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For example if you want to look for forest fires, you plant a camera on a high spot, overlooking a large area of forest. It takes a picture every hour.
Another example is time lapse photos for environmental/biological research.
They are a religion. They deserve tax free status as much as the Mormon church and the West Baptist church does.
That doesn't mean they shouldn't be arrested for the multiple crimes they are currently doing.
But I see no reason to single out the Scientologists tax free status and not go after the many other questionable churches.
As such your simplest explanation fails badly.
My explanation may be wrong - but it not tinfoil hat. The NSA has done far worse things than illegally put back doors into software. More importantly, I was using overly specific example to convince a real tin-foil hat guy that he was crazy. I don't claim to know the specifics - I don't know if it was the NSA or some other agency, nor do I know the specific order. But it was in keeping with how the US and similar espionage agencies work. Minimal effort, only a threat of legal actions, probably an appeal to patriotism.
The order was not "shut down" - the US government is not stupid enough to give that order. It's against the basic principles of Capitalist Republic Democracy.
Any non-psychotic person can easily tell that the NSA went up to them and said:
"Hey, you TrueCrypt people, making a safe, un-crackable encryption system? You are going to put in a back door to let us, the NSA in - and you are NOT going to tell anyone about our order or you will go to jail."
The order the NSA gave was legal. The true crypt devs are law abiding people. But they weren't going to obey the NSA. So the True Crypt Devs said "Screw that shit, we shut down."
You on the other hand are a wanker that thinks normal people - who are not anywhere near wealthy enough to defend themselves against the full might of a TREASON charge - should go to jail just to keep you happy! Because that's all it would have done - the court would have shut down TrueCrypt and put everyone in jail. Look what they did to Snowden.
Stop screaming at other people for not standing up for your principles.
Getting to the auditors is harder than getting to the devs, because anyone can be the auditor.
The thing about a free society is that the fact that we find out about the tyranny. That makes paranoid fools think their is more tyranny going on. But the truth is that real tyranny hides.
In North Korea, they would not have shut down the the devs, the devs would have put the back door in and kept their mouth shut.
Here in the free world, the devs say no and shut it down, because we have more freedom than they do.
But if you ask me to do any version of C, I'll be asking other people what to do.
Frankly, the concept of 'computer skills' is pretty much the same as spoken languages - meaningless unless you specify which language.
I agree that Ideally people should stand up and refuse to work at a place that asked these questions. But sometimes people are not in a position to refuse such work - to quote Richard Prior from the Toy:
"It's that bad out there?
Try switching nouns - consider this possibility. Given the limitless potential of humans, don't you think it is possible for a human to eventually create a bicycle capable of reaching the moon?
Yes, we reached the moon - but with a rocket, not a bicycle. Bicycles are too limited, it took a much better vehicle to reach the moon.
Some day we may create something that is as intelligent as humans. But it will be much more similar to a human than a computer is - to the point where calling it a computer would be like calling a rocket ship a bicycle.
1) Set up a personal web page - a blog, works, but it doesn't ahve to be one. You can put whatever you want on it. This gives people something to check online - but gives YOU the full control over it. No one linking to you, posting to your page, no advertisers steeling your information.
2) Maintain weekly contact with your friends by hand. Pick a single day - Sunday, whatver - and email (or call your good friends) all your actual, real friends about what you are up to and ask questions. If they are really your friend, they will email you back.
3) If a potential employer asks an inappropriate question be polite but call them on it in a way that makes you look good. "How often do you drink?" should be responded to with "I don't drink at all at work - do you have a problem with people drinking on the job?" Any question about your sex life should be politely taken as if they hitting on you. "I really don't think it's appropriate to date potential coworkers".
4) Be ready for questions about Facebook and have a good answer to it. Something that sounds sane, rather than crazy. If you are female this one works VERY well "After I found out an X stalked me on Facebook, I decided to delete my account. I get so much more work done now." It also works for men, but not as well.
Be prepared to lose some fair-weather friends/work. Just as a TV Producer would lose jobs if he decided to no longer watch TV. But your real friends and most worthwhile jobs will still like you. (Except with Facebook - if you want a job with Facebook, JOIN FACEBOOK)
But it can't do a task it doesn't already know how to do.
A human child will have far fewer facts that the computer at easy hand - but can figure out how to do anything, if given enough time. While some things may take years, most will be learn-able very quickly.
Intelligence does not depend on the facts you know, but instead on the skills you have that let you learn new things.
There are basically four kinds of jobs:
1)Super - Essential jobs that we all need to live in an area. Specifically jobs that provide food, water, heat, clothing, etc. At one point in time, ALL jobs were that. But long ago we filled all those jobs and we honestly have not increased them significantly. Few people get them anymore.
2)Essential jobs that would cause some but not all people to die if we stopped. Sewer worker, doctors, firemen, cops, soldiers. There are again a limited number of such jobs but occasionally we come up with new "essential' jobs - new types of doctors, pollution monitors/reductions, etc. Most developed countries have filled these jobs, but in certain locations they are unfilled. Why? Because of monetary issues.
3) Supportive jobs. These jobs help the rest of society do their work. Teachers, engineers, manufacturers, etc. They consist of the majority of our jobs and we are no where near the limit. We quite honestly do not have enough money to pay for all the supportive jobs we need. The old and the autistic need help (not prison - nor a prison that is called help). The jobs might have a limit, but we can't see it.
4) Luxury jobs. This includes both research and pleasure producing jobs. They make people happy and more importantly, CREATE NEW JOBS. There is no limit to these jobs and there never will be one. There will always be room for more scientists and more musicians.