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Comment geofence the pilots instead (Score 2, Interesting) 170

Shouldn't drones be fighting the fire? Why send humans up there? Drones have more carrying capacity per horsepower (no bulky life support systems needed) potentially better maneuverability, and don't risk lives. Yes, it's new technology and the ideal drone for that job may not exist yet- but that's the future and it should begin now.

Comment at Comic-Con? (Score 0) 52

I'm here in San Diego where the big convention is ongoing. I look to my left, I look to my right ... I don't see Snowden. Is he in a bathroom or maybe a nearby pub? Or are you referring to some other Comic-Con in some other time or universe? Please explain the headline:
"Edward Snowden At Comic-Con: 'I Live a Surprisingly Free Life'"

Comment not with your Tor browser (Score 1) 66

Like many other torrent sites, your Tor browser will hit you with a Captcha. In most cases, every page will open with a new Captcha until you are really angry. But even then the torture will continue until you give up or are willing to share your identity with a non-Tor browser. You'd think that torrent sites would expect users to be on Tor -- so why antagonize them?

Comment The Guardian again ... (Score 4, Insightful) 85

Frequent posts from The Guardian and BBC cover important events in the US that local media fail to report. This should make us wonder why American news media aren't on top of these stories.

Of course tight budgets constrain many traditional news outlets and restrict the ability to really investigate anything. The de-funding of Public Broadcasting was a disaster in American history, forcing a dependence on advertising and fund raising.

But those of us who entertain conspiracy theories may suspect that the 'free press' in the US is heavily influenced by various pressures from government and advertisers. For instance, many media are now forbidden at Trump rallies because they have offended The Donald by asking serious questions. Some media are unwelcome at White House briefings. Your local city/state politicians also have preferred, cooperative, outlets for their announcements. Cooperation with big advertisers is also important for American media to survive financially. Evil Monsanto stories go on page 3 or nowhere at all.

Most US publishers share with their readers the political posturing of government officials and the promotional 'news' of advertisers but fail to investigate anything. The remainder of US news is crime, weather, celebrities, a smattering of drama about terrorist activity, and no mention of large parts of the world like Latin America.

So, thanks Guardian and BBC, for a fresh look at the world and my own country.

Comment great ! (Score 4, Interesting) 23

So . . . When this is part of my next smartphone: Google, the NSA, Amazon, the local police and everyone will know what I had for dinner, how much I had to drink and whether I used any illegal substances each day. Combined with the knowledge of where I've been, who I've been in contact with, what purchases I've made and what web sites I've visited... What could possibly go wrong?

Comment try RICO, it's the cat's pajamas . (Score 1) 173

No, not Lucy's Ricky, but RICO (The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) a law originally intended to go after Mafia syndicates. It basically makes decision makers responsible when a criminal conspiracy is uncovered.

But recently it has been applied to a wide variety of conspiracies. From Wikipaedia* or thereabouts "In April 2000, federal judge William J. Rea in Los Angeles, ruling in one Rampart scandal case, said that the plaintiffs could pursue RICO claims against the LAPD, an unprecedented finding."

If ISPs and property owners are conspiring against tenants, RICO is worth a try. There are probably other conspiracies that slashdotters are aware of too- like the recent 'no compete' agreement between the big Silicon Valley employers that was frowned upon. The world is full of racketeers, but many have connections that protect them.

*Wikipaedia (or Wikipædi) is a wab-foondit, free beuk o knawledge (or encyclopaedia) that oniebodie can chynge gif thay like. Wikipaedia haes aboot 24 million airticles, but no monie in Scots.

Comment Re:Meh. (Score 1) 470

"the key issue here is not your freedom of choosing GMO or not, it's the millions of people who are starving."

And the solution is not better farming techniques or technology, but fewer people. That's the dirty little secret that politicians, environmentalists, religious zealots and Nobel laureates dare not speak aloud.

What are the 'green' people doing to discourage fertility among those least able to support new human life? They can rant about GMOs, global warming, polluted air and oceans, etc all they want, but until they address the excess billions of humans on earth the problem will never be solved.

We may some day send men to Mars or peer into black holes, but there is no technology that can save the planet while the population continues to increase. Starvation will continue, disease will spread and the entire planet will continue to deteriorate.

Please don't be distracted by the infinite consequences of the problem; focus on population management, the root cause.

Comment flexibility is important (Score 1) 198

I'm not familiar with the game Civilization but it seems to allow examining cause and effect regarding political and economic decisions. Sounds like fun and a great place to experiment with different ideas. At each turning point students and teachers should look at the results in the game and ask whether it provided realistic conclusions. They should be alert to bias in the game's algorithms (perhaps toward or against the current 'green' climate theories for example).

Unfortunately, many teachers have small minds obsessed with power. They have the answers and their job is to pour facts into the students' heads. I don't recall many of my teachers answering a question with 'I'm not sure', 'I don't know', or 'well, let's look that up'. As far as the teacher was concerned, either s/he knew the answer or the question wasn't worth answering. Textbooks likewise present information as indisputable gospel solid fact. Look at a ten or forty year old textbook and it is full of misinformation with no room for contradiction.

Many answers were wrong. Fifth grade- the teacher's explanation of electricity, AC and DC, was not just wrong, but ridiculous. Yet the tone of authority with which it was given was unmistakable.

Teachers should embrace uncertainty. Rather than shove 'facts' down the students' throats, they should examine different viewpoints, be flexible in their opinions and welcome grey areas and new information. Authoritarian attitudes have no place in education and do not encourage critical thinking.

Comment could be worse . . . (Score 1) 246

Imagine if Google tech originated with Microsoft, Oracle, Facebook or the CIA.

Google has been pressured by many powerful forces to modify their offerings, often to reduce Free Speech. They have resisted in many justified cases where some companies would cave. There is the worrisome relationship between Google and the State Department to consider, but overall they've been 'less evil' than almost any imaginable alternative.

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