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Comment: The NK story was cover to protect Sony (and NSA) (Score 5, Insightful) 281

by Eternal Vigilance (#48670543) Attached to: Did North Korea Really Attack Sony?

Of course North Korea didn't attack Sony. Asking "Did North Korea really attack Sony?" is like asking "Does NORAD really track Santa?"

The North Korea story was spin to save Sony from the devastating bad publicity about the depths of their business and technological incompetence. (The politicians who defended them will get repaid for this favor during the next election cycle. My previous comment about this from last week: They may even start using this to try to rescue that disaster of a movie. "You have to see 'The Interview'! To support free speech and America!")

The Dear Leader Of The Free World announcing "don't blame poor Sony, they were helpless victims of the evil North Koreans" totally changed the media story, saving Sony huge $$$ in both public perception and future lawsuits.

But just how America's President and trillion-dollar national security state could get things so wrong - but should always be trusted when saying who's bad and deserves to be killed, like some kind of psycho-Santa delivering death from his sleigh filled with drones - will never be questioned.

Businesses and politicians will never stop lying when it works this well.

Merry Christmas.

Comment: The bogus NK claim protects Sony (and NSA) (Score 1) 236

The Sony hack is just a simple case of incompetent corporate management and the lengths to which big-money donors and their political friends will go to protect themselves and advance their own ends.

By claiming this is all North Korea (the best Korea!)'s doing, what was initially lose-lose (Sony burns their multi-billion-dollar business to the ground, and the NSA gets exposed for not having any ability to stop it or even give warning) is now suddenly win-win (Sony gets to portray itself as a helpless victim and thus no liability, and NSA gets to argue for even more spying).

Sure makes it easier to avoid bad press and expensive lawsuits when the President himself comes out and tells the world "It wasn't Sony's fault."

(I bet that will be worth a lot come campaign contribution time. Sort of the Hollywood version of how Obama sold all Americans to the health businesses, in exchange for their support and donations to D's.)

And the Rahm Emanuel playbook - "Never let a good crisis go to waste" - is still clearly in use in D.C. Instead of people demanding to know "why didn't the outrageously expensive and unconstitutional NSA surveillance of every American (and the whole world) protect anyone against this?" the political spin can now be "see, this is why we need restrictions on everyone's use of the Internet."

(As an amusing political side note, even though the Republicans are well aware North Korea had nothing to do with this, and are seething at how the Democrats will be able to use Obama's move for huge amounts of Hollywood support in 2016, the R's can't say a damn thing - because if they do they end up looking like they're defending North Korea!)

But it is impressive the level of influence some people have. "Tell Obama we need him to hold a press conference and say our negligence and malfeasance that destroyed our company wasn't our fault."

They may even start using this to try to rescue that disaster of a movie. "You have to see 'The Interview'! To support free speech and America!"

Who knows, maybe someone will even dig up from the Archives that patriotic old WWII song "Good Old Sony."

+ - Climate Deal Would Commit Every Nation to Limiting Emissions->

Submitted by mdsolar
mdsolar (1045926) writes "Negotiators from around the globe reached a climate change agreement early Sunday that would, for the first time in history, commit every nation to reducing its rate of greenhouse gas emissions — yet would still fall far short of what is needed to stave off the dangerous and costly early impact of global warming.

The agreement reached by delegates from 196 countries establishes a framework for a climate change accord to be signed by world leaders in Paris next year. While United Nations officials had been scheduled to release the plan on Friday at noon, longstanding divisions between rich and poor countries kept them wrangling through Friday and Saturday nights to early Sunday.

The agreement requires every nation to put forward, over the next six months, a detailed domestic policy plan to limit its emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases from burning coal, gas and oil. Those plans, which would be published on a United Nations website, would form the basis of the accord to be signed next December and enacted by 2020."

Link to Original Source

+ - Global Warming to Make European Heat Waves 'Commonplace' by 2040s->

Submitted by mdsolar
mdsolar (1045926) writes "In June 2003, a high-pressure weather system took hold over Western Europe and hovered there for weeks, bringing warm tropical air to the region and making that summer the hottest since at least 1540, the year King Henry VIII discarded his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves.

Temperatures were about 2.3 degrees Celsius, or 4.1 degrees Fahrenheit, above average that summer, contributing to perhaps 70,000 additional deaths and hitting the elderly particularly hard. The heat was a factor in the outbreak of forest fires and in lower than usual crop yields. It caused Alpine glaciers to shrink at a rate double that seen in the previous record summer five years earlier.

Now, three scientists from the Met Office, the British weather agency, have concluded that human-caused global warming is going to make European summer heat waves “commonplace” by the 2040s.

Their findings, published on Monday in the online journal Nature Climate Change, suggest that once every five years, Europe is likely to experience “a very hot summer,” in which temperatures are about 1.6 degrees Celsius, or 2.9 degrees Fahrenheit, above the 1961-90 average. This is up from a probability, just a decade ago, that such events would occur only once every 52 years, a 10-fold increase."

Link to Original Source

+ - New Mexico levies $54M against US for violations at nuclear repository ->

Submitted by mdsolar
mdsolar (1045926) writes "New Mexico on Saturday levied more than $54 million in penalties against the US Department of Energy for numerous violations that resulted in the indefinite closure of the nation’s only underground nuclear waste repository.

The state Environment Department delivered a pair of compliance orders to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, marking the state’s largest penalty ever imposed on the agency. Together, the orders outline more than 30 state permit violations at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southeastern New Mexico and at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The orders and the civil penalties that come with them are just the beginning of possible financial sanctions the Energy Department could face in New Mexico. The state says it’s continuing to investigate and more fines are possible.

The focus has been on a canister of waste from Los Alamos that ruptured in one of WIPP’s storage rooms in February. More than 20 workers were contaminated and the facility was forced to close, putting in jeopardy efforts around the country to clean up tons of Cold War-era waste."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Diversity is good, especially in SciFi (Score 5, Insightful) 368

by Morgaine (#48542239) Attached to: Overly Familiar Sci-Fi

Because there is a right well to tell fictional stories?

There isn't a single right way because there are infinite possible futures, and it's reasonable to assume that inventive SciFi authors would want to explore that huge space of possibilities. There are unlimited right ways.

Nor is there a single wrong way, but if all authors narrow their horizons to describing only simplistic futures in which most cultural elements remain unchanged then clearly there is a problem of deliberate myopia which will inevitably lead to a poverty of novel material.

It's a bit like surrounding oneself with yes-men --- it doesn't promote pushing the envelope and expanding the mind in new directions. In the context of SciFi, if cultural elements are shackled to present-day norms then it creates a literary monoculture with very few interesting elements. Even worse, it's factually incorrect, since we know that cultures change strongly with time.

It is acceptable to be factually incorrect in fiction, but when a whole genre that is predicated on gazing into the future knowingly avoids addressing cultural change then there is indeed a problem, and a very big one. SciFi readers deserve better than just present day stories adorned with spaceships.

Comment: Strategic resource (Score 1) 155

by mdsolar (#48537729) Attached to: Romanian Officials Say Russia Finances European Fracking Protests
Natural gas should be considered a strategic resource in the US. We should have enough export capacity to eliminate Russia's market share but leave it unused so we can benefit from our own low gas prices. This would provide us a great deal of leverage and industrial advantage simultaneously.

Keep your boss's boss off your boss's back.