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+ - How America's Top Tech Companies Created the Surveillance State->

Submitted by sertsa
sertsa (158454) writes "What? You thought this started recently?

FTA — . . .the cooperation was usually “voluntary” in large part because companies couldn’t afford to seem uncooperative, . . . “The ways that pressure works in Washington are very subtle,” he says. “No one’s getting bribed, or punished outright. But it’s the good little Indian that gets rewarded. And these companies needed the goodwill of the NSA and other agencies.”"

Link to Original Source

Comment: What about here in the US? (Score 1) 43

by sertsa (#43816695) Attached to: Google Plans Wireless Networks In Emerging Markets

I live almost exactly 100 miles away from Chicago in rural Illinois, and I can't even get a cellphone signal at my home without going to the top of the nearest hill let alone wireless internet (our local electric utility said they were working on it 3 years ago). The assumption that the US is covered is BS.

Comment: Re:Yay (Score 0) 2987

by sertsa (#42292181) Attached to: 27 Reported Killed In Connecticut Elementary School Shooting

>>The hard data shows far more crimes prevented by guns than caused by them. There's nothing to indicate that this would be any different in schools, and quite literally - we have most massacres occurring at schools. It does not take a genius to see that madmen are incentivized to rampage where they can expect no return fire.

Bullshit

Businesses

+ - CV Worthy Tech Tasks

Submitted by sertsa
sertsa (158454) writes "Ostensibly for re-accreditation purposes the community college where I teach now requires that I inform them of just about anything and everything I do both professionally (conferences attended, awards received, etc) and in the community (little league coach, singing in the church choir, etc) on a yearly basis. This is all fine with me — I live in a small town and my neighbors know the bulk of this anyway.

I was asked recently to be on an advisory council for a new website startup (a small honor for me but very impressive to my dean). I dutifully updated the form at work to include this, but then I started thinking about all of the other little things I've done in the past.

For instance, back in the late 90's I did some beta testing for Amazon (they even gave me a cup). And just today here on Slashdot I got 5 Moderator points. Personally — and maybe I'm just being modest — I don't think these are very CV worthy (no offense Slashdot), but in casual conversation when I mention them to others they do seem to draw an impressed response.

So my question for the Slashdot community is now that it's so easy to keep a relatively up-to-date CV / resume on sites like LinkedIn what sort of things do mention or do you think are worth mentioning?"

Comment: Re:As a university professor: (Score 1) 551

by sertsa (#37516548) Attached to: Your State University Doesn't Want You

As a university professor who graduated from the UW - Madison I watched in horror as the events in WI unfolded. I would like to note, however, that declining state support for public institutions is not new.

My father-in-law, who also graduated from the UW, worked his way through college in the 50s and 60s on a 10 hour per week work study job. On the other hand I worked my way through college in the 90s by working 40+ hours per week on second and third shift at a company with a decent tuition reimbursement program. Both of us came from relatively poor families that didn't contribute to our education, but we managed to graduate with little debt (my father-in-law graduated debt free; I only racked up $6,000 over the course of my 9 years!)

It seems now our system is designed to produced indentured servants who will have little choice in what they study and where they will work.

Welcome to Serfdom 2.0!

Comment: I suspect many of you are hypocrites (Score 1) 290

by sertsa (#34256168) Attached to: Cooks Source Magazine Apologizes — Sort Of

Yes, yes, yes. Copyrighted material should be respected. Yada Yada Yada. It's all a very sad (and somewhat humorous) story.

I can't help but wonder how many of you ripping the woman from Cooks Source (as wrong as she was) have songs you did not purchase on your iPods, copied and submitted without proper citation someone else's text in your research papers, etc.

Bunch of hypocrites. Really.

Comment: Re:Quote: (Score 2, Insightful) 569

by sertsa (#33003752) Attached to: Why Designers Hate Crowdsourcing

The problem with your argument is many clients (new / small businesses) don't know the value of working WITH a designer. This is kinda like when a person walks into Wal-Mart to buy a socket set. It looks shiny in their toolbox, and they don't know any better until it strips out / twists / breaks when they need to put some real pressure on it.

Wal-Mart has driven countless small local businesses into bankruptcy while making a mint selling this crap.

Personally, I think this means that as design becomes just another commodity you are going to see serious downward pressure on the fees that all but the largest firms can command (think of Dell, HP, etc as the commodity side of that equation and Apple (ironically) as the high end). After all, I read an article about companies outsourcing design to India (I'm looking for the article - I'll post later).

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 2, Interesting) 1324

by sertsa (#30942256) Attached to: US Grants Home Schooling German Family Political Asylum

I second inviolet's post.

My wife and I homeschool precisely because we were disgusted with both the quality and the direction of the public school in our district. Before making that decision we attended school board meetings, met with our children's teachers, and had private meetings with both the past and present superintendent. While not too surprised what we found was indifference at just about all levels. Both my wife and I are college grads - I majored in the humanities and my wife in the sciences - and neither of us are religious.

Evolution was too controversial, but letting a community church onto school grounds so they could proselytize and pass out bibles to our kids as they got off the bus and walked into the school building was no big deal. Our children were at the top of their classes, but gifted programming was eschewed for individualized learning plans -- a nice idea except all it meant to the teacher was letting our kids finish their work then tutor the other kids. Classrooms of 25 - 30+ kids in 1st grade were not an issue to be concerned about.

What really surprised us were the supportive phone calls we got from teachers after we pulled our kids out. Teachers know things aren't right, but when their job depends upon keeping their mouth shut during these tough times what's a teacher to do?

Now in our second year of homeschooling things are going great. Science and math are an integral part of our homeschooling, our kids have been exploring another language thanks to some decent support materials on DVD and the web, history is as accurate as we can make it, and we don't have to worry about some other parent complaining that the dictionaries in the library define oral sex. As for extra curricular activities our kids are involved in at least one sport every season through the YMCA and YWCA (in our area they're merged). They have friends who they occasionally spend the night with and vice versa. Their bright, inquisitive, social and aren't afraid of science and math (ok - I'm a proud parent too ;-).

Mars

Mars Images Reveal Evidence of Ancient Lakes 128

Posted by timothy
from the older-I-get-the-wetter-mars-was dept.
Matt_dk writes "Spectacular satellite images suggest that Mars was warm enough to sustain lakes three billion years ago, a period that was previously thought to be too cold and arid to sustain water on the surface, according to research published today in the journal Geology. Earlier research had suggested that Mars had a warm and wet early history but that between 4 billion and 3.8 billion years ago, before the Hesperian Epoch, the planet lost most of its atmosphere and became cold and dry. In the new study, the researchers analysed detailed images from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which is currently circling the red planet, and concluded that there were later episodes where Mars experienced warm and wet periods."

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