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Bush Signs Bill Enabling Martial Law 1594

An anonymous reader writes to point us to an article on the meaning of a new law that President Bush signed on Oct. 17. It seems to allow the President to impose martial law on any state or territory, using federal troops and/or the state's own, or other states', National Guard troops. From the article: "In a stealth maneuver, President Bush has signed into law a provision which, according to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), will actually encourage the President to declare federal martial law. It does so by revising the Insurrection Act, a set of laws that limits the President's ability to deploy troops within the United States. The Insurrection Act (10 U.S.C.331 -335) has historically, along with the Posse Comitatus Act (18 U.S.C.1385), helped to enforce strict prohibitions on military involvement in domestic law enforcement. With one cloaked swipe of his pen, Bush is seeking to undo those prohibitions." Here is a link to the bill in question. The relevant part is Sec. 1076 about 3/4 of the way down the page.

What Earth Without People Would Look Like 671

Raynor writes "Imagine a world without people. What if every human being, all 6.5 billion of us, were suddenly abducted and the planet was left to fend for itself? The planet would heal. 'The sad truth is, once the humans get out of the picture, the outlook starts to get a lot better,' says John Orrock, a conservation biologist. Pollution would cease being created. It would remain around for many years, CO2 taking as long as 20,000 years to be restored to it's natural level, but will decrease. Even if we were all whisked away and our nuclear reactors melted down, it would have a surprisingly little effect on the planet. Chernobyl gives hope to this end. 'I really expected to see a nuclear desert there,' says Ronald Chesser, an environmental biologist. 'I was quite surprised. When you enter into the exclusion zone, it's a very thriving ecosystem.' In the grand scheme of the world there would be little evidence of our existence at 100,000 years. The most permanent piece is the radio waves we've emitted of the last century. As the article puts it, 'The humbling — and perversely comforting — reality is that the Earth will forget us remarkably quickly.'"

Ballmer Won't Dismiss Idea of Suits Against Linux 644

An anonymous reader writes "According to an interview with Steve Ballmer in Forbes, Microsoft is open to the possibility of filing patent suits against Linux in the interest of their shareholders. Ballmer said: 'Well, I think there are experts who claim Linux violates our intellectual property. I'm not going to comment. But to the degree that that's the case, of course we owe it to our shareholders to have a strategy.' Microsoft filed more than 3000 new applications for software patents in 2005 and already owns more than 4000 patents, including many patents on fundamental, but trivial technologies, like double clicks."

Anything cut to length will be too short.