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Submission + - Rand Paul will force expiration of the PATRIOT ACT (

SonicSpike writes: US Senator Rand Paul plans to force the expiration of the PATRIOT Act Sunday by refusing to allow Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to expedite debate on a key surveillance bill.

In a statement on Saturday, Paul warned that he would not consent to any efforts to pass either an extension of current law or the USA Freedom Act, a reform bill passed overwhelmingly by the House earlier this month.

“So tomorrow, I will force the expiration of the NSA illegal spy program,” Paul said.

Because of the nature of the Senate rules, Paul can force the expiration of the PATRIOT Act, which he has vowed on the campaign trail to repeal as president because he contends it invades Americans’ privacy rights.

In a rare Sunday session, McConnell, sources said, appears likely to move the USA Freedom Act, despite his opposition to how the bill overhauls the National Security Agency’s bulk data collection program. That’s because McConnell has little other choice given the vast support within Congress for the bill.

But Paul argues that bill actually expands the PATRIOT Act and he’s threatening to prevent the Senate from moving to final passage Sunday. He can likely prevent the bill from passing until at least Thursday, three days after the expiration of a law many argue is central to the nation’s security.

A full statement by Senator Rand Paul is at this link,

Submission + - Laser-Propulsion Could Give Space Rockets a Serious Boost (

Zothecula writes: Russian scientists have proposed a novel way to accelerate a spaceship while in flight – firing a ground-based laser up its backside. The new technique uses a plasma flow caused by laser ablation to increase the exhaust efficiency of a traditional rocket propulsion system, and could theoretically accelerate an aircraft beyond Mach 10.

Submission + - 250K Bitcion transaction

saidi writes: WashingtonPost report that yesterday a truly massive Bitcoin transaction has occurred, from the articale: "In this particular transaction, bitcoins from 15 different Bitcoin addresses were consolidated and sent to address 12sENwECeRSmTeDwyLNqwh47JistZqFmW8. The size of the transaction? 194,993 bitcoins. Given that one bitcoin is worth around $800 right now, the transaction is valued at more than $150 million."

Submission + - VHS presents VHSdecel - The latest in startup incubation (

An anonymous reader writes: After recently celebrating its 5 year anniversary, the Vancouver Hackspace (VHS) have now decided it's time to give back to the global community, and the Vancouver community in particular. It does so by offering a unique and experimental startup incubator programme that leverages — between its members, keyholders and other experts — more than 100+ years of hands-on experience in hands-on development and being at the pen-ultimate forefront of new technology.

VHS is proud to present VHSdecel, a brand new proud Canadian hands-on alternative to academic product development and startup incubator. VHS is the opensource equivalent of traditional startup incubators. VHSdecel aims to alleviate the stress of a startup by providing the tools and experience of our veteran hackers to make startups fun again.

About VHS

The Vancouver Hackspace, locally better known as VHS, was founded in 2008. Its mission, to provide a common workspace where its members, hackers, makers, crafters and otherwise (technically) creative people could work on projects and find like-minded people, in sharing knowledge and ideas.

Submission + - The Eternal Mainframe

theodp writes: In his latest essay, Rudolf Winestock argues that the movement to replace the mainframe has re-invented the mainframe, as well as the reason why people wanted to get rid of mainframes in the first place. 'The modern server farm looks like those first computer rooms,' Winestock writes. 'Row after row of metal frames (excuse me—racks) bearing computer modules in a room that's packed with cables and extra ventilation ducts. Just like mainframes. Server farms have multiple redundant CPUs, memory, disks, and network connections. Just like mainframes. The rooms that house these server farms are typically not open even to many people in the same organization, but only to dedicated operations teams. Just like mainframes.' And with terabytes of data sitting in servers begging to be monetized by business and scrutinized by government, Winestock warns that the New Boss is worse than the Old Boss. So, what does this mean for the future of fully functional, general purpose, standalone computers? 'Offline computer use frustrates the march of progress,' says Winestock. 'If offline use becomes uncommon, then the great and the good will ask: "What are [you] hiding? Are you making kiddie porn? Laundering money? Spreading hate? Do you want the terrorists to win?"'

Submission + - Two Ex-Editors for Murdoch Charged in Phone Hacking Scandal (

jlhandy writes: After a year of furious controversy over the widespread phone hacking by one of Rupert Murdoch’s tabloid newspapers, British prosecutors brought criminal charges on Tuesday against eight of the most prominent figures in the scandal, including Andy Coulson, who was Prime Minister David Cameron’s communications chief at 10 Downing Street until the scandal forced his resignation last year.

Comment CRTC was hobbled by the Feds years ago (Score 1) 404

You guys all have short memories or just don't know the history of the CRTC. It originally had an arms-length relationship with the gov't and could pass regs as necessary to protect Canadian cuture and also bring some order to the natural monopoly of the telcos and the wild-west broadcasters. It's arguably (obviously) important given our proximity to the monster-to-the-South but mostly needs to be around to protect us from ourselves given our damned colonial atitudes in this country that will sell out everything we own here to every big country or corporation from "far away" in a blink of an eye. Well, that was then... this is now, and the CRTC has turned into a toothless cow. Various corrupt governments over the years (this time, Harper and his reptiles) have tried to reign in the CRTC but the best leash was the Broadcasting Act of 1991 where the government (Federal Cabinet) got the power to overturn CRTC decisions it didn't like. You can argue "...serves the bastards right" but it also destroyed any ability of the CRTC to stop SOPA/PIPA kind of laws or make the Telcos behave. Too bad, but the CRTC was eviscerated a long time ago and nobody remembers the time when the broadcasters bitched endlessly about the CANCON (Canadian Content) regs but I saw it give a HUGE boost to the Canadian recording industry which is all the better for it. The film industry also benefited theoretically, but who can tell with the crap that producers, who exploited the good times, ground out. The real evil of corporate concentration happened after 1991 and the CRTC can't do anything about it now. It's long since rotted from the inside and is directed from the outside by the Darth Vaders that run the government. Could be way better... but then couldn't we all.

1928 Time Traveler Caught On Film? 685

Many of you have submitted a story about Irish filmmaker George Clarke, who claims to have found a person using a cellphone in the "unused footage" section of the DVD The Circus, a Charlie Chaplin movie filmed in 1928. To me the bigger mystery is how someone who appears to be the offspring of Ram-Man and The Penguin got into a movie in the first place, especially if they were talking to a little metal box on set. Watch the video and decide for yourself.

Comment Re:Engineers are the perfect drones (Score 1) 769

Maybe if pre-engineers took a PRACTICAL course in ethics and put a little of it into practice in their lives, only 1 or 2 might learn that they can change politics and corporate ethics, even just by themselves. I've seen it done many times and not just with people with as many tools as engineers, just the will and the focus and a few ethics.

Comment Engineers are the perfect drones (Score 1) 769

I notice in this looong thread that hardly anyone offered that engineers have no social/political critical thinking skills or interest which, with their tech skills makes them the perfect terrorists. OK, maybe a generalization, but I recall while in university during heavy political times, while we were immersed in rallies, protests and every get-together was full of political commentary, the engineering students were off getting shit-faced and not getting laid. (We got laid, BTW). It might be of some value to the world if schools would offer some serious practical ethics courses (not just philosophy) to engineering students so that they don't rush headlong into a terrorist cell because "Wow, that's an interesting tech problem you have there! I bet I could solve it!!"

Apple Announces iPhone 4 1184

In a keynote presentation today at WWDC, Steve Jobs officially unveiled the iPhone 4. It's powered by an A4 chip, has a glass front and back, and has stainless steel around the edges, which turns out to be part of the antenna system. The new iPhone uses what Jobs called a "Retina display," running at 960x640, or 326 ppi. The battery is also bigger, with a corresponding increase in battery life. The iPhone 4 supports 802.11n, has two mics for noise cancellation, and a three-axis gyroscope, which allows rotation and precision that accelerometers can't match. The iPhone 4's camera is using a 5-megapixel backside illuminated sensor, which Jobs said does better at low-light photography. It also records 720p video at 30 frames per second, with tap-to-focus. In addition to this, they've created an iMovie app, which allows users to easily edit videos on their phone. Several live blogs of the event, with pictures, are available. The device ships in the US on June 24. Apple's product page has been updated with specs and a video. Read on for more details.
Update: 06/07 18:34 GMT by S : Steve's "One More Thing" this time around: FaceTime, live video chat from one iPhone 4 to another. It is Wi-Fi only at the moment, but they're working with carriers to expand that in the future.

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