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Comment: Re:Voluntary? (Score 1) 174

Getting from Hong Kong to Ecuador (or wherever he was going) without flying over any US or allied territory requires strange routes - just go to a flight booking flight and notice that the returned results mostly involve changes in the USA.

Taking such a route was wise - look at how US allies forced down the presidential jet of a LatAm leader just to search for Snowden.

But I'm really not sure why you're arguing with me about this. What happened to Snowden is a matter of public record, it's not something that's up for debate. He got stuck in Russia because the USA revoked his passport and he then wasn't allowed to board his onward flight. But once it became clear that no plane was safe, not even those with diplomatic immunity, if it flew over any US allied territory, he would have been an idiot to leave anyway because that would have been a direct flight into a lifetime of solitary confinement.

Comment: Re:wouldn't matter if it weren't canned (Score 1) 174

Fox News is the last place anyone would turn to learn about abuses of power by the government, especially with anything related to national security. It is however VERY effective at making it look like there's real accountability and competition in governance, by turning everything into a personal popularity contest between two men who are little more than figureheads.

Comment: Re:Wow... Snowden just lost me. (Score 1) 174

Congratulations. Your post wins the "who can represent the worst stereotypes about Americans" prize for this thread.

Let's recap. Snowden revealed gross abuses and illegality in your government. Doing this results in the same sort of punishments as it does in many other countries with overly authoritarian leadership: lifetime in jail, as you request. So to do the big reveal you admit is something you "really needed", he had to run. His first choice was Hong Kong, but when it appeared the Chinese might hand him over or keep him jailed for years in diplomatic limbo he decided to go to Latin America, probably Ecuador. He was en-route there when the US Govt revoked his passport, leaving him stranded in Russia which happened to be on the way.

Your post and general mentality have multiple failures, but don't worry, they are correctable.

  1. An absurdly strong "us vs them" complex.
  2. A garbled and factually incorrect belief about events in very recent history.
  3. A desire to see someone who did something "really needed" severely punished because he did it for "the wrong reasons", you of course don't elaborate on what those wrong reasons were. He has stated his reasons many times: he saw illegal behaviour and knew it had led to dangerous territory and serious abuses. He did not do it for personal fame or fortune, as evidenced by the fact that he is now broke and vanished from the scene almost entirely for months after he got let out of the Russian airport. Pretty hard to argue he had the wrong reasons.
  4. Finally, a strong quasi-religious belief that the USA is better than Russia, despite the fact that they are both remarkably aggressive and corrupt societies, run by oligarchies, in which democracy is barely functional and anyone who challenges the status quo has to run away lest they end up with a life sentence from a kangaroo court. In addition, the populations of both countries are easily manipulated by telling them how glorious and special they are. There are far more similarities than you dare imagine.

There's a simple fix for your predicament - never use the word "traitor" ever again. It describes a state of fevered flag-waving tribalism which allows your own government to blind you and switch off your critical thinking. The people in power are not better than you or anyone else, they are just ..... the people in power. Your country is not better than other countries, it's just .... the place where you were born. Your rulers deserve no loyalty, no special breaks. They are corrupt and untrustworthy to the core, they need to be watched constantly lest they abuse the powers they were temporarily granted for some purpose or another. You cannot be a traitor to such people, the concept simply has no meaning.

Once you get into this mentality, your recollection of historical events will probably improve.

Comment: Re:wouldn't matter if it weren't canned (Score 2) 174

You wont be arrested for insulting or protesting Obama. You wont be arrested for reporting on his failings; there are huge websites dedicated to it.

Of course you will. The Obama administration has prosecuted journalists and leakers at a far higher rate than before. How is one supposed to report on his failings, if the act of revealing them triggers immediate accusations of being a traitor and guaranteed prosecution? The US based papers who reported the Snowden leaks took big risks to do so, and of course their source is now in exile ...

Comment: Re:Useful Idiot (Score 1) 174

These propaganda sessions for Putin are pre-staged so Snowden has allowed himself to be used as a "propaganda tool". Considering how freedoms are curtailed in Russia, it seriously deminishes Snowden's reputation.

No it doesn't.

Snowden asked a simple and direct question, as is the norm at Putin's Q&A sessions (he does them with press corps too). Putin gave a simple and direct answer. Whether you believe the answer is a lie or not, it's a question that anyone could have asked and got the same response.

Also, do you actually know these sessions are entirely pre-staged? Can you give a cite for that? Putin had to ask for help with a translation of Snowden's question, why would he make himself look linguistically weak like that if it was all pre-staged and he already knew the question was coming? Far better for him to look fluent.

Comment: Re:It's crap (Score 1) 1373

by IamTheRealMike (#46781043) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

Are you kidding?

What's going on in places like Yemen and Afghanistan where lots of people are heavily armed is exactly the reason widespread gun ownership in the USA makes no sense. You can't beat modern governments by having lots of people own light weapons, it's a stupid idea. If one lone gunman decides the Feds have overstepped and takes them on, he ends up shot or committing suicide and being described as mentally ill (was he? hard to tell now he's dead). If a group of people try to build a conspiracy to attack government installations the NSA will find them and they'll be prosecuted for terrorism or simply vanished before they even make the first move.

The second amendment is obsolete and should just be deleted entirely. The USA is quite clearly not Switzerland, which has a notable absence of mass shootings. A heavily armed population has not stopped the US Govt sliding more and more towards full-blown authoritarianism, nor is it going to. So there are no benefits to this rule. Other countries that got serious about gun control have seen positive results over the long term (eg UK and Australia)

Power

Lack of US Cybersecurity Across the Electric Grid 93

Posted by Soulskill
from the asking-for-trouble dept.
Lasrick writes: "Meghan McGuinness of the Bipartisan Policy Center writes about the Electric Grid Cybersecurity Initiative, a collaborative effort between the center's Energy and Homeland Security Projects. She points out that over half the attacks on U.S. critical infrastructure sectors last year were on the energy sector. Cyber attacks could come from a variety of sources, and 'a large-scale cyber attack or combined cyber and physical attack could lead to enormous costs, potentially triggering sustained power outages over large portions of the electric grid and prolonged disruptions in communications, food and water supplies, and health care delivery.' ECGI is recommending the creation of a new, industry-supported model that would create incentives for the continual improvement and adaptation needed to respond effectively to rapidly evolving cyber threats. The vulnerability of the grid has been much discussed this last week; McGuinness's recommendations are a good place to start."

Comment: Re:The universe does not need us.... (Score 1) 312

by Wolfrider (#46753531) Attached to: Russia Wants To Establish a Permanent Moon Base

> On the flip side, billions of humans on earth need food, shelter, clean water, and education right fucking now. Once we get our house in order I could see wasting a few trillion dollars on a cosmic vanity project, but not until then.

--The thing is though, we have had THOUSANDS OF YEARS to "get our house in order", and things are as bad (or worse) as they have ever been. We deserve a chance to start over in a new territory at this point. Charles Sheffield has some good stories that illustrate why doing this is a Good Idea, if you're interested.

Comment: Re:There isn't enough rubles in Moscow (Score 1) 312

by Wolfrider (#46753501) Attached to: Russia Wants To Establish a Permanent Moon Base

--I'm with you 99%. The prospect of a new "space race" to the Moon is exciting for me, for the same reasons that you listed. We need to get Mankind into space in a big way.

--Anyone who hasn't already read "The Moon is a harsh mistress" turn in your geek card - it should be required reading. And if you get a chance, go visit the Saturn V rockets on display in Houston and Cape Canaveral.

--My greatest fear is that the US will treat this as rhetoric, and fail to get the fire lit under the space program again (that badly needs a cash infusion, as well as buy-in from the general public - hearts and minds help train future astronauts.)

--There's too many people as it is on this damn f'd up ball of rock+water, and we have a single point of failure. If we expand into space, eventually that will mean less congestion on the roads and in the cities. I may already be too old to live the dream of going into space in my lifetime and staying at the Space Hilton, but dammit I would support it financially for the future of the species.

Medicine

Carpenter Who Cut Off His Fingers Makes "Robohand" With 3-D Printer 90

Posted by samzenpus
from the finger-jam dept.
mpicpp (3454017) writes with the ultimate DIY story about a carpenter in South Africa who lost his fingers in an accident, and now runs a company that makes mechanical prosthetics with 3D printing technology. "'I was in a position to see exactly what happens in the human hand. I got the basics of what it's all about and thought yeah, I'll make my own.' Richard van As is recalling the moment in May 2011 when he sat in a Johannesburg hospital waiting to hear if his fingers could be stitched back on. Just an hour earlier, he had been in his carpentry workshop sawing wood when the saw slipped and ripped diagonally through the four fingers on his right hand....After days of scouring the Internet he couldn't find anywhere to buy a functional prosthetic finger and he was astonished at the cost of prosthetic hands and limbs which began in the tens of thousands of dollars. But his online surfing paid off as it brought him to an amateur video posted by a mechanical effects artist in Washington State, by the name of Ivan Owen. Together, the pair developed a mechanical finger for van As, but their partnership has also gone on to benefit countless hand and arm amputees around the globe, through the birth of the company "Robohand." Officially launched in January 2012, Robohand creates affordable mechanical prosthetics through the use of 3D printers. Not only that, but it has made its designs open source, so that anyone with access to such printers can print out fingers, hands and now arms as well.'"
Moon

Russia Wants To Establish a Permanent Moon Base 312

Posted by samzenpus
from the one-of-these-days-Alisa dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Having established its presence in the Crimean Peninsula, Russia is now shooting for a bit loftier goal, a permanent Moon base. 'As reported by the Voice of Russia, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin told the government daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta that establishing a permanent Moon base has become one of the country's top space priorities. "The moon is not an intermediate point in the [space] race, it is a separate, even a self-contained goal," Rogozin reportedly said. "It would hardly be rational to make some ten or twenty flights to the moon, and then wind it all up and fly to the Mars or some asteroids."'"
Education

Is Germany Raising a Generation of Illiterates? 428

Posted by samzenpus
from the me-write-pretty-one-day dept.
StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "Over at Starts With A Bang, the weekly question comes in from Germany, where we're informed: 'In Germany, many teachers have adopted a new way of teaching children to write properly. The way is called "Writing by Reading" and essentially says: Write as you wish, you're not bound by any rules. Recently, this way of teaching has been heavily criticized [link in German], but not before it has been "tested" on several years of school children.' The reading wars have been going on in the US, too, but will this wind up having a negative outcome? Or, as this piece argues, is it likely to be a wash?"

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