Archive for August, 2012

The Role of the Media

I don’t believe in objective journalism, in that I don’t think it exists. I’ve long ranted against expecting objective journalism, which these days, essentially results in “he said, she said” and “balanced” reporting. One of the biggest gaps to result is the fact that very, very rarely will the media call out people as liars. Over the years, various political campaigns have taken advantage of this fact. This year, it has jumped to a whole new level.

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DropBox Two-Factor Authentication

DropBox is cool. I use it to keep my many computers in sync. This includes keeping my password manager master safe file in sync (you all use password managers, right?) Even though that file is encrypted with a good encryption algorithm, it’s still a file I would like to protect. I used a pretty strong password on my DropBox account, but it’s still just a password.

Fortunately, though, DropBox now supports two-factor authentication. If you have a Google account, and you use Google’s two-factor authentication (like you should!), it’s incredibly easy to add, because it works with Google Authenticator. Just enable two-factor in DropBox, go to Google Authenticator on your phone, add new account, scan the barcode, and done.

Hopefully, this means that two-factor authentication is becoming more mainstream. I’ll be a lot happier when Facebook supports it, but for now, DropBox support is fantastic.

Our Intelligent Discourse

I was all ready to write a post about how fun, content-free issues like how Obama is “slashing Medicare and using the money to pay for Obamacare!” are taking over this election cycle, while truly important issues are being forgotten. For example, the fact that MF Global is likely going to evade criminal charges for stealing customer money. Which, when you think about it, is truly, truly scary. If I go into a 7-11 and take a hundred bucks from the till, I’m going to jail. If an investment banks steals hundreds of millions of dollars and blames “chaos and porous risk controls”, they get of scot-free! Gee, I wonder what the incentive is in these cases: investing money to get a return is hard, stealing is easy. Decisions, decisions.

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The Ryan Job

I’m not a fan of Ron Paul, but compared to Paul Ryan, Ron Paul is at least consistent. Like much of the Democratic world, I think it’s awesomely hilarious that Romney chose Ryan as his running mate. I don’t have much to add to the great commentary already out there (see Ezra Klein and this roundup from FT Alphaville). So frankly, there’s little point in doing a full summary of Ryan’s positions. But it’s still fun!

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Squaring the Circle

Surprise, surprise: the Romney tax plan to cut taxes for the richest Americans can only be paid for if you raise taxes on the other 95% of people. Predictably, Romney is saying that the study is “biased”, because it doesn’t count for the massive economic boom that would result. So who is right? Let me suggest to you a journey through the facts as they are largely agreed to on both sides, and when that journey is complete, there really is no conclusion other than Romney’s numbers don’t add up.

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