telophase: (Default)
I am behind in making art and ebook covers... of course what I did was make a random prompt generator focusing on fantasy art. :/

It's still rough and I've got elements in the wrong order in the prompts, and need to fix my particles, and need to work out what to do about capital letters and such, so you don't get things like: "Your picture is of a a dragonborn" and "Create a portrait of a stoic, ritual scarification a merfolk with a scepter".

But when it works, you get things like:

This Tarot-like card, titled the grace of music, features a cricket.

Try re-telling of a myth with a theme of envy.

You are illustrating a folk tale about science. It includes a writer and a herd animal.

Your picture is of a a dragon with a gift to give, wearing soft boots.
and more )
Please do feel free to make suggestions for terms!
I'm sticking with traditional fantasy here, rather than urban or modern-day fantasy, and I'm trying to remain generic enough that the prompts can be used with different real-world cultural influences (er, I'm not specifically saying "a katana" or "a bastard sword," I'm saying just "a sword." Not "houppelande" or "kimono," but "robe." Does that make sense? Let em know if you spot things that are more culturally specific and have generic suggestions to replace them with.)

My categories are:
cut for list )

August 3

Aug. 4th, 2015 02:21 am[personal profile] lookingforoctober posting in [community profile] write_now
lookingforoctober: (Default)
I wrote today!

Fry Your Brains

Aug. 4th, 2015 01:00 am[syndicated profile] notalwaysright_feed

Posted by BD

Fast Food, Restaurant | MI, USA

(It’s a semi-busy night. I and one other manager are up front helping to get orders out when this woman grabs my attention from across the counter.)

Customer: “Excuse me, could you make sure my fries are extra crispy?”

Me: “Sure, ma’am.”

Customer: “Good. Thanks. I can’t have all that extra fat in me.”

Me: *stunned speechless for a few seconds* “I’m sorry, what?”

Customer: “I need them extra well done so there isn’t as much fat on my fries.”

(I blink a few more times before smiling, nodding, and turning around to relay this information to the manager.)

Manager: *in response to the customers request* “Wait, what?”

Me: “You heard me.”

Manager: “Did you explain how deep frying works?”

Me: “You know, it wasn’t worth the argument.”

Oh, I like this idea

Aug. 3rd, 2015 08:45 pm[personal profile] 403
403: Spiral of black and white stones, on a go board. (Spiral)
Via [personal profile] alexseanchai: Throw me a concept/idea/title and I will give you a brief summary of the story I would tell based around it.

Posted by BD

Supermarket, Bakery | FL, USA

(I work in the bakery department of a rather large supermarket chain. We are one of the few remaining chains in the area with a fresh bakery: our breads are made from scratch every morning. We have a particularly smug customer who always thinks he is right about everything. Normally he complains about the prices on products, expecting the prices to never change… ever.)

Customer: “Do you have any Mountain Bread?”

(This type of bread is a round loaf cut in a particular way with flour on top to make it look like the snow on a mountain. It is extremely popular.)

Me: “I’m sorry, but we ran sold out of that today. But if you would like to buy this loaf here—” *I gesture to an Italian loaf* “—it is the exact same bread. It is just a different shape.”

Customer: “No, it isn’t! It tastes completely different. The dough is nothing alike!”

Me: “I assure you sir, they are exactly the same.”


Me: “And I know MY bread as I made these both this very morning, and I assure you the dough for both is made in one giant batch. We set aside some of it to make into round Mountain loafs and some of it to be set aside for the more standard Italian loaves. It is the exact same dough; the only difference is that the Mountain bread gets flour on top. That is it.”


Me: *fed up* “How about you try a piece?”

(I take a loaf from the shelf and offer him a slice. He takes the slice and takes a bite.)

Customer: “…I guess it is close… BUT IT’S NOT THE SAME!” *he takes a loaf and leaves*

Me: *to a coworker* “What part of I MADE THIS and IT COMES FROM THE SAME BATCH was so hard to understand?”

Coworker: “Some people are just dense…”

(The customer still shops in my store, though he hasn’t had any big issues like this in quite some time.)

[ SECRET POST #3134 ]

Aug. 3rd, 2015 06:36 pm[personal profile] case posting in [community profile] fandomsecrets
case: (Default)

⌈ Secret Post #3134 ⌋

Warning: Some secrets are NOT worksafe and may contain SPOILERS.


More! )


Secrets Left to Post: 02 pages, 045 secrets from Secret Submission Post #448.
Secrets Not Posted: [ 0 - broken links ], [ 1 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 1 - too big ], [ 0 - repeat ].
Current Secret Submissions Post: here.
Suggestions, comments, and concerns should go here.

Posted by Mitch Stoltz

Major movie studios are again trying to make a website they don’t like disappear without a trial. This time, the studios are asking for one court order to bind every domain name registrar, registry, hosting provider, payment processor, caching service, advertising network, social network, and bulletin board—in short, the entire Internet—to block and filter a site called Movietube. If they succeed, the studios could set a dangerous precedent for quick website blocking with little or no court supervision, and with Internet service and infrastructure companies conscripted as enforcers. That precedent would create a powerful tool of censorship—which we think should be called SOPApower, given its similarity to the ill-fated SOPA bill. It will be abused, which is why it’s important to stop it from being created in the first place.

In 2012, the Internet community stopped SOPA, a bill that would have created new, easy-to-obtain court orders against domain name registrars, ad networks, payment providers, and search engines to force them to cut off service to a website accused of “facilitating” copyright or trademark infringement. Everyone from network engineers to civic organizations to entrepreneurs to millions of ordinary Internet users spoke out against the bill. Constitutional scholars showed how SOPA orders could act as prior restraints on speech, one of the most egregious forms of First Amendment violation. The Internet’s architects helped explain how using the domain name system (DNS) for site blocking would undermine the Internet’s security and empower the censorship efforts of repressive governments. You, the Internet community, helped Congress understand that SOPApower will inevitably be abused to silence marginalized or unpopular opinions. Congress shelved the bill and hasn’t brought it back.

This year, members of the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America have begun filing lawsuits that pretend as if SOPA was actually signed into law. These entertainment distributors choose non-US website owners who are unlikely to garner much sympathy with the public and are unlikely to show up in a U.S. court to defend themselves. They speed up court processes by instilling a false sense of urgency, giving Internet companies and defenders of the public interest little time to weigh in. The courts, seeing little or no formal opposition, put their stamp on broad site-blocking orders written by the entertainment companies. The companies then have a legal banhammer to use against any Internet company who could possibly help force the foreign site off of the Internet—and even some that can’t.

So far this year, entertainment companies have used these SOPA-like orders to take down a site that promised to stream the recent boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, and another to make Blu-ray ripping software disappear. Another case would have forced the content delivery network CloudFlare to filter its service for any sites that had the word “grooveshark” in their names. CloudFlare and EFF were successful in getting that order modified to take away the filtering requirement.

The case by MPAA’s member studios against the MovieTube sites was filed two weeks ago. Like the others, it targets foreign websites with unknown owners who are unlikely to defend themselves in U.S. court. Like the others, it demands a site-blocking order as quickly as possible. This time, though, the draft order the studios want the District Court for the Southern District of New York to sign is so broad, it potentially could be used against almost any Internet platform or service. It would cover all “persons and entities providing any services to or in connection with the domain names,” specifically including “domain name registries,” “content delivery networks,” “domain name server systems” (i.e. every Internet service provider), “web hosting providers, digital advertising service providers, search-based online advertising services, … domain name registration privacy protection services,” “social media services,” and “user generated and online content services.”

The MPAA members also call out numerous Internet companies by name against whom they want to wield the banhammer: Verisign, Neustar, Afilias Limited, Nominet UK, Public Interest Registry, AdCash, Propeller Ads Media, MGID, Matomy Media Group, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and Tumblr.

If the court signs this proposed order, the MPAA companies will have the power to force practically every Internet company within the reach of U.S. law to help them disappear the MovieTube websites. Regardless of whether those sites are engaged in copyright infringement or not, this is a scary amount of power to confer on the movie studios. And it looks even worse at scale: if orders like this become the norm, Internet companies large and small will have to build infrastructure resembling the Great Firewall of China in order to comply.

On top of all this, the studios also fired another shot in their battle against private domain name registrations. In their complaint against Movietube, the studios went to great lengths to demonize domain privacy, accusing the owners of Movietube of “hav[ing] concealed their identities by hiding behind ‘proxy’ or ‘privacy’ registration surrogates.” The MPAA’s claims make domain privacy services sound like a nefarious tool of criminals, where in reality it’s used by those who depend on privacy to voice unpopular opinions on the Internet while avoiding harassment. The MPAA’s claims are similar to claims made by the studios, along with major music labels and other entertainment distributors, that have been working to pressure ICANN to eliminate or sharply limit proxy registration providers. EFF joined many other activists last month in a letter to ICANN explaining the potential for harassment and the threats to free speech that would be created by eliminating privacy in domain registrations

Entertainment distributors’ efforts to turn the Internet into a copyright and trademark enforcement machine have been abused again and again. Powerful, private interests use the takedown procedures created by Congress to censor critical commentary. Precedents set by RIAA during its lawsuit campaign of 2004-2008 led directly to today’s scourge of copyright trolls. SOPApower will be no different. Of course, the entertainment companies won’t explain to the courts all of the ways the power they seek will be abused. But EFF will, and we hope Internet companies will too.

Posted by BD

Bookstore | Fort Wayne, IN, USA

(My store exclusively sells religious books and gift items, such as posters. One of the posters depicts a funny fictional scene from The Old Testament: while Israelites catch manna falling from the sky in their mouths, one guy chokes in disgust. A bird flying overhead implies that he caught something much less pleasant than heavenly bread.)

Customer: “What is this?”

Me: “Oh, that’s an example of some of the posters we have for sale. That manna one is the most popular. People get a big kick out of it.”

Customer: “I can’t believe you would have a poster like this! How offensive!”

(This is the first time I’ve ever heard a customer complain about this particular poster. Most people chuckle when they walk past it.)

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Customer: “You should be! It’s disrespectful to one of the great patriarchs!”

Me “You mean Moses? He’s not the choking guy in the poster. He’s standing off to the side, see?”

Customer: “No! This entire poster is disrespectful! What a disgrace that you hang it in a Christian store!”

Me: “Well, can I help you find something else that’s more tasteful?”

Customer: “No, but you can get me your manager!”

Me: “The manager? Why?”

Customer: “I demand that this poster be taken down immediately! It’s so offensive!”

Me: “Ma’am, the manager is really busy right now. I’ll be happy to tell her later that—”

Customer: “Get her out here NOW!”

(I go drag the manager away from her phone conference and bring her out. The customer repeats her complaints about the poster.)

Manager: “I’m sorry you feel that way, ma’am, but the poster is one of the best-selling—”

Customer: “I demand that you take it down right now!”

Manager: “The poster is—”

Customer: “If you don’t take it down right now, I’ll never shop here again! You’ll lose all the money I spend at this store! I am a VERY loyal customer and come here all the time!”

(The manager rolled her eyes and took the poster down. Without even so much as a ‘thank you,’ the customer walked away in a huff. She didn’t buy anything… and we never saw her again after that. So much for that ‘loyal customer’!)

Posted by Karen Gullo

EFF Web Portal Provides In-Depth Resources About License Plate Readers, Biometric Collection, and Other High-Tech Surveillance Tools

San Francisco – Responding to a troubling rise in law enforcement’s use of high-tech surveillance devices that are often hidden from the communities where they’re used, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today launched the Street-Level Surveillance Project (SLS), a Web portal loaded with comprehensive, easy-to-access information on police spying tools like license plate readers, biometric collection devices, and “Stingrays.’’

The SLS Project addresses an information gap that has developed as law enforcement agencies deploy sophisticated technology products that are supposed to target criminals but that in fact scoop up private information about millions of ordinary, law-abiding citizens who aren’t suspected of committing crimes. Government agencies are less than forthcoming about how they use these tools, which are becoming more and more sophisticated every year, and often hide the facts about their use from the public. What’s more, police spying tools are being used first in low-income, immigrant, and minority communities­—populations that may lack access to information and resources to challenge improper surveillance.

“Law enforcement agencies at the federal, state, and local level are increasingly using sophisticated tools to track our cell phone calls, photograph our vehicles and follow our driving patterns, take our pictures in public places, and collect our fingerprints and DNA. But the public doesn’t know much about those tools and how they are used,’’ said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Jennifer Lynch. “The SLS Project provides a simple but in-depth look at how these surveillance technologies work, who makes and uses them, and what kind of data they are collecting. We hope that community groups, advocacy organizations, defense attorneys, and individuals all take advantage of the information we’ve gathered.”

The SLS Project website went live today with extensive information on biometric technologies which collect fingerprints, DNA, and face prints as well as on automated license plate readers (ALPRs)—cameras mounted on patrol cars and on city streets that scan and record the plates of millions of cars across the country. Each topic includes explainers, FAQs, infographics, and links to EFF’s legal work in courts and legislatures. Information about “Stingrays’’—devices that masquerade as cell phone towers and trick mobile phones into connecting with them to track phone locations in real time—drones, and other surveillance technologies will be added in the coming months.

“The public has heard or read so much about NSA spying, but there’s a real need for information and resources about surveillance tools being used by local law enforcement on our home turf. These technologies are often adopted in a shroud of secrecy, but communities deserve to understand these technologies and how they may be violating our rights,’’ said EFF Activist Nadia Kayyali. “The SLS Project is a much-needed tool that can help communities under surveillance start a conversation about how to advocate for limiting or stopping their use.’’

For Street-Level Surveillance Project:

Senior Staff Attorney

Posted by Jamie Williams

Today, EFF and a coalition of public interest groups filed an amicus brief with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in a high-profile battle over whether Google must respond to an unusual and dangerous subpoena issued by Attorney General Jim Hood of Mississippi. As we explain, the subpoena represents a threat to not only large Internet service providers like Google, but also small service providers and the users who rely on their platforms for online speech.

Attorney General Hood issued the 79-page subpoena back in October 2014, seeking information about Google’s policies and practices with respect to content it hosts, Internet searches, and more. The request—which was remarkably broad and replete with speculative, non-specific allegations—appeared to be based primarily on allegedly unlawful activities of third parties who use Google’s services. It also appeared to be served in retaliation for Google’s refusal to comply with the Attorney General’s prior demands that Google monitor, take down, or block certain third-party content. 

Then, in December, documents disclosed in the Sony hack revealed a Hollywood plot against Google, with the Motion Picture Association of America (“MPAA”) pushing the Attorney General to aggressively investigate the search engine giant. (Later documents suggest that the MPAA and Attorney General Hood were working together to plan an anti-Google smear campaign.)

Shortly thereafter, Google sought protection from a Mississippi federal court, asking the court to issue a preliminary injunction blocking the Attorney General from enforcing the subpoena. EFF filed an amicus brief—joined by the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), New America’s Open Technology Institute (OTI), Public Knowledge (PK), and R Street Institute—in support of Google, arguing that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) clearly protects hosts of Internet content from liability and burdensome discovery based on content generated by third-party users. The district court agreed with us and granted Google’s request for a preliminary injunction.    

The Attorney General was unsatisfied with this result and appealed the district court’s order to the Fifth Circuit.  EFF—again with CDT, OTI, PK, and R Street—filed a second amicus brief in support of Google, voicing our concern that allowing this type of abuse of investigatory powers by state officials would set a dangerous precedent. It would violate not only Section 230 of the CDA—which was intended by Congress to encourage the development of new communication technologies by shielding intermediaries from liability based on third-party content—but also the First Amendment. The First Amendment protects both the right of service providers to exercise editorial control over the third party content they host, and the right of Internet uses to receive and engage with such information online.

Allowing such blatant abuse by state officials would also harm the public interest. As we state in our brief:

If allowed to continue, the pressure tactics employed by the Attorney General here would send a dangerous message to large and small service providers, as well as the Internet users who rely on their platforms to communicate, learn, and organize online. That message would stifle innovation, chill online speech, and flout the public’s First Amendment interest in an uncensored Internet.

We hope the Court of Appeals agrees and upholds district court’s preliminary injunction order.

Special thanks to our district court local counsel, Herbert W. Wilson II of Gulfport, Mississippi.

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 I saw this photo and had to write a poem about it.  "Proton Aurora" is 16 lines, $10 if anyone wants it.

Posted by BD

Grocery Store | Waukesha, WI, USA

(It is 1995. I am 18 and working as a third shift stocker at a major grocery store chain. I am approached by an 18-20 year old white male.)

Customer: “Hey, man, you got any Jimmy Hats?”

Me: “…and they are?”

Customer: “You know man! Jimmy Hats! I need to get my Jimmy Hats. They are for my girl.”

Me: “Are they a type of candy? If so, aisle four, far end on your left.”

(The customer leaves off in that direction and I continue stocking. The customer comes back.)

Customer: “Hey, I couldn’t find them. I need to get the Jimmy Hats my girl wants.”

Me: “Okay, I will come look. Do you know what the packaging looks like?”

Customer: “Yeah, they are Jimmy Hats.”

(I walk him over to the candy aisle and start looking with him and he also looks through the candy.)

Customer: “See, man? I don’t see Jimmy Hats here anywhere.”

Me: “Okay, do you want me to page someone else for assistance?”

Customer: “No man, I just need the Jimmy Hats.”

Me: “Do you know what they look like?”

Customer: “Yeah! They look like Jimmy Hats.”

(This goes on for a bit like this in a horrible circle.)

Me: “Okay, I can’t help you. Let me page someone else.”

Customer: “Okay, hopefully they can help me find the Jimmy Hats.”

Me: *on intercom* “Customer in need of assistance in [aisle].”

(One of my coworkers comes over.)

Customer: “I need a box of Jimmy Hats for my girlfriend and he can’t find them.”

Coworker: *looks confused* “And they are?”

Customer: “JIMMY HATS! My girlfriend wants me to get a box of JIMMY HATS!”

(The customer suddenly looks embarrassed that he yelled that. Starts looking around nervously. A grandmother and her grandkids have now come into the aisle and start going through the candy.)

Coworker: “We might not carry that type of candy.”

Customer: “But they are Jimmy Hats. She said she got them here before!”

Coworker: “We might be out of stock.”

Customer: “But I need to get Jimmy Hats for my girl.”

(I go and get a female cashier to try and help him. The customer turns red.)

Customer: “Um. I just need them… you know…” *gestures downwards*

Me: *realizes* “Condoms?”

Customer: *he just blinks and nods*

Me: “Why didn’t you tell me it wasn’t candy when we were searching this aisle? You even looked at the candy.”

Customer: “Well, I am hungry…”

(I take customer to the proper area and he gets his condoms.)

Cashier: “Okay, one bag of Twizzlers and your Jimmy Hats.”

Customer: *just turns red, pays, and walks out*

Posted by Aaron Jue

Buzzed for EFF.Each summer the Electronic Frontier Foundation joins tens of thousands of computer security professionals, academic researchers, tech tinkerers, and curious onlookers at a series of bleeding-edge hacker conferences in Las Vegas. EFF has been a proud supporter of these communities since our founding twenty-five years ago, and we make a concerted effort to ensure that con-goers know that there is an active movement to protect digital freedom around the world. We renewed this commitment during the 2008 summer hacker events by launching the Coders' Rights Project to help programmers and developers navigate the murky laws* surrounding security research.

Below, you'll find a listing of talks and activities with EFF attorneys, technologists, and activists this week. You can refer to this post for quick reference at If you are heading to any of these conferences please stop by the EFF booth to say hello, learn more about recent projects, or tell us what you think about our work. It's also a great opportunity to renew your EFF membership  and pick up the newest member swag! We hope to see you soon in your summer mohawk.

EFF Black Hat USA

How the Wassenaar Arrangement's Export Control of "Intrusion Software" Affects the Security Community, Mandalay Bay BCD, Thursday, August 6 at 11 am

Is the NSA Still Listening to Your Phone Calls? A Surveillance Debate: Congressional Success or Epic Fail, Mandalay Bay BCD, Thursday, August 6 at 2:30 pm

EFF at Security BSidesLV

Ask the EFF Panel, Wednesday at 6 PM


Licensed to Pwn: The Weaponization and Regulation of Security Research, Friday at 11:00, Track Two

Fighting Back in the War on General Purpose Computers, Friday at 11:00, Track Three

Crypto and Privacy Village Keynote, Friday at 12:00, CPV

Let's Talk about Let's Encrypt, Friday at 15:00, CPV

Let's Encrypt - Minting Free Certificates to Encrypt the Entire Web, Saturday at 15:00, Track Four

Ask the EFF: The Year in Digital Civil Liberties, Saturday at 18:00, Track Two

EFF Badge Hack Pageant, Saturday afternoon judging. Details.

EFF at r00tz Asylum V

r00tz is all about inspiring and empowering the young hackers of tomorrow. EFF will present several kid-friendly talks covering DRM, white-hat hacking, and more. Check the schedule for final details soon.

*If you have legal concerns regarding an upcoming talk or sensitive information security research that you are conducting at any time, please email Outline the issues and we will do our best to connect you with the resources you need.

Related Issues: 

Posted by Jillian York

For several years now, privacy advocates in the Middle East and North Africa have grappled with the impact of targeted surveillance technologies on various communities in their countries. These tools, sold by unscrupulous European companies to some of the world’s least democratic governments, have been increasingly used to spy on activists, often without any legal mandate.

This summer’s Hacking Team leaks confirmed the extent to which the spyware industry has spiraled out of control. Often signed by the company’s CEO with fascist-era slogans, emails between the company and its government purchasers show that the company’s previous claims—that they don’t sell to repressive regimes—were bald faced lies.

While the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab had previously unearthed the sale of Hacking Team tools to some countries in the region, the leaks showed that the company’s reach is farther than previously imagined: Lebanon, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Oman, Bahrain, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates have all emerged as clients of Hacking Team at one time or another.


Map made with leaked Hacking Team files using Tableau Public

Reactions from across the region vary from anger to utter rage. In a piece entitled, “Hacking Team: The company that spied on you during the revolution!” [fr], Tunisian group Nawaat shows that the Tunisian government started off with a 45-day contract during September of 2010, which Hacking Team tried to extend through 2011 after witnessing the first embers of the uprising in December.

Egyptian publication Mada Masr illustrated how, in Egypt, well-known companies often act as mediators between the Egyptian government and foreign surveillance firms. They note that, despite excellent reporting from Citizen Lab on the Egyptian government’s use of Hacking Team’s tools, the leaks provide the legal proof privacy advocates have been waiting for.

The news from Lebanon is perhaps among the most surprising: the leaks showed that not one but four Lebanese government agencies contacted Hacking Team in the hopes of purchasing their products. While only the Lebanese Army made a purchase, the Interior Security Forces (ISF), General Security and the Cybercrime Bureau were all in contact with the Italian company at one point or another. According to Lebanese journalist Habib Battah, some bloggers who have been arrested claimed that police agents tricked them into giving up information by sending malware to their computers.

Privacy advocates in the region are now working to mobilize and determine their next steps, now that the leaks have given them the evidence they need to fight back against targeted surveillance from their governments. In a statement expressing concern over the use of spyware, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights notes that Bahrain is known to torture individuals who have been arrested for their online speech. Despite knowledge of that, Hacking Team saw an opportunity in Bahrain, eventually selling its RCS tool to the country for more than 200,000 EUR.

And in Morocco, where Hacking Team’s presence was already suspected, opposition to the use of spyware has become more high-profile, with popular magazine TelQuel publishing a series of responses to the leak (in French). The leaks made the highly secretive surveillance industry a bit more transparent. Now, human rights defenders in the Middle East and North Africa can get to work holding Hacking Team's clients in the region accountable.


Posted by BD

Retail | ON, Canada

(I work at a store that also sells plants and flowers in the spring and summer. A customer comes to my till and brings me three packages of flowers that are always packaged in packs of twelve. I scan all three of them.)

Customer: “How much are the yellow ones?”

Me: “They are $5, ma’am.”

Customer: “But that’s the regular price for twelve of them. I only need six; that’s why I only brought half the package.”

Me: “So you broke a package of twelve in half because you only want six? Unfortunately, we only sell them in packages of twelve, so even if you only get half of it, there is only one barcode I can scan… and it comes up to 5.97.”

Customer: *sighs loudly* “BUT I ONLY NEED SIX! Get your manager out here. He needs to have a barcode you can scan for only half of these flowers. Or give me half off because I’m not buying twelve. I only need six.”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m sure they don’t have a barcode for something that is sold as a package of twelve but I’ll get someone to verify that.”

(I go to another cashier and ask, in front of the customer, if there is anything we can do for her.)

Other Cashier: “Unfortunately they are sold in packages of twelve. We can’t sell half of them to you and sell it for half price simply because you don’t need the other six.”

Customer: “This is absolutely ridiculous. I’m forced to pay for something I don’t need. Forget it, I don’t want them at all.”

Posted by Katitza Rodriguez

Los ciudadanos y ciudadanas del Perú entienden los peligros de la vigilancia omnipresente. El ex jefe de espionaje Vladimiro Montesinos, está cumpliendo una larga condena por corrupción y violaciones a los derechos humanos, ya que en el año 2000, autoridades locales incautaron unas 2.400 cintas hechas por Montesinos, con las que manipulaba a los oponentes políticos y a periodistas que grabó en vídeo, un escándalo conocido como los “Vladivideos”. Es por ello que muchos en aquel país entienden los peligros de un Estado con vigilancia generalizada.

La semana pasada, el Presidente de Perú Ollanta Humala firmó un Decreto Legislativo que permite a la policía acceder a los datos de localización de cualquier teléfono móvil sin orden judicial previa. En otras palabras, las agencias del orden público peruanas ya no necesitan una autorización judicial que les permita acceder en tiempo real a los datos de localización. El Decreto también obliga a las proveedoras de internet locales y compañías de telefonía a retener los detalles de comunicaciones y ubicación de todos los ciudadanos peruanos por un periodo de tres (3) años. Los datos almacenados pueden ser accesibles a las autoridades policiales con una orden judicial para su uso a futuro.

Para hacerlo sencillo, con el nuevo Decreto, el gobierno del Perú ha cambiado de la vigilancia de los registros de comunicaciones basada en la sospecha individualizada, al registro masivo de comunicaciones para la vigilancia de personas comunes sin sospecha. No es de extrañar que los peruanos y peruanas han apodado al Decreto como la #LeyStalker, proveniente del término “acosador” en idioma inglés, que describe a una persona que utiliza la tecnología para espiar los movimientos en línea de otro, paso por paso.

Miguel Morachimo, Director de la ONG Hiperderecho de Perú, un aliado de EFF que ha analizado el contenido de la ley, nos comentó:

El Decreto Legislativo es problemático por lo que dice y también por lo que significa. Menciona que los metadatos de las comunicaciones no tienen protección a la privacidad alguna, y que deben ser masivamente retenidos. Ello constituye un gobierno que está tomando pasos dispuestos a debilitar las libertades que hemos recuperado en la última década. No debemos volver al pasado, asegurándonos que el imperio de la ley siga siendo la base de nuestra democracia en la era digital.

En efecto, el recuerdo de la corrupción y el espionaje ilegal de Montesinos sigue vigente en el Perú, tal es así que incluso el Ministro del Interior José Luis Pérez Guadalupe, en un intentó de calmar a la población, declaró públicamente que el Decreto de la Ley Stalker se distancia de las prácticas cometidas por el ex jefe de Inteligencia, pero sus palabras no hicieron mucho para que los usuarios de Internet expresen sus preocupaciones en línea sobre el Decreto Legislativo.

Movilización en Línea

Entre los usuarios de Twitter en Perú, #LeyStalker se convirtió de inmediato en tema popular (trending topic). El periodista e influyente blogger Marco Sifuentes explicó a EFF a través de un correo electrónico:

Gracias al movimiento en Twitter, Ley Stalker se convirtió de inmediato en trending topic, y luego pasó a la agenda nacional para llegar a las páginas de los principales periódicos. Perú tiene una tradición de derogar leyes abusivas cuando son peleadas principalmente desde las redes sociales, porque los políticos peruanos y los medios prestan mucha atención al activismo en línea. Esta vez no fue la excepción.

La sociedad civil tampoco ha quedado solitaria en criticar a la Ley Stalker. En una entrevista hecha por RPP y levantada por El Comercio, el principal periódico del país, Juan Luis Cipriani, el conservador Cardenal de Lima, expresó preocupaciones sobre la ley. El religioso dijo “está muy bien que pongas todos los medios para tratar de controlar de dónde vino [una llamada de extorsión o chantaje]”, pero que existe un hecho difícil de olvidar “de que haya una intervención de las comunicaciones”.

Tras estas declaraciones, el ex ministro del Interior del Perú Daniel Urresti criticó al sacerdote Cipriani al expresar que “es un cura y no un ingeniero de telecomunicaciones”, y agregó:

“Yo lo recibí (al entonces proyecto) y la suerte es que mi especialidad es son las Telecomunicaciones y por eso es que también lo impulsé. Aquellos que tienen temor a esta norma, es porque desconocen la parte técnica”, según Urresti a Radio Exitosa.

Lo Digital es Diferente. Los Metadatos Importan

Tal vez el ex Ministro Urresti, como experto en telecomunicaciones, debería explicar a la opinión pública cuan sensible es la información que las compañías de telecomunicaciones peruanas están obligadas a retener por tres años. Los datos de geolocalización pintan un retrato viviente de cuándo y dónde una persona va, incluso cuando está en su casa o ha pasado la noche en otro lugar y con quién. Dada la omnipresencia de los teléfonos celulares y el hecho que de las personas lo llevan consigo a cualquier parte, esa información puede ser más reveladora que los datos del GPS especialmente si se almacenan por largos periodos de tiempo.

(Más aquí acerca de cómo los gobiernos pueden espiar tu teléfono)

Debió haber sido explicado que la Ley Stalker creó por primera vez en la legislación peruana una distinción legal entre metadatos y el contenido de las comunicaciones, y que sólo el contenido es sujeto a protección constitucional. De ahí que la Ley Stalker crea una falsa distinción en el nivel de protección que cada categoría amerita.

Como el resto del mundo se está dando cuenta poco a poco después de Snowden, la creciente abundancia de metadatos, así como las técnicas de agregado y análisis de las mismas, significa que “solo los metadatos” en sí revelan una cantidad devastadora de datos privados de los ciudadanos. La habilidad del gobierno peruano de recopilar metadatos de la población entera en un extenso periodo de tiempo y organizarlo con modernas técnicas de vigilancia, puede reunir fácilmente la viciosa visión que sólo Montesinos pudo haber soñado.

En un estudio hecho por investigadores de Stanford, se descubrió que la información acerca de quién llama a quién puede inferir datos muy sensibles sobre ellos, como el hecho de que han recibido tratamiento médico por alguna condición en participar, que han comprado armas, o hasta que han realizado un aborto, entre otras cosas.

  • Los datos del movimiento de las personas revelan cuestiones religiosas, médicas, sexuales y políticas sensibles; por el tipo de servicios religiosos, reuniones políticas, y especialidades médicas a los que asistieron.
  • Los datos acerca de la proximidad o la falta de proximidad de varias personas entre sí puede revelar quiénes fueron a una protesta, el inicio o el final de una relación amorosa, o la infidelidad conyugal de una persona.

La Erosión de las Fuentes Periodísticas

Las consecuencias de una obligación de retener datos son de largo alcance, pero uno de los resultados particularmente preocupante es la eliminación del derecho de periodistas a proteger la confidencialidad de sus fuentes ante pedidos de evidencia por parte de las autoridades.

En Polonia, los medios reportaron sobre dos importantes casos en los que agencias de inteligencia utilizaron los datos de tráfico y de usuarios para ilegalmente revelar fuentes periodísticas. En Alemania, la compañía Deutsche Telekom utilizó en forma irregular datos de tráfico de telecomunicaciones y datos de ubicación para espiar a unos 60 individuos, entre ellos periodistas, empresarios y líderes sindicales para obtener filtraciones. Y un caso particularmente flagrante en Irlanda, un oficial de policía utilizó los datos almacenados de comunicaciones para espiar las actividades telefónicas de su ex pareja.

La Falsa Sensación de Seguridad

Las leyes nacionales de retención de datos son invasivas, costosas, y dañan el derecho a la privacidad y a la libre expresión. Obligan a las ISPs y las telefonías a crear enormes bases de datos con información de con quién nos comunicamos a través de nuestros teléfonos, la duración de la llamada y la geolocalización del usuario. Los riesgos a la privacidad aumentan cuando estas bases de datos se vuelven vulnerables al robo y a la revelación accidental. Las proveedoras de servicios de telecomunicaciones deben absorber los costos de almacenar y mantener estas vastas bases de datos, frecuentemente trasladando los costos a los consumidores.

Si bien es cierto que en Perú se cometen graves crímenes que merecen atención real de los encargados de políticas públicas, incluyendo la protección a las víctimas de abusos, debemos asegurarnos que las medidas que el gobierno toma para combatir delitos no crean una falsa sensación de seguridad.

Sobre este punto, el abogado experto en telecomunicaciones Abel Revoredo, se mostró de acuerdo que mientras la ley Stalker podría tener objetivos nobles como la lucha contra la delincuencia, los asesinatos, las extorsiones y secuestros, “lo que se está haciendo aquí... es poner en riesgo derechos ciudadanos porque [con la Ley Stalker] no se pueden solucionar problemas burocráticos en la relación entre dos instituciones del Estado, como son el Poder Judicial y la Policía”, sentenció en una entrevista con el videoblogger peruano Luis Carlos Burneo.

Próximos Pasos

Todavía hay tiempo para revocar la ley. En un post, Miguel Morachimo ha explicado que de acuerdo a las normas del Congreso, el Presidente está obligado a notificar al citado poder del Estado de los Decretos Legislativos, y el Congreso es responsable de someter el caso a consideración de una Comisión competente.

Entonces, “la Comisión designada tendrá que presentar un dictamen en el que evalúe su conformidad con la Constitución y el marco de la delegación de facultades otorgado por el Congreso. De encontrar incongruencias, el Reglamento establece que dicha Comisión puede su recomendar su derogación o modificación para subsanar el exceso o la contravención, sin perjuicio de la responsabilidad política de los miembros del Consejo de Ministros”.

Perú no puede estar a su suerte en esta pelea. Cada país que rechaza la retención de datos, desde el continente europeo hasta Paraguay, fortalece los argumentos para rechazarla a escala global. Cada país que es víctima de la retención de datos, desde Australia a Colombia, presiona a otros Estados a adoptarla para sus propias legislaturas. Es una lucha global, una que requiere solidaridad y unión internacional para luchar contra la retención de datos. Los necesitamos. Únete a esta lucha contra la #LeyStaker.

Miguel Morachimo: Nueva norma permite a la Policía saber dónde está cualquier persona sin orden judicial.

Abel Revoredo sobre la Ley Stalker:

International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance, updated July 2014:

EFF, Article 19: Legal Analysis and Background Materials to the International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance, May 2014:

El Derecho a la Privacidad en la Era Digital:

Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the right the privacy in the digital age:

Annual Report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights 2013. Annual Report of the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression:

Human Rights Committee, General Comment 27, Freedom of movement (Art. 12), U.N. Doc CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.9 (1999):

UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms While Countering Terrorism, A/HRC/13/37UN

Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, A/HRC/23/40

Posted by Katitza Rodriguez and Sarah Myers West

In a move that could set a crucial precedent for all service providers, Google pushed back against the expansion of what's become known as the Right to be Forgotten (RTBF) ruling, and refused to comply with a notice issued by French data protection agency Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertes (CNIL) mandating the company remove links from its domains worldwide (as opposed to removal by country only). “We respectfully disagree with the CNIL’s assertion of global authority on this issue,” said Google Global Privacy Counsel Peter Fleischer.

The order, issued originally by a Parisian court in September 2014 and escalated by CNIL in June, contended that Google’s approach of removing links from only country-specific versions of Google’s websites (such as did not sufficiently protect the right to be forgotten. “CNIL considers that in order to be effective, delisting must be carried out on all extensions of the search engine and that the service provided by Google search constitutes a single processing,” it said in a statement on its website.

As we’ve noted, orders like this one are a serious and growing threat to online expression. No individual country should have the ability to inhibit worldwide access to information. Says Google:

“While the right to be forgotten may now be the law in Europe, it is not the law globally. Moreover, there are innumerable examples around the world where content that is declared illegal under the laws of one country, would be deemed legal in others: Thailand criminalizes some speech that is critical of its King, Turkey criminalizes some speech that is critical of Ataturk, and Russia outlaws some speech that is deemed to be ‘gay propaganda.’ If the CNIL’s proposed approach were to be embraced as the standard for Internet regulation, we would find ourselves in a race to the bottom. In the end, the Internet would only be as free as the world’s least free place.”

While Europe's current model for enforcing the right to be forgotten doesn't outlaw content, it does demand that Google remove entries from its search results displayed in response to certain queries. An expectation that any country can impose such requirements on the global internet will inevitably lead to either intermediaries adopting a lowest common denominator for what material is made visible, or tie Internet intermediaries up in enforcing mutually contradictory decisions.

Indeed, across the Atlantic, the highest Constitutional Court in Colombia has illustrated the differences in approach across the world, by refusing to recognize a European-style “derecho al olvido” (right to be forgotten) in that country. In a legal action against El Tiempo, the main newspaper in the country, a Colombian citizen named Gloria argued that her right to a good name and privacy were violated in the publication and subsequent indexing by Google of a newspaper article in which El Tiempo said that she participated in an alleged crime, for which she was never convicted.

Seeking to balance the right to clarify the record and the right to freedom of expression, the court held that the newspaper was not required to remove the article. The court did require the newspaper to update the published information and use “robots.txt” and “metatags” to prevent the indexing of the content by Google due to the particularly serious nature of the crime and the severe personal consequences for Gloria.

The court was very clear on one point: Internet intermediaries, such as Google, are not liable for the content where the damage to fundamental rights were done by third parties, in this case, El Tiempo. Moreover, since this case has the potential to jeopardize the freedom of expression of a media outlet, the Court applied the Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ “permissible limitation test” to assess its potential impact.

The court concluded that ordering a search engine to block results would constitute a form of prior control and turn the search engine into a censor of user-posted content. That, in turn, would undermine guiding principles of Internet architecture: “equal access, non-discrimination and pluralism.”

Too bad the CNIL doesn’t share that view. Nor, it seems, do several other courts. We are seeing more and more “global” takedown orders: in Canada, for example, an appeals court recently upheld a ruling in a trademark case that argued Google had to purge links on rather than just Such orders are increasingly like to be based on laws that mimic Europe's Right to be Forgotten decision, as other countries, such as Russia, enforce their own interpretation of the principle.

Companies too are beginning to capitalize on the new framework. For example, Spanish company has become particularly popular among politicians in Latin America. Over 200 lawmakers have hired the company to help them erase their data across the Internet, and the company has opened an office in Mexico to help globalize their operation.

Europe's model of implementing RTBF, with no judicial overview, no right for publishers to challenge delisting before it is executed, and where private companies like Google are commandeered to act as interpreter and enforcer of an ambiguous legal principle, makes it hard to understand the extent, impact, and justice of these removals. 

To develop sound policy responses, we need greater transparency from the service providers who have been entrusted with managing the delisting. The EU Court ruling includes a provision that decisions on requests evaluate the “interest of the public in having access” to the information. 

Right now, the public has no real way of knowing how Google, let alone other search engines making these decisions, are making that evaluation. In May, a group of 80 academics called upon Google to provide more information about how it is executing RTBF requests. Currently, Google only provides limited information on the results that have been removed, such as the total number of requests and removals and the sites most impacted, as well as give a blanket disclosure statement that results have been removed at the bottom of a search page. Advocates for the Right to be Forgotten say Google is being selective in its self-reporting, but Europe's data protection authorities have also told the companies that they should not reveal information about their decisions--not even to the original publishers whose work they remove from their results. Both Google and the European data protection authorities have narrow interests in presenting one side of the story of RTBF removals. The public has a right to see the complete picture.

Google’s done the right thing by pushing back against the CNIL. We hope they also press for sharing more info with the public, so that we can have a grounded debate about the real, global, effect of the rise of the Right to be Forgotten.

synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
Mondays, every week, let's celebrate ourselves, to start the week right. Tell me what you're proud of. Tell me what you accomplished last week, something -- at least one thing -- that you can turn around and point at and say: I did this. Me. It was tough, but I did it, and I did it well, and I am proud of it, and it makes me feel good to see what I accomplished. Could be anything -- something you made, something you did, something you got through. Just take a minute and celebrate yourself. Either here, or in your journal, but somewhere.

(And if you feel uncomfortable doing this in public, I've set this entry to screen any anonymous comments, so if you want privacy, comment anonymously and I won't unscreen it. Also: yes, by all means, cheer each other on when you see something you want to give props to!)
annathepiper: (Alan and Sean Ordinary Day)

It is a testament to the power of Peter Jackson’s movies that, when I dig into the very first chapter of The Fellowship of the Ring, I cannot help but imagine how it played out in the movie. The music kicks in in my head, and of course, there are the beautiful visuals involved with Gandalf’s fireworks. Although the movie didn’t lay everything out exactly as the book did–and, see my previous post for why I don’t consider that a problem–it’s still very close to it in spirit.

Because yeah. After the Prologue reminds us of what went down in The Hobbit, this chapter also blatantly ties into those events. The very title of the chapter is a callback. And the first few paragraphs tell us about the reputation Bilbo’s had in the Shire ever since his adventure. Right out of the gate, though, we get something that the movie had not really called out: i.e., that the grand party Bilbo’s throwing is in fact a celebration of his birthday and Frodo’s. Bilbo is turning 111, but Frodo is turning 33, the year a hobbit is considered to come of age.

(And that little tidbit, combined with how Frodo doesn’t actually set out on his adventure until he’s pushing fifty, has contributed to why I’ve never really fretted much about heading into my forties and closing in on fifty myself. By hobbit standards, I’m barely adult! Never mind elf standards!)

It’s kind of hysterical, too, that hobbits call the twenties tweens, since that term means something different to a modern eye: i.e., a pre-teen. But then, it’s kind of the same idea, since the hobbits are still giving the word the connotation of “this is somebody too young and irresponsible to be a grownup”.

It’s fun to see the Gaffer on camera, since we don’t get to see him in the movies, and the conversation he has with other hobbits is a nice way to cover the community gossip about the Bagginses, as well as a bit of Frodo’s backstory (the drowning of his parents) and the ill repute of the Sackville-Bagginses. And I do have to giggle at the miller’s assertion that, quote, “Bag End’s a queer place, and its folk are queerer,” unquote.

(Insert obligatory mental picture of a rainbow flag flying over Bilbo’s door here.)

Something else we don’t see in the movies: a note that the dwarves visit Bilbo. In fact, it’s called out in this chapter that dwarves are in fact on hand for the party, even though they do not actually appear in any of the action! And since I have just recently re-watched the tail end of The Battle of the Five Armies, including Bilbo’s sentimental farewell to the surviving dwarves, I cannot help but wonder which dwarves were the ones that visited him here.

I’m sure Bombur would have been VERY apparent indulging in the party supplies, and I like to think that Bofur would have leapt up to sing and play something for the party attendees. We know from the actual book version of The Hobbit, as well, that many of the dwarves did in fact play instruments. I’m a little sad that Tolkien didn’t think to at least include them more obviously in the merrymaking and music-making here!

Doublechecking the Third Age timeline, it’s at least certain that Balin would not have been among the visiting dwarves–he died in Moria before this party was held. Sniff. But I can totally imagine Balin sharing a companionable table with Bilbo. Is there fan art of that? There should be fan art of that.

I also like that among the party presents being handed out, there’s description of wonderful toys that came from the Lonely Mountain and from Dale, toys that are specifically of dwarf-make. Another reason I’m a little sad that the dwarves don’t actually get to participate more obviously in the action! And according to Bofur’s page on the LotR wiki, he was in fact a toymaker. One therefore presumes a lot of the toys being handed out were his work!

Tolkien’s description of the fireworks is magic all on its own, even if I do rather miss the mischief from movie!Pippin and movie!Merry, stealing fireworks to launch themselves.

It’s interesting to me that Bilbo’s speech is given in italics rather than in quoted dialogue lines. I didn’t remember this, and I’m wondering if it was because Tolkien intended to have the speech be more from the point of view of the party attendees in general, rather than Bilbo himself.

And in the middle of the speech, we get more references to shinies from Dale: the crackers that contain musical instruments, “small, but of perfect make and enchanting tones.” I must wonder how small! Pretty tiny, if they were in crackers meant to be pulled apart, and yet they couldn’t have been too tiny, if hobbit-sized hands were still able to get music out of them.

Gandalf is shown here to be in active collusion with Bilbo, another thing that wasn’t quite as apparent in the movie–since here, Gandalf throws in a bit of a magical “boom” to obscure Bilbo disappearing before their eyes. Which leads nicely into Bilbo’s conversation with Gandalf, which is of course one of my other favorite things about the very beginning of this story. “Two eyes, as often as I can spare them,” indeed. Yep, I won’t ever be able to read a word of Gandalf’s without hearing Sir Ian in my head, and this is entirely as it should be. <3

I do love Bilbo’s parting gifts for a lot of different hobbits, and the snarky subtext on the labels. Which I am totally reading in Martin Freeman’s voice, which is also entirely as it should be. And we see yet more of the Sackville-Bagginses, being generally odious, as well as a passle of other hobbits that need to be bodily thrown out of Bag-End after the party is over.

And, of course, we get Gandalf’s final word of warning to Frodo about the Ring–less urgent than it plays out in the film, but still, enough here to leave a frisson of worry. Something’s off about that ring, and Gandalf urges our little hero to keep it secret, and keep it safe.

Raise your hand if you’re now hearing the Ring theme playing in the back of your head.

Mirrored from

Posted by BD

Retail | IL, USA

(I work in an alternative store that sells body jewelry and such. My earlobes are stretched to about the size of a nickel. A woman and her daughter come in to the store.)

Daughter: “Mom, I want to stretch my earlobes like that girl.”

Mom: “Absolutely not! Those look disgusting. You’re not ruining your body like her.”

Me: *standing five feet away* “Well, one pro to ear stretching is that it does not affect your hearing at all… Just so you know.”

Mom: *to daughter* “Well, maybe you can have really small ones.”

Posted by Rebecca Jeschke

Policy Offers Stronger Privacy Protection and Promotes Advertising Best Practices

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), privacy company Disconnect and a coalition of Internet companies have announced a stronger “Do Not Track” (DNT) setting for Web browsing—a new policy standard that, coupled with privacy software, will better protect users from sites that try to secretly follow and record their Internet activity, and incentivize advertisers and data collection companies to respect a user’s choice not to be tracked online.
The EFF and Disconnect’s partners in this launch are the innovative publishing site Medium, major analytics service Mixpanel, popular ad- and tracker-blocking extension AdBlock, and private search engine DuckDuckGo.
“We are greatly pleased that so many important Web services are committed to this powerful new implementation of Do Not Track, giving their users a clear opt-out from stealthy online tracking and the exploitation of their reading history,” said EFF Chief Computer Scientist Peter Eckersley. “These companies understand that clear and fair practices around analytics and advertising are essential not only for privacy but for the future of online commerce.”

DNT is a preference you can set on Firefox, Chrome, or other Web browsers as well as in the iOS and FirefoxOS mobile operating systems to signal to websites that you want to opt-out of tracking of your online activities. Tracking by advertisers and other third parties is commonplace on the Web today, and typically occurs without the knowledge, permission, or consent of Internet users. You can see evidence of this when ads appear around the Web that are eerily based upon your past browsing habits; meanwhile, the underlying records and profiles of your online activity are distributed between a vast network of advertising exchanges, data brokers, and tracking companies.
The new DNT standard is not an ad- or tracker-blocker, but it works in tandem with these technologies.

“The failure of the ad industry and privacy groups to reach a compromise on DNT has led to a viral surge in ad blocking, massive losses for Internet companies dependent on ad revenue, and increasingly malicious methods of tracking users and surfacing advertisements online,” said Disconnect CEO Casey Oppenheim. “Our hope is that this new DNT approach will protect a consumer’s right to privacy and incentivize advertisers to respect user choice, paving a path that allows privacy and advertising to coexist.”

For the full Do Not Track policy:

Chief Computer Scientist
Cofounder and CEO, Disconnnect

RPG update!

Aug. 3rd, 2015 10:11 am[personal profile] jewelfox
jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

The summer sun here in the south hasn't been treating us well, which is part of the reason we've been afk. >_o But we're going with the "Capsule Contingency" idea, by popular demand, and have been writing up an application form for it and stuff.

We'll have it posted as soon as we can. We just wanted to let everyone know that we hadn't forgotten. >_>b

Chapter... Twenty-Two!

Aug. 3rd, 2015 07:14 pm[personal profile] jolantru
jolantru: (dragon)
Chapter Twenty Two: appropriate mood piece... perfect for the start of the Ghost Month!

Whimsical Autonymity

Aug. 3rd, 2015 07:30 am[personal profile] jjhunter
jjhunter: Drawing of human JJ in ink tinted with blue watercolor; woman wearing glasses with arched eyebrows (JJ inked)
[ profile] xiphias asks an important question: If you were a ship in Ian M Banks /Culture/ novels, what would you call yourself?
So, the late Ian M Banks wrote a number of books set in, and telling stories about, The Culture. The Culture is a post-scarcity utopian society, in which some of the citizens are humans, and some are AIs. Some of the AIs inhabit ships. Some of the AIs are smart on a level that human beings can't even comprehend. Some of those AIs inhabit Ships that are powerful on a level that human beings can't even comprehend [...]

And, of course, since a Mind takes a Ship on effectively as its own body, the Mind gets to name itself. And Minds usually have senses of humor, leading to ships named things like Just Read the Instructions, Funny, It Worked Last Time, What Are The Civilian Applications?, and I Blame My Mother.
I suspect I would be Just Another Scientist With A Bright Idea. That, or See The Galaxy, They Said.



Aug. 3rd, 2015 04:37 am[personal profile] 403
403: Listen to the song of the paper cranes... (Cranesong)
Browsing dragon masks on Etsy is not how to go to bed. Oops?

(I particularly like this kit, though.)

Posted by lskenazy


Clayton and Kristopher Cadieux,  8 and 10, dig up worms to sell to local fishermen (or whoever desires worms), $2.50 a dozen. Unfortunately, the CBC reports, the boys are now criminals in the eyes of Cornwall, a town in Ontario, Canada, because they set  up their business on their lawn, and even had the audacity to erect a sign:

…after a complaint from a neighbour, the brothers received a note from the city saying they were breaking a bylaw and had to shut down their business.

The mayor of Cornwall, Leslie O’Shaughnessy, explained that the bylaw requires all personal business sales be conducted within the home, without outdoor signage…. The city told the brothers to move their business inside their home, and to take down their signs on their front lawn.

As the mayor explained so thoughtfully:

“You are allowed to [sell worms] in the confines of your home, with no signage,” he said. “In other words, if people want to pick up worms, they knock on your door, you hand them the worms, they hand you the money, they leave.

Though the crime comes with a $250/day fine — a price that would pay for a mayoral top hat full of worms — the dad says they are not backing down:

“We were livid. Like, God! How could this be? They’re two little kids, eight and 10, selling worms,” he said.

“They’re not going to have pay the fine,” Cadieux added. “I am! Because I’m the daddy, and it’s daddy’s house. But I’m willing to do that for my kids.”

Kristopher [age 10] said the worm enterprise only brought in about $34 a month last summer, and he doesn’t understand why he and his brother are being told they can’t sell worms from their front lawn.

“I didn’t feel too good about that,” he said. “I thought at least we’re doing something. Most of my friends play video games. I’m building responsibilities.”

No, my little miscreant: You are building a rap sheet. Better to go inside and sit down on the couch for the rest of the summer with a nice big bag of Goldfish crackers. You can pretend you caught them yourself, with gummy worms, like a good, law-abiding blob…er…boy. – L


Like Oxycontin, except wriggling.

Like Oxycontin, except wriggling.



Posted by Katitza Rodriguez

Peruvians understand the dangers of pervasive surveillance. Peru's ex-spy chief, Vladimiro Montesinos is serving a long jail sentence for corruption and human rights abuses. In 2000, Peruvian authorities seized about 2,400 videotapes made by Montesinos, which he used to manipulate political opponents and journalists whom he caught on film, a scandal also known as the “Vladivideos”. That’s why so many in the country recognise the dangers of a pervasive surveillance state.

Last week, the Peruvian President adopted a new Decree which allows the police to access location data of any cell phone without a prior court authorization. In other words, law enforcement agencies in Peru no longer need a court order allowing real-time access to localization data. The Decree also compels local ISPs and telephone companies to retain communications and location details of the entire Peruvian population for a period of three years. The retained data could be accessible to law enforcement with a court order for possible use in the future.

Put simply, with the new Decree, the Peruvian government has shifted from surveillance of communications records based on individualized suspicion to the mass untargeted collection of communications data of ordinary, non-suspect people. No wonder it’s been dubbed by Peruvians as #Leystalker (“Stalker Law”), which has been described as someone who uses technology to spy on people every online movement, step-by-step.

Miguel Morachimo, Director of the Peruvian NGO Hiperderecho, an EFF ally who has been analyzing the law in Peru, told us:

“This legislative decree is troubling for what it says and also for what it means. It says that communications metadata is not protected under privacy protections and should be massively storaged. And it represents a government that is taking steps willingly to undermine the freedoms that we just recovered the past decade. We must not return to the past and ensure that the rule of law remains the foundation of our democracy in the digital age”

Indeed, Montesinos’ legacy of corruption and illegal spying is still live in Peru, so much so that even the Interior Minister José Luis Pérez Guadalupe wanted to calm the population, making public statements to distance the Stalker Law from the practices committed by the convicted former chief of Peru’s secret service, but his declarations in the media did nothing to stop Internet users to express their concerns to the Legislative Decree through the Internet.

Online Mobilization

#Leystalker immediately became a trending topic in the Peruvian Twitter community. Journalist and influential blogger,  Marco Sifuentes, explained in an email to EFF:

“Thanks to the movement on Twitter, Ley Stalker became a trending topic, then jumped into the national agenda and ended up on the front pages of major newspapers. Peru has a tradition to repeal abusive laws when they are fought mainly from social networks. Peruvian politicians and the media pay much attention to online activism. This time was no exception.”

But civil society is not alone in criticizing Ley Stalker. In an interview to the main peruvian newspaper, El Comercio, the conservative archbishop of Lima Juan Luis Cipriani raised serious concerns against #LeyStalker. Cipriani added:"It is great that you put all means to try to control where [a phone call of extortion or blackmail] came from”, but there is a problem that is not easy to forget: “that there is interception of communication” referring to Stalker Law.

Former Interior Minister Daniel Urresti, criticized the archbishop of Lima, in a local radio interview,  saying that “Cipriani is a priest, not a telecommunications engineer”  referring to Monsieur Cardinal’s opinion on the Stalker Law. He added:

"I got lucky and that my specialty is Telecommunication and that's why I push for the bill. Those who are afraid of this standard, it is because they lack the technical side", Urresti told Radio Exitosa.

Digital is Different - Metadata Matters

Perhaps Mr. Urresti, as a telecommunication expert, should have explained to the public how sensitive the information that Peruvian telcos are compelled to retain for three years really is. Location data paints a vivid portrait of when and where a person goes, including when a person is at home or spends the night somewhere else and with whom. Given the ubiquity of cellphones and the fact people carry them almost everywhere, the information can be more revealing than GPS information especially if this information is retained for longer periods of time. (Read more to learn how governments can spy on your mobile phone).

It should have been explained that the Stalker Law creates for the first time in Peruvian law a legal distinction between metadata and communications content and that only content is subject to constitutional protection. Hence, the Stalker Law creates a false distinction on the level of protection that each category merits.

As the rest of the world is slowly realizing post-Snowden, the increasing abundance of metadata, and the techniques for aggregating and analyzing it, means that “mere metadata” on its own reveals a devastating amount about private citizens. The Peruvian government’s ability to gather extraordinarily sensitive  metadata such as location data on an entire population, over a long period of time, and organize it using modern surveillance techniques, can easily garner the kind of vicious insight that Montesinos’ could only have dreamed of.

In a study, Stanford researchers found experimentally that information about who people call can be used to infer extraordinarily sensitive facts about them, including the fact that they sought and received treatment for particular medical conditions, that they had an abortion, and that they purchased firearms, among other things.

  • Information about where people go reveals sensitive religious, medical, sexual, and political information, including the kinds of religious services, political meetings, and medical specialists a person attended or met with.

  • Information about the proximity or lack of proximity of multiple people to one another can reveal everyone who attended a protest, the beginning or end of a romantic relationship, or a person's marital infidelity.

Erosion of Journalistic Sources

The consequences of data retention mandates are far-reaching, but one particularly troubling outcome is the erosion of journalists’ right to refuse to hand over evidence to law enforcement to protect the confidentiality of their sources. In Poland, the media reported on two major cases where intelligence agencies used retained traffic and subscriber data to illegally disclose journalistic sources.  In Germany, Deutsche Telekom illegally used telecom traffic and location data to spy on about 60 individuals—including journalists, managers and union leaders—in order to try to find leaks. And in a particularly egregious case from Ireland, a law enforcement officer reportedly used retained communications data to spy on her ex-boyfriend’s phone activities.

False Sense of Security

National data retention laws are invasive, costly, and damage the rights to privacy and free expression. They compel ISPs and telcos to create large databases of information about who communicates with whom via our phones, the duration of the exchange, and the user’s location. Privacy risks increase as these databases become vulnerable to theft and accidental disclosure. Service providers must absorb the expense of storing and maintaining these large databases and often pass these costs onto consumers.

While there are serious crimes in Peru that deserve real attention by policy-makers including protecting victims of abuse, we must ensure that the measures the government takes to combat those crimes are effective and do not create a false sense of security.

On this point, Abel Revoredo an experienced Peruvian lawyer in Telecommunications, agreed that while the Stalker Law might have noble goals such as fighting crime, killings, extortions and kidnappings, “What is really being done here . . . risks our rights because [Ley Stalker] can not solve the bureaucratic problems in the relationship between two government institutions such as the judiciary and the police," he concluded in an interviewed by the Peruvian videoblogger Luis Carlos Burneor.

Next Steps

There is still time to repeal the bill. In a blogpost, Miguel Morachimo explained that according to the rules of Congress, the President is obliged to notify Congress of the legislative decrees and Congress is responsible to refer the case to the competent Congressional Commission. Then, “the Congressional Commission will have to submit an opinion to assess their conformity with the Constitution and the delegation of authority granted by Congress. If inconsistencies are found, the rules provides that the Commission may recommend to repeal or modify the Decree to correct the excess or the violation, notwithstanding the political accountability of members of the Cabinet,”

Peru cannot be alone in this fight. Every nation – from Europe to Paraguay – that rejects data retention, strengthens the arguments in favor of rejecting it globally. Every country that falls prey to data retention law, from Australia to Colombia, encourages other states to press for it in their own legislatures. It's a global fight, and one that will require solidarity and a global alliance against data retention to combat it. We need you. Join this fight against #leystalker.


Miguel Morachimo: Nueva norma permite a la Policía saber dónde está cualquier persona sin orden judicial (in Spanish)

Abel Revoredo on the Stalker Law:

International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance, updated July 2014:

EFF, Article 19: Legal Analysis and Background Materials to the International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance, May 2014:

The Right to Privacy in the Digital Age:

Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the right the privacy in the digital age:

Annual Report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights 2013. Annual Report of the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression:

Human Rights Committee, General Comment 27, Freedom of movement (Art. 12), U.N. Doc CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.9 (1999):

UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms While Countering Terrorism, A/HRC/13/37UN

Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, A/HRC/23/40

annathepiper: (Book Geek)

Chapter 6 of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is, for my money, where things finally start getting interesting. We’ve had a lot of exposition thrown at us in the first five chapters of this story, mostly courtesy of Hagrid, who gives Harry his intro to the world.

But in Chapter 6, when Harry is finally on his way to Hogwarts, we get introduced to Ron and Hermione. Accordingly, we get the very beginnings of the friendship that is the foundation of the entire series.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from

Thick Hair Hazards

Aug. 2nd, 2015 09:34 pm[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
... or in my case, not only thick but also wide-nap and semi-prehensile. This shit happens.  My hair has destroyed more hardware than I can count.

New Cintiq

Aug. 2nd, 2015 08:45 pm[personal profile] telophase
telophase: (Default)
Been spending the past few nights messing about with the new Cintiq Companion.

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 "Reading While Cooking" invites readers to submit a request for a type of fiction and a type of recipe.  The first installment suggests non-European fantasy and foods that combine peppercorns with pomegranates.  This project is crowdfunded via Patreon.

So, yesterday

Aug. 2nd, 2015 07:29 pm[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
I found a wheelchair, abandoned in the middle of Zehrs. Aisle five. I left it alone, of course.

I know mobility impaired people can find wheelchairs useful without being confined to them all the time but I was the only non-staff in the store as far as I could tell.

Posted by BD

Pet Supply | ON, Canada

(I am in my 20s. I am a moderately tall and sturdily-built woman. An older man, perhaps in his 70s, buys a 50 pound bag of dog food. My coworker on cash asks if he would like someone to carry the heavy bag out to his car, and he says yes. Since I’m working the front, I go to do that.)

Old Man: “No, I want your boss to do it.”

(My boss is a small man, shorter and slimmer than me, and is helping another customer.)

Me: “He’s busy at the moment. I’m perfectly—”

Old Man: “No, you can’t. I want him to do it.”

Me: “Really, I’m quite strong…”

Old Man: “No, no, you can’t do it. Just put it down!”

Boss: *having overheard, comes over and gestures to me to give him the bag* “It’s okay.”

Me: “But I’m bigger than you…”

Boss: *taking the bag* “Yeah, don’t worry about it.”

(When my boss came back, he told me that the older customer just didn’t want a woman doing something he could not.)

Posted by BD

Coffee Shop | CA, USA

(I work at a popular coffee chain that also sells baked treats. A very polite, very elderly man purchases a cheese Danish, leaving only one in the tray. The next customer, a young woman, buys the last cheese Danish. She gives me cash, and while I am counting it out, the old man comes up to the counter again. He points at the cheese Danish that the young woman is holding.)

Old Man: “Excuse me, young lady, that’s mine.”

Young Woman: “Oh…”

(She glances at me uncertainly, and I look around. I spot the old man’s cheese Danish on a table nearby.)

Me: “Sir, yours is right there.” *points*

(The old man turns and looks, and looks genuinely surprised to see the cheese Danish.)

Old Man: “Oh, my…”

Young Woman: “Dessert buddies!”

(She high fives him and hurries out of the shop, blushing.)

[ SECRET POST #3133 ]

Aug. 2nd, 2015 03:57 pm[personal profile] case posting in [community profile] fandomsecrets
case: (Default)

⌈ Secret Post #3133 ⌋

Warning: Some secrets are NOT worksafe and may contain SPOILERS.


More! )


Secrets Left to Post: 03 pages, 057 secrets from Secret Submission Post #448.
Secrets Not Posted: [ 0 - broken links ], [ 0 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 0 - too big ], [ 0 - repeat ], [ 1 - posted twice ].
Current Secret Submissions Post: here.
Suggestions, comments, and concerns should go here.
jjhunter: Drawing of human JJ in ink tinted with blue watercolor; woman wearing glasses with arched eyebrows (JJ inked)
Dude On The Street: Hey, hey, excuse me—

Me: Pauses in the middle of removing some dead bits from front yard bush on the way in, removes earbuds. Yes?

Dude On The Street: You're beautiful.

Me: Er, thanks. Registers that Dude is quite cute himself, if randomly burdened with large sports bag and a hockey stick.

Dude On The Street: Want to go on a date with me?

Me: Is bemused, and a touch flattered, but already in a relationship. Er, sorry, but I already have a boyfriend.

Dude On The Street: Well, sorry I don't have white skin! Flounces.

Me: ...

Me: But I do actually have a boyfriend already!


What even, Dude. I wish I'd had a better comeback for you than the ridiculous impulse to assert the reality of the boyfriend I'd just come back from dropping off at his place. I wish I had Betan earrings so we both could have avoided that conversation in the first place.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Listening to X Minus One, I discovered that a story I thought was a Silverberg is in fact a Pohl.

Anyone ever ask Bob Shaw about the similarities between Pohl's "The Mapmakers" and Shaw's Night Walk?

Is it just me?

Aug. 2nd, 2015 12:11 pm[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
It's weird but a lot of my comments don't make it through moderation over at these days.

Posted by lskenazy

What’s particularly wonderful about this outdoor field trip is how it gives kids who aren’t “good” or successful in the classroom another place to show who they are. It was sent to us by filmmaker Alastrair Humphreys, who writes:

Two years ago, teacher Mrs Monaghan took her class on an overnight microadventure (video here).

Now, for their “Leavers’ Treat”, the children asked if they could go on another microadventure. I went along again to film how they got on.


School Microadventure from Alastair Humphreys on Vimeo.

This school year, maybe some more teachers might consider doing something like this — if at all legally, logistically, curricular-ly possible? – L


A different kind of school test.

A different kind of school test.


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