Friday, September 16, 2011

Links Roundup for 9/16/2011

Here's another roundup of notable or amusing things on the internet:

1) Oscar Wilde was hilarious.
2) I have no idea how a map could have made it through editing this messed up.
3) Tax theory is complicated, or Why Warren Buffet's Real Tax Rate is over 90%.
4) This is a compelling case for reforms in how Hollywood performs movie accounting
The actor who played Darth Vader still has not received residuals from the 1983 film "Return of the Jedi" because the movie, which ranks 15th in U.S. box office history, still has no technical profits to distribute. 
It's clearly a sham as it's done now.

5) This really shouldn't be allowed to happen, and I think it should be a pretty bipartisan issue:
Imagine that President Obama could order the arrest of anyone who broke a promise on the Internet. So you could be jailed for lying about your age or weight on an Internet dating site. Or you could be sent to federal prison if your boss told you to work but you used the company's computer to check sports scores online. Imagine that Eric Holder's Justice Department urged Congress to raise penalties for violations, making them felonies allowing three years in jail for each broken promise. Fanciful, right?  
Think again. Congress is now poised to grant the Obama administration's wishes in the name of "cybersecurity."  
The little-known law at issue is called the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. It was enacted in 1986 to punish computer hacking. But Congress has broadened the law every few years, and today it extends far beyond hacking. The law now criminalizes computer use that "exceeds authorized access" to any computer. Today that violation is a misdemeanor, but the Senate Judiciary Committee is set to meet this morning to vote on making it a felony.  
The problem is that a lot of routine computer use can exceed "authorized access." Courts are still struggling to interpret this language. But the Justice Department believes that it applies incredibly broadly to include "terms of use" violations and breaches of workplace computer-use policies. Breaching an agreement or ignoring your boss might be bad. But should it be a federal crime just because it involves a computer?
6) What HPV and smoking have in common:
I am told that some people are of the opinion that vaccines against STDs "encourage promiscuity" by lowering the costs of sexual activity. 
This seems to be an opinion held by socially conservative Christians. [Many] Smart Liberals seem to think this is absurd.* But I want to point out that our very own FDA, as well as liberal anti-smoking groups, apply the exact same thinking to electronic cigarettes. (See here, here and here.) Just last year the FDA attempted to ban them because they reduced the harm from tobacco use.
7) And today's award for unintentional hilarity goes to... We’d Like You To Anonymously Donate to Our Efforts To Expose Anonymous Donations.

8) This looks like a pretty genius idea for busy international airports:


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