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Comment It's a civil rights issue, not a privacy one (Score 1) 510

I think we need to do it in a way that respects people's privacy rights.

If it is to be done, it needs to be done in a way that respect's people's civil rights.

Supporters of the NSA spying program have been rephrasing the concerns with it as a privacy rights issue. The concerns with it go deeper than that: fundamentally it is a violation of the constitutional and civil rights afforded by law. Reframing it a privacy issue is a dishonest way of downplaying the serious constitutional violations that the NSA is infringing upon.

Comment Re:Sensationalist headline is Sensational (Score 1) 292

Typically these leaks are very small and are no danger to the public, which is why they are allowed to persist.

It's not about the danger of explosion from these leaks; it's about the large volume of methane escaping from these small leaks around the country. Given that methane is a potent greenhouse gas (20x more than CO2), the volume of leaks so far detected would make natural gas a dirtier fuel than even coal! The implications to national energy policy should be of concern to the public.

Comment Global warming, not explosions is the concern (Score 4, Informative) 292

It's not about the danger of gas explosions ; larger gas leaks that pose safety concerns are usually addressed if they are detected. It's about the thousands of small leaks, that the gas industry often ignores as being too small to pose any risk. In this the second link is very informative: not only are these small leaks killing trees and vegetation in the vicinity of where they occur, but collectively they are leaking a large amount of methane into the atmosphere that contributes to global warming. And given that methane is 20 times more potent as a greenhouse gas, it means if the estimates of the leaks were to be correct, natural gas would actually be worse for global warming than coal. This would have powerful implications for US energy policy, given that natural gas is being sold as a cleaner burning fossil fuel, when the leaks completely undermine it's "clean" premise.

Submission + - NSA tracking movements of americans through cellphone location data (

wired_parrot writes: In the latest Snowden documents leak, the Washington Post is reporting that the NSA is tracking hundreds of millions of cellphone locations worldwide. This data includes a large amount of American cellphone users collected "incidentally". This allows them to track people from afar into confidential business meetings or personal visits to medical facilities, hotel rooms, private homes and other traditionally protected spaces.

Submission + - The Burning Bridges of Ubuntu (

jammag writes: "Whether Ubuntu is declining is still debatable. However, in the last couple of months, one thing is clear: internally and externally, its commercial arm Canonical appears to be throwing the idea of community overboard as though it was ballast in a balloon about to crash." So claims a top Linux pundit, pointing out instances of community discontent and apparent ham-handeness on Mark Shuttleworth's part. Yet isn't this just routine kvetching in the open source community?

Submission + - NSA planned to discredit radicals based on web-browsing habits (

wired_parrot writes: New documents leaked show that the NSA was not only monitoring suspected radical sympathizers, but planned to discredit them based on their web-surfing habits. This includes not only evidence of porn browsing and online sexual activity, as well as extorsion and blackmail based on innapropriate use of funds. At the same time, the document leaked notes that very few of contacts noted were associated with terrorism

Comment Re:options are confusing (Score 1) 167

Even if you're a pilot or a sailor circumnavigating the globe, it is doubtful that you'll work in the 24 major time zones. For a pilot, it's only the time zones of the departing airport and arrival airport that really maters. You may cover other time zones in between, but you wouldn't _work_ in those intermediary time zones, which is how the question was phrased.

Submission + - New York City To Get Manhole Covers That Wirelessly Charge Electric Vehicles (

Lucas123 writes: A new project between NYU and start-up HEVO Power will disguise wireless charging stations in manhole covers. The wireless charing stations are aimed at providing fleets of delivery vehicles with power in parking spaces around the city. Next year, Toyota plans to test a wireless charging Prius in Japan, Europe. And, U.S. Auto electronics giant Delphi is developing technology for electric vehicles that could be used industrywide. The charging stations could be embedded in asphalt or pads that lay on garage floors. Wireless charging, however, still has many obstacles to overcome, including the time it takes to recharge a vehicle, cost to deploy the technology and power loss during electrical transfer.

Submission + - Can You Trust The Apps You Use?

An anonymous reader writes: With the advent of smartphones, the word "app" has almost become a synonym for pleasure. Whatever you need, whatever you want is right there at your fingertips, located in a few huge online marketplaces, ready to be downloaded and used in minutes, often for free. The problem with this is that many users enjoy the instant gratification, but don't think about the loss of security and / or privacy that goes with using apps (on whatever platform) from well- and lesser-known developers.

Security Researcher Alex Balan asks the question: "How much control we have over our security once we've allowed apps access to our private information?", and explains the unwelcome answer.

Comment Democracy is more than just elections (Score 1) 266

Democracy is more than just holding elections. An effective democracy needs a free press, freedom of speech and an independent judiciary, amongst others. The most important part about creating a democracy is having those effective institutions in place. Holding elections is only the last step on the road towards democracy.

This is why technological solutions won't work - any voting system won't work if they're being implemented by a corrupt and unaccountable executive who can manipulate public opinion by cracking down on dissent. Most dictators attempt to legitimize their rule at some point by holding elections - and when you can control public opinion by limiting dissent and controlling the media, rigging the election isn't even necessary to guarantee an election victory. Elections are meaningless without democratic institutions in place

Submission + - Robot Overlord Watch: Robots Join the Final Assembly Line at U.S. Auto Plant ( 1

moon_unit2 writes: MIT Technology Review has a story about BMW's new collaborative final-assembly-line robots. The move could prove a significant in the ongoing automation of work, as robots have previously been incapable of doing such jobs, and too dangerous to work in close proximity to humans. Robots like the ones at BMW’s South Carolina plant are also to cooperate with human workers, by handing them a wrench when they need it. So perhaps the next big shift in labor could be robot-human collaboration.

Submission + - Brand new Bombardier CSeries airplane lifts off on maiden flight (

JavaScrybe writes: Hey, a new type of bird. Bombardier's CSeries has taken its maiden flight. They boast a significant reduction in noise, which they hope will help them target urban airports, and lower fuel consumption for the eco-friendly. The canadian airplane maker hopes to challenge a significant dent in the 100-160 seats market for commercial aircrafts. At time of writing, no word yet if it landed safely, but they're hopeful.

Submission + - The Causes of Thursday's NASDAQ Crash (

CowboyRobot writes: Despite there being apparent evidence of an online attack, that does not seem to be the case.
Available clues point to a data feed error. Outages at exchanges are actually not very rare, and hacking is seldom the cause.
In fact, rodents are a much more likely suspect. One of the more embarrassing Nasdaq outages occurred in 1994, when a kamikaze squirrel triggered 34 minutes of downtime. And that was the second 'rodent incident' in seven years.

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