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U.S. Spy Panel Is Loaded With Insiders 330

schwit1 writes "After a public backlash to government spying, President Barack Obama called for an independent group to review the vast surveillance programs that allow the collections of phone and email records. The members of the review group are:
Richard Clarke, the chief counterterrorism adviser on the National Security Council for Clinton who later worked for Republican President George W. Bush
Michael Morell, Obama's former deputy CIA director
Geoffrey Stone, law professor who has raised money for Obama and spearheads a committee hoping to build Obama's presidential library in Chicago
Cass Sunstein, law professor and administrator of information and regulatory affairs for Obama
Peter Swire, a former Office of Management and Budget privacy director for Clinton

'At the end of the day, a task force led by Gen. Clapper full of insiders – and not directed to look at the extensive abuse – will never get at the bottom of the unconstitutional spying,' said Mark Jaycox, a policy analyst for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy advocacy group. The panel's meetings are closed after Clapper exempted it from the U.S. Federal Advisory Committee Act, which would have required it to keep the public informed and hold open meetings, for 'reasons of national security,' according to a statement from the group sent from Clapper's office. 'While we are exempt from the FACA, we are conducting this review as openly and transparently as possible.'"

Comment Re:Cool (Score 1) 119

Taxation has proved in the past to be a very effective and safe behavior modifier.

An annual $100/lb overweight tax would probably do the trick quite quickly and eliminate probably 80-90% of all new diabetes cases over the next 10 years (considering that 90% of all diabetes cases are of the voluntarily-acquired Type 2 variety).

Comment Re:Cool (Score 1) 119

What's even cheaper is eradicating the instances of lifestyle diabetes - which are all of those cases of diabetes that occur by personal choice. Yes, there are autoimmune cases of diabetes, but the vast majority of diabetes cases occur by choice in people who refuse to put the fork down when they've had enough to eat, or refuse to stop drinking 5 gallons/day of sugared soda.

One of the new features of Obamacare is that insurance companies can steer you into healthy lifestyles and charge you a surcharge if you do not comply. Starting in 2014, our insurance company charges up to a $100/month-person surcharge for being "outside the fence" of acceptable measurements, which include BMI, blood pressure, fasting glucose, resting heart rate, and bodyfat percentage. You have to go in once/year for measurement, and if you are outside the box, you can remeasure again in 6 months.

We also have to turn in "verifiable workouts" either by going to an approved gym (at our expense), or log walks/runs/bike rides, etc with our smartphones - basically proving that we aren't sitting on our tails all the time. Failure to comply brings a surcharge (which is not a premium increase, btw - this is how Obama advertised that premiums would not go up. They aren't. But surcharges - oh boy...)

Not many insurance companies are doing this, but I imagine that more and more will as more and more people sign up and cost billions in treatment or obesity and inactivity-related disease.


Why iOS 7 Is Making Some Users Feel 'Sick' 261

dryriver sends this story from The Guardian: "The introduction of fake zooms, parallax, sliding and other changes in Apple's new iPhone and iPad software has a very real effect on people with vestibular disorders. ... It makes frequent use of zoom and slide animations; the home screen boasts parallax, with icons apparently floating above subtly animating wallpaper. And it's making people sick. Triggers and symptoms vary, but TidePool mobile app developer Jenni Leder's experience is not uncommon. A self-professed power-user, she frequently switches apps; but on iOS 7, this has caused headaches and feelings associated with motion sickness. 'I now have to close my eyes or cover the screen during transitions, which is ridiculous,' she told The Guardian, adding that there's nowhere to hide: 'It's not apps that affect me, but accessing them. Tap a folder and the view zooms in. Tap an app and it's like flying through the icon and landing in that app's micro world — and I'm getting dizzy on the journey there.' Reactions to screen-based systems — especially those utilizing 3D effects — aren't new. Cynthia Ryan, executive director of the Vestibular Disorders Association, says 3D effects can cause 'intense nausea, dizziness and vertigo,' sometimes from general vision problems, but also from visual-vestibular conflict. She added symptoms 'manifest more severely if a viewer already has a disorder of the vestibular system.'"

Cricket Reactor Inventor Says $1mil Prize Winners Stole His Work 131

An anonymous reader writes "A group of Montreal MBA students took home this year's million-dollar Hult Prize, winning a competition for socially innovative business ideas that calls itself 'one of the planet's leading forces for good.' But now the ethics of the winners and the prize committee are being called into question. McGill PhD researcher Jakub Dzamba says that after he supplied the idea and design behind their pitch, products of years of development work, the team reneged on its promises to make him a partner and is instead taking credit for his work. Apparently, Hult knew about the issue before it awarded the prize." Yes, these are the students whose win garnered $1 million awarded by Bill Clinton.

Senators Push To Preserve NSA Phone Surveillance 252

cold fjord writes "The New York times reports that the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Vice Chairman, Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), are moving a bill forward that would 'change but preserve' the controversial NSA phone log program. Senator Feinstein believes the program is legal, but wants to improve public confidence. The bill would reduce the time the logs could be kept, require public reports on how often it is used, and require FISA court review of the numbers searched. The bill would require Senate confirmation of the NSA director. It would also give the NSA a one week grace period in applying for permission from a court to continue surveillance of someone that travels from overseas to the United States. The situation created by someone traveling from overseas to the United States has been the source of the largest number of incidents in the US in which NSA's surveillance rules were not properly complied with. The rival bill offered by Senators Wyden (D-OR) and Udall (D-CO) which imposes tougher restrictions is considered less likely to pass."

Comment Re:Illegal in Texas (Score 1) 182

No, it would not be illegal in Texas, because Nissan has dealers in Texas that can service the warranty on your car. Besides, you're not buying the car from Amazon. They are just connecting you with a dealer and getting a commission for sending them a sap who is willing to pay sticker price for a made-in-China rattlebox like the Versa.


Apple Sells Nine Million iPhones Over Weekend 432

Nerval's Lobster writes "Apple managed to sell nine million iPhones over the weekend, with the company claiming its initial supply of high-end iPhone 5S units completely sold out. Apple didn't sell out of the new iPhone 5C, its plastic-cased (and cheaper) alternative to the iPhone 5S; models are still available for shipment within 24 hours from Apple's online store. And the iPhone 5S selling out is no surprise: in the weeks ahead of the new iPhones' launch, rumors persisted that the initial production run of the device was relatively small in scope, which would make it far easier for Apple to sell out of its first batch. But how many iPhone 5C units did Apple actually manage to sell? In August, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggested that Apple would produce just over 5 million iPhone 5S units ahead of the device's launch weekend; if that number's accurate, and Apple sold every single one, it would mean Apple sold roughly 4 million iPhone 5C units in order to reach that 9-million-sold figure for both models. That's an impressive figure for any smartphone, of course, and it could quiet some of the naysayers who have spent the past several months suggesting that Apple's best years are behind it."

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