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Comment: Re:Well actually he's pretty solidly anti-gun too. (Score 1) 234

by Mephistro (#46599705) Attached to: Anti-Game-Violence Legislator Arrested, Faces Gun Trafficking Charges

... and you end up with taxes on drugs to pay for some of the likely increase in health problems

If you remove the war on drugs, you also remove contamination -poisonings-, variations in drug's concentration -overdoses-, needle sharing - AIDS, hepatitis- and most of the reasons for violent drug related crimes. Your "likely increase in health problems" is quite unlikely, indeed.

Comment: Oh, well (Score 5, Interesting) 296

You can build your own steam machine for peanuts, if you are technically inclined. If you aren't, you can request the help from a friend, and if you can't/don't want to do that, you can still buy a suitable PC an add SteamOS on top. If you're too lazy even for that and have money to expend, you can purchase one of these pretty Steam machines. At the very least you'll be free from the Windows tax and still you'll end up with a full fledged PC with a serious OS (Linux) that can run lots and lots of 'serious apps' + a growing number of games. I think Valve has hit the nail in the head with this one. Kudos to them.

Comment: If I had to design a weapon to be 3Dprinted... (Score 1) 344

by Mephistro (#43278329) Attached to: The ATF Not Concerned About 3D Printed Guns... Yet
... it wouldn't be a 'classic' firearm.

You don't need receivers and metallic mechanical parts if you use electric ignition, just an electric trigger, a battery and some circuitry.

You don't need proper barrels if you can use thin standard tubing encased in a 3d printed plastic sleeve, both for reinforcing the barrel and for safety.

You don't need magazines if you can store several bullets in the barrel and make the barrels single use and swappable. Due to their flimsy construction, the barrels should be strictly one use only, having to swap barrels for a new burst.

A company called Metal Storm is already applying some of these concepts in the real world.

As for lack of precision due to the lack of rifling in the barrel... they'd still be great for urban guerrilla scenarios, and probably far more precise than UZI style weapons.

I don't think the ATF guys have thought this one thoroughly enough.


EU Citizens Warned Not To Use US Cloud Services Over Spying Fears 138

Posted by timothy
from the oh-don't-you-worry dept.
Diamonddavej writes "Leading privacy expert Caspar Bowden warned European citizens not to use cloud services hosted in the U.S. over spying fears. Bowden, former privacy adviser to Microsoft Europe, explained at a panel discussion hosted at the recent Computers, Privacy and Data Protection conference in Brussels, that a section in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act 2008 (FISAAA) permits U.S. intelligence agencies to access data owned by non-U.S. citizens on cloud storage hosed by U.S. companies, if their activity is deemed to affect U.S. foreign policy. Bowden claimed the Act allows for purely political spying of activists, protesters and political groups. Bowden also pointed out that amendments to the EU's data protection regulation proposal introduce specific loopholes that permit FISAAA surveillance. The president of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves (at a separate panel discussion) commented, 'If it is a U.S. company it's the FBI's jurisdiction and if you are not a U.S. citizen then they come and look at whatever you have if it is stored on a U.S. company server.' The European Data Protection Supervisor declined to comment but an insider indicated that the authority is looking into the matter."

Comment: Re:Provoking (Score 1) 1130

by Mephistro (#42737441) Attached to: Machine Gun Fire From Military Helicopters Flying Over Downtown Miami
Reality states that at least it would make weapons more expensive for the criminals. Nowadays thousands of weapons are stolen from their rightful owners, or illegally sold by their rightful owners to criminals every year. As smuggling operations have to compete against these sources of weapons, they have to keep prices low. If you close the former sources, smuggled weapon prices will soar, just like with any other monopoly.

What is more, with the actual status quo, for many crims not having a weapon would be suicidal, as many of their prospective victims are probably armed and willing to shoot at them. It's like an arms race, with the added factor that most of these weapons are sold to both sides by the same companies.

Comment: Re:Blame Napster (Score 1) 334

by Mephistro (#38974931) Attached to: File Sharing In the Post MegaUpload Era
"do you think you can bring Harry Potter onto the big screen without the resources of big budget movie studio?"

Give it ten or twenty years and technology will make expensive films and film studios follow the path of dinosaurs. In that timeframe and thanks to Moore's Law the average user will have enough power at his fingertips to make CGI films indistinguishable from reality, including tricks like motion capture. A group of friends could do a film for peanuts, and if the film is good enough it could make tons of money for its makers. Of course, there would be lots of crappy films, but without the help of some humongous promotion campaign, they would be winnowed out really fast.

In that moment, with good quality films costing less than, say, 50000 $, it suddenly would make sense to obtain revenues by alternative means, i.e. publicity and product placement, and what we call 'piracy' would be the best way of promoting a film.

I think that movie studios are aware of this, and are just desperate to milk the cow as much as possible, before she falls dead.

Comment: Re:not to mention... (Score 1) 174

by Mephistro (#38897287) Attached to: Early Plants May Have Caused Massive Glaciation

The fossil record shows that time and time again biosphere changes are not only recovered from, but that the net effect is dramatically positive in terms of long term diversity.

Yep! You're totally right! If we trigger a mass extinction, in a few millions of years everything will go back to normal, and our descendants -if they miraculously manage to survive - will thank us for our hindsight in causing said extinction.



Man Who Downloaded Bomb Recipes Jailed For 2 Years 741

Posted by Soulskill
from the throw-out-your-old-cookbooks dept.
chrb writes "Asim Kauser, a 25-year-old British man, has been jailed for two years and three months for downloading recipes on how to make bombs and the toxin ricin. Police discovered the materials on a USB stick Asim's father gave to them following a burglary at the Kauser family home. Asim pled guilty and claimed that he only downloaded the materials because he was curious. A North West Counter-Terrorism Unit spokesman said, 'I also want to stress that this case is not about policing people's freedom to browse the Internet. The materials that were downloaded were not stumbled upon by chance — these had to be searched for and contained very dangerous information that could have led to an explosive device being built.'"

Pouring Water Into a Volcano To Generate Power 321

Posted by samzenpus
from the pele-approved dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Until recently, geothermal power systems have exploited only resources where naturally occurring heat, water, and rock permeability are sufficient to allow energy extraction. Now, geothermal energy developers plan use a new technology called Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) to pump 24 million gallons of water into the side of the dormant Newberrry Volcano, located about 20 miles south of Bend, Oregon, in an effort to use the earth's heat to generate power. 'We know the heat is there,' says Susan Petty, president of AltaRock Energy, Inc. of Seattle. 'The big issue is can we circulate enough water through the system to make it economic.' Since natural cracks and pores do not allow economic flow rates, the permeability of the volcanic rock can be enhanced with EGS by pumping high-pressure cold water down an injection well into the rock, creating tiny fractures in the rock, a process known as hydroshearing. Then cold water is pumped down production wells into the reservoir, and the steam is drawn out. Natural geothermal resources only account for about 0.3 percent of U.S. electricity production, but a 2007 Massachusetts Institute of Technology report projected EGS could bump that to 10 percent within 50 years, at prices competitive with fossil-fuels. 'The important question we need to answer now,' says USGS geophysicist Colin Williams, 'is how geothermal fits into the renewable energy picture, and how EGS fits. How much it is going to cost, and how much is available.'"

Do Companies Punish Workers Who Take Vacations? 948

Posted by samzenpus
from the you've-been-missing-a-lot-of-work-lately dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Chad Brooks reports that a steady stream of research over the past year reveals that Americans aren't taking vacations and it's because they are afraid to take time off from work for fear of appearing less than dedicated to their employer with one survey showing that 70 percent of employees said they weren't using all their earned vacation days in 2011. 'You have this kind of fear of not wanting to be seen as a slacker,' says John de Graaf, executive director of Take Back Your Time, an organization focused on challenging the epidemic of overwork, over-scheduling and time famine facing society. De Graaf adds that while some companies are good about encouraging employees to use earned time off, there also are some that aren't worried about the potential repercussions that may come from that nose-to-the-grindstone approach. 'They think, "If I burn someone out, I can always find someone else,"' says de Graaf. 'They think [employees] are expendable.' Even when they do take vacation, research shows many employees aren't leaving their work behind. In one study, 66 percent of surveyed employees said they would check and respond to email during their time off, and 29 percent expect to attend meetings virtually while on vacation. De Graaf is not optimistic anything will ever get done to free employees of their fear of taking time off. 'This is the only wealthy country in the world that does not guarantee any paid vacation time,' says de Graaf. 'Every other country understands that this makes people healthier and creates a better workforce.'"

Live within your income, even if you have to borrow to do so. -- Josh Billings