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Comments

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The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist

Virtucon Who watches the Watchers? (71 comments)

This is the most blatant disregard for constitutionally protected rights I've ever seen. I'll make sure I carry copies of "Catcher In He Rye" and "Anarchists Cookbook" wherever I travel. I'm surprised that this has been allowed to continue but it's utter nonsense and just the first fucking page of the document shows how fucked we are with all these shields representing stakeholders into the system. I especially like the part where one person in the White House can immediately include a group or individual on the terrorist watch list as they see fit. Have any political enemies? They're on the list.

45 minutes ago
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Privacy Lawsuit Against Google Rests On Battery Drain Claims

Virtucon Interesting (148 comments)

I'm wondering how Google intends to provide the information. Ostensibly, any RF communication is going to be expensive in terms of power consumption but certainly if you turn off the radios you could get a power profile that represents the state of an Andorid device without all of the activity going on to Google's servers. It's tenuous but while this only affects Google I'm wondering if Apple and MSFT are watching this because you know damn well they're doing it with IOS and Windows Phone to some extent.

9 hours ago
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NASA: Lunar Pits and Caves Could House Astronauts

Virtucon Re:We have to be quick about it. (156 comments)

Okay get your political avatars correct. Jerry Brown is governor Moonbeam and he'd be much better suited for Mayor McCheese's position on the moon.

4 days ago
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Verizon's Accidental Mea Culpa

Virtucon Re:No excuses left (388 comments)

So nukes at 10 paces then? Dawn? Choice of weapons: I'll take three W88s..

5 days ago
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Verizon's Accidental Mea Culpa

Virtucon Re:No excuses left (388 comments)

Regulation for the public benefit = good. Examples: Public Utilities, Healthcare, Agriculture, Air Quality/Environmental Protection.
Regulation for the sake of Regulation = bad. Examples: 70,000 + pages of IRS Regulations and 30,000 pages of tax code written by special interests and bureaucrats.

5 days ago
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The Improbable Story of the 184 MPH Jet Train

Virtucon Re:Railroads killed by the government... (195 comments)

It's not rhetoric when it's fact. Railroads have a very poor history when it comes to dealing fairly with the public and there was a real threat based upon facts and incidents that led to the regulations but if the people believe that the huge tracts of land that were granted to the industry didn't come with strings, then they're sadly mistaken. Hence they were probably more unfairly regulated and tasked with mandates including mandatory passenger service. It was for the public good and for fostering growth in the country. To see how bad things were if a Railroad dominated a region, read "The Octopus: A story of California" by Frank Norris. While it fictionalized the struggles that were created by the Southern Pacific-Central Pacific Railroad in California in the years following completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. It was the Mussle Slough incident and five people who resisted the Railroad were killed. The Southern Pacific-Central Pacific controlled the rails, the heavy wagons and the ferries. They also had huge tracts of land and would charge whatever they wanted. It was so bad that to a point that you couldn't move any freight in California without them getting a cut. So the California government and the feds stepped in. A lot of the CFRs covering Railroads are there for safety for example boilers on steam locomotives that could explode if not properly maintained or tested or care for the widows and children of workers killed while working on the Railroad. Those are actually good regulations but as you indicate if it keeps moving regulate it but we can't just get rid of all of it not without suffering the repercussions of businesses left unchecked.

Regrettably the Cato institute somehow thinks that all of that unnecessary regulation and government interference is bad, too much can be very bad while not enough is the same that's where the balance has to be maintained. So if you want a true Business friendly environment go back to the 1880s in California and let me know how that works for you. As a Conservative myself I have to shake my head at some of the horseshit that spouts out of the Cato institute because their way of thinking isn't even close to mine.

5 days ago
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The Improbable Story of the 184 MPH Jet Train

Virtucon Re:Railroads killed by the government... (195 comments)

You know it amazes me to still here this from folks. I'll let you in on a little secret. The reason Amtrak was formed was because the Penn Central was bleeding money and they had the Northeast Corridor (NEC). Since a lot of Congressmen and Senators actually rode the train into DC this could be a problem if the Penn curtailed or discontinued service. Of course it couldn't because it had a long standing agreements with the government to provide passenger service. As a matter of fact all of the huge land tracks that were granted to railroads in this country included little hooks for passenger rail service. Sure, the railroads from post WWII were losing money on passenger service because people were buying cars and the feds were sponsoring airports and the national highway system. But instead of letting the railroads drop unprofitable lines, the government pushed them to continue their agreements. The government regulated Railroads and some thing airlines are the most regulated, think again. The CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) covering Railroads is extensive and still in force even in a deregulation climate. Some of the passenger services became shadows such as running an RCD (Rail Car Diesel) as a train for example instead of a multi-car train. The point is the government has been involved in Railroads in this country for a very long time. Republican or Democratic administrations, it doesn't matter hell the PRR received a $77m loan for electrification from the new deal which was a chunk of change back then. For comparison the Hoover dam only cost $46m during the same era.

So in the late 60s the Penn Central now with more absorbed Railroads consolidated and more miles of track and debt tied on started losing money, so much so that it filed for bankruptcy in 1970. This sent a shock wave up and down the east coast. Backroom deals were being hashed because a Federal Bankruptcy judge would allow the Penn Central to abandon less profitable passenger service, even if they had contracts and deals to provide it. What would the east coast people do and more importantly how would the Senators and Congressman who'd become accustomed to getting to / from DC quickly do? So a backroom deal was done and Amtrak was created but when other Railroads heard about the deal they said "hey, no fair" and lobbied their Congressmen and Senators and that's why boys and girls all interstate passenger rail service went to Amtrak as part of the Rail Passenger Service Act of 1970 Of course the NEC was untouched but most of the country lost passenger service. At that point the Feds were 100% in the Railroad business and because it was set up as a for profit corporation under the DOT that meant that nobody in Amtrak could ever do anything like drop or add routes without bureaucrats or congressional approval. That's not a company, that's a federal service and more importantly Amtrak is the Federal Governments toy railroad with special earmarks having been placed in front if it all along the way to add or improve service. That's all politics and Amtrak could be viable if it was allowed to drop everything but the NEC but that's not going to happen and really, think about this: Amtrak's total budget request for 2014 was $2.6 billion. Considering how much money we put into horseshit in this country that's not a lot of money but if you want Amtrak to be a independent corporation, which it isn't, it has to have an independent board who aren't appointed by the DOT and it has to be given enough funding to stretch into profitability and also, regrettably it needs to abandon routes that don't make financial sense.

about a week ago
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Three-Year Deal Nets Hulu Exclusive Rights To South Park

Virtucon Re:Not worth it (138 comments)

That would be the vivid or playboy channel if you want fucking commercials.

about a week ago
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Marvel's New Thor Will Be a Woman

Virtucon Ugh can we stop the PC mentality please? (588 comments)

Political Correctness has hit comic books! Whoda thunk it. Create a female character if you want but don't superimpose a female gender on a male character. That is unless Thor is now going to have a sex change? Wait Norse God, Denmark. It makes sense now! Thor will undergo a sex change operation, talk about predictable.

about a week ago
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Comcast Customer Service Rep Just Won't Take No For an Answer

Virtucon Welcome to the modern CRM experience (401 comments)

After listening to this call I'm just laughing because I've been experiencing this for years. It's all about maintaining those subscribers and it shows that the Comcast rep was probably a used car salesman in a prior life. Maybe he's going back there after this episode but who knows. What's funny is that people are actually surprised about this because every major company in the US, especially those who sell subscription based services, have these kinds of last ditch sales people to keep you hooked up. It's all about customer relationship management 101, keep them in the relationship.

This guy from Comcast represents once again while consolidation in the telecom and cable industries is a bad thing. Plus with Comcast controlling NBC and all its subsidiaries we now get such great entertainment as "Sharknado 2", this isn't better its worse.

about a week ago
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Massive Job Cuts Are Reportedly Coming For Microsoft Employees

Virtucon Re:Who couldn't see this coming? (300 comments)

Yes and Solaris will once again rule the data center! You forgot that part.. ;-)

about a week ago
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Massive Job Cuts Are Reportedly Coming For Microsoft Employees

Virtucon Re:Who couldn't see this coming? (300 comments)

I agree with almost everything there however MSFT's core is Office/Exchange, Windows is a vehicle to get you to Office. If Office were really on Linux I think you'd see Windows practically disappear. I don't think they can move quickly enough but they're not going away anytime soon. IBM on the other hand will be out of business or a frail shell of its former self. The C-Level at IBM are idiots and it's being proven with bad market strategies and eroding margins. Cutting yourself to prosperity doesn't work. Pruning poor / nonperforming units can make sense but at some point you have to ask "Are we cutting our nose off to spite our face?"

about a week ago
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Massive Job Cuts Are Reportedly Coming For Microsoft Employees

Virtucon Re:Overstating things.... (300 comments)

I use and support Microsoft products all the time but unfortunately I see more and more businesses out there looking for alternatives and cost reduction. SO yes while they're still selling they're not in the dominant position anymore. Windows Phone compared to Android is "meh" sorry, it's not a religious thing but yes there are Android handsets out there that are excellent value. The reason your windows 8 phone was so cheap is because MSFT is subsidizing the crap out of it so there's more impact on the bottom line. More and more enterprises including the Feds are going to cloud based solutions, Google Apps for example and while MSFT is starting to move in that direction they're not going to be displacing any of the big folks anytime soon. Yes Office/Exchange are big sellers but have you seen Libre Office or any of the other offerings? If not you may be surprised.

about a week ago
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Massive Job Cuts Are Reportedly Coming For Microsoft Employees

Virtucon Re:Who couldn't see this coming? (300 comments)

Yeah it doesn't make sense but the TFA says the Nokia handset folks but I'd have to think about the memo with the buzzword generator on at 11 it'll be across the board to wake up the troops. Sure, it'll crush morale and it'll negatively effect the processes that are in place but unfortunately it seems more and more that CEOs want to cut themselves to eek out as much profit as possible. Forget new products, innovation is something they'll buy and integrate.

about a week ago
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Massive Job Cuts Are Reportedly Coming For Microsoft Employees

Virtucon Who couldn't see this coming? (300 comments)

Domination in the desktop eroding. Products not making a big splash in the market. Shareholders restless and right after an announcement by the new CEO about agility and business realignment. All of these things add up to reductions in force in areas where they're not profitable. It'll be interesting to see if the cuts will be across the board.

about a week ago
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Three-Year Deal Nets Hulu Exclusive Rights To South Park

Virtucon Re:Not worth it (138 comments)

Well they're not censored such as "Red Hot Catholic Love" and frankly the commercials (average about 10 sec) only occur 2 to 3 times an episode. I like Hulu Plus because they also have shows out there like "The Young Ones" and others that aren't on Netflix. It beats the shit out of fucking cable where every fucking channel is full of commercials. At our house we've gotten rid of HBO/Showtime etc. and now it's Hulu Plus, Netflix and Amazon Prime.

about a week ago

Submissions

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Protesters picket in front of Kevin Rose's Home

Virtucon Virtucon writes  |  about 3 months ago

Virtucon (127420) writes "Another anti-tech protest happened this weekend outside of Kevin Rose's home in San Francisco. Kevin Rose, founder of Digg and a Google Ventures partner was targeted with a protest and leaflets were handed out "warning" the neighbors that he is destroying San Francisco.

The anarchistic group protesting Kevin was called Counterforce and has demanded that Google Pay $3 billion. The group has called for the creation of "autonomous, anti-capitalist, and anti-racist communities throughout the Bay Area and Northern California."

I don't know about you but if two women held up a protest banner threatening to snip something off I'd be a bit concerned."

Link to Original Source
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City Councilman Resigns Using Klingon

Virtucon Virtucon writes  |  about 7 months ago

Virtucon (127420) writes "A city councilman in Indian Trail Town, North Carolina has resigned and opted to write his letter of resignation in Klingon. David Waddell is obviously a fan of Star Trek. I wonder if the other council members know what the hell he wrote? I'm sure a nice Qu'vatlh would have sufficed."
Link to Original Source
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23AndMe Ordered To Stop Selling DNA tests.

Virtucon Virtucon writes  |  about 8 months ago

Virtucon (127420) writes "The Food and Drug Administration has ordered Google-backed genetic test maker 23andMe to halt sales of its personalized DNA test kits, saying the company has failed to show that the technology is supported by science. It seems that 23andMe has been slow in responding to the FDA with regards to the testing and methods used in the Personal Genome Service (PGS) as the main reason for the order. The issues were outlined in the order the FDA sent on 11/22. "
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GOCE satellite is falling to Earth but Scientists don't know where.

Virtucon Virtucon writes  |  about 8 months ago

Virtucon (127420) writes "The Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer or GOCE Satellite is expected to fall to Earth this weekend. It weighs over a ton and unfortunately the Scientists don't exactly know where it will land. You can track it here. It should re-enter sometime between Sunday night and Monday morning.

Makr Hopkins, chair of the National Society's Executive Committee said: "The satellite is one of the few satellites in a Polar Orbit. Consequently, it could land almost anywhere,"

The GOCE mission was to create an accurate gravity map of the Earth."
Link to Original Source

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Engineers Create Urine Powered Robot

Virtucon Virtucon writes  |  about 8 months ago

Virtucon (127420) writes "Using the idea that urine can be used to generate electricity, Engineers in the UK have developed a prototype pump that mimics the human heart. This pump presumably could be used to deliver urine to waste powered fuel cells.

‘We speculate that in the future, urine-powered EcoBots could perform environmental monitoring tasks such as measuring temperature, humidity and air quality,’ said lead researcher Peter Walters of the University of the West of England (UWE), which runs the BRL with Bristol University.

Are pee powered robots in our future? Could the technology be used to power vehicles and would you want it? I mean would you buy a $90,000 Tesla if it smelled like urine all the time?"
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French Court Orders Google To Block Pics and Links of Max Mosley

Virtucon Virtucon writes  |  about 9 months ago

Virtucon (127420) writes "This one goes to the old adage "closing the stable door after the horse bolted." A French court on Wednesday ruled that Google must remove from its search results photos of a former Formula One racing chief, Max Mosley, participating in an Nazi-themed orgy. Google could be fined up to 1,000 Euros/day for not complying. What's strange here is that Mosley A) Sued in a French Court B) Didn't go after anybody else other than Google and C) has definitely strange tastes in extracurricular activities. In this day and age it's laughable to think that once your private photos/videos hit the Internet that you have any expectation of reigning them in or filtering the embarrassing parts out. Google isn't the only game in town so to speak in terms of Internet search. I wonder if his lawyers checked out Yahoo or WebCrawler? Of course Google plans to appeal the decision to ... be able to show pics of an old man getting er um never mind..."
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New Allegations of large scale data collection by the NSA on Google and Yahoo

Virtucon Virtucon writes  |  about 9 months ago

Virtucon (127420) writes "Another revelation of a new program that goes beyond PRISM, this program called MUSCULAR which gets around sticky US laws by relying on the GCHQ. If true this may actually start to get Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Microsoft to start flexing some of the legal and lobbying muscle in Washington to outlaw this kind of crap.
David Drummond, chief legal officer at Google has said:


"We are outraged at the lengths to which the government seems to have gone to intercept data from our private fiber networks, and it underscores the need for urgent reform."

"

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California Public Utilities Commission approves Ride Sharing Services

Virtucon Virtucon writes  |  about 10 months ago

Virtucon (127420) writes "Ride Sharing Services such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar received a big boost today when the California Public Utilities Commission approved rules that would allow them to continue to operate as long as the followed a few rules. This makes California the first state to adopt such rules and is expected to preempt local governments who are trying to clamp down on these services and try to regulate them like local taxi companies."
Link to Original Source
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How do you deal with software publishers who ignore known Vulnerabilities?

Virtucon Virtucon writes  |  1 year,4 days

Virtucon (127420) writes "If you have a software publisher who ignores vulnerabilities or distributes software that has third party dependencies that have vulnerabilities, what do you do about it when they ignore the situation? I mean if they keep distributing updates and the vulnerabilities still are present, other than not using the application anymore or reporting it what can you do? Shame them publicly? Also what if it's a home-use product vs. an enterprise product, do you treat those differently?"
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Labor Department wanted $1 million for e-mail addresses of political appointees.

Virtucon Virtucon writes  |  about a year ago

Virtucon (127420) writes "

The AP asked for the addresses following last year's disclosures that the former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency had used separate email accounts at work. The practice is separate from officials who use personal, non-government email accounts for work, which generally is discouraged—but often happens anyway—due to laws requiring that most federal records be preserved. The scope of using the secret accounts across government remains a mystery: Most U.S. agencies have failed to turn over lists of political appointees' email addresses, which the AP sought under the Freedom of Information Act more than three months ago. The Labor Department initially asked the AP to pay more than $1 million for its email addresses.

The reason for the $1 million dollar request was to do research including going to backup tapes. Some of the information has been turned over to AP but it still seems that the government just can't get their hands on e-mail addresses for their own people."
Link to Original Source

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Federal Magistrate rules in favor of accused in decryption issue.

Virtucon Virtucon writes  |  about a year ago

Virtucon (127420) writes "U.S. Magistrate William Callahan Jr. of Wisconsin has ruled in favor of the accused in that he should not have to decrypt his storage device. The US Government had sought to compel Feldman to provide his password to obtain access to the data. Presumably the FBI has had no success in getting the data and had sought to have the judge compel Feldman to provide the decrypted contents of what they had seized.

The Judge ruled:

This is a close call, but I conclude that Feldman’s act of production, which would necessarily require his using a password of some type to decrypt the storage device, would be tantamount to telling the government something it does not already know with ‘reasonably particularity’—namely, that Feldman has personal access to and control over the encrypted storage devices. Accordingly, in my opinion, Fifth Amendment protection is available to Feldman. Stated another way, ordering Feldman to decrypt the storage devices would be in violation of his Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination.

"

Link to Original Source
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Google is pushing back on law enforcement requests for access to Gmail accounts

Virtucon Virtucon writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Virtucon (127420) writes "Ars technica has an interesting article on how Google is handling requests from law enforcement for access to Gmail accounts. With the recent Petraeus scandal where no criminal conduct was found, it seems that they're re-enforcing their policies and standing up for their users.

"In order to compel us to produce content in Gmail we require an ECPA search warrant," said Chris Gaither, Google spokesperson. "If they come for registration information, that's one thing, but if they ask for content of email that's another thing."

"

Link to Original Source
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MIT Researchers find that some Android apps collect information when off

Virtucon Virtucon writes  |  about 2 years ago

Virtucon (127420) writes "MIT Researchers have discovered that some Android applications collect personal information including Google Maps even when they are off. Maybe Free isn't so great after all?

From the Article: " After evaluating 36 applications — ranging from popular games such as Angry Birds to text-messaging platforms, social media applications and photography applications — researchers found that most applications collect personal information about their users even when the phone is not in operation. Shih and Zhang found that applications tracked everything from location information to stored contacts and the device's Web history.""

Link to Original Source
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Judge Refuses Appeal in Kim DotCom case for extradition

Virtucon Virtucon writes  |  about 2 years ago

Virtucon (127420) writes "The USA has suffered another rebuff in its attempts to extradite Kim Dotcom, with Judge Winkelmann of the High Court of New Zealand upholding a previous disclosure order made by Judge David Harvey.

The previous order had required the FBI to disclose an extensive amount of documentation to support its application for Dotcom’s extradition. As noted by NZ’s LawGeekNZ blog, the disclosure would cover communications between US authorities and the MPAA and RIAA on behalf of copyright owners.

This had been resisted by the US, which requested a judicial review. This has now been completed, and in a 51-page judgment (available at LawGeekNZ), Judge Winkelmann has dismissed the application."

Link to Original Source
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New Mineral found in Metorite.

Virtucon Virtucon writes  |  about 2 years ago

Virtucon (127420) writes "The new mineral was found embedded in the Allende meteorite, which fell to Earth in 1969. Since 2007, geologist Chi Ma of Caltech has been probing the meteorite with a scanning electron microscope, discovering nine new materials including panguite."
Link to Original Source
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Facebook on a slide based on User Data?

Virtucon Virtucon writes  |  about 2 years ago

Virtucon (127420) writes "A recent report from analyst firm comScore said that unique U.S. visitors to Facebook dropped slightly in May compared to April and March. But an analysis of additional comScore data suggests that the slowdown could be more significant and longer lasting. Falling traffic could be a concern to investors, who justify Facebook's high market value by pointing to its growth potential."
Link to Original Source
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Scientists Create World's Smallest Steam Engine

Virtucon Virtucon writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Virtucon writes "German physicists say they've built a heat engine measuring only a few micrometers across which works as well as a normal-sized version — although it sputters, they admit.

Researchers at the University of Stuttgart and the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems say that the engine does basically work, meaning there's nothing, in principle, to prevent the construction of highly efficient, small heat engines."

Link to Original Source

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