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Comment Maybe they're misinterpreting the results (Score 4, Interesting) 175

If you're asking someone to absorb fluff (like nonsense about aliens) then perhaps it's a good idea to manufacture 'disfluency' with odd fonts and the like.

If you're asking someone to absorb difficult material (like Knuth or advanced physics) then you want to minimize other sources of 'disfluency'.

Comment vexatious surveillance (Score 1) 214

You might see instances of vexatious surveillance. Imagine a group of people like the fine folks at 4chan with their hands on this technology, using the tech to stalk individuals the 4chan group mind has decided to go after.
Some people will be getting much more attention from this system than others, I'm guessing.

Comment Problem-Reaction-Solution (Score 2, Interesting) 214

The brits are using a time-proven formula to make their citizens demand previously unpopular policies. It's called Problem-Reaction-Solution. Once a problem is allowed to get bad enough (say, crime) there will be a reaction from the enraged populace, and they will eagerly embrace the solution (say, snitching) offered by the people who engineered the problem to begin with. Governments do it again and again because the public falls for it every time.

Comment Let's try this again. "If only he knew..." (Score 2, Interesting) 215

It's practically a given that TEMPEST-like capabilities moved to satellites, decades ago. Combine that with ECHELON or something like it, and everything that everyone is displaying on their screens (Internet-connected or not) is probably being hoovered up by at least one intelligence agency. Including what's on the screens of those precious Blackberries.

Comment Re:Electronic tax filing should be FREE (Score 3, Interesting) 374

In theory, you'd think this would be the case. In practice, most people filing on April 15th are filing to get their money back, not send money in.

There are actually no incentives for governments to make it easier for taxpayers to get refunds. Taxpayers can create those incentives by reducing their withholdings to $0 so that they owe the government on April 15th rather than the other way around. Given California's problems, that seems like a pretty good idea anyway.

Comment Re:Conflicted (Score 2, Insightful) 966

Assange and his staff are probably experiencing COINTELPRO style conspicuous surveillance and harassment campaigns (sometimes misleadingly called "organized stalking"). The agents would be going out of the way to let Assange's people know that they were being followed and surveilled, using techniques such as public messages that conveyed highly personal information from their lives. The highly personal and embarrasing information revealed in the conspicuous surveillance would be of such a nature that the target(s) would not want to talk about the details.

That would explain why they were being 'vague' and 'conspiratorial' in their explanations.

"The Avis WIZARD decides if you get to drive a car. Your head won't touch the pillow of a Sheraton unless their computer says it's okay." -- Arthur Miller