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U.S. Threatened Massive Fine To Force Yahoo To Release Data

Pollux All doublespeak (223 comments)

Terrorists did not take away our freedoms. They were only successful in killing 2,996 people and causing about $19 billion in property damage. We gave our own freedoms away.

And in more doublespeak, Obama shared this with us today:

“We carry on because as Americans we do not give in to fear. Ever."

Nope. Americans never give into fear. We also don't allow virtual strip searches at airports, we don't allow the federal government to spy on our private cellular communications, and we guarantee all political whistle-blowers immunity from criminal charges.

about a week ago

Google Spots Explicit Images of a Child In Man's Email, Tips Off Police

Pollux A lesson in warrants and probable cause (790 comments)

I understand your concern about corporations breaching your 4th amendment rights, but your reasoning is misplaced. In fact, this case is a great example of the 4th amendment being followed, not circumvented.

The 4th amendment does not guarantee protection against search and seizure; it limits when and how searches and seizures can be exercised. Here's a portion of the 4th amendment for you: " Warrants shall [be] issue[d], 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.” In this case, Google's tip was not used as evidence to convict this man of a crime. Google's tip was used by police to justify probable cause that a crime had been committed. (This does not mean he's guilty of the crime, only that there's a greater likelihood that he committed it than he didn't.) The police used this information to obtain a search warrant. I'm sure that the evidence they used to convict him was gathered through the exercise of that warrant.

Google's tip is no different than a tip coming from any other source. Say a bank teller (for association's sake, let's say the bank was incorporated) was just depositing some money for a customer who drove up to her window, and she saw in her security camera what she believed to be a missing child. She calls police and reports what she saw. The police go to the bank and look at the recorded camera footage and agree that the image captured does resemble a missing child. They grab the license plate number from the footage, trace the registration to its owner, obtain a search warrant, go to the owner's residence, search the premise, find the child, confirm it's the missing child, and convict the individual of kidnapping (and probably a host of other charges to boot). In this circumstance, private information (whether an e-mail sitting on Google-owned servers or a bank's CCTV DVR) shared with police is used to meet probable cause and obtain a warrant. And in both circumstances, a search and seizure is warranted.

If you want to minimize your risk of a warrant being issued against you, don't display evidence of a crime outside of your own home. (And when the police come knocking on your door and politely ask you, "May we come in?", unless they flash a warrant in your face, don't be polite back.) And while IANAL, for more information about the 4th amendment and warrants as written by one, I strongly recommend you read The Illustrated Guide to Law. Very, very informative.

about a month and a half ago

Geographic Segregation By Education

Pollux Wrong conclusion... (230 comments)

The research shows a clear trend of the desirable cities becoming even more desirable, to the point where it's almost a necessity for city planners to lure college graduates or face decline.

I drew a different conclusion from this article. I know the article's focus was on attracting college graduates so that the city can prosper, but I instead considered the contrapositive: If a city is not prospering, then it has a lower-than-average percentage of college graduates. I see it as another confirmation of residential segregation.

More and more, there is becoming a "separate and not equal" divide in communities based on their socioeconomic status. As a teacher, I see it all the time in schools: there are some schools that leverage the taxpayer for new buildings, new technology, higher salaries, and less stressful work environments, while many others struggle due to an inability to levy. Instead of governments focusing on what to do about producing and/or attracting college graduates, perhaps it should instead consider what to do about the absence of them in their community.

about 2 months ago

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

Pollux But now... (1330 comments)

Corporations are people too.

As in the Citizen's United case, this ruling is a complete perversion of constitutional rights on the American Public, and both as abominable as Plessy v. Ferguson. Here's the train of logic that the majority took:

1) Take a piece of legislation originally designed to protect sacred American Indian worship sites, though more broadly individual religious freedoms,
2) And extend those freedoms to corporations with this hocus-pocus incantation: "The purpose of extending rights to corporations is to protect the rights of people associated with the corporation, including shareholders, officers, and employees." (573 U.S. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, Syllabus, pg. 3)

And while I was never a fan of Ginsburg in my younger years, given the recent evolution of the SCotUS, that opinion is rapidly changing, especially when she has this to say on the matter (573 U.S. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, Ginsburg dissent, pg. 14):

Until this (Citizens United) litigation, no decision of this Court recognized a for-profit corporation’s qualification for a religious exemption from a generally applicable law...the exercise of religion is characteristic of natural persons, not artificial legal entities. As Chief Justice Marshall observed nearly two centuries ago, a corporation is “an artificial being, invisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of law.” (Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 4 Wheat. 518, 636 [1819]).

Should just rewrite the Preamble of the Constitution now to read, "We the Corporations of the United States..."

about 3 months ago

Supreme Court Rules Cell Phones Can't Be Searched Without a Warrant

Pollux Re:If you have nothing to hide... (249 comments)

That is the exact argument that justifies a police state. Do you want a society where you can be searched at any time by the police to see if you're guilty of a crime, even when they do not have reasonable suspicion of you committing a crime? You, your parents, your friends, and everyone you know will always be treated as though you're guilty of something, and the police's job is just finding out what that something is.

about 3 months ago

Former FCC Head: "We Should Be Ashamed of Ourselves" For State of Broadband

Pollux What's the point? (118 comments)

a group of internet industry executives and politicians came together...

Did this individual seriously believe he could make this audience of industry executives and politicians feel shame? What next? Will he tell a serial rapist to feel remorse? Will he tell a psychopathic murderer to feel empathy?

These people are incapable of feeling shame. It's what's made them so successful in the first place.

about 2 months ago

Washington Redskins Stripped of Trademarks

Pollux Re:Chicago Blackhawks too? (646 comments)

Actually the term "nigger" has become so offensive that just stating it is somehow offensive.

"Dear Momma -- Wherever you are, if you ever hear the word "nigger" again, remember they are advertising my book." -- dedication written in the book Nigger, by Dick Gregory

Go ahead. Use the word. Advertise his book. (I've personally read it...good read, especially the 1st chapter.)

about 2 months ago

Kingston and PNY Caught Bait-and-Switching Cheaper Components After Good Reviews

Pollux You're not thinking like a CEO... (289 comments)

That 20c saved isn't passed onto the customer. It's pocketed by the corporation.

Quality is no longer a characteristic business compete with. Why spend another 20c making a better product? It's the age of, and all anyone cares about is the lowest price. So, corporations have a new recipe for success:

1) Buy your competition to reduce competition.
2) Collude with your remaining competition so that everything is made in China and is sold at the same price.
3) Nickel & dime the consumer to maximize your profit.

By the time the business goes bankrupt due to piss-poor products and a loss of customer faith, the execs have already leached away all its capital. Once an exec makes it to the top, what incentive do they have to do what's best for the company or the consumer?

about 3 months ago

The Ethics Cloud Over Ballmer's $2 Billion B-Ball Buy

Pollux Two-party recording laws (398 comments)

If you prefer to live in a state that requires two-party consent to record, be my guest.

Just don't ever complain if a police officer ever takes away your camera as they're beating you senseless. (In other words, when an injustice is being committed, you cannot expect the unjust to permit their acts to be made public. One-party consent states doesn't have this issue.)

about 3 months ago

AMD Preparing To Give Intel a Run For Its Money

Pollux Need to reconsider your hardware news sites... (345 comments)

According to xbitlabs, Kaveri has worse CPU performance than its predecessor.

AMD got lucky. It's found a dependable stream of revenue in game consoles. Better yet, no matter whether Microsoft or Sony wins the next generation console wars, both have AMD under the hood. Now that's hedging your bets. Whoever at AMD was in charge of negotiating these deals deserves a paid vacation to Necker Island with all the trimmings.

But lets get serious. AMD's current processors suck. And I hate saying that. A decade ago, AMD was the hero in the processor wars. If it wasn't for AMD, we'd be stuck with Rambus RAM, using Itanium processors, and have PCs running so hot we could cook breakfast on the case. But AMD's desktop processors are inefficient, almost two generations in fab technology behind Intel, and just cannot compete at any level.

Unlike 10-12 years ago, Intel's making great strides in microprocessor technology. It is thanks to AMD's competitiveness that Intel finally got its act together, and for that, I will always be thankful. If they can find a way to improve on Intel's product line, I'd be amazed at their comback. But do they really need to?

about 4 months ago

UN to Debate Use of Fully Autonomous Weapons, New Report Released

Pollux Vicious Cycle (180 comments)

Killer robots, or fully autonomous weapons, do not yet exist but would be the next step after remote-controlled armed drones used by the US military today.

Weapons contractors make their living imagining new weapons, sharing their visions with the public, then advocating that the US Military develop those weapons to avoid "the enemy" from making them first. Then once the weapon is invented, new weapons need to be created to defend against the weapon that already exists. Wash, rinse, repeat.

And people wonder why so much money is spent on defense spending.

about 4 months ago

Can You Tell the Difference? 4K Galaxy Note 3 vs. Canon 5D Mark III Video

Pollux No different than asking... (201 comments)

Can Joe Sixpack tell the difference between a $10 glass of house wine vs. a $100 glass of 1982 Chateau Gruaud Larose?

Besides, why would I use a DSLR to shoot video? Wrong tool for the job. That's like using a Ferrari to haul construction equipment or using an F-150 on racing day.

On the other hand, just try to use a smartphone to take pictures of fireworks at night or shoot a picture of your child making a layup at his basketball game in an indoor gym. Then tell me how the two compare.

about 4 months ago

Phil Shapiro says 20,000 Teachers Should Unite to Spread Chromebooks (Video)

Pollux Wow, do you have it wrong (101 comments)

I work in a K-12 school setting. And let me be up front about it...Google is Evil Empire 2.0. I'm not a fan of signing over 1,000 students to Google so that they can harvest personal data and target ad services to them.

But nobody, absolutely nobody does a better job at KISS than Google. With Google Apps, school districts can now setup dumb-terminal-2.0s (i.e. Chromebooks) at $250 a pop, teach almost anybody how to administer the user domain, and no longer depend on specialized staff for server administration. Kids have access to their files at home, at school, on vacation, on their Chromebook, on their school computer, on their iPhone... nothing else comes even close to this level of simplicity and usability. And while Google Apps doesn't cut it for power users, it does exactly what it needs to do for the average student and teacher. And schools are signing up in droves.

You're smoking the FOSS pipe thinking that schools can and will be willing to pay for techs who know how to work with Apache, MySQL, et al. And the iPads haven't failed in LA. There's been a setback, but they're still being deployed. (Though I'm sure not a fan of Apple by any means, either. Root canals are more pleasant than administering iPads.)

And as far as getting people in schools who have a clue about technology, stop your ranting and talk to your local school board member. They represent public interests in your neighborhood school. And besides, in my community, our board members are expecting me to add more tablet technology into our K-12 schools. Why? Because they're convinced that's how kids learn these days. The only way they'll see otherwise is if they get educated by people such as yourselves.

about 5 months ago

Online Skim Reading Is Taking Over the Human Brain

Pollux Re:I have this "problem" (224 comments)

It is not entirely clear to me how this "problem" is hurting me.

George Burns was believed to have smoked 10-15 cigars every day of his life for about 70 years. He died at the age of 100. I'm sure it's not entirely clear to him how this "problem" of smoking was hurting him. (And he commonly joked about doctors advising him to stop smoking, often with a punchline like, "And the last doctor died 20 years ago.")

George Burns is just one anecdote, and one not representative of the common whole. The question we need to ask is not, "how is this problem hurting me." We should be asking, "how is this problem hurting us." And I would agree with the author; we stand to lose a lot.

If you are able, though it sounds like you may not be, I suggest you read Fahrenheit 451. Bradbury imagines a world incapable of deep thought resulting from the absence of books. I found it very enlightening.

about 5 months ago

Minnesota Teen Wins Settlement After School Takes Facebook Password

Pollux Google is your friend (367 comments)

Rather than take five minutes to post your question, why not take five minutes doing a simple Google search to get your answer?

Better yet, post the answer to your own question and get some nice karma points.

Thanks for giving them to me instead.

And for the record, the comments were, "I hate a Kathy person at school because she was mean to me," and later, after being disciplined for that post, "I want to know who the f*** told on me."

about 6 months ago

The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

Pollux This is not conventional wisdom (392 comments)

This is political wisecrackery with no legitimate basis to back it up. Congress has been informed for over seven years that this is an untruth. (Here's an article in Businessweekfrom all the way back in 2007 citing a study done by the Urban Institute debunking this myth.

This information has been reported to Congress on both the floor and in committee hearings. (Sorry, at one point, I had an old printout of one report supporting this statement. I can't seem to locate it, either in paper form nor on Google.) Congressional leaders willingly refuse to accept this truth, simply because there is more to gain politically by not accepting it. (Huge amounts of money are circulated by lobbyists in support of political agendas influenced by this...opening up more H1B visas, for example.)

about 6 months ago

Wozniak Gets Personal On Innovation

Pollux All the other crap... (161 comments)

If someone loves history, geography, social sciences and is really strong in it, why do they need to do all the other crap?

I'll give you the same answer I give my students when they say, "Why do we have to learn this?"

It's very simple. Our nation depends on civil-minded productive citizens, and public education is an exercise in developing, strengthening, and disciplining the mind, very much like regular weight training does for muscles or general exercise does for the cardiovascular system.

Are you going to have to use all, or even a majority of, the information you learn in school? Heavens, no. But you'll be a more civil individual who behaves in a civil manner, which is a very necessary and productive requirement for the welfare and maintenance of our society.

It is certainly up for debate what information is necessary, or how it is presented and "exercised", in order to be successful at this endeavor. But there is no question that public education's primary purpose is not for an individuals rote memorization of facts as much as developing civil minds for the preservation of our nation.

about 7 months ago




Pollux Pollux writes  |  more than 9 years ago

I still have troubles spelling the word 'wit.' Of course, if I had comments enabled, I'm sure by now a mob of people less intelligent than I would try to drag me down to their level by flooding me with a deluge of posts regarding my incompetence.

But here's the great part about writing in a journal: I know journals get read, and I would bet the farm that they get read quite frequently. Everybody has an inner desire to develop a better familiarity with the "social realm", and /.'s only conduit for a social medium is through every wit posted to the forum. Since there's not much of a chance that anyone here will ever meet another /.er face-to-face (whatever happened to the /. meet-ups?), this is the only place where I can extend my arm, show you where to hang your hat, and sit you down on the back porch for a nice cup of coffee and my wife's sweet-and-sour chicken. But until that and delivering of beer over CAT-5 cable is made possible, let me be, I think, the first Slashdotter to say hello to you personally.

But what it all comes down to is this: we as people would (generally) prefer to isolate ourselves and live in peace and quiet rather than risk conflict by interacting with other members of our own human race. I see it on /. I see it in Egypt. I see it in the USA. And typically speaking, I find myself acting out in the same sort of way whenever someone gives me a chance in person to get to know them better.

And yet the irony of it all is that while we enjoy being left alone, we crave the attention of others.

Disagree with me? Then send me an email. Until then, I'll just keep writing entries about how people don't ever socialize with me.


Pollux Pollux writes  |  more than 12 years ago

I can't believe it! Slashdot lets its users create journals! Wow...what do I write?

This is amazing. Imagine my surprise to find my own little personal haven here on the internet where I have it my way...completely my own way. The power of my own manifesto at my fingertips is mine for the taking! I can feel my heart pounding! My fingers shaking! My ego swelling!!!


You will listen to my every whit, and marvel at my intelectual prowess. Your feeble, inferior, phantasmagorical intelects will adhere to my cosmolocial understanding of the mechanics of all existance! Every thought coursing through the infinite neurons crammed within my cranial chamber shall be revered and venerated with all honors and rewards found in every corner of the Earth.



"I'm picking up on your sarcasm there."
"I'd hope so, 'cause I'm laying it on pretty thick."

And people wonder why Ted Kazynski was such a nutcase.

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