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FBI Studied How Much Drones Impact Your Privacy -- Then Marked It Secret

PopeRatzo Re:Transparency (97 comments)

Well, you see, there's people and then there's people. Know what I mean?

2 minutes ago

FBI Studied How Much Drones Impact Your Privacy -- Then Marked It Secret

PopeRatzo Re: Transparency (97 comments)

The Tea Party didn't become "skeptical of PATRIOT Act, NSA surveillance, and all that stuff" until January of 2009. For some reason, having nothing to do with the color of the skin of the guy in the White House, I'm certain.

But the timing is a little suspect, you must admit.

Maybe you can find an example of a Tea Party person showing opposition to those programs prior to 2009. I tried and I could not.

3 minutes ago

FBI Studied How Much Drones Impact Your Privacy -- Then Marked It Secret

PopeRatzo Transparency (97 comments)

Any way you want to measure it, there's never been a more secretive administration in the US. And this from a president who promised "the most transparent administration in history".

I apologize to everyone here for having voted for them a second time.

13 hours ago

The Army Is 3D Printing Warheads

PopeRatzo Re:GPLv4 - the good public license? (121 comments)

There has never been a warhead that "provided" any freedom, not in my lifetime, and not in yours.

And Dwight Eisenhower was president when I was born.


Siberian Discovery Suggests Almost All Dinosaurs Were Feathered

PopeRatzo Re:Whelp. (126 comments)

Imagine a 15 foot tall, 40 foot long bird of prey with a 4 foot jaw and 9 inch long teeth.

You wanna watch how you talk about my wife.


and who taught them everything they know?

PopeRatzo Re:hahahaha those laws are nuts. (2 comments)

2. Abodah Zara 26b is taken seriously out of context. What the original says is "but minim [idolatrous priests, whether Jewish or gentile], informers, and apostates [specifically Jewish] may be cast in [a pit], and need not be brought up." This says nothing about killing, and much less about killing gentiles. If it says anything about killing, Jews are included. The discussion, however, is whether a gentile may circumcise a Jew. The argument about who may be thrown into a put, pulled out but not thrown in, etc., concludes by saying that the pit should be covered so that nobody goes in.

I'm glad you cleared that up. But is the pit covered before or after the minim is thrown in? And are we talking a deep pit or a little indentation in the ground? You would think a book of law would be more specific on these matters.


Man Booted From Southwest Flight and Threatened With Arrest After Critical Tweet

PopeRatzo Re:Customer service? (797 comments)

A real man uses Chinese hook swords against zombies.


Man Booted From Southwest Flight and Threatened With Arrest After Critical Tweet

PopeRatzo Re:Customer service? (797 comments)

I say, throw a knife into a group of waiting passengers and let the first one to emerge alive board first.

In other words, let the invisible hand of the free market decide.


"Magic Helmet" For F-35 Ready For Delivery

PopeRatzo Re:Bugs... (176 comments)

Can you call them "bugs" when they were specific design specifications?

The F-35 is a $300billion dollar abomination. Earlier today, there was a story about a $300million dollar IT mess in federal government and there were howls of outrage.

This useless plane is 1000 times more expensive and unlike the IT mess, the plane's "bugs" are there by design.


Property is Moral Opposite of Liberty

PopeRatzo Re:How things become property (8 comments)

What exactly is "free for the taking"? Water? How much may I have? All of it? Half? Or only as much as I need? Do I get more if I want to take a bath, or bathe my dog, or add chemicals and pump it into the earth at high pressure to extract oil?

There's a problem with seeing anything as "free for the taking". There's always a cost. Always a value. To me, to you, to everyone.

Best to ask your neighbors, "Hey, there's water running under my land, you wanna see if we can put in a well and use it? If we pitch in, we can all use the water. That's more useful than putting up a fence, sucking up all the water and then selling it for $1/gallon. Because eventually, your neighbors will cut your throat unless you can hire some of them to protect you from the others, and that will eat into your profits.

Ain't nothing free for the taking. Think of it as free for the sharing. Even, to some extent, yourself. Do you really "own" yourself?

Former CIA spy and writer Robert David Steele talks about a very interesting concept: "true cost accounting". It means that you have to figure in externalities when you derive price. When you go down that road, capitalism starts to look very different. It's like seeing it for the first time. I recommend his books, especially "Open Source Everything". Not so much because I agree with everything he says, but because he forces you to see things differently.

2 days ago

Experiment Shows People Exposed To East German Socialism Cheat More

PopeRatzo Re:Correlation is not causation (610 comments)

Also Israel. Another successful socialist state in the European/American/Canadian/Australian model.

3 days ago

Experiment Shows People Exposed To East German Socialism Cheat More

PopeRatzo Re:Correlation is not causation (610 comments)

Or how the citizens of Finland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden actually do pay their taxes without demur.

Don't just rely on the anecdotes that confirm your preconceptions.

3 days ago

The Almost Forgotten Story of the Amiga 2000

PopeRatzo Re:A whole lot of Aggie (192 comments)

When it comes to blittin'

Do I have to go to the Urban Dictionary to find out what "blittin'" means? My guess is it's something dirty.

4 days ago

A Skeptical View of Israel's Iron Dome Rocket Defense System

PopeRatzo Re:Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (379 comments)

Except the ANC "won", and they were still labeled as terrorists afterwards.

You may have noticed how with the death of Nelson Mandela, the only mention of "terrorist" came in the form, "I can't believe that monster Margaret Thatcher called Mandela a terrorist way back in the bad old days".

Today, "terrorist" is what you call the other guy. It has no meaning any more.

4 days ago

Why My LG Optimus Cellphone Is Worse Than It's Supposed To Be

PopeRatzo Re:...The hell? (289 comments)

Wouldn't you expect someone who runs privacy organizations to have already rooted his phone?

It sounds like the bloatware is his biggest problem, and I just got a Moto X for the same price as an LG Optimus. Vanilla Android and no bloatware.

4 days ago

Snowden Seeks To Develop Anti-Surveillance Technologies

PopeRatzo Secure technology (129 comments)

I'm going back to my 1942 Corona typewriter with the "t" slightly raised.

5 days ago


PopeRatzo hasn't submitted any stories.



GMO Corn Can Cause Damage to Liver and Kidneys, and Severe Hormonal Disruption

PopeRatzo PopeRatzo writes  |  about two weeks ago


Inspired by Jeremiah Cornelius

PopeRatzo PopeRatzo writes  |  about two weeks ago

You play this at your cubicle, loud, and it's the opposite of workplace violence.


Keystone XL Pipeline Will Raise Gas Prices for US Consumers

PopeRatzo PopeRatzo writes  |  about a year ago

Unintended consequences:

There is no shortage of available crude oil, domestic or imported, in the
United States, and for the last few years there has been a glut at the nationâ(TM)s
largest crude oil terminal in Cushing, Oklahoma. Canadian tar sands oil
would be processed for greater use in the U.S. only as other imported or domestic
sources are reduced. Replacing Mexican oil with Canadian oil would
only trade the closer source for the more distant.


Energy Industry Under Attack from Green Terrorists

PopeRatzo PopeRatzo writes  |  about a year ago

"Just the other day, Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers said, 'If the cost of solar panels keeps coming down, installation costs come down and if they combine solar with battery technology and a power management system, then we have someone just using [the grid] for backup.' What happens if a whole bunch of customers start generating their own power and using the grid merely as backup? The EEI report warns of 'irreparable damages to revenues and growth prospects' of utilities."

Solar Panels Could Destroy U.S. Utilities


Ohio Sec'y of State Installs "Experimental" Patch on Voting Machines

PopeRatzo PopeRatzo writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Days before the US presidential election, the Ohio Secretary of State (Republican) directed that an "experimental patch" be installed on voting machines in 39 Ohio counties. Federal law makes it illegal to make any changes in hardware and software to election equipment without it being tested and certified by the Federal Elections Commission. [NOTE: if Brad Blog is not "notable" enough of a source for you, this story is being reported in many other media outlets.]

You Slashdot readers are supposed to know a little something about software and patches and security. What do you think? This sound like "best practices" to you? By the way, John Husted, the Ohio Secretary of State who ordered this "patch" installed, is the guy who tried to stop early voting in Ohio and then told his county clerks to ignore the federal courts when they issued an injunction to put those early voting dates back in place. He's also one of the Republican officials who claimed that the proposed voter ID laws and purges of voter rolls would "deliver" Ohio to the Romney campaign.

I'm a little curious about what any sysadmins who read this and support Romney think of this move.


Militarizing the Olympics

PopeRatzo PopeRatzo writes  |  about 2 years ago

Jeremiah Cornelius has covered this story, but if you haven't read this article about a journalist who infiltrated the G4S security firm, the private company to whom the security for the London 2012 Olympics has been outsourced, go take a look. It just gets worse and worse.

It's a pretty stunning story, not just the plan to evacuate London, not just the 200,000 body bags that were ordered, but the level of incompetence that G4S has shown thus far.

Ben Fellows, the filmmaker and journalist who went undercover as "âoeLee Hazledean", has recently revealed his true identity when the complete blackout on his story by the mainstream media, and other irregularities, have made him fear for his life.

The great Swedish alt-blogcasters Red Ice Radio also have some pretty shocking coverage (warning: includes some rather out-there material, but still interesting). In their 2 1/2 hour special, they get opinions from some pretty impressive people, but also from some, shall-we-say "less conventional" characters like David Icke. But even those interviewees have some fascinating insights (I happen to think Icke is not nearly as loony as he is portrayed). Depending on your tolerance for challenging consensus reality, YMMV.


The Job Creators

PopeRatzo PopeRatzo writes  |  about 2 years ago

As any Libertarian will tell you, there's no reason a CEO shouldn't be paid 2000 times the amount of an average worker, because they're worth it.

Keep that in mind when you read the story of Progress Energy CEO Bill Johnson. It's a tale of how mistreated the 1% are in Obama's America:

When Duke Energy announced its merger with Progress Energy last year, the two companies agreed that Progress CEO Bill Johnson would assume the same position at the combined company. So he did: On June 27, Johnson signed a three-year contract to helm Duke. When the merger went into effect on July 2, he assumed the position of CEO.

        And then, on July 3 at midnight, Johnson resigned

As the article tells us, Bill Johnson was forced out by the board after the merger, but just imagine the job he did in that one day as CEO when you read about his compensation package for that 24 hours:

Despite his short-lived tenure, Mr. Johnson will receive exit payments worth as much as $44.4 million, according to Duke. That includes $7.4 million in severance, a nearly $1.4 million cash bonus, a special lump-sum payment worth up to $1.5 million and accelerated vesting of his stock awards, according to a Duke regulatory filing Tuesday night. Mr. Johnson gets the lump-sum payment as long as he cooperates with Duke and doesnâ(TM)t disparage his former employer, the filing said.

Under his exit package, Mr. Johnson also will receive approximately $30,000 to reimburse him for relocation expenses.

Well, thank God for that $30k in "relocation expenses". Renting a U-Haul isn't cheap.

Like the saying goes "The rich are different than the rest of us. They are completely without shame." I want to know what the board of directors was doing the day this benefits package was approved.

But remember, according to Mitt Romney, Bill Johnson is a "job creator". Except, during the 24 very busy hours that Johnson was CEO, he laid off 900 workers. I wonder how much that comes to per laid-off worker?


Surface to Air Missles on London Apartment Buildings?

PopeRatzo PopeRatzo writes  |  more than 2 years ago

The Olympics is all about World Peace, we are told, but Charles Stross isn't quite convinced.

The science fiction writer and blogger is a little concerned about the extent to which Britain will go to keep corporate sponsors happy.

The Olympics: It's a movement. And everybody needs a movement, every day.


Wyoming prepares for the End Times with proposed purchase of aircraft carrier

PopeRatzo PopeRatzo writes  |  more than 2 years ago

I had to double-check to make sure this wasn't an Onion article. It appears that a Wyoming state legislature has advance (yes, there was a vote) to prepare for the worst. They want to create a task force to prepare Wyoming for the total social and economic collapse of the United States (aka, the Zombie Apocalypse).

The best part of the story, and the part you just can't make up, is that the preparations include the formation of a Wyoming Navy . As reported in the Wyoming news source,

The task force would look at the feasibility of Wyoming issuing its own alternative currency, if needed. And House members approved an amendment Friday by state Rep. Kermit Brown, R-Laramie, to have the task force also examine conditions under which Wyoming would need to implement its own military draft, raise a standing army, and acquire strike aircraft and an aircraft carrier.

Of course, an aircraft carrier costs about $6billion, but first there's the little issue of Wyoming being landlocked. The purchase of a submarine was not mentioned.

Read more in-depth analysis here.

Is anyone surprised that the amendment creating this task force was written and sponsored by Republicans? It's worth noting that Wyoming, the least populous state in the US gets back $1.11 for every $1.00 it sends to Washington in federal taxes.


"No press today for security reasons."

PopeRatzo PopeRatzo writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Guardian photo-journalist Adam Gabbatt was told "No press today for security reasons" for the Occupy Movement's November 17 Day of Action.

Think about that for just a few seconds. News helicopters are being told to stay out of the Wall Street area according to WNBC radio. What is it we're not supposed to see?


Happening faster than I thought it would...

PopeRatzo PopeRatzo writes  |  more than 3 years ago

After the bankruptcy "reform" of the last decade (which only applied to the lower income levels), we knew it was only a matter of time before the return of debtors' prison and forced work camps. There was never any question that this was where Reaganomics would take us.

I guess I just didn't expect that we'd see it so soon. When the new privatized prison system meets debtors prisons, something very very ugly is going to emerge. And it appears it's going to happen within the next couple of years.

If you are very very wealthy, and you find yourself unable to pay your debt, the government will force citizens to make you whole. If you are part of the working or lower classes and find yourself unable to pay your debt, you have become an enemy of the New Corporate State and will be treated accordingly.


JC, I hardly knew ye

PopeRatzo PopeRatzo writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Unless there's a system failure (which is a distinct possibility), Jeremiah Cornelius, an iconoclastic and highly prolific Slashdot journal writer has packed it in and closed his account. Links to his journals are dead and his account only shows the UID number, not his user name.

While sometimes his opinions were the kind that made me uncomfortable (which is something, being iconoclastic and a pain in the ass bordering on the trollish myself), I will miss his energy and his strongly held sincere beliefs.

If he's gone elsewhere, I'd like to know which online community a guy like him would join. We;ve lost some long-time Slashdot users recently. I hate to see a good one go.


Deep in the Heart of TeX-Ass

PopeRatzo PopeRatzo writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Years ago, when my wife was finishing her PhD in Math, I helped her with putting her dissertation into the required format, which was a TeX document. The main thing I remember about it was how much trouble it was just to lay out a document. It was hard enough for her to do all the very difficult Math work and get ready for her PhD defense, but to then require her to learn TeX just seemed like piling on.

The other day, my daughter, who's now a Math grad student, came to me and asked if I knew anything about TeX. It caused a sickening deja vu as I realized that after all this time, TeX is still the required format for technical documents.

Now, I understand the elegance of TeX, and I can appreciate the need for a standard way of typesetting such documents. I've seen the Chinese students taking class notes in TeX and I'm aware of the place TeX holds in the Math, physics and engineering communities.

But jesus christ on roller skates, can no one come up with something a little easier to learn and use? I'm a musician and composer and arranger. I score films. Creating formatting and typesetting a music manuscript is at least as exacting and formalized as setting up a document to show some equations, some graphs and a figure or two. I've got a handful of excellent professional software that makes writing (and printing) music as easy as writing a business letter. I don't have to write code just to put in a D.S. al coda for heaven's sake.

When I was working on my own dissertation decades ago in critical theory, I remember using the DOS version of Nota Bene, because that was what my adviser used and by gawd, that was what I was going to use. It was like an even more baroque version of Wordperfect with all sorts of code and macros and packages for diacritical marks. But the world has moved on since then and now there's open office to fill all my document needs.

I guess I'm just venting a bit, thinking about my daughter having to learn tex on top of everything else she's got going on, and I know I'm going to get hit with questions, which means I'm going to have to go back and brush up. I'm about to install LateX on my machine for the second time in over 20 years and if nothing else, can I get some encouragement? Maybe an explanation of why time has stood still in this one area?

Now let me go get some aspirin.


PopeRatzo's Recession Buster

PopeRatzo PopeRatzo writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Wait until Saturday evening, when the point spread hits 5, then take the Bears and the points.

Send my share of the winnings to the EFF or the ACLU.


Are Right-Wing Trolls Being Paid to Disrupt Slashdot?

PopeRatzo PopeRatzo writes  |  more than 3 years ago

An under-reported story from 2010 was the apparent proliferation of paid political trolls. Some of us have suspected this was going on, but some recent leaks coming out of Right-Wing political action committees confirms that this is happening on a bigger scale than thought.

This phenomena goes back at least as far as 2002, when it was discovered that an internet lobbying outfit called the "Bivings Group" was found to have created at least two false identities, "Mary Murphy" and "Andura Smetacek", that were used to post a prodigious number of posts attacking research showing widespread contamination of corn by genetically-modified bee pollen. Bivings was working for Monsanto at the time. It was widely reported that the McCain campaign did this during the 2008 campaign, but the new paid trolling is taking on new forms and attacking more than the regular political online communities.

A very interesting film, (Astro)Turf Wars, a documentary by Taki Oldham, has a scene that was secretly videotaped during a training session organized by a right-wing libertarian outfit called "American Majority". During this session, the trainer instructed Tea Party members as follows:

âoeHereâ(TM)s what I do. I get on Amazon; I type in âoeLiberal Booksâ. I go through and I say âoeone star, one star, one starâ. The flipside is you go to a conservative/ libertarian whatever, go to their products and give them five stars. ⦠This is where your kids get information: Rotten Tomatoes, Flixster. These are places where you can rate movies. So when you type in âoeMovies on Healthcareâ, I donâ(TM)t want Michael Mooreâ(TM)s to come up, so I always give it bad ratings. I spend about 30 minutes a day, just click, click, click, click. ⦠If thereâ(TM)s a place to comment, a place to rate, a place to share information, you have to do it. Thatâ(TM)s how you control the online dialogue and give our ideas a fighting chance.â

From some of the clips I've seen, this (Astro) Turf Wars film seems like it might be interesting to anyone who has been suspicious of the seemingly organized commenting/moderating activity here on Slashdot.


Going to a place that has already been disgraced

PopeRatzo PopeRatzo writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Pamela Geller is despicable.
  I mean really despicable. If this country is or was ever great, than 9/11 should be no more than a triviality compared to its greatness. Compared to what this country represents, the fact that 19 lunatics with boxcutters flew planes into some buildings and killed 3000 people should be nothing but a blip on our history.

Instead, we've got people like Geller trying to make it the American Reichstag. I've never been more ashamed of other Americans than I am of Geller and Gingrich and Reid and anybody who's tried to turn the building of a community center into something ugly. Even if the people behind this community center were everything they're being accused of, it still does not excuse the kind of behavior I've seen these past few weeks.

I've never felt so disgusted with other Americans. I wish I could pass myself off as Canadian, honest to god. I wish I could get a goddamn visa to live in Finland or Belgium or evem goddamned Serbia. Anything but a country where people like Geller and Hugh Hewitt and Michael Medved get treated like patriots for (and despite!) denigrating such basic, founding principles as freedom of religion and property rights. They say things like "oh, it's not about freedom of religion and property rights, it's about good taste". Good taste! Now the standard for freedom of speech is supposed to be good taste. And they say "oh, the muslim group must compromise". If they "must" then it's not a goddamn compromise. I don't care if you hate the idea of a community center with a mosque built near ground zero or near your house. If you go on television and try to compare it to Nazis putting signs up at Auschwitz, that makes you the scum of the Earth. You share a hell with the religious fundamentalists that perpetrated the crime in the first place.

So ten years after the fact, this bunch is going to turn into a bunch of drama queens over 9/11, turn the site of the Twin Towers into hallowed ground (or, as Ben Quale says, "hollowed ground"). Is the USA such a flimsy society? Are Americans such weak sisters that they're going to turn a tragedy into a pyre on which to burn each other (yes, the people who want to build the community center are Americans. Yes, there are bombs being thrown at mosques throughout the US in the last few days. Yes, there are "Americans" burning korans in Wal-Mart parking lots. Fucking mutts). I'm so tired of you, America. Never missing a chance to tell the world how great you are, how superior, how above the behavior of "terrorists" but the veneer of your Christian "reformation" turns out to be pretty goddamned thin, after all.

Things like this make me wish there actually was an afterlife where people were judged for their behavior on Earth. I'm willing to do the time for my crimes, as long as I can do it with the knowledge that people who've tried to spread this kind of ugliness were going to do the time for theirs. I'm so tired of you, America.


Theory of Relativity Exposed as a Liberal Plot.

PopeRatzo PopeRatzo writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Rewriting history textbooks isn't nearly enough for the Religious Right. It appears that the "conservative alternative to Wikipedia, "Conservapedia" has some serious issues with Einstein, too.

The first note in the references section of the Conservapedia entry on "Counter-examples to Relativity" will be of special interest to any physicists out there.

I guess that Colbert's throwaway joke about "reality having a liberal bias" was truer than he knew.


Study Shows GMO Corn Linked to Organ Failure

PopeRatzo PopeRatzo writes  |  more than 4 years ago

According to a research article published in the current International Journal of Biological Sciences, genetically modified corn from Monsanto increases the levels of liver and kidney failure in rats, as well as other harmful effects to the "heart, adrenal glands, spleen and haematopoietic system.

Apparently, Monsanto has wasted no time claiming the study was based on "faulty data" saying that it's own 90-day study didn't show similar problems. Of course, that ignores the fact that the organ failure only starts to show up after "5-14 weeks" according to the abstract.

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