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Robin Green
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Robin Green

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Worrying, hope it doesn't get much further.
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Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Wait until the service is confirmed clear of heartbleed and then change your password and enable 2 factor auth? I think that's the best you can do.
Heartbleed: don’t rush to update passwords, security experts warn

Internet security researchers say people should not rush to change their passwords after the discovery of a widespread “catastrophic” software flaw that could expose website user details to hackers.

Suggestions by Yahoo and the BBC that people should change their passwords at once – the typical reaction to a security breach – could make the problem worse if the web server hasn’t been updated to fix the flaw, says Mark Schloesser, a security researcher with Rapid7, based in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Tumblr, which is affected, issued a warning to its users on Tuesday night. Although the firm said it had “no evidence of any breach”, and has now fixed the issue on its servers, it recommends users take action.
The severity of the Heartbleed bug means that rushing to change passwords could backfire
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Robin Green

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I strongly disagree with this article. Cap-and-trade where the cap is ambitious and science-based (and by this I do not mean the EU’s scheme, whose cap is woefully inadequate) is a truly radical, efficient and highly effective plan that is deeply unsettling to many vested interests, which is why the Koch Brothers and their cronies have opposed it – and all other effective plans to limit carbon emissions.

    Indeed I would go so far as to say it’s an essential component of, perhaps even the driving force behind, any truly effective policy response to fight climate change – of which we’ve had none at all implemented so far! Sorry, bicycle lanes and recycling schemes and so forth don’t really make a dent – the problem is just way too big! It’s a global problem which needs global, radical solutions.

    What are the policy alternatives, really? A carbon tax? It’s basically the same thing, but less efficient, and far too open to unscientific special pleading (not that cap-and-trade isn’t, but at least it’s objective – cap at X million tons, that’s more or less what you get, evasion and exemptions aside). Personal cap-and-trade? A non-starter, it’s just adding pointless bureaucracy and marketisation to a good basic idea. Massive regulation and power plant shutdowns? Not efficient, not politically feasible, and there’d be massive whining from just about everyone, individuals and businesses, like you wouldn’t believe – it would dwarf the whining about acid rain mitigation, which actually cap-and-trade did a great deal to stop, as the businesses found it wasn’t the end of the world as they’d claimed.

    The obvious reason why cap-and-trade has not been very effective in the presence of deindustrialisation and the rise of China is that we need to expand cap-and-trade to include China and other major emitting countries. It can be done, but the West needs to get off its high horse first and recognise that as the biggest per-capita emitters, we in the West need to bear our fair share of emissions reductions. It is not an argument against cap-and-trade, but an argument that, to repurpose an old phrase, “cap-and-trade in one country does not work”.

    The mechanism by which long-term public investment and planning will be married with cap-and-trade – and it works, as shown in the example of the UK – is quite simply, democracy. Governments will see that they need to plan ahead for when the cap is lower, or face an angry populace saying “Why didn’t you plan ahead and invest?” Though neoliberalism is in the ascendant, we are not living in an Ayn Rand novel. People still recognise the need to invest in infrastructure like roads and electricity distribution systems, and so they will recognise this need when it comes to green investments.

    And with cap-and-trade as the overall guiding policy, governments will also tend to only make the investments that they really need to make, rather than heavy-handedly imposes regulations on things that don’t need to be regulated so specifically. And if the incentives created for the private sector are still not sufficient, you can also front-load the cap trajectory to front-load the emissions reductions more, which the EU should be doing anyway, taking advantage of its low economic growth. (Of course it should also stimulate economic growth, but that is another story.)

    Of course if the steps we need to take become obvious and uncontroversial to deal with the problem most efficiently, we can switch to regulation later, but it is far too early to say that – for one thing, geoengineering ideas must be given serious consideration, given the challenges we face, unpalatable though it may be. The point that solving global warming is much more complicated and difficult than dealing with acid rain is an argument FOR market-based solutions like cap-and-trade, not against, because we need a hefty dose of human ingenuity here.

    Distributional effects on the poor are a serious concern, but we must also remember that the revenue raised from cap-and-trade presents an opportunity to cut taxes and/or increase spending on public services benefiting the poor. Remitting all or some of the revenues back to the population on a per-capita basis, so that those who use less than the average amount of resources will be better off than they are now and only those who use more than average will be worse off, as done by the last Australian government, is also an option.
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Carbon tax is way better than cap and trade, it's not even close. Under absolute certainty both systems are equivalent. With uncertainty about the future cap and trade will either massively overshot and kill the economy, or massively undershot and do nothing (like EU system after recession). There's zero chance of it doing the right thing.

There's no way to make cap and trade work without omniscience. Even small estimation errors generate massive swings in carbon prices due to huge price elasticity (carbon credits have no other uses and no other sources). You'd need to babysit the system constantly messing with quotas for it to be workable (like what EU is doing right now). It's entirely hopeless.

Meanwhile all countries have fuel taxes already. Turning these into a single common carbon tax is completely trivial, and it's much easier to tax at the point of entry (production or import) rather than have each small emitter buy quotas.
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Robin Green

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Today in History: Peter the Great Abolishes Beard Tax
On April 6, 1722 — 292 years ago today — Russian tsar Peter the Great abolished a beard tax that he had levied many years earlier (1698) on all Russian men. Peter toured Western Europe in 1698, and upon his return he took out a pair of scissors and began cutting the beards of his noblemen. Up to this point for centuries, Russian men had worn long flowing beards. Historians indicate that Peter was determined to “westernize” the Russian lifestyle, so he encouraged western fashion that made sense — a cleanly shaven face was thought to be less dirty than a face covered with hair. 

For the bearded, change was hard to embrace; to make the new fashion take hold, Peter levied an annual tax on bearded men. Those who paid the tax, to prove they were exempt from the rule, were given a copper token, which proclaimed, “The beard is a useless burden.” 

Apparently, rulers have known for a long time that taxing something discourages it. So here’s my question: Why do we have income taxes? Is the state trying to discourage income?


Photo Credit:
wikipedia: Peter the Great
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Taxes pay for your trash to be collected, your roads to be useable and your water to be clean... amongst many other things.
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Robin Green

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The U.S. National Security Agency knew for at least two years about a flaw in the way that many websites send sensitive information, now dubbed the Heartbleed bug, and regularly used it to gather critical intelligence, two people familiar with the matter said.
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Maybe they did, maybe they didn't. So far I haven't seen any evidence either way.
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No witch hunt, just an abject failure by Eich to retain the confidence of the project.
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Robin Green

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Is Professor Daniel Lemire right here? What do you think?
In my latest blog post, I recount how I changed my mind almost entirely about learning...
Jim Stuttard's profile photoLiam O'Connor's profile photoTomasz Węgrzanowski's profile photoRobin Green's profile photo
Can't all real world systems can be modelled as adaptive control double-loop feedback machines? Can't they all be notated as Petri nets?
Education is a dialogical ie. mutual feedback systems. A well known problem with mutual dependence is that the dialogue can diverge into "mutual hunting". I think :)
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Robin Green

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"Maybe the wall between private life and work life really should be absolute, and we should pay no heed to people's lives outside work when evaluating whether they can do a job. Yes, maybe the world would be a better place if members of Hamas could get jobs as TSA security, and members of NAMBLA could keep their jobs as secondary school Physical Education teachers. But it's going to take more than Brendan Eich's resignation to convince me of that." - +mathew

Comment of the week, wins 1 internet.
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What's their pension plan like?
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In his circles
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  • UCD
    Computer Science, 2005 - 2008
  • Lancaster
    Combined Science, 1997 - 2000
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West Malling, Kent - Dublin, Ireland - Lancaster, England - London, England - West Malling, England - Swansea, Wales
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The air conditioning/heating in our room was stuck on "cold", and there was no phone in the room (or heating controls!) so we kept having to go down the hall to use the phone to call them. They said they would increase the temperature and it could take 15-20mins to take effect, but we didn't notice any effect after asking them to turn it up three times! One of those times they even said they'd turn it off, but it didn't turn off! The only thing you get in the bedroom is a bed and a couple of hangars on the wall to hang your clothes on. There's no chair, and even if you pay extra for a window it's a tiny little thing, above eye level. They only provide a combination shower gel/shampoo/soap in the bathroom for all washing, and in our room the bottle kept getting stuck so it was annoying trying to get the soap out of it. That said at least the bed was comfy, the shower was small but worked well, a hairdryer was available to borrow on request from reception, and there was a thoughtful touch of a light switch on the side of the bed.
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