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Lavabit Suspends Operations

The encrypted email service Lavabitused by Ed Snowden, has suspended operations. The farewell message is all sorts of creepy.

My Fellow Users,

I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit. After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations. I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision. I cannot. I feel you deserve to know what’s going on–the first amendment is supposed to guarantee me the freedom to speak out in situations like this. Unfortunately, Congress has passed laws that say otherwise. As things currently stand, I cannot share my experiences over the last six weeks, even though I have twice made the appropriate requests.

What’s going to happen now? We’ve already started preparing the paperwork needed to continue to fight for the Constitution in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. A favorable decision would allow me resurrect Lavabit as an American company.

This experience has taught me one very important lesson: without congressional action or a strong judicial precedent, I would _strongly_ recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.

Ladar Levison
Owner and Operator, Lavabit LLC

Defending the constitution is expensive! Help us by donating to the Lavabit Legal Defense Fund here.

via Ars Technica

Update (8/14/2013): Lavabit founder, under gag order, speaks out about shut-down decision via Ars Technica

The founder of Lavabit, the company whose encrypted email service Ed Snowden (and ~400k other users) was using is under a gag order so strong that he can’t even share everything with his lawyer:

“There’s information that I can’t even share with my lawyer, let alone with the American public. So, if we’re talking about secrecy, you know, it’s really been taken to the extreme, and I think it’s really being used by the current administration to cover up tactics that they may be ashamed of…”

Law practitioners/experts, is this really possible?



August 8, 2013 Posted by | Events, News | Comments Off on Lavabit Suspends Operations


It’s a downright depressing day when The Onion goes from being a satirical news site to an actual source of truth. Here is a video by The Onion, posted in 2011, depicting a rapist as the real victim just because he’s a sports star with a promising career:

And here is a video showing CNN’s coverage of the Steubenville rape trial:

I got the original comparison from Thought Catalog. Eerie, no? What’s even sadder is some of the response to the verdict. This breaks my head. A girl was raped while she was intoxicated. Naked pictures of her were posted on the internet. How is she “deserving” of this? How is anyone deserving of this?

I think there are many variables that led to this moment: poor parenting (and/or absentee parents),  lack of education, a general acceptance of misogyny (by both men and women), glorification and worship of athletes, permissive adults, etc. I don’t think there is a single solution that will fix everything. The best I can do is to teach my own children to do the right thing.

Thanks for the links Angelo!

Sources: Thought Catalog, Public Shaming

March 18, 2013 Posted by | News, Rants, Video | , , , | Comments Off on Steubenville

Journey Around the World in 23 Years

Gunther Holtorf

Not many people can say they’ve traveled around the world. I daresay only Gunther Holtorf can claim to have traveled around the world in this fashion:

In 1989, Gunther Holtorf and his wife Christine climbed aboard their 1988 Mercedes Benz G-Wagen to travel from Germany to Africa, where they planned to complete a once-in-a-lifetime road trip that would last 18-months.

Except the trip didn’t last 18-months, it has lasted 23 years, spanned more than 200 countries and the G-Wagen now has 800,000 kilometers, or 500,000 miles, on its odometer. That’s the equivalent of 20 times around the equator.

The trio have visited everywhere from Alaska to Zimbabwe by way of North Korea, the Sahara desert, Mount Everest and Siberia in an effort to drive around the globe. Sadly, Gunther’s wife Christine passed away in 2010, but he has continued to travel the world, as per her wishes.

This is certainly a Mercedes Benz commercial waiting to happen.

Thanks for the link, Joe!

via DigitalTrends

July 24, 2012 Posted by | News, Video | , , , | Comments Off on Journey Around the World in 23 Years


What’s the big deal with SOPA & PIPA, you ask?

Here’s the big deal.

Do something about it.

January 18, 2012 Posted by | General, News | , | Comments Off on SOPA / PIPA

Capturing video at the speed of light — one trillion frames per second

So what kind of camera do you have? How fast can it shoot? 1/4000th of a second? 1/8000th of a second? Pshaw. What do you think of a camera that can shoot 1/1,000,000,000,000th of a second? That’s so fast that it can capture light traveling in slow motion!

MIT researchers have created a new imaging system that can acquire visual data at a rate of one trillion exposures per second. That’s fast enough to produce a slow-motion video of a burst of light traveling the length of a one-liter bottle, bouncing off the cap and reflecting back to the bottle’s bottom.

via MITnews

December 13, 2011 Posted by | News, Photography, Science and Technology | Comments Off on Capturing video at the speed of light — one trillion frames per second

RIP Steve Jobs


(image from GETTY)

Thank you, Steve, for being a pioneer in marrying design and technology.

via CNN

October 5, 2011 Posted by | News, Science and Technology | , | Comments Off on RIP Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs Resigned From Apple

It finally happened.

Considering that Apple is a company that feeds off of the singular vision of its CEO, I’m very curious to see what the new CEO, Tim Cook, has in store.

Thanks for the head’s up, Tom!

August 24, 2011 Posted by | News, Science and Technology | , , , | Comments Off on Steve Jobs Resigned From Apple

Mike Rowe’s Testimony on Skilled Labor

Mike Rowe Testifies

Dirty Jobs creator/host Mike Rowe testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation recently on the widening skilled labor gap in the United States.

A few months ago in Atlanta I ran into Tom Vilsack, our Secretary of Agriculture. Tom told me about a governor who was unable to move forward on the construction of a power plant. The reason was telling. It wasn’t a lack of funds. It wasn’t a lack of support. It was a lack of qualified welders.

In general, we’re surprised that high unemployment can exist at the same time as a skilled labor shortage. We shouldn’t be. We’ve pretty much guaranteed it.

In high schools, the vocational arts have all but vanished. We’ve elevated the importance of "higher education" to such a lofty perch that all other forms of knowledge are now labeled "alternative." Millions of parents and kids see apprenticeships and on-the-job-training opportunities as "vocational consolation prizes," best suited for those not cut out for a four-year degree. And still, we talk about millions of "shovel ready" jobs for a society that doesn’t encourage people to pick up a shovel.

In a hundred different ways, we have slowly marginalized an entire category of critical professions, reshaping our expectations of a "good job" into something that no longer looks like work. A few years from now, an hour with a good plumber — if you can find one — is going to cost more than an hour with a good psychiatrist. At which point we’ll all be in need of both.

I came here today because guys like my grandfather are no less important to civilized life than they were 50 years ago. Maybe they’re in short supply because we don’t acknowledge them they way we used to. We leave our check on the kitchen counter, and hope the work gets done. That needs to change.

When Rowe spoke of his grandfather, I couldn’t help but think of my own dad and his preternatural ability to figure out all things mechanical. I do agree with Rowe’s point that we, as a society, have greatly undervalued skilled labor.

I can imagine that in a few generations, all we’ll have in the U.S. is middle management. It’ll be like a large rowboat with 10 guys w/bullhorns shouting at the 1 guy doing the actual rowing.

via Discovery Channel via BoingBoing

May 13, 2011 Posted by | Events, General, News | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Doodling Infinity Elephants

Doodling Infinity Elephants–Vi Hart

Vi Hart is my hero. This is how you make math fun to learn.

Her YouTube videos went viral and now she is being featured in the New York Times.

Bravo, Vi… Bravo.

via Vi Hart

January 18, 2011 Posted by | Geeks and Gadgetry, General, News, Science and Technology, Video | , , , , | Comments Off on Doodling Infinity Elephants

Quest to Learn: A Video-Game-Based School


Quest to Learn has the right idea, in my opinion. We’re inundated with technology everyday. Why not adapt that to create a fun learning environment for kids? Stepping back a bit, what really stands out to me is how this school uses practical application in its teaching methods. That reminds me of my time at Cal Poly SLO, where the motto is “Learn by doing.” All the lab-time is where the real learning is done.

I also love their “grading” system. Instead of getting the traditional letter grades of A through F, you “level-up” (“pre-novice,” “novice,” “apprentice,” “senior” and “master.”). Considering those titles are more applicable to real-life jobs and skills, I feel that this reinforces hard work and effort. Would you rather be presented with a letter grade at every milestone, or would you rather earn “experience points” that lead to the next level of mastership? Think of the difference in impact of being handed an “F” and being told to redo an assignment vs. earning a subset of points that eventually lead to the next level?

I really think this school is on to something and I hope to see more innovation like this.

via Quest to Learn via BoingBoing

September 16, 2010 Posted by | Games and Gaming, General, News, Science and Technology | , , , | Comments Off on Quest to Learn: A Video-Game-Based School