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Comment It Is Not All Bad (Score 1) 410

April 1, 2012

Bluffdale, UT (AP)

In welcome news to the nation’s cell phone users, the National Security Agency has announced that it will reduce dropped calls by up to 25%. Through the construction of NSA’s new Bluffdale, Utah data center, a common cause of dropped calls will soon be eliminated. “We are pleased to be able to improve the day to day lives of Americans,” said NSA spokesman Ken White. Cell phone users can expect to see improvements in dropped calls by mid-2013.

“As everyone knows, cell phones are not protected by privacy laws,” said White. “For the past ten years, the NSA has been monitoring most cell phone conversations to identify terrorist and other threats to national security.” NSA technicians recently discovered that their surveillance technology would sometimes drop a call as a phone travelled from one radio tower’s region to another. “Basically, driving too fast from one tower to the next confused the monitoring technology, so the call was simply dropped.”

To solve this problem, the NSA is building a new data center that has the ability to buffer, or store, huge amounts of phone and internet data for later analysis. The $2 billion building is nearly 23 acres in size and is expected to employ thousands of Utahans, known for being polyglots. Overall, the NSA’s budget, employee headcount, and most operations are classified.

Local residents are welcoming the change to their community. Rancher and long-time political activist Terry Buckholder said “when the NSA came to buy my ranch land, I was thrilled. They paid me a very attractive price.” Bluffdale mayor Derk Timothy also supports the project. “We welcome the economic growth the new NSA data center will bring our community. We fully expect the NSA to be a good neighbor and a partner in our future.”

There has been some concern from civil liberties proponents. In a recent Wired Magazine article, a former NSA official expressed his concern that the NSA’s activities are too intrusive and violate a citizen’s right to privacy. The American Civil Liberties Union also has some concerns. Spokeswoman Rita Sklar said “this technology is very powerful and could be used to spy on ordinary Americans. In the hands of a Republican administration, that would concern us greatly.”

Still, most people are excited to learn that they will suffer fewer dropped calls. Said Beth Ruby, Des Moines: “Whatever the government can do to improve my cell phone performance and reduce dropped calls, I support.” Rod Rennick of Dallas, TX had similar sentiments. “I see it like the airport TSA. Anything the government can do to improve my safety, even a little, is worth the inconvenience and intrusion to me. Also, I am really looking forward to fewer dropped calls,” said the father of two.

Comment Re:Fukushima Death Toll Approaches Zero (Score 1) 168

What I meant by private deaths is that some of the workers at the plant may have exposed themselves to a lot of radation while trying to resolve the crisis. They may die an early death.

Since everyone dies, it is truly hard to say what the cause of death was decades after an event. Japan is a nation of smokers, and that is proven to be unhealthy. I can tell you do not like corporations (whatever 'the industry' is that does all these bad things), but one thing is clear: life expectancy has about doubled since these various corporate evils were introduced.

Comment Fukushima Death Toll Approaches Zero (Score 1) 168

The Fukushima plants were hit with a heavy earthquake. The ground they sat upon was lowered by something like 6 - 11 feet. The power lines that could have powered the coolant pumps were destroyed. A tsunami flooded the site and fouled the backup generators. The containment buildings exploded. The containment vessels cracked. On top of all that, the reactors are based on 40 year old designs.

This is about as bad of scenario as one could imagine, yet there were no public deaths. That sounds to me like nuclear power is in fact safe and robust, and the worst case scenario is bad but not catastrophic.

Comment Re:Consider the author (Score 2) 729

I did not engage in ad hominem attack. If I called him a jerk or typical ivory tower liberal, that would be an unfair attack. The fact that Rowthorn has published for a radical communist magazine (black dwarf) and is an atheist is a relevant issue because these points of view relate directly to the study's subject matter.
Flame all you want, but Rowthorn's radical views are the 'unscientific' element to this discussion, and the study only makes sense if one assumes that God does not exist and that a single gene is responsible for mass delusion.

Comment Just a smaller version of GE (Score 1) 759

So, GOP candidates target advertisement to conservative blogs, and the OP thinks they are overpaying. That seems like a conspiracy built on a nice fluffy cloud. Who is to say that the value of highly targeted advertising is not worth 10x more than general web advertising? Perhaps each conservative blog impression generates 10x the donations and votes as does a general web ad impression. That is not at all uncommon in marketing to pay extra for a proven desirable demographic.

Perhaps GOP candidates have to do this because the major media outlets are closed to them. GE actively campaigned for Pres. Obama in 2008 through its NBC and MSNBC outlets and later received billions of dollars in bailouts and stimulus. I can assure /. that my small company got nothing. I can fabricate the exact same conspiracy theory as the OP with Obama and GE, except in reverse. The only difference is my conspiracy theory involves flushing public money down the toilet.

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