Try out Self-destructing Cookies. It allows cookies to be set, but once you close the tab they are deleted, or deleted on a timer, or both. You can whitelist sites with a toolbar button. Then set Firefox to always reject 3rd party cookies and you're safe as far as cookies go.
The vast complexity of the universe, down to the delicate balance of our solar system and how that makes the earth habitable.
The anthropic principle dispels this argument with a stroke, not by explaining the mystery, but by showing how there is no mystery to be explained. It would be very odd indeed to find ourselves living on a planet on which life could not exist. Also, you seem to suffer a failure of imagination. What sorts of life might be possible in differently configured universes, solar systems, or planets? It's very arrogant and solipsistic to say that our form of life is all that is possible, or could be possible.
started at some point in the past (which implies a creator)
It does no such thing, not at all, not even in principle let alone in practice. If you allow for a god capable of creation ex nihilo then from where came the creator? If you're willing to make the admirable leap that it's capable for some things to always exist and be self-caused then reduce the complexity of your claim and just posit a self-caused and eternal precursor to the universe without a creative force. Spare yourself the experience of falling into the trap of an infinite regression.
The existence of religion throughout the ages and almost universally in every culture, even those cultures with no outside contact.
Belief in something cannot possibly be used as evidence for its existence. This is just lazy and fallacious thinking, and it's beneath you. Religion is universal in man because the human traits of wish-thinking and imagination are universal. That's why our gods are so much like us, so numerous, and yet so familiar--and why they're so concerned with our tawdry earthly affairs.
You're making the incredibly arrogant and anthropocentric assumption that all a "lower" organism "wants" to do is evolve into something more "complex". None of those words actually make sense in an evolutionary context. Bacteria are doing quite well just the way they are, and in many ways it is they who have dominion over us. Evolution is not directed like an arrow from simple organisms to more complicated ones, although this has occurred and the evidence for it is overwhelming.
I'm astounded that someone could be so credulous and so suspicious simultaneously.
Short of shutting down the internet, or deploying auditors for everyone (and auditors for the auditors all the way down), there's nothing that can be done to "shut it down". Besides, I see Bitcoin as more a threat to Paypal than banks or the USD.
The Government did allow you to keep your plan. It's Aetna that decided to screw you over and try to get you to blame someone else. It seems to have worked, because instead of directing your ire at the insurance industry's thieving, scheming, middle-men, you're angry at the administration trying to reform a horribly broken system in a political climate where it's virtually impossible to get anything done even when you're willing to adopt ideas from the other side as a compromise.
And that's exactly what the individual mandate was--a huge compromise of liberal values to adopt a Republican idea. The fact that no Republican voted for it even then shows how spiteful and divisive they are.
If their new magic pixie dust is browser fingerprinting, then that's going to be ineffective in a few years also. That problem has already been solved. You can now configure your browser not to pass any extra info in its requests; no list of fonts, no list of add-ons, no plugin versions, no time zones, only a generic (and often deliberately inaccurate) useragent, etc. Flash cookies are blocked, too. Cache is disabled. Even first party cookies get deleted when the tab is closed.
Granted this isn't default behavior and likely never will be, but it's certainly possible to not be tracked online by private companies. Even your IP can be hidden trivially.
For an individual. If the US Government seriously saw BTC as a threat and wanted to use technical means to take it out, all it would need is a massive amount of processing power; the NSA either has that already or could build it out since their budget is essentially unlimited within their operational mandates.
It was wrong then, it's wrong now. It's always been wrong. Care to try again?
Just because others aspire to evil doesn't make it legitimate that we do so as well. That's not an excuse, that's sophistry. We are supposed to be BETTER than the Russians and the Chinese. We aren't supposed to cry like children that they had their hands in the cookie jar too, so it's OK if we did. No, that doesn't make it alright. We set ourselves apart. What is the USA? It's this: we hamstring ourselves, we restrain ourselves, we limit ourselves, in the restrictions and surveillance of our citizens AND THIS MAKES US FREE. THIS MAKES US OUT-COMPETE THE TYRANTS. The hawks have forgotten this. The hawks have forgotten that it is the step back from tyranny which gives you the room to breath the air of freedom; and it is the air of freedom which births prosperity.
Chase security, chase anti-terrorism, chase information awareness, but all you'll get is the opposite of what you're pursuing.
The NSA collect meta data. You can't deny this. They collect it indiscriminately. They just suck it all up, for everyone, all the time. This is now confirmed, right from the horse's mouth, the head of the NSA. This is unreasonable, thus a violation of the 4th Amendment. If you think it is reasonable, then you and I can't have a meaningful conversation with each other. We'll just have to stop here. You fundamentally accept a bigger and more onerous government than I do.
Put up or shut up. Show me something he blew the whistle on that wasn't wrong. He took documents over the course of months, selecting only the damning and illegal activity, and then in an abundance of caution gave them to journalists, and only journalists, who have so far done an honorable and commendable job disclosing only material which details the crimes of the NSA without putting any individual person in danger.
If as you say it's common knowledge that all governments spy on all other governments, then it shouldn't have done much harm to have what we already knew confirmed.
But that's not true, not all governments engage in this behavior, and not all that do take it as far as the US. Tapping the private phone of an allied head of state is out of bounds. It's not the kind of thing we should be doing. It's the kind of thing that causes an embarrassing international incident when it is revealed. Imagine our own government's reaction if the tables were turned.
Also, Snowden released the information to reputable journalists who have been selecting what to release. He didn't just dump it on a website for all to see. Those journalists have been reviewing the material and redacting anything that would actually put lives at risk. Snowden carried this off in the most responsible, most honorable, fashion possible.