Archive - Jan 2012

January 22nd

The Snow Storm

It was a quiet Saturday morning. Looking out the living room window through the woods, I could see the occasional car heading up or down the street. They were few, far between, going very slowly, and still looked like they were slipping around. Fortunately, my morning meeting had been cancelled so I could stay at home and didn't need to worry about driving. Wesley, are large white half Labrador Retriever, half Great Pyrenees had spent much of the morning romping through the fresh powder.

In the early afternoon, as the snow was still coming down, we trekked up the driveway, onto the little path through the woods to our neighbor's house. The little path had been well worn by our dogs, by Fiona, and in previous years by other daughters that had lived in these houses. Our neighbor is of Scandinavian descent and has a hot tub behind her house. It felt like we were connecting with a tradition from years long past of neighbors gathering to enjoy hot tubs or saunas during snow storms.

We gathered in the hot tub to enjoy the end of the snow storm. I remembered a sauna that I had visited in Holland years ago. It was during a light snow storm, and we went from hot pools to cold water, the steam baths to dry saunas.

As the snow storm ebbed, a red tailed hawk flew to a nearby tree to perch and look for prey.

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January 21st

South Carolina Republican Primary Predictions

Well, I suspect that today may be the day that predictions based on the 2004 Democratic Primary stop working. In 2004, South Carolina. In 2004, South Carolina was one of seven states holding a primary and the winner was from the neighboring state of North Carolina.

That said, I'll continue the predictions based on 2004 with some slight changes to my Iowa and New Hampshire predictions. In New Hampshire, I compared Huntsman to Clark. Huntsman has since dropped out, so perhaps the person left playing the role of Clark is now Gingrich. Also, Gingrich, being from neighboring Georgia may pick up some of Edwards home court advantage.

The other interesting twist is that 2004 there was one black candidate in the race by the time South Carolina came around. That was Al Sharpton, and South Carolina was one of his stronger states. Some considered Sharpton a comic figure in the race, so I'll be equating the Colbert/Cain mashup with Sharpton.

Based on this, Santorum, the young ideologue, if he mirrors Edwards should win with 45% of the vote. Since Santorum is from Pennsylvania instead of North Carolina, he probably won't do was well, but I expect a strong finish from Santorum.

Coming in second in South Carolina in 2004 was the rich Massachusetts politician. If history is any guide, Romney should come in second with around 30% of the vote. Then, coming in third was the black comic figure. Will Cain and Colbert manage to do as well as Sharpton? If so, that could be 10% of the vote. I don't think it will be that high, but it could be interesting.

Next in the rankings were the two remaining Not Kerry Candidates, Clark and Dean. As I've noted before, Dean and Paul seem to be the most alike in this category, so, going by the results from 2004, it should be 7% Gingrich and 5% Paul.

As I noted, South Carolina this time is more different than South Carolina in 2004, so things may not come out as close as they did in New Hampshire and Iowa.

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January 20th

#FF #EavChat @superben @organicguru @tturbo @JackiesBuzz @MetaThis @bgrier @PetLvr

This week's Follow Friday is of people that I've recently followed based on interactions on Empire Avenue. Several of those interaction were from the Empire Avenue TweetChat that happened Thursday evening. Starting out the list is @superben. He describes himself as a nerdy flight attendant and added a lot to the discussion.

Next is @organicguru. You can guess her interests from her Twitter handle. She was also a lively participant in the discussion. @tturbo comes next. She speaks of not being a social media person. She's married to a geek, and assists researchers with the funding of their projects.

Next on my list is @JackiesBuzz. We'd run into each other elsewhere. She describes herself as a social media director for a non-profit so it isn't surprising that we'd cross paths.

@MetaThis is next on the list. He recently tweeted about the fragility of life and I've been interacting with him in Empire Avenue for a while. The two last people on the list for this week are @bgrier and @PetLvr, people I've recently been interacting with on Empire Avenue.

So, that's this week's Follow Friday list.

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January 19th

Why #SOPA Might not be so bad: The Law of Unintended Consequences.

Yesterday, many websites, including this one, went black to protest the Stop Online Privacy Act, or SOPA. Today, I want to look at it from a different perspective, Why #SOPA Might not be so bad: The Law of Unintended Consequences.

One idea that had had been part of SOPA was DNS blocking. The idea being that if some site was violating copyright law, law enforcement officials could get the names block from DNS. Presumably, this would have been done through the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the registrars it accredits.

ICANN is a $60 million business headquartered in California. There have been lots of issues about how it is governed and whether it should be turned over to U.N. control.

One of the things about the Internet is that it was built to adapt to, and route around things that damage it. The DNS provision of SOPA would have encourage more people to find ways of bypassing ICANN. One alternative to ICANN is the OpenNIC project. It is actually pretty easy to change your computer to use OpenNIC.

To the extent the SOPA or related bills would block ports or IP addresses, projects like TOR could help people get around these blocks. TOR has been used when repressive regimes try to block Internet access. If the U.S. joined the community of repressive regimes trying to block Internet access, it would encourage greater innovation in the TOR project and related projects. Such efforts might also encourage people to start adopting IPv6 as another way of getting around blocking.

Then, there are the financial aspects. Blocking people from doing financial transactions with U.S. financial institutions won't stop people from doing financial transactions, it would only cause them to find new ways of doing them. For my friends that want a return to the gold standard, it might encourage people to move towards more forms on online, virtual gold.

The problem with so many of these systems ends up being how trust worthy they are. Can we trust OpenNIC or online gold traders? If the U.S. Government implements draconian measures to protect a small set of large corporations, more people may find they can trust others more than they can trust the U.S., and that might even lead towards the development of better trust models.

Ultimately, Congress' responsibility is "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries". SOPA and related anti-privacy acts may end up doing that through the law of unintended consequences, not by making sure that authors and inventors get paid, but by encouraging inventors to find ways of bypassing draconian laws.

January 18th

Wordless Wednesday

Stop SOPA, originally uploaded by Aldon.

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