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Submission + - FISA Court Will Release More Opinions Because Of Snowden (

cold fjord writes: Looks like more evidence against being a rubber stamp. The Washington Post reports, "Citing the former NSA contractor, a federal judge has ordered the government to declassify more reports from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. In an opinion from the FISC itself, Judge F. Dennis Saylor on Friday told the White House to declassify all the legal opinions relating to Section 215 of the Patriot Act written after May 2011 that aren't already the subject of FOIA litigation. The court ruled (.pdf) that the White House must identify the opinions in question by Oct. 4. "The unauthorized disclosure of in June 2013 of a Section 215 order, and government statements in response to that disclosure, have engendered considerable public interest and debate about Section 215," wrote Saylor. "Publication of FISC opinions relating to this opinion would contribute to an informed debate." The ruling comes in response to a petition by the American Civil Liberties Union seeking greater government transparency. But because the ACLU already has a similar FOIA case pending in another court, Saylor wrote that the new FISC order can only cover documents that don't relate to that case."

Comment Re:Still dangerous after a generation in storage (Score 3, Insightful) 256

The US has had a lot of trouble figuring out how to detoxify its stockpile safely.

The problem is that the chemical weapons breakdown into hazardous chemicals. And those hazardous chemicals have to be safely disposed of.

So instead of killing you because it is a nerve agent it will give you cancer and birth defects.

Submission + - "Patent troll" closes controversial podcast patent deal with SanDisk (

wabrandsma writes: The patent company Personal Audio of James Logan has closed a licensing agreement with SanDisk. The company says that now "between a third and two thirds of all mp3 audio players" is made by the companies to which its patents have been licensed, including LG, Samsung, HTC, Motorola, Blackberry and Amazon.

In the past Logan even went "into the lion's den," fielding a question-and-answer session at Slashdot.

The digital civil rights movement Electronic Frontier Foundation wants to fight Personal Audio's podcasting patent at the US Patent and Trademark Office. The money for the procedure, about 30,000 dollars, was brought in earlier this year through crowdfunding.

Comment Re:I still want... (Score 2) 256

But the question that still hasn't been properly answered (at least in my opinion) is why the use of these weapons on a small number of victims relative to the total number killed in the conflict should suddenly lead the international community to "need to act".


I understand the concept in a battle between nations. It takes a lot of chemical agent to kill someone (dispersed through the air). But it does not take much to cause life-long problems. Like blindness or breathing issues or nerve damage. So using them on an enemy nation means that that nation will take longer to recover from the war. Their former troops will not be able to return to their pre-war jobs.

Now you can apply that same reasoning to insurgents in this case. But it is only their own future that they're wrecking. And they were on course to do that any way. Killing 100,000 is okay but killing 1,000 is unacceptable.

Comment Ad from Microsoft? (Score 1) 246

We haven't had any problems with Windows XP. If you have problems, you can re-load the OS from a CD.

To me, this Slashdot article seems to be an advertisement generated by Microsoft. Worldwide, there are still hundreds of millions of people using Windows XP, who have no reason to stop.

Many computers are used for business methods and data entry. There is no need or desire for new features.

Comment Re:Common arguments... (Score 1) 126

There really isn't such a thing as common sense. A traffic jam is just another common situation to be programmed for, and quite an easy one at that.

You misunderstood completely. The problem won't be autonomous dealing with traffic jams, but causing them, because they have to always err on the side of caution when faced when something they haven't been programmed for.

Where a human driver can, in a fraction of a second, determine whether a T-shirt in the road can be driven over, or whether the person waving at you from the side is someone selling charity car wash or a policeman asking you to drive on the lawn to get around broken glass in the road.
Autonomous systems cannot deal with what they haven't been programmed for, and will have to err on the side of caution. Sometimes that means stopping, and blocking traffic behind it. It only takes one car to block a lane for miles, so even a very low percentage of this happening can have dire consequences.
And thse who say that sure, a car can be programmed to deal with the two examples above - sure, it can, if we know about them - the problem is that there are an unlimited number of situations that occur that won't be programmed for, and where a human driver can use common sense. Someone has put planks over a deep rut hole. The idiot in front holds up a cell phone to his ear. A business has released confetti and hundreds of balloons. Tumbleweed. A rider on a horse. A soft leafy branch on the road. A hard leafy branch on the road. Demonstrators. Fata morgana. A flock of sheep.
Cars can do a lot of things, but will, in many cases, have to stop because they don't know what to do.
You understand that when a polceman waves you around a broken down trailer, you are allowed to cross the double yellow lines, or even pass on the shoulder of the road, and should do so. Will an autonomous car?

Submission + - Google Execs Used Discount Code 'NASA' to Buy Jet Fuel 1

theodp writes: When Google CEO Larry Page gassed-up three of the jets he owns (with Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt) to tote guests to his brother-in-law's wedding in Croatia, Pentagon records show that the trio's corporate entity H211 bought 24,000+ gallons of jet fuel at NASA's Moffett Field just prior to the departure, paying an average of $3.33 a gallon, at least $1.10 per gallon less than the going rate. The Dept. of Defense, it turns out, only just ended a program in which it sold sharply discounted fuel to three of the world's richest men for use in their fleet of jets parked at Moffett. The move, according to the WSJ, followed discussions earlier this year between the Pentagon and NASA over whether the Google founders may have exceeded contract terms by using sharply discounted jet fuel bought from the Pentagon for non-government flights. In April, Wired reported that Google’s top three execs are expected to move their collection of jets to an $82 million private terminal at Mineta San Jose International Airport

Submission + - "Open source, open world" - Foreign Affairs on FOSS in Brazil (

Ian Grant writes: A brief, "not for the geek", look at open source software in Brazil and how it's transforming tech use in South America:

Bringing free software to Brazil, however, is not just a matter of copying North American practices. The idea of free software has also been substantially transformed through contact with Brazilian politics.


Student Arrested For Using Phone App To 'Shoot' Classmates 706

New submitter Lord_Breetai sends word that a Louisiana high school student has been arrested for using a mobile app to simulate shooting his classmates. The app overlays an FPS-style gun and UI over a real background seen through the device's camera. The student tried it out and then unwisely posted a video of it on YouTube. Another student's parent saw the video and reported it to authorities. Major Wolfe of the local police said, "You can't ignore it. We don't know at what time that game becomes reality. He said it was a result of him being frustrated and tired of being bullied. He said that he had no intentions of hurting anybody. We have to take all threats seriously and we have no way of knowing that without investigating and getting to the bottom of it. With all the school shooting we've had in the United States, it's just not a very good game to be playing at this time." The boy is now facing criminal charges for terrorizing and interference of the operation of a school.

Submission + - How amateurs destroyed the professional music business (

David Gerard writes: Here in the future, musicians and record companies complain they can't make a living any more. The problem isn’t piracy — it’s competition. There is too much music and too many musicians, and the amateurs are often good enough for the public. This is healthy for culture, not so much for aesthetics, and terrible for musicians.

Submission + - Mint Box 2 is Available (

Anand Radhakrishnan writes: Mint Box 2, a mini headless PC, is made available now and is collaboratively designed and built by Compulab and Mint team. It boasts of better hardware config than its predecessor. It has i5 processor with 4GB RAM, Intel HD graphics, 8 USB ports as well as in/out audio jacks, eSATA, Ethernet, Wifi and Bluetooth. You can connect it easily to any network or devices and is compact and noise-free.

Though priced bit heavily, it is a good open source replacement to Mac Mini and best part is that profits are shared with Mint team. It will soon be made available from and for US and European customers.

Comment yay for pre-emptive flood prep (Score 1) 85

I work in south Longmont. Where I cross the Boulder Creek, it's usually 3 meters wide and so shallow the rocks on the bottom emerge from the surface of the water. When I was hauling out yesterday after our workplace got an evacuation notice, the creek was a kilometer wide, backed up against the bridge, which is probably 15 meters wide by two meters deep.
Longmont spent eighteen months reworking the Lefthand Creek drainage, deepening it and tearing out all the trees beside it, through the middle of the city. At the time, local citizens were outraged at the expense, writing nasty letters to the newspaper and showing up at city council meetings yelling about what a waste of money it was and how debit spending was the devil. Lefthand filled right up to the top and moved like a freight train, but didn't overtop through much of the town. The place where they stopped the rework, and the creek returns to its shallow, cottonwood-tree-filled drainage, is where it spread out and started flooding basements, according to pictures my friends who live there are sending me. I'm hoping this experience will motivate the city of Boulder to do the same for Boulder Creek. One of my friends lived in a house across from Naropa University, right beside Boulder Creek, that had a big metal sign on the front warning the inhabitants that they lived in a flood zone. That should never happen. That should be parkland, not places where kids live. (She moved, thankfully, because that house had close to two meters of water in the main floor, from pictures I've seen, and I'd hate for her and her two toddlers to still be living there.)

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