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+ - Senator Paul stands for over ten hours in Senate over NSA bulk data collection. ->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: Sen. Rand Paul held up a vote on the Fast Track Authority for a eleven hour dissertation on the flaws of the Patriot Act, the replacement the USA Freedom Act, bulk data collection including credit card purchases, the DEA and IRS's use of NSA intel. for "parallel construction", warrant-less GPS bugs on vehicles, as well as the important distinction of a general warrant v a spacific one.

The memes that have been created are clever too, "I don't normally take over C-Span2, but when I do -people watch C-Span2." Of course, the expected #StandWithRand and posting selfies with people actually watching C-Span2.

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Comment: For Two-Millennia Durability... (Score 4, Insightful) 200

by nightcats (#49690863) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Is the Best Open Document Format? can't beat bamboo strips. The oldest original versions of Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching are written on rolls of bamboo strips. Not sure how they scan electronically, and you will have to keep your pet pandas away from them, but for document durability, you can't beat that format...

Comment: Re:So? (Score 1) 461

by nightcats (#49685095) Attached to: Does Using an AOL Email Address Suggest You're a Tech Dinosaur?
One of the most underrated of all professions. Consider: must be strong yet gentle; analytic yet intuitive; a scientist and an artist. Must have psy skills to deal with the phobic behavior of all who come into that chair. Must be handy with power tools in very small spaces. I'm always astonished to encounter someone who performs that occupation capably.

Comment: Re:so what? (Score 1) 202

by nightcats (#49663523) Attached to: Study Reveals Wikimedia Foundation Is 'Awash In Money'
Agreed: in the widest context the question arises, "so what?" I'm not bothered in the least by the ads, and I usually push them a few bucks when I notice one. And if I'm bothered by the ad, I scroll past it -- oh, the pain! Really now, for what wiki has given to the Web, to society, to journalism, to education -- and compared with the depredations of Wall St. and corporate America -- how can this be even vaguely construed as a scandal?

+ - Ubuntu may beat Windows 10 to phone-PC convergence after all

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: Despite the recent announcement that Windows 10 phones will be able to be used as PCs when connected to an external monitor, Ubuntu—the first operating system to toy with the idea—hasn’t conceded the smartphone-PC convergence race to Microsoft just yet. “While I enjoy the race, I also like to win,” Ubuntu Foundation founder Mark Shuttleworth said during a Ubuntu Online Summit keynote, before announcing that Canonical will partner with a hardware manufacturer to release a Ubuntu Phone with smartphone-PC convergence features this year.

+ - caught sharing DNA database with government->

Submitted by SonicSpike
SonicSpike writes: In 1996, a young woman named Angie Dodge was murdered in her apartment in a small town in Idaho. Although the police collected DNA from semen left at the crime scene, they haven’t been able to match the DNA to existing profiles in any criminal database, and the murder has never been solved.

Fast forward to 2014. The Idaho police sent the semen sample to a private lab to extract a DNA profile that included YSTR and mtDNA—the two genetic markers used to determine patrilineal and matrilineal relationships (it’s unclear why they reopened the case after nearly 20 years). These markers would allow investigators to search some existing databases to try to find a match between the sample and genetic relatives.

The cops chose to use a lab linked to a private collection of genetic genealogical data called the Sorenson Database (now owned by, which claims it’s “the foremost collection of genetic genealogy data in the world.” The reason the Sorenson Database can make such an audacious claim is because it has obtained its more than 100,000 DNA samples and documented multi-generational family histories from “volunteers in more than 100 countries around the world.”

Sorenson promised volunteers their genetic data would only be used for “genealogical services, including the determination of family migration patterns and geographic origins” and would not be shared outside Sorenson.

Despite this promise, Sorenson shared its vast collection of data with the Idaho police. Without a warrant or court order, investigators asked the lab to run the crime scene DNA against Sorenson’s private genealogical DNA database. Sorenson found 41 potential familial matches, one of which matched on 34 out of 35 alleles—a very close match that would generally indicate a close familial relationship. The cops then asked, not only for the “protected” name associated with that profile, but also for all “all information including full names, date of births, date and other information pertaining to the original donor to the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy project.”

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Comment: Re:The average person thinks they've above average (Score 1) 220

by nightcats (#49405137) Attached to: How would you rate your programming skills?
Caution is a healthy attribute of self-assessment. I too said "intermediate" of myself, though I know a dozen people at work who would protest that I'm under-estimating myself. But to be cautious in such things is to keep the door open wide for improvement, which is what we all naturally desire.

Invest in physics -- own a piece of Dirac!