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Slashback: AMD/ATI, Tokamak Fusion, Laptop Privacy

ScuttleMonkey posted about 8 years ago | from the laptop-smuggler dept.

171

Slashback tonight brings some clarifications and updates to previous Slashdot stories including: An inside look at the AMD/ATI merger, school admins backing down on cell phone invasion policies, a new launch date for Scotty's ashes, a second test for China's Tokamak fusion device, Forbe's missed the mark on IBM destruction of evidence, Skype for Mac 1.5 released, and the courts rule that customs can still rifle through your laptop - Read on for details.

An inside look at the AMD/ATI merger. Spinnerbait writes "HotHardware spent some sit-down time with a few folks close to the AMD and ATI merger, asked some probing questions and received a few insightful answers in return. They dug in deep with AMD Execs, learned all there is to know currently and even got a hint of what the future might hold for the dynamic duo (no pun intended), now joined as one. A tighter coupling of the CPU and GPU is in our future perhaps?"

School admins back down on cell phone invasion policy. Reverberant writes "In a follow up to earlier coverage about school admins wanting access to students' cellphones, Framingham officials have decided to hold off on the policy for now because they need school committee approval. The head of the school policy committee has 'no interest in bringing it up.'"

New launch date for Scotty's ashes. wolfdvh writes "The BBC reports that Star Trek actor James Doohan, who played the engineer Scotty in the original TV series, will now have his remains blasted into space in October. The actor's ashes were supposed to be sent into orbit last year, but the flight was delayed as tests were carried out on the rocket."

Second test for China's Tokamak fusion device. Haxx writes "The first plasma discharge from China's experimental advanced superconducting research center dubbed 'artificial sun' is set to occur next month. The discharge, expected about Aug. 15, will be conducted at Science Island in Hefei, in east China's Anhui Province. The experiment will test the world's first Tokamak fusion device of this kind. The new device will be an upgrade of China`s first superconducting Tokamak device. The plasma discharge will draw international attention since some scientists are concerned with risks involved in such a process"

Forbe's missed the mark on IBM destruction of evidence. An anonymous reader writes "It turns out that Forbes.com was wrong and, based on analysis of Pacer no motion has been filed against IBM for destruction of evidence. Shortly following from a major collapse in SCO's share price, a recent article Slashdot reported Forbes.com's claim that a motion had been filed against IBM for destruction of evidence. In fact, Groklaw, the main site covering the SCO vs. IBM lawsuit, now reports that SCO has filed no motions of this type whatsoever in March."

Skype for Mac 1.5 released. Billy C writes "A few weeks after warez versions made the rounds on the Internet, the official Skype for Mac with video is here." While still only a preview version, brave users can now give it a shot.

Courts rule customs can rifle through your laptop. monstermagnet writes "On Monday, a unanimous three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the files of a person's laptop may be searched at U.S. borders [PDF] without probable cause or even reasonable suspicion."

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Cyrix (2, Informative)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about 8 years ago | (#15787773)

Cyrix already had a cpu/gpu/whatever else combo. It was the MediaGX

Re:Cyrix (1)

Donniedarkness (895066) | about 8 years ago | (#15787790)

Yes, but was it actually any good? If so, then it was probably not very cheap at all-- otherwise, why would there be slashdotters with Athlon CPUs and Radeon graphics cards?

Re:Cyrix (1)

Rockman-X (978368) | about 8 years ago | (#15788007)

No, it wasn't any good. I have one of those, a Cyrix MediaGX 133MHz (yes, still working, but mostly collecting dust), which incorporates Audio and Video functions on the CPU, and whenever anything needs to use any of the audio or video BASIC features, the processing speed always went to a crawl... Not to mention compatibility problems (a lot of them).

Re:Cyrix (1)

the_maddman (801403) | about 8 years ago | (#15788661)

Funny enough, the second generation chip the MediaGXm, didn't suck much at all. It's just basic VGA though, no 3d, but much much faster than I expected. I have a 233mhz GXm, and it does quite well running win2k.

Re:Cyrix (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15788075)

Whether it was any good depended on what you wanted to do ... for a set top box of 1997 vintage it wasn't too bad. Yes it was CPU challenged, but you could do a lot with a stripped down system (kernel + busybox + a dedicated app or two) and you could for example, process and display data from a weather radar system in soft realtime.

Re:Cyrix (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | about 8 years ago | (#15788363)

It was good enough and cheap enough to be in pinball 2000

Re:Cyrix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15788433)

The irony in your statement is that AMD bought up what used to be Cyrix from National Semiconductor about 3 years ago and just recently decided to close that office down (in Longmont, CO) and disband the group.

Re:Cyrix (1)

Jonny_eh (765306) | about 8 years ago | (#15788518)

Yup, AMD/ATI should just give up!

Re:Cyrix (1)

Calinous (985536) | about 8 years ago | (#15789332)

I saw one implementation, and it was complete junk. Blue screens, crashes and (even more) the need to reinstall. The stability was somehow good at start, but went to the worse fast. Some of the problems were solved when a discrete video card replaced the integrated one.

ATI + AMD != Linux driver? (3, Insightful)

gigne (990887) | about 8 years ago | (#15787793)

No mention of where the Linux drivers are going with the merger of ATI and AMD. Maybe they will get their act together and give us working drivers for the 200 express card.

Re:ATI + AMD != Linux driver? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15788032)

The 200 Xpress is a chipset for a motherboard, not a graphics card. Get your terminology right you Linus-humping Linux freak.

Re:ATI + AMD != Linux driver? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15788059)

Hey dumbass he was refering to the builtin graphic core of the chipset.

Re:ATI + AMD != Linux driver? (1)

ScaryFroMan (901163) | about 8 years ago | (#15788579)

A great deal of low-end laptops use the x200M chip. It's the AMD alternative to intel integrated (and a good deal better, too.)

Re:ATI + AMD != Linux driver? (1)

deek (22697) | about 8 years ago | (#15788753)


Maybe they will get their act together and give us working drivers for the 200 express card.



$ lspci | grep -i vga
01:05.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc RC410 [Radeon Xpress 200M]
$
$ fglrxinfo
display: :0.0 screen: 0
OpenGL vendor string: ATI Technologies Inc.
OpenGL renderer string: RADEON XPRESS 200M Series Generic
OpenGL version string: 2.0.5879 (8.26.18)


Seems to be working already, as far as I can tell. This is on an IBM R51e laptop. What's the problem?

Re:ATI + AMD != Linux driver? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15788833)

Does your laptop suspend to ram? Can you start more than one X server in parallel?

Re:ATI + AMD != Linux driver? (1)

deek (22697) | about 8 years ago | (#15789225)


Does your laptop suspend to ram? Can you start more than one X server in parallel?


I've no idea if the driver works with suspend to ram. I've never bothered to get suspend to ram working, since it's in a fairly high state of flux within the linux kernel.

Can I start more than one X server simultaneously? Again, something that I never use. Apparantly it can though, according to this: http://www2.ati.com/drivers/linux/linux_8.25.18.ht ml#180566 [ati.com]

For my uses, the latest drivers works fine. Don't get me wrong, it's still not perfect; I would love a more complete opengl implementation. Otherwise, I'm satisfied with it.

A convo that I just had about this... (2, Funny)

parasonic (699907) | about 8 years ago | (#15788842)

(23:24:48) Uncle_C: you can spell daamit with ati and amd
(23:25:03) parasonic: hahahaha
(23:25:08) parasonic: where did you figure that one out?
(23:25:18) Uncle_C: i'm kinda drunk, i'm jsut loking at it adn thats what it said

First test for China's Tokamak a huge success (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15787801)

But an hour later they were hungry for more power than they put into the system.

Scotty (2, Insightful)

p33p3r (918997) | about 8 years ago | (#15787803)

Being on the Enterprise myself, working in the engineroom, I understand the technical aspect of fusion reactions, I wish Scotty could have explained matter - antimatter to me.
Where ever you go Scotty, I hope it's GREEN.





Enterprise CVAN 65 that is...

Tel Aviv under ROCKET attack (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15787806)


31 rockets have struck the center of the city according to CNN. 100s have been launched in the last hour.

Re:Tel Aviv under ROCKET attack (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15787812)

Let the Zionist pricks die.

Re:Tel Aviv under ROCKET attack (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15787858)



Murderous A-rabs and their wacko religion only winds up killing 100 of them for every regular person.

Re:Tel Aviv under ROCKET attack (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15787877)

Murderous A-mericans and their wacko religion only winds up killing 10000 of them for every regular person.

Re:Tel Aviv under ROCKET attack (0)

Ant P. (974313) | about 8 years ago | (#15788084)

At times like this I'm glad my country's leader is _only_ a lying, greedy bastard and not someone like you two.

Re:Tel Aviv under ROCKET attack (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15789131)

That comment alone makes me want to live in Canada...

Thank heavens for crypto. (3, Informative)

saintlupus (227599) | about 8 years ago | (#15787810)

On Monday, a unanimous three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the files of a person's laptop may be searched at U.S. borders [PDF] without probable cause or even reasonable suspicion."

TrueCrypt for Windows or Linux. Check it out.

--saint

Re:Thank heavens for crypto. (2, Insightful)

iminplaya (723125) | about 8 years ago | (#15787980)

And if they demand the key? If I bring a safe into the country, they're going to want to see inside or it stays at the impound, no? Convince 51% of the voters that freedom and privacy are good things, and you just might get some. Otherwise it ain't gonna happen, because now they believe that only terrorists want those things.

Re:Thank heavens for crypto. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15788053)

And that is why you use Truecrypt's hidden partition feature to create plausible deniability, just give them the key to the outer (un)secure encrypted partition, and they will never know there is even another one there.

Re:Thank heavens for crypto. (1)

Bios_Hakr (68586) | about 8 years ago | (#15788074)

Chances are, they'll never know what to look for or where to look. Just put a few fake documents in "My Documents" and show them that. If they have some reason to dig deeper, then you might just be fucked.

However, Customs has a job to do. They need to keep things out that aren't suposed to be here. If you stash Cuban cigars in your pants, you might get caught. If you stash kiddie pr0n on your laptop, you might get caught.

I'm surprised to see this from the 9th, but it really is a "lawful" rulling.

Yeah, TrueCrypt !! (3, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | about 8 years ago | (#15788466)

If they were smart enough to find the encrypted partition and demand the pass phrase, you give up the normal partition phrase and they never even know about the hidden partition. It can also run off a USB device. As usual this will snare hundreds of stupid people.

Not that I don't think it's totally retarded you have to go to those lengths to keep the government from spying on your laptop. Ah, what do you expect from Republicans?

Re:Thank heavens for crypto. (1)

morcego (260031) | about 8 years ago | (#15788630)

TrueCrypt for Linux ? Do you really think custom officers know how to use Linux ?
Ha! It will be fun to watch.

Re:Thank heavens for crypto. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15788918)

Fun to watch?? Remember, you'll be watching this while you are trying to catch a flight to your long overdue vacation. (You do bring you laptop on vacation right? Don't kid me, this is slashdot.)

The last thing I want is for customs or TSA or whoever to have to struggle with my computer.

Re:Thank heavens for crypto. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15789307)

Kevin Mitnick. Check him out.

Courts rule customs can rifle through your laptop (5, Funny)

jigjigga (903943) | about 8 years ago | (#15787811)

Way to go! USA! USA! USA! Our freedoms are the envy of the world!

Re:Courts rule customs can rifle through your lapt (4, Funny)

chill (34294) | about 8 years ago | (#15787924)

Dude, this has been the norm in the UK and much of Europe for several years. They really don't like you bringing porn into their countries. Of course, there are ample supplies of domestic porn already there, so I'm not sure why you'd want to import it.

I've actually had a customs agent at Gatwick Airport (London, UK) ask me if I had any porn on my laptop. I told him no, if I wanted any I'd just get some local stuff as it seemed plentiful. Fortunately the British pride themselves on having a sense of humor. He offered suggestions on where to get it...

  -Charles

Re:Courts rule customs can rifle through your lapt (1)

Guy Harris (3803) | about 8 years ago | (#15788069)

They really don't like you bringing porn into their countries. Of course, there are ample supplies of domestic porn already there, so I'm not sure why you'd want to import it.

Sure sounds like protectionism to me. Don't want any of that damn cheap imported porn ruining the domestic industry....

Re:Courts rule customs can rifle through your lapt (2, Informative)

Bogtha (906264) | about 8 years ago | (#15788077)

Dude, this has been the norm in the UK and much of Europe for several years.

Has it? I live in the UK and have travelled all over Europe, and I've never had anybody ask to see what's on my laptop.

Re:Courts rule customs can rifle through your lapt (4, Interesting)

munpfazy (694689) | about 8 years ago | (#15788365)


I've actually had a customs agent at Gatwick Airport (London, UK) ask me if I had any porn on my laptop. I told him no, if I wanted any I'd just get some local stuff as it seemed plentiful. Fortunately the British pride themselves on having a sense of humor. He offered suggestions on where to get it...


Now, there *are* situations where the most efficient way to transmit data is by shipping physical media around - but they all involve huge amounts of data or places with little infrastructure. It's hard to come up with a scenario where it makes sense to illegally transfer data from one city with an international airport to another by putting it on a hard drive in a consumer laptop and flying people around with it.

A professional pornographer isn't going to bother carrying the product around with them. They'll set up shop somewhere, pay for a decent network connection and a bunch of dvd blanks, and bring it in electronically and then manufacture it on site. Or they'll bring in ten thousand pressed dvd's in a cargo crate labeled "bananas."

Likewise, someone carrying *really* bad stuff isn't going to just leave it lying around in an unencrypted folder on a laptop. Hell, I wouldn't think of leaving my perfectly legal vanilla porn unencrypted on a laptop in my house, much less one I'd take across international borders.

In countries where anyone can ssh to anywhere in the world and pull in whatever they want, this is just silly. You might occasionally catch really stupid consumers of illegal material, but that's all.

On a tangent, if I were going to try to get some really bad data across the border into a place with no network, I'd probably stick it on encrypted flash drives, disassemble them as much as possible to remove cases and excess hardware, and then screw or cement the boards into place in the bodies of consumer electronics gear. Add an equal number of identical but unmodified drives loaded with holiday photos to use for reassembly parts, and buy the screwdrivers and soldering station at a shop when you arrive. The illegal material in my laptop, if I had any, would be on the pc board hot-glued to the underside of the mainboar - not on the hard drive. (If you really want to do it right, you design pc boards that fit into the cases perfectly and come with standoff and mounting hardware designed to fit the flash drive boards, so that it would pass even a casual inspection by a knowledgeable person. Hide any identifying bits under globs of black epoxy, or place them upside down. Extra points if you manage to route the connectors on the flash board to accessible headers and connect to the drives without even reassembling them.)

Re: Hiding Flash (4, Insightful)

chill (34294) | about 8 years ago | (#15788982)

What I've done in the past is:

1. Purchase a 1 Gb flash drive. Stick a label on it so the size isn't advertised.
2. Partition it 512 Mb FAT-32 / 512 Mb Ext-2
3. Put innocuous stuff all on the FAT partition -- anything hidden gets encrypted and put on the Ext-2

Any one that sticks the flash drive into a Windows box will automount the first partitions. Nothing to see there -- move along. The Ext-2 won't show up unless they look at it with a partitioning tool.

I've never had anyone look twice. Of course, I've never been under close scrutiny, but it certainly passed casual inspection.

The 1 Gb PQI Intellistick is so small it easily fits between credit cards in my wallet without being seen. It doesn't trigger metal detectors, so I leave my wallet in my pocket when going thru those in airports. I don't let it get x-rayed and it just never shows up. The card costs like $45.

Re: Hiding Flash (1)

munpfazy (694689) | about 8 years ago | (#15789219)

That's a good idea.

I imagine if authorities seriously suspected that you had something nasty hidden away somewhere they'd discover the extra partition, but it's certainly likely to get past most people, like customs agents and thieves. Using something like partition-backed loop-aes on the second partition wouldn't hurt either, just in case someone does take a closer look at the drive.

If you want to really go all out, buy two drives from the same manufacturer with a factor of two difference in size and swap cases. If someone plugs in a drive that says "512 MB" in big letters on the cover and finds a 512 MB fat partition full of holiday photos, they're pretty likely to move on to something more interesting.

TrueCrypt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15789446)

With open-source tool TrueCrypt you can have hidden partitions with plausible deniability.

http://www.truecrypt.org/ [truecrypt.org]

Re:Courts rule customs can rifle through your lapt (1)

paedobear (808689) | about 8 years ago | (#15789023)

Admittedly the laws changed recently, but it used to be that it was totally OK to bring porn into the UK - as long as you could prove it was for your own use. Perhaps you just looked like the kind of guy who uses a LOT of porn?

Re:Courts rule customs can rifle through your lapt (1)

Gogo0 (877020) | about 8 years ago | (#15788112)

I wonder if they can read this post in China?
I mean, it has the word "freedom" in it. Shouldnt it be blocked?

Probable Cause (3, Interesting)

CraigoFL (201165) | about 8 years ago | (#15787815)

the files of a person's laptop may be searched at U.S. borders without probable cause or even reasonable suspicion.

Elliotte Rusty Harold recently had a good blog post about probable cause [elharo.com] . His point is that probable cause isn't just to protect the innocent from abuse; it's also to keep the police effective by forcing them to focus on people who have a high probability of actual wrongdoing. Without that constraint, they're free to go after anyone, and end up wasting their time & effort on wild goose chases.

I assume that there's no legal obligation for you to give US Customs your password. I also assume that they're under no obligation to let you into the country. If you're clearing customs while you're in the US, there's probably no obligation for them to return your laptop to you either.

Re:Probable Cause (1)

paulmer2003 (922657) | about 8 years ago | (#15787868)

For some reason I highly doubt the customs people would know how to use my laptop, as first, they would need to get past BIOS password. Second, they would need user password. Then they would be at a nice console. Have a nice day :)

Re:Probable Cause (1)

Lokni (531043) | about 8 years ago | (#15787894)

Yeah, right bloody likely. That is the most asinine thing I have ever heard. Hey, if they want to logon despite the DoD warning on my laptop saying it is a criminal offense to access the laptop without authorization, hey no problem. Until then, they can go fark themselves.

Re:Probable Cause (3, Insightful)

asuffield (111848) | about 8 years ago | (#15788620)

They'll just strip your car down to the frame, then reject your entry to the country and leave you standing there with a pile of mechanical parts. Customs is fucked up and has no proper appeals process or oversight of these things.

Re:Probable Cause (4, Insightful)

CraigoFL (201165) | about 8 years ago | (#15787910)

But in the end you're going to do yourself in with your attempts to protect yourself. If they can't get at your files to see that you're free of child porn, they're going to get upset, and they're going to make things difficult for you. They could prevent you from crossing, impound your laptop, and possibly even detain you.

Meanwhile, someone who is *actually* smuggling in illicit data simply has to:
1) Encrypt/obfuscate the data, so it's not obvious what that data is.
2) Make it look mundane... hide it in the windows swap file maybe?
3) Gladly offer up full access to the laptop when asked. Customs will probably not bother with a deep search, since it's "obvious" that the smuggler has nothing to hide. They're too busy trying to get figure what to do with the other guy who won't give up the BIOS password to his laptop anyway.

Re:Probable Cause (1)

paulmer2003 (922657) | about 8 years ago | (#15788004)

Sure they can look threw my files, assuming they are proficient with gnu user land tools, lol. Besides, if asked I would log them on to something where no real data is stored, such as my ircd account with all of my irc servers.

Re:Probable Cause (3, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | about 8 years ago | (#15788349)

Meanwhile, someone who is *actually* smuggling in illicit data simply has to:
Drop it into a throwaway webmail account from overseas, then retrieve it from that account after returning to the US. A bit of warwalking to unsecured APs keeps the process untraceable.
If I carried the laptop I used for the purpose with me, its drive would have been wiped and it would have a nice clean install, with l3m0nparty wallpaper for Customs enjoyment. :)

Re:Probable Cause (1)

djtachyon (975314) | about 8 years ago | (#15788432)

"what to do with the other guy who won't give up the BIOS password to his laptop anyway."

Clear the CMOS?

Re:Probable Cause (1)

PayPaI (733999) | about 8 years ago | (#15788546)

Good luck doing that on a laptop. Best case you have to build a custom dongle that hooks to the parport or disassemble the laptop. Worst case it's impossible w/o replacing the motherboard (or swapping the chip, which is effectively the same thing) (especially on a Thinkpad)

Re:Probable Cause (1)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | about 8 years ago | (#15789410)

That doesn't work so well on newer laptops anymore. They store the bios password in non-volitale memory. You end up haveing to replace the SMD chip with a blank one to gain access.

Re:Probable Cause (1)

sr180 (700526) | about 8 years ago | (#15788535)

Why not just encrypt it and email it?

Why make life hard?

Re:Probable Cause (2, Informative)

Eivind (15695) | about 8 years ago | (#15789265)

But in the end you're going to do yourself in with your attempts to protect yourself. If they can't get at your files to see that you're free of child porn, they're going to get upset, and they're going to make things difficult for you.

But with TrueCrypt that's not the case. It works like this:

  • They notice the encrypted partition.
  • They ask for the password to read it.
  • You give them the password for the outer filesystem.
  • They verify that it contains harmless but mildly embarassing emails to your girlfriend.
  • They have *NO* way of knowing that there even *IS* an inner filesystem in the unused part of the outer filesystem.

This works because even the *existence* of the inner filesystem can't be demonstrated without knowing the passphrase. Because encrypted, the filesystem looks like random noise, so there's no way of knowing that it is not, infact, random noise.

Look into TrueCrypt.

Re:Probable Cause (2, Informative)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 8 years ago | (#15788035)

Customs is not police, searching for evidence of a crime.

Customs is treasury department border guards.

They're not accusing you of a crime. They're just checking that your taxes are paid and you're not bringing in prohibited items.

They don't need a warrant. They don't need probable cause. They get to check without suspicion.

And if they happen to find evidence of a crime during their search, they get to file charges, just like any other official who happened to see evidence of a crime while performing their normal duties.

Romm's lawyer dropped the ball (5, Informative)

rdwald (831442) | about 8 years ago | (#15787817)

A quick reading of the brief in the "searching laptops at the border" case suggests that the reason they're considering a laptop search as part of the "routine search" they're already allowed to do at borders is because the defendant's lawyer didn't raise the question of whether this search differed from a routine search during the first phase of the trial, and therefore the appellate court can't look at the issue now. Seems more like a dodge to duck the issue rather than an actual ruling. Here, I'll even give you the specific wording:

Finally, and for the first time in his reply brief, Romm argues the search of his laptop was too intrusive on his First Amendment interests to qualify as a "routine" border search. See generally Okafor, 285 F.3d at 846 (noting the difference between routine and non-routine searches). We decline to consider this issue here because "arguments not raised by a party in its opening brief are deemed waived." See Smith v. Marsh, 194 F.3d 1045, 1052 (9th Cir. 1999). Therefore, evaluating the border search of Romm's laptop solely as a routine search, we hold the district court correctly denied Romm's motion to suppress.

Re:Romm's lawyer dropped the ball (2, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 8 years ago | (#15787925)

Well, that's just how the legal system works.

You can't bring up new issues on appeal.

The appeals process is almost solely focused on arguing over the facts, arguments and legal manuevers that were presented at trial.

Smith v. Marsh is a very oft quoted precedent which establishes this rule.

Re:Romm's lawyer dropped the ball (1)

rdwald (831442) | about 8 years ago | (#15787982)

I'm not blaming the judges, I'm blaming the lawyer. He should have known the legal precedent you speak of and planned accordingly, raising all possible arguments at the initial trial.

Fusion power (3, Insightful)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | about 8 years ago | (#15787820)

I'm surprised by the stupid comments found on the page concerning China's Tokamak device. I'm eager for the day when scientists finally manage to create a working fusion reactor. Here's what asimov had to say [www.unb.ca] back in 1975.

Re:Fusion power (2, Funny)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 8 years ago | (#15787968)

I noticed it, too. Don't get me wrong--there are some valid concerns with the Deuterium/Tritium reactors. But most of the comments were, "Doc Ock tried this in Spiderman 2..."

Hopefully they were joking, but it's awfully scary sometimes to think that they were serious...

Obligatory Crypto Post (3, Interesting)

psyclone (187154) | about 8 years ago | (#15787843)

I wonder how difficult it might be to get a stack of CDs containing truecrypt [truecrypt.org] , GPG [gnupg.org] , [insert favorite crypto software here], etc. at one of those airport bookstores? You would include the source and binaries for as many operating systems and languages as possible. Proceeds from the CDs could go to the project authors.

Just a thought.

Doh! (4, Interesting)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | about 8 years ago | (#15787844)

It turns out that Forbes.com was wrong...

Forbes defaming linux? In an article written by Daniel Lyons? Who would have thunk it?

The guy has a well established reputation for being wrong that you can pretty trust anything he writes about linux to be exactly 180-degrees out of sync with reality.

Ordinarily I would want some of whatever he's been smoking, but it sure seems to make you mean and spiteful as a side-effect.

Not smoking (1)

jpardey (569633) | about 8 years ago | (#15787933)

He's been drinking Hateraide .

Maybe I should stop reading Urban Dictionary.

It wasn't Forbes. (2, Insightful)

Jaywalk (94910) | about 8 years ago | (#15788473)

It turns out that Forbes.com was wrong...
In an article written by Daniel Lyons?
Technically, it wasn't Forbes making a claim; it was SCO. I noticed that neither Groklaw nor Slashdot linked to the original article [forbes.com] . If they had, it can be seen that Lyons refers to the SCO suit as "ever more desperate--and ever more weird." He also asked IBM for their side of the story but they -- true to form -- declined to comment. Gone are the insults and gratuitous references to "Linux zealots" which graced earlier articles. [forbes.com] Also significant is that he actually wrote to PJ pointing out that he was reporting SCO's claims, not supporting them. He's obviously beome a great deal more sensitive about Groklaw's influence on the community following the case.

This is just the latest climb down in the SCO peanut gallery as their media allies find other things to write about. Before this article Rob Enderle already moved from his SCO Should Win [eweek.com] article to predicting that SCO's litigation, against IBM or anyone else, is all but done. [linuxpipeline.com]

The story here isn't that SCO has come up with another lame excuse in another vain attempt to flog the dead horse of their court case back to life, but that even their most ardent supporters are starting to see what's going on.

Who the hell is Forbe? (4, Funny)

Speare (84249) | about 8 years ago | (#15787883)

It's not Forbe's, it's Forbes.

Ah yes (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 8 years ago | (#15787897)

Framingham officials have decided to hold off on the policy for now because they need school committee approval. The head of the school policy committee has 'no interest in bringing it up.'

He who controls the agenda, controls policy.

You can't vote on something if the head doesn't put it on the agenda.
/It's kindof a bastard/obstructionist move. Better than a filibuster.

Re:Ah yes (3, Insightful)

ezratrumpet (937206) | about 8 years ago | (#15788240)

That's one of the realities of private institutions. Whoever is in charge, is in charge.

If you agree to go to a private school, you effectively sign away the Bill of Rights as a condition of admission. The school doesn't *have* to let you do anything - all of your rights are actually courtesies.

Most administrators know the difference between reasonable and unreasonable, but it's a fine distinction that too easily lends itself to broad rules and sweeping determinations.

Paedo-hysteria (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15787912)

If you are wondering why the court decided to ignore the constitution, it's probably because they were Thinking of the Children. I quote:

Based on 40 images deleted from his internet cache and two images deleted from another part of his hard drive,2 Romm was convicted of knowingly receiving and knowingly possessing child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2252A(a)(2), (a)(5)(B). Romm appeals both of these convictions, as well as his concurrent mandatory minimum sentences of ten and fifteen years.

Apart from the absurdity of valuing locking away a single paedophile over the basic rights granted to everybody by the constitution, what the hell is going on with the sentence? Fifteen years for looking at forty-odd photos that he deleted afterwards? Some of them were just thumbnails too! What the hell?

I'm not condoning paedophilia (and I think it's fucking stupid that I have to add disclaimers like this), but something is seriously fucked up if looking at a few pictures means you are such a threat to society that you need to be locked up for the best part of two decades. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that over-the-top punishment like this is a worse crime than looking at the pictures in the first place. The kids aren't even going to be aware that he committed this crime, and yet the state is forcibly taking away a huge chunk of his life. The harm of the punishment is clearly out of all proportion to the harm caused by the crime.

Apparently, the excuse they used was a precedent set by an older case:

Instead, " 'searches made at the border . . . are reasonable simply by virtue of the fact that they occur at the border.' " United States v. Flores-Montano, 541 U.S. 149, 152-53 (2004) (quoting United States v. Ramsey, 431 U.S. 606, 616 (1977)).

Er, what? A border search is reasonable because it's a border search? Last time I checked, the constitution didn't say:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. Oh, except when it's at the border.

Re:Paedo-hysteria (2, Insightful)

Tekzel (593039) | about 8 years ago | (#15788095)

The thing I find most disturbing about the kind of conviction Romm got was, whos to say he willfully downloaded those pictures? Hell most of them were in his internet cache, who here has never accidently typoed a URL and got one of those domains the prey on typos? So if I type in www.amazan.com and accidently get a child porn site and they find evidence of the pictures in my cache I can go to jail for 15 years? That seems a little insane to me.

And, on that note, I think it is sad that a nonviolent offender can get near 20 years in prison when a murderer or rapist can walk with less time. There are some really disturbed people making up these laws.

Re:Paedo-hysteria (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15788437)

AC cause I'm an old lazy lurker, but seriously, how many times have you clicked on the wrong URL and seen child porn? Anything obviously illegal is not easily found if there are interested groups who care about the issue. You cannot google for child porn, and you cannot randomly "stumble across" a website offering child porn to the general public. The fact that such images were even on his computer is evidence enough to suggest deviancy based on the difficulty of finding a website offering such images, regardless of our system's screwed up laws.

I understand that this is a slippery slope, but there are certain issues so anethema that I do not care if the government is "somewhat extreme" in their prosecution of said actions; the exploitation of children tops this very short list.

Re:Paedo-hysteria (2, Informative)

Monster_Juice (939126) | about 8 years ago | (#15788538)

He did a search on Google for sites containing child pornography, went to the sites and viewed images and later opened the thumbnails and viewed the pictures for about five minutes while masturbating twice. He later went in and emptied his temporary internet files but did not delete his internet history.

Unfortunately in many states you would get a shorter sentence for molesting a child. There are many organizations trying to get the laws changed to carry a stiffer sentence. In fact in Nebraska if you are short you only get probation [go.com] .

Cases like this are further proof that we do not need the Constitution to be a living document. We also need to get Judges to quit looking for precedence to decide every case. I hope this goes to a higher court or appealed again on the grounds of illegal search and seizure. Do I think the guy is guilty? Hell yes but the ends do not justify the means. There should be border searches, but I also feel there should be a limit to what they are searching for and what they can search.

My final thought is that I have seen no proof that the images were actually of a child. He was looking for child porn but did he find it or did he just find an 18 year old that looks younger than she/he really is? Splitting a hair yes, but if they cannot prove the person in the picture is under 18 this would only be attempt to commit a crime.

Re:Paedo-hysteria (2, Informative)

Calinous (985536) | about 8 years ago | (#15789389)

He was a repeat offender, and there was already a conviction that blocked him to look at child porn

Boo Slashback (0, Flamebait)

TheStonepedo (885845) | about 8 years ago | (#15787916)

What the fuck happened to new stories? Or even comments about moderately old stories. This place is going to pot.

Re:Boo Slashback (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15787947)

Going?

Yeah Slashback (but Boo Backslash) (1)

DumbSwede (521261) | about 8 years ago | (#15788006)

I rather enjoy Slashback as a compendium of previous story updates and wish it had a once daily appearance (it had been far less than this in the past).

Backslash posts however seem to be bloated rehashes of comments. If there were no comment moderations it would be useful, but we do, so it isn't.

Hooray beer! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15788123)

nt

Customs (3, Informative)

TopSpin (753) | about 8 years ago | (#15787936)

"Customs" can rifle through your anus without probable cause or even reasonable suspicion. Why anyone would suspect that laptops are somehow sacred and take it up with the courts mystifies me.

Re:Customs (1)

pembo13 (770295) | about 8 years ago | (#15789412)

Somehow, going through my computer files seems worse. Don't know why.

Feel The Burn Baby (4, Informative)

DumbSwede (521261) | about 8 years ago | (#15787971)

Here is a better link from a Chinese news source Super-heated fusion experiment to reach 100 million degrees [people.com.cn]

Evidently this isn't just aiming to achieve "break-even" but an actual "fusion burn" lasting 1000 seconds or approximately 16 minutes. I can't help but wonder that if they reach this goal whether it will massively accelerate the arrival of commercial fusion energy. The difference between break-even and burn is that break-even merely releases more energy than input, whereas burn requires self sustained reaction without additional input of energy.

Many people think controlled fusion is "undoable" so such a demonstration would go a long way towards getting rid of the "30 years away and always will be" assumption.
We only have to wait until Mid-August to find out.

Re:Feel The Burn Baby (2, Interesting)

Viper Daimao (911947) | about 8 years ago | (#15788048)

Has anyone been following the weird events surround Robert Bussard [wikipedia.org] ? Specifically the last paragraph of that wiki entry:
On March 29, 2006, Bussard claimed [fusor.net] on the fusor.net forum that EMC2 had developed an inertial electrostatic confinement fusion process that was 100,000 times more efficient than previous designs. However, the company's funding ran out, and Bussard is looking for additional funding to develop a full-scale fusion power plant. On June 23, 2006 Bussard provided more details [randi.org] of the breakthrough and the circumstances of the shutdown of this work by the government.
I'd like to believe, but I just haven't seen this anywhere else, much less the somewhat fishy timing of the announcement.

Re:Feel The Burn Baby (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15788453)

If Bussard is really so sure of his breakthrough, I suggest he take his funding request to the Chinese. This would give them a "plan B" for any failure of their tokamak fusion demonstrator. Indeed, if Bussard's claims have merit, the Chinese would "own" the technology for commercial fusion, and the world would have to buy from them.

Such prospects might, in the end, motivate some US agencies to intervene to keep the technology domestic to the US.

Re:Feel The Burn Baby (1)

MadUndergrad (950779) | about 8 years ago | (#15788933)

My neighbor is an acquaintance of Dr. Bussard. I've never met the guy (Bussard) but my neighbor is a big fan of him. He's a pretty good engineer, and from what he's told me of Bussard's ideas, I think they have a pretty good shot. Thing is, Bussard is getting old (in his 80's, I think), so he may not survive to see them through. Apparently he doesn't really like to publish papers either, though I don't know why.

What I've heard of his IEC device is that it absorbs the alpha particles emitted by the reaction and generates power off of them to feed back into the fusor. I don't really know the specifics, but he seems to think that he's worked a lot of the problems out of IEC devices that make most physicists think that they could never be energy positive. This is my chosen field of study, so I'll probably look into this stuff more in-depth, maybe even work with it myself.

Re:Feel The Burn Baby (4, Interesting)

kidtexas (525194) | about 8 years ago | (#15788089)

Actually, to my knowledge they are not shooting for an actual "fusion burn". You can have a 1000 second discharge in a tokamak without it being a burning plasma. I don't even think they are shooting for break even. That could be in their road map though. They'd have to use tritium though and many large fusion devices don't want to do too many DT (deuterium tritium) experiments because then you have a neutron activated device that you have to work with.

To see a burning plasma, I think most of us are going to have to wait for ITER.

Not to steal EAST's thunder - it's a pretty amazing machine, and from what I hear, it only cost a couple tens of millions (like 40-50). If we tried to build something like that in the US it would have cost over 1 billion. yay for cheap labor.

Re:Feel The Burn Baby (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15788478)

If you RT(real)FA that the the UPI article referenced (and the gp linked to) you'd see that they did specifically say that it "should give off its own energy". I think that's much too tentitive for them to not be referring to break even, especially since they've already achieved a test discharge. That being said, it is hard to tell from the decidedly non-technical source. In either case, 1000 seconds should be big step up as far as I know. And anyway, I'm pleased that anyone is doing the research. China might actually be a good place for this sort of research, since they can probably act without a lot of the red tape and "oversight" you might see in something like ITER.

Re:Feel The Burn Baby (5, Informative)

kidtexas (525194) | about 8 years ago | (#15788528)

I didn't read the article. I am a plasma physicist though. Just because a plasma gives off energy doesn't mean its burning. Heck it doesn't even mean it has any fusion reactions going on. No doubt EAST will have fusion events though. I really didn't think EAST was shooting for break even; I thought they were focussing on high plasma current almost steady state discharges which is quite significant in and of itself. It's a very cool machine - superconducting field coils, discharges up to 1000s, 1 MA of current. I wish it was in the US.

But I don't think they are going for break even. They'd have to put tritium in it, and if that does happen, it won't happen for a bunch of years. You might read about them claiming break even based on a DD shot they did and extrapolating what the fusion output would have been if was a DT reaction... But its not quite the same.

Re:Feel The Burn Baby (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15788697)

NO!

FFS, this is why so many people are so skeptical of fusion. EAST is NOT attempting to achieve ignition, let alone breakeven. It's just a test of the use of superconducting magnets to generate the poloidal and toroidal fields. We do not, and should not, expect to see a breakeven tokamak until 2016, the completion date for the ITER, whose goals include a 1000 second burn at Q (power out/power in) of 5 and a shorter burn of Q=10, but even its goals DO NOT include ignition (Q=infinity, ie the burn is totally self-sustaining).

Why Scotty's ashes are being sent up late... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15788083)

Apparently the engineers testing the rocket didn't take this sage advice:

LaForge: "Yeah, well I told the captain I'd have this analysis done in an hour."
Scott: "How long would it really take?"
LaForge: "An hour!"
Scott: "Oh, you didn't tell him how long it would *really* take, did you?"
LaForge: "Well of course I did."
Scott: "Oh, laddie, you've got a lot to learn if you want people to think of you as a miracle worker!"

Google please (1)

rea1l1 (903073) | about 8 years ago | (#15788101)

It would be a beautiful thing if Google stepped in and offered an OS designed specifically for the hardware coming out of this advanced company. Maybe having google merge with AMD/ATI to create a company large enough that can combat Microsoft. I love Google. Is it obvious?

Re:Google please (1)

pembo13 (770295) | about 8 years ago | (#15789415)

Yes it is. Kinda depressing too.

Too bad they didn't ask the only real question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15788231)

Are you going to open up documentation for the ati products like you have always done with amd products?

what risks? (2)

SuperBanana (662181) | about 8 years ago | (#15788300)

The plasma discharge will draw international attention since some scientists are concerned with risks involved in such a process. But Chinese researchers involved in the project say any radiation will cease once the test is completed.

So...I don't get it. They probably have a good guess as to how much radiation will be generated and everyone camps out at a safe distance.

What's everyone so worried about?

Re:what risks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15789345)

yeah, or the experiments being done in the centre of a major city

New Name? (0, Redundant)

MattPat (852615) | about 8 years ago | (#15788425)

I think the AMD/ATI merger definitely needs a new name, and I'd like to propose a couple of suggestions.

First of all, whatever the new name is, I think it should be made by rearranging the letters.

One of my ideas is a name that I feel encompasses the struggle of computer enthusiasts to attain the best technology available: A... DAMIT!

My other idea would be for if they wanted to take a more personal approach to the computer market, and give there company a human name. IT Adam definitely is catchy... I'd remember it...

AMD/ATI, you're welcome to call me if you'd like to use one of those names. We can work out a contract... I won't ask for too much.

Re:New Name? (1)

MattPat (852615) | about 8 years ago | (#15788474)

there company = their company

Sorry, missed it when I proofread my comment!

What about the other Tokamaks? (1)

djtachyon (975314) | about 8 years ago | (#15788489)

What happened to ITER [wikipedia.org] ? What happened to JET [wikipedia.org] ?

If we are lucky the chinese will blow a hole in that side of the planet and take the heat of the US.

how "open" is AMD? (1)

jonwil (467024) | about 8 years ago | (#15788517)

How "open" is AMD as far as providing specs, documentation, info and code goes? And what effect will the "openness" of AMD (if any) have on ATI?

Scotty's ashes delayed... (2, Funny)

SEWilco (27983) | about 8 years ago | (#15788859)

the flight was delayed as tests were carried out on the rocket.
I hope they don't need more power!

Searches and client records (1)

phorm (591458) | about 8 years ago | (#15788934)

I wonder about businesspeople crossing the border with laptops from work. What if the laptops contain private company information, or even client information. How about trade secrets?

Yes, in most cases agents wouldn't bother with this, but all it takes is once.

united press international (1)

skam240 (789197) | about 8 years ago | (#15789116)

does anybody know anything about UPI? (i dont) it's linked to as the source for the article on chinese fusion. i ask because there was an add for shirts labeling hillary clinton as a communist on the site. i dont care what your political affiliation is it should be obvious that she is not a communist. seeing this kind of advertising (what one should recognize as extremist advertising, regardless of left or right political alignment) does not speak well of the source.
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