Copying and Pasting Passwords

There seems to be a trend among major websites to ‘disallow’ copying and pasting of passwords (generally through JavaScript and other similar means). The thinking behind this is that users who copy and paste their passwords are more likely to forget them and disallowing copy and paste will somehow increase the security of the site implementing the block (e.g., by thwarting some of the more rudimentary brute-force attacks). This line of thinking is incredibly misguided.

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Encryption Explained

I had thought, at first, to start this article with a long list of Latin phrases1. Whereas that may have left my high school Latin teacher overjoyed, I suspect it would have detracted from my main goal: Explaining encryption in an accessible, understandable way. Naturally, that means I abandoned the Latin and opted to start with math2.

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Secure Email Doesn’t Exist

In the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations about the US Government’s domestic (and international) spying activity, there has been (understandably) an increase in the general public’s interest in encryption and secure communications. A number of good pieces of software have resulted from this increased interest (e.g., Signal, Threema, Telegram & 1), but some unscrupulous companies have also sought to take advantage both of the public’s interest and of the public’s lack of knowledge. Some forms of communication are inherently insecure, and any company attempting to sell you a “secure” version should be treated with extreme skepticism.

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The First Presidential Debate of 2016

There was no winner in the first presidential debate of 2016. With her clearly superior command of trivia1 and decades spent in political offices, many expected Hillary Clinton to do far better than Trump in the debate. This expected performance did not materialize. Across the stage, many expected Trump’s combative and energetic style to overwhelm Clinton and, thusly, carry the day. This expected performance, likewise, did not materialize.

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Congress has overridden President Obama’s veto of a bill opening Saudi Arabia to liability in US courts for any role it may have had in the 9/11 attacks. This sets a troubling precedent. While it is difficult to fault Congress for pursuing this course of action1, it undermines both the international legal system and the presidency.

Under international law, States are generally given sovereign immunity (i.e., they may not be hauled into foreign courts). This is a bedrock principle of the international legal order and is of major importance in ensuring a functional2 international system. Further, by granting individual citizens the right to sue Saudi Arabia in US courts, Congress and the Government at large are abdicating their duty to protect American citizens and to advance American interests. The US Government should be the one pursuing any case against Saudi Arabia, not individual victims or their survivors.

In the case of the presidency, this bill undermines the foreign policy and foreign affairs roles that are traditionally and Constitutionally a part of the powers and duties of the executive. Of course, Obama, in shirking his duties on the international stage and generally failing to pursue US interests abroad, has brought this upon himself. It is unfortunate that Congress has been left with little choice3 but to subvert the Constitutional order in an attempt to ensure someone does the job Obama simply refuses to do.

  1. Even if some members acted out of transparently political motivations. 
  2. If we’re willing to be a little loose with our definitions. 
  3. Personally, I would have preferred a joint resolution calling upon Obama to perform his Constitutional duties and pursue any and all actions warranted against Saudi Arabia, but, of course, such a resolution would have been viewed as “political” and shot down by Democrats in Congress. 
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No good deed goes unpunished, it would seem. Undoubtedly, Peter Thiel did the world a favor in funding the Terry Bollea (“Hulk Hogan”) lawsuit that brought down Gawker1. Gawker Media (the parent company of has a rather sordid history, and its bankruptcy and shutdown should be mourned by none (except, perhaps, those who lined their pockets with advertising revenue gleaned from invasion of privacy, catering to the simpleminded, and generally being terrible).

Of course, Thiel made the ‘mistake’ of supporting Donald Trump and appearing at the Republican National Convention. Cue Barack Obama’s standard attack plan in dealing with those he views as enemies2 (i.e., sicking whatever alphabet soup agency is near to hand upon the impertinent soul who dared to defy Obama or his cronies). In this case, the attack dog is the U.S. Department of Labor3.

In one example cited by the Labor Department, Palantir reviewed a pool of more than 130 qualified applicants for the role of engineering intern. About 73% of those who applied were Asian. The lawsuit, which covers Palantir’s conduct between January 2010 and the present, said the company hired 17 non-Asian applicants and four Asians.

“The likelihood that this result occurred according to chance is approximately one in a billion,” said the lawsuit, which was filed with the department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges.

Ah, the ever-shifting standard of what is and what is not discrimination. Is it discrimination if your workforce doesn’t represent the overall population4? In this case, apparently not (the US is approximately 4.8% Asian, so Thiel’s company vastly over-hired Asians by this metric). What if your workforce doesn’t represent the specific region in which you’re located? Again, apparently not (neither California nor Silicon Valley specifically is 20+% Asian).

Also, what sort of mathematics- and logic-illiterate5 fool did they have writing their complaint6? Are we now using true randomness as the gold standard for hiring? That would be ridiculous. The entire point of the hiring process is so that the employer can weed out applicants who would not make good employees and choose from the best amongst those who applied. It matters not at all that who was and who was not hired doesn’t match what would have happened by chance. In fact, it seems unlikely that a company whose hiring process was identical to random chance would stay in business for long.

Of course, the law and logic had nothing to do with filing this lawsuit and will have nothing to do with prosecuting it. The entire thing is transparently an attack on Thiel by the Obama Administration in retaliation for Thiel’s support of Trump. This level of corruption would be astounding if it wasn’t so commonplace under the current Administration.

  1. If nothing else, the company was aptly named. 
  2. The Left stopped viewing the Right as “opponents” a rather long time ago. 
  3. An agency that exists almost exclusively to harass employers, particularly those the current Administration doesn’t like. 
  4. This horrendously bad logic has been employed in the past and will, undoubtedly, be employed again in the future. 
  5. This particular fool was also grammar-illiterate, it would seem, as “17” should be “seventeen”, which should have been obvious as the error was shortly followed by a correct usage of “four”. 
  6. Oh, right, it was almost certainly written by a number of paralegals and attorneys. 
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Political Endorsements, the Media, and Duty

An unsolicited statement of support engenders no duty upon the recipient completely regardless of the nature of the endorser. Any attempt to get a political figure to renounce or to ‘refuse’ (as if such thing were possible after the endorsement has been made) a statement of support or an endorsement or to denounce the endorser is one of two things:

  1. a cynical ploy to gin up support or to divide/discourage the opponent’s support, or
  2. a sincere, but poorly reasoned and utterly unwarranted, belief that an unsolicited statement of support or endorsement engenders a moral duty (at least under certain circumstances).

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It would appear that Hillary Clinton has never been formally introduced to the concept of “trolling”. Perhaps unfamiliarity with the Internet shouldn’t be surprising from a person who rather routinely has trouble with basic technology (e.g., email). Nevertheless, this election cycle has descended into realms of insanity where a candidate from a major party has an entire page on her website devoted to a cartoon frog meme. No, really.

That cartoon frog is more sinister than you might realize.

I literally cannot read that without laughing. I don’t know which is more ludicrous the foregoing quote which asserts that a cartoon frog from MySpace (popularized by 4chan) is “sinister” or the fact that what passes for “research” is linking to an article on the Daily Beast (owned by a company on the board of which sits Hillary’s daughter) that in turn quotes an anonymous nineteen-year-old on Twitter as a credible source (Clinton’s site simply calls him “prominent”). Of course, the whole bit is a cynical ploy to agitate the Democrat base.

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The utter hostility of the American Left to basic reality would be staggering if it weren’t so predictable. Does anyone believe for even a moment that allowing men who ‘identify’ as women access to intimate settings (e.g., showers and sleeping quarters) with actual women (and sometimes children) won’t result in sexual and other assaults? The idea would be laughable if it weren’t actively and pervasively harmful.

 “One of the guests at a rescue mission overheard someone on the street saying, ‘Dude, if you go down to the rescue mission and tell them you’re transgender, you can sleep in the women’s dorm and even shower with them,’” said John Ashmen, president of the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions.

The American Left continually claims to care for the sick, the poor, and the downtrodden; apparently this “care” doesn’t extend to women and children fleeing abusive homes and living the precarious and vulnerable life of homelessness. Denying these vulnerable members of society the relative safety of a homeless shelter is despicable, all the moreso when that denial is premised on delusional beliefs about reality.

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Yet further proof that agreeing with the Government’s plans regarding encryption would be foolish at best:

This, in turn, allows someone with admin rights or an attacker with physical access to a machine not only to bypass Secure Boot and run any operating system they wish, such as Linux or Android, but also permits the installation and execution of bootkit and rootkits at the deepest level of the device …

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