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Comment: Freedom of Speech the most vital right. (Score 2) 862

Back when the Tunisian uprisings started, and then started in Libya and Egypt the crowds on the street were carrying around posters of Mark Zuckerberg because Facebook would let them communicate and coordinate and let the world know what was going on. That was a full embrace of freedom of speech, and I even started to build a Twitter encryption tool to help make it even easier to for people to communicate freely (More complete projects have come out since *).

This was also right around the time of the State Dept WikiLeaks reveal, and instead of talking about how we need to encourage freedom of speech, and the press and assembly, Secretary Clinton made a big speech about the primary and absolute need for elections for a democratic transition in these countries. The ground could have been laid then that this was an expression of the peoples rights and take it as an opportunity to have an open accepting forum of competing ideas and that it was OK to have disagreeing views as long as everyone could express themselves.

Instead we got badly run elections more than a year later with the military pushing people around, and women mostly shut out of the process. And, no automatic thinking that uncomfortable ideas can at least be heard. As long as you have freedom of speech you can try to change the system. When that is gone certain changes become impossible. It was a huge missed opportunity to change attitudes about speech.

(*) My project was mostly done over a hackathon weekend and is on github: https://github.com/YasminApp/yasmin-client
Others include CryptTweet which needs improvement but is workable here: http://plexusproject.org/
And SilentCircle which is targeting a different user group https://silentcircle.com/

Science

Fossil of Ant-Eating Dinosaur Discovered In China 64

Posted by samzenpus
from the ancient-picnic-defender dept.
thomst writes "Charles Q. Choi of LiveScience reports that a farmer in southern Henan Province in China has dug up the first known ant-eating dinosaur, a half-meter-long theropod (the dinosaur family to which T. Rex belongs), whose fossilized remains were described as 'fairly intact'. The 83- to 89-million-year-old pygmy dinosaur has been named named Xixianykus zhangi by Xig Xu, De-you Wang, Corwin Sullivan, David Hone, Feng-lu Han, Rong-hao Yan, and Fu-ming Du, whose paper on the critter, A basal parvicursorine (Theropoda: Alvarezsauridae) from the Upper Cretaceous of China, was published in the March 29 issue of Zootaxa (the abstract is available in PDF format for free, the full article is paywall-protected.)"
Communications

+ - AT&T/Cingular Blocking legitimate phone number

Submitted by
kickassweb
kickassweb writes "PennPIRG is reporting that AT&T/Cingular is blocking calls to the popular, and competing, service, FreeConferenceCall.com, as well as other similar services.

PennPIRG has learned that AT&T/Cingular recently began blocking phone numbers on its wireless service used by consumers to access free conference call services, such as those provided by Free Conference Call.com. The telephone giant has argued that calls to free conference call services are resulting in millions of dollars in losses to the company due to re-routing and termination fees, and has sued free conference call services and local phone companies in Iowa over the fees.


The article goes on to state that the free conference call service being blocked competes directly with Cingular's conference call service, and that this is the type of anti-consumer action we can expect on the internet if Net Neutrality is not mandated."
The Internet

+ - BBC to suspend its "Jam" education web si

Submitted by
rizzo320
rizzo320 writes "The European Union seems to be flexing its muscles more and more, however this time, its against one of its own. News.com is reporting that the BBC trust is closing its educational website BBC Jam. The site is being closed because "The EC has received a number of complaints alleging that the publicly funded BBC Jam, which has about 170,000 registered users and is operated by about 200 BBC employees, damages the interests of the commercial sector."

So what commercial European sites will emerge in its absence?"
User Journal

SPAM: 'NYT' Reporter Who Got Iraqi WMDs Wrong Now Highlights Iran 3

Journal by Jeremiah Cornelius

Saturday's New York Times features an article, posted at the top of its Web site late Friday, that suggests very strongly that Iran is supplying the "deadliest weapon aimed at American troops" in Iraq. The author notes, "Any assertion of an Iranian contribution to attacks on Americans in Iraq is both politically and diplomatically volatile."

What is the source of this volatile information? Nothing less than "civilian and military officials from a broad range of government agencies."

Nothing ever becomes real until it is experienced. - John Keats

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