You neglected to add the obligatory "Now get off my lawn." I think that this post definitely merits that.
We already can transmute lead into gold. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_transmutation. Of course, it costs more in energy than the gold is worth -- which probably applies equally to garbage mining, so the comparison is quite apt.
Obviously, you've never tried plugging a USB cable into the back of a tower that can't easily be moved (with a lot of connections in the back, it's rather difficult to move unless all of your wires are long). The plugs are sideways. What's up and what's down?
Equally, for micro/mini USB, have you ever tried plugging in your phone in the dark, when it's yelling at you about needing to be charged? For that matter, those connectors are TINY. Can you read anything written on them?
Reversible connectors -- or connectors with an actual OBVIOUS direction -- would be very nice.
Like I said, I don't disagree with how LavaBit handled this. In fact, I think EVERYONE should treat federal 'requests' for information the way that Ladar Levinson has, and greatly admire the stand he has taken. I was simply saying that it was more complicated than the summary made it out to be.
That being said, in my personal opinion the fact that the fed can request envelope information with no probably cause is a travesty. I see it as no different than pulling mail out of my mailbox to see who I write letters to and who writes to me. This should be illegal search and seizure
Things are a bit more involved than they seem from reading just the summary. The fed originally requested that LavaBit provide them with information regarding a single account (header information only, but on an ongoing basis), which they are allowed to obtain without probable cause. LavaBit refused the initial request, then stalled when given a court order to provide this information (I believe LavaBit was in the right in doing so -- I'm NOT supporting the fed's case, just providing information). The fed took LavaBit back to court, and obtained a court order requiring that LavaBit provide the SSL key, as the fed did not believe that LavaBit would comply with an order for information on a single account. The best part was when LavaBit sent them the SSL key, as a 4 point font printout
In other words, when LavaBit wouldn't provide them information on a single account, the fed escalated to the nuclear option.
Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of the liberty to take a real bottle of shampoo on an airplane, or the liberty of not having to arrive at the airport an hour or more early only to be subjected to demonstrably ineffective (and possibly, over the long term, dangerous -- although that hasn't been demonstrated because of the refusal of the TSA to perform actual testing) security theater, or the liberty of not having your toddler groped by an underpaid, undertrained, overzealous, security goon.
One of the few truly effective security changes since 9/11 was the very simple expedient of adding always locked, reinforced cabin doors.
While we're on the subject of liberty, someone who had a personal hand in the founding of our country had something very relevant to say about this situation... They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Indulgences were sold for the construction of St. Peter's basilica. The church investigated, and downplayed the role of the priest at the top of the chain -- instead, those that played up the idea to the poor were blamed. Those involved were not 'counterfeiting' anything, they were just misrepresenting what was needed for an indulgence (a prayer was just as good as money). However, the idea of giving indulgences to rebuild the basilica certainly started at the top, and is 'selling' no matter how you look at it.
According to wikipedia (I know, downmod me for using this as a source), abuse of the sale of indulgences was a major point of contention, and one of the reasons why Martin Luther started the protestant reformation. I can't imagine that wikipedia is any MORE biased on this subject than the official Catholic web site.