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Belmont Club

Long Live the Digital Revolution

May 20th, 2013 - 5:30 pm

The digital revolution has left no part of the world untouched. But each country has adopted technology in its own particular way. In the Philippines cellphones are used to transfer small sums of money among criminal gangs. In Boston phone cameras were used to track terrorists down. And all over the world millions of abstracted people are glued to their smart phones and tablets making their dates, finding their way or just watching stuff. But in some countries the digital revolution has taken a particular form. Russia for example, is the world capital of the dash cam video.

The question is why.

“Dash cams turn out to be nearly indispensable for Russian drivers.” Law enforcement is so corrupt in Russia and crime so prevalent that by general assent the dash cam has been nominated the most objective witness available.

It’s an interesting example of how a society without any trusted institutions creates a web of collateral information that essentially relies on a the correlation of distributed, unrelated sensors. When nobody is trusted, then trust nobody.

Lax law enforcement has also made is easier for organized crime to make millions from insurance scams. It’s a straightforward racket — crashes can be staged, or already damaged cars presented as evidence of a crash that never even occurred. The perpetrators can certainly produce witnesses that corroborate their version of events.

These scams became so common that Russian auto insurance companies have started denying claims with little reason. … the Russian civil code allows judges a ton of latitude in determining what evidence can be presented in court. Eyewitness testimony can be offered, but it is rarely given much weight because of the myriad of issues discussed above. Dash cams won’t lie, so you really need one to have any hope of winning a case.

So without further ado, Russia presents — the dash cam.

And from Aristide.

The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99
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Top Rated Comments   
Seeing how closely "Do No Evil" Google is tied in with the administration, I wouldn't count on that. They just subserviently handed over the keys to Fox News reporter James Rosen's Gmail account to the Buraq administration, for example.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (23)
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A g-mail account IS Google. Why would anyone in their right mind use Google for email? Or for anything? Because it is free? Surely that is not a good reason to cozy up to another totalitarian entity who undoubtedly sleeps with Obama.

I stopped using Google years back when their using satellites allowed anyone - without any clearance - to map my home, yard, tree cover, fences, entrances, escapes. Perfect for planning a tactical assault on my house. And I don't mean by the government.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Sgian, I have signed up for Startpage mail and expect to use it soon. I heartily recommended it to acquaintences who work at certain news organizations expected to come under great scrutiny by the Obamanistas who view Gov-oogle as their personal NSA.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Speaking of Russia, I just posted this over at Roger Simon's PJM page:

Admitting that Stevens role in Benghazi involved gathering up weapons is the last line of defense between the Washington Establishment and the admission that parts of the CIA facilitated the flow of MANPADs and other deadly weapons to what turned out to be (if not were known at the time) to be Al-Qaeda affiliated groups in Syria. This is the 'conspiracy theory' Media Matters has gone after since Glen Beck, Business Insider, Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, Lt. Col. Anthony Schaeffer, and several others all brought it up in September 2012. That was when Sen. Paul asked Hillary if any weapons were being shipped from Benghazi or Libya on to Turkey, and she told the Senator to ask the CIA.

Apparently no one did or did so publically, and Sens. Graham and McCain doubled down on the arming the Syrian rebels -- including Al-Qaeda allies, as Sen. Paul pointed out -- tonight. Now it becomes clear why Sens. Graham and McCain have never pushed hard to find out what the CIA 'consulate' was doing in Benghazi -- because why would they expose the Agency doing preemptively what they sought to authorize tonight?

In any case the 'bipartisan' cover from pro-Syria rebel Republicans like McCain, Corker and Graham may go a long way toward explaining why Obama and Hillary thought they would get away with the cover up, even the ridiculous blaming the video cover up that insulted everyone's intelligence.

Amb. Stevens may very well have opposed arming Syrian Al-Qaeda once he realized that the weapons were not being gathered to be 'taken off the streets' but to be transshipped to Turkey. And that may have been what got him killed.

At any rate, the problem with a pact of silence between the RINOS McCain/Graham on one side and Obama/Hillary on the other has always been simple: foreign governments that were monitoring the Benghazi gun walking (i.e. Iran and possibly Russia) could blow the whole bipartisan coverrup to smithereens with a timely leak or release of surveillance data showing CIA men at the docks where the weapons were loaded on the very Libyan Islamic Fighting Group-run freighter the Times of London reported about back in September that started the Benghazi to Syria gunrunning story. These D.C. people may take us all for idiots and think a complicit press combined with a bunch of RINOs in the CIA/Saudis and Qataris back pockets will let them get away with anything, including murder. But they forgot there are other forces in this world watching them.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"And you, Russia of mine--are not you also speeding like a troika which
nought can overtake? Is not the road smoking beneath your wheels, and
the bridges thundering as you cross them, and everything being left in
the rear, and the spectators, struck with the portent, halting to wonder
whether you be not a thunderbolt launched from heaven? What does that
awe-inspiring progress of yours foretell? What is the unknown force
which lies within your mysterious steeds? Surely the winds themselves
must abide in their manes, and every vein in their bodies be an
ear stretched to catch the celestial message which bids them, with
iron-girded breasts, and hooves which barely touch the earth as
they gallop, fly forward on a mission of God? Whither, then, are
you speeding, O Russia of mine? Whither? Answer me! But no answer
comes--only the weird sound of your collar-bells. Rent into a thousand
shreds, the air roars past you, for you are overtaking the whole world,
and shall one day force all nations, all empires to stand aside, to give
you way!"

-Nikolai Gogol, "Dead Souls"
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A comment that you’ll see over at LiveLeak regarding videos like these is, “just when you think it can’t get any worse, the Russians will take it up as a personal challenge”.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Instapundit chronicles efforts by American law enforcement to initimidate people who videotape and photograph them. How will American law enforcement deal with dash cams if they become as popular in America?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Aw, Wretch! It is dangerous to post Russian videos. After all, who would not want a grateful hug from a fur-clad Russian lady? Now I am going to have to spend the next couple of hours contemplating one of the big mysteries of this world -- Why are Russian ladies so damn good-looking? (No disrespect intended to ladies from other jurisdictions).

Maybe the admixtures of Viking & Mongol blood made that beauty inevitable?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If necessity is the mother of invention the innovations will keep on coming while people stare into their digital avatars and ask why not? I had a strange dream the night before last. I dreamed that I had rigged my home to voice command through my cell phone. I fancied that I might have an application to work on so researched it a bit. It is kind of there already but there are a lot of opportunities to smooth it out with better apps and system integration. I think this is probably one of those areas that will thrive on the tail of a healthy economy. Toasters and telematics.

Russians have the same favorite past time as they do here; bad driving, fighting, intoxication and more than a little compassion. I learned to drive in LA and found out that once you sit down in that car to relax, you‘ll get there when you get there. The selection of music matters also, I prefer a cool jazz over heavy metal when it comes to driving calmly.

I can hardly wait until Google Glasses become the norm, bringing out the inner cyborg in us all.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Well toadold,

After 15 years of being late to the biz, Wells Fargo, JPMChase and BoA are finally attempting to jointly go up against PayPal (owned by eBay) with a P2P offering. Good luck with that. PayPal has over 128 M active accounts; probably more accounts than any 2 of those 3 "bigs" combined. The joint bank offering is called clearXchange. Most people have never heard of it.

Since banks are cooperatively networked, and the mandate of that bank- connecting network is to transfer funds between members at minimum cost, a debit transaction (EFT via ACH) costs most banks about 2 cents in and 2 cents out. Less in volume. Since it's digital cash, there is no credit check necessary, hence no 2%-3% expense. It's just moving bits over the network.
Note: it's a couple of cents, regardless of the amount transferred!

And now "Square" and others offer free devices that attach to a smart phone to give anyone with a bank account the ability to accept credit card payments anywhere; like at your garage sale, flea or farmer's market.

Interesting time in the financial/merchant services sectors.

Bitcoin is the most successful of the micropayments efforts, so far.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
One thing that might affect the chances of a competitor to PayPal is the fairly well publicised predilection of Paypal to freeze customers' accounts without warning or real reason and then take months (or forever) to unfreeze them. Since PayPal is neither a bank nor affiliated to one, there is damn all that anyone can do about it - bank regulators, for example, have no authority.

This has happened to me with a very small amount, and to a friend with an amount large enough to put him out of business and make him bankrupt. And it happens often enough for the BBC consumer programme "Watchdog" to do a spot on it.

Wealth Warning: A PayPal account may damage your wealth.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
One thing that impressed me was how handy all those Russian Dash cams and other video devices were in figuring out the ballistics of that honking big meteor fly by and strike that they had.
The other thing is all those interesting videos that get loaded up and distributed on the Internet. Sort of a holographic memory. It has to be real irritating for politicians everywhere. Have you notice that when a photo shop is put up on the net how soon a video expert identities it as such.
This whole thing about payments by cell phone is getting very interesting. I was recently reading about its use in some African country that didn't have the infrastructure for regular banking let alone online banking and ATM's.
The Bitcoin experiment keeps rumbling along despite setbacks. If I was in charge of a big credit card bank I'd start rethinking about how secure my 3% fee on my cards was and look to getting into the person to person electronic transfer business. Perhaps make my profit off of advertising on the app. and providing security of information, do it before I woke up and found the majority of my customers were gone.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Computers will fake video soon. All of our senses can be fooled, except yogis who can tune things out.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Richard, thanks for posting the video I attempted to post!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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