Archive for the 'political' Category

Comcast and Bittorrent

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

Dear Diane Rehm,

I was just listening to Thursday’s show regarding Comcast and Bittorrent.  Unfortunately I was listening to the pod-cast after the fact, as I would have really liked to have called in.  I believe the discussion missed a very crucial element of the issue:

Comcast was not simply throttling Bittorrent traffic.  They were forging fake data packets that appeared to come from machines on the Internet they did not originate from.

Consider a conversation via typed letters between myself and a friend, delivered by the USPS.  Now say the USPS is uncomfortable with the volume of letters my friend and I are exchanging, and decides to slow down delivery of some or all of these letters.  This would be throttling, and could prompt a reasonable “letter neutrality” debate.  Now instead the USPS decided to insert their own fake letters into the system, with my return address sent to my friend that said simply “stop sending me letters”.  (and vise-versa)  This would indeed be an efficient tactic to disrupt the conversation and reduce letter volume, but it would be quite clearly illegal.  (mail fraud)  This was the behavior of Comcast the FCC (and many others, myself included) so strongly objected to.

This was further compounded by Comcast’s initial and long-running denial of this behavior.  Which to me suggests they clearly knew the immorality (and likely illegality) of sending forged data packets.

This behavior by the way was confirmed by Google, the EFF, and I believe the FCC’s own study.

Multiple sources exist for this information.  Wikipedia contains a good writeup and many references:

Thank you,
Derek Anderson

Food, Inc.

Friday, December 4th, 2009

I watched Food, Inc. last night. Was not impressed. Yes, we mass-produce food. Yes, it’s gross in parts. But so was the small-scale chicken slaughtering the film touted. Why is a smaller, open-air assembly line better than a larger, more environmentally controlled one?

Plus they played with the stats too much. “There used to be X thousand meat processing plants, but now 13 produce 80% of the meat in this country.” This doesn’t tell me anything. That last 20%, is that 2,000 smaller plants? Or 3 other really huge ones? What percentage did the top 13 used to produce? Apples-to-oranges statistical comparisons make me distrust the source.

Not to say it was all bad. The patenting of GMOs and the strong-arm tactics of their producers are definitively abusive, which I have ranted about before.

But overall, it seemed more anti-corporate, anti-science and hippy-ish than anything resembling a reasonable collection of recommendations on how to better our food production system.

Election 2008

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

Obama’s lead in *Virginia* has grown to 10%. CNN just took it out of the swing category and put it as “for Obama”. His lead in Florida is 5%. Overall Obama has 277 “safe or leaning towards” electorial votes, compared to McCain’s 174. 87 are still considered too close to call.

66% of people thought Obama won the debate last night, vs. 35% that thought McCain won.

Also, watch the ad Obama made out of McCain’s best line of the evening:
It ends with video of McCain saying “I’ve voted with President Bush over 90% of the time, even more than most of my Republican colleagues”.

I’m a happy man. :)


Monday, June 30th, 2008

There was a really interesting story about a month back about a scientist who has grown a culture of e-coli over 20 years, and discovered a series of mutations leading to an ability to metabolize citrate – something never before observed in this species. Well, this has apparently angered the anti-evolution crowd at “conservapedia” (which was founded because wikipedia was supposedly too liberal), and they’ve taken to discrediting the guy. Hilarity ensues. :)

Reminds me of one of my favorite Steven Colbert quotes: “reality has a well known liberal bias” =P


Thursday, February 21st, 2008

Vote W in ‘08.

Habeas Corpus Senate Vote (failed)

Thursday, September 20th, 2007

The letter I’ve written to my two senators:

Mr. xxxxxxx,

I was shocked and appalled today by your “no” vote to reinstate habeas corpus via Specter Amdt. No. 2022.   I believe that while terrorists are a threat to America, the threat of a government able to indefinitely detain it’s own citizens without charge is greater.   Habeas corpus is a basic human right dating back over 700 years, and America set out on the wrong path when we abandoned it.   If people we have detained are criminals, let’s please convict them in the manner that has served our great nation for over 200 years.   I urge you to please change your position.

Derek Anderson

The Importance of Open Source

Wednesday, April 6th, 2005

If you’re not watching what’s going on between BitKeeper and OSDL, here’s a quick recap:

BitKeeper provides a “Free Linux License” for their version control system which Linus and other major kernel developers have adopted for Linux development. Linus’ employer OSDL employs many contractors working on many different projects. One of their contractors (on his own time – not on a contracted project) decided to create a truly open source version of the BitKeeper client. BitKeeper didn’t like this (for obvious reasons), so they threatened OSDL/Linus/everyone that “unless you convince OSDL’s contractor to stop his efforts on his own project, we’ll stop creating a Linux version of the BitKeeper client”. And now they’ve followed through.

This will obviously create a significant hardship for any OSS project using BitKeeper’s technology. (the Linux Kernel being the most prominent)

Now I feel that BitKeeper has the 100% right to control how they give/sell/whatever their own closed source products. We’ve got no course telling them what their business process should be. But this highlights EXACTLY why proprietary software is a significant business risk, even if it is completely free. If another company can rip out the rug from underneath you at any time for any reason, and you don’t have access and control of the products you depend on… You’re asking for trouble. And it Linus is powerless to stop it – there is little chance any of us have.

This is why software freedom matters. This is why I do everything I can to avoid non-OSS software. And this is *exactly* why I encourage others to do the same.

The Ten Commandments in the Courtroom

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2004

On November 14th, 2003, Justice Roy Moore was removed from his post as Chief Justice of Alabama by a unanimous decision of the state Court of the Judiciary. The Court found that he had “willfully and publicly” flouted a court order to remove a monument from the state judicial building, placing himself in contempt of the federal court which had ordered the removal, thereby also breaking his oath of office. In the word of the Judiciary Presiding Judge William Thompson, “the chief justice placed himself above the law.”

Whether or not you believe the Ten Commandments should be displayed in a state court house, Roy Moore was clearly wrong in defying the superior court order. But let’s look at the greater issue: (more…)

Election Time

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2004

This election has made me realize just how far outside the mainstream I must be. It is difficult to conceive the majority of Americans supporting Bush this election. Not when the democrats had a good man, weren’t massively outspent and Bush was a known quantity with a lackluster record. So difficult, in fact, that I’m almost willing to suspect some kind of mass-psychosis. But I know it’s not true.

The ideals I grew up with: that ethnic, cultural and religious diversity are good and promote a stronger, healthier society. That the personal freedoms of others take precedence over my beliefs as to how they should live their lives. That a person CAN be moral without having to appeal to the approval of a given religious institution. They just aren’t held by the majority of Americans. It’s not that America was tricked or mislead; the majority, from my current vantage point, just seems to be the same xenophobic, homophobic, illogical, bible/koran-thumping, fear-mongering, reactionary mass as the rest of the world.

And people like me are the one’s who are different. I’m in the minority.

I love this country dearly. But I’m losing faith that America has that something unique. Something intangible that separates us from the rest of this crazy, messed up, hateful, intolerant world. I fear this country has become drunk on its own power and self-righteousness, and is leading down the same path as every other superpower in the history of mankind.

And that there isn’t anything I can do about it.

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