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Comment Re:Summary, summarized, analyzed (Score 1) 196

If international student visa abuse is the problem . . . then why are they proposing to monitor the attendance of ALL students . . . ? Methinks they are planning to use this for something else in the future . . .

Quite correct. They are following the same logic as has been used in the past to justify the introduction of identity cards. If they get away with this one, we'll see ID cards return to the agenda.

Comment Re:Cookies and referers (Score 1) 158

Could one simply use one browser for Facebook-only (e.g. Safari) and a different browser for everything else? Would that prevent Facebook tracking?

Yes - that's what I do. Mind you, I wouldn't put it past the bastards to find a way around that one day. Eternal vigilance is needed, if you're really paranoid about it.

Comment Re:Unity (Score 2) 273

Do you have a shred of evidence that this is actually how the privacy settings work?

No, but if you'll note my wording, I don't exactly accuse them of doing so. I'm just pointing out that the phrasing allows for things which people don't expect at first glance. It should be phrased more clearly one way or the other.

When this first came up I checked with Wireshark and confirmed that nothing is sent to cannonical or amazon if on-line search results are turned off.
However, you're right that the wording does not preclude this in the future, so I wouldn't trust them.

Comment Re:like soviet russia and nazi germany (Score 1) 393

It time to stand up for OUR 1st amendment rights!

The first thing to understand about human rights is it doesn't depend on the law of men to validate them. You have the right to freedom of speech, expression, and religion, regardless of what your government says. You have it regardless of whether the Constitution allows it or not, or even exists. You have it, because you're a human being. That is the definition of a human right: There are some laws higher than those of men.

Stop thinking of this as an American problem, or a legal problem. It's an ethical problem -- and the greatest advances of the 21st century won't be in science or technology, but in expanding the concept of what it means to be human. That, good sir, is your fight. You are not alone.

An excellent expression of the fundamental point about human rights. Too many people seem to think that the need of society to constrain the expression of one's rights (for the good of society) means that those rights are confered by society and do not exist otherwise. If that were a valid viewpoint, then I would be forced to conclude that there is nothing wrong with the freedoms inherent in, say, Iranian or Chinese society.

Comment Re:Nobody's ever gonna stand on Mars (Score 2) 94

I sort of understand where IcyHando'Death is coming from - I was 10 when I woke up to the real world and realised that the flying cars and spaceships I had been reading about in comics didn't actually exist. But I got over it and I am not as depressed about the lack of progress since 1969 as he is.
However, I do agree with his last few sentences, including "This last one has reached higher than any other, boosted by an enormous non-renewable energy supply, but that supply is now in decline and so are we, like all the others." Our global civilisation is using up all of the resources that were needed to start the industrial and technological revolutions. If we miss this chance and civilisation declines too far, the possibility is that we may never be able to rise to this level again.
For that reason I don't give a damn who promotes expansion into space, or the politics of it all. As long as someone does it.

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