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Submission + - U.S. Govt Logging All Snail Mail for Law Enforcement

prakslash writes: If you thought that at least your snail mail letters and packages are safe, think again. According to the New York Times, the US government has two snail mail surveillance programs in place — Mail Covers and Mail Isolation Control and Tracking. Together, the two programs show that snail mail is subject to the same kind of scrutiny that the National Security Agency has given to telephone calls and e-mail. Next time you order something from Amazon, ThinkGeek or Newegg, ask them to wrap it in tin foil!.

Comment Global Warming and meteorites (Score 3, Funny) 123

Actually, global warming is to blame behind increased meteor activity:

(1) CO2 is a heavier gas than Oxygen and Nitrogen. Because of molecular forces, the increased number of CO2 molecules in the atmosphere are pulling down the whole atmosphere closer to earth's surface. Therefore, meteors that would normally have burnt up higher in the atmosphere are coming closer and closer to earth's surface before they burn up. Sometimes, though, they make it all the way because of the reduced distance over which to burn up.

(2) Increased CO2 is also leading to holes in the Ozone layer. This layer acts as a defensive shield. With more holes that are getting bigger in size, meteors are slipping through and reaching us.

(3) Scientists have postulated that increased planetary warmth and high concentration of CO2 on an earth-like planet may indicate the presence of an advanced civilization. They are actually using this theory to conduct SETI. It is possible that advanced aliens are doing the same. They have detected global warming on earth and are hurling meteors at earth and using it as a sounding board for their own SETI projects.

Comment Gerrymandering (Score 2, Insightful) 215

Gerrymandering is not exactly fraud. Intentionally drawing lines to create voting districts in a way such that it favors one political party over another is perfectly legal (although obviously not desired). Gerrymandering can be used for good too such as creating voting districts consisting of mostly Blacks or other minorities so they can elect a (favored minority) representative and have a say in the political process.

Submission + - Cables show US seeks Assange

prakslash writes: Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that according to the diplomatic cables obtained by them, despite the denials by the US State Department and the Australian Foreign minister, the US investigation into possible criminal conduct by Mr Assange has been ongoing for more than a year. Further, the Australian diplomats expect that the US will seek to extradite Assange to the US on charges including espionage and conspiracy relating to the release of classified information by WikiLeaks.

Comment Re:Oh, the delicious irony! (Score 1) 923

Meh... The pinnacles of free speech in the West are only for it as long as it is in their own interest. They are not much better than Ecuador.

In this case, Sweden could simply give an assurance: "We are only bringing in Assange for questioning around the rape charge and we will NOT extradite him to the US. We will let him go after the Swedish legal proceedings are over". Given the gravity of the situation, they could do that and it would eliminate all the hoopla. But, no, despite repeated requests for such an assurance from the Ecuadorians themselves, Sweden will NOT give such a guarantee. Why not?

Comment Re:From Minnesota here (Score 4, Funny) 122

Why is this on slashdot as news?

So you can get a taste of the luxuries you can afford after a 100 billion dollar IPO. Why wait a few hours before powering up you equipment when you can transfer it using expensive, climate-controlled trucks. At Facebook, even lifeless plastic and metal rides in style on the gravy train.

Comment Why don't they make the whole picture sharp? (Score 1) 220

All the information is obviously there since you can "explore" the image. Clicking on any point in the image either brings nearer objects into focus or farther objects into focus. So, obviously, each point in the 2-d image is encoded with additional information that associates that point with a nearer focal plane or farther focal plane. So, why not computationally merge / stitch together a bunch of sharpened nearer areas with a bunch of sharpened farther areas to get an overall sharper picture? People may find that useful.

Comment Executive's job search could be construed harmful (Score 4, Insightful) 219

To play devil's advocate, the employer could claim that the very fact that an important executive was looking to leave could give the impression to outsiders that something bad was going on in the company and that could result in a loss to their business. Perhaps his interest in leaving this company turned away some of the customers or investors or lowered other employees' morale.

Remember when Steve Jobs was doing nothing more than going on a medical leave, it adversely affected Apple's stock price. Of course the company is this case would have to PROVE that suffered or stood to suffer a loss.

Comment Re:so. (Score 3, Insightful) 358

Huh? Your analogies are all screwed up. You provide a "service" as a freelance programmer to do custom jobs. The software copies that your previous company sold were standardized "products". Your previous company didn't screw itself because it was "creating artificial scarcity". It screwed itself because it got greedy and charged more than its competition selling a similar product.

According to your model, if a customer needs a good text editor, they should hire a programmer to write a new one or to create one from existing code? Or, should they just obtain an existing one made by a company that already makes good text editors? May be you will say, they should obtain the existing one but they shouldn't have to pay for it? Well, how does the text editor company ensure that it recovers its costs without someone else buying the first copy for $39.95 and freely distributing to everyone else? That is why copyright laws have a place even for digital media.

As for being successful in the business, the market already works: you make something and you sell it to cover your costs and make a profit. To survive, you do it better than your competition. It doesn't mean you have to adopt a "pirate model".

Comment Religious Prosecution of File Sharers (Score 4, Insightful) 358

Although they are only preaching "harmless" digital copying, followers of a religion can still be prosecuted for their actual practice if it is deemed criminal under the prevailing laws.

"Freedom of Religion" rights enshrined in the constitutions of most countries rarely provide for exceptions to go against the prevailing laws. So, this new religion won't change anything. A better path is being followed by the Pirate Party who actually seeks to change the prevailing laws around information copying.

Comment Re:the word is failed not futile (Score 1) 261

Good catch! There is indeed a subtle difference.

A futile effort is one that will not produce a desired result in the future.
A failed effort is one that did not produce a desired result in the past.

Hence, Whitman's 2008 bid was a failed bid. OTOH, Ron Paul's 2012 bid may be characterized (by some) as a futile one.

Comment Re:Do it properly or not at all (Score 1) 288

OK.. then you do have a beef and it is against the society which thinks that the only worthwhile projects are the ones with economic benefit. You obviously do not agree with this societal thinking.

That's all you had to say, homes. 3/4 ths of your long "Do it properly or don't do it at all" seemed to indicate otherwise.

Comment Re:under penalty of perjury (Score 5, Informative) 155

It is apparent what is happening.

The studios are using the results of simple keyword searches to trigger takedowns. As an example, while claiming to remove files that are copies of the movie "The Box", Warner removed several files related to the alternative cancer treatment book "Cancer: Out Of The Box" Another title deleted by Warner was "The Box that Saved Britain", a production of the BBC, not Warner.

If the studios want Hotfile to spend time and resources to stop aiding in the distribution of the studios' copyrighted content, then it is also the studios' responsibility to spend their own time and resources to correctly identify their copyrighted content.

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