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Comment Alright then. Carry On. (Score 5, Insightful) 382

Oh I see. The man searched thinks it was all just a misunderstanding. I guess that makes it OK then.

I guess it also covers the costs in time, money, equipment and paperwork spent on a search that should never have happened. I guess it also makes up for any useful work the men involved could have been engaged in like looking for actual terrorists or investigating organised crime in the banks. I would worry about how the NSA's Ur-dragnet/Informer hotline is throwing up so many false flags that law enforcement is now too busy to deal with actual problem, but this splendidly chipper blog post had allayed all of my concerns.

I'm glad that's all cleared up then.

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:Our culture (Score 3, Interesting) 1029

In all fairness this is one you can't blame on our culture. Blockbuster movies need to be international. International means they can't have as much culture.

Bollocks. Lazy studio thinking. Lazy thinking in general. You're assuming that audiences are uneducated and want neither to think nor to learn, and that because it may be difficult or more challenging than scripting a gunfight, that it is impossible for writers, directors, and actors to communicate a story effectively in a world with slightly different cultural norms and expectations.

Many Hollywood films - indeed, entire genres - are deliberately placed within cultures (and/or against cultural backdrops) that are separated from the expectations and standards and mores of the early twenty-first century USA -- sometimes by a little bit, sometimes by gaping chasms. When well-executed, the audience is immersed in the film's cultural context, and able to follow the plot despite their lack of (initial) familiarity with the setting.

This is the bread and butter of science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, even of the political thriller. One does not need to have flown a starship or know how to cast magic spells to appreciate Star Trek or Harry Potter. One does not need to be indoctrinated into the world of high finance to enjoy Wall Street, nor deeply study geopolitics to grasp the fun of The Hunt for Red October.

And honestly, those international audiences have been consuming the output of the United States' cultural industries for decades. The typical foreign filmgoer is probably almost as familiar with the genre conventions and tropes of American filmmaking as any American.

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 Situation may not be as it appears (Score 5, Informative) 242

Looking at the comments in the first link in the original post is useful. One comment says that the only thing the panicked bug reporter knows is that the WLAN password was retrieved in the clear, but it could be that this information actually is encrypted but the retrieval decrypted it. In other words, things may not necessarily be as the original post and the bug reporter suggest. There is a chance that things are exactly as bad as suggested though. At this point only Google can say for sure how it is.

Comment Having a jury decide is not always a good thing (Score 1) 274

I'm guessing that you have never served on a jury in the USA. I have twice and it just left me completely cynical about the entire US justice system and the use of juries in general. Literally anything can happen on a jury. A lot of ugly horse trading goes on like "OK, that guy over there wants a conviction on all counts, that woman over there wants him found innocent on all counts but she admits he may be guilty on one count... can we just agree on a guilty verdict on that one count and call it a day?" As the joke goes, juries are made up of people too stupid to get out of serving. The last time I served, I sat in stunned silence in the jury room before we went into court as 3 male members of the jury got onto a contest and tried to top each other as each insisted in turn that he was far stupider about technology than the other 2 and each provided examples to support his contention. The case we heard was a criminal case involving a black defendant and what I could basically describe as property damage and we had a black guy on the jury who was a reverse racist and was very strongly prejudiced against the defendant simply because he was black. It took some smooth talking and pleading by the white foreman to get this guy to agree to our verdict of guilty on 2 counts, innocent on 1 count, as I think the black guy would literally have voted for the death penalty if he could against the defendant. These are the kinds of people in the USA who serve on juries. Do you honestly think that any sane person would roll the dice on that when maybe facing 10+ years if the jury convicts? Plus, a lot of people in juries are obsessive about punishing "evil doers" as they see them and they want the most severe punishment possible given, sometimes arguing for punishment way beyond what the crime should involve, like 10 years for stealing $5 worth of merchandise. The only thing I took away from my service as a juror is that juries are made up mostly of idiots who aren't fit to judge whether the sun will come up tomorrow or not, let alone someone's life or freedom.

Comment Re:Reward the artist (Score 4, Interesting) 301

Reward the artist by going to see a show and buying some merch. Nothing else really gets back to them in any significant amounts.

This.

I read an interview with Mick Jagger on the BBC website a few years ago and the BBC interviewer asked him about MP3 and digital downloads, figuring that Mick would likely be a stuffy old guy who would rail about how MP3s were killing music and so. Was the interviewer ever mistaken! Mick stated that for the majority of his career the Stones had actually not made all that much money from recordings. He said that there were exceptions in the late 80s into the 90s when labels actually were paying the artists a lot of money, but from his perspective MP3s hadn't changed anything and the Stones made their real money off touring. He said he had no problem with digital downloads. In fact, the Stones long ago got on iTunes and they offer special downloads of selected old concerts on a website they run. Sadly, it's somewhat younger artists like U2 who just do not get it at all and continue to bitch about how things are not what they once were.

Comment Re:What about the clever ships? (Score 3, Interesting) 105

I mean, what about the ships clever enough to *not* take the Panama Canal - and follow the longer path? IOT, how many ships did we miss and How close NK is to having a working nuke?

I'll speculate here. A Hong Kong based company won a 25 year contract (still in force as far as I know) to mange container operations in the canal, so I'm guessing that the boat and its North Korean masters probably assumed basically China (let's be realistic here - Hong Kong does what China wants) was running the show there and a North Korean boat would be given a nod and a wink in terms of its cargo inspection. It could also be that the boat captain took this on himself to shorten the journey making the assumption that I previously mentioned and this was something he did on his own, so he tried to kill himself when it became clear that his cargo was going to be found. Remember that although Cuba seems to have violated the UN agreement that nothing at all will be done to them in punishment.

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