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Ellie Kesselman
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Inquisitive
Inquisitive

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This interview with the designer of SQL, Don Chamberlain, is remarkably good. Lots of fascinating details are mentioned, e.g. how Larry Ellison's company's implementation beat IBM to market by two years and that was what led to FIPS 127 and the financial success of Oracle. The time stamp is yesterday (10/12/2017), so it isn't some old thing hoisted up from the detritus of the Internet! Also, a perfect grammatically correct transcript is provided. I didn't even try the audio, as I get fidgety or sleepy whenever I try to listen to podcasts.

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I have no words...
The IRS has hired Equifax to help verify your identity. Yes, really.

Equifax's CEO was just before congress testifying how the company's ineptness allowed a prolonged series of hacks to unveil the names, SSNs, DoBs, and other key identifying data of 150 million Americans (and some Canadians and Brits). That data could be invaluable in, among other things, tax fraud.

Which is why it makes perfect sense for the IRS to award a no-bid, single-source contract to Equifax for over $7 million to help them "verify taxpayer identity" to combat, of course, tax fraud.

Nice work, if you can get it.

The IRS contract award [1] -- which was made weeks after news of the breach was made public (which was, in turn, months after the breach had been detected by Equifax and that months after the first hacks actually occurred) -- at least partially clarifies the rationale for what seems an extremely goofy thing to do. Equifax is the only company that can do what the IRS wants (it says), and the functionality is critical for the agency (well, duh, yeah, with all those SSNs out the in the wild ...). The IRS also says [2] that Equifax has already been doing this service for them, that none of the data the hackers broke into was their data, and that they haven't seen any tax fraud from the hacking (yet).

Apparently various Congressfolk are just as confused about the IRS doing this as, well, I am.

Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) separately penned letters to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen demanding he explain the agency's rationale for awarding the contract to Equifax and provide information on any alternatives the agency considered. "I was initially under the impression that my staff was sharing a copy of the Onion, until I realized this story was, in fact, true," Blumenauer wrote. ❞ [2]

I suspect the eventual answer from the IRS will be, "Um, there really is nobody else who can or will do this for us, so we're stuck with them." Which always seems to be the lament of companies everywhere who thought that outsourcing was a great idea ...

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[1] https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=ea6f7d2c319f384e03e24ba0bdfad389&tab=core&_cview=0
[2] http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/03/equifax-irs-fraud-protection-contract-243419

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Build your own Tannhauser Gate with a Heathkit... sounds good to me

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Pass on new Nectar Soylent
....blech

Soylent, the company that insists that eating food is an unnecessary chore and takes time away from your ability to perform work for your employer, lumbers forth with a new flavor called “Nectar.”

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If I were U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and as wealthy as Steve Mnuchin, I wouldn't be trundling around a cart piled high with tacky-looking luggage, accompanied by my third blond wife who is 20, maybe 30 years younger than I am (than he is, whatever, you know what I mean). Mnuchin also needs to stop wasting taxpayer funds on Air Force jets. Again, he is Secretary of the Treasury and should know at least a little bit about fiscal responsibility, right? RIGHT?

I am no fan of Betsy DeVos, sister of Blackwater Eric Prince, Amway heiress and Trump's unfortunate choice for Secretary of Education. She got a lot of grief in the press recently because she travels on government business in private jets. Note though that she pays for her travel herself, because the planes belong to her family, or their business empire or such. Mnuchin needs to start following her example, and pay up. BETTER YET, Mnuchin needs to behave like other federal government employees and abide by the rules for government travel! That's part of the terms of being a presidential cabinet member, which doesn't exactly require much in terms of self-denial and personal sacrifice.

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This post is from a delightful blog, "Cityscapes, Landscapes, Mathscapes ..." by +Ralph van Raaij.

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So, you wondered if the $10,000 bill existed? Yes, it is part of JP Morgan Chase's history. Chase was on the bill. Other things I learned: The Chase octagon logo was introduced in 1960. Chemical Bank (later absorbed by Chase) installed the first cash dispensing/ATM machine in the United States in a Rockville Center branch, a suburb of New York City, in 1969. The website linked below has a decent photograph of it. "Chemical Cash Machine" is the original plaque.

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This isn't fake news! It is a statement by the government of North Korea on the completion of a ("Juche style") hydrogen bomb for ICBM test, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. US Geological Survey confirmed a magnitude 6.3 earthquake in North Korea, although no official statement from USGS about the cause of the explosion has been released yet.

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I didn't realize Wawa was in Ontario too, not just Philadelphia

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