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India Scans a Billion Irises In Interest of National Security ( 50

An anonymous reader writes: The Indian government is using a loophole to fast-track legislation to allow federal agencies access to its database of 1 billion individuals' finger prints and iris scans. The Aadhaar database was set up in 2009 to 'streamline' benefit payments and help control fraud. The programme claims to have saved an estimated 150 billion rupees (approx. $2.2 billion) between 2014-2015. Privacy advocates are expressing fears that an approval in parliament could facilitate a police state, with data used to silence individuals considered as potential security threats, as well as presenting an enormous risk if breached.

Comment Let's stop trying to force kids to program. (Score 2) 384

The implication of is that there is some kind of barrier to computer programming for students. This is simply not the case. You wanna "code", great, start coding. All of the tools I use as a professional are freely available to anyone who wants to download them. There are countless thousands of free tutorials on-line for virtually every language. There is absolutely no barrier whatsoever to anyone learning to code.

But... There's a huge difference between "coding" and being a professional computer programmer. Anyone can do the former, almost no one can do the latter. The simple fact of the matter is, we get paid so much because this stuff is hard and requires talent. Not all humans can sing professionally and not all humans can program professionally. This has nothing whatsoever to do forcing children to learn musical scales or how make boxes and circles bounce around on a web page.

How about if we just let the people with a passion for programming do that and let everyone else be.


Submission + - Hackers upload unpublished Wikileaks all over web (

DMandPenfold writes: Computer hackers, thought to be affiliated with the Anonymous group, have organised a campaign to upload unpublished Wikileaks cables all over the internet.

Under a plan called Operation Leakspin, the hackers will attempt to access all of the Wikileaks cables, sift through them and ...


Game Prices — a Historical Perspective 225

The Opposable Thumbs blog scrutinizes the common wisdom that video games are too expensive, or that they're more expensive than they were in the past. They found that while in some cases the sticker price has increased, it generally hasn't outpaced inflation, making 2010 a cheaper time to be a gamer than the '80s and '90s. Quoting: "... we tracked down a press release putting the suggested retail price of both Mario 64 and Pilotwings 64 at $69.99. [Hal Halpin, president of the Entertainment Consumer's Association] says that the N64 launch game pricing only tells you part of the story. 'Yes, some N64 games retailed for as high as $80, but it was also the high end of a 60 to 80 dollar range,' he told Ars. 'Retailers had more flexibility with pricing back then — though they've consistently maintained that the Suggested Retail Price was/is just a guide. Adjusted for inflation, we're generally paying less now than we have historically. But to be fair, DLC isn't factored in.' He also points out all the different ways that we can now access games: you can buy a game used, rent a game, or play certain online games for free. There are multiple ways to sell your old console games, and the competition in the market causes prices to fall quickly."

365 Days of Photojournalism With Stormtroopers 30

Lanxon writes "Wired reports that for one French fan, the Stormtrooper has become an obsession. Stormtroopers 365 is a collection of wacky, witty, and artistic photographs that its creator Stéfan Le Dû has been adding to daily since 3 April 2009 when the project began. 'I got a new camera and I had some Stormtrooper figures sleeping in their blister packs for months. I wanted to start something a bit challenging on Flickr, and I had previously seen some awesome Star Wars toys pictures, and other "365" projects that I really liked,' he says. The two starring Stormtroopers — TK455 and TK479 — have run into cats, clocks, various household implements, and even a DeLorean sports car."

Comment Re:Educate, don't indoctrinate (yeah, right!) (Score 1) 2035

I would agree with you if the purpose of educating the public was simply to make them personally happier or more productive. In democratic societies, this is not the case. The purpose of education is to produce citizens capable of participating in there own government.

Thomas Jefferson was a major proponent of dire necessity of public education for the continuance of democracy. He asserted four basic principals -

  1. "that democracy cannot long exist without enlightenment.
  2. that it cannot function without wise and honest officials.
  3. that talent and virtue, needed in a free society, should be educated regardless of wealth, birth or other accidental condition.
  4. that the children of the poor must be thus educated at common expense."

Are we educating citizens in America today? Nope, public education is grinding out worker drones that are specifically taught not to think. Jefferson would never have believed that the political sanction of free speech and inquiry that is occurring on campuses today would even be possible in the society he was envisioning. Let alone the outright programming of the populace to conform to the authority of the government, their employers, and God, in that order.

Instead of citizens capable of rational participation in their own government, we're producing franchisees of that Government, who've been formally taught, for seventeen years in most cases, that:

  1. every idea is just as important as every other idea (there's no way to prove anything definitively, so why not ID, etc. Gravity is just a theory, after all),
  2. that there are lots of ways to be intelligent (music intelligence, gee-its-too-bad-your-poor intelligence, etc.),
  3. that it's more important to feel good about your self than to actually achieve anything, and
  4. that worst possible thing they could do is form a judgment.
Being politically correct is the very most important ideal, with being economically performant running a close second.

This process produces plenty of highly suggestible votes for the "democratic" process, since the sole and only criteria for participating in the democracy is the ability to fog a mirror. By not teaching anything about true politics it also produces a great deal of nihilistic apathy about the processes of government (which is much, much better from the incumbent office holder's point of view). Want proof? Ask the next person you see who their state representative is, who their city councilman is, and how the Electoral College works. Of course, if you need to look the answers up yourself... well, you get it.

So, what to do? Throw out public education? Beef-up public education? It really doesn't matter. Jefferson's ideal is unattainable because Americans are inherently uninterested in self-governance. The fact that nobody ever mentions the true purpose of public education in these discussions is prima facie evidence of our inability to successfully govern ourselves or even understand that we should. We'll continue on, living under the tyranny of the uneducated (though often credentialed with MBAs), uninterested, NASCAR-loving, not-particularly-moral majority, blissfully ceding our liberties to his majesty, Tyrannous Ignoramus, until our Chinese overlords put a stop to this "one-man-one-vote" nonsense. Probably sooner than later.

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