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Has Orwell's '1984' Come 22 Years Later? 1272

gabec asks: "This weekend my mother bought a grille lighter, something like this butane lighter. The self-scanner at Kroger's locked itself up and paged a clerk, who had to enter our drivers license numbers into her kiosk before we could continue. Last week my girlfriend bought four peaches. An alert came up stating that peaches were a restricted item and she had to identify herself before being able to purchase such a decidedly high quantity of the dangerous fruit. My video games spy on me, reporting the applications I run, the websites I visit, the accounts of the people I IM. My ISP is being strong-armed into a two-year archive of each action I take online under the guise of catching pedophiles, the companies I trust to free information are my enemies, the people looking out for me are being watched. As if that weren't enough, my own computer spies on me daily, my bank has been compromised, my phone is tapped--has been for years--and my phone company is A-OK with it. What's a guy that doesn't even consider himself paranoid to think of the current state of affairs?" The sad state of affairs is that Big Brother probably became a quiet part of our lives a lot earlier. The big question now is: how much worse can it get?
Am I just accustomed to old ways? Does the new generation, born with these restrictions, feel the weight of these bonds and recoil from my fears as paranoia? What can I, a person with no political interests--a person that would really rather think that the people in office are there because they're looking out for us, our rights, and our freedoms and not because their short-sightedness is creating a police state--do to stem the tide?"
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Has Orwell's '1984' Come 22 Years Later?

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  • Re:Peaches? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Pax00 (266436) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:03AM (#15803905)
    Interesting thing about peaches is that they contain cyanide. [cdc.gov] From that respect I could see why the scanner would go off...
  • Re:Big "OH Brother" (Score:3, Informative)

    by rodgster (671476) * <rodgster@@@yahoo...com> on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:08AM (#15803924) Journal
    I was going to moderate. (4) points about to expire today. But I just cannot let this example of ignorance sit at the top of a story.

    Have You ever heard of CYANIDE?

    Suggestion: think before you open type and demonstrate how ignorant you are.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=Cyanide+peach+pits [google.com]

    Don't tell anyone but pressure treated wood contains arsenic.
  • Re:Big "OH Brother" (Score:3, Informative)

    by alshithead (981606) * on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:08AM (#15803927)
    Maybe they aren't. I can't buy Day-Quil at Wal-Mart without showing ID.
  • Re:Big "OH Brother" (Score:1, Informative)

    by supasam (658359) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:13AM (#15803950) Journal
    I can't buy sudafed at the walgreens without them writing down how much I bought, at when, showing id, and then signing the entry.
  • by ptaff (165113) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:34AM (#15804026) Homepage

    Everytime you play the proprietary software game, you lose a bit of your freedom and get nearer to Orwell's world.

    How can you be sure your software is not spying on you? For 1 caught Sony case, how many lesser known applications violate your privacy? Not even counting keyloggers and other obvious malware. XP phones home. How many other apps do that?

    Even in the political world, proprietary software brings us closer to 1984. Seems every voting machine provider uses closed software, supposedly for "security". How can we trust these black boxes?

    In the good old days of desktop computing without a network, closed source software could be trusted to keep your privacy; there was not any way to transmit the information anyway. But now, any trivial program is able to report your activities to the whole world.

    Seems to me proprietary software is a dead end when privacy is involved.

    If I told my great-great-great-great-grandmother that in the year 2006, most homes would have a box spying and reporting people activities, backed by the richest company in the world, she'd probably laugh. I'm not.

  • Re:Big "OH Brother" (Score:4, Informative)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:55AM (#15804105) Journal
    Pressure treated wood used to contain chromated copper arsenate (CCA).

    The EPA banned it since 2004 for most anything other than industrial or agricultural use.

    There are several other alternatives available. They use significantly more copper than CCA, or they use borate. Both are more expensive than CCA.

    I'm pretty sure the EPA gave the lumber companies enough leeway to move their existing stocks of CCA treated wood. The majority of wood available to the avg Joe nowadays should not have CCA in it.
  • by megaditto (982598) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @01:17AM (#15804184)
    While I see what you are saying, I believe it is dumb to remove the incentives of hard work, dilligence, and sacrifice.

    Why should should my sister study 14 hours per day for 20 years, denying herself sleep, sex, and eyesight in the process if she will end up being no better off than a janitor, except that the janitor has been having the time of her life for the last 20 years, has a developed relationship with 7 kids (all on welfare), can sleep well at night in a house she had not earned, and does not need glasses to read the 'funnies'.
  • Re:Peaches? (Score:2, Informative)

    by babtrek (256300) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @01:53AM (#15804297)
    It's not hard for something to come up as restricted at a grocery store it, in fact its really easy for those mistakes to happen. I used to work for a grocery store chain, and they used software to read the product description as it was entered to determine restrictions, Ginger Ale was always comming up restricted because it had the word ale, just like rubbing achohol did, I bet you all can geuss what word set it off there. One of my favorite items that came up restricted was Budwieser holiday glasses. Also some stores us the restriction on quantity so that one person can't buy them out of a sale item, or so that they dont loose so much money on their draw items which they usualy make little on at best.
  • by taiwanjohn (103839) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @02:36AM (#15804450)
    Yes, by all means, get politically aware. Something we who live in "free" and "democratic" societies often seem to forget is that freedom comes with responsibility. That responsibility is not just to exercise our freedoms in a "responsible" manner, it also includes active participation in the workings of government. Voting is just the most obvious "responsibility" we have in this regard. Far more important is the habitual awareness and involvement with current events and politics... Not only will your vote be more "informed," you'll also be better equipped to influence the "debate" at the dinner table, the pub, the church, etc..

    Here are the five most fundamental and important changes, which I think provide the best leverage to make American democracy work better:

    1. End "personhood" for corporations.
    http://www.thomhartmann.com/unequalprotection.shtm l [thomhartmann.com]

    2. End the War On Drugs.
    http://www.drugwarfacts.org/ [drugwarfacts.org]

    3. Open the televised debates to 3rd party candidates.
    http://debatethis.org/ [debatethis.org]

    4. Ensure transparent ballot counting and elections.
    http://www.openvotingconsortium.org/ [openvotingconsortium.org]

    5. Require proportional delegation in the Electoral College (ie: no more winner-takes-all)
    http://www.fairvote.org/e_college/reform.htm#propo rtional [fairvote.org]

    These issues are not in the news much, but they have a common-sense appeal to most people, regardless of their political orientation. These are "systemic" issues, with the potential to have broad effects throughout the society. There are many other things I'd wish for as well, but these five are a good starting point, for beating back the encroachment of Big-Brother government.

    --jrd

  • Re:Big "OH Brother" (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 29, 2006 @02:38AM (#15804458)
    In Delaware, they've spent a lot of time and money getting products containing pseudoephedrine and ephedrine out of the hands of teenagers who might use them to make methamphetamine.
    * Most meth doesn't come from these sources.
    * These sources are hard to use if they have a lot of other ingredients (like dayquil does)
    * It's much easier to make things like methcathinone than methamphetamine, and methcathinone doesn't have a big market.
    * Methamphetamine production requires a lot of other reagents and laboratory equipment, and these are already on DEA watchlists...
    * Only an idiot would attempt to run a meth lab by grinding up Sudafed. It's way too expensive. It's better to just order a bunch of ephedrine from a chemical supply co.
    They're trying to "stop a problem before it starts" or something.
    * The last time a "source chemical" was regulated, meth lab chemists found an alternate, cheaper, easier-to-obtain source which produced much stronger product (I believe it was levorotatory versus dextrorotatory, and had much more recreational potential)---the DEA's actions backfired (*coughcoughPROHIBITIONNEVERWORKEDcoughcough*) before, why won't they backfire now? (Actually, it's a collection of state governors that are doing this, not the DEA, afaik.)

    We don't have a needle exchange program here, despite having tons of HIV+ needle users and a huge heroin market (and a significant number of people who shoot coke). That *IS* a problem that is right in our faces and nothing seems to be happening. Of course, when it's a bunch of low-income, inner-city folk from run-down areas that are at stake, versus potential problems for "our children, our future", maybe one group gets precedence.
  • by plasmacutter (901737) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @03:16AM (#15804579)
    many of the examples you gave are about corporations trying to peg exactly who you are to market to you

    ok.. i'll give you some [slashdot.org] more [againsttcpa.com] examples [slashdot.org]

    yeah.. corporations are not out to enslave us.. we just don't own anything we buy anymore.. oh wait.. only serfs and slaves dont own property. Guess who is complicit with them... certainly not the general populace from these stories, just a wealthy and influential few.

    Then there is the engineering of information and "farming" of public opinion [outfoxed.org]

    so really.. its not too far from dystopia as one might think.
  • Re:Peaches? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jeremy Erwin (2054) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @03:29AM (#15804628) Journal
    even 1/2-strength ricin is more lethal than many toxins.

    "half -strength" may be an exceptionally optimistic yield. The patent doesn't address the efficiency of the process.
  • by arwez (612683) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @05:14AM (#15804880)
    The original book on this subject was not George Orwell's "1984" (1948) or Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" (1932), neither was it Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451"(1953). I can only recommend reading Yevgeni Zamyatin's "We" (1924), which was published decades before the other books.
  • Veto history (Score:4, Informative)

    by ben there... (946946) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @05:29AM (#15804906) Journal
    Bush is the first president in modern history who has never vetoed a bill

    Flat-out false. Given that, how much of the rest of the article can I trust?

    http://clerk.house.gov/histHigh/Congressional_Hist ory/vetoes.html [house.gov]

    The last President who never vetoed was James A. Garfield, elected in 1880. I'd call that non-modern history. So the article was accurate at the time of publication.

    In my fact checking, I see that Bush now has 1 veto [msn.com], rejecting additional funding for stem cell research, just over a week ago. The Globe article was written in April.

    So the article was correct.
  • Re:Big "OH Brother" (Score:3, Informative)

    by Kierthos (225954) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @06:20AM (#15804999) Homepage
    I'm sorry, but the peaches part of this can't possibly be realistic.

    I live in South Carolina, where the state fruit is the peach. Georgia, right next door, is known as the peach state. You can't go 15 miles on rural roads in either state without seeing people selling fruit by the side of the road, and nearly all of the time, it includes peaches. Furthermore, the amount of cyanide in peach pits is minute. You'd probably have to eat a couple dozen pits before you stood even a slim chance of suffering from cyanide poisoning. And if you're going to go through that much trouble to kill yourself, there are easier ways...
  • by blanks (108019) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @08:50AM (#15805296) Homepage Journal
    "I have news for you people who complain about welfare leeches... half the time these people are pushed into that because if they make above a certain level of income.. they will be denied welfare, but their jobs will make them less than welfare!"

    So instead of making any attempt to increase what they make at their job, getting a second job, or finding a better job they instead go for the free ride that everyone else needs to pay, basicly paying for this person who is capable of working, but is not.

    That is exactlly the type of person who even if they DID get a better job would do the minimium required of the job, will not attempt to improve their position at their job, and will most likely waste every bit of money they do make.

    That is why we complain about welfare leeches.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 29, 2006 @09:34AM (#15805429)
    Walmart currently DOES aggregate purchases. Three years ago a company I worked for was selling the digital video surveillance apps. Walmart put in place a test program that not only tracked the purchases, but tied it to video feeds.

    This means that if they want to see all Snicker bars bought on May 12th in Boise, 5 clicks later they are presented with register shots of everyone in a nice neat list. If you use a credit card or check, they could then pull up all of your orders across all of their stores.

    They have scary amounts of data on you, and I can only imagine what type of progress has been made in the past 3 years...
  • Re:Big "OH Brother" (Score:2, Informative)

    by Mr. Slippery (47854) <tms&infamous,net> on Saturday July 29, 2006 @10:34AM (#15805657) Homepage
    Whether it's meth or tide with bleach or patté (banned in many places now, ISYN,)

    One of these things is not like the others...the issue with paté is not that it's "bad for you", it's that it is produced via amazing cruelty to animals [hsus.org].

  • Re:Big "OH Brother" (Score:2, Informative)

    by Gryle (933382) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @11:29AM (#15805965)
    I work at an HEB in texas and peaches are not a restricted item. I can take a guess as to what happened. Each type of produce is identified by a four-digit UPC which the cashier (at least at my store) has to enter into the computer. I've entered incorrect before and once ended up selling an auto-detailing kit instead of tomatoes. I'd guess that the cashier in the story made a similar mistake and rung up some kind of restricted item accidentally.
  • Re:Go Fig (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:54PM (#15806317)
    "The just shall live by faith." Gal. 3:11
  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @04:21PM (#15807209)
    The pseudoephidrine ban is national and yes, it is one of the principal ingrediants in making meth. It's a real pain in the ass and, as I recommended to someone else, just have your doctor help you out. They can write you a perscription for pseudoephidrine which the pharmacy is then required to fill. It can be for more than the 30 pills that come in a normal pack.

    I was annoyed to discover that, but more annoyed to discover that I react differently to it now and get really tired when I take it, and thus I can't use it.
  • Re:Big "OH Brother" (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 29, 2006 @06:26PM (#15807622)
    Teenagers don't make meth, organized criminals make meth.

    But if two teenagers get together to make some meth, doesn't that make it organized crime? If they are making meth it is a crime, and if there is more than one person involved someone has to be organizing things.

    I've been to meth labs. A friend lived (unknowingly) next to one for a few months. Most are run by gangs. But some are home-based, just like with pot. None I've seen or heard-of are run by the mafia, which is what 99% of readers are going to infer when you say "organized crime".

    The reason this is different from crack, heroin, etc, is that a junkie can smoke $10 of crack in 1 minute, but $10 of speed can get you high for a day or so.

    What a load of horseshit. Ten dollars of speed can't even get me high for 5 minutes, let alone for a day. In rural Texas, speed is currently sold in $50 and $100 bags (that's $100 for a gram). For big spenders (which are few and far between), I know where to get an ounce for $1100 that could be resold for $1300 or split up and sold for in smaller units for more than double that.

    Sure, with speed the high lasts a lot longer, but the rush is no where near as high as with crack. And speed junkies commit a lot less crime than crackheads. Most of the crime is because of the drug laws. Get rid of that and unleash the free market and you'd see a lot less crime.

    Sorry to say, I'm an expert. I was up all night smoking crack and my girl is supposed to be coming back in a bit with some speed. (Though we prefer to eat the speed.) I used to have a multi-thousand dollar a month cocaine habit that quickly turned me into a crack addict. After rehab it is a lot more controllable, but it is still incredibly difficult not to fall off the horse again into heavy-use. (And I gave up a 2-pack-a-day cigarette habit in less than a week.)

    And don't believe all the anti-drug bullshit you read/hear from people who don't know what they are talking about. I'm still working on building/maintaining websites that most slashdot readers have seen. Sure, it has messed up my life in numerous ways and I really wish I'd never started. But the majority of the people I've dealt with are not thieves and murderers. They just like to get high. Sure, there are bad guys out there--hell, I was at the scene of a drive-by shooting and that scared me shitless. But in a couple of years of heavy drug-use, that and one fight are all the violence I've seen.

    Are you suggesting the all drugs be legalized?

    Damn straight. And that's from someone who is an addict and wishes he never became one. From someone who heavily researched this in high school/college long before I ever snorted a line or smoked a rock. From someone who has lived in Washington and met the drug czar. From someone who has snorted thousands of dollars of blow and smoked thousands of dollars of crack.

    The harder the authorities crack down, the more money there is to be made. And someone will make it. You are never going to get rid of drugs unless you stop the demand. End the allure of doing something illegal (the #1 reason most suburban kids get involved). Stop the distribution-related violence by selling it like alcohol. Stop most of the addict-inspired theft by reducing the cost so addicts can get high for a week on what it currently takes to get high for an hour. Spend the billions currently going to law-enforcement on rehab/recovery for those who want to get off. Stop the blatant bullshit about drugs (smoking a joint funds terrorists, smoke crack once and you'll spend your life sucking dick on the street, etc.) so people (especially kids) will believe you when you are telling the truth.

  • Re:Peaches? (Score:3, Informative)

    by thorgil (455385) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @07:07PM (#15807783) Homepage
    Actually its the kernel that contains prunasin and amygdalin which are cyanoglukosides.
    When they break down in the body, cyanide is released.

    All species in the Prunus genus contains these substances. Mainly in fruit kernels but also in bark, leaves, roots and flowers.

    They highest concentrations of these substances can be found in Apricot kernels...
    A couple of kernels is enough to kill an adult.

  • by tuxtattoo (524748) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @08:23PM (#15808095) Homepage
    Without this National ID, you won't...
    • Drive your car
    • Board a plane, train, or bus
    • Enter any federal building
    • Open a bank account
    • Hold a job
    This bill was passed into law on May 11, 2005 by President Bush. It's to be fully implemented by May 11, 2008 at the very latest.

    Don't believe me? Have a look at the official congressional documentation on the Real ID Act - H.R. 418 [loc.gov]. Are you wondering how they got this past everyone? They attached it to the Emergency Supplmental Appropriations Act - H.R. 1268 [loc.gov] bill, a bill for funding our troops in Iraq. It was passed into law as US Public Law 109-13. I mean who would want to have voting against support of our troops on their voting record, right?

    Interested in more information [nonationalid.com]? Want to join in the fight? Take the No National ID pledge [nonationalid.com]. Regardless of your "religious" affiliations, this is certainly a worthwhile cause to contribute to [endtime.com], so they can continue to fight this law.

    The National ID card will grant the ability for the Government to apply economic sanctions on an individual level. I hope you find this as disturbing as I do.

  • Re:Peaches? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Pax00 (266436) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @10:33PM (#15814595)
    It could very well depend on the species... The bitter almond contains enough to be banned in the united states

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