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Bicycle Thief Barred From Using Encryption 449

An anonymous reader writes "A teenager found in possession of a stolen bicycle was given probation, with a whole bunch of computer-related restrictions. He wasn't allowed to use social networks or instant messaging. He wasn't allowed to use a computer that had 'encryption, hacking, cracking, scanning, keystroke monitoring, security testing, steganography, Trojan or virus software.' The kid appealed, noting that the restrictions on social networking seemed overly broad, and restricting him from using a computer with a virus was difficult since viruses and trojans and the like tend to try to stay hidden, so he might not know. While the court overturned the restrictions on social networking, and changed the terms of computer restrictions to include the word 'knowingly,' it did keep the restriction on against using any computer with encryption software. Remember, this isn't someone convicted of malicious computer crimes, but of receiving a stolen bicycle. So why is perfectly reasonable encryption software not allowed? And what computer these days doesn't have encryption software?"

Astronomers Solve the Mystery of 'Hanny's Voorwerp' 123

KentuckyFC writes "In 2007, a Dutch school teacher named Hanny van Arkel discovered a huge blob of green-glowing gas while combing though images to classify galaxies. Hanny's Voorwerp (meaning Hanny's object in Dutch) is astounding because astronomers have never seen anything like it. Although galactic in scale, it is clearly not a galaxy because it does not contain any stars. That raises an obvious question: what is causing the gas to glow? Now a new survey of the region of sky seems to have solved the problem. The Voorwerp lies close to a spiral galaxy which astronomers now say hides a massive black hole at its center. The infall of matter into the black hole generates a cone of radiation emitted in a specific direction. The great cloud of gas that is Hanny's Voorwerp just happens to be in the firing line, ionizing the gas and causing it to glow green. That lays to rest an earlier theory that the cloud was reflecting an echo of light from a short galactic flare up that occurred 10,000 years ago. It also explains why Voorwerps are so rare: these radiation cones are highly directional so only occasionally do unlucky gas clouds get caught in the crossfire."

Comment Re:Experts (Score 1) 875

And if you are not an expert, and have no way to judge whether the global warming skeptics are right or wrong, then how do you know this is not the case?

You have basically said, that you believe your experts over other experts, based upon the fact that, well, you like your experts.

And what has been going on?

Changeable weather. Perhaps you should read more. There has been inexplicable weather since the dawn of mankind.

Comment Re:Experts (Score 0, Flamebait) 875

But even if you are not an expert in the field, then you have to exercise some criteria for whom to trust? The idea that X is an expert in the field, therefore is reliable, is bogus. Also, that somehow a consensus is the same as being correct. Before Darwin (or Wallace) the consensus was wrong. Before almost any major scientific breakthrough ( and even minor ones), the consensus was wrong. Why do you think a consensus now proves the validity of a given theory?

Experts once believed in racial theories, the benign nature of x-ray exposure, cranial measurements as proof of criminal tendencies.

If an expert can be wrong, then the problem comes down to discernment. If experts disagree, how do you choose which expert to follow?

If experts choose a course of action that is destructive to you, are you obligated to follow it? Are others obligated to impose it upon you? Are you obligated to impose it on others?

Does the fact that you renounce your freedom mean that I should also be enslaved?

Comment Re:Bad news for democracy (Score 1) 279

The fact is that cable companies enjoy monopoly privileges in any municipality they are located in.

That is stringent.

I am saying that any one should be allowed to run a line, dig under the ground -- with property owner's consent (not the city, since oddly enough, if you need to replace your sidewalk, it is the homeowners affair. Hence, he owns the walk.) Then anyone should have the privilege of doing so.

Since almost everyone would gain -- indeed, the digger could pay a fee to each homeowner for the right and the inconvenience, fostering competition, but also allowing the owner to capture some profits.

The fact is regulation -- whether net neutrality or cable regulation generally is constructed to favor those in power.

It is, after all, why you wish governments to mandate open source. You stand to profit, as an open source strategy consultant.

You should be allowed your self interest, but the moment you wish the government to mandate toward your advantage, then the spirit of democracy and equality before the law is completely usurped.

Regulations are never constructed to aid the powerless -- since those governing have nothing to gain and little to fear from the powerless.

It is all about self-interest. If you are not an atheistic mendicant, then you merely prove my point.

Comment Re:Bad news for democracy (Score 1) 279

No sorry, it is fascism. It is the usurpation of private property rights by the government without edict. Happened in Germany, Italy, Spain and France.

What you are saying is I, the private individual have a right to speak, but if the Arbiter (the government) decides what I say is "Unfair" then I (the individual) must give over my property or its use to a third party (or the government itself) to correct an imbalance.

Comment Re:Bad news for democracy (Score 1) 279

Speech isn't governance.

The purpose of speech is to hold in check governance. If the government can claim that any independent operator must provide a government favorable viewpoint, then you have destroyed free speech. It now becomes government talk.

It is very interesting to hear people who suppose they have a radical viewpoint, staunchly support what can only be termed Fascist economics and a sort of 1984 doublespeak. Although, fascism is a very radical ideology. So I guess no conflict there.

And you are quite right, allowing individuals their freedoms is not a good way to govern. It is merely a preferable way -- for those who are governed -- to live.

Comment Re:Bad news for democracy (Score 2, Interesting) 279

I find it hard so see how railing against stringently regulated industries, such as broadcast TV (either Cable or Network) proves that lassez-faire capitalism is not the answer.

Please tell me one, just one, media empire that does not benefit from government legislation and government regulation.

Or you can tell me how you wish the government would regulate in your favor and for your benefit.

Either way, it is the same answer. Pigs at the trough. You are just looking over the railing at the other pigs, and thinking how disgusting they are. Or perhaps, someone snuck in a mirror and you just haven't figured it out yet.

Comment Re:Great (Score 1, Interesting) 279

Why is government an involvement in a problem created by government always the answer. At&t, Comcast and all other single source providers are legislated Monopolies. Suck it up, socialist. This is what a well regulated society looks like.

Don't worry, the Invisible Hand(TM) will reach down from Heaven and drop off a brand new ISP that doesn't interfere with your connection. Any minute now.


Submission + - Is Facebook censoring political groups?

Dynamus writes: I just found out that the biggest Facebook group against the creation of a nationwide cellphone registry in Mexico has been disappeared. So far, Facebook has not given any reason. This could easily be interpreted as censorship, but I want to ask your opinion. The subject of the national cellphone registry (RENAUT) has been the source of a lot of debate in Mexico. Many people think that giving that much information to the government (allowing them to link you directly with your cellphone number) is a lot of risk. Scandals have already happened when it has been proved that Mexico's government sells or simply missuses huge databases of confidential information regarding its citizens

Submission + - Detection of Parkinson's by Voice Analysis 1

lee1 writes: "The early diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease can slow down or even stop
its progression, but established methods, such as brain
imaging, are expensive, and inappropriate for screening large
populations. Prof. Shimon Sapir at the University of Haifa has developed a new technique
for early diagnosis that is reliable, non-invasive, simple, and inexpensive.
The technique merely requires the patient to read a few simple
sentences, which are acoustically analyzed by a computer program.
The analysis detects subtle abnormalities in speech that are present
in the early stages of the disease but are not perceptible to listeners.
This appears to be an application of the author’s technique for
extracting vowel sounds from short phrases and analysing them to detect nervous system disorders."

Comment Re:So, what now? (Score 1) 658

Government spends because you demand the services they provide. If you are unhappy with those services please list those services that you personally will be happy to do without. And while you are contemplating which government agencies you can live without please consider the downside to life without said agency. For example, no FDA and drug companies can do whatever they want with the drugs your aging parents take. Consider the company behind the Extenze ads. Now think of them as the industry model.

Because I demand it. Wow. Do you think in the absence of an FDA that people would start taking drugs that would kill them. (I don't know Jebediah, mah' ma keeled near completely over when she downed that bottle of AZT the chiropracter prescribed for her corns.). or that there wouldn't be private agencies that would step up and do drug analysis, and since they had an economic incentive to maximize the cost/benefit of drugs, that this would not be done better, and in a much more cost effective way.

Let's do a little mind experiment. Perhaps we can have a government agency that approves code -- after all, bad code can endanger lives, and almost any line of code anywhere can be a source of danger -- and we can all submit our code to the government before it is production ready.

Do you think such a system would improve the quality of code?

Comment Are we really worth saving? (Score 1) 865

"I don't think we're yet evolved to the point where we're clever enough to handle a complex a situation as climate change," said Lovelock in his first in-depth interview since the theft of the UEA emails last November. "The inertia of humans is so huge that you can't really do anything meaningful." -- Well if we aren't clever enough to handle it, we will perish. So what. Another extinct life form. Since Lovelock will be dead in 10 years or so, he has nothing to fear.

Comment Re:Unions (Score 2, Informative) 377

And you forgot how racist the Unions were. That the AFL was only integrated in 1935, by federal decree -- as a sop by Roosevelt, to help win over the previously Republican Blacks (remember Lincoln was a Republican and the south was staunchly Democrat). and all the "official" Railroad unions were closed to blacks -- except the porter's union which was all black. And no, I don't remember how badly most workers were treated by their employers, since my grandfather was kept out of the Shoemaker's union, and had to start his own shoemaking business. Perhaps you can enlighten me with some concrete story of employer evil.

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