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Comment Closing Gitmo required no congressional approval (Score 1) 534

Obama still didn't do it. true, he should never have promised to do it, but the Guantanamo Bay detention facility was not created by congress, and therefore did not require congressional approval to close.

ObamaCare, by contrast, is a law passed by congress (albeit without a single Republican vote) and signed into law by the President. Repealing it will also require congressional approval.

The two promises are quite different as they relate to the constitutional scope of presidential authority.

Earth

'Moore's Law' For Carbon Would Defeat Global Warming (technologyreview.com) 269

An anonymous reader quotes a report from MIT Technology Review: A streamlined set of goals for reducing carbon emissions could simplify the way nations approach the quest to reduce human impact on the planet. A group of European researchers have a refreshingly straightforward solution that they call a carbon law -- or, as the Guardian has coined it, a "Moore's law for carbon." The overarching goal is simple: globally, we must halve carbon dioxide emissions every decade. That's essentially it. The rule would ideally be applied "to all sectors and countries at all scales," and would encourage "bold action in the short term." Dramatic changes would naturally have to occur as a result -- from quick wins like carbon taxes and energy efficiency regulations, to longer-term policies like phasing out combustion-engine cars and carbon-neutral building regulations. If policy makers followed the carbon law, adoption of renewables would continue its current pace of doubling energy production every 5.5 years, and carbon dioxide sequestration technologies would need to ramp up in order for the the planet to reach net-zero emissions by the middle of the century, say the researchers. Along the way, coal use would end as soon as 2030 and oil use by 2040. There are, clearly, issues with the idea, not least being the prospect of convincing every nation to commit to such a vision. The very simplicity that makes the idea compelling can also be used as a point of criticism: Can such a basic rule ever hope to define practical ideas as to how to change the world's energy production and consumption? The study has been published in the journal Science.
Earth

Sea Ice Extent Sinks To Record Lows At Both Poles (sciencedaily.com) 211

According to NASA, Arctic sea ice appears to have reached on March 7 a record low wintertime maximum extent. On the opposite side of the planet, Antartica ice hit its lowest extent ever recorded by satellites (since satellites began measuring sea ice in 1979) on March 3 at the end of summer in the Southern Hemisphere. Science Daily reports: Total polar sea ice covered 6.26 million square miles (16.21 million square kilometers), which is 790,000 square miles (2 million square kilometers) less than the average global minimum extent for 1981-2010 -- the equivalent of having lost a chunk of sea ice larger than Mexico. The ice floating on top of the Arctic Ocean and surrounding seas shrinks in a seasonal cycle from mid-March until mid-September. As the Arctic temperatures drop in the autumn and winter, the ice cover grows again until it reaches its yearly maximum extent, typically in March. The ring of sea ice around the Antarctic continent behaves in a similar manner, with the calendar flipped: it usually reaches its maximum in September and its minimum in February. This winter, a combination of warmer-than-average temperatures, winds unfavorable to ice expansion, and a series of storms halted sea ice growth in the Arctic. This year's maximum extent, reached on March 7 at 5.57 million square miles (14.42 million square kilometers), is 37,000 square miles (97,00 square kilometers) below the previous record low, which occurred in 2015, and 471,000 square miles (1.22 million square kilometers) smaller than the average maximum extent for 1981-2010.

Comment Re:Does this case fit the precedent? (Score 1) 520

This is sloppy legal analysis. If the court was even remotely consistent then the vast number of times that I have had to deal with that answer (and, the followup objection by defense counsel: asked and answered) to subjects that the witness does not want to discuss in deposition would disappear in a puff of legal logic.

On occasion I've let the weasel slide and during the body of the deposition I've inserted questions along the line of:
Are your parents still living? When did your father pass? When did your mother pass?
What was the address that you lived at when you left for college?
Please state all of your past employers that paid you enough to require that you file a tax return?
What is your wedding anniversary?
What is the day and month of your spouse's birthday? (each of the kids follow)
Who was your favorite college prof? What class or classes did you take? Do you remember your grade(s)?

When did you receive the notice of this deposition?

What did you have for breakfast?

What color tie is your attorney wearing?

I toss those in over 2-3 hours and then ask the question that the deponent could not remember (so conveniently).

I draw two objections - asked and answered and argumentative.

I always ask that we call the judge to get a ruling.

I explain that I've just asked the deponent questions covering many decades about minutia that most people would not recall and the deponent has answered each question without objection from defense counsel. I wish to explore the "memory hole" and how only the fact critical to the case is the ONLY matter that the deponent cannot remember.

Usually the judge gives me a little leeway - but, the record is clear - the deponent's memory is just fine until the fact that will hurt is brought up.

Of course a 5th Amendment objection ends the inquiry (I'm a civil litigator).

The willingness to tolerate the mendacity of poor memory on a daily basis in civil actions puts the lie to this "convenient" ruling.

Comment Activation Lock (Score 0) 448

This gives me an opportunity to rant about Apple, in regards to another self-serving, money-grabbing practice. I bought an Apple Watch from the local state government surplus. This is a place where surplus government property ends up when it is no longer needed. It is also where stuff from airports ends up - items that were confiscated (knives, corkscrews, toys that look in any way like a weapon, and other "dangerous" items) and stuff that was lost and never claimed.

I bought the watch knowing it may not even function (although it looked to be in perfect condition), because they did not have the means to charge and test it. They just liquidate whatever comes down the pipe. So I charge the watch and pair it up, and find it has an Activation Lock on it. Now this is a watch that sat at the airport for the prescribed legal amount of time and was never claimed, and then it went to the state level where it was also never claimed. So many months later (or a year or more - it's first gen watch) it was legally sold by the government to me.

So I came to a realization. I have no way of contacting the original owner. I can see that they have a gmail address, but Apple will not show the entire address. Apple will not contact them on my behalf, or otherwise do anything for me to get this watch back into their possession. I cannot use the watch. No one can (I spent a lot of time searching, and there is no way to circumvent at this time). In January Apple removed their online tool that lets people check if a phone or watch has an Activation Lock, so there is not even any good way to know a used Apple product of these types are usable.

So who does this serve? That's easy. Apple. Because I cannot get the watch back to the person who lost it, and because I cannot use it, this watch has been taken off the market. Each instance of a product taken off the market is one that does not complete against the sales of new products. Imagine if iPhones and Apple Watches could never be resold - it would result in a huge increase in sales of new devices (which are the only ones Apple profits off of directly). That is what this accomplishes, because you just never know if a used device is actually usable. It pretty much shuts down the ability for private individuals to resell on Ebay or any other way online that cannot be finalized in person, where the buyer can check the device before they buy it.

Sure, as a side affect, perhaps this reduces the theft of devices to some degree. I argue that is merely a minor side affect. Thieves are going to grab any device they have a good opportunity to take, because it could be an Android phone, or maybe an iPhone that was not registered with iCloud's Find my Device. But I argue the primary purpose is to increase Apple's profit margins further by "destroying" a significant number of devices that cannot be used by anyone else.

Businesses

Women Still Underrepresented in Information Security (betanews.com) 374

An anonymous reader shares a report: Women make up only 11 percent of the cyber security workforce according to the latest report from the Center for Cyber Safety and Education and the Executive Women's Forum (EWF). The survey of more than 19,000 participants around the world finds that women have higher levels of education than men, with 51 percent holding a master's degree or higher, compared to 45 percent of men. Yet despite out qualifying them, women in cybersecurity earned less than men at every level and the wage gap shows very little signs of improvement. Men are four times more likely to hold C and executive level positions, and nine times more likely to hold managerial positions than women, globally. More worrying is that 51 percent of women report encountering one or more forms of discrimination in the cybersecurity workforce. In the Western world, discrimination becomes far more prevalent the higher a woman rises in an organization.
Privacy

Germany Plans To Fine Social Media Sites Over Hate Speech (reuters.com) 305

Germany plans a new law calling for social networks like Facebook to remove slanderous or threatening online postings quickly or face fines of up to 50 million euros ($53 mln). From a report: "This (draft law) sets out binding standards for the way operators of social networks deal with complaints and obliges them to delete criminal content," Justice Minister Heiko Maas said in a statement announcing the planned legislation on Tuesday. Failure to comply could see a social media company fined up to 50 million euros, and the company's chief representative in Germany fined up to 5 million euros. Germany already has some of the world's toughest hate speech laws covering defamation, slander, public incitement to commit crimes and threats of violence, backed up by prison sentences for Holocaust denial or inciting hatred against minorities. It now aims to update these rules for the social media age.

Comment Devil's advocate (Score 1) 202

Let me play devil's advocate here. Let's say for a moment that the CIA does indeed have whatever hardware is required to easily brute force modern encryption with the current key lengths we are using. Maybe that's some sort of quantum device or perhaps they have access to standard computing power beyond what anyone imagines. That part doesn't matter for the sake of this argument.

What would you do if you were the CIA? How about release exactly the information we see here - information about some actual tools of some value, in addition to misinformation that makes appear they are stymied by the encryption and must instead go after the endpoints. So we feel all smug and secure, while in reality they can simply access the data in transit. They then use these tools and methods described in the leak as the smokescreen in court (when needed) to show standard methods for acquiring data that is more traditional and highly targeted to a specific device, both to keep their data legal as admissible evidence and to hide their true capabilities.

Or am I giving the CIA way, way too much credit here?

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