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Comments

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William Binney: NSA Records and Stores 80% of All US Audio Calls

arobatino Re:Why 80% (278 comments)

Incidentally, didn't Obama announce some changes he was going to make to fix the NSA?

This is the guy who disingenuously said "Nobody is listening to your telephone calls", knowing the monitoring is done by speech recognition and only a tiny fraction needs to be listened to by humans, and who appointed Clapper to establish an NSA review board, knowing he had already lied to Congress to protect the NSA.

about a month and a half ago
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In First American TV Interview, Snowden Talks Accountability and Patriotism

arobatino Re:How does one determine the difference... (389 comments)

And this is EXACTLY why you owe it to your true peers to submit to jury duty.

They only take people who are willing to give up the right of jury nullification.

about 3 months ago
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The Major Theoretical Blunders That Held Back Progress In Modern Astronomy

arobatino Re:After 1975, Mount Palomar wasn't the biggest (129 comments)

Oops - as pointed out above, the correct name of the site is Palomar Mountain, not Mount Palomar. Sorry about that.

about 3 months ago
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The Major Theoretical Blunders That Held Back Progress In Modern Astronomy

arobatino After 1975, Mount Palomar wasn't the biggest (129 comments)

And this was in turn superseded by the 200-inch telescope at nearby Mount Palomar in 1947 which remained the largest telescope in the world until 1993.

Not true - in 1975, BTA-6 in the Soviet Union became the biggest at 236 inches, though it never worked properly.

about 3 months ago
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Cellular Compound May Increase Lifespan Without the Need For Strict Dieting

arobatino Re:The problem with calorie restriction. (66 comments)

Foods-and-nutrition experts have known for decades that calorie restriction itself is a dead-end - and not for the reasons given so far in this article.

Turns out that, while calorie restriction does retard aging, it also retards the functionality of the immune system.

Since most humans now live in an environment which is much more shielded than what we evolved in, and evolution hasn't had time to catch up, it's plausible that a tradeoff like that might be worthwhile.

about 3 months ago
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EU Court Backs 'Right To Be Forgotten'

arobatino Re:The right to remember (153 comments)

TL;DR: To ensure a level playing field between ordinary people and the rich/powerful, information access should be either easy or impossible, and the second option is out.

about 3 months ago
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EU Court Backs 'Right To Be Forgotten'

arobatino Re:The right to remember (153 comments)

Everyone already has the right to remember something. It is as simple as saving the web page or printing it to PDF.

How can anyone exercise their "right" to "be forgotten" if saving local copies is allowed?

Nobody can stop you saving it.

Although this particular legislation doesn't ban that, laws already exist making it illegal to make local copies of certain content. Plugging the "local copy" loophole would be the next step.

The summary says that LINKS to outdated and irrelevant information should be removed on request. It doesn't say anything about the data itself.

You left out the quotes around the word "irrelevant", which were there because it's subjective. Who gets to decide that? Same for "outdated", even there were no quotes in the article.

Thus if a newspaper publishes a story about you being drunk at college when you're 21, in 20 years time you might ask Google to delete the link from its cache (the link is now to outdated and irrelevant information)

Even if said person is about to run for public office? (Just one example.)

but you can't ask the newspaper to withdraw publishing of the article for it owns the copyright, etc. Now it might be hard to find that information once the link is removed by Google but that's another matter.

If the newspaper is allowed to continue publishing the article, then the incident isn't "forgotten". Another loophole. To "protect" people's "right" to be forgotten, it's necessary to ban search engine links to the content, posting the content itself, and the making of local copies of it. If any copies survive, anywhere, the job isn't done. On the other hand, if your belief is that the goal should be to make access not impossible, but merely difficult, that just means that only the rich and/or powerful will be able to find the information. How is that a good thing?

about 3 months ago
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EU Court Backs 'Right To Be Forgotten'

arobatino Re:The right to remember (153 comments)

The so-called "right to be forgotten" would be more accurately described as the "right to force other people to forget". There is no such right, as you point out.

about 3 months ago
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How the USPS Killed Digital Mail

arobatino Re:USPS should offer a subscription service (338 comments)

Think about it -- for $n/year, USPS would filter out your junk mail for you. People would pay for this.

True, but the reason there's so much junk mail is that the USPS is "required" (I put it in quotes because they don't exactly need a gun to their head) to deliver it, so the junk mailers are effectively able to force it down people's throats. If people could pay to opt out, the junk mail would be much less lucrative, so the USPS would lose most of it. And then they'd lose the money for opting out, too, since most people wouldn't get enough junk mail to bother anymore.

about 4 months ago
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Intuit, Maker of Turbotax, Lobbies Against Simplified Tax Filings

arobatino Re:Proposal (423 comments)

I propose we put Tax day right before Election day. That would make for some interesting changes.

Given that most people think their tax refund is a gift, that might be counterproductive.

about 4 months ago
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Intuit, Maker of Turbotax, Lobbies Against Simplified Tax Filings

arobatino Re:Taxes are full of scams... (423 comments)

The service you mention is only available to those with low incomes, and generally they don't support itemized deductions.

Wrong on both counts. If you go to the freefile link mentioned above, there are two options: "Income below $58,000: Free File Software" and "Income above $58,000: Free File Fillable Forms". The second does not require software, though if you're running Linux, the site might not work properly with Firefox (I use Konqueror as a workaround). Note that you don't have to have income above $58,000 to use the second option. And the list of Forms you can use includes Schedule A (Itemized Deductions).

about 4 months ago
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NSA Allegedly Exploited Heartbleed

arobatino Re:It's not a bug (149 comments)

The fact that they didn't tell anyone though shows that the S is NSA is bullshit. They cared more about being able to exploit the vulnerability themselves than making their country's computers more secure.

It's a basic conflict of interest with police/defense/intelligence agencies. They gain power from the existence of threats, so it's in their self interest to favor policies that perpetuate them while pretending to do the opposite. The War on Drugs, Cuban Embargo, etc.

about 4 months ago
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The Problem With Congress's Scientific Illiterates

arobatino Re:Don't bother. (509 comments)

The problem is that these people aren't just ignorant. People who are ignorant can be educated and then they're fine. These people are willfully ignorant. They are purposefully ignorant. They take pride in their ignorance and will do everything in their power to stay ignorant. Trying to educate these people is a losing proposition because they won't listen no matter what you say or how much proof you show them.

Which is exactly what you would expect from someone who needs to have enough general intelligence to get elected, but at the same time cater to the ignorance of their constituents, for the same reason. Ultimately, it's the voter's fault.

about 5 months ago
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Whole Foods: America's Temple of Pseudoscience

arobatino Re:God (794 comments)

I perceive them differently because Whole Foods isn't trying to shove their beliefs into the public schools. Everyone should have the right to believe silly nonsense, but no one has the right to impose their beliefs on others, and they especially don't have the right to use the instruments of government to do so.

I agree that creationism shouldn't be taught in public schools. The thing is, under the current system, the government effectively coerces people into sending their kids to public schools, through taxes. So if you want your kids taught differently, you have to double pay either by sending them to private school, or home schooling them.

about 6 months ago
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UAE Clerics' Fatwa Forbids Muslims From Traveling To Mars

arobatino Re: Well for once I agree with religious crazies (363 comments)

Unlike the conditions the early settlers were subjected to, Mars has a much more predictable environment, so the risk of death should be much lower. Unfortunately, with vastly improved communication today, if people on Mars die, we'll all hear about it immediately, so it'll seem worse.

about 6 months ago
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Massive New Cambrian-Era Fossil Bed Found

arobatino Re:It's the devil (108 comments)

I always though the Fundamentalist position was that fossils were put there by God, so as to test the faith of hapless followers.

If that's true, then creationists are being blasphemous when they suggest that their beliefs are supported by physical evidence, since an omniscient, omnipotent God wouldn't leave any. (Although they're obviously not above it if that's what it takes to get it taught in public schools.)

about 6 months ago
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New Type of Star Can Emerge From Inside Black Holes, Say Cosmologists

arobatino Re:Beta Sucks! (193 comments)

We should boycott stories and only discuss the abomination that is Slashdot Beta until Dice abandons the project.

Unfortunately, if they only care about ad revenue, and not comments, the only way to have an effect is to start using an ad blocker, and let them know why.

about 7 months ago
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First US Public Library With No Paper Books Opens In Texas

arobatino Re:Why bother (212 comments)

Exactly. If the content is available digitally, they should put up a website like Open Library so people anywhere in the world can access it.

about 8 months ago
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Senator Bernie Sanders Asks NSA If Agency Is Spying On Congress

arobatino Re:I'm sorry Senator, your question isn't valid (363 comments)

As we have stated previously, meta-data is NOT data

Except when companies want to release metadata such as the number of national security orders received, in which case this one integer is so sensitive that they are forced to drop the lowest 10 significant bits and only report it in bands of 1,000. It's safe to assume that the NSA gets to store all the bits in their integers.

about 8 months ago

Submissions

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Researchers propose alternative way to allocate science funding

arobatino arobatino writes  |  about 7 months ago

arobatino (46791) writes "From the article:

The new approach is possible due to recent advances in mathematics and computer technologies. The system involves giving all scientists an annual, unconditional fixed amount of funding to conduct their research. All funded scientists are, however, obliged to donate a fixed percentage of all of the funding that they previously received to other researchers. As a result, the funding circulates through the community, converging on researchers that are expected to make the best use of it. “Our alternative funding system is inspired by the mathematical models used to search the internet for relevant information,” said Bollen. “The decentralized funding model uses the wisdom of the entire scientific community to determine a fair distribution of funding.”

"

Link to Original Source
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University in Malaysia gives Kim Jong-un an honorary doctorate in economics

arobatino arobatino writes  |  about 10 months ago

arobatino (46791) writes "From the article:

If the North Korean state news agency has it right, the particular doctorate is perhaps as much of a surprise for those outside the isolated nation as the honor itself. Dr. Kim, it says, is now a doctor of economics. The news report does not mention that he oversees one of the world’s poorest and most dysfunctional economies.

"

Link to Original Source
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Introducing the 'State Secrets' Drinking Game

arobatino arobatino writes  |  about a year and a half ago

arobatino (46791) writes "From the article:

'So in the holiday spirit of things, we are posting the videos here so they may be enjoyed as a reason to drink — and not just because of the subject material. With friends and family, imbibe your beverage of choice every time Judge White, Justice Department attorney Anthony Coppolino or Richard Wiebe, the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s lawyer or any other participant utters “state secrets.”

Or just focus on Coppolino. You’re guaranteed to get inebriated.

For heavier drinkers, you can up the ante by drinking when one of them substitutes “state secrets” with the words “privilege” or “doctrine.”

Either way, when the hearing is over, you may have to check yourself into Alcoholics Anonymous.'"

Link to Original Source
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Research Discovery Could Revolutionalize Semiconductor Manufacture

arobatino arobatino writes  |  about a year and a half ago

arobatino (46791) writes "A new method of manufacturing semiconductors which eliminates the substrate (in other words, no wafer) could be much faster and cheaper. From the article:

'A completely new method of manufacturing the smallest structures in electronics could make their manufacture thousands of times quicker, allowing for cheaper semiconductors. The findings have been published in the latest issue of Nature.

Instead of starting from a silicon wafer or other substrate, as is usual today, researchers have made it possible for the structures to grow from freely suspended nanoparticles of gold in a flowing gas.'"

Link to Original Source
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Should citizenship not depend on birthplace?

arobatino arobatino writes  |  more than 2 years ago

arobatino (46791) writes "An op-ed in the New York Times concludes:

In early modern Europe, vagabonds without passes were hanged, imprisoned, branded and shipped off to the colonies, including America. Requiring a birth certificate to document citizenship is no less irrational. We need governments, but we don’t need nations. People should be free to move across borders; they should be citizens of the states where they happen to reside — period."

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