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Comment: not that surprising, really (Score 4, Insightful) 98 98

it is surprising to many that Congress would abdicate their role in determining the specifics of agreements that may have far reaching implications for their constituents

Really? It seems fairly straightforward that many in Congress would love for Obama to finalize this deal in secret, knowing that it will be great for their business constituents and, when the details are finally made public, fairly unpopular with the public. Then they get to have the policy they really want, and still blame Obama for all the parts people don't like, without having to take any responsibility themselves.

Of course they'd want to abdicate their role.

Comment: Re:"If you have nothing to hide..." (Score 2) 203 203

If people honestly consider this "insightful" and not "troll" then we're in worse shape than I realized. Yes, there are rioters, and yes, they should be dealt with according to the law. *Nobody* is saying that arsonists, looters or vandals should be given a pass.

But let's not forget that despite what the evening news likes to insinuate, those people make up a really tiny percentage of the protesters. Are you honestly willing to throw away the ideals of this country and violate the freedom of thousands of innocent and peaceful people in order to catch a few dozen vandals?

Comment: "If you have nothing to hide..." (Score 4, Insightful) 203 203

This is a perfect illustration of why the "if you have nothing to hide" argument in favor of government spying is so short-sighted. Yes, they always *say* that they will only use such powers of surveillance against foreign enemies and terrorists and child molesters and so on. But once they have such power, they will *inevitably* start using it against American citizens who are engaged in the Constitutionally protected activity of criticizing their government.

Anyone who has ever argued in favor of government spy powers needs to think long and hard about what kind of country we're becoming as a result of those powers, and whether we really want to be that kind of country.

Comment: Re:Progressive Fix 101 (Score 1, Insightful) 622 622

Of course, fuel efficiency is not the only problem with SUVs. That extra ground clearance makes them awful for road visibility because it's much more difficult to see through or around them from a regular sized vehicle, so every SUV on the road makes driving more dangerous for everyone.

They're also relatively heavy and many of them have bumpers that are too high to align with regular vehicles, so any collision between a regular vehicle and an SUV will tend to be more fatal to the non-SUV driver. So once again, every SUV on the road makes driving more dangerous for everyone.

All in all, every time I see an SUV on the road I have to assume that the driver is a huge jerk, because only a huge jerk would choose to endanger other people's lives just for the sake of their comfort and convenience.

Comment: flawed methodology (Score 3, Informative) 210 210

This analysis (by necessity) only included *public* posts to Google+, which makes the conclusion completely meaningless.

You can't just sweep that detail under the rug when comparing Google+ to something like Facebook. One of Google+'s biggest selling points is the ability to actually control exactly who can and cannot see everything you post, so the proportion of posts that are completely wide open to the public is going to be much, much lower than on Facebook.

There's plenty of activity there, this guy just can't see it because it's being shared privately among friends and not with the entire internet. And rightly so.

Comment: Re:Not a chance (Score 4, Interesting) 631 631

The trouble is the stuff that is bad-by-design: the fact that it's even more expansively invasive than the existing 'loyalty card' schemes

I keep hearing this and I don't understand it. How is it any different than the majority of people who use the same credit card at different stores?

It is very illegal for a merchant to store your credit card number for more than the 5 seconds it takes to authorize the transaction, unless they implement fairly strong protection to make sure nobody can steal those numbers later. But even if they do this, it is still very illegal for them to try to share those card numbers and what they purchased, which would be necessary for different merchants to "track" your purchases.

CurrentC probably does not have this protection. Merchants would be free to store and share the fact that your CurrentC account number bought X here, Y there, and Z there. Merchants would love that ability, which is why they've designed CurrentC to allow it; as a customer, you have very little to gain from that kind of data mining, and almost definitely plenty to lose.

Comment: Re:Competition urgently needed (Score 5, Insightful) 149 149

I think this hints at the fundamental disagreement between people's thoughts on "net neutrality."

Some folks think business is business and should be able to do whatever it wants, probably because they have money or some other vested interest in the current telecommunications behemoths, so they want the maximum return on that investment no matter who gets screwed in the process.

Other folks (like you) see a problem with the current arrangement, and believe that the solution is to create more competition so that the telecom industry "regulates itself." In principle I agree, but I think that's just not possible in this case.

The rest of us believe that telecom is, was, and (for the foreseeable future) always will be a *natural* monopoly. You can't have meaningful competition for building roads and sewers and power grids, in part because those things cost so much money that it is effectively impossible for a new player to enter the market, and in part because our cities would be a mess if we had to deal with multiple parallel networks of these kinds of infrastructural utilities. Telecom has exactly the same issues; no matter how data transmission technology evolves (in the foreseeable future), be it telephone wires, coaxial cables, fiber optics, or whatever is next, it will always be vastly more efficient for a single entity to install and manage that physical data network, at least at the local level. There just can not be meaningful local competition in data transmission services (which includes telephone, television, internet, etc). So the solution for telecom is exactly the same as it is for water, sewer, roads, etc: allow one entity to run it, but regulate them heavily as a public utility.

The problem we're facing now is "how to get there from here." We should have made this transition decades ago, but for a variety of reasons didn't, and so now those telecom monopolies have been allowed to remain private for too long and grow to enormous size. Wrangling them back into a public utility arrangement is the only sustainable path forward, but it will also be extremely politically difficult.

Comment: Re:The Conservative Option (Score 4, Insightful) 487 487

Just to play devil's advocate here for a moment:

This guy knew he had been in the hot zone and may have been exposed, and was trying to get back to the US. So his options were

  • a) be honest about his exposure and almost certainly be denied re-entry; or
  • b) lie about exposure in order to get back into the US.

Now, if he had not actually contracted ebola, he was likely to live in either case, (a) just would have been more inconvenient. But if (as was the case) he really did have ebola, then he would have seen (a) as suicide, and (b) as a small but measurable chance to live, given the quality of health care facilities in the US.

So, he had quite an incentive to lie about his exposure, didn't he? I'm clearly not condoning it, but... that's quite a catch, that catch-22.

Comment: Re: Umm no (Score 5, Insightful) 470 470

Well, but consider: space is big. Detecting things in it is hard, unless they've giving off light or radiation that you can detect more easily. For example, today, it is very common that we don't notice near-earth asteroids until they're less than a day away, and asteroids are a lot bigger than missiles.

Atmospheric missiles must maintain constant thrust to keep flying, in order to counteract gravity, air resistance, and to maintain course skimming the ocean, as you mentioned. That makes them easy to spot as soon as they cross the horizon, giving you that 10-20s warning.

But in space, constant thrust is not necessary. The missile can be fired initially just like a dumb projectile, and only engage its thrust once it's very close to the target and needs to adjust course to hit it. Until that time, it just looks like a very small rock hurtling through the void, giving off very little energy, making it very hard to spot.

Even if you had radar or some other kind of active sensors to detect incoming missiles before they engage their thrusters and give away their position, the attacker could simply fire their missiles inside a cloud of other flak to camouflage them. So you can see a cloud of thousands of tiny objects coming in, but you can't tell which of them are missiles with warheads until the whole cloud is close enough that those missiles activate and start homing in on your position.

+ - Three-Year Deal Nets Hulu Exclusive Rights to South Park-> 1 1

gunner_von_diamond writes: From the PC Mag Article:
If you're a fan of South Park, you better be a fan of Hulu as well. Specifically, Hulu Plus.
The creators of the funny, foul-mouthed animated TV show have signed a deal with the online streaming service. Valued at more than $80 million, the three-year deal grants Hulu exclusive rights to stream the 240+ episode back catalog of South Park in addition to all new episodes (as soon as they've aired on Comedy Central). "This is a natural partnership for us. We are excited that the entire library will be available on Hulu and that the best technology around will power South Park Digital Studios," said creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, in a statement.

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Two sides of the coin (Score 2) 534 534

Yes, there are legitimate situations where some police records need to be sealed for a modest period of time, in order to preserve the safety of undercover operatives/informants etc. Laws and procedures already exist to allow for that, all they have to do is convince a judge (privately) that some document needs to stay secret (for now) and it's fine.

This is different. This is an entire branch of law enforcement claiming that they never have to release any documents ever to anyone, no matter what's in them or whether they actually have any legitimate need to keep them secret. Given how friendly judges usually are to law enforcement on these kinds of things, the fact that they don't even want to have to convince a judge to let them keep their secrets is a big red flag to me.

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