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Comment Re:Court Status of NSLs? (Score 1) 178

I looks like they would be charged with violating US Code Title 18, 2709 (C)(1)(a). The obvious defense is that the text on that page is not compatible with the first amendment to the constitution, and therefore isn't really the law. So obvious, in fact, that we can assume that someone has ... aha, Here we go. Looks like it .. is ...verr .. ry .. slow .. ly .. going .. through .. the .. sys .. tem.

Comment Adaptive Economics (Score 1) 170

Humans : correct in making the leap from wealth as currency to wealth as energy. But logic failure : wealth ultimately is extension of desire, fluctuating with emotions and state of mind. Desires : when all are supported in purely adaptable system, true wealth is achieved."

- Usurper Judaa Marr, "Human : Nature"

Communications

PayPal Will Be Able To Robo-Text/Call Users With No Opt-out Starting July 1 116

OutOnARock notes that as PayPal separates from eBay in the coming months, new terms of service are set to take effect on July 1st. Most of the changes unexciting, but one provision has consumer rights groups up in arms: PayPal is granting itself the ability to use automated systems to call and text users. These robocalls could happen for something as serious as debt collection or as frivolous as advertisements. What's more, the company grants the same rights to its affiliates. Activists are questioning the legality of these changes. "Given that both the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (which created the Do Not Call list) and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ban most robocalling and texting, this seemed in direct opposition to consumer protections granted Americans by Congress." PayPal says it will comply with all laws, but their actions may spark a legal debate about whether terms of service can qualify as "written consent."
Businesses

On MetaFilter Being Penalized By Google 108

Paul Fernhout (109597) writes "MetaFilter recently announced layoffs due to a decline in ad revenue that started with a mysterious 40% drop in traffic from Google on November 17, 2012, and which never recovered. Danny Sullivan at SearchEngineLand explores in detail how MetaFilter 'serves as a poster child of problems with Google's penalty process, despite all the advances Google has made over the years.' Caitlin Dewey at the Washington Post puts it more bluntly: 'That may be the most striking, prescient takeaway from the whole MetaFilter episode: the extent to which the modern Web does not incentivize quality.'"

Comment Games (Score 1) 322

I noticed a couple of talents over at the University are making some kind of shared consensual AR game that runs inside of our Virtual World netnodes. Turn-based strategy. It's based on the idea of "What if we never went to Alpha Centauri, and instead, society had developed from the industrial base as it existed on Earth in the early 21st century?" They've got some wild ideas about how things might have gone, what the consequences might have been, etc. Some of their "predictions" are a bit fantasy-like, but it's mostly good hard science fiction.

Comment Re:so... (Score 2) 172

It's one of those rare ones in the Discovery tech tree, where you don't get a new weapon or base facility, but it's a prerequisite to some other, totally kickass tech. That next tech doesn't seem to be the docs, though. Actually, I can't even find out if this tech makes a Secret Project available. It's all undocumented. You just have to play to find out what happens, I guess.

Comment Re:Will increased exposure make the market rationa (Score 2) 140

When the bubble finally bursts, Bitcoins' value will hover around the cost of the electricity & equipment to mine them, so investors can write off the purchase as a slight loss or slight profit.

"Energy is the currency of the future." --CEO Nwabudike Morgan, "The Centauri Monopoly"

A currency based on something solid, pretty much impossible to fake, and hard to get confused about. Compare that to national currencies base on different people's varying fuzzy perceptions of the stability of the issuing government. Sounds pretty good, actually.

I think you're right (it'll stabilize at that price) but others think it'll deflate. This'll be interesting to watch. And damn useful to have a pocket change, for those usenet server subscriptions which don't take paypal anymore.

Hardware Hacking

The Patents That Threaten 3-D Printing 134

An anonymous reader writes "We've watched patents slow down the smartphone and tablet markets. We've seen patent claims thrown against Linux, Android, and countless other software projects. Now, as 3-D printing becomes more capable and more affordable, it seems a number of patents threaten to do the same to the hobbyist and tinkerer crowd. Wired has highlighted some of the most dangerous ones, including: a patent on soluble print materials that support a structure while it's being printed; a ridiculously broad patent on distributed rapid prototyping, which could affect "every 3-D printing service that has launched in the past few years"; and an 18-year-old patent on 3-D printing using a powder and a binding material, held by MIT."
Programming

Ask Slashdot: Spreadsheet With Decent Programming Language? 332

First time accepted submitter slartibartfastatp writes "Spreadsheets are very flexible tools for data analysis and transformations, the obvious options being MS Excel and LibreOffice. However, I found increasingly infuriating to deal with the VBA--dialect functions or (even worse) its translated versions. Is there any spreadsheet that allows usage of a decent programming language in its formulae? I found PySpread intriguing, but still very beta (judging from its latest release version 0.2.3). Perl or even javascript would be better options than =AVERAGE(). Do you know any viable alternatives?"
Google

Google Pushing Back On Law Enforcement Requests For Access To Gmail Accounts 75

Virtucon writes "Ars technica has an interesting article on how Google is handling requests from law enforcement for access to Gmail accounts. With the recent Petraeus scandal where no criminal conduct was found, it seems that they're re-enforcing their policies and standing up for their users. 'In order to compel us to produce content in Gmail we require an ECPA search warrant,' said Chris Gaither, Google spokesperson. 'If they come for registration information, that's one thing, but if they ask for content of email that's another thing.'"

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