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Electronic Frontier Foundation

NSA's Novel Claim: Our Systems Are Too Complex To Obey the Law 245

Posted by timothy
from the complex-simple-same-thing dept.
Reader Bruce66423 (1678196) points out skeptical-sounding coverage at the Washington Post of the NSA's claim that it can't hold onto information it collects about users' online activity long enough for it to be useful as evidence in lawsuits about the very practice of that collection. From the article: 'The agency is facing a slew of lawsuits over its surveillance programs, many launched after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked information on the agency's efforts last year. One suit that pre-dates the Snowden leaks, Jewel v. NSA, challenges the constitutionality of programs that the suit allege collect information about Americans' telephone and Internet activities. In a hearing Friday, U.S. District for the Northern District of California Judge Jeffrey S. White reversed an emergency order he had issued earlier the same week barring the government from destroying data that the Electronic Frontier Foundation had asked be preserved for that case. The data is collected under Section 702 of the Amendments Act to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. But the NSA argued that holding onto the data would be too burdensome. "A requirement to preserve all data acquired under section 702 presents significant operational problems, only one of which is that the NSA may have to shut down all systems and databases that contain Section 702 information," wrote NSA Deputy Director Richard Ledgett in a court filing submitted to the court. The complexity of the NSA systems meant preservation efforts might not work, he argued, but would have "an immediate, specific, and harmful impact on the national security of the United States.' Adds Bruce66423: "This of course implies that they have no backup system — or at least that the backup are not held for long."
Medicine

Continued Rise In Autism Diagnoses Puzzles Researchers, Galvanizes Advocates 558

Posted by samzenpus
from the going-up dept.
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has raised eyebrows, and concern among current and prospective parents, with a new report documenting that the rate of autism spectrum disorder diagnosis in the United States jumped 30% between 2008 and 2010, from one in 88 to one in 68 children. CDC officials don't know, however, whether the startling increase is due to skyrocketing rates of the disorder or more sensitive screening, or a combination of both."

Comment: Re:It's enough for many Rubyists. (Score 1) 123

by NeverWorker1 (#45694985) Attached to: Code.org Stats: 507MM LOC, 6.8MM Kids, 2K YouTube Views
Before I came on board at my company, they outsourced a small project to a freelancer who had taken a short intro to Rails course. Before I saw his code (it was running on heroku, and we didn't have access yet), I called him up just to talk to him about how he did it. It was clear that he didn't understand some very basic questions I was asking him to the point of giving me answers that were just plain wrong. Also, this was a light-weight web scraper, so Rails is about as wrong an approach as you can get. I junked his code, rewrote it in Python, and removed his number from my contacts.

Comment: MarkLogic = NoSQL (Score 4, Interesting) 334

A little googling turns up that MarkLogic's offering is NoSQL. Without getting into the whole SQL/NoSQL debate, I can't help but noting that this is clearly relational data with a fairly limited number of records (clearly there can't be more than 300M people listed) and for which ACID is (or should be) a major concern.
Stats

Raspberry Pi Hits the 2 Million Mark 246

Posted by timothy
from the chicken-in-every-pot dept.
The Raspberry Pi project that we've been fans of for quite a while now has hit a new milestone: Today, they announced that as of the last week in October, the project has sold more than two million boards. Raspberry Pi is anything but alone in the tiny, hackable computer world (all kinds of other options, from Arduino to the x86-based Minnowboard, are out there, and all have their selling points), but the low price, open-source emphasis, and focus on education have all helped the Pi catch on. If yours is one of these 2 million, what are you using it for? (And if you favor some other small system for your own experiments, what factors matter?)

If money can't buy happiness, I guess you'll just have to rent it.

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