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1  General Category / General Discussion / Re: Libertarians who are fawning over the life of communist butcher Mandela on: December 07, 2013, 10:39:27 AM
I suspect most libertarians weren't aware of his political ideology. I wasn't until his hospital stay this year when the commenters at Reason started dissing him.

A quick perusal of his Wikipedia page shows that he was a Communist, but gives the impression that he didn't really accomplish much on that front. Obama and most US politicians are more active communists/socialists/fascists (there's no important distinction).
2  General Category / Bitcoin / Re: Another old austrian bites the bitcoin dust on: December 01, 2013, 12:20:26 PM
I'd never heard of Gary North, but if he's the kind of person promoting Austrian economics then it never stands a chance.

He literally thinks that Bitcoins lack value because they don't meet a specific definition of "money". He has no idea what the purpose of words are, and he writes at the level of a fifth grader.

That being said, I share his skepticism of Bitcoin's long-term prospects and short-term stability. Its pseudo-anonymity, ease-of-use and freedom from regulation are valuable features, but they're easily replicated by other digital currencies. I also think the increasing size of the blockchain and the fragility of one's wallet are serious practical issues.

I certainly don't begrudge anyone who's profiting from Bitcoin, especially an-caps. But I do think its current rise in value is largely speculative, akin to investment in non-dividend stocks like Facebook and Twitter.
3  General Category / General Discussion / Re: AnCap and Armed? on: October 20, 2013, 09:31:09 AM
1) Have you decided to arm yourself and obtain training?  
   a) if yes, why?  What arms and training did you select?  Why?
   b) if no, why?  What measures have you taken instead? (Alarm, dog, private security, etc.)
My grandparents, who we visited often, were career military, farmers and hunters so I had a reasonable amount experience with firearms, mostly target shooting with rifles and skeet shooting. For protection though, I keep a semi-auto pistol at home. I've had much less experience with pistols than rifles and shotguns, and I could certainly benefit from some additional training, but I'm comfortable enough to use them for defense.

Since you were interested in Syock's martial arts training, I'll mention that I do have several years of taekwondo experience. Taekwondo is much more of a sport than a self defense technique, but being accustomed to getting kicked in the head does provide some measure of confidence. I'm screwed if I get in a fight that goes to the ground (taekwondo is all about kicking), but I can break a person's ribs with one kick if they're expecting me to attack with my hands.

2) Have you ever, personally, been the victim of a violent crime?  (Did it/would it) alter your views?  How?  
No. But if I ever am, it might be encourage me to start carrying (which I doubt I'll ever actually be able to do here in NJ). Disclaimer: I have been explicitly threatened in writing with imprisonment and ultimately death if I fail to cough up regular extortion payments to the world's largest criminal organization.

3) Are you interested in obtaining arms/training but haven't, yet?  What's stopping you?  Are you interested in information as to how?
As I said above, I could certainly use some. I just haven't had the time.

4) If you've chosen to own/carry arms, have you gone the "legit", govt. permission-slip route, or the free-market, "don't get caught" route?  Why?
I've gone legit, sort of, I think. I brought my pistol with me when I moved to NJ, and from what I understand I don't have to register it. Buying in New Jersey requires explicit permission from the state, so if I want something else I'll get a used weapon from someone out of state that was originally purchased before I moved so I can plausibly claim I owned it before I came here.

I'm hoping for a productive discussion on both the pragmatic and moral aspects of self-defense, and the preparation for it.  I'm not looking for dogmatic or antagonistic attacks, I'm looking to have a friendly and open discussion about personal security in the modern world.  If you're not up for that, I ask, respectfully, that you stay out of this thread.  
Morally, my position on self defense is probably extreme even among everyone here. It suffices to say that knowingly endangering innocent bystanders is the only moral restriction I place on my defense.

Pragmatically, in many cases, I'm afraid that the reaction of the state to defense is more dangerous than that which you're defending yourself from. Luckily I'm fast.  Cheesy

I forgot: In what country do you live?  Are you ex-military? Are you a "combat-vet"?
US. No. No.
4  General Category / General Discussion / Re: VPN's will not protect you on: October 03, 2013, 05:52:35 AM
Quote
Amateur radio towers are not exclusively for HF antennas.  There is a lot of amateur radio activity from 144 to 148 MHz, and there are other amateur radio bands up to 1.2 GHz.  It is advantageous to mount antennas for these bands on towers as well.

Interesting. Like I said, I don't know much about amateur radio. I thought it was pretty much all HF. I might have to go do some reading now.

Quote
By the way, 1 GHz corresponds to a wavelength of about 33 cm.

Indeed. But I'm conditioned to consider everything within an order of magnitude (sometimes three orders of magnitude) equal in general discussions.
5  General Category / General Discussion / Re: VPN's will not protect you on: October 02, 2013, 11:34:41 PM
Quote
I've heard of guys who live in rural areas with large radio towers on their property who use them for their hobby and to pick up free WiFi over 20 miles away.

I'm a little confused. The wavelength at which an antenna operates is roughly equal to the length of the antenna. WiFi operates around 2 GHz (wavelengths less than a meter), hence the small antennas on a home wireless router. As another example, the cellular network antennas you see on towers all over the place are around a meter in size, commensurate with the wavelengths around 1 GHz they use. Cell phones use some sophisticated antenna designs to improve their performance despite being several times smaller than the cell wavelengths.

I don't know much about amateur radio, but I'd guess that these guys have large towers in order to support long antennas that operate at shortwave radio frequencies with wavelengths on the order of tens of meters. Those antennas won't work at WiFi frequencies. They could however be using them to get a line of sight for small GHz antennas with good collectors. In many places, anyone with a house on a hill could do the same.

You're right that this type of standoff communication would be a nice addition to the privacy toolkit. I just wanted to nerd out for sec.  Cheesy
6  General Category / General Discussion / Re: VPN's will not protect you on: October 02, 2013, 09:26:32 PM
Nothing is foolproof, of course, but the VPN was one weak point among many in Ulbricht's operation. Not to mention that information in the articles suggests that he was using a VPN that keeps logs. Not all do. Again, nothing is foolproof: even if they don't keep logs, the government could conceivably would force them to make an exception.

In other words, using a VPN (especially one that doesn't keep logs) is better than using nothing. But it's not bulletproof.
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