I'd also like to point out that trying to ban DRM at this level is stupid. Certain publishers are going to continue to want DRM protection before they allow their content onto the web, regardless of the fact that every DRM scheme out there is functionally useless. Trying to block it by prohibiting the technology will only lead to many competing and poorly implemented technologies. At least let's have a standard so we can stop playing whack-a-mole with technology, and start the real discussion: convincing publishers that using DRM is NOT NECESSARY rather than NOT ALLOWED. That's a much easier conversation to have, and one that companies like Amazon are already having success with.
Programs are getting too complex for humans to understand
That's just silly. I have yet to see a programming problem that couldn't be made to wind up looking dirt simple by factoring out abstractions and reusable pieces. The real problem is effort and attention span. A lot of people see a complex problem and give up, instead of looking for the first black box sub-system they can factor out.
However, text streams as a foundation for coding break down really quickly. Command line pipe "programs" basically require that all the data you care about be represented as a series of lines of text at every point along the way, and while that representation is very powerful for things that fit the model, it becomes a giant pain in the ass to use it to write logic that doesn't fit well.
Some newer languages are adding things like lambdas and comprehensions to move closer to this style in certain cases. And while they're nice, they're really just syntactic sugar. The fact remains that programming needs to be able to operate on variables and objects in ways that stream processing just can't do. The Unix command line paradigm is a specialized tool, while procedural/functional/OO/aspected programming is a much more general purpose one.
Anyway, theory aside, the trend right now in a lot of fields is for there to be a marked cost of living differential reflected in salaries. A job that would pay 60k in Des Moines, IA pays 100k+ in any city on the west coast, and more like 120k-130k in NYC.
Put another way, 70k in Alabama is probably more like 110k in Chicago. You could pretty easily pull a 350k house on that salary, which gets you a nice 3-bedroom in a quiet neighborhood (according to a quick search). And now a new car is now 27% of your yearly salary, rather than 43% so you can upgrade almost twice as often (or buy more books, go on more vacations, or just save more).
That's not to mention all the cultural opportunities you give up living in Alabama instead of Chicago. I'm sure Alabama has some nice countryside, and I know it's not all Deliverance-style back-country. But it can't compete with Chicago in terms of world-class theater, museums, symphony, cinema, or restaurants either.
Matter of fact, I don't think I have even gone into the city in the last year and I don't feel I have missed anything.
Either that's false, or you need a better city.
Regarding the overall claim that "smart people don't live in the city", that's flat-out ridiculous. Cities provide a much greater wealth of quality and diversity in food, entertainment, and culture than the suburbs or rural areas. You could get that by living out in the burbs and driving to the city, but some people are smart enough to value their time for more than sitting in traffic. I guess you could go the other way and do nothing but stay home and watch TV, but I think that kind of disqualifies you from the "intelligent" part we mentioned earlier.
Gmail doesn't recognize dots as characters within usernames, you can add or remove the dots from a Gmail address without changing the actual destination address; they'll all go to your inbox, and only yours.
Why should I vacate my email address just because somebody occasionally mistakes it as their own? It doesn't do them any good, because they don't have the password to it (it's my account, after all). And presumably any other address I choose is also going to have the same problem, so I haven't made anything better by switching.
Your suggestion is dumb. You are a dumb person.
I'm not sure that this isn't true.
It's absolutely not true, and here's why:
1. All of this highly secretive, decades-to-rebuild information was exposed by ONE guy with a conscience. From everything we've heard, Snowden wasn't some hacker genius, this stuff was just extremely poorly protected once you got to a certain access level. It's possible, in fact I would say probable, that the exact same set of secrets and more have been removed without authorization in similar ways in the past, but by people with less conscience. From there they could sell them to Russia, China, Al Qaeda, or GIVE them to any number of causes to which they happen to be sympathetic. They may do this either out of greed, loyalty to something other than the US intelligence apparatus, or because they were planted by an external power in the first place.
Why do I think it's highly probably this information has leaked before? Simple: the information was clearly too easy for Snowden to reach, which indicates a fundamental flaw in the NSA security structure... inside any organization, you have to assume that some people aren't what they say. No matter how good your psych screening process, no human system can keep out people with ulterior motives with 100% accuracy -- you have to limit access to only those who truly "need to know" and that doesn't mean broad cross-cutting security clearance levels. It's obvious that foreign governments would be highly interested in information like this, yet Snowden was able to access a huge array of information that he had no legitimate need to access (from the NSA's point of view). Clearly they trust people "inside the circle" far more than they should, which combined with the high probability of at least a couple of successful infiltrations by foreign agents makes it all but a certainty that Snowden's isn't the first leak, only the first PUBLIC leak.
2. All of the public surprise and outrage is coming from people who never bothered to stop and think about the subject before the leak. If they had, it would be fairly obvious that a pretty wide set of things described in the Snowden leak were probably happening. Of course you could never tell for sure, but if you were a little paranoid there were a large number of safe bets you could make, most of which have now turned out to be true. Now, the general public had no specific reason to be paranoid, so they're surprised and upset by these revelations... but they don't matter. This official is claiming that the leak puts them in a worse position compared to the people they want to use these tools against, and (unless the NSA is actually in the business of spying on innocent civilians) anyone they need to legitimately use these tools against is by definition doing something fairly obviously illegal, and would have every reason to be paranoid.
In short, nobody evil enough for the NSA to legitimately want to target AND smart enough to warrant tools this sophisticated is surprised by any but a very small handful of these revelations. And even the ones that are surprising are likely made moot by precautions those people would take against the more obvious NSA tricks.
In short, either the NSA rep is lying, or they really think the people they're hunting are so dumb that they never questioned whether plaintext email over SSL to the GMail servers was enough security to hide them from the NSA, or whether phones registered in their name could be tracked. And frankly, neither answer is good. If they're lying, it's more of the same; and if they really believe the people they were hunting hadn't guessed the majority of this already, then they're criminally underestimating the very people they're supposed to be watching (or door 3, they wanted to watch people who hadn't done anything wrong, and so had no reason to think about this stuff... but they sure do now!)
As an aside, I like how he casually tosses it out like, "yeah, it'll take decades to get back to this level again" as if it were a foregone conclusion that they WILL do that. Of course it's not looking great right now from the public reaction standpoint, but the casual assumption that the nation is just going to sit around while they go install a new network of secret backdoors in all our technology is pretty fucking arrogant.