For-Profit Education Now Available

An article Walter Block and I wrote opposing school vouchers a long time ago was included in the For-Profit volume of the Opposing Viewpoints book series. I got a copy in the mail today, and it looks great. It’s also available via amazon (referral link).

Opposing Viewpoints is a long-running series that dedicates a whole volume to each of a range of controversial topics. The books present the major issues and sub-issues in a pro–con format using articles, cartoons, quotations, and other materials collected from many sources. They’re designed to give children a fairly balanced overview of the topics from all the major sides.

In Support of VPNs

I’ve written about VPNs before on this site and how they can provide a layer of security for mobile attorneys. A few weeks ago, Ars Technica published an article entitled Die, VPN! We’re all “telecommuters” now—and IT must adjust. The thrust of the article is that, with the rise of mobile devices and other technologies (like cloud storage), the VPN is obsolete. It doesn’t suit the way we work.

Today, Ars published an op-ed piece disagreeing with that article. It’s worth the read for anyone who does make or may make future security and IT infrastructure decisions.

The author points out the ever-increasing number of corporate data breaches and suggests that VPNs can alleviate a lot of the problems. After walking through a real-life corporate breach and how it might have been prevented, the author warns, “while VPNs might not be a perfect solution to every problem, they serve a critical purpose in today’s world where, indeed, we’re all telecommuters. Abandoning VPNs because you heard they are inconvenient is, frankly, a reckless and potentially devastating mistake.”

Alton Brown in New Orleans

Alton Brown is coming to Octavia Books on October 19, 2011, to sign copies of the newest volume in the Good Eats series, Good Eats 3: The Later Years.

The cost of a ticket is the price of a copy of the book at Octavia. You trade the ticket for the book at the signing. Unfortunately, the store’s website indicates that Alton will only be signing books purchased from the store. I bought my ticket yesterday, and it came to just over $40 with in-store pickup. Also, for those who want pictures with AB, keep in mind his no-camera-phone policy (third paragraph from the bottom) and bring a real camera.

See you there!

Can You Run Me Off a Gun?

This post is not legal advice; it’s only my opinion. And unless you’ve retained me by a signed contract after an in-person consultation, I’m not your lawyer. If you’re considering printing this project, hire a lawyer who knows the area of law — both federal law and your particular state/county/city/whatever’s law) and consult him. Or better yet: buy a lower. It’s cheaper than hiring a lawyer and probably more fun!

AR-15s

Now onto the interesting stuff.

Recently, a Thingiverse user posted a file that can be printed on a 3d printer to create a (theoretically) functional AR-15 lower receiver. This upset some members of the Thingiverse community, as you can see from the lively discussion on the project page. Tech  Crunch covered the controversy and asked a few important questions. Is printing a gun the same as buying a gun? Is the printed lower receiver a weapon? Is it a part? Is it Illegal?

In short, no, printing a gun isn’t the same as buying one because the user is a manufacturer instead of a consumer. The lower receiver is still a firearm under federal law (and probably state law) as opposed to being just a part. And, finally, printing a lower is not prohibited under federal law for those allowed to own firearms, but your state’s law may vary. Continue reading