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Slashback: Eldred, Cruise, SOAP 181

Posted by timothy
from the just-where-is-maxwell-afb dept.
Slashback tonight with several updates, ranging from patent encumbrances to SOAP 1.2 to the transcript for Eldred v. Ashcroft, with more bits in the middle on the recent Geek Cruise in the Caribbean, the all-important cable TV lineups, and more. Read on below for the details!
A little light reading. hayek writes "The transcript of oral argument at the Supreme Court in Eldred v. Ashcroft is now available online."

And then we saw the sharks. a9db0 writes "Part II of Doc Searl's travelogue recounting his experiences on the Geek Cruise has been posted here by the fine folks over at the Linux Journal"

In an earlier report from Geek Cruise, Linus predicted 2.6 by June 2003. If you liked the list of features being considered for 2.6, you can thank puriots0 for "the list of what's been included in time for the feature freeze for Linux 2.6", as found at kernelnewbies.org.

Peel back your eyelids and let these images flood your brain. strredwolf writes "I think we had half the story when Cartoon Network said they were going to remove Zoids and G Gundam in their Toonami block. It was more like remove Zoids, move G Gundam to Midnight Run with GI Joe, put HeMan and Transformers on full weekdays, and double up on DB and DBZ. The website and broadcast prove it now. (This report was done while watching to Toonami live.)"

And Stalke writes "Recently, rumours about Stargate SG1 7th season included it both being renewed as well as speculation that it might be cancelled. MGM and Scifi put those rumours to rest today by officially announcing a 7th season. It will begin filming next year with a full 22 episodes ordered. No word about Daniel Jackson returning though :("

Cracking down on alien fraudsters. yep writes "Administrators of the alien-hunting distributed computing experiment SETI@home have announced they will crack down on cheats who rort statistics on computing power lent to the project. The announcement follows a united protest from the chief contributors. SETI@home director David Anderson announced SETI@home would do its best to investigate users returning suspiciously high amounts of work and delete their accounts if it uncovered solid evidence of cheating."

Sure they're not. tiltowait writes "The Hartford Courant article "The FBI Has Bugged Our Public Libraries" has been retracted (this was mentioned here - but the older article has been removed). Even if the retraction can be trusted, this doesn't change the fact that the FBI can still bug libraries as freely as the CIA can assasinate with impunity, or that more McCarthyism is on the way."

This story retracts the claims of bugging made in the previous one. Since the FBI has little incentive to tell the truth on this count, I don't see what incentive anyone has to believe their denial.

Cleaning up the future for SOAP. Makarand writes "A major hurdle in finalizing the SOAP 1.2 specification has been removed. Both Epicentric, a subsidiary of Vignette, and WebMethods, which makes integration software, had said in earlier statements that they may have patents that cover the technology used in the SOAP 1.2 specification which would have made SOAP 1.2 non royalty-free hindering approval by W3C. Epicentric has now amended its earlier statement saying they no longer believe they hold any such patents, and even if they did, they are interested in making them available on a royalty-free basis. WebMethods has made no comments yet."

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Slashback: Eldred, Cruise, SOAP

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  • by ekrout (139379) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @08:02PM (#4621458) Journal
    If I were you guys I'd probably avoid Slashdotting the Supreme Court...

    Just a thought, though, not a sermon ;-)
  • SciFi (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @08:03PM (#4621466)
    "MGM and Scifi put those rumours to rest today by officially announcing a 7th season. It will begin filming next year with a full 22 episodes ordered."

    Yea? I remeber when SciFi and Jim Henson annouced more seasons of Farscape and full seasons ordered.
    • Re:SciFi (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "Yea? I remeber when SciFi and Jim Henson annouced more seasons of Farscape and full seasons ordered."

      When dead people say stuff, you damn well listen!
  • by CatWrangler (622292) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @08:05PM (#4621476) Journal
    OK... The FBI may or may not be bugging libraries. The FBI is closely in alliance with the Secret Service. The Secret Service is run by the Treasury Department. The Treasury Department is run by Paul O'Neil, who used to run Alcoa. Alcoa is the largest producer in the world of Tin Foil.

    It all makes sense folks. The truth is out there.

    • "It all makes sense folks. The truth is out there."

      No, you are "out there". ;)

    • pshhhaww, why would they go through the trouble to bug the computer directly? Wouldn't that be a horrible waste of their time?

      I mean why not just keep an eye on the internet traffic for the whole library, I'm sure they all get their service from some place fairly standard and traceable.

      They most likely tap network at some point where they can watch whole library system with one sniffer.

      just my 2 cents

    • So what does this have to do with Kevin Bacon?
    • OK... The FBI may or may not be bugging libraries. The FBI is closely in alliance with the Secret Service. The Secret Service is run by the Treasury Department. The Treasury Department is run by Paul O'Neil, who used to run Alcoa. Alcoa is the largest producer in the world of Tin Foil.

      Umm, where does Kevin Bacon [virginia.edu] fit in?

      • Actually, Tin Foil has been a key part of the catering teams for most of Mr. Bacon's movies.

        Unfortunately, hollywood always screws the little guy, so he doesn't get the recognition he so deserves.
    • Alcoa sold a bunch of aluminum to Japan before WWII which was subsequently made into a lot of very dangerous airplanes called Zeros.

      Leave it to Neal Stephenson to write a story about Japanese gold when what's really interesting is a story about Japanese aluminum.

  • by Samir Gupta (623651) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @08:06PM (#4621479) Homepage
    Why don't they use a standard principle of distributed systems: just send out the same work unit to multiple machines and teams, and use some cross-comparison scheme to detect anamolies? Work units that disagree with the majority are flagged as invalid.
    • I thought the original article said that team members were massively sharing nearly completed work units so that every machine on the team would complete the work unit and submit it.
    • by cduffy (652) <charles+slashdot@dyfis.net> on Thursday November 07, 2002 @08:13PM (#4621537)
      They do that -- but one of the methods of cheating is copying the results of that one completed work unit and returning it without recomputation when another machine on the same team is asked to double-check it.

      One obvious solution -- distributing a work unit only once to each team -- comes to mind, but without being on the team I can't comment as to relevant practical concerns.
      • Better yet... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by goldfndr (97724)
        Rather than a limit of work units to people, how about a unique identifier attached to each work unit - perhaps a hash or signature for WU and date/time and user? Then filter/reject any duplicate identifiers.

        I'd imagine they have some sort of rejection method right now (in case someone tries to upload /dev/random), but I don't know how much overhead this would involve.

        • That's fine and dandy but will do little good unless the entire calculation of the results is dependant on that UID. Otherwise, if the bulk of the calculations can be done first and the UID applied separately, cheaters can simply store the non-UID-dependant components of the calculation and apply them against as many UIDs as they like.
          • apply them against as many UIDs as they like
            That would only work if the UID was really short. If the UID is adequately long (4 or 5 bytes) and random (or at least non-sequential), good luck to getting a match in a reasonable amount of time without "getting caught".
            • Huh? Every time one of their machines is assigned an already-completed work unit (but with a different UID), they munge the precalculated portion together with that UID and send it back. I'm not suggesting that UIDs be tried randomly.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 07, 2002 @08:14PM (#4621543)
      Because what MANY of the cheats are doing is to take an *almost* finished work unit, then distribute that to a whole bunch of machines to finish and subsequently report. Thus, they flood back a tremendous number of identical (and valid) work units and get credit for many more work units than could possibly be done with the actual hardware that they have.

      These cheats aren't diluting the validity of the results, only getting credit for huge quantities of work units. (Though one could argue that they are disrupting things by chewing up bandwidth) Credit is one of the reasons that folks volunteer to do SETI@Home, so this could also cause people to loose interest and drop out if not corrected.
      • "These cheats aren't diluting the validity of the results, only getting credit for huge quantities of work units."

        Except that they are still subverting the validation system. So if they've got flaky hardware and their results are slightly wrong because of it, they'll be passing on those corrupted results to a number of other people who will provide incorrect confirmation.

    • Why don't they use a standard principle of distributed systems: just send out the same work unit to multiple machines and teams, and use some cross-comparison scheme to detect anamolies? Work units that disagree with the majority are flagged as invalid.

      That is PRECISELY what that they are said to be abusing. One machine completes 99% of a work unit, that unit is then passed on to a hundred other machines. They each complete the last 1% and all hand in correct units. The cross-check program verifies that they all agree and flags them all as valid, they all get credit.

      The good news it that this does not currupt any of the results. The bad news is that the "work done" figures are hosed and that worthless data is burning up bandwidth and processor time on the central servers.

      -
  • Library (Score:4, Interesting)

    by teamhasnoi (554944) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {ionsahmaet}> on Thursday November 07, 2002 @08:10PM (#4621504) Homepage Journal
    Couldn't some /.er go to the library in question and investigate the computers? See if there is something running in the background or a keylogger on the keyboard? *That* would be interesting, indeeeeed. I would be interested to see what library patrons have been doing to circumvent and/or expose any attempts at skullduggery by the feds.
    • Re:Library (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ender81b (520454) <billd@noSPAM.inebraska.com> on Thursday November 07, 2002 @08:29PM (#4621625) Homepage Journal
      Allright I work at a university research library so I can possibly answer this for you. For one, no we haven't had the FBI knocking on our door so that is good. But, as to how they would do this i have a few theories.

      I doubt they would run anything on the computers themselves using a program or a keylogger, mainly because it is too much work and ALOT of people would have to know about. I mean, we have 176 public computers and around 200 staff computers throughout all our branches they would have to bug. And to do that they would have to involve at least 3 people PLUS the student techs who administer the machines and work in the labs. I would doubt they would bother with it, considering the work to log 500 some machines. Doesn't seem worth their time.

      Instead, and much more likely, they would track the people's book browsing habits. Our library uses a third-party system called IRIS (innovative research something something) to handle our online card catalog, which happens to be our only card catalog. Now things become more interesting. Since all queries (seaching for books, journals, etc, etc) are tracked by IP and logged automatically by the IRIS machine in the first place - to see interests in books and what we can keep or send to storage, not part of some grand conspiracy - all the FBI would have to do is ask for the logs. Then, assuming they know which computer the suspect was at, match the IP's with the queries. Also if they wanted stuff like book checkout records, etc, etc, they could just grab it from the IRIS machine. Basically, this would be relatively easy for them and only 1-2 people who have to know. And, even better, the general public would be oblivious. You could also set up the database to only report certain queries for books, and the like. I mean the infrastructure is there, all they have to do is turn it on/customize it to what they need.

      The only way you could find out about it is if you had access to the IRIS machine. And, sorry guys, that ain't going to happen unless you work there. So don't go to your local library looking for key loggers you aren't going to find any. Now, personally, I am a lowly student computer tech so I have absolutely no say in this but it is somewhat scary to think of.

      Also, they could just deploy packet sniffers, etc, etc on the LAN.
      • Re:Library (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Grail (18233)
        Then, assuming they know which computer the suspect was at, match the IP's with the queries.

        You've got it backwards.

        The FBI isn't interested in finding out what queries have been made by dangerous suspects. What the FBI will be doing is looking for dangerous queries (people pulling out copies of "Catcher in the Rye" for example), and thus locating their next suspect.

        So be careful about your book borrowing habits. Rather than borrowing books, buy them. Buy books from stores using only cash. Only buy one book per transaction. Buy your books from different stores. Never visit the same store twice in a row.

        And remember - trust no-one.

  • by cscx (541332) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @08:11PM (#4621515) Homepage
    There's no sex on the Geek Cruise. None. Oh, there's geeks on the Geek Cruise -- but you don't want geeks. You want sex. And there's no sex on the Geek Cruise.
  • by ekrout (139379) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @08:12PM (#4621527) Journal
    Free cruises are a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of free as in free speech, not as in free beer.

    Free cruises are a matter of the vacationers' freedom to sail to, study, change and improve cities all across the globe. More precisely, it refers to four kinds of freedom, for the users of the cruise:

    - The freedom to ride on any ship, for any purpose (freedom 0).
    - The freedom to study how the ship works, and adapt it to your vacationing needs (freedom 1).
    - The freedom to redistribute free cruise passes so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
    - The freedom to improve the cruise, and release your improvements to the event coordinator, so that the whole community benefits. (freedom 3).
    • by Dr. Awktagon (233360) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @08:30PM (#4621629) Homepage
      Remember, boarding a ship without permission from the ship owner makes you a PIRATE.
    • So where does Free Body Culture fit in? Well, probably not in any geek cruises ;-)
    • Reasons why we should be able to board cruise ships for free:

      • The people who practice the art of actually running the ship (captain, crew, etc.) only see a small portion of the proceeds. The rest is taken by the greedy corporation that runs the cruise line.
      • If I can take a free cruise, I'll be more likely to tell all my friends about it, increasing the popularity of the ship.
      • The cruise line can still make money by selling me extras while I'm on board.
      • The cruise line should pick a better business model.
      • The cruise line should offer incentives to people who actually purchase their tickets.
      • Security measures such as checking tickets when people board only inconveniences the paying passengers who have to go through the checkpoint. Stowaways will always get on board no matter what. If I can see a boat, I can get on board.
      • As long as the cabin I use would have been empty anyway, the cruise line isn't losing any money. I wouldn't have bought a ticket if I hadn't been able to go for free.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 07, 2002 @08:16PM (#4621554)
    Is that why RMS doesn't use it?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 07, 2002 @09:08PM (#4621840)
      I don't find these sorts of comments funny or insightful in any way. And they always show up on Slashdot.

      Didn't you get bullied when you were in school? Didn't you have enough of that?

      To better understand your comment, I'll rephrase it thusly:

      "RMS is funny, and I don't understand him. He says things that cause me to think. He says things that threaten my livelihood. He speaks out where I am afraid to. He is confident in his ideas.

      Kick kick kick. I cannot deal with him. Kick Kick Kick.

      I am small and by kicking RMS I can be big."

      Myself, I wish I could understand and phrase an argument as clearly and succinctly as RMS. I wish I could code as well as RMS. I wish I had made a contribution to my profession 1/1000th as important as either emacs, gcc, or GNU. I wish I had the balls to speak as freely as RMS. I wish I wasn't as enamored of money as I am, maybe then I could follow my dreams of activism, and I thank RMS for following his. I thank RMS for his contributions to our profession and to society, and for making arguments that cause me much grief when I think about them.
      • Wow, somebody needs to get off their high horse. God, laugh a little. Enjoy life. I'm all for activism, and I support the idea of free software, but to compare a stupid (and funny) joke combining geeks in general (and I've met RMS, so him in particular) tendency to fear showers, baths and anything else related to hygene and RMS strong views on software patents with "kicking a man" is ridiculous. Or maybe I just don't understand you and your love of RMS. I respect RMS, although he might be a little extreme for me, and his additions to computing have been great. We need people of all viewpoints. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will get you sued for libel.
      • by Ian Bicking (980) <`ianb' `at' `colorstudy.com'> on Thursday November 07, 2002 @10:55PM (#4622500) Homepage
        Since this stupid joke got to 5, and the retort is still at zero, I'm copying it so its more visible:
        I don't find these sorts of comments funny or insightful in any way. And they always show up on Slashdot.

        Didn't you get bullied when you were in school? Didn't you have enough of that?

        To better understand your comment, I'll rephrase it thusly:

        "RMS is funny, and I don't understand him. He says things that cause me to think. He says things that threaten my livelihood. He speaks out where I am afraid to. He is confident in his ideas.

        Kick kick kick. I cannot deal with him. Kick Kick Kick.

        I am small and by kicking RMS I can be big."

        Myself, I wish I could understand and phrase an argument as clearly and succinctly as RMS. I wish I could code as well as RMS. I wish I had made a contribution to my profession 1/1000th as important as either emacs, gcc, or GNU. I wish I had the balls to speak as freely as RMS. I wish I wasn't as enamored of money as I am, maybe then I could follow my dreams of activism, and I thank RMS for following his. I thank RMS for his contributions to our profession and to society, and for making arguments that cause me much grief when I think about them.

        • Then my suggestion to you is to quit reading them and to quit responding to them.

          Does it change the fact that for 15+ years Mr. Stallman lived in his office at MIT? Does it change the fact that his hygenic preferences (and lack thereof) are well documented? No, it does not. Does it particularly matter? In the realm of "Free Software", no it does not. In the sphere of "social acceptability" (which you may or may not ascribe to. I personally have a "eh, fuck it" attitude), yes it does. When you can't preach your point without grossing out the audience because you smell like ass, what's the point? Stallman is a relic of the "hippies" that so many of us make fun of. You know the type, they still exist in pockets around the country. They don't bathe, shower, work, or whatever, generally live a care-free life, many are well educated, their "priorities" seem to be off-kilter with the rest of the world, and personally, that's what makes them fun. I don't particularly care for hippies (the lazy fucking bastards), but I don't particularly mind them, either. They don't harm me.

          RMS has some very controversial views about things. This opens him up for attack, and he apparently has a very thick skin for most things, except for his little pet peeves (such as GNU/Linux). So fucking what? He can defend himself and doesn't need you or anyone else to do it for him. He gets picked on, sure, but does it really matter to him? Do you think he goes home and cries himself to sleep because of what some little prick on /. said about him (and I've said some very bad things about RMS and I really don't give a shit what you think about it)? Maybe he'll grab an AK and go Columbine at the Redmond campus. Is that what you're insinuating?

          Henry Ford is revered as one of the modern progenitors of modern industrialism. Not much is mentioned about his pro-Nazi sympathies, his dictatorial aims of his own company (the Ford Smile, anyone?), etc. RMS will go down in history not for his uncleanliness (that's an ad-hominem attack), but for his work with the FSF and GNU, regardless of what anyone says. Today it's cruel, but humorous in that, well, it's true. And when he's dead he'll stink for other reasons other than his hygiene. Who cares? I certainly don't.

          If you idolize him, put your fucking code where your mouth is and shut the hell up.

          • I really am not intending to defend RMS (and that message wasn't actually my composition), but rather I agreed with the sentiment that this hostility is all too reminicent of a bully. There's a lot of people who think they're better than RMS and the bizarre people like him, but they feel that way without any justification. They ascribe to be cool, where apathy is the greatest achievement.

            I have often defended Stallman not because he needs it, but because he is one of the most sincere people I can think of. In this cynical society it is very hard to be sincere, and it always opens you up to criticism. But I hate cynicism, and I strive to be more sincere myself. I defend him because that sincerity is something I aspire to.

            I don't like the term "geek" -- somewhere along the line it lost its meaning, because too many idiots took that term for themselves as though it was something cool. It cannot ever be cool to be a geek -- they are opposites. A real geek -- not just a socially awkward person -- has a passion that is not diluted for social ends. I am offended when that passion is ridiculed. And usually that ridicule comes from people who are mediocre and self-centered. But I respond because coolness can be infectious -- or at least the aspiration of cool. I hope only that someone will see how empty that path is.

            • And my point is that no matter what kind of "cruel" bullying going on on /. regarding RMS is going to matter exactly ZERO in the long run. He's made his mark on history, just like Kernighan and Ritchie, Linus Torvalds, and yes, Bill Gates. And unlike the others, I predict that RMS will actually be more revered in 100 years than the rest, even if his vision of "Free Software" isn't universally embraced (and I certainly do not ascribe to any kind of "right" to sourcecode).

              It's nice to call the kettle black sometimes, and it might make a few people around think about it a little harder. However, when it comes right down to it, it's still an internet message board with almost zero bearing in real life (does /. cook your meals? Take you to the bus stop? That's what I mean by "real life", not some loose collection of anonymous cowards). People take this shit too seriously. Posting as an AC just proves that the original poster is a coward and in real life would shit his pants if confronted by RMS. I have no use for them, even though I'm sometimes one of them (although all my anti-RMS rants are done under my account, no need for cowardice if you believe it).

              I have no idea where this is going. Take it light.
      • RMS, you really need to not let these comments bother you so much.
  • by wytcld (179112) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @08:21PM (#4621581) Homepage
    The McCarthyism link is to a Wired story about a law now likely to pass the Senate allowing the FBI to gain ISP e-mail records without warrant. All the more reason to get your own fixed IP and run your own mailserver. If I'm my ISP for mail, can they demand I turn over the records of my e-mail from my own computer in my home without a warrant? For those whose cable services block outgoing port 25 ... tough.

    Of course, having read this, Ashcroft's Ashellians will require licenses on mail servers....

    • Won't they just tap your inbound/outbound connections upstream? I agree running your own mail server does have it advantages, but security from your upstream ISP doesn't seem like one of them.
  • by carb (611951) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @08:22PM (#4621585) Homepage
    Well, if I recall back to David Fincher's "Seven", there's an interesting scene where Morgan Freeman's character explains to Brad Pitt's character that the country has specific books flagged, and that if you're reading them, they know it (or something to that degree).

    My point here is - I've never known movies to be wrong.

  • A new low... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by igaborf (69869) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @08:22PM (#4621586)
    ...even for /.

    Let's see... the FBI says the report wasn't true, the city librarian says the report wasn't true, the reporter says the report wasn't true, and the reporter's two anonymous sources say the story wasn't true. And the delusional /. editor's response? "Since the FBI has little incentive to tell the truth on this count, I don't see what incentive anyone has to believe their denial."

    Un-fucking-believable.

    • Re:A new low... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by abe ferlman (205607)
      ... igaborf says it's not true, everyone believes her.

      The dear editor's point was that a retraction of a story about espionage is at least as likely to be caused by pressure as by error, and probably more so since there could be serious consequences to making up such a story, so it's not something one enters into lightly.

      It's called plausible deniability.

      • Of course /. editors chose to bury the mention of the retraction in Slashback, rather than posting it in it's own article, therefore letting all the people that skim headlines continue to think that the FBI is bugging all our libraries. Too bad many of them won't be exposed to posibility that the FBI isn't doing it.

        1 spread paranoia
        2 steal underpants
        3 ..
        4 profit

    • Re:A new low... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Alsee (515537) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @08:46PM (#4621725) Homepage
      Well, there is the little point that any source that did confirm the story would get hit with some serious federal prison time. In case you don't want to bother looking at the original slashdot story, [slashdot.org] it said:

      "There's a gag order. When the FBI uses a court order or a subpoena to gain access to library computers or a list of the names of people who have borrowed certain books, librarians can't tell anyone - not even other librarians or you. They face a stiff federal penalty if they do."

      It's one of the lovely provisions of the USAPATRIOT Act. If patriotism means locking up librarians then I'm no patriot. Blowing up a handfull of buildings isn't going to destroy America, but gutting the constitution can.

      -
      • You can always confirm it to the reporter and ask that they not reveal your name. Many reporters in the US and other places have gone to jail rather than reveal their sources. Reporters regard this as a fundamental part of a free press.
      • Something else abotu the PATRIOT act that irks me. My girlfriend (as well as her mother) are bank tellers. Whenever anyone opens up a bank acccount, they've got to get a copy of their driver's license, as well as keep it on file. Now, yes, I know that some banks already get this information for things like ChexSystems (et.al), but when they keep it on flie for 5 years, keeping my information in a not-so-secure place (e.g., a locked drawer), it bugs me.

        [ob political rant] ya know, Ashcroft and GW have done a very nice job of diminishing what few civil liberties that we've got left. Before 9/11, how many times a month did you hear the word terrorism. Now, how many times do you hear it? Drugs? Terrorism. Violence? Terrorism. Someone not wiping their ass right? Terrorism. [/ob rant and apology to moderators]

        The next thing you know, they'll be looking at our web site traffic to determine if we're terrorists.

        • Whenever anyone opens up a bank acccount, they've got to get a copy of their driver's license, as well as keep it on file.

          I hadn't heard that. What the hell do they do if you don't HAVE a drivers licence or non-driver ID? Does the USAPATRIOT Act make it illegal to get a bank account without an official ID???

          -
    • I bet you'll be retracting your post, too, to keep even more secrets from us, Mr. Fed!

    • Re:A new low... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by geekoid (135745)
      Considering the FBI's history, I don't blame /. .
      The FBI is not above threatening to put people in jail over these issues.

      For me, the FBI needs to go beyond just saying it wasn't true.
      No I don't think this is a huge conspiecy, or that the FBI is out to get me, but they have a pretty abusive history, so I take everything they say with a lump of salt.

    • Let's see; all the parties involved would be under a gag order.... At this point if all they say is "no comment", that basically confirms the premise. You really don't think that there's any chance that everyone involved has been leaned on and threatened with legal action to get them to go along?

      I don't say it's the most likely possibility, but I think it's naive and bordering on stupid to presume it's impossible.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 07, 2002 @08:23PM (#4621591)

    This story retracts the claims of bugging made in the previous one. Since the FBI has little incentive to tell the truth on this count, I don't see what incentive anyone has to believe their denial.

    Early tomorrow morning, around 4:30am, you will receive some surprise guests at your door, and after they let themselves in, you will learn exactly what your incentive is.

    Hint: save yourself a lot of trouble and have your computers unplugged and boxed up.

    By tomorrow afternoon, I predict you too will retract your statement.

    A Friend

  • Live in fear (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tailhook (98486) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @08:24PM (#4621595)
    "doesn't change the fact that the FBI can still bug libraries as freely as the CIA can assassinate with impunity, or that more McCarthyism is on the way."

    You diminish the tragedy of McCarthy with your excited little exaggerations.

    As for the CIA capping terrorists:
    "..hey man, nice shot!" - Filter
  • Well, Timothy, killing combatants with impunity is what happens in wars [cnn.com]...
    • Does Bush's position as Commander in Chief make him a combatant and a legit target of the enemy? If not, why not? If so, is he not an 'illegal combatant', since he is usually wearing neither uniform nor conspicuous insignia?
    • QUESTION: I'm sure many Israelis are wondering what the difference is between this and in targeted killing. And me, too.

      MR. BOUCHER: As far as the events in Yemen, I have nothing for you on that.

      QUESTION: But can you say that you are against targeted killings?

      MR. BOUCHER: Our policy on targeted killings in the Israeli-Palestinian context has not changed --

      QUESTION: And in other contexts?

      MR. BOUCHER: I'm not going to speculate.

      QUESTION: Well, so you have one rule for one conflict and another rule for another conflict?

      MR. BOUCHER: I would say that -- if you look back at what we have said about targeted killings in the Israeli-Palestinian context, you will find that the reasons we have given do not necessarily apply in other circumstances.

    • The new Hellfire warheads are damn cool. The one they used on those assholes in Yemen was probably the fragmentation with incendiary pellets. There is also an antiship penetrator and a dual shaped charge version.

      As to "impunity", bullshit! We have SF on the ground in Yemen. The Predator can pretty much look in the window of the car and see who is inside. The "poor, inocents" inside were terrorist leaders.

      BOOM! Score six for the good guys!

  • by Lokni (531043) <reali100&chapman,edu> on Thursday November 07, 2002 @08:40PM (#4621689)
    IMO, the fact that the librarians refused to discuss the matter of the FBI tapping the computers and stuff like that is solid evidence that the FBI is IN FACT doing it. If the FBI was NOT doing it, the Librarian would have said straight up the FBI has not contacted us and is not bugging anything. IMO, the fact that the librarian refused to talk about it, shows that she has been briefed by the FBI on what to say if questioned about the bugging.
  • I'm only a quarter of the way through the Eldred arguments, IANAL, insert disclaimer here, but it seems to me that many of the judges asking these questions just don't have an understanding of Eldred's arguments, yet are interrupting him with questions from all directions so as not to let him completely answer it.

    That's just my take on it, but it just seems like they didn't buy his argument, and they're just being deliberately obtuse about it.

    • It was Lessig who was discussing the case, but given that nit:

      I think that they wanted to look at the two halves of his argument separately, while he kept referring to one as supporting the other. I think they wanted to see if either of them supported the claim individually, and I'd guess they were more interested in looking at the First Amendment issue. (As I understand it, going to the First Amendment for copyright issues isn't normally supported. They might have been looking for an easy out on that side...)

      Further, based on their questions to Olson, they may have been so in favor of the Section 8 limitation argument that they didn't see the need to go any more down that path. (They gave him a *lot* of opportunities to describe the effective limits of the Copyright Clause, and he kept coming back to "Well, that's up to Congress." They didn't seem to like that answer, much.) Which, if true, is a good sign. And might mean that their questioning of Lessig was an attempt to see what help the First Amendment might give them.

      It is a tricky problem for them: They don't like to overrule Congress, but also don't let Congress run wild with its own interpretation of the Constitution. Maybe we'll get lucky.

      TSG

      • Good post. (someone mod this guy up :) I finished reading the transcript and noticed that the Govt side of the arguments seemed to be a lot weaker than Lessig's. (Appeal to authority in the form of the EU, neglecting the fact that the EU changed its copyright terms to match the US, not the other way round, the argument that the previous extensions weren't challenged before, so of course they're correct, and so on)

        I think that they wanted to look at the two halves of his argument separately, while he kept referring to one as supporting the other.

        Yeah, I gathered that. I think Lessig realised that there was a fair amount of synergy in the parts of his argument, but I think it turned out passably, despite the questioning. He was right to have reserved a few minutes for the end, IMO. His summation really highlighted the holes in the opposition's arguments.

        btw thanks for pointing out it's Lessig, not Eldred, doing the argument. I am teh suck.

    • by Anomalous Canard (137695) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @09:38PM (#4622045)
      Not at all.

      First of all, it's difficult to tell which way the Justices are leaning from the questions. They've done their homework and read all thr briefs. They know Lessig's argument. What they are doing in the questioning is testing the argument to find its weaknesses. The stronger the argument, the harder the questions.

      When you get down to SG Olsen's questioning, you'll see how thoroughly they demolish his position. "Whatever limit Congress sets as long as its finite" is a non-starter. Later on the Justices joked about theatre boxes in England being leased for 900 years. It's finite in mathematical terms, but unlimited in practical terms.

      The real question for the court is how too define appropriate limits to Congressional powers that give meaning to the phrase "limited times" without usurping the Congressional function of setting the limit. They don't want to be in a position of having to say x years is OK, but y years is too long. Lessig has offered them a meaningful place to put that limit. SG Olsem has not.

      They are also concerned that the argument which defeats the CTEA defeats the 1976 act as well. Lessig's own brief distinguishes the two and the clerks know this if the Justices don't.

      Reading the transcript gave me hope. Several of the Justices got the point that Lessig was making. There is a real liklihood of a positive outcome. Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy and Breyer are likely yesses. There's only one more needed.

      It's a little more informative to read the transcript which was posted to the web a few weeks ago. Someone put in the names of the Justices which this official transcript lacks. Also read Lessig's blog. I think he has real reasons to feel confident.
    • This is par for the course, the judges do this to everyone. I think the election problems of two years ago was the only time they let some one record them, check it out and hear them, but the questions flow like that both ways. Read olsons turn, they do the same to him.

  • by sweatyboatman (457800) <sweatyboatman@hot m a i l . c om> on Thursday November 07, 2002 @08:45PM (#4621719) Homepage Journal
    this is like the best slashback ever. so much interesting stuff. wow. I feel so in the know.

    no, I'm not kidding.

    in all seriousness. good job /. people
  • Geek Cruise? (Score:1, Redundant)

    by fobbman (131816)
    That boat must have looked like a ghost ship from the outside.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    This isn't really relevant, but I've been needing to make this rant for all the time I've worked at webMethods...

    It's "webMethods". Not "web methods". Not "WebMethods". Not "Webmethods".

    Just "webMethods".

    Thank you.

    (And, no, I don't know anything about the patent)
  • Geek Cruise.. What?? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I know that here on Slashdot we all like to pile on the flaming when it comes to the Church of Scientology, but doesn't anyone care about the "Church" and its actions when they sponsor something like the Geek Cruise? Is this another case where Slashdotters are willing to look the other way because they are basically being bribed off? How many times do we see this with the RIAA/MPAA-love/hate relationship on this message board?

    Here's the scoop. Geek Cruises Inc. is operated by Neil Bauman [newsforge.com] who is a OT6-level Scientologist. Not to mention that he has deep contacts with anti-semite Bobby Fischer.

    The geek cruise format, from the time of leaving port is identical to that of the Freewinds OT5 training [scientology.org]. The early seminars and late "social activities" are designed to loosen your mind from its pinnings, allowing external suggestion to become much easier.

    This isn't done to "brainwash you into loving Linux", that's already done and there's no need to be redundant. However, the point of the cruise is to open your mind to the possibility of joining their other cruises like Mindscape: Clear your mind in Alaska [geekcruises.com] and Celebrity Slam (this year featuring Nicholas Cage) [geekcruises.com]. These other cruises are specifically geared towards getting people hooked into Scientology. For whatever reason, it works a hell of a lot better than the weirdo movie they like to show to "IQ test takers" at their normal temples.

    It's because the company Geek Cruises Inc does so many nice things for the geek community and provides really interesting cruises that Scientology likes it as a means of recruiting so much. Don't be fooled, please. If you are interested in Scientology, please visit their website and read up about it. Then visit Operation Clamback and read up about the things they don't want you to know.

    Scientology is one of the most devious "religions" around. Don't be sucked in by promises of meeting geek celebrities or viewing beautiful scenery and stopping at exotic ports of call. It is all a scam. You may get what you pay for, but you will get much more that you simply don't want.
    • Please link to the sources of these crucial assertions:

      How do you know Mr. Bauman is a Scientologist?
      Where did you read when Freewinds leaves port?

      Oh, yeah, and your links to geek cruises all fail.

      My conclusion? Well written, but completely false.
  • Does anyone know when a decision is expected on the Eldred case?
  • One of the brag factors about SETI seems to be "number of block computed" or whatever they call it. I wonder if the amount of cheating / falsifying data would decrease if the competitive nature of who's processed the most blocks were taken away.

    Publishing aggregate results is fine, but posting individual results begs people to find ways, sometimes malicious, to "get ahead".
    • Or just design it so it's not so damned easy to cheat. They really should know who has what blocks to begin with, it would be immediately useful. Not giving the same blocks to members of the same team (as has been suggested elsewhere) would help but is not really a reasonable suggestion as it would not necessarily solve the problem. On the other hand, significantly delaying the time between the allocation of blocks AND not giving the same blocks to members of the same team would DRAMATICALLY reduce this kind of cheating, maybe to the point where no one would bother.

      Anyway publishing individuals' results is absolutely necessary because people want recognition and they're not going to go through the effort to install the client or screensaver or whatever unless you give them props - because there will always be SOMEONE who will give them credit for their CPU time.

      Sure, some people really believe in giving their CPU time to a specific cause, those people will continue, they likely appreciate the accolades anyway, however. Meanwhile people who are doing it just for credit will either not bother or just not bother to update and add the software to new machines. People who both believe in the cause and like the credit will put less effort into it as well.

  • Dragonball and Dragonball Z are the twinkies of Anime. Lots of empty calories. I'd hesitate to even call them Anime. Any "plot" exists simply to get you to the next fight scene. It's a pity Bebop is too "mature" for that timeslot. It's got much more meat to it. Personally I'd fill those slots with Ranma 1/2 but I wouldn't object to seeing more Courage the Cowardly Dog and/or Powerpuff Girls in those slots.
    • Ranma 1/2, in ANYTHING like its original animated form, will probably never be seen on Cartoon Network. The problem? In a word, "breasts".
    • My nephews, aged 8, 7, and 26 eagerly admit that DBZ makes no sense whatsoever.
      They watch it anyway, cuz it looks k3w1!

      It's obvious to me now that the South Park Pokemon Parody episode was a thinly veiled documentary expose' of the true intentions of the japanese media... the ossification of the american brain via mindless eye candy and useless occupation of american mental computational capacity with ridiculous and STOOPID games, thus breeding a home-grown brain drain, rendering us effectively a nation of self involved non threating masturbatory morons.
      It seems to be working. Sigh.

      I guess the Seizure Robots were too subtle in their results..
  • Cancelled (Score:4, Funny)

    by Sloppy (14984) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @09:52PM (#4622151) Homepage Journal
    MGM and Scifi put those rumours to rest today by officially announcing a 7th season.
    Yes, but then they cancelled when they realized they wouldn't get the full 95 years of copyright protection to recover their investment. 75 years just wasn't enough.
  • by truth_revealed (593493) on Friday November 08, 2002 @01:40AM (#4623321)
    Have you read the SOAP 1.2 [w3.org] specification [w3.org] lately? Nevermind the XML Schema and HTTP 1.1 specifications which SOAP also uses. These specs are far from "simple". SOAP seems to be slowly turning into an XML version of CORBA. XMLRPC [xmlrpc.com], on the other hand, is simple. The Jabber [jabber.org] protocol is even simpler yet - no HTTP transport. Something that starts off simple is usually transformed into something quite different after committees of software development firms get a hold of it. It's in their interest to keep the barrier to entry high.
    • Oh boy, you hit that on the nail. My gripes with soap are extensive. For one, the way of passing XML as parameters or return values appears to have been removed in SOAP 1.1 - there used to be a literalXML attribute you could use to signal that a method was returning actual XML as opposed to a data structure. Where is it now? I dunno, and as the W3C helpfully don't appear to list the preceding versions of the spec on their site (i feel they must be there, but never found them) I can't find out if I'm simply going crazy or they really did remove it.

      When a frustrated person on the list asked the same questions I'd been having, he was told there seemed to be an informal standard of using an Apache Axis namespace for XML now! I mean WTF? But that's only the beginning.

      Where is objects-by-reference? Oh, I know, that'd be in the Microsoft .NET Remoting extensions. Why not in the standard itself? Because MS have been blocking it on the grounds of "added bloat". I'd say objects-by-reference are absolutely critical to any modern RPC protocol and it doesn't have to be complex either, but it's not in there. Simple Object Access Protocol my backside.

      And then of course the patents. Considering we've been doing RPC for over a decade, and SOAP is merely RPC done in XML (and done worse) how in the lords name can there be patents on it? Prior art trips you up at the street corner there's so much. And WSDL? What a POS. That is a classic example of something that's been abstracted so much it's almost incomprehensible.

      I used to quite like SOAP, but after trying to actually write stuff using it, I've decided it's (to borrow a phrase i saw in a newsgroups) "a dog turd served on a fine china plate". The W3C produce some good specs, but this isn't one of them. I, of course, blame Microsoft :)

      Oh and BTW, XML-RPC doesn't have xml as a first class data type either. Dunno why. I might write my own rpc protocol at this rate.

  • Actually, Vignette recently announced [vignette.com] that they acquired Epicentric.
    Recently = approximately nine days ago.

    Is that enough time to call something a subsidiary? :) (I wonder if the deal has even been completed yet. I know the paperwork has been signed, but things like that still tend to take time.)

  • CIA assassination? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hard_Code (49548) on Friday November 08, 2002 @09:16AM (#4624435)
    "the CIA can assasinate with impunity"

    And not only that...it can assassinate US citizens [washingtonpost.com]. "Administration officials, intelligence operatives and military analysts...praised the CIA strikes as an innovative way to get the job done." You know that whole "pre-emptive strike" debate? Well it's over now. Everybody grab their sled because we're in for a nice ride down this slippery slope from moral highground! Weeeee!
  • My mom is the director of a public library. A few months back I went home to visit, and the subject of our dinner time conversation was: "Will Mom go to jail?"

    The short version is that she had been visited by some very "official" FBI agents, who informed her they had reason to beleive a patron was looking up "terrorist material" on the internet, and wouldn't she be so kind as to hand over her records and start watching said individual. My mom told them they'd need a warrant or subpoena, and she'd have to call the state's lawyers to see just where the PATRIOT act was these days.

    Needless to say, the bitched and moaned that she wasn't a good citizen or patriot, and was quite possiblely negatively impacting the "War on Terror".

    The truly ironic part is that most libraries, my mom's included, don't keep records around for any longer than absolutely necessary for just these reasons. Once you return a book, *poof* the record is gone. These sorts of requests have gone on for years. My mom has been asked to provided "lending histories" for suspects in murder trials, and other fun things. It amazes me that attorneys don't realize that by law (in some places) such records are not keep.

    The Fed's should be required to obtain a warrant. Just like they had to when they wanted to tap the pay phone in my mom's library lobby. Libraries are a public resource, and should be treated accordingly.

    Man, it really sounds like my mom's library is a hotbed of criminal activity huh?

The reward of a thing well done is to have done it. -- Emerson

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