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Submission + - NSA Chief Admits "Only One Or Perhaps Two" Terror Plots Stopped By Spy Program (

schwit1 writes: The Obama administration’s credibility on intelligence suffered another blow Wednesday as the chief of the National Security Agency admitted that officials put out numbers that vastly overstated the counterterrorism successes of the government’s warrantless bulk collection of all Americans’ phone records.

Pressed by Pat Leahy, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee at an oversight hearing, Gen. Keith B. Alexander admitted that the number of terrorist plots foiled by the NSA’s huge database of every phone call made in or to America was only one or perhaps two — far smaller than the 54 originally claimed by the administration.

Mr. Leahy and Rep. Sensenbrenner, author of the USA Patriot Act, which the government says allows bulk data collection, are working on a bill to roll back that authority.

Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper denied that the number of plots foiled should be the sole metric by which the success of the program is measured. “I think there’s another metric here that’s very important. I would call it the ‘peace of mind’ metric.”

I would have more peace-of-mind knowing that perjuring sociopaths like Clapper could not have real-time access to my electronic communications.


Submission + - Debian Allows Trademark Use For Commerical Activities (

sfcrazy writes: According to the new trademark policy, Debian logos and marks may now be used freely for both non-commercial and commercial purposes. Stefano Zacchiroli, current Debian Project Leader and one of the main promoters of the new trademark policy, said "Software freedoms and trademarks are a difficult match. We all want to see well-known project names used to promote free software, but we cannot risk they will be abused to trick users into downloading proprietary spyware. With the help of SPI and SFLC, we have struck a good balance in our new trademark policy. Among other positive things, it allows all sorts of commercial use; we only recommend clearly informing customers about how much of the sale price will be donated to Debian."

Submission + - MABEL robot runs like a human, stomps like a cylon (

MrSeb writes: "Researchers at the University of Michigan have successfully crafted a chilling portrayal of what the future surely holds: a running, obstacle-scaling robot. This robot, which is called MABEL (not an acronym), is capable of running at speeds of up to 3.06 meters per second, or 6.8 mph. Physically she is very similar to a human — a heavy torso, and light, springed legs that act as load balancers and shock absorbers — and with a clever feedback system, MABEL even runs like a human, spending 40% of her time three or four inches off the ground."

A Bionic Leg That Rewires Stroke Victims' Brains 36

waderoush writes "A startup called Tibion in Sunnyvale, CA, has begun selling battery-powered robotic exoskeletons that help stroke victims with one-sided weakness relearn how to stand, sit, walk, and negotiate stairs. The leg isn't a permanent attachment; the company says patients who use the device for 45 minutes a week for four weeks experience significant gains in walking speed that persist and even improve months after the treatment. They believe that the $40,000 device — which includes sensors that respond to subtle signs of user intentions, such a shift in weight — provides feedback that triggers neuroplasticity, the brain's ability to rewire itself to repair damage."

Every little picofarad has a nanohenry all its own. -- Don Vonada