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Comment Re:Dear God (Score 1) 124

Skilling's Enron sentence was cut from 23 to 14 years recently. It'll probably be reduced further before he serves his remaing 8 years. I estimate he'll be out on parole in 10 years.

When you think of the sheer amounts of money he could have been skimming off during Enron's "golden years", I'd consider 10 years a pretty good deal.

Comment "Ratfucking" (Score 4, Insightful) 96

A similar dynamic of student-election "dirty tricks" graduating into general election bugging and sabotage of election opponents played out during the Watergate scandal. Donald Segretti cut his teeth in election fraud during his USC days, and later applied his skills in Nixon's reelection campaign, the resulting "Muskie letters" effectively knocking a democratic senator out of the campaign. Karl Rove came from the same school of campaigning.

These incidents are as perfect an example of "Broken Window Theory" in politics as you are likely to come across. "Shenanigans" in college, if left unchecked, lead inevitably to outright election fraud. If you permit criminals to train their skills, operate unpunished, and indeed enjoy the rewards of their misdeeds, they are unlikely to change their ways in a hurry.

On a related note, I regard most student politcs in universities as a wholly illegitimate process. The resulting bodies and persons do not represent the student body or its values. At best, they organise drunken festivals and serve as a training ground for the corrupt and incompetent cadre currently in charge of the western world.

Comment Re:What problem is this solving? (Score 5, Insightful) 266

The argument seems to hinge on the fact that quite young kids are accessing this, and growing up with a very distorted view of sexuality -- google for "Rainbow Parties" as an example.

"Rainbow Parties" are the invention of neurotic adults with awful sex lives, not the internet. They are the sex-obsessed housewife's version of a teenagers "cleveland steamer" -- a ludicrously absurd sexual practice which says more about the mind that considers it than it does about reality.

I don't buy the idea that children are growing up with a skewed idea of sexuality. You show me studies revealing higher incidences of sexual dysfunctions, neuroses, or crimes in present day youth compared to past decades, I might think differently. But if your arguments center around "Rainbow parties" and 11 year olds thinking "bukkake" is normal, then I think the problem is You.

Comment Re:Xmission? (Score 4, Interesting) 309

Or they could say they were monitoring Maddox, when in reality, they were snooping on someone else, or just mooching server space to use in a distributed network they were running. You have no idea, and neither do most people working at the NSA, or the FISA court, etc, etc.

For all anyone knows, this "monitoring equipment" could have been hosting (and let me just go for the Godwin Gold here) a child porn darknet for a ring of senior paedophiles operating inside the NSA. And if anything went wrong, or was discovered, the NSA could ahve just pinned it all on XMission, Mr. Ashdown, and his attorneys. After all, there's no official record, all are gagged from revealing what they know, and the NSA would just lie about it.

And in case this seems hyperbolic: If the NSAs programs continue for long enough, this will happen. History is the definitive proof.

Comment Re:This is the slope before the cliff (Score 1) 385

What do most people need computers to begin with? They are not 3D modeling or doing highly computational mathematics. They needed a computer to surf the web, do email, and maybe now and then create documents.

They (the majority of people) are not 3D modelling or doing highly complex mathematics, or expiermenting with music, or simulations, or art, or anything beyond the box, because the software is not there. The software is not there because programmers themselves believe that computers are now for surfing the web, email, MS Office, and playing Angry Birds.

And this might be tolerable if things just stood still, but instead they're going backwards as the new generation of programmers decides that Personal Computers should be even less usable. File Manger in Windows 3.11 was a very usuable and understandable application. I bought an android tablet recently which dind't even have a file manager. Those which could be downloaded made operations like copy and paste into nigh dystopian process. Don't even get me started on inputing and editing text on this device.

Yet, we see tablet concepts actually bleeding back into the desktop, making it even less usable. It's as though programmers have collectively decided to dumb down device they once used to create entire universe in, and to make possible things which others had never even imagined. The potential of PCs is being put back into the box.

Comment Re:Wrong way to go about it? (Score 1) 250

No. We are better than the NSA (low standard to rise to, but still). I know that was a joke but.. it's possible that non-feds might be caught up in this and it would really suck to be kicked out of defcon on the slightest suspicion. There needs to be some kind of test - something a fed would never do but a regular attendee would be glad to.. there are options.

Comment Re:This is the slope before the cliff (Score 1) 385

The real issue here is that software is not being developed to exploit the new found power of modern PCs. An entire generation of programmers is wasting their time writing sophmoric beta "apps" for restricted tablet devices. People are buying these yes, but collectively our software and productivity levels are not advancing.

People used to upgrade their PCs to get a new OS with useful new applications. No such OS is being made anymore. Most of them, Windows, Mac and many Linux distros, are instead sliding ever backwards.

Comment Re:This is stupid (Score 1) 407

No. Likely there'd be a complete fork from a clean workbase to start over again, a complete distrust of code from day one, and a complete overhaul of all existing systems.

Or the NSA could just rig our cars to explode and burn us alive before we do so, or whatever.

I'm not traditionally in the tin foil hat brigade, but at this point, having SELinux installed on your machine is the height of stupidity. The NSA has comprehensively proved itself to be an untrustworthy, duplicitous, and ruthless organisation. I don't care how many people reviewed the code; I want my computer to be associated as little as possibly with anything written or developed by those people. I regard this as somewhere between reiserfs and apartheid pears.

It's a question of trust and risk. I don't trust the NSA enough to risk keeping SELinux.

P.S.
SELinux is not installed on my machine by default, but libSElinux is. It's interesting how many programs would also have to be removed if the library was.

Comment MOD PARENT UP (Score 0, Offtopic) 221

The contraposition of this story with the fate of John Corzine deserves to be highlighted.

Here we have the a US intelligence agency, saying it needs to snoop on millions in a supposed effort to protect them from threats. And yet John Corzine, who openly stole customers money, is not being prosecuted, despite the reams and reams of records and evidence against him and MFGlobal.

What we see here is that information does not correllate with prosecutions, or effectiveness at protecting people from harm.

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