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Comment Re:Contempt of the court... (Score 1) 507

I can't remember my god-damned four-digit ATM PIN unless I'm standing right in front of the fucking ATM. Nor can I remember my god-damned four-digit alarm code unless I'm standing in front of the fucking alarm panel. Human memory is shit, and it is entirely plausible that this person forgot their password(s).

And, I would venture to guess, highly dependent on the individual. I can still recall my high school locker combination from 35 years ago, the Michigan Driver's license number I gave up when I moved to Texas 30 years ago, and the phone numbers of my childhood friends. I never understood the "counting sheep" approach to insomnia; if I'm having trouble getting to sleep, I go through my teachers (in order) in my head. I typically nod off somewhere in the college years.

I also have a history of dementia on my mother's side of the family. I'm hoping that regularly reviewing memories is some form of "exercise."

Comment Even Google doesn't do this (Score 1) 281

For all the "but Google!" BS, on Android I've never been spammed on my home screen or in apps that are a part of basic phone functionality. Any of the ad-supported apps I've installed are upfront about it.

The more I read about Windows 10's bullshit, the more I'm glad I dodged that bullet. When Windows 7 dies, my last Windows partitions will get nuked or else isolated from the net. I already run Ubuntu+Cinnamon on my important desktops.


World's Only Sample of Metallic Hydrogen Has Been Lost (ibtimes.co.uk) 278

New submitter drunkdrone quotes a report from International Business Times: A piece of rare meta poised to revolutionize modern technology and take humans into deep space has been lost in a laboratory mishap. The first and only sample of metallic hydrogen ever created on earth was the rarest material on the planet when it was developed by Harvard scientists in January this year, and had been dubbed "the holy grail of high pressure physics." The metal was created by subjecting liquid hydrogen to pressures greater that those at the center of the Earth. At this point, the molecular hydrogen breaks down and becomes an atomic solid. Scientists theorized that metallic hydrogen -- when used as a superconductor -- could have a transformative effect on modern electronics and revolutionize medicine, energy and transportation, as well as herald in a new age of consumer gadgets. Sadly, an attempt to study the properties of metallic hydrogen appears to have ended in catastrophe after one of the two diamonds being used like a vice to hold the tiny sample was obliterated. The metal was being held between two diamonds at a pressure of around 71.7 million pounds per square inch -- more than a third greater than at the Earth's core. According to The Independent, one of these diamonds shattered while the sample was being measured with a laser, and the metal was lost in the process.

Zuckerberg Shares Facebook's Plan to Bring Community Together, Edits Out a Questionable Sentence Minutes Later (mashable.com) 104

Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg wants to bring people closer together. He published a 6,000-word letter on his Facebook page Thursday to outline his vision for the kind of world he thinks Facebook can help create. The free-wielding note included few specifics, but offered a number of broad, ambitious goals for how the tech giant can contribute to a better understanding of everything from terrorism to fake news. Interestingly, minutes after the post was published, Zuckerberg edited out a sentence from the letter. Mashable adds: In the post, Zuckerberg briefly touches on how artificial intelligence can be used to detect terrorist propaganda. "Right now, we're starting to explore ways to use AI to tell the difference between news stories about terrorism and actual terrorist propaganda so we can quickly remove anyone trying to use our services to recruit for a terrorist organization," he wrote in the post published Thursday. That sounds like a straightforward enough application of AI -- one that's in line with what Zuckerberg and other executives have discussed in the past -- but it's different from what the CEO had originally written. In an earlier version of the missive, which was shared with a number of news outlets in advance of its publication on Facebook, Zuckerberg took the idea farther. The "long-term promise of AI," he wrote, is that it can be used used to "identify risks that nobody would have flagged at all, including terrorists planning attacks using private channels." Here's an expanded version of the quote from the Associated Press (emphasis ours). "The long term promise of AI is that in addition to identifying risks more quickly and accurately than would have already happened, it may also identify risks that nobody would have flagged at all "including terrorists planning attacks using private channels, people bullying someone too afraid to report it themselves, and other issues both local and global. It will take many years to develop these systems." That's different from what was described in the final version that was shared Thursday, which made no mention of private communication in relation to AI and terrorism.

Submission + - Your Digital Life Can Be Legally Seized at the Border 3

Toe, The writes: Quincy Larson from freeCodeCamp relates some frightening stories from U.S. citizens entering their own country, and notes that you don't have fourth and fifth amendment rights at the border. People can and have been compelled to give their phone password (or be detained indefinitely) before entering the U.S and other countries. Given what we keep on our phones, he concludes that it is now both easy and legal for customs and border control to access your whole digital life. And he provides some nice insights on how easy it is to access and store the whole thing, how widespread access would be to that data, and how easy it would be for the wrong hands to get on it. His advice: before you travel internationally, wipe your phone or bring/rent/buy a clean one.

Microsoft Calls For 'Digital Geneva Convention' (usatoday.com) 148

Microsoft is calling for a digital Geneva Convention to outline protections for civilians and companies from government-sponsored cyberattacks. In comments Tuesday at the RSA security industry conference in San Francisco, Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith said the rising trend of government entities wielding the internet as a weapon was worrying. From a report on USA Today: In the cyber realm, tech must be committed to "100% defense and zero percent offense," Smith said at the opening keynote at the RSA computer security conference. Smith called for a "digital Geneva Convention," like the one created in the aftermath of World War II which set ground rules for how conduct during wartime, defining basic rights for civilians caught up armed conflicts. In the 21st century such rules are needed "to commit governments to protect civilians from nation-state attacks in times of peace," a draft of Smith's speech released to USA TODAY said. This digital Geneva Convention would establish protocols, norms and international processes for how tech companies would deal with cyber aggression and attacks of nations aimed at civilian targets, which appears to effectively mean anything but military servers.

Comment Re:And there won't be any accountability (Score 1) 68

The alternative is to ban "cost plus" contracts. Screw up and overrun the costs specified in you bid? Tough cookies. Eat it on your P&L leader, and do a better job bidding next time.

Another, at least as good and maybe better, option is antitrust. Break up the globs back into Northrop, Hughes, General Dynamics, Lockheed, Marietta, Glenn Martin Co, Grumman, McDonnell Aircraft, Douglas Aircraft, Convair, North American, Republic, Boeing, Rockwell, and so on... so that there are a dozen manufacturers actually bidding competitively for contracts with incentives to keep costs under control, lest the contract goto a more reliable competitor.

After all, when there are only two choices, why *Should* Lockheed Martin (from their perspective) deliver a fully-functional air or space craft as promised, and on-time and on-budget. What's the government going to do after all, go to Northrop "2 billion dollar stealth bomber" Grumman?

You haven't thought out the consequences. If these are all bid a Firm Fixed Price (the alternative), every bidder is going to pad their costs to compensate for the possibility of things going wrong at some point during the development . Depending on the likelihood of that (cutting-edge technology, etc.) this will be anywhere from 15 to 30 percent of the original estimate. Would you rather pay 20% more overall, or take the chance of a 10% overrun?

Comment Re:Arrest him and throw him into Gitmo (Score 1) 627

A civil contract cannot ask you to do anything illegal and someone cannot ask you to break civil contract unless what you're doing is illegal. If the border agent had the legal power to ask and not following instructions would be deemed illegal, then Mr NASA is fine. If the border agent did not have the legal power, then Mr NASA could sue them for coercing him into breaking a civil contract, assuming he can show damages. The simplest way would be for NASA to show 'damages' and to sue for the full market value of whatever secret information was on the phone or to which the phone had access.

It's not a civil contract. NASA employees take the same Oath of Office as the President (changing only "to the office which I am appointed"). There are no conditions under which "not following instructions" in this case could be deemed illegal.


This Blog Is Republishing All the Animal Welfare Records the USDA Deleted (vice.com) 91

Last year, thousands of animal welfare records were removed from the web by the Department of Agriculture. Now, a government transparency blog is on a mission to recover and republish as many of these records as possible. From a report on Motherboard: "Whenever there are documents that were online, but got pulled offline, they're automatically important," said Russ Kick, who runs the blog The Memory Hole 2, where many of the documents have already been re-published. "Nobody's going to go through the trouble to delete something that doesn't matter." The documents, which were removed by the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) late last week, included inspection records and annual reports made under the Animal Welfare Act and the Horse Protection Act. The USDA indicated that removing the documents was in response to a court decision, but a spokesperson contacted by Motherboard would not specify what court case. The records were typically used by animal welfare groups to keep tabs on how well these laws were being enforced, but were also used by the general public to research the inspection records of everything from dog breeders to circuses and zoos. "I've learned that if I see something and think 'I'm really surprised the government posted this,' I need to download it," Kick told me. "So when I found these reports, I thought 'this is surprising,' and I downloaded them."

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