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Comment Re:Not much of a defense (Score 3, Insightful) 358

If you read the article it states that General Alexander addressed the legal basis.

And just how is anyone supposed to evaluate the soundness of the legal opinions rendered by the FISA courts since their legal opinions are sealed?

The FISA courts have produced significant rulings and new interpretations to the 4th Amendment that no one but a select few are privy to. Are we to have a furtive judicial system where only a select few actually even know what our laws say and mean?

In a letter to one of his officers written in 1777, Washington wrote that secrecy was key to the success of intelligence activities:

Secrecy, of course -- this is always required in war and intelligence activities. But seeing as how he fought against general warrants issued by the crown, I have no doubt that he would be horrified at the scope and breadth of the NSA's broad collection policies.

For some mind numbingly stupid reason people keep wanting to reveal US intelligence operations to all, citizen or noncitizen alike. That isn't likely to end well.

For a robust demonstration regarding the need for (public) whistle blowers just look at nefarious characters like J. Edgar Hoover and Nixon who used the government's intelligence apparatus as a sword against their personal and political enemies. What place is there in this logic for whistle blowers who should expose those who are acting outside the legal confines of our great nation (e.g. Hoover, Nixon, etc.)?

Comment Re:Taxation is unethical (Score 1) 949

I hear Somalia's quite the libertarian paradise.

To believe that libertarians are simply anarchists (Somalia is in a state of anarchy) is to fall into error. Libertarians, almost without variance, believe in property rights and common law. This sort of thing necessitates peace officers, national defense, and court systems (among other things).

It is true however, that Libertarians believe in a far more limited government than most people.

Comment Re:Destruction of evidence (Score 3, Informative) 364

True, but, were I in their shoes, I'd have to ask myself:

1. Does acting strangely (i.e., throwing my hard drives in random garbage trucks) prove my guilt in the case?

I worked in electronic discovery for a time which deals with ferreting out electronic information during trials. Doing something in the manner you're pondering would likely get you into a lot more trouble than you're counting on.

During your trial the judge the judge would likely find efforts to destroy to be in bad faith and give the jury an instruction to make an adverse inference about the evidence you destroyed. Basically this means that whatever bad facts the prosecutor claims were on the hard drive (with a modicum of fact and or educated guessing backing it up), the jury would assume those bad things were found to be true during trial. there is a small chance that the judge might invoke a default ruling (i.e. you're guilty).

2. If there is evidence on those hard drives that probably would prove my guilt, which is the lesser sentence: obstruction or whatever I'll get charged with if they find smokinggun.jpg on those drives?

You would likely be found guilty of both the original charges (whatever they were) and destruction of evidence and whatever else the prosecutor can come up with (which is likely to be lengthy). In general it is a bad idea to try to outsmart the court or play fast and loose with evidence. Very few things will tick off a judge faster or more violently than the destruction of evidence in bad faith (i.e. you meant to destroy or hide evidence to avoid getting caught).

Comment Re:Cool idea (Score 1) 286

Nothing but you could use an email address with periods '' and send everything without periods '' to spam. Or if you've already started using the address without periods you can flag certain senders as safe and then filter the rest to spam (while starting to give out your 'new' email address with periods).

Comment Re:Cool idea (Score 4, Interesting) 286

While not exactly an implementation of a throwaway address, you can use plus sign addressing (subaddressing, i.e. with Google. I use it for every site I sign up on so I can see who gives out my email address so I can filter everything from that alias into the trash.

Additionally you can also place a period anywhere in the user portion of your email address and gmail will route it to your address.

For instance, if your email address is "", you can also give out "", "", etc. and all of them will route to your original address.


Porting Lemmings In 36 Hours 154

An anonymous reader writes "Aaron Ardiri challenged himself to port his classic PalmOS version of Lemmings to the iPhone, Palm Pre, Mac, and Windows. The porting was done using his own dev environment, which creates native C versions of the game. He liveblogged the whole thing, and finished after only 36 hours with an iPhone version and a Palm Pre version awaiting submission, and free versions for Windows and Mac available on his site."

Verizon Charged Marine's Widow an Early Termination Fee 489

In a decision that was reversed as soon as someone with half a brain in their PR department learned about it, Verizon charged a widow a $350 early termination fee. After the death of her marine husband, Michaela Brummund decided to move back to her home town to be with her family. Verizon doesn't offer any coverage in the small town so Michaela tried to cancel her contract, only to be hit with an early termination fee. From the article: "'I called them to cancel. I told them the situation with my husband. I even said I would provide a death certificate,' Michaela said."

RPG Heroes Are Jerks 119

I have to give him credit for smashing the vases to get the medicine, and finding the legendary wedding dress among the rags. However, he forgot to kill the peasants for xp and you should always check the fireplace for any remaining food.

Comment What's old is new again (Score 1) 1027

This new DRM system is essentially a virtual dongle and will likely hold up about as well as the old DRM systems (i.e. not very well at all). The remote server will be emulated or the bits of code which check for the dongle will be cracked.

I don't see how this system is all that different from early attempts at DRM in the 80's other than potentially annoying their legitimate customers a lot more. That and there are a lot more skilled crackers now than in the 80's.

Comment Re:Falling behind a little more each day. (Score 1) 787

In a modern, well-insulated house (another "green" tech - there even exist passive houses) - and at least in Germany all newer houses are mandated to be built well-insulated - the working poor actually save money.

True, insulation saves a lot of money and if green mandates stopped there I would not mind nearly as much. However, in the example that initially started this thread concerning putting money into green research (solar, wind, etc.) it would almost certainly take money out of the pockets of the poor. Unfortunately, when people start making rules they find it hard to stop because they enjoy the power and authority. :-)

Thank you for the amazingly civil discussion. They have become rare on Slashdot lately. It is always fun to speak with people who have a very different perspective. Have a great day and all that. :-)

Comment Re:Falling behind a little more each day. (Score 1) 787

No because "green" research is money well spent. Natural resources are finite and everything that helps the efficiency is good. Also a cleaner environment is a better place to live.

Aren't you making life a little worse than it would be otherwise by pursuing a non-optimal solutions? While I applaud your intentions, we must also consider what we're sacrificing. Consider the working poor, don't you think it is especially unfair to them that they have to pay a lot more for their heating bill (relative to their income) because society has decided to solve a problem which may or may not exist? Society is in essence, taking money out of their pocket that they could otherwise spend on more practical things.

Comment Re:Falling behind a little more each day. (Score 1) 787

Even if global warming is a political sham and most of the "scientific" evidence has been fabricated, as it very well may be, at least it has spurned research into solar and wind technologies, for instance.

Assuming that is the case (i.e. man made global warming is statistically insignificant or totally false), don't you think that the same money could have been better spent in other areas of research instead of solving for a nonexistent problem?


Submission + - iPad's Identity Crisis and Apple's A4 CPU Future ( 1

MojoKid writes: "The iPad simply isn't as revolutionary as the iPhone and iPod, and that alone is at least initially limiting the general perception of the product. For better or worse, Apple has worked itself into a corner where people simply expect each and every new product release to change that product category for the better. On almost every front, the iPad doesn't do that. The bottom line is the iPad has an identity crisis. It's not quite a serious e-reader, and it's not quite a serious tablet PC. It's probably great at handling multimedia, but it's not nearly portable enough to be considered a portable media player. It's great for tabletop use, but it can't multitask, so you're left with a machine that's seriously limited in what can do well. Imagine if Apple were to really cut the A4 loose. What would the iPad look like then? We can even believe that Apple is pushing out the iPad with iPhone OS in order to just test the boundaries of the one-app-at-a-time approach, and it could then update the device with iPhone OS 4.0 later this year with multitasking enabled. Obviously, if this build of the OS were to be ported to the iPad, it would become entirely more capable, not to mention the prospects of what the A4 could do for handheld PCs outside of Apple. Apple has significant competition here though in the form of NVIDIA and Intel. Also, there would have to be a monumental cultural and mindset shift at Apple for this scenario to occur."

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