Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:Congratulations (Score 1) 581

by Copid (#49134691) Attached to: Republicans Back Down, FCC To Enforce Net Neutrality Rules

Why do you need to "wire up a large geographical space"?

Sure, it's possible that a lot of little ISPs could cover an area effectively as well and compete with the monopolists on a block-by-block basis. Economies of scale work against it, but it's possible. I don't think such an ecosystem would create too much competition, though. Any ISP capable of starting up and surviving in a tiny footprint would likely choose the most under-served space to do it, so you'd expect most areas to be "monopolist + 1 small ISP" instead of a few ISPs, which is what you'd get with a lot of large operations working a city at a time.

Then again, "a lot of large operations working a city at a time" is exactly what we don't have, so the 1 small / 1 big equilibrium is better than nothing.

Really? I don't believe that's true.

You don't think that the number of people with competitive broadband depends heavily on the definition of "broadband"? If I define "broadband" as "a working sewer system" I think we'd see a substantial increase in the number of people with broadband. And if you define it as a 25Mbit Internet connection, you'd see a much smaller number. So when the telcom industry tells rosy stories of robust competition in the broadband industry, they're using a definition carefully chosen to make that story true.

Netflix works fine at 3 Mbps, what more do you want?

Netflix recommends 5Mbps for HD and 25Mbps for UHD. If we want to stick to a single stream at SD, it's great, though. Previous generations survived with low res black and white televisions with no ill effects, so we could actually get away with a lot less than that. As long as our Internet usage patterns remain what they were in, say, 2012 for the foreseeable future, we can define ourselves as having perfect infrastructure and decalre victory.

Weirdly, the US broadband market seems to be the only tech market where we haggle over how many years ago everything became "good enough" to stop improving. I mean, Intel keeps putting out better processors even though MS Word runs perfectly well on the ones from a few years ago. It's hard to fill up the hard drives we buy today, but they're still getting bigger. Which is good, because cloud storage sucks at 3Mbps, so all of the possibilities on that frontier are out the window unless we upgrade.

Furthermore, many of those subsidize broadband, so it's actually a lot more expensive than it seems.

It's these kinds of vague, hand-wavy assertions that drive me nuts. This stuff is just numbers, and it's knowable. Which countries and how much? What's the definition of "a lot more expensive" in terms of dollars per month so it's easy to compare? I admit it's hasty back-of-the-envelope work, but I'm not able to subsidies that work out to the equivalent of more than a few dollars a month.

The reason why that matters is not pricing, but that Comcast at least has to keep their equipment and services competitive.A government-mandated monopoly doesn't even have to do that.

They have to keep their equipment and services competitive with whatever a new competitor might bring online, but they can keep their prices at monopoly levels until that competitor actually does come online. The fact that Comcast has to keep up efficiency doesn't result in all that much benefit the end user if it all ends up in monopoly profits. The fact that it's marginally better than a government ISP is still damning with faint praise.

Comment: Re:Congratulations (Score 1) 581

by Copid (#49134139) Attached to: Republicans Back Down, FCC To Enforce Net Neutrality Rules

Yes, mostly due to government regulations, planning departments, and other governmental gatekeepers.

I don't doubt that those contribute significantly (although nobody seems to want to put up real numbers to back up the claim), but even in the absence of regulation, wiring up a large geographical space is bloody expensive. There are very high capital investments to be made in either case, and you have to be reasonably sure they'll pay off.

I'm perfectly willing to believe that our regulatory regime is the major source of the problem, but I'm skeptical that the problem is "regulation exists" rather than, "our regulation sucks." I mean, not all of the countries that are beating the snot out of us on the broadband front are known for their light regulatory touch. Their regulatory environment likely just encourages competition better than ours does.

Actually, the majority of Americans have two or more wired providers, plus two or more wireless providers. That's in addition to satellite Internet and various local options based on microwave links.

I think this hinges pretty heavily on the definition of "broadband." A lot of these claims are based on somewhat dated thresholds like 4Mbit, which is "broadband" by some definitions, but kind of laughable when you compare the results to other civilized countries. Once you get to higher tiers like 10, 25, and 50Mbit, things start looking substantially less competitive.

I'm hopeful for what wireless providers will be able to bring in the coming years, but the competition situation for real broadband right now is pretty grim, limited by the fact that the best ways to move lots of data fast is over physical wires and it takes time and money to run wires.

If Company X can offer the same service as Comcast but more efficiently, then it is rational for Company X to enter the market. What Comcast currently charges makes no difference.

That needs to be phrased very carefully. It needs to be able to do it more efficiently than Comcast at its equilibrium competitive price. Your second sentence is key. What Comcast currently charges isn't the rate you have to beat. The target rate is whatever you think Comcast could cut its rates to if it had to compete with you. Given that has already amortized a goodly chunk of its capital investments and it's able to bundle with television and sell one or the other as a loss leader depending on the market, that makes it a risky prospect. So unless you have a real ace up your sleeve, you'd generally invest elsewhere and Comcast never actually has to come anywhere near that rate.

Comment: Re:Congratulations (Score 1) 581

by Copid (#49133751) Attached to: Republicans Back Down, FCC To Enforce Net Neutrality Rules

Not where I'm living.


Even in markets where Comcast has a monopoly, it has to keep its prices low enough and its product up to date enough to make it unprofitable for other players to enter.

Sure. But the barriers to entry for the broadband market are tremendously high, which is why most locations have only one major provider. If you want to become a broadband provider, you'll usually choose a place without an existing broadband solution, because otherwise you run the risk of a price war that could make your newly built infrastructure a lot less profitable. The fact that Comcast could lower prices in itself is a disincentive for others to enter the market, which basically means that Comcast doesn't have to lower prices. It's similar to when companies like WalMart announce that they'll beat any competitor's price. That's partially to get your business, but it's also a very public announcement that nobody else should even bother trying to compete on price, which prevents WalMart from actually having to act on its guarantee on any large scale. The counterintuitive net result is higher prices on average.

With barriers to entry being what they are, keeping your product good enough that nobody risks huge piles of capital to build out risky new infrastructure is about as high a bar as keeping your service just barely good enough that people don't vote you out of office. Sure, it could happen, but it probably won't. It keeps things from getting ridiculously bad, but they're still pretty damn bad. The fact that Comcast is just slightly better that a government agency that provides a service you need in order to live really is damning with faint praise.

I'll be honest about my personal experience--just about the only government agency I've dealt with that is worse to deal with than Comcast is the California DMV. I'm fairly certain that if they outsourced the DMV to Federal Express or, the whole operation would be a single rack of servers and a couple of guys to keep them running and mail out the printouts.

And you have a choice whether you buy Comcast's product, a choice you don't get with many public utilities.

That's true in the sense that you can choose not to have broadband Internet access at all while skipping out on running water or trash collection is not really a good option for most people. If we needed broadband as badly as we needed city water, you could bet your bottom dollar that Comcast's prices would be even higher than they are now and their service would be even worse. A much better setup would be if you could choose between Comcast and some other technically comparable alternative, but that's not a reality in most places. In terms of market outcome, there's a world of difference between "My optional product or my competitor's optional product," and, "My optional product or go fuck yourself."

Comment: Re:I hope this wasn't a trojan horse (Score 1) 581

by Copid (#49130493) Attached to: Republicans Back Down, FCC To Enforce Net Neutrality Rules

What might help is if we got the competition going with more companies laying cable in the same area competing for the same customers. The argument that this is not profitable is a fiction. The cost of laying cable is trivial IF you exclude the costs that cities and counties charge ISPs to lay the cable.

I'd like to hear some of the numbers on this one.

Comment: Re:Congratulations (Score 1) 581

by Copid (#49130367) Attached to: Republicans Back Down, FCC To Enforce Net Neutrality Rules

Next thing, they are going to push for making Internet service a public utility and monopoly.

Broadband already is basically a monopoly and hugely overpriced. I'm not a fan of turning it into a regulated utility, but let's be honest about the state we're in. If Comcast is your only viable option, you're already dealing with a provider that acts more or less like a government department, just one with higher profit margins.

Comment: Re:Sounds good (Score 1) 581

by Copid (#49130165) Attached to: Republicans Back Down, FCC To Enforce Net Neutrality Rules

Who the hell keeps paying for a product if you don't get anything of value? Stop pretending you know what's good for a person more than they do.

That's true for almost every product, but there are specialized products that the average person doesn't necessarily evaulate as well as experts do. You ask your doctor which medications to take. Before you sign an important contract, you check with your lawyer. For a lot of people, health insurance sits in the "don't know what you're buying until you've bought it" zone. People are often happy with their plans because they've never really used them. It pays for your basic doctor's visits every time? Awesome! Got into a car accident and found out that it only covers those injuries if you're hit by a Fiat or similar brand? Oops. Looks like you bought Insurance Flavored Product which explains why your plan was so cheap.

Alternately, you could create a normalized set of definitions of minimum coverage so people know roughly what they're getting at a given tier.

Comment: Re:Don't forget Firefox Hello! (Score 1) 146

by asa (#49125077) Attached to: Firefox 36 Arrives With Full HTTP/2 Support, New Design For Android Tablets

Videoconferencing from any device on the planet without installing any special software is bloat?

YES, in the same way that every user on the planet would probably want a calculator once in a while but that doesn't mean the browser needs to add one!

Firefox comes with a couple of calculators built in. It has since before it was called Firefox.

Comment: Re:Yes, Haber's life is an example of that irony (Score 1) 224

by Paul Fernhout (#49123981) Attached to: 100 Years of Chemical Weapons

Interesting read, thanks! So true, you comments reflect the adage "taxes are the price we pay for civilization..." And also, capitalism tends toward privatizing gains and socializing costs...

If you see my other posts above though, I am not concerned about the technology to feed the world even without the Haber process (and perhaps better without it). As at this link, we have the technology through organic farming:
"Can Organic Farming Feed Us All?"

Whether we have the political will is a different issue, with so many vested interests in the current synthetic-chemical-based agricultural system.

Another aspect of this craziness:
"The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has posted an easy-to-understand visual on its site that shows which foods U.S. tax dollars go to support under the nation's farm bill. It's titled "Why Does a Salad Cost More Than a Big Mac?" and depicts two pyramids -- subsidized foods and the old recommended food pyramid. It's interesting to note that the two are almost inversely proportional to each other."

Comment: Feeding the world without the Haber process (Score 1) 224

by Paul Fernhout (#49123815) Attached to: 100 Years of Chemical Weapons

Human waste includes urine, which is part of "night soil".

But yes, "night soil" could only be part of a system. But there are other parts, as mentioned in a section quoted at the end.

I don't know about England specifically, or later years, but this says:
"Population and Economy : From Hunger to Modern Economic Growth"
"According to official Chinese statistics, by the middle of the 18 century, population density was already over 500 people per cultivated sq. km (see Liang 1980: 400, 546). While these numbers are undoubtedly exaggerated owning to under-registration of cultivated acreage (ho 1995), the contrast with 18th-cent. Europe, where 1 sq. km of cultivated acreage supported 70 people, is quite extreme (see Braudel 1981a: 56-64)."

Much of China is just not that cultivated because of mountains and deserts and such (especially in the West).

Organic agriculture is indeed information and labor intensive -- which is why robotics will revolutionize it -- including robots to pick specific insects off of plants.

On fertilizer loss, see:
"Between 1960 and 1990, global use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer increased more than sevenfold, while phosphorus use more than tripled. Studies have shown that fertilizers are often applied in excess of crop needs (MA 2005). The excess nutrients are lost through volatilization (when nitrogen vaporizes in the atmosphere in the form of ammonia), surface runoff (Figure 2), and leaching to groundwater. On average, about 20 percent of nitrogen fertilizer is lost through surface runoff or leaching into groundwater (MA 2005). Synthetic nitrogen fertilizer and nitrogen in manure that is spread on fields is also subject to volatilization. Under some conditions, up to 60 percent of the nitrogen applied to crops can be lost to the atmosphere by volatilization (University of Delaware Cooperative Extension 2009); more commonly, volatilization losses are 40 percent or less (MA 2005). A portion of the volatilized ammonia is redeposited in waterways through atmospheric deposition. Phosphorus, which binds to the soil, is generally lost through soil erosion from agricultural lands."

Comparisons to medicine... Don't get me started. :-) Doctors typically have only a few hours of education about nutrition over the course of several years of study, yet poor nutrition is the root of most Western disease. So, the whole medical community is (profitably for itself) misdirecting its efforts as far as priorities. Sure there is much alternative medicine that is bogus, but the parts based on nutritional research (e.g. Dr. Fuhrman's work) is quite good overall. Yet it is not mainstream. What is mainstream is stuff like "stents", which studies actually show are mostly worthless. For example:
"The sad thing is surgical interventions and medications are the foundation of modern cardiology and both are relatively ineffective compared to nutritional excellence. My patients routinely reverse their heart disease, and no longer have vulnerable plaque or high blood pressure, so they do not need medical care, hospitals or cardiologists anymore. The problem is that in the real world cardiac patients are not even informed that heart disease is predictably reversed with nutritional excellence. They are not given the opportunity to choose and just corralled into these surgical interventions. Trying to figure out how to pay for ineffective and expensive medicine by politicians will never be a real solution. People need to know they do not have to have heart disease to begin with, and if they get it, aggressive nutrition is the most life-saving intervention. And it is free."

Same for many other aspects of profit-driven science... I collected some examples here, with one example quote:
"The problems I've discussed are not limited to psychiatry, although they reach their most florid form there. Similar conflicts of interest and biases exist in virtually every field of medicine, particularly those that rely heavily on drugs or devices. It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine." (Marcia Angell)"

Why should mainstream agriculture be any different? Monsanto and the like all have huge profits on the line convincing farmers they need the agricultural equivalent of "stents" and so on... That includes heavy influences in political subsidies and control of research at land grant agricultural schools. And agricultural commodity prices are overall so low in the USA that most farmers need to take off-farm day jobs to pay the bills, and selling the farm land at an appreciated value is pretty much just a retirement plan, with farming a way to keep taxes low on the land. It's a crazy business in that sense. And meanwhile the USA has sold off all of its national grain reserves due to free market fundamentalism and a privatization emphasis and such among our legislators... Its just plain madness. Meanwhile the USA spends (or incurrs) about a trillion US dollars a year on "defense", but it does not have any security of the most basics like good food!

BTW, the rest of this quotes from a document on whether organic farming can feed the world (and bear in mind the suggestion that many organic crops are superior in nutritional quality because of the micro-nutrient issue):
The only people who think organic farming can feed the world are delusional hippies, hysterical moms, and self-righteous organic farmers. Right? Actually, no. A fair number of agribusiness executives, agricultural and ecological scientists, and international agriculture experts believe that a large-scale shift to organic farming would not only increase the world's food supply, but might be the only way to eradicate hunger.

There are actually myriad studies from around the world showing that organic farms can produce about as much, and in some settings much more, than conventional farms. Where there is a yield gap, it tends to be widest in wealthy nations, where farmers use copious amounts of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides in a perennial attempt to maximize yields. It is true that farmers converting to organic production often encounter lower yields in the first few years, as the soil and surrounding biodiversity recover from years of assault with chemicals. And it may take several seasons for farmers to refine the new approach.

But the long-standing argument that organic farming would yield just one-third or one-half of conventional farming was based on biased assumptions and lack of data. For example, the often-cited statistic that switching to organic farming in the United States would only yield one-quarter of the food currently produced there is based on a U.S. Department of Agriculture study showing that all the manure in the United States could only meet one-quarter of the nation's fertilizer needs-even though organic farmers depend on much more than just manure.

More up-to-date research refutes these arguments. For example, a recent study by scientists at the Research Institute for Organic Agriculture in Switzerland showed that organic farms were only 20 percent less productive than conventional plots over a 21-year period. Looking at more than 200 studies in North America and Europe, Per Pinstrup Andersen (a Cornell professor and winner of the World Food Prize) and colleagues recently concluded that organic yields were about 80 percent of conventional yields. And many studies show an even narrower gap. Reviewing 154 growing seasons' worth of data on various crops grown on rain-fed and irrigated land in the United States, University of California-Davis agricultural scientist Bill Liebhardt found that organic corn yields were 94 percent of conventional yields, organic wheat yields were 97 percent, and organic soybean yields were 94 percent. Organic tomatoes showed no yield difference.

More importantly, in the world's poorer nations where most of the world's hungry live, the yield gaps completely disappear. University of Essex researchers Jules Pretty and Rachel Hine looked at over 200 agricultural projects in the developing world that converted to organic and ecological approaches, and found that for all the projects-involving 9 million farms on nearly 30 million hectares-yields increased an average of 93 percent. A seven-year study from Maikaal District in central India involving 1,000 farmers cultivating 3,200 hectares found that average yields for cotton, wheat, chili, and soy were as much as 20 percent higher on the organic farms than on nearby conventionally managed ones. Farmers and agricultural scientists attributed the higher yields in this dry region to the emphasis on cover crops, compost, manure, and other practices that increased organic matter (which helps retain water) in the soils. A study from Kenya found that while organic farmers in "high-potential areas" (those with above-average rainfall and high soil quality) had lower maize yields than nonorganic farmers, organic farmers in areas with poorer resource endowments consistently outyielded conventional growers. (In both regions, organic farmers had higher net profits, return on capital, and return on labor.)

Contrary to critics who jibe that it's going back to farming like our grandfathers did or that most of Africa already farms organically and it can't do the job, organic farming is a sophisticated combination of old wisdom and modern ecological innovations that help harness the yield-boosting effects of nutrient cycles, beneficial insects, and crop synergies. It's heavily dependent on technology-just not the technology that comes out of a chemical plant.

High-Calorie Farms

So could we make do without the chemical plants? Inspired by a field trip to a nearby organic farm where the farmer reported that he raised an amazing 27 tons of vegetables on six-tenths of a hectare in a relatively short growing season, a team of scientists from the University of Michigan tried to estimate how much food could be raised following a global shift to organic farming. The team combed through the literature for any and all studies comparing crop yields on organic farms with those on nonorganic farms. Based on 293 examples, they came up with a global dataset of yield ratios for the world's major crops for the developed and the developing world. As expected, organic farming yielded less than conventional farming in the developed world for most food categories, while studies from the developing world showed organic farming boosting yields. The team then ran two models. The first was conservative in the sense that it applied the yield ratio for the developed world to the entire planet, i.e., they assumed that every farm regardless of location would get only the lower developed-country yields. The second applied the yield ratio for the developed world to wealthy nations and the yield ratio for the developing world to those countries.

"We were all surprised by what we found," said Catherine Badgley, a Michigan paleoecologist who was one of the lead researchers. The first model yielded 2,641 kilocalories ("calories") per person per day, just under the world's current production of 2,786 calories but significantly higher than the average caloric requirement for a healthy person of between 2,200 and 2,500. The second model yielded 4,381 calories per person per day, 75 percent greater than current availability-and a quantity that could theoretically sustain a much larger human population than is currently supported on the world's farmland. (It also laid to rest another concern about organic agriculture; see sidebar at left.)

The team's interest in this subject was partly inspired by the concern that a large-scale shift to organic farming would require clearing additional wild areas to compensate for lower yields-an obvious worry for scientists like Badgley, who studies present and past biodiversity. The only problem with the argument, she said, is that much of the world's biodiversity exists in close proximity to farmland, and that's not likely to change anytime soon. "If we simply try to maintain biodiversity in islands around the world, we will lose most of it," she said. "It's very important to make areas between those islands friendly to biodiversity. The idea of those areas being pesticide-drenched fields is just going to be a disaster for biodiversity, especially in the tropics. The world would be able to sustain high levels of biodiversity much better if we could change agriculture on a large scale."

Badgley's team went out of the way to make its assumptions as conservative as possible: most of the studies they used looked at the yields of a single crop, even though many organic farms grow more than one crop in a field at the same time, yielding more total food even if the yield of any given crop may be lower. Skeptics may doubt the team's conclusions-as ecologists, they are likely to be sympathetic to organic farming-but a second recent study of the potential of a global shift to organic farming, led by Niels Halberg of the Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, came to very similar conclusions, even though the authors were economists, agronomists, and international development experts. ...

  Sidebar one:

Enough Nitrogen To Go Around?

In addition to looking at raw yields, the University of Michigan scientists also examined the common concern that there aren't enough available sources of non-synthetic nitrogen-compost, manure, and plant residues-in the world to support large-scale organic farming. For instance, in his book Enriching the Earth: Fritz Haber, Carl Bosch, and the Transformation of World Food Production, Vaclav Smil argues that roughly two-thirds of the world's food harvest depends on the Haber-Bosch process, the technique developed in the early 20th century to synthesize ammonia fertilizer from fossil fuels. (Smil admits that he largely ignored the contribution of nitrogen-fixing crops and assumed that some of them, like soybeans, are net users of nitrogen, although he himself points out that on average half of all the fertilizer applied globally is wasted and not taken up by plants.) Most critics of organic farming as a means to feed the world focus on how much manure-and how much related pastureland and how many head of livestock-would be needed to fertilize the world's organic farms. "The issue of nitrogen is different in different regions," says Don Lotter, an agricultural consultant who has published widely on organic farming and nutrient requirements. "But lots more nitrogen comes in as green manure than animal manure."

Looking at 77 studies from the temperate areas and tropics, the Michigan team found that greater use of nitrogen-fixing crops in the world's major agricultural regions could result in 58 million metric tons more nitrogen than the amount of synthetic nitrogen currently used every year. Research at the Rodale Institute in Pennsylvania showed that red clover used as a winter cover in an oat/wheat-corn-soy rotation, with no additional fertilizer inputs, achieved yields comparable to those in conventional control fields. Even in arid and semi-arid tropical regions like East Africa, where water availability is limited between periods of crop production, drought-resistant green manures such as pigeon peas or groundnuts could be used to fix nitrogen. In Washington state, organic wheat growers have matched their non-organic neighbor's wheat yields using the same field pea rotation for nitrogen. In Kenya, farmers using leguminous tree crops have doubled or tripled corn yields as well as suppressing certain stubborn weeds and generating additional animal fodder.

The Michigan results imply that no additional land area is required to obtain enough biologically available nitrogen, even without including the potential for intercropping (several crops grown in the same field at the same time), rotation of livestock with annual crops, and inoculation of soil with Azobacter, Azospirillum, and other free-living nitrogen-fixing bacteria. ...

Comment: Re:Facts not in evidence (Score 1) 399

by daveschroeder (#49122177) Attached to: NSA Director Wants Legal Right To Snoop On Encrypted Data

Your (and my, and any individual citizen's) personal interpretation of the Constitution is not the measure. It is the interpretation and implementation by our three branches of government. I realize that some reading this believe they have all been compromised, or that they think some particular thing is "obviously unconstitutional" (even though the judicial, legislative, and executive branches say otherwise), but the fact is we have the system of government we have. So how about you consider the alternative: one where you don't assume that everyone working at every/any level of government, e.g., NSA, doesn't have the worst motivations and is actually trying to do their best to honorably, legally, and Constitutionally, protect our nation and its people instead of the opposite. How about that?

Comment: Re:Facts not in evidence (Score 1) 399

by daveschroeder (#49121915) Attached to: NSA Director Wants Legal Right To Snoop On Encrypted Data

If you would actually like to have a discussion, I am more than happy to engage. I have articulated these views (not on this specific topic, of course) long before I ever served in uniform, and they have nothing to do with a "paycheck" -- in fact, it's the inverse: the reason I chose to serve is because of my personal desire to do what I can to support things I believe in, and believe are important for our nation and my family and fellow citizens, not the other way around. Yes, our system of government is imperfect...grossly so -- but I choose to support it over any and all alternatives, warts and all. (And that is not to say that there are not things that cannot be improved.)

And again -- and I sincerely mean this -- if you are actually serious about engaging in a dialogue, I am happy to.

Comment: Re:Actually, ADM Rogers doesn't "want" that at all (Score 1, Flamebait) 399

by daveschroeder (#49121645) Attached to: NSA Director Wants Legal Right To Snoop On Encrypted Data

Yes, where to even begin...

Do you realize that over 70% of FOREIGN internet traffic enters, traverses, or otherwise touches the US?

Do you understand that an individualized warrant is required to target, collect, store, analyze, or disseminate the communications content of a US Person anywhere on the globe, and that the current law on the issue is stronger and more restrictive with regard to US Persons than it has ever been?

Do you understand that the FOREIGN communications we are going after are now intermixed with the communications of the rest of the world, including that of Americans?

Do you understand that when terrorists use Gmail, Facebook, Yahoo, WhatsApp, Hotmail, Twitter, Skype, etc. etc. etc., or Windows, or Dell computers, or Android phones, or Cisco routers, and so on, that there is no technical distinction between your communications and theirs, yet -- surprise -- we still would like to access those communications, and have legal, policy, and technical frameworks to do so, even if you have not personally inspected them yourself?

If you are a US citizen, and not covered by any warrant, no one cares about your communications. And almost by definition, no foreign intelligence agency (NSA, CIA, DIA) remotely gives a shit about your communications, and would greatly prefer to avoid it altogether, unless you have some kind of connection with foreign intelligence targets -- in which case any collection or monitoring of your communications would require an individualized warrant from FISC or another court of competent jurisdiction. I realize you think this isn't the case, and that all of your communications are being mined and monitored (illegally, no less), and since proving a negative is impossible, I won't be able to help in that regard.

"Being against torture ought to be sort of a multipartisan thing." -- Karl Lehenbauer, as amended by Jeff Daiell, a Libertarian