1. The government is not refusing to divulge the specific reasons and evidence that led to a particular person being added to the list(which quite plausibly might reveal specific informants, bugged computers, etc. and would likely merit an in camera review or something). They are refusing to divulge the general criteria and possible methods by which anyone could end up on the list. It's the difference between "Tell me exactly who ratted out Big Vinnie" and "What constitutes 'Racketeering' for the purposes of the US criminal code". One is a potential operational risk. The other is 'rule of law'.
2. The 'no fly list' is a bullshit twilight category without obvious protective value. Apparently there are people (and lots of them) so dangerous that they cannot be allowed on a passenger aircraft, even with some sort of enhanced screening; but so safe that apparently no other measures need be taken. It's a combination of state harassment(not being able to fly is a pretty big deal if you travel much) and absurd magical thinking. Too dangerous to fly; but safe enough to do basically anything else? Seriously? Why would that category even exist? Hijacking an airplane with a pointy object shouldn't work anymore(if we finished upgrading the doors), and anyone who can get bombs, firearms, or toxins doesn't need a plane to cause trouble.
The refusal to even outline how you fall into such a category, or why such a category exists, is a profound mockery of the notion of rule of law. No, not every specific detail of how every piece of evidence is gathered can be safely revealed; but that isn't the story here.
The question of how and why ideas, 'culture', religions, new scientific hypotheses, etc. are transmitted and compete with one another is really a very long standing one. A lot of the historical study emphasizes 'elite' culture and theory(mostly because everything else was oral record only, and that doesn't keep well; but written works sometimes survive) or religious(high frequency of literacy, and proselytizing is a technology of considerable interest to contemporary religions); but there is also study of popular culture, folk mythologies, what the middle and lower classes were reading and watching(once that became common), and so on.
Cultural transmission is a very solid social science topic, and internet memes have the dual virtues of both potentially being novel(they might actually follow some traditional propagation pattern, might be something new, either way would be interesting to know) and being amenable to large-scale analysis because the internet is just so conveniently searchable and heavily cached in various places. You don't have to like the entire field; but this research project seems like a perfectly reasonable exercise.
This doesn't mean that it isn't one of the intermediaries; but if it is they are working with considerably more sophistication than the 'fell off the truck' level of supply chain skimming.
Well, from the looks of it a coax cable can carry anywhere from 1000-1500 6MHz channels
Vote me down, I can't do math... 600 MHz-900 MHz/6 MHz bands is 100-150 channels, not 1000-1500 so 4-6 Gbit total for the loop...
No. At least not one that makes sense for storing one or two copies of a consumer hard drive. And you're stuck with a huge investment in one generation of tapes, unlike HDDs where you can gradually buy bigger and better drives. I'd rather see hard drives get cheaper and tape not than nothing getting cheaper at all. What's the real practical downsides to HDDs for the average person anyway? They're standard and can be hooked up to any computer (real fun if your tape drive dies on you or is lost/stolen). They're random access. Without a tape robot it's not more convenient. Without a environmental controlled tape vault I wouldn't trust their longevity claims.
Personally I think the ideal consumer backup solution is three hard drives, one offline next to your computer and one online hooked up via high speed Internet. Anything that nukes your files can't get to your offline copy even if the online copy is hacked or accidentally sync'd, anything that destroys all local copies like theft or a fire can't get to your online copy. One drive goes bad and you should still have two good copies though RAID1 on your main computer would be nice, just to avoid the downtime.
And for what it's worth, most consumer data isn't really worth backing up as they're just a cache to the Internet. I just checked and my total personal stuff (photos, videos, documents, source code, whatever) is 370GB, while I got 10TB+ of other things. And a lot of that which goes under personal is actually "backed up" in that friends or family got copies too, so strictly speaking I could do with even less. I actually see they have 512GB thumb drives now (at insane prices), actually my whole backup could fit in that now.
It also doesn't help that SSDs are aggressively moving into the high speed area. If you applied the engineering tricks used in ultracentrifuges you could probably build a damn fast HDD; but doing so for less than the price of a really nice SSD would be a great deal more challenging.
Well, from the looks of it a coax cable can carry anywhere from 1000-1500 6MHz channels @ 42.88 Mbit/s so 42-63 Gbit/s, subtract TV channels (200 @ 10 Mbit? = 2 Gbit/s), divide by number of subscribers sharing the rest. It shouldn't take that much money to cut a loop in half though, just pick a midpoint and run two coax cables straight to the central office. Considering how rapidly things progress with competition I really doubt there's any technical difficulty in delivering more.
I have access to unlimited amounts of petrol because I am allowed to purchase as many tanks as I need.
Works for the US military, with more tanks you can acquire more oil...
May the computer totally fail to realize that the bridge is about to give out or the building about to collapse or an avalanche about to hit or a dam about to burst or you're driving right into a rioting mob or some other disastrous event? Even if I assume that the car will never, ever throw the controls to me and expect me to take over doesn't exclude the possibility that I want to take immediate physical control to avoid some kind of danger that goes above and beyond a computer's understanding of traffic rules.