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Comment: Re:Basic human rights of *Americans* (Score 1) 289

Well, there is a difference. A nation spying on foreign citizens is, essentially, spying on another nation: more or less an equal. This may be a discourtesy, it may violate agreements or even formal international treaties, but it is still an action between roughly equal powers (even if it is the US against Germany or, say, Denmark). A nation spying on its own citizens, however, is going against an infinitely less powerful entity. An individual does not have the slightest chance to do anything against such an action -- except for the framework mentioned below by CohibaVancouver. This is an aspect of democracies that does not have anything (or not much) to do with elections; we call Rechtsstaat (the best translation I could find is rule of law). Violating the rule of law is a much more serious offence than violating an agreement with a foreign nation. In that sense, while human rights of Americans are not different from the human rights of other humans, human rights protecting a citizen from their own government have to be stronger than those protecting someone from a foreign government.

Comment: Re:This ain't the first time ... (Score 1) 470

by kirjoittaessani (#42806377) Attached to: Is the Era of Groundbreaking Science Over?

There are relatively few outright mysteries that remain - the Higgs Boson and the effects shaping the inflation of the universe (eg. dark mater) are classic examples of our time. I suspect that eventually, we will have a coherent explanation for all observable physical phenomena - it's not over yet by a long shot, but one day we'll figure it out.

What about this one: both general relativity and quantum mechanics are remarkably accurate in their respective areas (large masses and distances for GR, small ones for QM). One would expect some generalized theory that simplifies to GR for large masses/distances, to QM for small ones, and to Newtonian mechanics for intermediate ones. However, GR and QM are fundamentally incompatible. (Hint: time as inextricable part of spacetime in the one case vs time as a parameter, space as an operator in the other.)

Comment: Separate Channel (Score 1) 57

by kirjoittaessani (#42202885) Attached to: How the Eurograbber Attack Stole 36M Euros
Actually, using your mobile phone to authenticate a transaction used to be a good idea -- back when phones (and SMS/texting) provided a separate communication channel from the internet, so even if your computer was compromised, you had the chance notice something was amiss. With today's smartphones, there is no real separation anymore, because an attacker just needs to compromise texting and banking apps (or the web browser) on the phone; or on the desktop and the phone, but that is easy because the phone is managed from the desktop.

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