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Comment Re:Bad logic (Score 3, Insightful) 97

Except there is also the fact that some of the NSA's main goals, despite its draconian and probably unconstitutional methods, are still counterterrorism and counterintelligence. When a friend or family member is killed in a terrorist attack because the NSA's security wasn't adequate you can be proud you encouraged it.

The NSA's mass-surveillance techniques have not been proven effective for counter-terrorism, nor do those techniques represent a cost-effective method of lowering the overall US death rate, nor are they worth (in my opinion) the egregious violation of our Constitutional rights.

I believe that a cursory glance at global affairs — in particular, which entities commit terror attacks upon which nations; the attackers' motives; and attacked nations' foreign policies — suggest that the most effective counter-terrorism results come from not interfering in the sovereignty or affairs of foreign governments, and not violating the human/civil rights of foreign and domestic populaces.

Were a friend or family member killed in a terror attack, I'd be upset they died even though their Constitutional rights were being violated, and I'd be upset that they likely died as a result of blowback from unilateral US action abroad intended to increase or maintain the power and wealth of US oligarchs, likely in violation of international law. If mass-surveillance were ended and a friend or family member were killed in a terror attack, I would take solace in death(s) as free people.


Luke Prosthetic Arm Approved By FDA 59

necro81 writes: "The FDA today approved the Luke prosthetic arm for sale. The Luke Arm, created by Dean Kamen's DEKA R&D Corp., was a project initiated by DARPA to develop a prosthetic arm for wounded warriors more advanced than those previously available. The Arm can be configured for below-the-elbow, above-the-elbow, and shoulder-level amputees. The full arm has 10 powered degrees of freedom and has the look and weight of the arm it replaces. Through trials by DEKA and the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, the Arm has been used by dozens of amputees for a total of many thousands of hours. Commercialization is still pending."
The Internet

Shunting the FCC To the Slow Lane 194

An anonymous reader writes "Following the FCC's proposal a couple weeks ago to allow an internet fast lane, a group of activists has come up with a fun counterproposal: force the FCC itself into the slow lane and see how they like it. They write, 'Since the FCC seems to have no problem with this idea, I've (through correspondence) gotten access to the FCC's internal IP block, and throttled all connections from the FCC to 28.8kbps modem speeds on the front site, and I'm not removing it until the FCC pays us for the bandwidth they've been wasting instead of doing their jobs protecting us from the "keep America's internet slow and expensive forever" lobby.' The group has published the code snippet that throttles FCC IP addresses, and they encourage other web admins to implement it."

Comment Re:Is this why they fly into airplanes? (Score 1) 71

To their senses, the window looks like a nice pool of water to land in. As do parked cars.

Whoa could this explain why birds specifically poop on cars so much? Maybe they have some kind of instinct to aim their poop at water sources (oddly enough).

I don't know... Has cognitive bias been eliminated as a possible explanation? Speaking for myself, I tend not to pay much notice when birds shit someplace/on something I haven't paid to clean.


Apple Reportedly Buying Beats Electronics For $3.2 Billion 198

An anonymous reader writes "Multiple publications report that Apple is undertaking its biggest acquisition ever, buying Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion. The deal would give Apple control over the popular 'Beats by Dre' headphones as well as a new music streaming service. Analysts suggest the headphones will open up a new series of product lines for Apple, while the streaming service will jumpstart its efforts to compete with Pandora and Spotify, as iTunes' growth slows. 'If Apple wanted to, it could certainly have built a streaming subscription service itself; the company had been floating the notion of one with label executives in recent months. But it's possible that Apple's most recent attempts to extend its music business beyond the iTunes store helped convince Cook that he was better off getting outside help.' The deal hasn't been completed yet, but a candid video of Dr. Dre was posted to Facebook in which he appeared to confirm it."

Submission + - SPAM: Fine Control Super Bright LED Pulser

Eli Monroe writes: Four timing controls – 12V supply, Suitable for Halloween or Christmas props
This circuit, designed on request for a Halloween prop, allows fine control of a pulsing Super Bright white LED. The four potentiometers or trimmers will set precisely: on, off, ramp up and ramp down time-delays respectively.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Feds Issue Emergency Order On Crude Oil Trains

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: Joan Lowy writes for AP that the Department of Transportation has issued an emergency order requiring that railroads inform state emergency management officials about the movement of large shipments of crude oil through their states and urged shippers not to use older model tanks cars that are easily ruptured in accidents, even at slow speeds. The emergency order follows a warning two weeks ago from outgoing National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman Deborah Hersman that the department risks a "higher body count" as the result of fiery oil train accidents if it waits for new safety regulations to become final. There have been nine oil train derailments in the U.S. and Canada since March of last year, many of them resulting in intense fires and sometimes the evacuation of nearby residents, according to the NTSB. The latest was last week, when a CSX train carrying Bakken crude derailed in downtown Lynchburg, Va., sending three tank cars into the James River and shooting flames and black smoke into the air. Concern about the safe transport of crude oil was heightened after a runaway oil train derailed and then exploded last July in the small town of Lac-Megantic in Canada, just across the border from Maine. More than 60 tank cars spilled more than 1.3 million gallons of oil. Forty-seven people were killed and 30 buildings destroyed in resulting inferno. Hersman says that over her 10 years on the board she has "seen a lot of difficulty when it comes to safely rules being implemented if we don't have a high enough body count. That is a tombstone mentality. We know the steps that will prevent or mitigate these accidents. What is missing is the will to require people to do so."

Submission + - Medialink Sues Redditor Who Wrote Negative Review on Amazon

An anonymous reader writes: The review written by the redditor in question happened to be ranked as the most helpful critical review on Amazon for the Medialink router it was written for. The current review is updated to reflect the libel suit, but in his original review, the redditor claimed that most if not all of the positive reviews are fake and that the product is actually a re-branded version of a much cheaper router also sold on Amazon. '[T]hink about it,' he wrote, 'They only sell these routers on Amazon, so the whole success of their company depends on Amazon reviews.' Medialink's lawyers have informed him that litigation will only be avoided if he deletes his Amazon review, stops posting negative reviews of any Medialink products, and no longer buys Medialink products at all.

China Using Troop of Trained Monkeys To Guard Air Base 119

samzenpus (5) writes "No, they don't have guns and they don't ride on top of drones. Instead the small troop of macaques have been trained to guard air bases from birds who often get caught in aircraft engines. Government sources say the monkeys have proven more effective than netting, scarecrows, firecrackers and soldiers with live ammunition in dealing with birds. From the article: 'The macaques are trained to respond to precise whistle commands from their handlers, according to the Chinese military, leaping into action, clambering up trees to destroy nests and scare away birds, according to an account on China's Air Force News Web site on Sunday. The particular air force base employing the monkeys was left unidentified, described simply as being in the Beijing military zone. Base commanders in the account said the monkeys have destroyed more than 180 nests, at a pace of six to eight nests per monkey per day.'"

Submission + - The Death of Dark Matter's #1 Competitor

StartsWithABang writes: Since as far back as the 1930s, observations of the largest structures in the Universe have shown us that there's a discrepancy between the amount of mass that can be inferred from the starlight we see and the amount of mass that we know must be there due to its gravitational effects. Either there's some new, unseen form of matter that isn't present in the Standard Model of particle physics — dark matter — or the laws of gravity are wrong and need to be modified. The leading candidate for the latter option is TeVeS, the first relativistic formulation of MOdified Newtonian Dynamics (MOND). Well, the first observational test capable of distinguishing between TeVeS and General Relativity is complete. Spoiler: Einstein wins again.

Submission + - London Police to Wear Video Cameras in Pilot Project

An anonymous reader writes: The London Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is reportedly engaging in a year-long pilot program to determine the benefits of its police force wearing video cameras during interactions with the public. 'The pilot will include a total of 500 cameras distributed across ten city boroughs.' London joins some major U.S. cities in this endeavor to improve the quality of policing through the use of wearable cameras. Privacy advocates argue, however, that police officers having these devices on their persons is not enough: 'the efficacy of police body-mounted cameras as a crime reduction and accountability tool hinges on enforcement of good policies and procedures—including something as basic as preventing officers from being able to deactivate the cameras at their own discretion.'

Submission + - ACLU and EFF Endorse Weaker USA Freedom Act Passed by Committee ( 1

sumakor writes: The House Judiciary Committee has advanced a weakened version of the USA Freedom Act (HR3361). The amended compromise version allows collection of phone call records up to two hops away from a target, potentially including millions of customer records, and allows for collection without a judge's order in emergency cases. The amended bill also drops the requirement for a privacy advocate who can appeal the rulings of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and extends the controversial Section 215 of the Patriot Act from 2015 through 2017.

Despite these significant changes the amended bill has been endorsed by the ACLU and the EFF as a first step and the most promising path towards reigning in government surveillance. The two organizations called for further Congressional measures to tighten control of surveillance authorities including an explicit definition of the term "selector," a reduction in the number of hops from 2 to 1 under most circumstances and the closing the loophole that allows searches of Americans' data inadvertently collected thru Section 702.

The bill now proceeds to the House Intelligence Committee, who has advanced its competing bill, the FISA Transparency and Modernization Act (HR 4291). The committee will mark up both bills on the same day, begining at 10am Thursday, behind closed doors.

Submission + - Absent-minded IT Specialist inadvertently drives onto White House grounds (

McGruber writes: IT Specialist Mathew Goldstein’ was driving his gray Honda Civic along 17th Street NW in Washington, DC when he made a wrong turn and inadvertently followed the motorcade carrying President Obama’s daughters into the secure perimeter for the presidential compound.

Goldstein’s mistaken left turn raised serious questions about how an unauthorized vehicle was able to travel within five feet of the Obama girls’ motorcade and get through two rows of metal security bollards at the checkpoint at 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.

To downgrade the human mind is bad theology. - C. K. Chesterton