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Comment Re:Amateur chemistry is all but impossible now (Score 4, Interesting) 189

Not just hobby chemists either. I'm a geologist with a minor in analytic chemistry. I used to have an assay lab where I could run samples for qualitative analysis. That's in the crapper now. You have to jump through hoops to get things like con nitric acid, and just forget anything like potassium cyanide. And if you do manage to get supplies, they make you a target for a raid any time the local cops get a bug up their ass. So no more lab. :(

Comment Re:Is it fear ? (Score 4, Insightful) 926

I think you're exactly right. The Bush Administration used 9/11 to gain the level of power and control that allowed them to pass the Patriot Act and create the DHS with all its Draconian aspects, and now the Obama Administration is either unable or unwilling to change it. Do you want to fight terrorism? Well, you don't gain a damn thing by giving the terrorists what they want! Their name says it all - their goal is to put their enemies in FEAR of them. By running scared and giving up our freedom in the name of 'security', we have given them a major victory. It needs to stop. We the people need to MAKE it stop. Because where we are heading is ever deeper into the swamp, and in that swamp there lies nothing but mud and snakes.

Comment Re:I can tell from the pixels (Score 3, Interesting) 138

Yes, and the idea that they "don't look at it" is not really true either. Every piece of collected data is sifted by computer algorithms that look for key words, etc. If any are found, a flag is set. That qualifies as "looking at it" IMO. Now, the system probably produces so many flags that they still can't actually read all of them. If I had that problem, I would sort the flagged data into arrays so I could look for patterns. If the same person gets flagged a set number of times, or the flags show something like keyword X and keyword Y, then his stuff gets read by a real person. The problem with that is that the message content would have to be kept so it could be examined if needed. Simply stated, I do not believe only metadata is kept. It would be useless if it couldn't be put into context when something odd is detected.

Comment Re:Microsoft Office (Score 1) 951

I recently retired from 23 years in US Government service. The federal agency policy forbids the use of open document formats, and nothing produced in OO or LO can be used. So I agree, MS Office would have to run. And not via some emulator that causes everything to slow to a crawl. As for games, I tend to install and uninstall crap constantly. Right now I'm playing Gnomoria and Plants vs Zombies, but neither will keep my attention very long. So I'd say the most important thing is to make installation easy - like point-and-click easy for those of us who don't really like troubleshooting failed dependencies. I can do that, but it isn't my idea of fun.

Comment Re:75 floppy disks (Score 1) 867

My first was Slackware on a CD that came in a manual called "Using Linux". Then I tried Mandrake, Ubuntu and various "light" distros like Puppy Linux. Then I spent a while switching between FreeBSD and OpenBSD, then went to Debian, and now I'm back to FreeBSD. And I hereby declare FreeBSD the winner for my needs.

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