Ever wonder if you’ve been watched by government spooks? You can use the tools at Get My FBI File to find out. Of course, that FOIA request will also probably get put in your file. Whoa… beware police state bureaucratic recursion.
Tens of thousands of academic papers from Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society are being shared via BitTorrent thanks to the work of someone going by the name Greg Maxwell. All of the papers are out of copyright — they date from the time of Newton up through 1923. Nevertheless, they have until now been locked up behind a paywall. Hopefully others in possession of such troves will follow suit. Scientific publishing is long overdue for this kind of shakeup.
Tim DeChristopher goes on trial Monday. He faces 10 years in prison and $750,000 in fines for punking the last-minute auction of federal oil and gas leases in southern Utah in the last days of the Bush administration. The auctions were later determined to be illegal. He will not be allowed to use a “necessity” defense, or even mention his reasons for disrupting the auction. If found guilty, he should be pardoned.
The Guardian is reporting that an undercover police officer who infiltrated the group of protesters that conspired to shut down the Ratcliffe on Soar coal fired power plant may have “gone native” after seven years with the group, taking part in, providing logistical support for, partially financing, and eventually playing a central role in planning their actions. The prospect of the officer aiding the legal defense of protesters who remain to be tried, or at the least, having the role he played in the organization exposed, has apparently led to the collapse of the case. The only really surprising part about all this is his apparent remorse.
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Continue reading Links for the week of February 21st, 2010
- How David Beats Goliath – When the rules are stacked against you, the intelligent thing to do is break them. (tagged: strategy law war insurgency guerilla gametheory basketball lawrenceofarabia )
- Continuous bankruptcy – Bankruptcy as it stands now is a discontinuous process. Your legal solvency is binary: either you are bankrupt, or you are not. It doesn't have to be that way, and I think you can make a good argument that it's better if it isn't. Continuous processes work themselves out in small steps, with lots of information flow along the way. Discontinuous ones are like explosions. It's easier to muster resistance to an explosion once you see it coming, and delay it. But how much better to start getting signals early on, and avert it altogether? (tagged: finance policy economics bailout banks bankruptcy discrete continuous )
- Digital Recovery of Moon Images – Ahh, NASA. Your data management has improved over the years, but that's not saying much. 20 tons of magnetic tape in an abandoned McDonalds houses the only extant copy of the pre-Apollo analog imaging of the Moon (still the highest resolution available in most places). It can only be read by one machine on Earth, which was recently rescued from a chicken coop, and refurbished by a man who is about to die. You can't make this stuff up. (tagged: information technology space nasa archive data moon )
- Will the Future Be Geo-Engineered? – The future is already geo-engineered, and has been ever since we started burning coal on a large scale more than 200 years ago. The question now is whether we back off, and try to let the system return to the quasi-equilibrium that allowed our civilization to arise, or introduce new and exciting perturbations, with completely unpredictable non-linear effects. I know which one I'm hoping for. (tagged: geoengineering technology non-linear climate policy environment )
- Hacking Scalia – Law professor gives class an assignment to dig up as much "private" info as possible on Justice Scalia, a notable anti-privacy force on the SCOTUS. This irritates Scalia. Exactly! (tagged: law privacy scalia scotus )
- No new coal: what real direct action looks like – The $10 million spent on violently policing the "climate camp" protest outside Kingsnorth is absurd, given that a single motivated saboteur, capable of advance planning and actually willing to risk arrest and injury, can walk into the power plant and shut down 500MW of coal fired power generation. If governments fail to deal with greenhouse gas emissions effectively, and remain in thrall to the carbon lobbies, it seems likely that soon this kind of action will become more common, and truly disruptive. All it takes is a few thousand people who actually care, and our infrastructure can be brought to its knees. (tagged: energy environment green coal climate protest kingsnorth directaction )