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IT Worker's Revenge Lands Her In Jail 347

aesoteric writes "A 30-year-old IT worker at a Florida-based health centre was this week sentenced to 19 months in a US federal prison for hacking, and then locking, her former employer's IT systems. Four days after being fired from the Suncoast Community Health Centers' for insubordination, Patricia Marie Fowler exacter her revenge by hacking the centre's systems, deleting files, changing passwords, removing access to infrastructure systems, and tampering with pay and accrued leave rates of staff."
The Courts

Xbox Modding Trial Dismissed 179

It seems the harsh words from District Court Judge Philip Gutierrez on Wednesday had their intended effect; prosecutors in Matthew Crippen's Xbox modding case have now dismissed the indictment. Quoting Wired: "Witness No. 1, Tony Rosario, was an undercover agent with the Entertainment Software Association. He told jurors Wednesday that he paid Crippen $60 in 2008 to modify an Xbox, and secretly videotaped the operation. Rosario had responded to Crippen’s advertisement on the internet and met Crippen at his Anaheim house. All of that had been laid out in pretrial motions. But during his testimony, Rosario also said Crippen inserted a pirated video game into the console to verify that the hack worked. That was a new detail that helped the government meet an obligation imposed by the judge that very morning, when Gutierrez ruled that the government had to prove Crippen knew he was breaking the law by modding Xboxes. But nowhere in Rosario’s reports or sworn declarations was it mentioned that Crippen put a pirated game into the console. ... [Prosecutor Allen Chiu] conceded he never forwarded that information to the defense."

Comment Re:Are you advocating something or just whining? (Score 1) 273

I assume you mean something like what happened in South Africa? Of course, nobody was going to miss trading with them so much (quick: name 3 things in your house made in SA. Time's up....). Plus, apartheid was particularly odious to the "great and good" who run things, including especially the media that it was a very popular trade embargo.

The problem with China is not just that they are egregious offenders against the rights of their citizens (including those who'd really rather forgo the privilege, like the Tibetans), but that they have become indispensable to our own financial comfort. This makes any proposal at using trade leverage a non-starter.

Comment Re:Cool (Score 2, Interesting) 188

So, what makes you think that we aren't (mostly) using monoculture strains now? I don't see this as a compelling argument for that reason - most large agriculture is already monoculture ( Not that that's a good thing, but it's the way it is because, presumably, it is economically desirable - at least until the next rust fungus or whatever shows up that targets the favored strain(s).

Comment Re:How about (Score 1) 520

There are two things that work in medicine. Surgery and antibiotics. Everything else treats symptoms or confirms you need either surgery or antibiotics.

This is nonsense, of course. There are a wide variety of medications for diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and a huge number of metabolic/physiological illnesses from Alzheimer's to Yaws (can't think of a "z" disease at the moment).

Comment Re:Aim for the real problem. (Score 1) 451


Stem cell therapies (even using embryo-derived cell lines) are not illegal. However, there are professional and ethical standards of treatment and research protocols that would prohibit this kind of "scientific voodoo" medicine. The sad fact is that this woman was desperate enough to try this snake oil treatment, but it was a serious error in judgment.

We don't know the details of her decision or of the medical issue that she faced. But there is no "policy" issue here; we can't command the science to provide a reliable treatment without careful study. Sadly, this patient either didn't have the time or the patience to wait and paid the price for that.


Fine Print Says Game Store Owns Your Soul 262

mr_sifter writes "UK games retailer GameStation revealed that it legally owns the souls of thousands of customers, thanks to a clause it secretly added to the online terms and conditions for its website. The 'Immortal Soul Clause' was added as part of an attempt to highlight how few customers read the terms and conditions of an online sale. GameStation claims that 88 percent of customers did not read the clause, which gives legal ownership of the customer's soul over to the UK-based games retailer. The remaining 12 percent of customers however did notice the clause and clicked the relevant opt-out box, netting themselves a £5 GBP gift voucher in the process."

Comment Re:If I could do it, I would! (Score 1) 658

Also, US law to the contrary, corporations are not real people. Imposing taxes on corporate profits is just a way for the government to "double-dip" on taxing productive activity - tax the corporation and the individuals who profit from their stock holdings. It also makes no sense that US corporate tax rates are higher than almost anywhere else in the developed world.

Comment Re:That's the real story here... (Score 1) 336

It seems (from the article) that the draconian punishment of exclusion from all federally-funded programs was not optional, thus necessitating the bogus "whipping-boy" subsidiary. This is stupid law, of the same stripe as large minimal sentences for drug possession and many other politically-motivated examples. That's just our lawmakers pandering to the thirst for vengeance exhibited by many other posters here who seem to want to punish the corporation, as if it exists as a real person.

The fact is that you can't really "punish" a corporation, since it isn't really a person (no matter what the law says on that). Neither can you really tax one since the cost of fines and/or taxes are just passed along in the price of products. Tax the income derived from the investment by the shareholders, by all means, but taxing a corporation's profits just makes it another tax collector and distorts operational and investment decisions.

What we have is bad law - treating corporations as persons for some purposes (and, inconsistently, not for some others), and then the one mandating a stupid punishment for crimes that should be attributed to individuals.

All of this further diminishes the rapidly fading sense of personal responsibility that was once such a defining characteristic of American culture. So long, American republic, it was nice while it lasted.

Comment Re:Sure it is. (Score 2, Insightful) 452

Chavez is a dictator

Chavez is not a dictator. He was legitimately and overwhelmingly elected in a fair election, unlike George W Bush (for example).

Read more news (and history) then. Hitler and Mussolini were elected too, you know. Chavez has shut down opposition newspapers, thrown political opponents into jail, supported the leftist-cum-terrorist operations of FARC in Columbia, is best buds with the Castro brothers, etc. All of which adds up to me as dictator-like behavior. He first came to notice after a failed coup attempt in 1992 - and when he did come to power, became one of the leaders of the OPEC cartel, reducing production to boost oil prices.

See - a generally sympathetic view of him as a leftist reformer, but his dictatorial aspirations are clear.

Plus, he's just a lying SOS and enemy of the US, just on general principles (or lack thereof). Most recently, he accused US of being responsible for the Haiti earthquake (,2933,583588,00.html ) using some magical new weapon no one else has heard of. Evidence of the paranoid style and demonization of some "enemy" which is page one of the dictator's handbook.\p>


Best Smartphone Plan Covering US and Canada? 199

j00bhaka writes "I am a US citizen attending university in Nova Scotia, Canada. I currently have the Verizon America and Canada plan (also known as the North American plan). My bill is currently around $80-$100 per month. I chose this for a couple reasons. One, I have had my number for about 7 years. Two, I do not permanently live in Canada. I live in Canada for 8 months out of the year at school, then travel home for the summer months. Either way, I would be dealing with international roaming without having both countries in my plan. Currently, I obviously don't have a smartphone. Through Verizon, I could purchase one, and add their international unlimited data plan on top of my (already) hefty phone bill. I have looked into Telus and Rogers here in Canada and cannot find anything better. As a student, my budget is obviously limited. Is there any way to reasonably have (and utilize) a smartphone while I am living in both countries? If so, what do you suggest I do?"

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