It is possible, in France, for a woman to anonymously, legally give birth and then hand over her child to the state. Adoption comes without a name or face of the adult, only a child who is sent into the world with no formal backstory [1].

The most pressing issue here is the lack of a medical and biological history:

One of the most frustrating things for children born sous X who attempt to seek out their birth mother is that the information they desire is generally held in a file somewhere. When women exercise their right to give birth sous X, the state generally gathers some facts about them, but refuses to disclose these to the offspring unless it has the mother’s consent. Many who defend the rights of children born sous X accuse the authorities of not helping mothers who are often crippled by guilt to rethink their original decision, and of blocking rather than facilitating contact between family members.

Even cases such as that of Dominique Léonard face these barriers: her daughter Laura developed multiple sclerosis when she was studying for her baccalaureate and needs to know her mother’s medical history in order to receive the correct treatment. Mrs Léonard was told by the adoption agency that had dealt with her case: “You can employ all the lawyers on earth, you will never win the right to see your file.”

Even if files of necessary information are kept, it is possible that they may do no good. The will of the mother can obviously affect the child, with one having never seen the face of the other.

It is certainly possible for parents to overcome the grief that this process can bring. Likewise, children are resilient in the same manner. But files of necessary information should be legally required for those who wish to remain anonymous. This information should also be accessible for any child who needs it. Stripped of personally identifying information, a biological picture of the family can be had while sticking to original intent of the law as it currently stands.

The entire article is available here and is bound to bring up discussion regarding the morality of remaining anonymous and the law’s efficacy in preventing abortion and infanticide, among other ideas.

[1] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/les-enfants-x-denied-their-true-identity-2333283.html

A panoramic view of Hiroshima, just months after the atomic bomb.

It is not the devestation here that I find to be intriguing. Instead, it is the structures which survived. There are a handful of buildings that are still standing. The parellel between the strength of man and the destruction of himself is in the structures, which seem to rise out of the rubble, and the citizens, who came back to start again.

I am humbled by the magnificence of what we can create, what we may destroy, and our resilience and willingness to rebuild.

I enjoy TED talks. The TED and TEDx conferences have brought a lot of new topics to the forefront. Generally, I enjoy the single-speaker format. But what if that format were thrown out the window? What if you could watch high quality arguments?

No, the WWW Conference isn’t destined to be the next Monty Python argument clinic. The founder of TED has come up with a new way to structure conferences. His idea revolves around free-form discussions, pairing guests who will spar, intellectually. Then the discussions will be available for purchase by the public [1].

A good argument between friends can be an enjoyable experience. I think it will take an exceptional battle to make me want to purchase someone else’s words, though. Let’s be fair: One of the best parts about TED talks is the price. Advertising, and admission to the live event, help fund the bandwidth bill that comes around each month.

It looks as if WWW will be much smaller than TED; talks may be longer. The acronym is also a bit much [2].

I am intrigued, not yet sold. A test conference, with free access to the public could scratch my itch well enough to pry open my billfold. We will see.

[1] http://www.fastcodesign.com/1664704/the-creator-of-ted-aims-to-reinvent-conferences-once-again
[2] http://www.thewwwconference.com/

You may have heard of anonymity services, like Tor, which help to hide the nature of internet communications. Tor works by encrypting connections and by using random paths between nodes. It hides the who, but not the what [1].

Insert Telex, a new form of anomyzing software. It embraces the controllers of network activity, ISP’s, by recognizing and utilizing them as gatekeepers:

As the connection travels over the Internet en route to the non-blacklisted site, it passes through routers at various ISPs in the core of the network. We envision that some of these ISPs would deploy equipment we call Telex stations. These devices hold a private key that lets them recognize tagged connections from Telex clients and decrypt these HTTPS connections. The stations then divert the connections to anti­censorship services, such as proxy servers or Tor entry points, which clients can use to access blocked sites. This creates an encrypted tunnel between the Telex user and Telex station at the ISP, redirecting connections to any site on the Internet.

I can see this path as having a few major advantages. Once you have the cooperation of an ISP then the Telex stations should be easily distributable among all current nodes of that ISP. If you have one, you should have them all. However, if you don’t get the first one then you have no chance at the others.

It is also helpful that the Telex process can be used in tandem with other types of services. An end user can protect himself with both Tor and Telex, allowing for anonymity of person with the allowance of channels that can funnel the data you seek.

On the downside, changing how ISP’s process information requests could be difficult. In an excellent post on Slashdot, CmdrTaco covers this topic with more depth. The obvious issue of large-scale deployment is brought up on MetaFilter, thanks to the user, FishBike.

[1] https://telex.cc/