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Eric Anderson
Eric Anderson is probably bipedal.
Eric Anderson is probably bipedal.
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A really good discussion of what happened with Ahmed Mohammed.   I'm glad that so many people have reached out to offer support to Ahmed.   That's good.  But it's not a substitute for truly confronting the problems that led to him being arrested in the first place.
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"Even though that particular item did not pose an immediately dangerous situation to the school, we cannot allow items on campus that can be perceived to pose a threat," Weaver added.

That's near-Orwellian idiocy and twisting of language. Let me clarify it: "The relevant trained adult professionals -- faculty, staff, and police -- have no responsibility to actually evaluate whether something is dangerous or whether the student intended to threaten or endanger anybody. On the other hand, the child is responsible for accurately predicting how the adults will perceive his entirely benign actions, and accommodating their incompetence and neuroses. The problem is not that we look at a brown kid with a Muslim-sounding name and an electronics project and see a terrorist. No, the problem is that he failed to anticipate our incompetence, racism, and Islamophobia, failed to go far enough out of his way to reassure us, and thereby allowed us to become uncomfortable."
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Hey, university people (especially but not just in Pennsylvania):   The PA legislature is considering HB 1018, which would ban state funding for any university that boycotts, divests from, or takes any actions that are "politically motivated and are intended to penalize Israel or otherwise limit commercial activities."  The state has no business strong-arming universities into taking (or not taking) political positions.  Please consider signing onto the following letter, from Jewish Voice for Peace:

  "We the undersigned who teach in Pennsylvania institutions of higher education wish to register our opposition to House Bill 1018, now before the General Assembly of Pennsylvania.  

The bill seeks, through a heavy-handed use of public funds, to intimidate, control, and repress the political views of thousands of Pennsylvanians.  The bill would ban any college or university in the state from divesting its funds from Israel or boycotting Israeli products as an expression of opposition to Israeli government policies.  As free citizens in a democracy we object to the unconstitutional and presumptuous nature of the bill, whose authors seek to impose their individual political opinions on all of us and on the institutions we build, staff, and guide.  

As educators, including educators whose responsibilities include teaching controversial and complex political, social, and historical topics, we have a special reason to object to this bill.  We know from experience that our campuses respond with excited, enlightening, and informative argumentation when difficult topics are discussed openly and when due respect is given  to scholarly and scientific rules of evidence and argument. 

When the state seeks to impose its point of view through the chilling effect of threatening a cutoff of funding, this sets exactly the wrong example for our students as to how controversial subjects should be addressed by intelligent and free citizens.  We also know that it is precisely when outsiders, with political axes to grind, intrude upon campus life, that discussions of these issues, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, escalate toward vitriol and violence and away from productive exchanges of views and mutual, if sometimes painful, learning. 
            
 This bill aims to suppress boycotts, a form of protected first amendment speech. We find it particularly odious that legislators should consider banning participation in a form of non-violent protest that has a long and glorious record in our country and in our state, reaching back to revolutionary American boycotts of British tea, Jewish boycotts of German goods in the 1930s, Irish-American boycotts of British goods during the troubles in Northern Ireland, and Black and White boycotts of Apartheid South Africa and of segregationist businesses in the Jim Crow South.  Shame on those who would pander for political profit at the cost of damaging education in our state and limiting the freedoms of its citizens.

We ask the Pennsylvania State Legislature to reject HB1018 and any similar legislation."
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I just saw a really cool faculty candidate talk by Dr. Pine.  We need more people doing this kind of socio-technical research!   
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Bay Area  friends and colleagues, please read this and sign on if you agree. 
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To my academic friends:  This is worth reading.  Society in general does not stop at the campus perimeter.  Racial injustice does not make an exception for the university.  I can guarantee CMU and Pitt folks that Pittsburgh is not an oasis of justice and harmony.

It's not just the diversity of our student body and our faculty (though those do need work), it's how the community treats the people who are here.
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I ❤️WalkSAT.
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I'm late to this particular party, but I'm a bit confused.  Schneier seems to be making a pretty flawed argument, and it's one where I know he knows better.  So what am I missing?

He seems to be saying "what matters is using a password-generating scheme that the crackers aren't onto yet" instead of "what matters is having enough entropy that a cracker who is fully aware of your scheme still has to work very hard."  

The first approach is classic "security by obscurity."  Maybe it works right now, if you know for sure that nobody out there has a cracker that's onto you, but if there's not one today then there will be  tomorrow.

The truly hard part here is that humans are terrible at being random (and computers are great at trying a LOT of times).  And it doesn't matter how much (potential) entropy a password system has if in practice a lot of people pick one of the same billion common choices.
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