Sort of. The Patriot Act is simply too large to have been drafted in the timeframe allotted, so we can start with the obvious truth that whoever really wrote it had it on the shelf awaiting an opportunity. That is chilling, and under-reported, enough.
Well, it is certainly true that the intelligence agencies have always hated FISA and the ECPA, and they used 9/11 as an opportunity to push for changes that would never have been allowed in other political climates.
But they didn't literally have it sitting on the shelf, unless you have some sort of evidence to show otherwise. It was a little over a month between September 11th and when the first draft of the PATRIOT Act. That's a reasonable amount of time to bang out 120 pages of legalese, the majority of which were pretty banal reforms.
The problem of governments using crises to rush anti-democratic legislation is horrible enough without making up conspiracy theories.
Again, I'm not so sure that is the worst thing in the world (and the existence of the GPL for those that want that protection makes it moot anyway) but I absolutely understand the sentiment of people who do not want the code they write to be used by for-profit corporations without any protection for the community. If I'm going to write proprietary code for Apple and Google, they damn well better be paying my salary.
Even in the last 50 years, you have seen many wars with casualties in the millions: Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iran-Iraq, the Congo, etc. Although they pale in comparison to the World Wars, those are still some of the worst wars in history.
You do have a point to a certain extent. Modern weaponry has, in the last half a century, reduced the likelihood of major superpowers going to war with one another. But as the global population increase puts more pressure on dwindling resources (fossil fuels, water, arable land), I think the possibility of conflict between superpowers is much more likely in the coming decades than it has been recently, and a few regional political conflicts have the potential to explode should thing take a turn for the worse (North/South Korea, Pakistan-India namely).
That being said, I think the total amount I store on dropbox is about 50MB so it's a very small percentage of my total data.
Also the reason why written sources are more numerous and accurate after around, say, the 6th century BC is because that's when people started writing everything down! Although writing existed before then, there was a massive increase in trade during that time period and that's when writing became commonplace. Scholars believe that was the time period in which the Greek legends as well as the first books of the Old Testament were all written. So there is a period ranging around the 6th century BC to the present where we have continuous (and thus accurate) written history being recorded, a written history of the oral traditions of those cultures (that goes back some time but is of questionable accuracy), and then a time of prehistory where we have no information other than what we can put together from archaeological data.
If you look at that wikipedia page you linked, almost all of those dates are based on archaeological data. The way that works is an archaeologist finds a site that looks promising and starts a dig. They find any artifacts in that area, analyze it, date it, compare it to other sites in the region, and extrapolate information based on that. Other scientific fields are also used to help out: chemistry, genetics, linguistics, anthropology, climate science, all of them are used in constructing history. But that's not very precise and extremely dependent on finding good archaeological data, so that's why you have the lack of precision.
Go back 2,000 years and there is quite a bit of archaeological data. Go back 5,000 years and it is is very hard to come by. Go back 10,000 years and it's practically nonexistent. That's why we know so little of prehistoric civilizations. There's literally no other information other than "There were people here, and they left these types of tools" and maybe some bones or cave paintings.
For example, the Old Testament might say King Johesephus ruled such and such kingdom at such and such time period and he was a terrible, wicked ruler who murdered children and was struck down by God. You can go back and confirm via other methods that there really was a King Johesephus that ruled that kingdom and during that time period. Was he actually as horrible and wicked as described in the Bible? Maybe not. Like you said, the accounts written down in the Bible were from people with a very biased viewpoint so you have to take that into account. But you can confirm or deny a lot of it.
That's what I mean when I say that things in the Bible seem to be fairly accurate after a certain point. Obviously the ancient Jews had their own biases and that has to be taken into account, but we can confirm that many events happened at the same times and places described in the Old Testament. But the further you go back the more inaccurate it gets. The Kingdom of Judah was certainly not the way described in the Old Testament and there is absolutely no evidence for the Jews being enslaved in Egypt, for example.
Compare it to Ancient Greek history. Just because the Illiad is obviously legend doesn't mean the Peloponnesian war didn't happen.
It is a nice bedtime story, but there is nothing to cite to show any of it really happened.
That's not true. Much of the history in the Old Testament (I'm not talking about the fables found in Genesis, but the descriptions of kingdoms and events that have been proven to exist) is severely distorted history at best, but much of it is relevant.
Generally speaking the dividing line is the conquest of Babylon by the Persians. Everything before that is more legend than fact. Everything after that is fairly accurate (but obviously highly biased).
... I see no evidence, quite honestly, that the NSA has the wrong motives.
What about the evidence that the NSA's network is being used for industrial espionage? National security is one thing, but that one's impossible to justify.