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Comment It ain't the meat it's the motion (Score 1) 217

Even though ADE 651 manufacturer James McCormick was found guilty of three counts of fraud and sentenced to 10 years in prison in May, the ADE 651 is still being used at thousands of checkpoints across Baghdad. Elsewhere, authorities have never stopped believing in the detectors. Why? According to Sandia Labs' Dale Murray, the ideomotor effect is so persuasive that for anyone who wants or needs to believe in it, even conclusive scientific evidence undermining the technology it exploits has little power.

It has nothing to do with the "ideomotor effect" and everything to do with the stream of money that is still bouncing back and forth to some contractor somewhere and some congressmen, somewhere else. I wonder if they even bothered to hold a "show-and-tell" for military brass and congress-people, where the bomb-detecting robots performed perfectly under controlled conditions.

It's an example of the corrupt reverse of what economists call the "velocity of money". As long as that money's flowing, and a little bit sticks to the hands of everyone who touches it along the way, then there is no incentive to do too much to rock the boat.

Considering most retiring high-level military brass ends up as "consultants" to defense contractors or lobbyists for defense contractors, and as long as the people getting killed are not the sons and daughters of privilege, we cannot expect some lieutenant colonel somewhere is going to care enough to make the people above him mad about slowing the velocity of money.

There are people out there right now who are enjoying the profits from building faulty facilities in Iraq where enlisted people were electrocuted in showers. The worst that could possibly happen is that the company changes its name and carries on. In the case of the showers, Haliburton didn't even have to change its name. Hell, they didn't even have to be low bidder on those contracts because they were no-bid.

There are not many people more cynical than the ones who populate the military/industrial complex (and now, the intelligence/industrial complex). And now with the increased prosecutions against whistleblowers, we'll probably hear less and less about these failures.

Comment Re:They are in such demand (Score 1) 330

They're YEARS late to the show. Tardiness to the tech market always comes with a big price. Their only hope at this point would have been to sell them at a loss just to get a small, valuable slice of market share.

MS has been doing this a lot recently with hardware. If you're going to go to-to-toe with Apple etc you have to outprice them because you're going to have difficulty outfeaturing them and simply not going to be able to (initially) out-perform them. The #1 reason cited by MS fanboys is "apple is too expensive for what you get". MS simply won't be able to get its foot in the door if they leave their biggest edge just sitting on the bench. And it'll go the way of the zune, phone, tv, etc. You'd think by now they'd have learned this lesson??

Submission + - NSA Spying Hurts California's Business

mspohr writes: Interesting opinion piece by Joe Mathews published today (
makes the argument that California's economic life depends on global connections. "Our leading industries — shipping, tourism, technology, and entertainment — could not survive, much less prosper, without the trust and goodwill of foreigners. We are home to two of the world’s busiest container ports, and we are a leading exporter of engineering, architectural, design, financial, insurance, legal, and educational services. All of our signature companies — Apple, Google, Facebook, Oracle, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Chevron, Disney — rely on sales and growth overseas. And our families and workplaces are full of foreigners; more than one in four of us were born abroad, and more than 50 countries have diaspora populations in California of more than 10,000."
It quotes John Dvorak: "Our companies have billions and billions of dollars in overseas sales and none of the American companies can guarantee security from American spies. Does anyone but me think this is a problem for commerce?”
It points out that: "Asian governments and businesses are now moving their employees and systems off Google’s Gmail and other U.S.-based systems, according to Asian news reports. German prosecutors are investigating some of the American surveillance. The issue is becoming a stumbling block in negotiations with the European Union over a new trade agreement. Technology experts are warning of a big loss of foreign business."
The article goes on to suggest that perhaps a California constitutional ammendment confirming privacy rights might help (but would not guarantee a stop to Federal snooping).

Comment But... but but... (Score 1) 258

the world needs ditch diggers too, right?

Agreeing with you there :P. Basically, just because the robot economy was delayed 50 years by an influx of slave labor from China and a few tech hurdles doesn't mean it's not coming. 3-D printers + robots will either create a utopia or a world of 100,000 or so haves and 8 billion have nots. Given our track record I'm not betting on the utopia...

Comment Re:So if 'cyberWar' is actually a thing... (Score 4, Informative) 97

....when do we start treating these folks like arms dealers? It's not a stretch, ITAR classified cryptography as munitions....

Zero-day exploits are a bit farther down the road than even munitions. At least I can claim I need a gun for self-defense. There's really no "legal use" for a zero-day. It's only immediate purpose is to bypass computer security, which is illegal in almost every corner of the globe. (the biggest three applications being theft, corporate espionage, and spying)

The interesting twist here I think though is that entire governments are doing business with these guys, because they want it just as bad as the more traditional criminals. Normally when you're a government, you simply spend money to get your way. Things you want to have but not let your people have you just make illegal for civilian use.

But this is different. Money doesn't directly GET you a zero day, any more than money can get you nuclear weapons. They require specialized knowledge and skills. So you either spend a huge amount of money to R&D it, or you just go out and buy it. Buying nuclear isn't easy because currently only big governments have it, and they don't want to water down their exclusivity, so they won't sell it at any price. But right now the black market has better R&D on zero-days than any government, and they're completely fine with selling it to anyone, for a high price of course. Also unlike nukes, it's not a matter of needing specialized materials and resources, anyone can R&D it, all they need is a lot of bored skilled nerds ;)

So it just makes sense that the black market is playing both sides. Everyone wants it, and they are by far the cheapest source. It's a supplier's dream come true.


Ask Slashdot: Video Streaming For the Elderly? 165

First time accepted submitter ChrisC1234 writes "My grandparents are getting older and don't get out much anymore, and with the demise of video stores (and not even understanding what a RedBox is), they don't see movies anymore. They've got internet access, so I'm thinking of getting them a streaming appliance and a Netflix account. So I'm wondering what device is the easiest for elderly people to use. I'm thinking either a Roku or Apple TV, but open to other options. It just needs to be easy to navigate and support closed captioning. Has anyone else done this successfully?"

Comment Re:Just as intended (Score 5, Insightful) 165

For every ticket that was questionable, I went down to the city building, waited a short amount of time to have my story heard, and the tickets were nullified.

It really couldn't be any easier.

Taking time off during the workday to go to court to fight a ticket that shouldn't have been issued in the first place is easy?

Sounds like Stockholm syndrome to me.

Comment Re:Is this a hopeless request? (Score 1) 1737

Oh, I definitely agree that the media and political system was irresponsible in the way they responded to this case. It's just silly to jump to the other side and claim that Trayvon was some terrible miscreant. How many 17 year old kids smoke weed and write on a locker with a marker? It doesn't make him violent and anti-social, and it doesn't make it any more clear who initiated the altercation the night of Trayvon's death.

Submission + - What Medical Tests Should Teach Us about the NSA Surveillance Program

Davak writes: In many ways finding the small amount of terrorists within the United States is like screening a population of people for a rare disease. A physician explains why collecting excessive data is actually dangerous. Each time a test is run, the number of people incorrectly identified quickly dwarfs the correct matches. Just like in medicine, being incorrectly labelled has serious consequences.

Comment Re: Do good ... (Score 2, Insightful) 569

Please clarify the "starving" thing. It's true that early in the Soviet Union's formation, Stalin allowed territories that didn't follow his policies to starve.

But, one can make the case that Republicans want to do the same to poor and minorities since they don't vote Republican. Some extreme Republicans want to let states suffer after disasters rather than have the federal gov't "bail them out".

It's not just a Soviet thing.

Comment Carrying a weapon has obligations (Score 1) 1737

Still, I feel that Zimmerman should have some punishment for ignoring the common-sense guidelines of both Neighborhood Watch and the police-station dispatcher.

If you are carrying a deadly weapon, you have a higher obligation and responsibility than one who is not, and Zim's carelessness should result in punishment of some sort. I hope there is a civil penalty not unlike the OJ civil case.

Although he's not guilty of direct "murder" per se, his foolishness resulted in an unnecessary death and he shouldn't be able to walk away as if nothing happened. It sends a wrong message and bad precedent.

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