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Slashback: AMD/ATI, Tokamak Fusion, Laptop Privacy 171

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the laptop-smuggler dept.
Slashback tonight brings some clarifications and updates to previous Slashdot stories including: An inside look at the AMD/ATI merger, school admins backing down on cell phone invasion policies, a new launch date for Scotty's ashes, a second test for China's Tokamak fusion device, Forbe's missed the mark on IBM destruction of evidence, Skype for Mac 1.5 released, and the courts rule that customs can still rifle through your laptop - Read on for details.

An inside look at the AMD/ATI merger. Spinnerbait writes "HotHardware spent some sit-down time with a few folks close to the AMD and ATI merger, asked some probing questions and received a few insightful answers in return. They dug in deep with AMD Execs, learned all there is to know currently and even got a hint of what the future might hold for the dynamic duo (no pun intended), now joined as one. A tighter coupling of the CPU and GPU is in our future perhaps?"

School admins back down on cell phone invasion policy. Reverberant writes "In a follow up to earlier coverage about school admins wanting access to students' cellphones, Framingham officials have decided to hold off on the policy for now because they need school committee approval. The head of the school policy committee has 'no interest in bringing it up.'"

New launch date for Scotty's ashes. wolfdvh writes "The BBC reports that Star Trek actor James Doohan, who played the engineer Scotty in the original TV series, will now have his remains blasted into space in October. The actor's ashes were supposed to be sent into orbit last year, but the flight was delayed as tests were carried out on the rocket."

Second test for China's Tokamak fusion device. Haxx writes "The first plasma discharge from China's experimental advanced superconducting research center dubbed 'artificial sun' is set to occur next month. The discharge, expected about Aug. 15, will be conducted at Science Island in Hefei, in east China's Anhui Province. The experiment will test the world's first Tokamak fusion device of this kind. The new device will be an upgrade of China`s first superconducting Tokamak device. The plasma discharge will draw international attention since some scientists are concerned with risks involved in such a process"

Forbe's missed the mark on IBM destruction of evidence. An anonymous reader writes "It turns out that Forbes.com was wrong and, based on analysis of Pacer no motion has been filed against IBM for destruction of evidence. Shortly following from a major collapse in SCO's share price, a recent article Slashdot reported Forbes.com's claim that a motion had been filed against IBM for destruction of evidence. In fact, Groklaw, the main site covering the SCO vs. IBM lawsuit, now reports that SCO has filed no motions of this type whatsoever in March."

Skype for Mac 1.5 released. Billy C writes "A few weeks after warez versions made the rounds on the Internet, the official Skype for Mac with video is here." While still only a preview version, brave users can now give it a shot.

Courts rule customs can rifle through your laptop. monstermagnet writes "On Monday, a unanimous three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the files of a person's laptop may be searched at U.S. borders [PDF] without probable cause or even reasonable suspicion."

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Slashback: AMD/ATI, Tokamak Fusion, Laptop Privacy

Comments Filter:
  • Cyrix (Score:3, Informative)

    by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @07:02PM (#15787773) Homepage Journal
    Cyrix already had a cpu/gpu/whatever else combo. It was the MediaGX
    • Yes, but was it actually any good? If so, then it was probably not very cheap at all-- otherwise, why would there be slashdotters with Athlon CPUs and Radeon graphics cards?
      • Archtechturally, it was good. The problem with it wasn't that the idea was bad, it's implementation
        was shoddy- and, in that, I don't mean the chip itself, I mean things like a 33 MHz Front-Side bus
        really, really hamstrung it. In reality, AMD's still flogging the next generation version of this
        design with many, but not all the implementational flaws removed from it- you're probably familiar
        with the Geode GX and LX CPU options from AMD. If you've seen a design with one of those, you've
        seen the MediaGX in i
    • Yup, AMD/ATI should just give up!
  • No mention of where the Linux drivers are going with the merger of ATI and AMD. Maybe they will get their act together and give us working drivers for the 200 express card.
    • Maybe they will get their act together and give us working drivers for the 200 express card.


      $ lspci | grep -i vga
      01:05.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc RC410 [Radeon Xpress 200M]
      $
      $ fglrxinfo
      display: :0.0 screen: 0
      OpenGL vendor string: ATI Technologies Inc.
      OpenGL renderer string: RADEON XPRESS 200M Series Generic
      OpenGL version string: 2.0.5879 (8.26.18)


      Seems to be working already, as far as I can tell. This is on an IBM R51e laptop. What's the problem?

      • ...it doesn't work well. Technically, it's supposed to be about a 9600 or so in performance, overall. I see about HALF that performance on this chip under Linux- under Windows, it seems to perform about the same level. No good reason for that or the lack of full and proper Sideport support in the driver either- in order to get this all to work even as poorly as it does, I've got to turn off the Sideport dedicated video memory and go all UMA operation. All of their drivers, for that matter, have simila
        • Technically, it's supposed to be about a 9600 or so in performance, overall. I see about HALF that performance on this chip under Linux- under Windows, it seems to perform about the same level.

          Well, that's exactly what you SHOULD be seeing. The Radeon Xpress 200 is exactly half as powerful as the 9600.

          9600: 4 pipelines, 2 vertex units, 325 MHz core speed.

          Xpress 200: 2 pipelines, 1 (limited) vertex unit, 333 MHz core speed.

          Maybe if you did some research [wikipedia.org], you would waste less time whining about your non-exis
    • (23:24:48) Uncle_C: you can spell daamit with ati and amd
      (23:25:03) parasonic: hahahaha
      (23:25:08) parasonic: where did you figure that one out?
      (23:25:18) Uncle_C: i'm kinda drunk, i'm jsut loking at it adn thats what it said
  • Scotty (Score:1, Insightful)

    by p33p3r (918997)
    Being on the Enterprise myself, working in the engineroom, I understand the technical aspect of fusion reactions, I wish Scotty could have explained matter - antimatter to me.
    Where ever you go Scotty, I hope it's GREEN.





    Enterprise CVAN 65 that is...
  • by saintlupus (227599) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @07:11PM (#15787810) Homepage
    On Monday, a unanimous three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the files of a person's laptop may be searched at U.S. borders [PDF] without probable cause or even reasonable suspicion."

    TrueCrypt for Windows or Linux. Check it out.

    --saint
    • And if they demand the key? If I bring a safe into the country, they're going to want to see inside or it stays at the impound, no? Convince 51% of the voters that freedom and privacy are good things, and you just might get some. Otherwise it ain't gonna happen, because now they believe that only terrorists want those things.
    • Chances are, they'll never know what to look for or where to look. Just put a few fake documents in "My Documents" and show them that. If they have some reason to dig deeper, then you might just be fucked.

      However, Customs has a job to do. They need to keep things out that aren't suposed to be here. If you stash Cuban cigars in your pants, you might get caught. If you stash kiddie pr0n on your laptop, you might get caught.

      I'm surprised to see this from the 9th, but it really is a "lawful" rulling.
      • What I don't get with this is what exactly they expect to be looking at...

        I just ran this on my iBook which has a small (by today's standards) 30GB drive :

        $ sudo find / | wc -l
        398921
        $

        In Windows I expect the numbers to be fairly large as well. So what files are they going to look at ? Will they be looking at (sorry using the Unix directories, not familiar with the Windows equivalents from the top of my head) /var ? at /usr/local/tmp ? at the other /home directories ? at /root ? at /etc/rc4.d

    • Yeah, TrueCrypt !! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by HangingChad (677530) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @09:35PM (#15788466) Homepage

      If they were smart enough to find the encrypted partition and demand the pass phrase, you give up the normal partition phrase and they never even know about the hidden partition. It can also run off a USB device. As usual this will snare hundreds of stupid people.

      Not that I don't think it's totally retarded you have to go to those lengths to keep the government from spying on your laptop. Ah, what do you expect from Republicans?

      • you give up the normal partition phrase and they never even know about the hidden partition

        I guess it's time for me to check out TrueCrypt and see how it works, because I just can't figure out how such a thing could possibly work. And while that is of course non-conclusive, it leads me to believe that it probably doesn't work.

        The problem, in my head, is that you can't have undetectable storage, while simultaneously limiting allocation so that the hidden storage won't be overwritten. It's either alloca

        • It is possible, once you catch the trick to pulling it off.

          Step one: Cover the free space on the disk with random garbage.

          Step two: The system reads the normal disk File Allocation Table (FAT). Enter a password to create a new encrypted partition. This partition is scattered randomly across the unallocated space, as determined by the normal disk FAT. Store a new additional encrypted FAT for that partition in that previously free space, start storing your encrypted data in that partition, but only record th
    • TrueCrypt for Linux ? Do you really think custom officers know how to use Linux ?
      Ha! It will be fun to watch.
    • If you read the PDF where the court described the case, you would know that all he needed to do is to empty the browser history, and he would never have been in trouble. Forensics would have found the stuff, but forensics would never have been involved.
  • by jigjigga (903943) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @07:12PM (#15787811)
    Way to go! USA! USA! USA! Our freedoms are the envy of the world!
    • by chill (34294) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @07:34PM (#15787924) Journal
      Dude, this has been the norm in the UK and much of Europe for several years. They really don't like you bringing porn into their countries. Of course, there are ample supplies of domestic porn already there, so I'm not sure why you'd want to import it.

      I've actually had a customs agent at Gatwick Airport (London, UK) ask me if I had any porn on my laptop. I told him no, if I wanted any I'd just get some local stuff as it seemed plentiful. Fortunately the British pride themselves on having a sense of humor. He offered suggestions on where to get it...

        -Charles
      • They really don't like you bringing porn into their countries. Of course, there are ample supplies of domestic porn already there, so I'm not sure why you'd want to import it.

        Sure sounds like protectionism to me. Don't want any of that damn cheap imported porn ruining the domestic industry....

      • Dude, this has been the norm in the UK and much of Europe for several years.

        Has it? I live in the UK and have travelled all over Europe, and I've never had anybody ask to see what's on my laptop.

        • I have on rare occasions, and with very clueless customs people had them ask me to power up an odd looking device to show that it actually was a working device and not some sort of contraband container (at least I presume that was the logic).

          Apart from that I too have been all over Europe more times than I care to count and nobody ever looked at the data I was carrying (good luck anyway between the Unix laptop, encrypted stuff on the PDA and media player).

          The worst problem I ever had with customs/security
      • by munpfazy (694689) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @09:16PM (#15788365)

        I've actually had a customs agent at Gatwick Airport (London, UK) ask me if I had any porn on my laptop. I told him no, if I wanted any I'd just get some local stuff as it seemed plentiful. Fortunately the British pride themselves on having a sense of humor. He offered suggestions on where to get it...


        Now, there *are* situations where the most efficient way to transmit data is by shipping physical media around - but they all involve huge amounts of data or places with little infrastructure. It's hard to come up with a scenario where it makes sense to illegally transfer data from one city with an international airport to another by putting it on a hard drive in a consumer laptop and flying people around with it.

        A professional pornographer isn't going to bother carrying the product around with them. They'll set up shop somewhere, pay for a decent network connection and a bunch of dvd blanks, and bring it in electronically and then manufacture it on site. Or they'll bring in ten thousand pressed dvd's in a cargo crate labeled "bananas."

        Likewise, someone carrying *really* bad stuff isn't going to just leave it lying around in an unencrypted folder on a laptop. Hell, I wouldn't think of leaving my perfectly legal vanilla porn unencrypted on a laptop in my house, much less one I'd take across international borders.

        In countries where anyone can ssh to anywhere in the world and pull in whatever they want, this is just silly. You might occasionally catch really stupid consumers of illegal material, but that's all.

        On a tangent, if I were going to try to get some really bad data across the border into a place with no network, I'd probably stick it on encrypted flash drives, disassemble them as much as possible to remove cases and excess hardware, and then screw or cement the boards into place in the bodies of consumer electronics gear. Add an equal number of identical but unmodified drives loaded with holiday photos to use for reassembly parts, and buy the screwdrivers and soldering station at a shop when you arrive. The illegal material in my laptop, if I had any, would be on the pc board hot-glued to the underside of the mainboar - not on the hard drive. (If you really want to do it right, you design pc boards that fit into the cases perfectly and come with standoff and mounting hardware designed to fit the flash drive boards, so that it would pass even a casual inspection by a knowledgeable person. Hide any identifying bits under globs of black epoxy, or place them upside down. Extra points if you manage to route the connectors on the flash board to accessible headers and connect to the drives without even reassembling them.)
        • Re: Hiding Flash (Score:5, Insightful)

          by chill (34294) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @11:42PM (#15788982) Journal
          What I've done in the past is:

          1. Purchase a 1 Gb flash drive. Stick a label on it so the size isn't advertised.
          2. Partition it 512 Mb FAT-32 / 512 Mb Ext-2
          3. Put innocuous stuff all on the FAT partition -- anything hidden gets encrypted and put on the Ext-2

          Any one that sticks the flash drive into a Windows box will automount the first partitions. Nothing to see there -- move along. The Ext-2 won't show up unless they look at it with a partitioning tool.

          I've never had anyone look twice. Of course, I've never been under close scrutiny, but it certainly passed casual inspection.

          The 1 Gb PQI Intellistick is so small it easily fits between credit cards in my wallet without being seen. It doesn't trigger metal detectors, so I leave my wallet in my pocket when going thru those in airports. I don't let it get x-rayed and it just never shows up. The card costs like $45.
          • That's a good idea.

            I imagine if authorities seriously suspected that you had something nasty hidden away somewhere they'd discover the extra partition, but it's certainly likely to get past most people, like customs agents and thieves. Using something like partition-backed loop-aes on the second partition wouldn't hurt either, just in case someone does take a closer look at the drive.

            If you want to really go all out, buy two drives from the same manufacturer with a factor of two difference in size and swap
          • What happens if they look at the size of the disk - wouldn't it report being a 1gb?

            Not that I could see anybody doing this - or even checking a usb disk at all.
            • What happens if they look at the size of the disk - wouldn't it report being a 1gb?

              No, it would report the size of the partition being viewed. Without a partition tool, they wouldn't even know the other partition existed, let alone be able to view it.
      • I've actually had a customs agent at Gatwick Airport (London, UK) ask me if I had any porn on my laptop...He offered suggestions on where to get it...

        I dunno, it sounds to me like he was just asking to see your collection, in case there was anything there he wanted to copy for himself.
    • I wonder if they can read this post in China?
      I mean, it has the word "freedom" in it. Shouldnt it be blocked?
  • Probable Cause (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CraigoFL (201165) <slashdot@NOspAM.kanook.net> on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @07:12PM (#15787815)

    the files of a person's laptop may be searched at U.S. borders without probable cause or even reasonable suspicion.

    Elliotte Rusty Harold recently had a good blog post about probable cause [elharo.com]. His point is that probable cause isn't just to protect the innocent from abuse; it's also to keep the police effective by forcing them to focus on people who have a high probability of actual wrongdoing. Without that constraint, they're free to go after anyone, and end up wasting their time & effort on wild goose chases.

    I assume that there's no legal obligation for you to give US Customs your password. I also assume that they're under no obligation to let you into the country. If you're clearing customs while you're in the US, there's probably no obligation for them to return your laptop to you either.

    • For some reason I highly doubt the customs people would know how to use my laptop, as first, they would need to get past BIOS password. Second, they would need user password. Then they would be at a nice console. Have a nice day :)
      • Yeah, right bloody likely. That is the most asinine thing I have ever heard. Hey, if they want to logon despite the DoD warning on my laptop saying it is a criminal offense to access the laptop without authorization, hey no problem. Until then, they can go fark themselves.
      • Re:Probable Cause (Score:5, Insightful)

        by CraigoFL (201165) <slashdot@NOspAM.kanook.net> on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @07:32PM (#15787910)
        But in the end you're going to do yourself in with your attempts to protect yourself. If they can't get at your files to see that you're free of child porn, they're going to get upset, and they're going to make things difficult for you. They could prevent you from crossing, impound your laptop, and possibly even detain you.

        Meanwhile, someone who is *actually* smuggling in illicit data simply has to:
        1) Encrypt/obfuscate the data, so it's not obvious what that data is.
        2) Make it look mundane... hide it in the windows swap file maybe?
        3) Gladly offer up full access to the laptop when asked. Customs will probably not bother with a deep search, since it's "obvious" that the smuggler has nothing to hide. They're too busy trying to get figure what to do with the other guy who won't give up the BIOS password to his laptop anyway.
        • Re:Probable Cause (Score:3, Insightful)

          by couchslug (175151)
          Meanwhile, someone who is *actually* smuggling in illicit data simply has to:
          Drop it into a throwaway webmail account from overseas, then retrieve it from that account after returning to the US. A bit of warwalking to unsecured APs keeps the process untraceable.
          If I carried the laptop I used for the purpose with me, its drive would have been wiped and it would have a nice clean install, with l3m0nparty wallpaper for Customs enjoyment. :)
        • Why not just encrypt it and email it?

          Why make life hard?
        • Re:Probable Cause (Score:3, Informative)

          by Eivind (15695)
          But in the end you're going to do yourself in with your attempts to protect yourself. If they can't get at your files to see that you're free of child porn, they're going to get upset, and they're going to make things difficult for you.

          But with TrueCrypt that's not the case. It works like this:

          • They notice the encrypted partition.
          • They ask for the password to read it.
          • You give them the password for the outer filesystem.
          • They verify that it contains harmless but mildly embarassing emails to your girlfrien
          • They have *NO* way of knowing that there even *IS* an inner filesystem in the unused part of the outer filesystem.


            Doesn't really matter. They can ensure that there is no hidden filesystem by overwriting all the unused parts of the disk with random data. Truecrypt may give you plausible deniability in court, but it's no good for smuggling data.
            • Sure it is.

              If you're smuggling illegal data, losing the data ain't even half as bad as having the data discovered. Losing them just means that that single smuggling-attempt was in vain, you'll have to try again. It's unlikely to be your only copy of the data anyway.

              Secondly, you could just store the TrueCrypt volume on a DVD-R or similar. That way there's no way of overwriting the "unused" space in the filesystem.

              Seriously, there's no way of stopping this other than making it illegal to carry *any* da

        • If they can't get at your files ... they're going to get upset, and they're going to make things difficult for you.

          Yeah, my company's health care plan does this to me, too.

          I think that must be why my doctor has to encrypt the results of my checkup exams.

      • '' For some reason I highly doubt the customs people would know how to use my laptop, as first, they would need to get past BIOS password. Second, they would need user password. Then they would be at a nice console. Have a nice day :) ''

        If customs wants to search the laptop, and they can't, the easiest thing they can do is send you back home.
    • Customs is not police, searching for evidence of a crime.

      Customs is treasury department border guards.

      They're not accusing you of a crime. They're just checking that your taxes are paid and you're not bringing in prohibited items.

      They don't need a warrant. They don't need probable cause. They get to check without suspicion.

      And if they happen to find evidence of a crime during their search, they get to file charges, just like any other official who happened to see evidence of a crime while performing thei
    • and end up wasting their time & effort on wild goose chases
      Like strip searching grannies in the name of uber homeland security. Refuse to give your password and you are suddenly a terrorism suspect and amataur law enforcement can be set loose on you - we've already had that stupid situation with Cat Stevens as a terrorism suspect and some poor bastard getting spirited away from Chicago to GITMO by a bunch that couldn't even find anything to charge him with.
    • If you're a US citizen or permanent resident, they do indeed have a legal obligation to admit you to the United States. Otherwise, no.

    • In this case, Canada Customs told US customs that they found porn on his laptop during his (very short) stay at the Kelowna airport.

      In other words, even if the judge had found that they needed probable cause, they had it. The judge rulled, however, that probable cause wasn't needed. I can understand that, to a point, since people crossing the border can be coming from places where there are no limits on access to really nasty contraband, and even if there are, the country I'm coming from may not be in a m

  • by rdwald (831442) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @07:13PM (#15787817)
    A quick reading of the brief in the "searching laptops at the border" case suggests that the reason they're considering a laptop search as part of the "routine search" they're already allowed to do at borders is because the defendant's lawyer didn't raise the question of whether this search differed from a routine search during the first phase of the trial, and therefore the appellate court can't look at the issue now. Seems more like a dodge to duck the issue rather than an actual ruling. Here, I'll even give you the specific wording:

    Finally, and for the first time in his reply brief, Romm argues the search of his laptop was too intrusive on his First Amendment interests to qualify as a "routine" border search. See generally Okafor, 285 F.3d at 846 (noting the difference between routine and non-routine searches). We decline to consider this issue here because "arguments not raised by a party in its opening brief are deemed waived." See Smith v. Marsh, 194 F.3d 1045, 1052 (9th Cir. 1999). Therefore, evaluating the border search of Romm's laptop solely as a routine search, we hold the district court correctly denied Romm's motion to suppress.
    • Well, that's just how the legal system works.

      You can't bring up new issues on appeal.

      The appeals process is almost solely focused on arguing over the facts, arguments and legal manuevers that were presented at trial.

      Smith v. Marsh is a very oft quoted precedent which establishes this rule.
    • Routine is trumped by " reasonable" From the decision:

      Instead, searches made at the border . . . are reasonable simply by virtue of the fact that they occur at the border. United States v. Flores-Montano, 541 U.S. 149, 152-53 (2004) (quoting United States v. Ramsey, 431 U.S. 606, 616 (1977)). Thus, the routine border search of Romms laptop was reasonable, regardless whether Romm obtained foreign contraband in Canada or was under official restraint.

      Using this as a basis, it looks like customs can do a

      • No, that's absoluetely NOT what it is saying...contrary to the misleading /. submission. This does NOT give carte blanche to border officials to search your private information in your laptop. What it's saying is, if the border police want to search your laptop, you must clearly indicate, NO! Likewise, if the border authorities do violate your constitutional rights (searching after you clearly indicate NO!) and it goes to court, it must be brought up as an issue up front, stating it was a violation of pr
    • The 9th Circuit Court made a stupid decision. Now there's a surprise.

      The most overturned court in the country, they are.
  • Fusion power (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @07:14PM (#15787820) Homepage
    I'm surprised by the stupid comments found on the page concerning China's Tokamak device. I'm eager for the day when scientists finally manage to create a working fusion reactor. Here's what asimov had to say [www.unb.ca] back in 1975.
    • I noticed it, too. Don't get me wrong--there are some valid concerns with the Deuterium/Tritium reactors. But most of the comments were, "Doc Ock tried this in Spiderman 2..."

      Hopefully they were joking, but it's awfully scary sometimes to think that they were serious...
  • by psyclone (187154) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @07:18PM (#15787843)
    I wonder how difficult it might be to get a stack of CDs containing truecrypt [truecrypt.org], GPG [gnupg.org], [insert favorite crypto software here], etc. at one of those airport bookstores? You would include the source and binaries for as many operating systems and languages as possible. Proceeds from the CDs could go to the project authors.

    Just a thought.

  • Doh! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jherek Carnelian (831679) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @07:19PM (#15787844)
    It turns out that Forbes.com was wrong...

    Forbes defaming linux? In an article written by Daniel Lyons? Who would have thunk it?

    The guy has a well established reputation for being wrong that you can pretty trust anything he writes about linux to be exactly 180-degrees out of sync with reality.

    Ordinarily I would want some of whatever he's been smoking, but it sure seems to make you mean and spiteful as a side-effect.
    • It wasn't Forbes. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jaywalk (94910)

      It turns out that Forbes.com was wrong...
      In an article written by Daniel Lyons?

      Technically, it wasn't Forbes making a claim; it was SCO. I noticed that neither Groklaw nor Slashdot linked to the original article [forbes.com]. If they had, it can be seen that Lyons refers to the SCO suit as "ever more desperate--and ever more weird." He also asked IBM for their side of the story but they -- true to form -- declined to comment. Gone are the insults and gratuitous references to "Linux zealots" which graced earlier ar [forbes.com]

  • by Speare (84249) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @07:26PM (#15787883) Homepage Journal

    It's not Forbe's, it's Forbes.

  • Framingham officials have decided to hold off on the policy for now because they need school committee approval. The head of the school policy committee has 'no interest in bringing it up.'

    He who controls the agenda, controls policy.

    You can't vote on something if the head doesn't put it on the agenda.
    /It's kindof a bastard/obstructionist move. Better than a filibuster.
    • Re:Ah yes (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ezratrumpet (937206)
      That's one of the realities of private institutions. Whoever is in charge, is in charge.

      If you agree to go to a private school, you effectively sign away the Bill of Rights as a condition of admission. The school doesn't *have* to let you do anything - all of your rights are actually courtesies.

      Most administrators know the difference between reasonable and unreasonable, but it's a fine distinction that too easily lends itself to broad rules and sweeping determinations.
  • Paedo-hysteria (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @07:32PM (#15787912)

    If you are wondering why the court decided to ignore the constitution, it's probably because they were Thinking of the Children. I quote:

    Based on 40 images deleted from his internet cache and two images deleted from another part of his hard drive,2 Romm was convicted of knowingly receiving and knowingly possessing child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2252A(a)(2), (a)(5)(B). Romm appeals both of these convictions, as well as his concurrent mandatory minimum sentences of ten and fifteen years.

    Apart from the absurdity of valuing locking away a single paedophile over the basic rights granted to everybody by the constitution, what the hell is going on with the sentence? Fifteen years for looking at forty-odd photos that he deleted afterwards? Some of them were just thumbnails too! What the hell?

    I'm not condoning paedophilia (and I think it's fucking stupid that I have to add disclaimers like this), but something is seriously fucked up if looking at a few pictures means you are such a threat to society that you need to be locked up for the best part of two decades. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that over-the-top punishment like this is a worse crime than looking at the pictures in the first place. The kids aren't even going to be aware that he committed this crime, and yet the state is forcibly taking away a huge chunk of his life. The harm of the punishment is clearly out of all proportion to the harm caused by the crime.

    Apparently, the excuse they used was a precedent set by an older case:

    Instead, " 'searches made at the border . . . are reasonable simply by virtue of the fact that they occur at the border.' " United States v. Flores-Montano, 541 U.S. 149, 152-53 (2004) (quoting United States v. Ramsey, 431 U.S. 606, 616 (1977)).

    Er, what? A border search is reasonable because it's a border search? Last time I checked, the constitution didn't say:

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. Oh, except when it's at the border.

    • Re:Paedo-hysteria (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Tekzel (593039)
      The thing I find most disturbing about the kind of conviction Romm got was, whos to say he willfully downloaded those pictures? Hell most of them were in his internet cache, who here has never accidently typoed a URL and got one of those domains the prey on typos? So if I type in www.amazan.com and accidently get a child porn site and they find evidence of the pictures in my cache I can go to jail for 15 years? That seems a little insane to me.

      And, on that note, I think it is sad that a nonviolent offend
      • Re:Paedo-hysteria (Score:2, Informative)

        by Monster_Juice (939126)
        He did a search on Google for sites containing child pornography, went to the sites and viewed images and later opened the thumbnails and viewed the pictures for about five minutes while masturbating twice. He later went in and emptied his temporary internet files but did not delete his internet history.

        Unfortunately in many states you would get a shorter sentence for molesting a child. There are many organizations trying to get the laws changed to carry a stiffer sentence. In fact in Nebraska if you are
    • Re:Paedo-hysteria (Score:2, Informative)

      by Calinous (985536)
      He was a repeat offender, and there was already a conviction that blocked him to look at child porn
    • Apart from the absurdity of valuing locking away a single paedophile over the basic rights granted to everybody by the constitution, what the hell is going on with the sentence? Fifteen years for looking at forty-odd photos that he deleted afterwards? Some of them were just thumbnails too! What the hell?

      Unless I'm mistaken, porn depicting people under the age of 21 is considered to be child porn in several states. So there's little evidence that he's a pedophile at all.
    • Re:Paedo-hysteria (Score:4, Informative)

      by Quila (201335) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @08:31AM (#15790344)
      A border search is reasonable because it's a border search?

      Yep, it's part of the ability of a sovereign nation to defend its borders. This is a very narrow exception though, as warrantless searches just within the border, past the fixed entry point, are not allowed.

      In case you are wondering whether this is some modern Republico-fascist policy, these searches were authorized by the first Congress. The precedent over this includes the authority of Customs to inspect incoming container ships.
    • The 40 images-of-paedophilia thing has me a little curious.

      If I used javascript to preload an image without displaying it, or if I hid a 640x480 image as a 1x1 pixel on a webpage, wouldn't that image end up in the browser cache? Is it really even technically accurate to believe that anything that is in the browser cache has indeed been intentionally viewed by the user doing the browsing?

      Say you run a website and you want people to stop linking to your images from offsite, so you have any off-site requests f
    • clearly out of all proportion

      But we Must Protect The Children!

      Which reminds me of a news segment I saw recently. Some idiot state passed a law making it a criminal offence for any ex-con sex offender to live in a residence within 1500 feet of a church, school, park, ...yada yada yada..., or any schoolbus stop. The newscast then put up a map of the city... overlaid dots marking all of the schoolbus stops and other "protected" locations, and then extended 1500 foot prohibited zone colored blobs out from each
  • Customs (Score:4, Informative)

    by TopSpin (753) * on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @07:36PM (#15787936) Journal
    "Customs" can rifle through your anus without probable cause or even reasonable suspicion. Why anyone would suspect that laptops are somehow sacred and take it up with the courts mystifies me.

  • Feel The Burn Baby (Score:5, Informative)

    by DumbSwede (521261) <slashdotbin@hotmail.com> on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @07:47PM (#15787971) Homepage Journal
    Here is a better link from a Chinese news source Super-heated fusion experiment to reach 100 million degrees [people.com.cn]

    Evidently this isn't just aiming to achieve "break-even" but an actual "fusion burn" lasting 1000 seconds or approximately 16 minutes. I can't help but wonder that if they reach this goal whether it will massively accelerate the arrival of commercial fusion energy. The difference between break-even and burn is that break-even merely releases more energy than input, whereas burn requires self sustained reaction without additional input of energy.

    Many people think controlled fusion is "undoable" so such a demonstration would go a long way towards getting rid of the "30 years away and always will be" assumption.
    We only have to wait until Mid-August to find out.
    • Has anyone been following the weird events surround Robert Bussard [wikipedia.org]? Specifically the last paragraph of that wiki entry:

      On March 29, 2006, Bussard claimed [fusor.net] on the fusor.net forum that EMC2 had developed an inertial electrostatic confinement fusion process that was 100,000 times more efficient than previous designs. However, the company's funding ran out, and Bussard is looking for additional funding to develop a full-scale fusion power plant. On June 23, 2006 Bussard provided more details [randi.org] of the breakthroug

    • by kidtexas (525194) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @08:24PM (#15788089)
      Actually, to my knowledge they are not shooting for an actual "fusion burn". You can have a 1000 second discharge in a tokamak without it being a burning plasma. I don't even think they are shooting for break even. That could be in their road map though. They'd have to use tritium though and many large fusion devices don't want to do too many DT (deuterium tritium) experiments because then you have a neutron activated device that you have to work with.

      To see a burning plasma, I think most of us are going to have to wait for ITER.

      Not to steal EAST's thunder - it's a pretty amazing machine, and from what I hear, it only cost a couple tens of millions (like 40-50). If we tried to build something like that in the US it would have cost over 1 billion. yay for cheap labor.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @08:22PM (#15788083)
    Apparently the engineers testing the rocket didn't take this sage advice:

    LaForge: "Yeah, well I told the captain I'd have this analysis done in an hour."
    Scott: "How long would it really take?"
    LaForge: "An hour!"
    Scott: "Oh, you didn't tell him how long it would *really* take, did you?"
    LaForge: "Well of course I did."
    Scott: "Oh, laddie, you've got a lot to learn if you want people to think of you as a miracle worker!"
  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @09:04PM (#15788300)

    The plasma discharge will draw international attention since some scientists are concerned with risks involved in such a process. But Chinese researchers involved in the project say any radiation will cease once the test is completed.

    So...I don't get it. They probably have a good guess as to how much radiation will be generated and everyone camps out at a safe distance.

    What's everyone so worried about?

  • How "open" is AMD as far as providing specs, documentation, info and code goes? And what effect will the "openness" of AMD (if any) have on ATI?
    • How "open" is AMD as far as providing specs, documentation, info and code goes?

      I have a set of x86-64 books I ordered from AMD for free a few years ago. AMD also backed the effort to get GCC building code for the new architecture, as well as providing a simulator to get Linux booting on it. They also funded (was it SUSE?) some people to make sure it actually happened. Linux was the only 64bit OS that ran on those chips when they first became available. OTOH, if they had not been so helpful there wouldn't

  • by SEWilco (27983) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @11:03PM (#15788859) Journal
    the flight was delayed as tests were carried out on the rocket.
    I hope they don't need more power!
  • I wonder about businesspeople crossing the border with laptops from work. What if the laptops contain private company information, or even client information. How about trade secrets?

    Yes, in most cases agents wouldn't bother with this, but all it takes is once.
  • Be on the lookout for a crazed scientist with a bad haircut and four robotic limbs shortly after China's fusion test.
    • I really enjoyed Spider-Man 2, but the depiction of "fusion" was absolutely ridiculous, comic book physics at best. But then, it wasn't really intended to be serious science, it was a plot device to show the accident that caused Doctor Octopus to come about. I still would've portrayed a more realistic depiction of a fusion reactor accident though...but I'm not really sure what kind of accident there could be. You shut off the magnetic fields that are causing fusion, the reaction instantly stops, since th
    • My only real concern about the depiction in the movie is it might have an unintended side effect: cause the same people who are scared of nuclear power (fission) already to be deathly afraid of fusion reactors because they think they will behave like they did in the movie and an accident would cause the planet to be swallowed. Granted, the people that would think this are the ones who know absolutely nothing about physics, radiation, or science in general...but there are enough of them that having people
  • Fourth Amendment - Search and Seizure [findlaw.com]:

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

"There is nothing new under the sun, but there are lots of old things we don't know yet." -Ambrose Bierce

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