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Comment Keep the pressure on elected officials about it! (Score 1) 57

I wrote up a plain text summary, from the /. submission, and personalized it a bit so, if you want to copy / paste and sign it and email it to your reps, senators and Obama you can grab it from here:

Find your reps and links to their contact info with your zip code here:

If you're too apathetic to think it can make any difference no need to reply. Thanks much!

Comment Re:Someone start a defense fund (Score 1) 955

Indeed, please also sign this petition which I would simply love to hear the administration's response to.

President Obama, if you believe in NSA surveillance, we challenge you to a live, public debate with Edward Snowden.

President Obama, you have said that the NSA's blanket tracking of Americans' phone calls and collaboration with tech giants "struck the right balance" and that you "welcome this debate". You must agree that this issue is worthy of your time, and as our president you are the best qualified person to make the case in favor of broad surveillance. To make the opposing case, we can think of no one better than whistleblower Edward Snowden. Like you, he has access to the data showing the tradeoff between securing America and damaging democracy (which at this point the public does not). He speaks with breathtaking clarity, and has left behind a comfortable life, facing death for the strength of his convictions. If you are as strong in yours, you owe him (and us) 1 hour of your time for this.

Comment Re:Hmm (Score 1) 104

I agree with your characterization of a non-functioning democracy but, you're wrong that the king is simply a figurehead. The monarchy wields considerable power and influence with the government and private sector through the privy counsel. He's the 4th richest man in the world, personally, even without full disclosure of his wealth. The assets belong to the monarchy (him), they are not property of the country in trust to the monarchy, there's no comparison. The military answers to the monarchy and the monarchy first. The monarchy may choose to not visibly exercise their authority often but, don't mistake that they have a very big hand in shaping the larger landscape of their land. No coup happens without their approval, the military is insanely loyal to the monarchy above all.

I think you know just enough about Thai politics to sound like an authority but, with all due respect, you're not. I've lived here 7-years and I'm still not either.

Finally, from the Asian / Thai perspective the harsh lesse lèse-majesté laws make sense... The monarchy occupies the highest rung on the social ladder and therefore, must be respectful to everyone and can't speak ill of anyone so, not being able to defend themselves, the state put into place laws to defend them. I'm from the US so it's hard to reckon with my system of logic but, it makes perfect sense to Thais.

Comment Re:Hmm (Score 1) 104

He may be pulling some strings from afar but his influence is waning considerably.
However, you would have to be pretty stupid not to know that the current PM was elected:,_2011 and that this isn't exactly the government Thais want. It was the democrat party, that was in power before the election, who got there with administrative maneuvers.

Comment You're asking in the wrong forum (Score 1) 273

/.ers are, for the most part, introverts, and not seasoned travelers. You see all the (negative) advice here about how hard it's going to be and all the potential problems. Now go post the very same same question on forums like Couch Surfing, Ball of Dirt or Lonely Planet and watch the (positive) ideas to solve your concerns flow like a waterfall from people who travel *a lot*.

Comment Re:do it (Score 1) 273

Indeed, especially here in Asia where the cost for a Western standard of living is comparatively very low. I've also been self-employed overseas for years and would never go back.

One quick bit of advice, get out of the hostel mentality now! You're not going to be crashing at a different place every night. You should be looking for accommodations that rent by the month. You can get a decent studio apartment across the street from where I live in Thailand for about $150 /mo. WiFi there is shared amongst all the residents of the building so that can be inconvenient. My 2bd, 1ba, full kitchen "duplex" costs me $230 /mo. My 14/1Mbit ADSL is $30 /mo. I started with a 6 month lease contract but could have probably got the place with no contract if I had pressed. Also, housing contracts here aren't worth the paper they are written on. If you don't leave much of a deposit or if you use it for your last months rent, a very common tactic here, you cave hardly any liability and can move anytime you want. The OP should consider themselves as a part-time resident, not a traveler, and should be looking for accommodations to match.

3G isn't everywhere in Asia yet but it is in most major cities and is expanding very rapidly. In some countries it's very well deployed. It's fast enough for work and besides cell/mobile phone tethering you can buy an "aircard" that accesses the GSM network. Then all you have to do is buy a sim card and sign up for a monthly data plan for whatever country you're in.

I've got a Kali VM and travel with a wifi nic that can run in monitor mode and do packet injection so I rarely have a problem finding an internet connection anywhere I need one these days, even when hard pressed to find a good open one. I'm a very courteous uninvited guest though, I don't mess with others' network configs nor saturate their bandwidth.

Sign up for Couch Surfing no so much for finding people's couches to crash on but for networking in the new country you have arrived. The expats who already live in the countries you are coming to will be more willing to help show you the ropes and how to get up on your feet in just about any country you land. Think of it as an easy way to make friends abroad that will help you integrate into the new community you're in. For example, I found out about where I live by word of mouth, it was not advertised, and that is the kind of thing people who already live where you are going can help you with.

And finally, yes, here in Asia all major malls have wifi and internet cafes or Starbucks and they will let you sit there all day long for purchasing a $3 cup of coffee and/or a $3 pastry. Don't look for public libraries here though, you won't find many / any.

Just do it and don't look back. Don't let the neckbeards here who haven't left their crypts for a month get you down. You'll have the time of your life and, if nothing else, the value of the experience itself will be immeasurable. Send me a PM / email if you want more specifics about how I made it work.

Comment Dysfunctional congress will do nothing. (Score 1) 262

"the more pressure it will put on Congress to keep up with the changing legal landscape."

Congress can't even keep it's own house in order so I won't be holding my breath for any action on this issue.

Privacy is not at the forefront of any politician's agenda that I know of, unless you can find a way to make it turn a profit, and it never will be until there's a massive breech i.e. until it's already too late.

Comment The Sales Pitch (Score 1) 632

I wonder if the gun lobby will be quoting the statistic they very much like to ignore in order to sell this gun? "Reduces or eliminates the possibility of you being shot with your own gun which, as people have been telling us for quite some time now, the odds of increase substantially when you take possession of a gun. Also, it will prevent your gun from being used without your authorization."

I can see this tech introducing a lot of investigative and prosecutorial cans-of-worms too.

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