Increases Rate On 14-Month CD

    Bank 21(MO) has raised the rate on its 14-month CD (1.35% APY). The minimum deposit is $500, with no stated balance cap. Also available as an IRA.

    September 24, 2016 01:28 PM

    Brad DeLong - Grasping Reality with Both Hands

    Live from Trumpland: David Frum: Donald Trump and the Seven Broken Guardrails of Democracy:

    Many conservatives and Republicans recognize Trump as a disaster for their institutions and their ideals. Yet they have found it impossible to protect things they hold dear...

    ...in large part because they have continued to fix all blame outward and elsewhere. “President Obama created Donald Trump,” charged Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal in a March 3, 2016, op-ed. To the extent that Donald Trump has policies, I’m probably more sympathetic to them than Jindal is. Much of the traditional conservative ideology was obsolete. Migration should be reduced. Americans reasonably depend on Medicare and Social Security. It’s time to move past culture wars on private sexual behavior.

    Policy, however, is not the first or second or third impetus of the Trump campaign. It’s driven by something else—and the source of that something is found inside the conservative and Republican world, not outside. The Trump phenomenon is the effect of many causes. Yet overhanging all the causes is the central question: Why did Republicans and conservatives react to those causes as they did? There were alternatives. Of all the alternatives for their post-Obama future, Republicans and conservatives selected the most self-destructive of the options before them. Why? What went wrong? That will be the excruciating mystery to ponder during the long and difficult work of reconstruction ahead.

    by J. Bradford DeLong at September 24, 2016 01:12 PM

    lines and colors :: a blog about drawing, painting, illustration, comics, concept art and other visual arts

    Hiroo Isono

    Hiroo Isono
    Hiroo (Hirō) Isono was a Japanese painter and illustrator, known for his intricate and fantastical scenes of tropical jungles and animals. He traveled extensively in the South Pacific, Africa and North America.

    He is known in gaming circles for his work on the Mana series of games, including Secret of Mana and Heroes of Mana.

    Unfortunately, I can’t find anything in the way of an official site for Isono, so my links below are to other blog posts and articles about him that have larger images of his work than I’ve provided here. [Correction: Terry Miura has been kind enough to write with Isono’s official website.]

    Readers with accounts on Pinterest or Tumblr may be able to find additional images; you might also try a Bing or Google image search.

    [Via Kevin Hong]

     
    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedin

    by Charley Parker at September 24, 2016 01:06 PM

    The Simple Dollar

    How to Get the Lowest Mortgage Rates Possible

    When it comes to financing your home, a basic understanding of certain financial principles will help you get the lowest mortgage rates. For example, you should know that your credit score might determine what kind of mortgage rate you qualify for. Also, it’s crucial to understand the different types of mortgages available, what their drawbacks and benefits are, and which ones come with the lowest rates.

    Seven Ways to Get the Lowest Mortgage Rates

    There are several ways to get a lower rate on your mortgage, each of which has its own pros and cons. If you’re angling for the lowest mortgage interest rates possible, here are a few steps to consider:

    1. Consider more than one type of mortgage.

    While most people look to fixed-rate mortgages when they shop around, other mortgage types can offer lower rates – especially at first. It’s certainly true that fixed-rate mortgages offer a steady, reliable interest rate that won’t creep up on you years later, but that doesn’t mean they’re the right option for every consumer.

    With a variable- or adjustable-rate mortgage, for example, consumers start with a fixed rate that lasts anywhere from one to 10 years, then float into a variable rate based on whatever the current interest rates. Because adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARMs, usually offer lower rates to start, they can be attractive options for people who plan to refinance or move after the first few years.

    2. Improve your credit score.

    The lowest mortgage rates go to those with the best credit scores, it’s as simple as that. Generally, a credit score of 720 or higher is considered “excellent,” and you’ll need it to qualify for the best mortgage rates you see advertised.

    If you want the lowest mortgage rates, but your credit is nonly fair or poor, it can pay to look for ways to boost your credit score before you apply. That could mean paying off consumer debts to lower your credit utilization, getting a credit card and using it responsibly to add some reporting history and meat to your credit report, or clearing up old accounts in default.

    3. Buy points.

    In the mortgage world, a “point” is an upfront fee you can pay to lower the interest rate on your mortgage. Generally speaking, each point is equal to 1% of the total mortgage amount. On a $200,000 mortgage, for example, each point would cost $2,000 upfront.

    While buying points may be a losing proposition if you only plan to keep your mortgage for a few years, purchasing points can be a huge money-saver if you’re keeping your mortgage for the long haul. Paying $2,000 now for a quarter-point reduction on your interest rate (dropping it from 4.0% to 3.75%, for example) could save you $10,000 in interest over a full 30-year mortgage — but only if you stay in that house for 30 years.

    That’s why it’s important to consider how long you’ll keep your mortgage before you choose this route; if you plan on selling your home quickly, buying points may not pay off.

    4. See if you qualify for special programs.

    Over the years, many programs have been introduced to help boost homeownership and make it more affordable. These programs include FHA loans, VA loans, USDA loans, HUD programs, and special loans for first-time home buyers.

    Depending on your situation, the amount you need to borrow, and whether or not you’ve owned a home in the past few years, you could qualify for a lower down payment, special financing, and more.

    5. Save up a larger down payment.

    If you’re worried about getting the best interest rate, saving up a larger down payment for your home can help. Banks and lenders like a big down payment – it means you’re not as big of a risk to them if you default on the loan – so they’ll typically reward a full down payment with better interest rates.

    Not only can a heftier down payment help you qualify for the lowest rates and best mortgage terms available, but it can help you avoid paying PMI, or private mortgage insurance. By saving up at least 20% of the home price for your down payment and avoiding PMI, you can save around 1% of the total amount of your mortgage.

    6. Shop around.

    While you may be partial to your existing bank or credit union, you should always shop around to find the best mortgage. Your mortgage rate can vary drastically depending on the mortgage lender or bank you choose.

    Start the process by checking with your local mortgage banker, then your personal bank and credit union. You can also compare mortgage quotes online. Make sure to compare not only your interest rate but mortgage fees as well.

    7. Choose a mortgage with a shorter term.

    While the fixed-rate, 30-year mortgage is popular among those who want a lower monthly payment, you can consider a fixed-rate loan with a shorter term, such as 15 years. Not only will a shorter mortgage term help you own your home faster, but it can help you qualify for a far lower mortgage rate, too, saving you thousands and thousands of dollars in interest over the life of the loan.

    When you choose a shorter mortgage term, you’ll have to endure a larger monthly payment, however. Make sure to compare options, monthly payments, and interest rates to find a comprehensive mortgage package you can afford.

    Final Thoughts

    A lot of factors come into play when it comes to qualifying for, and securing, the best mortgage rates out there. The most important steps you can take are getting your credit in good shape, shopping around among different lenders and banks, and reading all the fine print. And when in doubt, contact a qualified mortgage expert for help.

    Related Articles:

    The post How to Get the Lowest Mortgage Rates Possible appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

    by Holly Johnson at September 24, 2016 01:00 PM

    Boy Genius Report

    8 new movie trailers you need to watch from this past week

    New Movie Trailers Sept. 23
    It’s Friday already, which means we got a bunch of new trailers to look at. Yes, there’s a Ghost in the Shell sneak peak you should see and a trailer for Passengers. But we’ve got a lot more than that, so let’s get started.

    (more…)

    Trending right now:

    1. iPhone 7 Plus photo samples: The ‘DSLR’ iPhone in action
    2. The iPhone 7 makes every other iPhone look stupidly slow
    3. Latest batch of iPhone 7 Plus photo samples are truly remarkable

    by Chris Smith at September 24, 2016 01:00 PM

    Brad DeLong - Grasping Reality with Both Hands

    Must-Read: The conventional wisdom in the communities in which I sit is that commercial bankers are being extremely stressed by the fact that interest rates are so low and they cannot charge for deposits. The longer-run point that raising interest rates may well crash the economy and crash the value of their loan books appears to be something that is not in the forefront of their minds. And the conventional wisdom is that regional Federal Reserve bank presidents respond to this stress.

    What I do not understand is why the regional Federal Reserve bank presidents are not enormous and vocal advocates of a higher inflation target. Their loan books are not long enough (housing aside, and that risk has been laid off) to seriously suffer from expropriation-via-moderate-inflation. A higher inflation target that boosted the economy would actually improve the quality of their loan books. And it would provide a wedge between short-term real interest rates and the zero bound.

    So why not?

    William Spriggs: Trying to Teach Old Dogs New Tricks:

    Last December, after a long period of keeping the Fed funds rate near zero, the FOMC voted unanimously to raise the Fed funds rate by one-quarter to one-half points....

    It was anticipated that would be the first in a series of increases of similar small amounts. But, over the course of this year, the economy has run rather flat.... In 2015, the unemployment rate fell from 5.7% in January to 5.0% in October. It has since remained stuck at about that level.... Eight months of flat unemployment rates and tepid GDP growth would suggest the Fed has clearly succeeded in finding a landing that, so far hasn’t meant crashing the economy. At least, on Wednesday, the evidence from modest GDP growth, flat unemployment and very low inflation convinced the six Board of Governors and the president of the New York Federal Reserve Regional Bank to hold steady; a tribute to Janet Yellen’s leadership to stay focused on the data and the real economy.

    But... three regional bank presidents, Esther George of Kansas City, Loretta Mester of Cleveland and Eric Rosengren of Boston, all voted to raise the rate now... [with] other major world economies, Europe, Japan and China... struggling with slow growth... [and] operating with either zero or negative interest rates. America’s modest growth looks very good next to their anemic performance.... This is making the dollar very strong... weak[ening]... U.S. manufacturing because a strong dollar hurts U.S. exports.... The current tension in the FOMC between the Board of Governors and the regional bank presidents continues the controversy whether banks have too much say. Independence of the Fed from the political process is important. But, so too is Fed independence from the banks they need to regulate.... The vote from Wall Street was positive. The stock market gains show a consensus the Fed is doing it right.

    by J. Bradford DeLong at September 24, 2016 12:55 PM

    Barry's news

    Quirky running on Odroid XU4

    That was easy. Here is a photo:


    I am between houses right now, staying in the guest room of a relative's house, with everything setup on a card table.
    So, everything looks tumbled together. My phone does not take very good indoor photos, which is why the photo looks a bit washed out.

    Anyway, you can see on the left, my Pi2 and Pi3, on the right is the Odroid XU4.

    I am using the XU4 right now. The wifi adaptor is the "number 3" sold by Hard Kernel (the Odroid vendors), and it "just works".

    No sound. Haven't tried anything else, this is the very first bootup.

    The kernel is the current official one for the Odroid XU4, version 3.10.96. That is very old and unfortunately the Overlay filesystem was introduced with the 3.18 kernel, so I need to upgrade the kernel.

    Later versions are still experimental, but I might have a go at compiling the kernel myself. There are very nice instructions here:
    https://blogs.s-osg.org/install-ubuntu-run-mainline-kernel-odroid-xu4/

    Though, the developers on the Hard Kernel forum are applying various patches. A lot of Exynox 5422 SoC support has gone into the mainline kernel, so it will be interesting to see how it performs without any patching.

    Earlier posts about the XU4:
    http://barryk.org/news/?viewDetailed=00414
    http://barryk.org/news/?viewDetailed=00401

    September 24, 2016 12:43 PM

    Brad DeLong - Grasping Reality with Both Hands

    Monday Smackdown: Economists for Trump Not Even Phoning It in Department...

    Live from Trumpland: Various twits are telling me that the Economists for Trump--Eugene Fama in the lead, with June O'Neill, Richard Vedder, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Larry Kudlow, Arthur Laffer, David Malpass, James Miller III, Steve Moore, and a half-dozen or so others--are not for Trump, but rather "Concerned by Hillary Clinton's Economic Agenda".

    Here's how they say you can reach them:

    FW Economists Concerned by Hillary Clinton s Economic Agenda brad delong gmail com Gmail

    Here's 725 Fifth Avenue:

    Trump Google Maps

    In no bullshit level too much for these people?

    by J. Bradford DeLong at September 24, 2016 12:41 PM

    (Early) Monday Smackdown: David Glasner on the Ignorance of Macroeconomists Who Say "All Models Are False" in Self-Justification

    David Glasner: Paul Romer on Modern Macroeconomics, Or, the “All Models Are False” Dodge:

    I was just curious about where the little phrase “all models are false” came from.... I found... the British statistician, G. E. P. Box who wrote in his paper “Science and Statistics” based on his R. A. Fisher Memorial Lecture to the American Statistical Association: “All models are wrong.” Here’s the exact quote:

    Since all models are wrong the scientist cannot obtain a “correct” one by excessive elaboration. On the contrary following William of Occam he should seek an economical description of natural phenomena. Just as the ability to devise simple but evocative models is the signature of the great scientist so overelaboration and overparameterization is often the mark of mediocrity.

    Since all models are wrong the scientist must be alert to what is importantly wrong. It is inappropriate to be concerned about mice when there are tigers abroad. Pure mathematics is concerned with propositions like “given that A is true, does B necessarily follow?” Since the statement is a conditional one, it has nothing whatsoever to do with the truth of A nor of the consequences B in relation to real life. The pure mathematician, acting in that capacity, need not, and perhaps should not, have any contact with practical matters at all.

    In applying mathematics to subjects such as physics or statistics we make tentative assumptions about the real world which we know are false but which we believe may be useful nonetheless. The physicist knows that particles have mass and yet certain results, approximating what really happens, may be derived from the assumption that they do not. Equally, the statistician knows, for example, that in nature there never was a normal distribution, there never was a straight line, yet with normal and linear assumptions, known to be false, he can often derive results which match, to a useful approximation, those found in the real world. It follows that, although rigorous derivation of logical consequences is of great importance to statistics, such derivations are necessarily encapsulated in the knowledge that premise, and hence consequence, do not describe natural truth.

    It follows that we cannot know that any statistical technique we develop is useful unless we use it. Major advances in science and in the science of statistics in particular, usually occur, therefore, as the result of the theory-practice iteration.

    One of the most annoying conceits of modern macroeconomists is the constant self-congratulatory references to themselves as scientists because of their ostentatious use of axiomatic reasoning, formal proofs, and higher mathematical techniques. The tiresome self-congratulation might get toned down ever so slightly if they bothered to read and take to heart Box’s lecture.

    by J. Bradford DeLong at September 24, 2016 12:34 PM

    Weekend Reading: Richard Feynman: Cargo Cult Science

    Comment of the Day: Phil Koop: Weekend Reading: Richard Feynman: Cargo Cult Science:

    I also thought of this [Feynmann speech] when I read Gellman's rant. There is nothing wrong with [Gellman's] timeline per se, and he even correctly diagnoses the underlying problem, which is experimental design, not the technicalities of statistical analysis. But it lacks the perspective on display here.

    by J. Bradford DeLong at September 24, 2016 12:22 PM

    Weekend Reading: Richard Feynman: Cargo Cult Science

    Richard Feynman (1974): Cargo Cult Science:

    During the Middle Ages there were all kinds of crazy ideas, such as that a piece of rhinoceros horn would increase potency.  (Another crazy idea of the Middle Ages is these hats we have on today—which is too loose in my case.)  Then a method was discovered for separating the ideas—which was to try one to see if it worked, and if it didn’t work, to eliminate it.  This method became organized, of course, into science.  And it developed very well, so that we are now in the scientific age.  It is such a scientific age, in fact, that we have difficulty in understanding how witch doctors could ever have existed, when nothing that they proposed ever really worked—or very little of it did.

    But even today I meet lots of people who sooner or later get me into a conversation about UFO’s, or astrology, or some form of mysticism, expanded consciousness, new types of awareness, ESP, and so forth.  And I’ve concluded that it’s not a scientific world.

    Most people believe so many wonderful things that I decided to investigate why they did.  And what has been referred to as my curiosity for investigation has landed me in a difficulty where I found so much junk to talk about that I can’t do it in this talk.  I’m overwhelmed.  First I started out by investigating various ideas of mysticism, and mystic experiences.  I went into isolation tanks (they’re dark and quiet and you float in Epsom salts) and got many hours of hallucinations, so I know something about that.  Then I went to Esalen, which is a hotbed of this kind of thought (it’s a wonderful place; you should go visit there). Then I became overwhelmed. I didn’t realize how much there was.

    I was sitting, for example, in a hot bath and there’s another guy and a girl in the bath.  He says to the girl, “I’m learning massage and I wonder if I could practice on you?”  She says OK, so she gets up on a table and he starts off on her foot—working on her big toe and pushing it around.  Then he turns to what is apparently his instructor, and says, “I feel a kind of dent.  Is that the pituitary?”  And she says, “No, that’s not the way it feels.” I say, “You’re a hell of a long way from the pituitary, man.”  And they both looked at me—I had blown my cover, you see—and she said, “It’s reflexology.”  So I closed my eyes and appeared to he meditating.

    That’s just an example of the kind of things that overwhelm me.  I also looked into extrasensory perception and PSI phenomena, and the latest craze there was Uri Geller, a man who is supposed to be able to bend keys by rubbing them with his finger.  So I went to his hotel room, on his invitation, to see a demonstration of both mind reading and bending keys.  He didn’t do any mind reading that succeeded; nobody can read my mind, I guess.  And my boy held a key and Geller rubbed it, and nothing happened.  Then he told us it works better under water, and so you can picture all of us standing in the bathroom with the water turned on and the key under it, and him rubbing the key with his finger.  Nothing happened.  So I was unable to investigate that phenomenon.

    But then I began to think, what else is there that we believe?  (And I thought then about the witch doctors, and how easy it would have been to check on them by noticing that nothing really worked.)  So I found things that even more people believe, such as that we have some knowledge of how to educate.  There are big schools of reading methods and mathematics methods, and so forth, but if you notice, you’ll see the reading scores keep going down—or hardly going up—in spite of the fact that we continually use these same people to improve the methods.  There’s a witch doctor remedy that doesn’t work.  It ought to be looked into: how do they know that their method should work?  Another example is how to treat criminals.  We obviously have made no progress—lots of theory, but no progress—in decreasing the amount of crime by the method that we use to handle criminals.

    Yet these things are said to be scientific.  We study them.  And I think ordinary people with commonsense ideas are intimidated by this pseudoscience.  A teacher who has some good idea of how to teach her children to read is forced by the school system to do it some other way—or is even fooled by the school system into thinking that her method is not necessarily a good one.  Or a parent of bad boys, after disciplining them in one way or another, feels guilty for the rest of her life because she didn’t do “the right thing,” according to the experts.

    So we really ought to look into theories that don’t work, and science that isn’t science.

    I tried to find a principle for discovering more of these kinds of things, and came up with the following system.  Any time you find yourself in a conversation at a cocktail party—in which you do not feel uncomfortable that the hostess might come around and say, “Why are you fellows talking shop?’’ or that your wife will come around and say, “Why are you flirting again?”—then you can be sure you are talking about something about which nobody knows anything.

    Using this method, I discovered a few more topics that I had forgotten—among them the efficacy of various forms of psychotherapy.  So I began to investigate through the library, and so on, and I have so much to tell you that I can’t do it at all.  I will have to limit myself to just a few little things.  I’ll concentrate on the things more people believe in.  Maybe I will give a series of speeches next year on all these subjects.  It will take a long time.

    I think the educational and psychological studies I mentioned are examples of what I would like to call Cargo Cult Science.  In the South Seas there is a Cargo Cult of people.  During the war they saw airplanes land with lots of good materials, and they want the same thing to happen now.  So they’ve arranged to make things like runways, to put fires along the sides of the runways, to make a wooden hut for a man to sit in, with two wooden pieces on his head like headphones and bars of bamboo sticking out like antennas—he’s the controller—and they wait for the airplanes to land.  They’re doing everything right.  The form is perfect.  It looks exactly the way it looked before.  But it doesn’t work.  No airplanes land.  So I call these things Cargo Cult Science, because they follow all the apparent precepts and forms of scientific investigation, but they’re missing something essential, because the planes don’t land.

    Now it behooves me, of course, to tell you what they’re missing.  But it would he just about as difficult to explain to the South Sea Islanders how they have to arrange things so that they get some wealth in their system.  It is not something simple like telling them how to improve the shapes of the earphones.  But there is one feature I notice that is generally missing in Cargo Cult Science.  That is the idea that we all hope you have learned in studying science in school—we never explicitly say what this is, but just hope that you catch on by all the examples of scientific investigation.  It is interesting, therefore, to bring it out now and speak of it explicitly.  It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty—a kind of leaning over backwards.  For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid—not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked—to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated.

    Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them.  You must do the best you can—if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong—to explain it.  If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it.  There is also a more subtle problem.  When you have put a lot of ideas together to make an elaborate theory, you want to make sure, when explaining what it fits, that those things it fits are not just the things that gave you the idea for the theory; but that the finished theory makes something else come out right, in addition.

    In summary, the idea is to try to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another.

    The easiest way to explain this idea is to contrast it, for example, with advertising.  Last night I heard that Wesson Oil doesn’t soak through food.  Well, that’s true.  It’s not dishonest; but the thing I’m talking about is not just a matter of not being dishonest, it’s a matter of scientific integrity, which is another level.  The fact that should be added to that advertising statement is that no oils soak through food, if operated at a certain temperature.  If operated at another temperature, they all will—including Wesson Oil.  So it’s the implication which has been conveyed, not the fact, which is true, and the difference is what we have to deal with.

    We’ve learned from experience that the truth will out.  Other experimenters will repeat your experiment and find out whether you were wrong or right.  Nature’s phenomena will agree or they’ll disagree with your theory.  And, although you may gain some temporary fame and excitement, you will not gain a good reputation as a scientist if you haven’t tried to be very careful in this kind of work.  And it’s this type of integrity, this kind of care not to fool yourself, that is missing to a large extent in much of the research in Cargo Cult Science.

    A great deal of their difficulty is, of course, the difficulty of the subject and the inapplicability of the scientific method to the subject.  Nevertheless, it should be remarked that this is not the only difficulty.  That’s why the planes don’t land—but they don’t land.

    We have learned a lot from experience about how to handle some of the ways we fool ourselves.  One example: Millikan measured the charge on an electron by an experiment with falling oil drops and got an answer which we now know not to be quite right.  It’s a little bit off, because he had the incorrect value for the viscosity of air.  It’s interesting to look at the history of measurements of the charge of the electron, after Millikan.  If you plot them as a function of time, you find that one is a little bigger than Millikan’s, and the next one’s a little bit bigger than that, and the next one’s a little bit bigger than that, until finally they settle down to a number which is higher.

    Why didn’t they discover that the new number was higher right away?  It’s a thing that scientists are ashamed of—this history—because it’s apparent that people did things like this: When they got a number that was too high above Millikan’s, they thought something must be wrong—and they would look for and find a reason why something might be wrong.  When they got a number closer to Millikan’s value they didn’t look so hard.  And so they eliminated the numbers that were too far off, and did other things like that.  We’ve learned those tricks nowadays, and now we don’t have that kind of a disease.

    But this long history of learning how to not fool ourselves—of having utter scientific integrity—is, I’m sorry to say, something that we haven’t specifically included in any particular course that I know of.  We just hope you’ve caught on by osmosis.

    The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool.  So you have to be very careful about that.  After you’ve not fooled yourself, it’s easy not to fool other scientists.  You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that. 

    I would like to add something that’s not essential to the science, but something I kind of believe, which is that you should not fool the layman when you’re talking as a scientist. I’m not trying to tell you what to do about cheating on your wife, or fooling your girlfriend, or something like that, when you’re not trying to be a scientist, but just trying to be an ordinary human being.  We’ll leave those problems up to you and your rabbi.  I’m talking about a specific, extra type of integrity that is not lying, but bending over backwards to show how you’re maybe wrong, that you ought to do when acting as a scientist.  And this is our responsibility as scientists, certainly to other scientists, and I think to laymen.

    For example, I was a little surprised when I was talking to a friend who was going to go on the radio.  He does work on cosmology and astronomy, and he wondered how he would explain what the applications of this work were.  “Well,” I said, “there aren’t any.”  He said, “Yes, but then we won’t get support for more research of this kind.”  I think that’s kind of dishonest.  If you’re representing yourself as a scientist, then you should explain to the layman what you’re doing—and if they don’t want to support you under those circumstances, then that’s their decision.

    One example of the principle is this: If you’ve made up your mind to test a theory, or you want to explain some idea, you should always decide to publish it whichever way it comes out.  If we only publish results of a certain kind, we can make the argument look good.  We must publish both kinds of result.  For example—let’s take advertising again—suppose some particular cigarette has some particular property, like low nicotine.  It’s published widely by the company that this means it is good for you—they don’t say, for instance, that the tars are a different proportion, or that something else is the matter with the cigarette.  In other words, publication probability depends upon the answer.  That should not be done.

    I say that’s also important in giving certain types of government advice. Supposing a senator asked you for advice about whether drilling a hole should be done in his state; and you decide it would he better in some other state.  If you don’t publish such a result, it seems to me you’re not giving scientific advice.  You’re being used.  If your answer happens to come out in the direction the government or the politicians like, they can use it as an argument in their favor; if it comes out the other way, they don’t publish it at all.  That’s not giving scientific advice.

    Other kinds of errors are more characteristic of poor science.  When I was at Cornell.  I often talked to the people in the psychology department.  One of the students told me she wanted to do an experiment that went something like this—I don’t remember it in detail, but it had been found by others that under certain circumstances, X, rats did something, A.  She was curious as to whether, if she changed the circumstances to Y, they would still do, A.  So her proposal was to do the experiment under circumstances Y and see if they still did A.

    I explained to her that it was necessary first to repeat in her laboratory the experiment of the other person—to do it under condition X to see if she could also get result A—and then change to Y and see if A changed.  Then she would know that the real difference was the thing she thought she had under control.

    She was very delighted with this new idea, and went to her professor.  And his reply was, no, you cannot do that, because the experiment has already been done and you would be wasting time.  This was in about 1935 or so, and it seems to have been the general policy then to not try to repeat psychological experiments, but only to change the conditions and see what happens.

    Nowadays there’s a certain danger of the same thing happening, even in the famous field of physics.  I was shocked to hear of an experiment done at the big accelerator at the National Accelerator Laboratory, where a person used deuterium.  In order to compare his heavy hydrogen results to what might happen to light hydrogen he had to use data from someone else’s experiment on light hydrogen, which was done on different apparatus.  When asked he said it was because he couldn’t get time on the program (because there’s so little time and it’s such expensive apparatus) to do the experiment with light hydrogen on this apparatus because there wouldn’t be any new result.  And so the men in charge of programs at NAL are so anxious for new results, in order to get more money to keep the thing going for public relations purposes, they are destroying—possibly—the value of the experiments themselves, which is the whole purpose of the thing.  It is often hard for the experimenters there to complete their work as their scientific integrity demands.

    All experiments in psychology are not of this type, however.  For example, there have been many experiments running rats through all kinds of mazes, and so on—with little clear result.  But in 1937 a man named Young did a very interesting one.  He had a long corridor with doors all along one side where the rats came in, and doors along the other side where the food was.  He wanted to see if he could train the rats to go in at the third door down from wherever he started them off.  No.  The rats went immediately to the door where the food had been the time before.

    The question was, how did the rats know, because the corridor was so beautifully built and so uniform, that this was the same door as before?  Obviously there was something about the door that was different from the other doors.  So he painted the doors very carefully, arranging the textures on the faces of the doors exactly the same.  Still the rats could tell.  Then he thought maybe the rats were smelling the food, so he used chemicals to change the smell after each run.  Still the rats could tell.  Then he realized the rats might be able to tell by seeing the lights and the arrangement in the laboratory like any commonsense person.  So he covered the corridor, and, still the rats could tell.

    He finally found that they could tell by the way the floor sounded when they ran over it.  And he could only fix that by putting his corridor in sand.  So he covered one after another of all possible clues and finally was able to fool the rats so that they had to learn to go in the third door.  If he relaxed any of his conditions, the rats could tell.

    Now, from a scientific standpoint, that is an A‑Number‑l experiment. That is the experiment that makes rat‑running experiments sensible, because it uncovers the clues that the rat is really using—not what you think it’s using.  And that is the experiment that tells exactly what conditions you have to use in order to be careful and control everything in an experiment with rat‑running.

    I looked into the subsequent history of this research.  The subsequent experiment, and the one after that, never referred to Mr. Young.  They never used any of his criteria of putting the corridor on sand, or being very careful.  They just went right on running rats in the same old way, and paid no attention to the great discoveries of Mr. Young, and his papers are not referred to, because he didn’t discover anything about the rats.  In fact, he discovered all the things you have to do to discover something about rats.  But not paying attention to experiments like that is a characteristic of Cargo Cult Science.

    Another example is the ESP experiments of Mr. Rhine, and other people.  As various people have made criticisms—and they themselves have made criticisms of their own experiments—they improve the techniques so that the effects are smaller, and smaller, and smaller until they gradually disappear.  All the parapsychologists are looking for some experiment that can be repeated—that you can do again and get the same effect—statistically, even.  They run a million rats—no, it’s people this time—they do a lot of things and get a certain statistical effect.  Next time they try it they don’t get it any more.  And now you find a man saying that it is an irrelevant demand to expect a repeatable experiment.  This is science?

    This man also speaks about a new institution, in a talk in which he was resigning as Director of the Institute of Parapsychology.  And, in telling people what to do next, he says that one of the things they have to do is be sure they only train students who have shown their ability to get PSI results to an acceptable extent—not to waste their time on those ambitious and interested students who get only chance results.  It is very dangerous to have such a policy in teaching—to teach students only how to get certain results, rather than how to do an experiment with scientific integrity.

    So I wish to you—I have no more time, so I have just one wish for you—the good luck to be somewhere where you are free to maintain the kind of integrity I have described, and where you do not feel forced by a need to maintain your position in the organization, or financial support, or so on, to lose your integrity.  May you have that freedom.

    May I also give you one last bit of advice: Never say that you’ll give a talk unless you know clearly what you’re going to talk about and more or less what you’re going to say.

    by J. Bradford DeLong at September 24, 2016 12:21 PM

    Abnormal Returns

    Saturday links: our worst enemies

    by abnormalreturns at September 24, 2016 12:19 PM