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New Details About NSA's Exhaustive Search of Edward Snowden's Emails

kilfarsnar Re: NSA scorecard on on truth? (188 comments)

The problem with a conspiracy theorist is that all available evidence will be viewed in whatever way is possible to support their beliefs, and any evidence that contradicts it will be dismissed as fabricated or lies. The result is that it is not possible to have a real discussion or debate with them since the purpose of such interactions can never occur given that their beliefs can never be changed. I am not sure what the true story is in regards to what Snowden did or did not complain about, but Ready, Fire, and maybe then think about Aim, is the wrong way to debate it, and makes the presenter look foolish.

Good points. Personally, it does not matter to me whether or not Mr. Snowden tried to raise concerns internally before going to the press. That's because I do not expect that he would have gotten much traction internally, and likely would have made himself suspicious to his superiors in the process. He certainly could not have had the impact he has had by going through the chain of command. He has done more of a public service than he could have by reporting internally.

yesterday
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New Details About NSA's Exhaustive Search of Edward Snowden's Emails

kilfarsnar Re: NSA scorecard on on truth? (188 comments)

agreed.. and p.s. the government IS (and has been) bankrupt.. it just isn't yet entirely insolvent.

The US government can print it's own currency. Therefore it cannot go bankrupt. It can choose not to pay it's obligations (which would be foolish), but it cannot run out of money.

yesterday
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New Details About NSA's Exhaustive Search of Edward Snowden's Emails

kilfarsnar Re:NSA scorecard on on truth? (188 comments)

Let me know when the IRS can put you in Gitmo for 13 years without a charge.

They can't literally put you in Guantanamo Bay, but they can fuck you pretty hard.

yesterday
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Comcast Allegedly Asking Customers to Stop Using Tor

kilfarsnar Re: So-to-speak legal (379 comments)

"Then TOR will be wrapped by a VPN service, and Comcast will be fscked."

Let's not forget that rights holders are already calling for VPN users to be assumed to be criminals. So it's far from impossible that what they're doing for TOR now, they may do for VPNs later. Sure they would have to have some sort of system to allow "approved" VPN connections, so that people who need them for work wouldn't be screwed, but I wouldn't rule it out.

Anything's possible, especially when corporate profits are at stake. But preventing people from using VPN's seems like it would be tough in practice; not from a technological standpoint, but from a practical one. So many businesses use VPN for so much, blocking it would be a real issue. The BBC can say they want every VPN user to be considered a copyright infringer, but VPN has so may legitimate (and at this point, necessary) uses that making that argument in any serious way would be difficult.

yesterday
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When Scientists Give Up

kilfarsnar Re:Easy solution (347 comments)

... There is no debt crisis. It's not even that no one is ever going to pay it. It's that the US can print its own money. It is not like state governments or a household. It has the capacity for infinite dollars. It will always be able to pay its debts.

So yes, we have plenty of money for science. We have plenty of money for everything. It is only political decisions that affect funding.

Great. Let's print $10000000000000000000 of money and save the world.

Yeah, ya can't just do that. Though that is a frequent response to the idea that we have unlimited money. The reason you can't is that you'll get massive inflation. The money supply can't increase faster than GDP or you'll get inflation. Sometimes inflation is desirable, BTW.

Funny story though: Since 2008 the Fed has tripled the money supply. Tripled! There are now three times as many dollars in existence than there were 7 years ago. The inflation hasn't materialized as much as some would think, for various reasons. I don't know entirely why myself. But the Fed's action is an example of how we have as much money as we want. It's really a matter of distribution. That's why I say these are political decisions, not financial ones. After the crash in 2008, the government could have given people money to pay off part of the loans on their underwater homes, thereby avoiding the devaluation of the CDO securities. But instead they bought a lot of the securities based on those loans, which cratered in value, at their peak prices. They bailed out the banks while leaving borrowers to be foreclosed on. Political decisions.

3 days ago
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If Tesla Can Run Its Gigafactory On 100% Renewables, Why Can't Others?

kilfarsnar Re:Fukushima too (437 comments)

These days the capitalist system is doing a pretty good job of discrediting itself. Any economic system that manifestly cannot provide a decent living standard for the majority of the population is a failed system, IMO.

3 days ago
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When Scientists Give Up

kilfarsnar Re:Easy solution (347 comments)

The debt is just a number that various groups start throwing at each other when they don't get their way. It means almost nothing in the real world, as no one is ever going to pay it. We have plenty of money to fund science. We just don't want to, apparently.

This is true, and bears repeating. There is no debt crisis. It's not even that no one is ever going to pay it. It's that the US can print its own money. It is not like state governments or a household. It has the capacity for infinite dollars. It will always be able to pay its debts.

So yes, we have plenty of money for science. We have plenty of money for everything. It is only political decisions that affect funding.

4 days ago
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Text While Driving In Long Island and Have Your Phone Disabled

kilfarsnar Re:It should be (363 comments)

You'd have more of a point if the US wasn't so often concerned with the domestic policies of other nations.

Do we get concerned about domestic policies in other nations that are harboring American-murdering terrorists (and to a lesser extent those that murder our allies)? You bet your ass. Do we give a shit about Poland? Not so much.

LOL. Look at the drug laws in many other countries, and then find out how they got that way.

5 days ago
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Mysterious, Phony Cell Towers Found Throughout US

kilfarsnar Re:sensationalism, ahoy (237 comments)

You know, cellular networks use radio, folks. When you're transmitting electromagnetic radiation using the fabric of spacetime as your communications medium, it becomes rather quite difficult to prevent interception. Learn to use encryption and quit your whining.

If you had bothered to RTFA, you'd know that these systems turn off encryption, unbeknownst to the user.

about two weeks ago
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First US Appeals Court Hears Arguments To Shut Down NSA Database

kilfarsnar Re:In other news.... (199 comments)

It was a gigantic pile of legislation - so big it looked like it had to have been ready to go on 9/10 - and was passed and signed in alarmingly little time, almost without debate or dissent. At least that's the way it seemed at the time.

That's the way it seems now, too.

about two weeks ago
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First US Appeals Court Hears Arguments To Shut Down NSA Database

kilfarsnar Re:It's amazing (199 comments)

My point is that the constitution isn't some magic document, it's just a piece of paper that has no power beyond what one enforces. Unless you are willing to go up against the government and enforce the constitution with violence if necessary the constitution is irrelevant since the government can do as it pleases. If you are willing to take up arms against the government and have the resources to succeed then the constitution is still irrelevant since you then can enforce whatever rules you seem fit, constitutional or not.

So yes, it might be unconstitutional, but that doesn't mean anything, it's just a word.

Nothing has meaning until we give it meaning. Our entire society is just a bunch of agreements and customs. There is no God that will enforce the Constitution from on high. But the Constitution is understood to express our values as a society. It is an attempt to lay the groundwork for a stable, just and equitable civilization.

So yeah, unconstitutional is just a word. But it has meaning. That's actually inherent to words; they have meaning. It means that something is contrary to our values. But it also has the power of law. So saying that unconstitutional is just a word and has no meaning is to invalidate the concept of law. Of course it only has as much power as we enforce. Congratulations, you just described every law in the world.

about two weeks ago
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In Maryland, a Soviet-Style Punishment For a Novelist

kilfarsnar Re:In Soviet Maryland (441 comments)

Forcibly taking him in for "an emergency medical evaluation", not letting anyone know where he is, and releasing statements phrasing everything he did as if he was an imminent threat isn't "acting", it's overreacting.

Overreacting seems to be the default mode of police in many parts of the country these days.

about two weeks ago
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In Maryland, a Soviet-Style Punishment For a Novelist

kilfarsnar Re:Sue the bastards (441 comments)

I urge every slashdotter to do the same this election cycle, even if it means voting for the "other guy".

I always vote for the other guy.

about two weeks ago
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Low-Carb Diet Trumps Low-Fat Diet In Major New Study

kilfarsnar Re:Simply ignore studies ... (587 comments)

Bulldust.

I can walk on a treadmill for an hour or simply avoid two thin slices of wheat bread. They are calorie-equivalent.

Weight-loss is best accomplished by reducing caloric intake. Trying to exercise weight off is fruitless.

Exercise is great for muscle toning, avoiding injury, increasing balance, beefing up air intake, and strengthening the heart.

It's a huge mistake to think weight-loss can be accomplished by exercise.

It's a huge mistake to think that wellness can be accomplished by diet.

The two should be used together to work on two separate issues.

Hah? Weight loss can certainly be attained through exercise. Basically, you need to burn more calories than you take in. You can do that by reducing calories, or by increasing the burn rate. If you keep your calorie intake constant and increase your exercise, you will lose weight, all else being equal.

about two weeks ago
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Low-Carb Diet Trumps Low-Fat Diet In Major New Study

kilfarsnar Re:The diet is unimportant... (587 comments)

The reason rates of obesity and associated afflictions like diabetes have skyrocketed in the past 30 years, is not because Americans' willpower has somehow become more lacking. It's because of the atrocious job the authorities have done in demonizing fat, and encouraging a high carb low fat diet. Fat does not make you fat carbs do by triggering an insulin response that converts the sugars in the blood stream into fat to be stored in cells.

That and the fact that we subsidize corn and soy at the federal level. Processed foods like Cheetos and Hot Pockets end up being cheaper than healthier foods. So people on a budget (most Americans) can stretch their dollar by buying cheaper food that is higher in simple carbs and salt but not very nutritious.

about two weeks ago
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Low-Carb Diet Trumps Low-Fat Diet In Major New Study

kilfarsnar Re:The diet is unimportant... (587 comments)

The diet is the wrong way around to solve a problem. Which is how to stay healthy without exercising. Now maybe there is a diet that does that but most of them say "oh and exercise"... well, if you exercise the rest isn't important.

That's really not true. You are correct that exercise is an integral part of being healthy. But what you eat is just as important. If you do an hour of cardio a day and weight train, but eat McDonald's french fries and milkshakes you will not realize the benefits of your exercise. Will you be better off than someone who eats the same but doesn't exercise? Sure, but you will not be better off than the person who exercises and eats lean meats, whole grains and lots of fruits and vegetables. The lean meats are optional as long as you get complete protein from some other source.

about two weeks ago
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US Government Fights To Not Explain No-Fly List Selection Process

kilfarsnar Re:Loose Lips Sinik Ships (248 comments)

It should be noted that in the seminal case that established the state secrets privilege, United States v. Reynolds, the government used the national security argument to hide negligence.

That original claim to privilege was retested in the early 2000s once those "secret" documents had been declassified and *still* the court found that the government had *not* abused its state secrets privilege. It may be your opinion that the government tried to hide negligence, but that's not the accepted opinion and not the one reached by many trained scholars (judges, lawyers) actually practicing in the field on a daily basis. So perhaps you should remove the tin foil hat covering your eyes every once in a while and consider that there may be more to some things than you might first think.

Now, that said, I'm no big government promoter. Far from it. You can read some of my prior comments for examples. What I don't want are for people to discredit the entire concept of major government reform by making such broad statements without addressing the (potentially legitimate) counter arguments. Taken in context, those original claims to state secret privileges seem relevant to me in this particular case.

From Wikipedia: "The radio program This American Life reported in 2009, that, contrary to claims made in the case, the accident report contained no information on the secret equipment on the plane except to note that secret equipment was present, a fact which had been reported in the press at the time. The program interviewed the daughter of one of the crash victims who described the government's claims in the case as fraudulent."

The court may have found that the government did not abuse its privilege, but I do not agree. Courts have also ruled that people who suspect they are being spied upon have no standing to find out, since the spying is classified and they can't know if they are or not. Whatever the material of my hat, court rulings do not guarantee fairness, good judgement or good policy.

The defense, as I understand it, was that the accident report was privileged information and therefore not subject to disclosure under Rule 34 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. However, the cause of the plane crash was determined to be a fire in the engine. What does a fire in the engine have to do with secret surveillance equipment on the plane? Why would an engine fire be privileged? How would its disclosure impact national security?

I know that the families of the airmen received a settlement, so they didn't go away with nothing. But the precedent was set and it really looks to me like the government used a supposed threat to national security to avoid accountability. YMMV

about two weeks ago
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US Government Fights To Not Explain No-Fly List Selection Process

kilfarsnar Re:It'd be nice... (248 comments)

But, but , but Mr. Obama is Mr. Transparency.

He said so.

One of the things President Obama has done for this country is to show us that whether the Republicans or Democrats are in office, we get a lot of the same policies. Not identical, but most of the foreign policy, national security, surveillance and domestic security policies are the same between the parties. Some choice!

about two weeks ago
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US Government Fights To Not Explain No-Fly List Selection Process

kilfarsnar Re:America (248 comments)

Look, no matter how totalitarian we actually are, we will always pretend this is true. "America is the specialist most freest place in the universe" is an idea beaten into children's heads without qualification throughout early and middle childhood. It's my pet theory that this is the mechanism by which we get so many libertarians.

That just makes it all the more disillusioning when you figure out that it's bullshit.

about two weeks ago
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US Government Fights To Not Explain No-Fly List Selection Process

kilfarsnar Re:Loose Lips Sinik Ships (248 comments)

For the safety of the country there are certain things that need to remain secret. Some complain our government doesn't do enough to protect us. Others see the boogeyman behind everything the government does. Criteria for no-fly list? I imagine there is an element of secrecy there and it would largely depend on intelligence generated through a number of sources. Are there mistakes made? Of course. Unfortunately the process is administered by human beings who are flawed vessels at best.

In a republic, the people must be able to hold their representatives accountable and ensure they are working in the country's best interests and obeying the law. Secret policies like the one governing the members of the no-fly list work against people wanting to know what their government is doing and why. It is not a matter of whether we are protected or not. It is a matter of transparency in a government by, of and for the people. That's not to say that the policy governing the no-fly list should be published in the New York Times. But if the government can hide behind the state secrets privilege to bar people from finding out why they are on the list and how they might get off it, they are denying those people their right to redress of grievances.

It is true that some things must be kept secret. But part of the issue here is that in order to be trusted with secrets, you must be that; trusted. Members of the intelligence and national security apparatus have been found lying to Congress, the judiciary and the public on numerous occasions. When they say we must simply trust them that they are doing the right thing, any thinking person should be skeptical. They have blown their credibility and have lost the trust of the people they are supposed to be protecting. That's not a good thing.

It should be noted that in the seminal case that established the state secrets privilege, United States v. Reynolds, the government used the national security argument to hide negligence. In the very first case that they used that argument, they used it to cover something up (lax maintenance that led to the downing of an aircraft). So it has been a dubious privilege from the start. Given their track record since, there is no reason to trust that the government is being honest in their invoking the privilege now. They may indeed be on the up-and-up. But that needs to be independently verified, and that should be the job of the court.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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Web-based Visible Body Tool

kilfarsnar kilfarsnar writes  |  more than 6 years ago

kilfarsnar (561956) writes "There is a new web-based online tool for exploring the human body. It is at www.visiblebody.com. You can rotate and isolate various body systems and just generally explore the body! It's free to use, and I thought the Slashdot community might enjoy it."
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