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Comment Really? Defender of our Liberties? Heh. (Score 1) 1


No one should be promising their customers that they will thumb their nose at a U.S. court order," Ms. Caproni said. "They can promise strong encryption. They just need to figure out how they can provide us plain text.

Awesome. I'm glad our government is striving to protect our liberties. Seriously, between the ability to declare even American citizens terrorists because of what they've said (not necessarily what they've done), the ability to try anyone classified as a terrorist outside a civilian court, and now the "needed" capability to decrypt encrypted messages over the internet...what's to stop whoever is in the White House from 'disappearing' outspoken people they disagree with, without breaking the law?

I'm an American, and I value my freedom over a false sense of security. If you aren't comfortable with that, perhaps America isn't for you.

Submission + - Obama Administration Seeking Internet Wiretaps ( 1

EaglemanBSA writes: The Obama administration is seeking to expand domestic and international wiretapping powers, forcing email, social networking and VOIP services to allow the government in. While this isn't exactly news for services like Skype, the specific requirements in the bill outline a need for such services as Blackberry's encrypted email to provide the government with the capability to decrypt them. There is another story running at the NYT here:

Submission + - US Plans to Enable Easier Internet Wiretaps ( 1

eldavojohn writes: It's already pretty easy to get someone's phone tapped but now United States Federal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to ask for the same capabilities on the internet. A congressional hearing recently heard arguments in favor of this and the New York Times is now reporting that 'officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications — including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct "peer to peer" messaging like Skype — to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.' So while it looked bad when countries like India and the UAE took similar measures, the United States appears to just be busy outlining all the targeted software in the new bill expected to be proposed next year. If the legislation passes, communications software will have a security hole to 'protect' the masses.

Submission + - High Altitude Balloon Tweets Earth (

celsomartinho writes: Spacebits is yet another low cost High Altitude Balloon (HAB) with a computer probe being launched to near space in the 30th of May, this time in Portugal, Europe. The twist with this project, besides the usual very cool electronics, cameras and sensors and other paraphernalia on-board, is the fact that the team provided the online community with a real time web dashboard so that everyone can follow the ~2 hour journey up to 100.000 feet and back to earth. Real time data includes measurements from all it's sensors, including temperature, pressure, humidity and air quality, altitude, acceleration and GPS coordinates and a live twitter feed. The team is also using a public GSM network to send SMSes lat/lon/alt coordinates to anyone willing to go on-launch-site and participate in the probe hunt.

Hope to like the project ;)

Comment Re:Transparency (Score 1) 545

Actually, if you look at the other post I mentioned, you'd see that I acknowledge that our (yes, I am an American) government is a democratic republic. While that's all well and good, participating in the democratic process (there, happy?), and then being actively involved with the legislators who have been appointed to represent us, is still very important for the proper functioning of our government.

What I was suggesting was starting a civil discussion on how these new tools of empowerment/tools of entertainment could be used to further inform/involve our digital public as a whole. Whether the President was correct in naming different electronic boxes w.r.t their uses, what he's saying about our treatment of media and information is still pertinent, and deserves some deliberation.

Comment Re:Transparency (Score 1) 545

A man who has two watches will pay attention to the one that doesn't misinform him time and again, should the two prove to report very differently. Just saying.

I do think distributed reporting and a flood of information (we already have this, IMHO), is a good thing too. But the reporters who are most accurate or are most trusted will likely have quite a significant following, although perhaps not quite as significant as the guy screaming about the end of the world as we know it on his blog. If it has cute pictures of cats.

Comment Re:Transparency (Score 4, Interesting) 545

Mm, very interesting point. As an honest discussion-starting question, what are ways these new technologies could be used to promote democracy and involvement? As another post in this story says (and I totally agree), one of the biggest problems in our current form of government is a lack of involvement in and lack of importance placed on our democracy.

The ability to spread information so quickly and so ubiquitously could definitely be a useful tool for this, methinks.

Comment Re:+5 Insightful (Score 2, Insightful) 545

Personally, I think most of our population fails to recognize the magnitude of importance our right to vote and our basic form of government play into the rights and infrastructure we enjoy. We have indeed checked out, and we'll soon pay the price for it. Democracy's (even a democratic republic's, mind you) proper function hinges on the involvement of the people as a majority. That doesn't happen in the United States anymore.

Comment Transparency (Score 5, Insightful) 545

Perhaps if his administration had the transparency he promised on the campaign trail, it would be easy to get the information people are seeking from credible, reliable sources.

Whether the President and his administration like it, this form of information sharing is very likely here to stay. Perhaps the best reaction would be to embrace it and use it as a positive differentiator from other administrations.

Comment Re:A Heavy User's Opinion (Score 1) 334

I do quite a bit of intense numerical analysis and I rarely get to the point where I need 64-bit operations. I've encountered it before, but only in special cases (very stiff ODE's, for example). Personally, I use FreeMat (an open-source MATLAB clone - its environment is much more like MATLAB's than octave, far as I'm concerned). FreeMat's 64-bit build handles extremely large datasets as well, and that's exactly what drove me to use its 64-bit build as well.

Comment 86f? Seriously? (Score 2, Informative) 539

I mean come on, 86 F? Oh NO! Not 12 degrees cooler than body temperature! I've worked on plant floors where the ambient temperature for my 16 hour day was >110 on average, and in some spots >125.

Do I make more money than them? Yes. Do I have more freedom than they likely do? Yes. Is my job less menial? Likely. But 86f? Please.

Comment Re:How elastic? (Score 2) 213

The energy applied to the target by a bullet is less than or roughly equal to the energy applied to the gun, flesh, other springy elements in between the bullet and hand or shoulder of the shooter.

FTFY. It's a small textual change, but has huge implications in terms of terminal ballistics. What you can easily absorb as the shooter is pretty significantly different than what you can absorb as impact on your flesh from the bullet side. Believe me, you can kill someone with the blunt force trauma that dissipating the energy from a bullet instantaneously would induce.

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