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Comment: I Suppose Next We'll Be Seeing Benghazi Stories... (Score -1, Flamebait) 465

by ewhac (#47260871) Attached to: IRS Lost Emails of 6 More Employees Under Investigation
I don't know who the miserable asshat is who keeps front-paging this blithering right-wing horseshit, but they need to be fired yesterday.

This is a non-story. It has always been a non-story. It has already been investigated, and what turned up was a gigantic pile of nothing. But then, that's all Daryl Issa's "investigations" have ever turned up.

Yes, the IRS investigated a bunch of applications for tax-exempt status for a number of "Tea Party" groups. They also performed the same investigations on so-called liberal groups. They're supposed to do that; otherwise any moron could claim tax-exempt status. Were there problems with the investigations? Yes, because the tax law that requires them is so vague that it's basically left entirely to the discretion of the investigator.

Were any applications denied? No, not really. Did the IRS investigate more "Tea Party" groups than liberal groups? It would appear so. It would also appear that there were a hell of a lot more "Tea Party" applications flooding in during the timeframe in question (which makes sense, given that the "Tea Party" is not grassroots, but entirely the construction of FreedomWorks).

As for how "terribly convenient" it is for multiple IRS personnel under investigation to have lost the data in question, well... Considering that the IRS is underfunded (sounds weird, but it's true); and considering that they have tens of thousands of personal computers, none of them brand new, and all of them in various states of disrepair and subjected to various forms of abuse; and considering that every one of those tens of thousands of computers are running FUCKING WINDOWS , then you are provably a drooling idiot if you think the probability for unrecoverable data loss is anything less than 1.0.

The only story here is that IRS regs concerning tax-exempt political advocacy organizations are hopelessly vague. Moreover, it's not a story that belongs on a tech-oriented site. If I wanted to read about fabricated right-wing ghost stories, I'd visit RedState. Get this shit off Slashdot.

Comment: Re:Key Point Missing (Score 2) 34

by NewYorkCountryLawyer (#47234405) Attached to: Appeals Court Finds Scanning To Be Fair Use

The summary misses a key point. Yes they scan and store the entire book, but they are _NOT_ making the entire book available to everyone. For the most part they are just making it searchable.

Agreed that it's not in the summary, but as you correctly note, it's just a "summary". Anyone who reads the underlying blog post will read this among the facts on which the court based its opinion: "The public was allowed to search by keyword. The search results showed only the page numbers for the search term and the number of times it appeared; none of the text was visible."

So those readers who RTFA will be in the know.

+ - Appeals Court finds scanning to be fair use in Authors Guild v Hathitrust

Submitted by NewYorkCountryLawyer
NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) writes "In Authors Guild v Hathitrust, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has found that scanning whole books and making them searchable for research use is a fair use. In reaching its conclusion, the 3-judge panel reasoned, in its 34-page opinion (PDF), that the creation of a searchable, full text database is a "quintessentially transformative use", that it was "reasonably necessary" to make use of the entire works, that maintaining maintain 4 copies of the database was reasonably necessary as well, and that the research library did not impair the market for the originals. Needless to say, this ruling augurs well for Google in Authors Guild v. Google, which likewise involves full text scanning of whole books for research."

+ - The Government Can No Longer Track Your Cell Phone Without a Warrant 1

Submitted by Jason Koebler
Jason Koebler (3528235) writes "The government cannot use cell phone location data as evidence in a criminal proceeding without first obtaining a warrant, an appeals court ruled today, in one of the most important privacy decisions in recent memory.
"In short, we hold that cell site location information is within the subscriber’s reasonable expectation of privacy," the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled. "The obtaining of that data without a warrant is a Fourth Amendment violation.""

+ - Computer Chronicles Now Streaming 24x7 on Justin.tv

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Some of us might remember the television series Computer Chronicles, created by Stewart Cheifet. It aired on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) during the mid 80's to early 2000's and documented the rise of the personal computer from its infancy to the immense market at the turn of the 21st century. Last week, the unofficial YouTube channel ComputerChroniclesYT announced they were streaming past episodes 24x7 live on Justin.tv."

Comment: Late-breaking news: PATHWAYS TO VICTORY! (Score 4, Funny) 206

It doesn't work to do this with a democratic government. We need a monarchy :-(

Or perhaps a font of sage wisdom? You know, like a Council? Composed of wise people, you know, like one's Elders? Something any sentient species ought to be able to figure out. Speaking of which, I feel another press release coming on...

K'Breel, Speaker for the Council, addresses the publication of the new report thusly:

"WE HAVE TRIUMPHED! Our skilled operatives from the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Propaganda; Planetary Research Council have successfully infiltrated the blueworlders' technological and informational systems. One notable document, Pathways to Exploration makes clear the disarray in which the blueworlders' long-term invasion plans lie, drawing on the history of meat-controlled spaceflight to justify future programs in organic space exploitation. Although the report promotes the invasion of our world as the horizon goal for the program, it takes into account funding levels necessary to maintain a robust tempo of execution, current research and exploration projects and the time/resources needed to continue them, and intertribal cooperation that would be required to further oppress the citizens of our fair red world."

"And its conclusion? Although the mechanized threat remains, and we salute those still fighting pitched battles with the two active land-based invaders, Pathways to Exploration makes it clear that it is not possible for the blueworlders' organic-based self-replicators to invade our world, at least not without a sustained commitment to funding at a higher level than their own tribal leaders are currently providing."

When an intern from the defense engineering board suggested that improving the capabilities of the blueworlders' EDL systems, radshielding, and propulsion and power systems were ultimately matters of engineering and not physics, and could ultimately be addressed if the tribals of the blue world ever get it into their oxygen-addled brains to work together to achieve a common goal (as, the intern suggested, the way any sentient species does), K'Breel had the intern's gelsacs addled by immersing them in a suitably-merciful quantity of liquid oxygen.

Thus spake K'Breel, Speaker for the Council of Elders, Committee on Native Spaceflight; Arenautics and Defense Engineering Board; Defense Studies Board; Division of Blueworlder Social and Physical Sciences; Committee on Gelsacular Statistics.

+ - Star Within a Star: Thorne-Zytkow Object Discovered->

Submitted by astroengine
astroengine (1577233) writes "A weird type of ‘hybrid’ star has been discovered nearly 40 years since it was first theorized — but until now has been curiously difficult to find. In 1975, renowned astrophysicists Kip Thorne, of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, Calif., and Anna Zytkow, of the University of Cambridge, UK, assembled a theory on how a large dying star could swallow its neutron star binary partner, thus becoming a very rare type of stellar hybrid, nicknamed a Thorne-Zytkow object (or TZO). The neutron star — a dense husk of degenerate matter that was once a massive star long since gone supernova — would spiral into the red supergiant’s core, interrupting normal fusion processes. According to the Thorne-Zytkow theory, after the two objects have merged, an excess of the elements rubidium, lithium and molybdenum will be generated by the hybrid. So astronomers have been on the lookout for stars in our galaxy, which is thought to contain only a few dozen of these objects at any one time, with this specific chemical signature in their atmospheres. Now, according to Emily Levesque of the University of Colorado Boulder and her team, a bona fide TZO has been discovered and their findings have been accepted for publication in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Letters."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Damn I'm old... (Score 4, Funny) 126

I kept thinking "I am the very model of a modern Major Perl Framework..."

I am the very model of a modern Major Perl Framework,
But here I am on Slashdot, trying harder from my job to shirk,
From HackerNews to 4chan there's no forum in which I won't lurk,
I am the very model of a modern Major Perl Framework!

+ - Councilman/Open Source Developer submits Open Source bill->

Submitted by NewYorkCountryLawyer
NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) writes "New York City Council Member Ben Kallos (KallosEsq), who also happens to be a Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) developer, just introduced legislation to mandate a government preference for FOSS and creating a Civic Commons website to facilitate collaborative purchasing of software. He argues that NYC could save millions of dollars with the Free and Open Source Software Preferences Act 2014, pointing out that the city currently has a $67 million Microsoft ELA. Kallos said: "It is time for government to modernize and start appreciating the same cost savings as everyone else.""
Link to Original Source

Comment: A little late, but welcome (Score 1) 136

by NewYorkCountryLawyer (#47119749) Attached to: Federal Court Pulls Plug On Porn Copyright Shakedown
A cynic might argue that the key difference in this case was that, for a change, the ISP's, and not merely defendants, were challenging the subpoenas; but of course we all know that justice is 'blind'.

An ingrate might bemoan the Court's failure to address the key underlying fallacy in the "John Doe" cases, that because someone pays the bill for an internet account that automatically makes them a copyright infringer; but who's complaining over that slight omission?

A malcontent like myself might be a little unhappy that it took the courts ten (10) years to finally come to grips with the personal jurisdiction issue, which would have been obvious to 9 out of 10 second year law students from the get go, and I personally have been pointing it out and writing about it since 2005; but at least they finally did get there.

And a philosopher might wonder how much suffering might have been spared had the courts followed the law back in 2004 when the John Doe madness started; but of course I'm a lawyer, not a philosopher. :)

Bottom line, though: this is a good thing, a very good thing. Ten (10) years late in coming, but good nonetheless. - R.B. )

+ - Wichita Lineman 2.0: Bill Gates Wants Accelerometers on Power Lines

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "GeekWire reports that Bill Gates is listed as an inventor on a newly surfaced patent filing that proposes putting accelerometers on power lines to understand how far they move in wind and other conditions, and monitor how close they come to trees and other nearby objects. The idea is to detect issues with power lines before they cause serious problems. Gates and power go way back — a legacy system BillG worked on as a teen that helped manage the electrical grid for the Bonneville Power Administration was just retired after keeping the lights on for 38 years."

+ - Firefox 29 is a Flop; UI Design Trends Getting Worse 2

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Firefox 29 marked the release of the UI overhaul codenamed "Australis" and the jury is back with a verdict: the vast majority of feedback on Firefox Input is negative and traffic to the Classic Theme Restorer add-on has aggressively spiked since Firefox 29 came out on April 29. Considering this is a year and a half after the backlash against the new Windows 8 user interface, it seems that even though the "dumbing down" trends in UI design are infuriating users, they continue to happen. Chrome will soon be hiding URLs, OS X has hidden scroll bars by default, iOS 7 flattened everything, and Windows 8 made scroll bars hard to see. If most users hate these changes, why are they so ubiquitous?"

This is the theory that Jack built. This is the flaw that lay in the theory that Jack built. This is the palpable verbal haze that hid the flaw that lay in...

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