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The Courts

Supreme Court: Affordable Care Act Is Constitutional 2416

Posted by Soulskill
from the let-the-celebrations-and-recriminations-begin dept.
This morning the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. The health insurance mandate, also known as "Obamacare" was found to be "permissible under Congress's taxing authority." The full ruling (PDF) is now available, and the court's opinion begins on page 7. Amy Howe from SCOTUSblog summarized the ruling thus: "The Affordable Care Act, including its individual mandate that virtually all Americans buy health insurance, is constitutional. There were not five votes to uphold it on the ground that Congress could use its power to regulate commerce between the states to require everyone to buy health insurance. However, five Justices agreed that the penalty that someone must pay if he refuses to buy insurance is a kind of tax that Congress can impose using its taxing power. That is all that matters. Because the mandate survives, the Court did not need to decide what other parts of the statute were constitutional, except for a provision that required states to comply with new eligibility requirements for Medicaid or risk losing their funding. On that question, the Court held that the provision is constitutional as long as states would only lose new funds if they didn't comply with the new requirements, rather than all of their funding." Further coverage is available from CNN, the NY Times, and Fox.

Comment: Re:It's reverse psychology! (Score 1) 211

by antv (#36557802) Attached to: Nokia Windows Phone Revealed

What WP7 brings to the table is perfect compatibility with MS Exchange servers and MS Office file formats.
By "WP has perfect compatibility with Exchange" I of course mean "MS would make sure every other phone out there would have less than perfect compatibility with Exchange".
So that's really the selling point of WP7, except of course MS can't say that out loud.

Comment: Re:Use It Or Lose It (Score 1) 282

by antv (#36299988) Attached to: Pentagon Says Cyberattacks Can Count As Act of War

I would favor more preemptive and swift action to prevent future attacks like this coming cyberwar

See, there are things where military is really really really inefficient - usually the ones where you have no idea who or where the enemy is.
I.e. imagine that you have an "attack" - let's say someone exploiting SCADA system - coming from let's say Toronto.
This could be:

  • A "cyber-attack" from a hostile maple-syrup drinking hockey-watching enemy state, aboot to be followed by an invasion, eh ?
  • An act of an individual citizen acting w/o Canadian govt knowledge
  • Zombie computer being controlled by someone outside of Canada

And the most important thing: you have no idea which one it is. So to treat this as a military attack is just stupid.

Comment: Re:A few details (Score 1) 1855

by antv (#35997076) Attached to: Osama Bin Laden Reported Dead, Body In US Hands

Actually this is kind of amazing: we have wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya - the later two having nothing to do with 9/11 whatsoever - but the guy who actually attacked US was from our "ally" Saudi Arabia and he was living inside our "ally" Pakistan. In a mansion, no less.
It's great that we finally killed the bastard, but I have to wonder how much of the whole "war on terror" effort is spent on actually killing terrorists vs. doing useless things that create new terrorists.

Comment: Re:Response from Another VP (Score 1) 596

by antv (#35094096) Attached to: Microsoft Vehemently Denies Google's "Bing Sting"

So essentially Bing does aggregation and caching of Google's results, exactly the same way Google News aggregates and caches stories from news outlets like NY Times, AP, etc ? And Google is outraged because it's freedom of information when they do it with other people's publicly accessible web sites, but it's morally wrong when someone else does it to their publicly accessible web site ?

Google

Sony HDTVs To Come With Google TV Interface 124

Posted by samzenpus
from the TV-team-up dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "Even though Google recently announced its own Google TV, seems like their partnership with Sony is going to make it obsolete. Google has partnered up with Sony to launch four HDTVs loaded with the Google TV interface, as well as a Google TV Blu-ray player. The company's Google TV products will be called Sony Internet TV. With the Google TV, Sony aims to provide a clean and easy way to browse the Web, watch TV, and run applications all on your HDTV. Google TV uses the true Chrome Web browser with Flash 10.1. Unfortunately though, at the moment it only has a handful of apps available but Sony said the OS will be updated in early 2011 to include the Android Market app with more options."
The Military

At Last, Flying Cars? 194

Posted by kdawson
from the no-good-telling-the-girls-you're-a-pilot dept.
ColdWetDog writes, "OK, we've all whined about the fact that we are now firmly entrenched in the 21st Century and no flying cars. So it is gratifying to see that our good friends at DARPA are finally going to do something about it." The project is called Transformer TX. "The Government's envisioned concept consists of a robust ground vehicle that is capable of configuring into a VTOL air vehicle with a maximum payload capability of approximately 1,000 lbs. ... Technologies of interest may include: hybrid electric drive, advanced batteries, adaptive wing structures, ducted fan propulsion systems, advanced lightweight heavy fuel engines, lightweight materials, advanced sensors, and flight controls for stable transition from vertical to horizontal flight. ... Like all DARPA projects Transformer TX is unlikely to succeed at all. Even if US Marine rifle companies one day do ride to war in handy four-man sky jeeps rather than cumbersome choppers or Humvees, that doesn't necessarily mean flying cars for all any more than Harriers or Ospreys did."
Businesses

We're Staying In China, Says Microsoft 249

Posted by Soulskill
from the swinging-the-ethics-bat dept.
ericb tips an article at the Guardian which begins: "Hopes that Google's forthright stand on censorship in China would inspire other companies to follow suit appeared unfounded today, with the move instead threatening to widen the rift between some of the world's most powerful internet companies. Microsoft, which has considerable interests in the country, including its Bing search engine, responded directly to criticism by Google's co-founder Sergey Brin, who this week accused the company of speaking against human rights and free speech. Brin, who pressed for the closing down of Google's self-censored Chinese search engine, said yesterday: 'I'm very disappointed for them in particular. I would hope that larger companies would not put profit ahead of all else. Generally, companies should pay attention to how and where their products are used.' Microsoft rejected Brin's critique, saying it would continue to obey local laws on censorship in China."

Comment: Re:What I want to know is... (Score 1) 368

by antv (#31601838) Attached to: Sergey Brin On Google and China

But now that there's an obvious business reason *not* to operate in China (the threat of being hacked by individuals whose actions may or may not have been sanctioned by the government), Larry and Sergei find themselves in the position to steer Google, the organization, in a different direction.

This is one argument I've never understood - it's not like Chinese government could only hack into companies with physical presence in China. If it's about hacking - pulling out of China won't help Google in any way. If it's about censorship - yeah, really, it wasn't a problem for more than five years, but now it suddenly is ?!? If it's about finding a nice excuse to leave Chinese market after getting beaten by Baidu - well, that at least is plausible.

Government

US Eases Internet Export Rules To Iran, Sudan, Cuba 98

Posted by Soulskill
from the wising-up dept.
coondoggie writes "Looking to facilitate what it calls free speech rights in countries that don't look favorably at such liberties, the US government today said it would ease the regulations around exporting Internet-based applications to Iran, Sudan and Cuba. Specifically, the Treasury Department said it would add general licenses (PDF) authorizing the exportation of free, personal, Internet-based communications services – such as instant messaging, chat and email, and social networking – to those three countries. The amendments also allow the exportation of related software to Iran and Sudan, the department said in a release (the US Commerce Department controls software exports with Cuba). Until now all such exports would have broken federal laws."

+ - Largest Russian Online Library silently blocked 2

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Largest Russian Online Library silently blocked by US ISPs.

Let's admit it — some of it is a "pirated" content. But, this has never been challenged in court. Library registered in the Ecuador, country that doesn't have any bad law like DMCA. So, there is no way to sue that library without bombing the whole country. But ISPs in US found the way — they just block IP addresses without even telling you. To this moment there are at least 2 ISPs that block your access — Surewest and Bell. Try yourself to check if your provider is a bad guy: http://lib.rus.ec/.

Hail the censorship! Ditch the free speech! US people, welcome to North Korea!"

Genetic Mutation Enables Less Sleep 272

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the i-want-to-be-like-mork dept.
reporter writes to tell us that researchers are claiming to have discovered a genetic mutation that allows people to manage with much less sleep. One of the researchers hopes that this could lead to artificially reducing the amount of sleep required in your average human. "Although the mutation has been identified in only two people, the power of the research stems from the fact that the shortened sleep effect was replicated in mouse and fruit-fly studies. As a result, the research now gives scientists a clearer sense of where to look for genetic traits linked to sleep patterns."
Censorship

US Tests System To Evade Foreign Web Censorship 219

Posted by timothy
from the worthy-objective dept.
D1gital_Prob3 excerpts from a Reuters story that says "The US government is covertly testing technology in China and Iran that lets residents break through screens set up by their governments to limit access to news on the Internet. The 'feed over email' (FOE) system delivers news, podcasts and data via technology that evades web-screening protocols of restrictive regimes, said Ken Berman, head of IT at the US government's Broadcasting Board of Governors, which is testing the system. The news feeds are sent through email accounts including those operated by Google, Microsoft's Hotmail, and Yahoo. 'We have people testing it in China and Iran,' said Berman, whose agency runs Voice of America. He provided few details on the new system, which is in the early stages of testing. He said some secrecy was important to avoid detection by the two governments."

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