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Kyt Dotson
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"Burning rubber where angels fear to tread."
"Burning rubber where angels fear to tread."

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It appears that Arizona has become the first state, that I have discovered, that has passed a law that bans a use of blockchain technology for specific purpose--in this case firearm ownership tracking--although it also appears that it would generally ban shared or distributed spreadsheets or databases for the purpose of the law as well.

"It is unlawful to require a person to use or be subject to electronic firearm tracking technology or to disclose any identifiable information about the person or the person's firearm for the purpose of using electronic firearm tracking technology."
-- https://legiscan.com/AZ/text/HB2216/2017

Under this bill, any shared electronic ledger system cannot be used to track firearm ownership and the legislation does mention "block chain technology" directly.

"For the purposes of this section, 'Electronic Firearm Tracking Technology' means a platform, system or group of systems or devices that uses a shared ledger, distributed ledger or block chain technology or similar form of technology or electronic database for the purpose of storing information in a decentralized or centralized way, that is not owned or controlled by any single person or entity and that is used to locate or control the use of a firearm."

I am no legal expert, but the language of this law appears to make it unlawful for unrelated private sellers and retailers to force gun owners to submit information to databases shared within the industry or with other groups.

More importantly for privacy, the law prohibits the disclosure of information about owners or firearms for the purpose of building such a database.

The mention of blockchains and distributed ledgers in this legislation seems as if it's some sort of "just in case people use this technology to do this." After all, in some ways a blockchain is a very complicated database format designed for a specific purpose (i.e. solving problems with distributed trust).

Arizona also recently signed into law a bill on April 20, in the form of HB 2417, that gives blockchain-based smart contracts legal efficacy. The signing of this bill possibly forms the basis for the legislative interest in looking at the use of blockchains in other industries--in this case the firearm industry.

http://www.natlawreview.com/article/arizona-passes-groundbreaking-blockchain-and-smart-contract-law-state-blockchain

Reading the exemption also makes me wonder, does this mean that this law allows for a blockchain-based firearm tracking system used by law enforcement? The law appears to allow law enforcement who "obtain a search warrant" to get the information, but this exception would also allow them to enter that information into such a system.

This would be important for Arizona's law enforcement electronic records because it may eventually explore blockchain-based systems for securing and authenticating the provenance of internally published records.


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Video gaming is a human social endeavor that brings together minds as well as spirits. Today, in the spirit of a gravely ill guild mate, BURN gathered in Hoelbrak in Guild Wars 2 to support their friend.

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Apparently, one of my articles about 3D printing was cited in this book for librarians. As a huge fan of librarians and archivists, I am honored. Of course, it was an article about biodegradable coffee-hull-based filaments--no, the printed objects are not edible, but when printing is smells like amazing coffee.

I am a huge advocate of 3D printing technology and its ability to make replicas of historical objects for handling and perhaps even use in archive science. While the resolution and context of 3D printing even now is still somewhat primitive for preservation; it opens up a lot of interesting uses for giving archaeologists and anthropologists a way to "examine" objects remotely (or even to preserve them in a digital to physical manner).

Furthermore, 3D printing for libraries and archives could serve a powerful educational role. It means that libraries can house more than just books and reference material, but could also become home to 3D printed objects for educational use based on actual objects that cannot or should not be handled.

I have not had time to read this book, so I can't say I recommend it or not, but if I got a citation, then I'm happy to mention it.

"3D Printing: A Professional Guide for Librarians" by Sara Russell Gonzalez and Denise Beaubien Bennett.

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I remember writing my first article about Bitcoin's market value exceeding $1,000 -- three years ago. I had only been writing about Bitcoin for a few years then, following the ordeals of a growing industry, and uncertain I really cared that much about the economics of a virtual currency. I was much more interested in the underlying technology and how it affected people.

Of course, I know now that economics also affects people profoundly.

So welcome to 2017 Bitcoin.

Three years ago when Bitcoin first cracked $1,000 the market was extremely different. There were far less exchanges and they were harder to enter into. In fact, Mt. Gox in Tokyo was at the time the most accessible exchange for anyone and represented almost all of the total trade volume.

So even hitting $1,000 could not save Bitcoin when Mt. Gox fell to hacking and eventual bankruptsy. That bust crashed the currency from its lofty $1,100 all the way back down to $200. Of course, even $200 was a leap from a mere year before when Bitcoin barely registered in the $50s (and before that when it was pennies).

Clearly, there was no going back after hitting $1,000. Now we've seen a much more stable run up from $200 to $1,000 without the sharp peak seen in 2013 and the market is much more spread out between companies using the currency and exchanges across the US, Europe and China holding their own in volume.

It's hard to say exactly how price increases in Bitcoin affect the technology as a whole. In the past, psychologically it created a burden for people who want to buy in: the higher price seems daunting to newcomers who think that a single coin must be bought.

Fortunately, companies that deal in Bitcoin have gotten better at hiding the underlying currency from customers and users, while also educating them that it's possible to buy $1 in Bitcoin and still work with it.

The increased market cap also means there's a lot more "money" in the money to move around. Not only does this make people who invest in the currency (by buying in and holding) but it also means that smaller fractions of bitcoins are more meaningful when traded.

Also interesting, at $1,000 a BTC that means that 1 mBTC is $1.

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The Bitcoin Community here on Google+ has been an interesting thing to watch. I may have started with them a little late, but I've been able to interview the community manage, +Avatar X on one occasion when it first reached a milestone.

I am proud to share this current milestone with everyone on my G+ feed and if you're interested in Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency community or industry or even blockchains and cryptographic distributed ledgers in general, it's a community worth watching.
4 Years & 30,000 Members!
That's right! THE Google+ Bitcoin Community is now 4 years old and has also reached 30,000 registered members around the same time.

Like always, I thank you all for being here. If you joined this year thank you for doing so. If you joined four years ago. Thank you very much so for doing so. 
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The police rioted this weekend and today at the North Dakota pipeline protest

...and then the law enforcement agencies involved lied about it to the press.

Footage shows a line of riot-geared police officers standing behind a barbed wire barricade dousing protesters -- known culturally as "water protectors" -- with fire hoses used for riot control. Many of these attacks using high-pressure water are also filmed at night during near-freezing and below-freezing temperatures.

According to the police, this was done to stop "an ongoing riot" -- which does not seem to be happening in any footage from the scene -- and to douse fires set by the protesters -- which in every bit of footage from the scene appear to be fires set to keep people warm in freezing weather.

The use of high-pressure water against protestors has a callow, cowardly and dishonorable history for law enforcement. In living memory, law enforcement officers have used high-pressure water in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963 against peaceful protesters. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birmingham_campaign

Note that attack dogs were also used on protesters back in 1963 -- something that's already been done by security forces and law enforcement officers at the Standing Rock protests. The parallels to this extremely dishonorable history in law enforcement actions continue.

Law enforcement officers also used rubber bullets, beanbag rounds and tear gas canisters against protesters -- inflicting numerous injuries, some life-threatening.

When I say that the police have a PR problem, I do not mean that the police do a bad job at public relations spin when they narrate how they acted or what happened during tense protests. I mean that the police have a PR problem because police public relations bias and commentary is generally untrustworthy and cowardly.

It may be true that any encounter on the front lines of a protest where law enforcement officers are present may become tense and some people, even crowds, may become aggressive or violent; but when the actions of the police themselves instigate or trigger aggressive or violent behavior law enforcement officials pretend no responsibility and are rarely held accountable.

The police spokespeople also used poorly understood military language to describe the protestors as attempting to "breach" the bridge and "flank" the police lines. The protesters may be a crowd, but they are not armed, not armored, and not an organized military unit -- unlike the police officers who are heavily armed, armored and supported by quasi-military equipment.

The protesters are not soldiers and the civilian police should not act like soldiers. Police officers are not supposed to be pretend-military in the United States.

Reporters have also caught law enforcement spokespeople in apparently clear lies.

"Sheriff's spokesman Rob Keller told NBC News that no water cannon were deployed and that water was sprayed from a fire truck to control fires as they were being set by activists," reported NBC News. -- http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/dakota-pipeline-protests/dakota-pipeline-protesters-authorities-clash-temperatures-drop-n686581 -- "However, video posted to Facebook by activists clearly showed authorities spray a continuous stream of water over demonstrators in areas where there were no fires."

The function of peaceful protest is to absorb injuries when the police turn violent, begin riots and endanger lives unlawfully with the pretext of maintaining order. This weekend's events, continuing with the now-clear history of bad behavior by law enforcement at Standing Rock, is doing a very good job of delivering on this.

The police at Standing Rock sit behind armor, firearms and military equipment in relative safety as they inflict injury on unarmed people.

At this time, there is no footage of the initial use of water cannons by the police easily found. Perhaps law enforcement on the scene can defend the use of water cannons during this so-called attempt to push across the bridge. However, the continued use of water spraying people during near-freezing temperatures at night is actively senseless and designed to trigger further violence.

During this incident one police officer was injured; however, the police injured over 150 protestors, at least one seriously enough to endanger life. Beyond those reported injuries over 300 people needed to be treated for hypothermia caused by the police water cannons.

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Very little infuriates me more than the Japanese American Internment in the United States during World War II--and I wasn't even born yet when this happened. The entire model that the U.S. went collectively mad and did something so demonstrably evil as a nation, a culture and a government fills me with rage. I know there were most certainly people passionately opposed with frisson and fury--and things like this have a momentum and life of their own outside the control of good people--but my disgust knows no boundary.

The same sort of prurient xenophobic rhetoric that President-elect Trump ran his campaign on echoes what brought on this staggering moral failure in our nation's history.

I admire George Takei, not just because I am a Star Trek fan, but because he's become a beacon to speak about this sort of problem and shine a light on the path that leads to internment and oppression of minorities and immigrants--a path gilded with racism, xenophobia, nationalism, jingoism, moral cowardice, a ban on all Muslims coming into the country and even a wall that Mexico (or immigrants from Mexico) will pay for.

Considering the Japanese Internment is in living memory of our nation, mere generations ago, we should be ever more on our guard against people who use racial divides and the callow politics of fear to drive policy.

Back to consumer-level nonsense with Razer Store update and a resolution

tl;dr: The Online Razer Store failed; I will buy from a re-seller or competitor.

As my previous trouble with returning a keyboard to the Razer Store (online) because they sent me the wrong one, looks like I'm going to buy from a competitor.

The promotion that would have given me a free headset -- the whole reason I sought to buy from them in the first place -- ended while I was returning everything for an in-store refund so that I could buy the correct keyboard.

Since it has ended, they cannot put it on my new order.

Fortunately, it seems that the in-store refund failed and I am getting a proper refund to my credit card. That refund could take up to 18 days. It has already been over 10 days since I returned the keyboard (so that may be swift in RMA terms).

I am out ~$24 for sending the keyboard and (free) headset back to Razer. However, the competitors seem to be selling keyboards of similar type for $30 or more less, so I suppose I'm getting a little bit of a deal. Also, re-sellers seem to be selling it for about that discount as well, so I might go with one of them if I can get a better deal.

So ends my experience with the online Razer Store.

Avoid accidentally ordering anything incorrect from them; their customer service may work towards a slow refund, but it's not good for exchanges.

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Net Neutrality has been an important issue since I started reporting on technology in 2010. There's a significant split in understanding and even some misinformation in the use of the term (for example "net neutrality" and advertising of unlimited bandwidth on mobile carriers was an odd conflation).

If national and global Internet infrastructure is actually meaningful to us, then it should be treated as a globally-owned service. Carriers should be paying for the traffic that they feed through and not who is sending it or why it's being sent. If I pay for a particular amount of bandwidth, I should be getting that bandwidth and not have to pay extra just because I want to receive content from a particular company (who I've probably already paid for that content).

This basic concept should be about to build the foundation of trust in ISPs, trust in carriers, provide an understanding of privacy when it comes to content receipt -- after all, an ISP must spy on me to understand the content I'm receiving to charge me more/less for it -- among other natural outcomes.

Keeping communication neutral also means that powerful interests will have less opportunity to inflict harm on minority groups by filtering (or slowing) certain communications from certain neighborhoods or regions or other nefarious deeds that could be easily hidden under the guise of "charging extra for specific content."

Certainly, DSLreports is not the most unbiased resource for what's happening here, but I'm baffled by this:

"Meanwhile, there's every indication that ISPs are already heating up their ground game in an attempt to also walk back the FCC's decision to reclassify ISPs as common carriers, which gave the agency the legal authority to enforce net neutrality in the first place."

Common carrier status, while it prevents ISPs from making commercial, editorial, or political decisions about content passed to subscribers, also protects ISPs from litigation for what passes through their "tubes." As a common carrier, an ISP is not permitted to inspect what it sends to customers and therefore cannot be held responsible for that content. This is a good status for ISPs -- otherwise, suddenly they go right on the chopping block the moment the local government decides to pass legislation that puts that onus on ISPs.

Would customers really accept it if the U.S. Post Office charged extra for letters sent to the Fedex or UPS corporate headquarters? Is it proper for Verizon to make someone pay extra for minutes when talking on the phone to a competitor's sales department? If I only have two ISPs in my hometown to choose from and both of them charge me a few cents extra for Netflix -- or more insidious, offer to "make Netflix faster" for an extra $2 a month (probably by turning off a filter that slows down Netflix) -- what does that say about my ability to interact neutrally with the market as a customer? Or it could be more invisible to me and my ISP simply demands that Netflix pay $100,000 a year not to be slowed down.

If the Internet is to be a functional utility, then if a company pays for 1Gbps on one side (to send) and I pay for 1 Gbps on my side (to receive) that should be it. My opportunity to use it must be equal to be meaningful and it seems clear we cannot trust commercial carriers to protect that opportunity.

Right in this DSLreports article an example of how not regulating has not worked for the telephone industry in California -- http://articles.latimes.com/2013/dec/05/business/la-fi-lazarus-20131206 -- resonates well with why it work for Internet access.

How to learn more about pro-Net Neutrality activism

For more information on Net Neutrality and possibly insights on what to watch and how you can get involved, I suggest visiting the EFF as a beginning resource: https://www.eff.org/issues/net-neutrality and Free Press's Save the Internet website http://www.savetheinternet.com/sti-home


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