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Comment Re:Already being done commercially ... (Score 1) 258

Absolutely. And many private individuals and companies buy into these databases as well.

I personally do not currently have a membership to one of those databases, but I have asked my boss to subscribe our office. Several of my clients use them, so I do have second hand access.

As to the people worrying that the city would amass a database of which church or which gay bar you go to: Private corporations already do, and guys like me buy access. Going to your mistresses apartment every thursday during your "poker game"? You wife's divorce attorney knows. Etc. Etc.

So - the big discussion ought to be this: If people with money are buying into this, why should we prevent cops from doing the same? Because that is the literal meaning of privilege.

Instead, lets have a discussion of when the data should be dumped to the public cloud, and when the data should be subject to subpoena.

Submission + - How Tesla Batteries Will Force Home Wiring To Go Low Voltage (

CIStud writes: The advent of solar power and home batteries from companies like Tesla will force the reinvention of home wiring from primarily AC high voltage to DC home-run low voltage to reduce power conversion loss. To avoid the 20% to 40% power loss when converting from DC to AC, home wiring will have to convert to home-run low-voltage, and eventually eliminate the need for high-voltage 110V electrical wiring.

Submission + - Carl Sagan's solar-powered spacecraft is in trouble (

An anonymous reader writes: The test flight of Carl Sagan's LightSail craft is in jeopardy after a computer problem left it unable to communicate with its mission controllers. According to the Planetary Society, the hardware was launched into space with an older version of its Linux-based operating system, which shipped with a serious glitch. As the vehicle circuits the planet, it's meant to send back a packet of data, but over the first two days, this file grew too big for the system to handle. As such, it crashed, although we mean that in the software sense, rather than the coming-back-to-Earth-with-a-bump sense.

Submission + - Population Control is a Taboo Subject - Should it Be?

theodp writes: "In the world of solutions to environmental problems," writes Adele Peters, "one topic rarely gets any discussion: Birth control. By 2050, the U.N. estimates that the human population will hit 9.6 billion, putting unprecedented pressure on the planet's energy and agriculture systems. But that estimate tends to be accepted as inevitable, rather than as a number that could (or should) change." Peters continues, "The subject of population control wasn't always taboo. "The bestselling environment-related book of the '60s and '70s was not Silent Spring, it was Paul Ehrlich's Population Bomb," says [Foundation for Deep Ecology's Tom] Butler. "So this was a huge and integrated topic of conversation decades ago, and then it fell off the radar screen." Part of the challenge is that the topic is now politically fraught both for the right and left. "On the right, if we're talking about the demographic trajectory of the human family, inevitably, this brings up questions of sexuality, abortion, immigration, women's rights, gender equity—all kinds of hot button issues," he says. "And then on the far ends of the left spectrum, there's a radical fringe that has tried to portray family planning as equal to coercion."" So, should we continue to ignore the 9.6 billion elephants in the room?

Comment Sousveillance (Score 4, Interesting) 123

A discussion about surveillance and no one has said "Sousveillance"? Or mentioned David Brin?

As a purchaser of surveillance data, I can tell you that the answer to the question of the original post is a resounding: No.

A previous poster mentioned his license plate being tracked by the civil authorities. Well, I can tell you that corporations do that too. Tow trucks now come with cameras to read your plate to see if there is a repossession order out for your car. And when they OCR your car, they dump it into a database with a geotag, and then they SELL that data. To people like me. I won't tell you what I do with it, but it's to your economic detriment.

So, yes, people with power, the government, the corporations, the wealthy, are all going to use information to try to rule you. What are you going to do about it? Complain about tech un-savvy idiots? Hide like discrete rams among the sheep? Or are you going to stand up and look back?!

There's a lot of smug above this in the comments, so if you are really so much better than everyone else: Prove It. If you've got the Talent, pick up the tools and fight for what you think is right.

Comment Re:Truckers Diggers and Wings (Score 1) 176

Yes! I was hoping someone would make the connection. It's a rare day in life when you get to say that an idea in Terry Pratchett's fiction is scientifically validated!

The idea in the book was that there were little gnomes that lived around/among us but were so small that they lived their lives on a different time frame. They were so fast and so discrete that regular humans rarely noticed them.

Per Wikipedia there is a movie on the way.

Comment Re:Hike the Appalachian Trail (Score 2) 228

Absolutely. I thru hiked the AT between work and law school. I made good friends I am in touch with 10 years later, and a set of memories I will never be able to surpass.

Standard start dates are around now for an August/September finish, so you might have to settle for a long section hike instead of a thru hike (2000 miles).


Submission + - DRM could soon be in 3D printers ( 1

another random user writes: Downloading a car – or a pair of sneakers – will be entirely possible, although Ford and Nike won’t be particularly happy if people use their designs to do so.

A new patent, issued this week by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office and titled ‘Manufacturing control system’, describes a system whereby 3D printer-like machines (the patent actually covers additive, subtractive, extrusion, melting, solidification, and other types of manufacturing) will have to obtain authorization before they are allowed to print items requested by the user.

In a nutshell, a digital fingerprint of “restricted items” will be held externally and printers will be required to compare the plans of the item they’re being asked to print against those in a database. If there’s a match, printing will be disallowed or restricted.


Submission + - Portland Maine (Over)reacts to Zombie Warning ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: According to the local news source the Portland Press Herald Portland, Maine officials overreacted to a "hacked" road sign warning motorists of Zombies Ahead. As Mainers gather food and supplies for a long winter ahead these kinds of distractions can be a major problem for the all too serious local government. In the end they failed to get the joke, understand the seriousness of unsecured electronic communications, and to see that people really don't need/care about every little message their government gives them.
The Internet

Submission + - Wikileaks paywall draws Anonymous's wrath (

SternisheFan writes: "Hacking collective Anonymous has hit out at Wikileaks for -rather astonishingly -imposing a paywall on most of its content. Attempting to access Wikileaks' Global Intelligence Files, Guantanamo Files, Iraq War Logs and other documents triggers an overlay page asking for donations -and which can't be closed unless one is made. (It's possible, though, to avoid the paywall by disabling JavaScript). Oddly, payment options include MasterCard and VISA, both of which have previously withdrawn payment support for the site -and both of which were subequently hit by DDoS attacks from Anonymous in support of Wikileaks. The paywall was initially introduced yesterday for the Global Intelligence Files only. After it was publicly slated by Anonymous, it was withdrawn -only to reappear on a larger scale hours later. "The obvious intention is to force donations in exchange for access. This is a filthy and rotten, wholly un-ethical action -and Anonymous is enraged," says the group in a statement. "No longer will Anonymous risk prison to defend Wikileaks or Julian Assange from their enemies. No longer will Anonymous risk prison to supply material for Wikileaks disclosures." The group says it won't attack Wikileaks' website, as it has a policy of leaving the media alone. But, it says, it has other weapons. It's preapring a dossier of unethical actions by Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange, and plans to release it to the media in a few days. Now, that should make interesting reading.

    by Emma Woollacott, TGDaily"

Comment Re:Neighbors (Score 2) 340

Vlm -

I know it is ridiculous, but a personal anecdote:

I was hiking in Virginia, somewhere along the Appalachian Trail. I was up on top of a ridgeline when I saw some junked tires near the trail but in the woods. It took me another 30 minutes of downhill walking to get to the next road crossing. Now it is possible that there was a closer road that I (a non-local) did not know about, but I would like to point out that it was still up-hill. Someone had hauled tires up hill just to throw them in the woods.

People apparently are quite willing to spend time and effort on this kind of crap.

Comment There Will Come Soft Rains (Score 1) 1365

I haven't read it in a long while but Bradbury's There Will Come Soft Rains isn't necessarily pessimistic, but it is very melancholy. I found that most of the Martian Chronicles were similarly melancholy. The basic premise of that period was always that nuclear war was inevitable and Bradbury used the Martians as a good foil to expose the folly of the Humans in his stories. Even then the Martian societies weren't very joyous, they were more mellow and resigned.

The whole story line has stayed with me for many years, but none as well as Soft Rains.

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