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Comment Re:I'm so disgusted (and yet uplifted) (Score 1) 51

It's disgusting that companies behave like creepy stalkers when they have your data, but...

I think it's interesting that mankind shows this need to quantify itself and achieve a sort of data-driven physical self-awareness. We're seeing the first generation to possess this kind of data, and I look forward to seeing what Smart People and Other Hackers can do with this data and their physical self-awareness. Perhaps when mankind has satiated its desire for physical self-awareness, we'll be able to return to our spiritual and philosophical sides. If we're not all already slaves to the global state.

Or perhaps when we're oppressed by the global state, that will be the time for a new revolution and re-birth of rule by thinking people, similar to what happened when the American colonists threw off the oppression of the British monarchy, resulting in wonderful but short-lived goodness of the US Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, founding fathers, etc.

Comment Coming = not yet declassified... (Score 2) 117

I'm convinced that anything they say is "coming" is already here, but not declassified yet. Just look at all the different military aircraft models that were long rumored, with the establishment pinning the sightings on crazies and the fringe.

All this with high ranking officials opining that "we need a game-changing" technology is just the defence complex getting the pubic ready for a radical departure from the military status-quo, so that the reaction will be "Yay!", instead of "*Gasp!*".

Politically, there's not been a better opportunity for a long time. The Gulf Wars and their sequels were OK for unveiling some fairly mundane tech, but the highly dedicated, but low-tech opposition found in those theatres weren't sufficient to create the requisite fear at home. It takes the Russian threat (which has been helped along by the West's strategically botched actions in Ukraine) to get people sufficiently anxious to be ready to receive some truly game-changing military tech with open arms. (Oops, no pun intended there.)


A Critical Look At Walter "Scorpion" O'Brien 193

1729 (581437) writes Back in August, there was speculation that the "real life" Walter O'Brien (alleged inspiration for CBS's new drama Scorpion) might be a fraud. Mike Masnick from Techdirt follows up on the story: "The more you dig, the more of the same you find. Former co-workers of O'Brien's have shown up in comments or reached out to me and others directly — and they all say the same thing. Walter is a nice enough guy, works hard, does a decent job (though it didn't stop him from getting laid off from The Capital Group), but has a penchant for telling absolutely unbelievable stories about his life. It appears that in just repeating those stories enough, some gullible Hollywood folks took him at his word (and the press did too), and now there's a mediocre TV show about those made up stories." Masnick's article is a fascinating look at a man who appears to have conned both TV executives and journalists into believing his far-fetched Walter Mitty fantasies.

Submission + - Maglev personal transportation system set for trial in Tel Aviv

andhar writes: The BBC reports a system of two-passenger maglev pods suspended from 500 metres of elevated tracks will be constructed on the campus of Israel Aerospace Industries as a pilot for a larger deployment in Tel Aviv. The article claims a top speed of 150 mph (240 kph) for these autonomous "personal rapid transit" pods.

Submission + - Microsoft's Top Lawyer Assails Secret Surveillance Court ( 2

mpicpp writes: 'Only One Side Gets to Tell Its Story,' Says General Counsel Brad Smith

The U.S.'s secret surveillance court is unaccountable to the public and not "inclined to promote justice," Microsoft Corp.'s top lawyer said.

Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith testified before a Senate panel last year. Associated Press
General Counsel Brad Smith said the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which reviews applications and appeals involving U.S. government data-collection efforts in the name of national security, acts unlike most other courts because "only one side gets to tell its story." The surveillance court also effectively creates law "that the American public is not permitted to read," Mr. Smith said Tuesday in a speech at the Brookings Institution.

"This is not an approach inclined to promote justice," Mr. Smith said, as he showed an image of what he implied was a government document before the surveillance court, with all text blacked out. Microsoft is among the U.S. tech firms that previously have sued the government to reveal more details about secret U.S. surveillance demands.

Comment Flatland is the gateway to new dimensions... (Score 1) 293

Flatland, by Edwin Abbot, is a short and amusing book that describes the lives and trials of two-dimensional beings. It's a social satire, but it also gives one the feeling that our personal realities, and indeed, our present day societies may not be (and should not be) the limit of what we can imagine and/or what we can achieve. For me it seems like the perfect stepping off point for an exploration of the future.

Submission + - Sochi hackers will have field day with visitors' devices (

andhar writes: It's being widely reported that Russian spies and/or criminals will be working overtime to gain access to peoples' phones and computers as they visit the country for the winter games. The report on NBC News illustrates directly the dangers involved by seeing how long it took for a cell phone and two brand-new computers to get hacked and start calling home. The answer: less than 24 hours, and almost immediately for a couple of the devices.

Comment It's about Russia, Sweden & the US (Score 5, Insightful) 65

According to the Swedish news, Russia sends a good deal of its internet traffic via Sweden to the outside world. They say that the Swedish link is faster and cheaper. Meanwhile the Swedish equivalent of the NSA, called FRA, is spying on Russian traffic (legally) and it sends valuable info on to the US (legality unclear).

1) Build a new data link that circumvents Sweden's NSA-friendly surveillance
2) Make it only slightly more expensive than the current data link via Sweden, but tout your net neutrality
3) Sell boatloads of capacity to Russia
4) Profit

Comment The proof of the evidence is in the prosecution (Score 1) 415

How much a digital evidence trail is worth is simply a function of how much the plaintiff or prosecutor wants to exploit it. Take the actions of the MAFIAA groups and their flimsy evidence surrounding file sharing and such -- they're suing and settling right and left not because of the quality or even accuracy of the digital evidence against the defendants, but rather, because of the vigour with which they pursue the cases.

Submission + - What would a spook-proof Slashdot look like?

andhar writes: If we the Slashdot community decided to set an example, even for just one day, and give users the opportunity to browse Slashdot without fear of being cataloged by the likes of the NSA, what technologies would we be using? What do you think would be the best balance between use of use and security?

Highest rated solution gets a shot at consulting on implementing one day of secure Slashdot?

Pluto — a Complex and Changing World 191

astroengine writes "After 4 years of processing the highest resolution photographs the Hubble Space Telescope could muster, we now have the highest resolution view of Pluto's surface ever produced. Most excitingly, these new observations show an active world with seasonal changes altering the dwarf planet's surface. It turns out that this far-flung world has more in common with Earth than we would have ever imagined."
The Almighty Buck

America's Army Games Cost $33 Million Over 10 Years 192

Responding to a Freedom Of Information Act request, the US government has revealed the operating costs of the America's Army game series over the past decade. The total bill comes to $32.8 million, with yearly costs varying from $1.3 million to $5.6 million. "While operating America's Army 3 does involve ongoing expenses, paying the game's original development team isn't one of them. Days after the game launched in June, representatives with the Army confirmed that ties were severed with the Emeryville, California-based team behind the project, and future development efforts were being consolidated at the America's Army program office at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama. A decade after its initial foray into the world of gaming, the Army doesn't appear to be withdrawing from the industry anytime soon. In denying other aspects of the FOIA request, the Army stated 'disclosure of this information is likely to cause substantial harm to the Department of the Army's competitive position in the gaming industry.'"

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