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Transportation

The DEA Has Been Secretly Paying Transport Employees To Search Travelers' Bags (economist.com) 39

There's a new reason you can be stopped by airport security: because the security officer who flagged you "was being secretly paid by the government...to uncover evidence of drug smuggling." schwit1 quotes The Economist: For years, officials from the Department of Justice testified, the DEA has paid millions of dollars to a variety of confidential sources to provide tips on travellers who may be transporting drugs or large sums of money. Those sources include staff at airlines, Amtrak, parcel services and even the Transportation Safety Administration...

According to [a DOJ] report, airline employees and other informers had an incentive to search more travellers' bags, since they received payment whenever their actions resulted in DEA seizures of cash or contraband. The best-compensated of these appears to have been a parcel company employee who received more than $1 million from the DEA over five years. One airline worker, meanwhile, received $617,676 from 2012 to 2015 for tips that led to confiscations. But the DEA itself profited much more from the program. That well-paid informant got only about 12% of the amount the agency seized as a result of the his tips.

The DEA had paid out $237 million to over 9,000 informants over five years towards the end of 2015, according to the report. The Economist writes that "travelers no doubt paid the price in increased searches," adding that the resulting searches were all probably illegal.

Comment Re:Microsoft is killing the business use of Window (Score 1) 68

They're just trying to keep up with Google. More than once, I've given a sales person a locally installed demonstrator for some web app that was working when they left the office, and then the demo was undermined when they connected their laptop to the Internet while out of the office and Chrome self-updated and broke something.

Comment Re:That's the best reason to buy bitcoin (Score 1) 71

Requirements for banks to report questionable transactions became a lot more serious _after_ the change to Euro was completed.

That's bollocks. I was living in France when it happened and there were strict limits on changing Francs to Euro well in advance of the actual switch; they knew there was plenty of money stuffed in mattresses & teapots.

It caused a short term boost to home renovation & antiques market.

Comment Re: Not gonna happen (Score 1) 262

His point is that there aren't really any oil companies left anymore. Most of the 'big oil' companies are now fairly diversified energy companies. Fusion would be great for them, because it has very large capital costs, but huge return on investment, meaning that only companies with experience in power systems and a lot of spare capital will be in a good place to be first movers. They wouldn't want to kill this, they'd want to own it and be the first to provide electricity in the kinds of quantities promised by fusion.

Comment Re:Reads Like An Ad (Score 4, Insightful) 262

I'm in my 50s, and I've been hearing that practical fusion generators were only 10-15 years off since I was a little nerdling

There was an article a few years back that put these in perspective. They pointed out that N years in the future really means $M dollars more spending in the future and that these predictions have been quite consistent: if we'd kept funding at the anticipated rate in the '60s, we might have working fusion already.

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