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Comment Re:Dangers of the right thing (Score 1) 175

Actually, the very first job of immune cells is to recognize self. After they can recognize self, then they go on to attack non-self. If the immune system were to attack self, you get various autoimmune diseases ranging from diabetes to arthritis. So what I wonder about these, given that they grow in a lab and never recognize you, is whether they will tag our own cells?

Comment Re:Does freedom imply privacy? (Score 1) 324

1. Freedom is your right to act as you choose so long as your actions do not harm others

No, Freedom is your right to act as you choose, without retaliation. Other people's freedom is their right not to be harmed in certain ways by your actions.

You might argue that lack of privacy can limit choices by the threat of embarrassment, but freedom does not preclude embarrassing actions from your choice set. In other words, freedom does not require your choices to be easy and embarrassment-free, just possible. This is not to say that privacy isn't a right worth fighting for. But I don't think we should use the right to freedom to justify the right to privacy.

Go live in a dictatorship for a while, and you will realize that while you might be "free" to do something, that doesn't mean that the government won't haul your ass in jail (or execute you) the next day if they found out about it. Much like in America you're "free" to break the speed limit, fuck a cow, copy music, smoke pot, or shoot off fireworks so long as the government doesn't find out you did it. If there is significant chance that your actions will be retaliated against, you're not really free to do them, even if you are physically capable to do so. It is for this reason that freedom requires privacy; if people take offense at your actions and retaliate, you are not really free to do them. You could argue that indifference on the part of everyone could substitute for privacy, but that will never happen. Inasmuch as people don't retaliate for things they don't know, privacy guarantees freedom.

Unfortunately, the sheeple won't realize that if you don't do anything wrong, you still might have something to hide (because illegal things aren't always wrong, and embarrassing things aren't always wrong), especially if the government should ever turn against its people.
United States

CA Proposes Rigorous Voting Machine Testing 172

christian.einfeldt writes "During her successful campaign for California Secretary of State, newly-minted California Elections Czar Debra Bowen spoke repeatedly of the need to use free open source software in voting machines to ensure the integrity of California's elections. Now that Secretary Bowen is acting on that campaign pledge, closed-source voting machine vendor Diebold worries aloud that rejecting its black-box voting machines could snarl California's elections. Diebold's concerns come at the same time that it is suing Massachusetts for declining to purchase those same voting machines." Quoting: "California's elections chief is proposing the toughest standards for voting systems in the country, so tough that they could [have the result of banishing] ATM-like touch-screen voting machines from the state. For the first time, California is demanding the right to try hacking every voting machine with 'red teams' of computer experts and to study the software inside the machines, line-by-line, for security holes."

Don't Google "How To Commit Murder" Before Killing 387

An anonymous reader alerts us to a murder trial in New Jersey in which Google and MSN searches were used against a woman accused of killing her husband. In the days before the murder, prosecutors say the defendant searched for "How To Commit Murder," "instant poisons," "undetectable poisons," "fatal digoxin doses," and gun laws in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Her husband was killed with a gun procured in Pennsylvania. The crime occurred in 2004; of course, people now know to be careful about their searches.
PC Games (Games)

Submission + - Games for Windows - Live to Launch May 8

njkid1 writes: "Soon the PC gaming community will be able to experience all the unique features that Xbox Live gamers have been enjoying for years. And if you're already a paying member of Xbox Live you don't have to pay another cent to get it on Games for Windows. We speak with Microsoft's Kevin Unangst and Aaron Greenberg about the significance of bringing Live to Windows. http://biz.gamedaily.com/industry/feature/?id=1547 9&ncid=AOLGAM000500000000014"

Submission + - Federal Agencies Ban Vista

mjdroner writes: ZDNet has a story on two federal agencies that have banned Vista. 'There appears to be no compelling technical or business case for upgrading to these new Microsoft software products,' says a Department of Transportation memo. Among the reasons stated for not upgrading are compatibility concerns, cost, available funding, and a headquarters move.

Submission + - Tracking the Password Thieves

wiredog writes: From The Washington Post, yet another story about phishers, keyloggers, and viruses. The story is nothing new, but the author has a blog where he describes how he gathered the information that went into the story. Information including the locations of the victims, and the ISPs likeliest to be hit.

Some of the victims included "an engineer for the Architect of the Capitol" and a man who "works in computer security for IBM." One victim "was fresh out of college, where he'd just earned a degree in information security. (He was actively looking for a job in the field; I suggested he may want to go back to the classroom.)" A compromised machine was also found in "the new accounts department at Bank of America" (Score!)

Submission + - Cracking Google's 'secret sauce' algorithm

jcatcw writes: "There's more to placement in the Google results than the PageRank value. Google remains elusive about the 200 factors it uses to score pages and decide which goes to the top. One factor seems to be a ranking of the site that posts a link to the site under consideration. Is a link from slashdot worth more or less than a link from del.icio.us? The advice: pretend Google isn't there."

Submission + - Who's behind the anti-Goog Information-Revolution?

mstrom writes: Walk on the tube (metro) in London anytime now and you'll adverts plastered around asking "Who controls 75% of the worlds information?", "Who is controlling your information?" inviting you to join the "Information Revolution" by going to information-revolution.org. Trouble is, it doesn't say who's behind this revolution. This revolutions most recent trick was to laser-beam a huge advert onto the Houses Of Parliament. It's homepage provides the answer to choice — a search box that lets you choose which search engine to use (well, one of the big-4 anyway) — this is the information revolution!

The entries on their site use hip hand-scrawled or sidewalk-chalked messages to give it a viral buzz as though this is truly a community-sourced revolution. Slick it certainly is, too slick. Hundreds of feedback comments on the site are questioning who is behind it and expressing huge disappointment that a campaign that truly got them to think led them to what seems to be a very expensive anonymous attack on Google.

The culprit looks like non other than Ask.com — the domain name information-revolution.org is registered by Performo who list Ask and Yahoo among their clients. But the actual website is otherwise shrouded in secrecy. The biggest clue is the search links on their homepage — ask.com is the first link and choose Ask as your search provider and then search for Google or Yahoo and hey presto! you get an "Information Revolution" advert courtesy of Ask. So a valid question — why does Google own most of the worlds information — but a bad answer — use Ask. The real question remains — why the secrecy, why is the Information Revolution anonymous and was Ask trying to trick us into thinking their really is a revolution against Google?

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