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Comcast Allegedly Asking Customers to Stop Using Tor

Geoffrey.landis Re:Illegal to use proxy services [Re: So-to-speak (379 comments)

The straightforward reading, however, is that it is forbidden to use proxy services. You're also not allowed to run them, but that's specified separately.

No that's not a straightforward reading at all.

Lets drop the 'or run' to simplify it slightly and read that:

You're right: if you change what it says by deleting some of the words, then it says something different.

In the next sentence, it says in particular what you're not allowed to use or run, including proxy services.

Use or run: It's not merely that you're not allowed to run proxy services: you're not allowed to use them, either.

If that's stupid-- well, how about that.

As I said: the interpretation of this text could be ambiguous. You could do the lawyer thing and claim to interpret it the way you say. But the clear straightforward text is: proxies are listed on the list of things you are specifically not allowed to use or run.

10 hours ago
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Comcast Allegedly Asking Customers to Stop Using Tor

Geoffrey.landis Illegal to use proxy services [Re: So-to-speak le (379 comments)

Huh? It is a violation to RUN a proxy. Not USE a proxy.

Here is the text of what's forbidden, from TFA. Note the bold face on the word use (bold is from the original):

use or run dedicated, stand-alone equipment or servers from the Premises that provide network content or any other services to anyone outside of your Premises local area network (“PremisesLAN”), also commonly referred to as public services or servers. Examples of prohibited equipment and servers include, but are not limited to, email, web hosting, file sharing, and proxy services and servers;

Agreed, the interpretation of this text could be ambiguous. The straightforward reading, however, is that it is forbidden to use proxy services. You're also not allowed to run them, but that's specified separately.

yesterday
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Comcast Allegedly Asking Customers to Stop Using Tor

Geoffrey.landis Re: So-to-speak legal (379 comments)

Then TOR will be wrapped by a VPN service, and Comcast will be fscked.

Didn't you read the article? VPN is against Comcast's terms of service-- it's a proxy.

yesterday
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Researcher Fired At NSF After Government Questions Her Role As 1980s Activist

Geoffrey.landis Re:Wrong Title (496 comments)

And if that had been what they'd asked, fine.

But it wasn't. They asked about her membership in groups advocating overthrow of the US government, not about whether she knew or wrote letters to people in prison.

4 days ago
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Researcher Fired At NSF After Government Questions Her Role As 1980s Activist

Geoffrey.landis Re:Wrong Title (496 comments)

The report is pretty clear. In her original interview, she denies involvement:

During that session, Barr answered “no” when asked if she had ever been a member of an organization “dedicated to the use of violence” to overthrow the U.S. government or to prevent others from exercising their constitutional rights.

Then, they actually checked what they told the interviewers. Despite being a self-described "worker bee," she had been involved with a groups actively dedicated to the use of violence to overthrow the government.

Nope. Actually read the article, instead of just skimming. The two groups that she was involved with in the 1980s were not "dedicated to the use of violence to overthrow the U.S. government." That was a different group, which OPM said "had ties" to the organizations she'd belonged to. She wasn't a member of the third group, or, as far as I can tell, the OPM doesn't claim she was.

I don't know what "had ties" means. But, was she a member of a group dedicated to the use of violence to overthrow the government: apparently not.

5 days ago
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Researcher Fired At NSF After Government Questions Her Role As 1980s Activist

Geoffrey.landis Incorrect tense (496 comments)

"Valerie Barr was a tenured professor of computer science at Union College in Schenectady,"

is.

5 days ago
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Information Theory Places New Limits On Origin of Life

Geoffrey.landis Re:Gibbs Free Energy (211 comments)

No, it puts quantitative limits on what is to be expected.

Delta G = Delta H - T Delta S

where S = k ln (omega)

Any other quesitons?

5 days ago
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Information Theory Places New Limits On Origin of Life

Geoffrey.landis Gibbs Free Energy (211 comments)

Meh. Information is basically tied to entropy. You can reduce entropy (which is to say, you can order information); it just takes energy to do so (and in the process releasing waste heat).

So, basically, this says nothing more useful than "Life requires a source of free energy, and a way to reject waste heat."

Sure, but we knew that already.

5 days ago
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Feds Say NSA "Bogeyman" Did Not Find Silk Road's Servers

Geoffrey.landis Re:Given that PayPal, banks make mistakes regularl (142 comments)

I find it a bit hard to believe that a guy who is able to get one of the largest black-market enterprises running on a server/farm connected to an anonymous/decentralized network isn't smart enough to *not* give it a public IP and/or put the equivalent to a home internet router in front of it.

People make mistakes all the time. Even smart people.

You've never made a mistake? Never missed a bug? Never misconfigured a system? Ever?

Do a hundred things right, and one thing wrong, and just guess which one will get caught.

about a week ago
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Newly Discovered Asteroid To Pass Within Geostationary Orbit Sunday

Geoffrey.landis Bounce? [Re:3:2 resonance] (101 comments)

it would still be decelerated to a safe velocity before hit hit the gorund and would just bounce.

Bounce?? This was calculated using Kermit's space program?

about two weeks ago
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Newly Discovered Asteroid To Pass Within Geostationary Orbit Sunday

Geoffrey.landis 3:2 resonance (101 comments)

What I find cool about this asteroid is that it's in a 1.5 year orbit. That means it's in a 3:2 resonance with Earth. So it'll come by again if you miss it this time, every 3 years.

Normally you'd expect asteroids that makes this close an approach to Earth to have a bit of a change in orbital parameters after the flyby, but that 3:2 orbital ratio is unlikely to be a coincidence-- it looks like a resonant orbit, in which the Earth's gravitational perturbation has already modified the orbit until it reached that stable resonance.

The small-body page allows you to propagate the orbit into the future, if you're interested. (Not a good tool to use if you're calculating missions, though-- you'll want a more accurate simulator! The V_infinity is a bit large for a rendezvous, though.)

about two weeks ago
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Could Tech Have Stopped ISIS From Using Our Own Heavy Weapons Against Us?

Geoffrey.landis Just use a relay... (448 comments)

I am reminded of Asimov's story "The Mayors," in Foundation (first published in Astounding Science-Fiction, June 1942, in which an "ultrawave relay" disables the warship that the Foundation sold to the Anacreonian navy when the Anacreons try to use it against them.

about two weeks ago
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Mysterious, Phony Cell Towers Found Throughout US

Geoffrey.landis Re:sensationalism, ahoy (237 comments)

Learn to use encryption and quit your whining.

If you read the article, the interceptors hack into the baseband processor (that's not the phone OS-- it's the system that controls the radio system in the phone), and switch the connection "from 4G down to 2G, a much older protocol that is easier to de-crypt in real-time. But the standard smart phones didn’t even show they’d experienced the same attack."

So you may think you're using encryption, and stop whining. But although your phone says you are encrypted, you have been switched to a breakable encryption, which is to say, no encryption at all.

about two weeks ago
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Maryam Mirzakhani Is the First Woman Fields Medalist

Geoffrey.landis Re:Men and women not the SAME!! (75 comments)

Men and Women are not the same. Men tend to spread out wider both dumber and smarter then the mean aka they have larger standard deviation then women in both intelligence and sanity level.

This is a hypothesis. You are stating it as a fact.

The evidence for this hypothesis is, at the moment, quite weak.

Evidence for this hypothesis would be best found by examining a society in which males and females are given identical treatment, and not given different social cues childhood or raised to different expectations. I'm not sure where you find that society.

about a month ago
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DARPA Wants To Kill the Password

Geoffrey.landis The problem is false negative (383 comments)

What happens if you get sick or injured? Can you imagine pink eye with retinal scanners?

Yes, this is the serious problem-- just as serious as the problem of people fooling the password-alternative is the problem of the false negatives: getting locked out.

Notice that most of these weren't fingerprint scanners or retinal scanners-- they were stuff like gait monitors, or even more bizarre stuff, like listening to your heartbeat. So, if you twist your ankle--or even buy a new pair of shoes-- you're out of luck. Taking pseudoephedrine for a cold? Ooops, your heartrate is different. You're locked out.

--instead of using these instead of password, however, what about if you use alternate ID as a second check. It doesn't lock you out, but it does trigger a watchdog alert that pays attention to what you're doing.

You can change a password, you can't change your retina print. What do you do when your account is compromised? Get new eyes?

Yes, we've all seen dozens of those science fiction stories where they steal people's eyes, or cut off their fingers, or take swabs of their DNA.

about a month ago
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Do Dark Matter and Dark Energy Cast Doubt On the Big Bang?

Geoffrey.landis 2nd law [Re:microwave bright [Re:Oh good lord.]] (225 comments)

If a civilisation could create a Dyson sphere, don't you think they'd have some use for all the wasted energy "radiating in infrared"?

If they can get usable energy out of waste heat, they have a means of getting around the second law of thermodynamics. It's hard to guess what a technology with that much sophistication can do, but if they can do that, they don't need to surround a star with a shell to harvest energy.

about a month ago
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Do Dark Matter and Dark Energy Cast Doubt On the Big Bang?

Geoffrey.landis microwave bright [Re:Oh good lord.] (225 comments)

well, if Dyson spheres are anywhere near the size of the solar system, they would radiate in the infrared. Longer infrared the larger they are.

You could imagine a Dyson sphere that is vastly larger than a solar system -- like, a hundred AU across, or so--that would radiate waste heat in millimeter wave, or even something vastly larger than that that would radiate in microwave.

But, of course, that doesn't solve the problem-- they would be shine like beacons to radio telescopes.

about a month ago

Submissions

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Adrift

Geoffrey.landis Geoffrey.landis writes  |  about 4 months ago

Geoffrey.landis (926948) writes "After the space shuttle retired in 2011, Russia has hiked the price of a trip to the International Space Station, to $71 million per seat. Less well recognized is the disparity in station crews. Before the shuttle stopped flying, an equal number of American and Russian crew members lived on board. But afterwards the bear began squeezing. For every two NASA astronauts that have flown to the station, three Russians have gone.

Eric Burger asks, how did it come to this?"

Link to Original Source
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A Playlist for Comet Ison

Geoffrey.landis Geoffrey.landis writes  |  about 9 months ago

Geoffrey.landis (926948) writes "As comet ISON made its perilous perihelion pass, I decided that ISON needed a theme song, but as the nature of its journey became evident, shattering in the sunlight, I realized that ISON needs an entire playlist. So, for your entertainment, here's my comet ISON playlist. Comments? "
Link to Original Source
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Why the Arabic World Turned Away From Science

Geoffrey.landis Geoffrey.landis writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Geoffrey.landis writes "The historical period that we call the dark ages, from perhaps 600 to 1200 AD, was the golden age of Islamic science, when great advances in science and technology were taking place in the middle east. But somehow, as the west experienced its renaissance, the blossoming of the age of science, and the founding of the modern technological world, the Arabic world instead turned away from science. Muslim countries have nine scientists, engineers, and technicians per thousand people, compared with a world average of forty-one, and of roughly 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, only two scientists from Muslim countries have won Nobel Prizes in science. Why? In an article "Why the Arabic World Turned Away from Science" in The New Atlantis, Hillel Ofek examines both the reasons why Islamic science flourished, and why it failed. Are we turning the same way, with a rising tide of religious fundamentalism and dogma shouting down the culture of inquiry and free thinking needed for scientific advances? Perhaps we should be looking at the decline of Islamic science as a cautionary tale."
Link to Original Source
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The Election Map, as a Cartogram

Geoffrey.landis Geoffrey.landis writes  |  about 2 years ago

Geoffrey.landis writes "By now we've all seen those maps of the US colored red and blue for which presidential candidate won a particular state. Those maps are a bit misleading, though, since vast areas of America have very low population. Mark Newman, of the University of Michigan, shows variant ways of mapping the election, with the maps distorted to un-distort the data."
Link to Original Source
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Harrassment of Climate Scientists is Unique to America

Geoffrey.landis Geoffrey.landis writes  |  about 2 years ago

Geoffrey.landis writes "In the United States, climate scientists are subject to significant amounts of harassment , including "torrents of freedom of information requests, hate mail and even death threats from skeptics"-- but this phenomenon seems to be happening only in America. In other countries, climate scientists are mostly free to work without fear.

"The harassment has an intimidating effect—especially on young scientists," according to Stefan Rahmstorf, head of Earth system analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. Alan Leshner of the American Association for the Advancement of Science said he sees the attacks on scientists in the United States as "very disconcerting." Last year, AAAS released a statement condemning the harassment. "The incidents reflect two unfortunate things," Leshner said in an interview, "we live in a society where ideologies trump our willingness to hear what science says, and in a country where free speech is so widely valued, people are being attacked."

The only other country in which climate scientists routinely face harassment and death threats is Australia, which is the largest exporter of coal in the world. Coal industry groups in Australia have sought to cast doubt on climate science and have lobbied against carbon emission limits."

Link to Original Source
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Majority of Americans Think Obama Is Better Suited to Handle an Alien Invasion

Geoffrey.landis Geoffrey.landis writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Geoffrey.landis writes "At last, a public opinion poll that gets the opinions of ordinary Americans on the issues that matter! Apparently, two thirds of Americans polled think that Barrack Obama is better suited to defend against an alien invasion than Mitt Romney, according to a survey from National Geographic Channel, done to tout their upcoming TV series "chasing UFOs".
In follow-up questioning, Americans would rather call on the Hulk (21%) than either Batman (12%) or Spiderman (8%) to step to save the day.
No word on which candidate is most fit to defend America against shambling hordes of undead seeking to destroy civilization in the zombie apocalypse (perhaps that will be brought out in the debates)."

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Photographing police: Deletion is not forever

Geoffrey.landis Geoffrey.landis writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Geoffrey.landis writes "The courts have now ruled that the public has the right to videotape the police in the performance of their duties. Of course, that doesn't stop the police from harrassing people who do so, even journalists, not to mention confiscating their cameras.
As it turns out, though, they're not always very knowledgable about how deletion works.
I would say that erasing, or attempting to erase, a video of police arresting somebody illegally (How can a journalist be charged with "resisting arrest" when he was not being arrested for anything other than resisting arrest?) is a clear case of destruction of evidence by the officers. Destroying evidence is obstruction of justice. That's illegal. Why haven't these police officers been arrested?"

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Is the creative class engine sputtering?

Geoffrey.landis Geoffrey.landis writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Geoffrey.landis writes "The "creative class" was supposed to be the new engine of the United States economy, but--according to Scott Timberg, writing in Salon-- that engine is sputtering. While a very few technologists have become very wealthy, for most creative workers, the rise of amateurs and enthusiasts means that few are actually making a living. The new economy is good for the elite who own the servers, but, for most, "the dream of a laptop-powered 'knowledge class' is dead," he says."
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Neal Stephenson on "Innovation Starvation"

Geoffrey.landis Geoffrey.landis writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Geoffrey.landis writes "In an essay discussing the space program, author Neal Stephenson suggests that the decline of the space program "might be symptomatic of a general failure of our society to get big things done." He suggests that we may be suffering from innovation starvation:
"Innovation can’t happen without accepting the risk that it might fail. The vast and radical innovations of the mid-20th century took place in a world that, in retrospect, looks insanely dangerous and unstable.""

Link to Original Source
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Conservative means accepting science

Geoffrey.landis Geoffrey.landis writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Geoffrey.landis writes "Recently, it has seemed that it is a requirements of being a conservative to deny the accuracy of climate science and cast aspersions on the motives of scientists, regardless of any evidence offered. So it's a little refreshing to see a Republican weighing in on the side of science, saying that conservatives should deal in facts, and "base policies on science, not sentiment.""
Link to Original Source
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Loan to Solyndra pushed by both sides

Geoffrey.landis Geoffrey.landis writes  |  about 3 years ago

Geoffrey.landis writes "I haven't been paying much attention to the bankruptcy of solar array manufacturer Solyndra-- they were pushing a technology I don't find terribly exciting. Still, it's interesting how the recent spin has called it as a failure of the Obama energy initiatives. In fact, as a recent timeline shows, the loan guarantees for renewable energy came from the Energy Policy Act of 2005-- and the particular loan to Solyndra was fast-tracked by the Bush administration, in an effort to show it has done something to support renewable energy.

alternate URL: http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/09/13/317594/timeline-bush-administration-solyndra-loan-guarantee/"

Link to Original Source
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What to Know if you're Filming the TSA

Geoffrey.landis Geoffrey.landis writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Geoffrey.landis (926948) writes "CNN posts a brief article "Shooting video at a TSA checkpoint? Here's what you should know, explaining your rights in shooting video of TSA screenings. First, she notes (from an article on the TSA blog last year) that the TSA doesn't forbid photography, as long as you don't film those monitors showing nude passengers:

"We don't prohibit public, passengers or press from photographing, videotaping, or filming at screening locations. You can take pictures at our checkpoints as long as you're not interfering with the screening process or slowing things down. We also ask that you do not film or take pictures of our monitors."

--the article does go on to note that state laws or local ordinances may prohibit filming.

And then she posts advice from Ms. Smith's "Privacy and Security Fanatic," which is that

"if you do videotape TSA checkpoints, then you should have the TSA public affairs (TSA's Office of Strategic Communications) number plugged into your phone: (571) 227-2829. Another important phone number to have with you is the TSA's Office of Civil Rights at (571) 227-1917."

Ms. Smith goes on to tell some stories of people who have been challenged at airport screening stations for shooting video. Important note, it's probably wise not to take off your pants except your underwear while doing this.

So, go ahead, and video, but know your rights and "stay calm and polite at all times." You could be the next You-tube sensation."

Link to Original Source

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Lawsuit shows Dell hid extent of computer flaws

Geoffrey.landis Geoffrey.landis writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Geoffrey.landis (926948) writes "According to an article in the New York Times, documents revealed in a lawsuit against Dell show that the computer maker hid the extent of possible damages due to a faulty capacitor in the ocmputers it shipped from 2003 to 2005. Dell employees were told "Don’t bring this to customer’s attention proactively” and “emphasize uncertainty.”
"As it tried to deal with the mounting issues, Dell began ranking customers by importance, putting first those who might move their accounts to another PC maker, followed by those who might curtail sales and giving the lowest priority to those who were bothered but still willing to stick with Dell."

--in other words, the most loyal customers got shafted first."

Link to Original Source
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US says Genes should not be patentable

Geoffrey.landis Geoffrey.landis writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Geoffrey.landis (926948) writes "A friend-of-the-court brief filed by the U.S. Department of Justice says that genes should not be patentable.

“We acknowledge that this conclusion is contrary to the longstanding practice of the Patent and Trademark Office, as well as the practice of the National Institutes of Health and other government agencies that have in the past sought and obtained patents for isolated genomic DNA,” they wrote.

The argument that genes in themselves (as opposed to, say, tests made from genetic information, or drugs that act on proteins made by genes) should be patentable is that "genes isolated from the body are chemicals that are different from those found in the body" and therefore are eligible for patents. This argument is, of course, completely silly, and apparently the U.S. government may now actually realize that."

Link to Original Source
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A New Species of Patent Troll

Geoffrey.landis Geoffrey.landis writes  |  about 4 years ago

Geoffrey.landis (926948) writes "From the Wall Street Journal, there's an article warning that there's a new species of patent troll out there. These sue companies that sell products with an expired patent number on them. That's right, it's against the law to sell a product that's marked with an expired patent number. The potential fine? $500. Per violation-- and some of the companies have patent numbers on old plastic molds that have made literally billions of copies. Using whistle-blower laws, "anyone can file a claim on behalf of the government, and plaintiffs must split any fine award evenly with it."
You've been warned."

Link to Original Source
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E=mc^2 is a liberal conspiracy

Geoffrey.landis Geoffrey.landis writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Geoffrey.landis (926948) writes ""Conservapedia," was founded to be a conservative-tilted alternative to Wikipedia.
From the article: "To many conservatives, almost everything is a secret liberal plot: from fluoride in the water to medicare reimbursements for end-of-life planning with your doctor to efforts to teach evolution in schools. But Conservapedia founder and Eagle Forum University instructor Andy Schlafly — Phyllis Schlafly's son — has found one more liberal plot: the theory of relativity."
Yes, that's right: relativity is apparently a liberal plot. No doubt, the atomic bomb is a hoax, just like the moon landing and global warming."

Link to Original Source
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Man buys the police website to complain

Geoffrey.landis Geoffrey.landis writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Geoffrey.landis (926948) writes "When a Tennessee police department let its website expire, the site was purchased by a man who uses it to complain about the traffic cameras that gave him a $90 speeding ticket.
The bluffcitypd.com site now shows a cartoon police badge clutching a handful of money and smiling.
Also reported in other places, such as the Chicago Tribune and USA Today"

Link to Original Source
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George W. Bush embraces alternative energy

Geoffrey.landis Geoffrey.landis writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Geoffrey.landis (926948) writes "It's hard to believe, but former Texas oilman George W. Bush just came out in favor of alternate energy sources. At the American Wind Energy Association conference in Dallas, Bush said: "It's in our economic interests that we diversify away from oil. It's in our environmental interest. And, finally, it's in our national security interest." More details are on the green blog:

He had said in a State of the Union address that America was addicted to oil. "If you’re a guy from Texas and you say America is addicted to oil, it's a surprising moment," Mr. Bush said... These days, the former president said, "The overall trend in my judgment is that new technologies will find new ways to power our lives. I fully believe that hybrid plug-ins will be a transition to electric cars," he said, and that new ways to generate electricity will be needed.

In a time when climate-warming-deniers are screaming that shifting to alternate energy sources is going to destroy America's economy, it's amazing to see the former number-one Republican actually say that moving to alternate energy is in our economic interest, and new ways to generate electricity are needed Now if we could only get the ones who are still in power to understand this..."
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