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Submission + - ACLU Lawsuit Challenges Computer Fraud And Abuse Act

An anonymous reader writes: The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Department of Justice contending that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act’s criminal prohibitions have created a barrier for those wishing to conduct research and anti-discrimination testing online.The ACLU have pursued the matter on behalf of a group of academic researchers, computer scientists and journalists seeking to remove that barrier to allow for third-party testing and research into potential online discrimination. In a public statement the ACLU contend "The CFAA violates the First Amendment because it limits everyone, including academics and journalists, from gathering the publicly available information necessary to understand and speak about online discrimination."

Comment Great for Desktops (Score 1) 175

IMO, rolling releases are great for desktop/laptop machines, but not so great for servers. There's something to be said for installing and configuring your OS on your work machine exactly once, for the life of the machine, and then it just stays up to date. No more twice a year upgrades that bork everything (I'm looking at you, Ubuntu) and make you reinstall anyway, no more "backport" repositories if you want to run the latest KDE or LibreOffice or whatever. Small, incremental updates are actually a lot easier to manage than giant upgrades that replace almost everything on the system.

I'm currently using Manjaro (related to Arch Linux), and I'm not looking back.

Comment Remove Notifications (Score 4, Interesting) 312

The subject says it all, but let me give you specifics. My tools may not be the same as yours, but the same principles apply.

1. Mobile Device

I have a recent Android device. I have turned off all audible notifications in all applications except for phone calls and SMS messages. That brings the notifications down to the '90s dumb phone level. With notifications off, I choose when I'm going to pull my phone out and check things, and my device only interrupts me for important communications (text messages and phone calls).

Delete the Facebook and Twitter apps. You can use Facebook from the browser, and it's more secure that way anyway. Replace Twitter with Twidere, which by default must be launched and the feed updated manually, though it will notify you of direct messages and mentions. Sign out of Google Hangouts. This ensures it only bothers you for text messages, and when you're off your computer, you're signed out of instant messaging and people know they either have to call you or text you if they want you.

2. Computer

I use a KDE-based Linux desktop (currently Manjaro), so you may have to adapt this. KDE has this thing called Activities, which let you group apps by function. Currently, I have only two: Desktop and Social. These are two separate screens that I have to Meta-Tab to switch back and forth to see. I know there are virtual desktop utilities for Windows, and I think the Mac lets you put apps on various screens now, but you're probably guessing where I'm going with this. On the Social activity, I have my email client (KMail) and my Twitter client (Choqok). My email client is set not to show a notification or play a sound when a new message comes in: that would be a distraction. Same with the twitter client (you have to set the system tray icon to Hidden to accomplish this).

Using an email client is important: if you use a browser tab, guess what? You'll see that little number in parentheses telling you how many emails have come in, and you'll then be tempted to check it. Don't use your browser. Use a client.

And while I'm on the subject of browsers, you should have two plugins installed: an ad blocker and a flash blocker. For those sites (like Slashdot) that you want to support, let the ad blocker show ads, but keep the flash blocker active so the ads don't become intrusive. It's easier then to read articles and such without the ads getting in the way. For most sites, block it all. And for heaven's sake, don't keep a Facebook tab open. Visit the site when you want to visit it, and then close the tab.

With this system, when I'm supposed to be focusing on work, I'm on my Desktop activity. I never receive a notification for email or any social network. If I have to use a browser in the course of my work, which is a frequent happenstance, ads and flash are blocked by default, and I don't mix it with my email.

Does this mean I miss stuff? Never. Like you, I realized I have an attention span problem that I didn't have in the past. That attention span problem induces me to check things on a regular basis. What I've removed is the interruptions: I'm probably going to check all those things anyway. That increases the amount of time I'm able to focus, and if I feel the need to check something, my email and twitter feed are a Meta-Tab click away.

What I have found is that I've been able to find that focus and "lose myself" in my tasks again. I am no longer interrupted all the time by things that have a lower priority than what I'm currently doing, and I'm much happier with what I'm able to accomplish as a result.

I hope this helps!

Submission + - What's Causing the Rise In Obesity? Everything. (

Mr_Blank writes: We all know — because we are being constantly reminded — that we are getting fat. Americans are at the forefront of the trend, but it is a transnational one. Apparently, it is also trans-species: Over the past 20 years, as the American people were getting fatter, so were America’s laboratory macaques, chimpanzees, vervet monkeys and mice, as well as domestic dogs, domestic cats, and domestic and feral rats from both rural and urban areas. Researchers examined records on those eight species and found that average weight for every one had increased. The marmosets gained an average of 9% per decade. Lab mice gained about 11% per decade. Chimps are doing especially badly: their average body weight had risen 35% per decade. What is causing the obesity era? Everything.

Comment Not statistically significant? (Score 5, Insightful) 203

From the abstract:
Compared with participants whose cumulatively updated total caffeine consumption was <125 mg/day, participants who consumed 500 mg/day had a trend toward increased risk of EG/EGS that was not statistically significant (RR = 1.43; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.98–2.08); P trend = 0.06).

If it's not statistically significant, then how can we take this seriously?

Comment Depends on which Trek (Score 1) 634

Since much of the joy of Star Trek is about the characters, pick the characters you like the best. If you're going with the originals (a good bet since the 2009 reboot, since they're now the new "current" Star Trek), pick a couple character-driven episodes like Amok Time and Space Seed, and then go right to The Wrath of Khan and watch the TOS movies in order. By then, there should be enough interest in those characters to go back and watch more old episodes, and maybe TMP.

If you want to go with TNG, for your own sake, skip the first season. I might start, again, with something really well-written and character driven: season 2's "The Measure of a Man," and then maybe just continue with the episodes from there. There's not much of the series before that is must-watch anyway.

I'd stick to one of those two paths. DS9 is my favorite series, but I think it's better to start with TNG or TOS since they're the most well known.

Comment "Science" mis-identified (Score 0) 1128

As a conservative, I would say that this study itself is an example of what conservatives object to, because the word "science" isn't clarified at all. What do they mean by "science?" Do they mean the scientific method? If so, I'm betting conservatives have as much trust in science as anybody else. Do they mean practical science, that results in things like technology, new inventions, and space travel? Again, conservatives would confidently place their trust here.

The issue here is the defining of "science" as the majority scientific establishment, rather than science as a discipline. The lack of trust comes with regard to the scientific establishment, which, like every other group in existence, is made up of flawed human beings who have their own agendas. This is where you have a majority that produces ad hominem arguments to bully the minority, rather than responding honestly to the minority's objections.

One example is global warming. Regardless of what you believe about global warming, I get uncomfortable when I see a group of people with much to gain politically and financially responding to global warming objections by seeking to discredit the scientists, i.e., the people on the other side of the argument, rather than responding to the argument itself. That smacks to me of corruption in the same way our politics are corrupt. The same argument applies to Intelligent Design, whether a fetus is just tissue or life, or any number of other issues.

So when you see a study like this, I think it would be better to say that conservatives have a lack of trust in the scientific establishment, because it's a group of people with their own agenda just like any other. Conservatives don't have a lack of trust in science itself. Science is a method for determining facts. That method is applied by people. And people--even scientists--, once they get power and influence, seek to hold on to it. When you see responses in the form of personal attacks and censorship, rather than dealing with arguments, then yes, that tends to reduce trust.

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