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US Revamping Its Nuclear Arsenal

StevenMaurer Re:What is there to renew? (342 comments)

They're wearing out. Yes. Nuclear warheads have a lifespan, even if they sit around unused. There is a lot of radioactive decay to them.

Not only are the warheads not working, we also have launch facilities that don't secure. The airforce has a silo where they have to prop open a blast door with a crowbar. The weapons maintenance facilities are even in worse shape. The NYT article talks about a Tennessee facility so decrepit, its roof is caving in and they have people wear hard hats to stay relatively safe. Not exactly the place I want spent nuclear materials to be reprocessed in.

Ironically, it is precisely because we're not on hair-trigger alert for nuclear war, that we've let things get so bad. We just kind of forgot about it. But just because we're no longer worried doesn't mean the stuff is safe. We need to spend money to keep it that way.

about a month ago

Emails Cast Unflattering Light On Internal Politics of Rollout

StevenMaurer Meanwhile at my work... (392 comments)

We've been working on a very involved website redo, including service oriented architecture, RESTful interfaces, responsive design on the front end, a number of integrated Hadoop clusters on the back end, etc., and it's been nearly two years, and it still isn't done.

One of our directors said, "I just hope when we finally get this thing open for business, it's at least as good as".

He wasn't being ironic.

Slashdot has gone terribly downhill. Apparently instead of software engineers, it's filled with partisan morons who only know how to cut-and-paste spin and blatant falsehoods cribbed from FOX, or on the other side, absurd cynicism because their radical-left vision of unicorns and rainbows isn't possible in the real world. Neither seems to have any appreciation, or intellectual capability, to understand the complexities of large-scale architecture and systems design, much less able to offer any cogent commentary on it.

about a month ago

Treasure Map: NSA, GCHQ Work On Real-Time "Google Earth" Internet Observation

StevenMaurer Re:/. is dead (267 comments)

I agree, and it's sad. All I'm reading is uninformed juvenile snark based off some middle-NSA manager's "vision" that is, frankly, technically impossible. And probably was dropped a long time ago - not that this doesn't sell newspapers, of course.

about a month ago

U.S. Senator: All Cops Should Wear Cameras

StevenMaurer Re:The death of leniency (643 comments)

Police are given wide discretion by the courts. There is no reason to believe that anyone will be auditing them for failure to write up a citation.

This is more to prevent them from beating the ever-loving-crap out of a black guy for driving in the wrong neighborhood. *Ahem* Sorry: "resisting arrest".

about 2 months ago

White House Punts On Petition To Allow Tesla Direct Sales

StevenMaurer Re:Well, at least Obama's record is perfect. (382 comments)

It worked to keep cellphones jailbreakable.

The deal came in the wake of a consumer rebellion over the policy of locking cellphones to a carrier. A petition that garnered more than 114,000 signatures landed at the White House, and the Obama administration sided with the petitioners.

about 3 months ago

White House Punts On Petition To Allow Tesla Direct Sales

StevenMaurer Re:Magical President Obama! (382 comments)

We elect Presidents in the United States, not dictators. These are enforced by laws made by the individual States, not the Federal government, much less the President, who can only work within the limited leeway that previous Congresses have granted him via laws.

Presidents, not dictators. With a user id so low, you simply can't be that young. How could you possibly not know this?

about 3 months ago

In the year since Snowden's revelations ...

StevenMaurer Re:secure by default (248 comments)

Not only was this stuff going on in the mid-90s, it was worse in the 2000s than it is today. In 2008, the Democratic House under Pelosi reined the NSA in. Maybe not enough for some people, but still it was done.

The only reason this is a "scandal" is because scandal-addicts have been starved for one. How desperate are they? These days, they've got their panties in a knot about bringing a U.S. POW home.

about 4 months ago

White House Pressures Legislators Into Gutting USA FREEDOM Act

StevenMaurer Re:TFA: "cooperated" TFS: "pressured" (284 comments)

This is what makes modern day slashdot worthless. Reading through 100+ comments of misinformed libertarian ranting screaming that "Obama betrayyyyyyyyyyyeeeeed ussss!!!!!" Except the EFF document says absolutely nothing about who was pressuring who to do what, much less tell the other side of the story, which also might be interesting to read.

about 5 months ago

The NSA and Snowden: Securing the All-Seeing Eye

StevenMaurer Re:Shay's Rebellion (97 comments)

Um, no. The Whiskey Rebellion had nothing to do with "shitting on veterans". Veterans rallied around George Washington to put down the rebels.

George Washington was a millionaire at the time because he owned some extremely popular Whiskey distilleries, so when he imposed the first taxes of the nation (largely to pay our war debts), the first thing he did was put on a tax that hit himself hardest. This was considered fair. Even in those days, it was well known that alcohol came with severe social consequences, so this Sin Tax was generally accepted as the best way to raise national funds.

So what drove the Whiskey Rebellion? Largely it was early Borderlander (Scott/Irish) culture, one of the american nations, which simply wanted all the benefits of living the United States without having to pay a dime for its upkeep. This attitude, by the way, still completely dominates in these regions 200 years later, driving much of our politics: right wingers who pretend to "speak for the veterans" while at the same time refusing to pay for their benefits. Clyde Bundy is a poster child for borderlander culture

Thinking about it, I suppose you could say that "shitting on veterans" was the point of the revolution - it was just the rebels who were trying to do the shitting.

about 5 months ago

Kerry Says US Is On the "Right Side of History" When It Comes To Online Freedom

StevenMaurer Re:Stop policing! (261 comments)

Here's a crazy thought: How about you stop starting wars, being the unwanted world-police, and generally just conclude that the world doesn't need your dictation.

Every time the U.S. tries to stop being the world policeman and something bad happens (like the genocide in Rwanda), the world asks "where was the U.S.? Why didn't you stop it?"

I know this is a "hate on the US for having signal intelligence spies, like every other major nation has, and has always had" thread, but exactly like how everybody hates traffic cops, just try to live in a world without them.

about 5 months ago

How the USPS Killed Digital Mail

StevenMaurer Re:Incomplete (338 comments)

This is a completely untrue myth. Much closer to the truth is that the government has massively slashed taxes on the mega-wealthy without dropping its spending nearly enough to pay for the overwhelming cut. If taxes on the wealthy simply returned to the levels we had in the 1960s, the deficit would go massively negative, and the debt would be paid off in approximately two decades.

Fat chance that will ever get through Congress though.

about 6 months ago

Lavabit Loses Contempt Appeal

StevenMaurer Re:Procedural Rules? (128 comments)

Before they can get a lawyer to represent them? This wasn't an arrest. It was a subpoena.There was plenty of time to lawyer-up.

Seriously guy, all you're doing is making stuff up.

Oh, and while we're on the topic, this is not "warrantless wiretapping". It was a narrowly tailored subpoena issued because the Federal prosecutors convinced the court that there was reasonable cause to believe a crime was committed. This is exactly the way the system is supposed to work. And if you think that people who commit fraud, engage in money laundering, and a host of other schemes that hurt people, should all have an absolute right to keep their crimes secret, well sorry - you live in a first world country.

about 6 months ago

Dinosaurs Done In By... Dark Matter?

StevenMaurer Re:magic (135 comments)

Dark matter is not THEORETICAL. There is direct evidence for it. Quoting from the relevant wiki:

The most direct observational evidence to date for dark matter is in a system known as the Bullet Cluster. In most regions of the universe, dark matter and visible material are found together,[33] as expected because of their mutual gravitational attraction. In the Bullet Cluster, a collision between two galaxy clusters appears to have caused a separation of dark matter and baryonic matter. X-ray observations show that much of the baryonic matter (in the form of 107–108 Kelvin[34] gas, or plasma) in the system is concentrated in the center of the system. Electromagnetic interactions between passing gas particles caused them to slow down and settle near the point of impact. However, weak gravitational lensing observations of the same system show that much of the mass resides outside of the central region of baryonic gas.

In other words, gravitational lensing of light waves - which is 100% direct evidence of matter - shows a region where there is matter that is clearly non-baryonic (i.e. does not interact with the electromagnetic field, a.k.a. "dark"). This is not subject to dispute. The question of what, exactly, is dark matter - is indeed still a subject of scientific research. There are, however, a number of super-symmetric theories which posit super-partners for well known particles, the most stable of which turn out to have the exact characteristics we're noting observationally. It is important to note that these theories were not tailored to account for the dark matter, but seem to fit the observational evidence quite well so far. As with all science however, theories are subject to falsification at any times as soon as new evidence comes on the scene.

about 7 months ago

The Spy In Our Living Room

StevenMaurer Re:Yea, another NSA Article (148 comments)

This entire thread is actually making me want to not come back to Slashdot.

Go slapfight somewhere else

about 8 months ago

Privacy Lawsuits Over NSA Spying Force Retention of Metadata

StevenMaurer Re:Which is the same thing as saying... (59 comments)

Quite obviously not happening. They're collecting everyone's information, essentially.

Regardless of who's worse, no one can deny that Obama, Bush, and their ilk are slimy pieces of shit that don't care about people's rights or the constitution.

Pen-register lists (a.k.a "metadata", a.k.a. "who you called, not what you said") have not been covered since the Supreme Court ruled they didn't require a warrant in 1967. Maybe that ruling was in error, but they're the Supreme Court. They get to decide such things.

It's in the Constitution.

about 8 months ago

Privacy Lawsuits Over NSA Spying Force Retention of Metadata

StevenMaurer Re:Which is the same thing as saying... (59 comments)

Five years is about as long as some of that stuff has been in place.

Seriously you think this started in 2009 ?!?

For your information, stuff MUCH WORSE THAN THE PRESENT DAY NSA started immediately after 9/11, thirteen years ago. It was Speaker Pelosi who cleaned up and reformed the laws to remove the most egregious elements of it

President Bush’s Warrantless Surveillance Program started after 9/11(known as the “PSP” or “TSP”)

  • Exclusive Means: Absolute Presidential discretion pursuant to the inherent authorities of Article II of the Constitution
  • FISA Court Approval: No provision (i.e. none required)
  • Reverse Targeting: No requirement to protect against reverse targeting.
  • Individual Warrants for Persons Inside the US: No requirement.


  • Exclusive Means: No provision.
  • FISA Court Approval: No requirement for review or pre-approval by FISA court required before surveillance begins
  • Reverse Targeting: No requirement to protect against reverse targeting.
  • Individual Warrants for Persons Inside the US: No requirement.


  • Exclusive Means:
    1. 1. States that FISA and Title III of the criminal code are the “exclusive means” for conducting electronic surveillance and the interception of domestic wire, oral, or electronic communications. (i.e. no trying to justify spying through other "national security" arguments)
    2. 2. States that only express statutory authorization can provide authority for electronic surveillance and/or interceptions.
    3. 3. Ensures that no President can use executive power or Authorization of Use of Military Force (AUMF) like authority to conduct warrantless domestic surveillance.
  • FISA Court Approval:
    1. 1. Requires FISA court review and approval of the AG and DNI’s certification for targeting non-U.S. persons located outside of the U.S.
    2. 2. Requires review and pre-approval by the FISA court of targeting procedures.
    3. 3. Requires review and approval of minimization procedures by the FISA court.
    4. 4. In case of emergency, allows the government immediately to start surveillance. The government must,however, submit its application to the court within 7 days in order to continue surveillance.
  • Reverse Targeting
    1. 1. Expressly prohibits reverse targeting (i.e., targeting anon-U.S. person outside the U.S. in order to target a U.S. person [located anywhere] or a known person located inside the U.S.)
  • Individual Warrants for Persons Inside the US
    1. 1. Clarifies that individual warrants based on probablecause are required to conduct surveillance on any U.S. person (citizen or permanent resident) or any personlocated inside the U.S.

(It goes on.. and on) ....

Please note that THIS WAS ALL DONE BEFORE SNOWDEN. They got rid of a large amount of excesses that happened during the Bush Administration. But now, because President Obama is not attackable on other fronts, the GOP and GOP-voting-"libertarians" are trying to pretend that they weren't far more invasive, when they were in power.

about 8 months ago

Edward Snowden's Lawyer Claims Harassment From Heathrow Border Agent

StevenMaurer Re:Is this Stuff that Matters? (261 comments)

Actually, if Slashdot users could Exclude Stories by Tag, so that I, for instance, could simply exclude all the Snowden whining from my feed, now that would be an incredibly useful feature for Slashdot Beta.

I don't begrudge people their obsessions. So if you've really got a hard-on for every single conspiracy theory involving the man ("Greenwald's new Wordpress-based toy website crashing under millions of hits - they must have been hacked by the NSA!"), have fun. But please Slashdot, give the grownups a bit more control. Usually I just scan the headlines. I don't have time for anything more.

about 8 months ago

Edward Snowden's Lawyer Claims Harassment From Heathrow Border Agent

StevenMaurer Is this Stuff that Matters? (261 comments)

Someone being questioned closely by a border patrol agent is something that happens every single day, and the questions being asked seem perfectly in line with the sorts of things such agents ask.

So why is this news for nerds? Are you going to front page everything even remotely associated with every associate of Snowden? Regaling us with "Snowden's hairdresser given an unfair ticket for running a red light" stories?

about 8 months ago



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