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CBS 60 Minutes: NSA Speaks Out On Snowden, Spying

tnk1 Re:Lie-fest from the NSA (504 comments)

They're asserting that they *don't* track everything. Metadata is important, but you're not going to roll up a plot hatched by previously unknown participants with it, there's not enough information for that. The metadata can provide connections between known terrorist operatives and previously unknown individuals, however. When those connections are established, then they obtain warrants for wiretap/content.

Point being, everyone is suggesting that they are operating a panopticon except for the NSA itself. And now you're suggesting that they have failed to stop domestic plots by using capabilities that they don't even admit to having. Next, someone is going to ask why the NSA hasn't proactively stopped all crime based on their omniscience.

about 4 months ago
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France Broadens Surveillance Powers; Wider Scope Than NSA

tnk1 Re:Islam (169 comments)

Don't mistake being regularly "religious" for being a candidate for terrorism. Most of these "jihadis" become full-on religious only fairly late in the process. I'm less worried about the regular mosque-goers than I am about fairly recent converts or the kids brought up Islamic, but who didn't care about it until they were lured in by extremist recruiters. The more you are educated about a particular religion, the less chance they can pull the wool over your eyes with their radicalized version of that religion.

about 3 months ago
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France Broadens Surveillance Powers; Wider Scope Than NSA

tnk1 Re:Islam (169 comments)

Is anyone actually being held back by this, though? The fact that you might be a crack addict who sleeps with interns while hanging out with crime lords is something that can easily be found out by the news media anyway. If you are that sort of person to begin with, perhaps you shouldn't be in government.

What information is the NSA going to provide that is going to cause problems for legitimately non-criminal candidates? You don't need the NSA to frame someone.

about 3 months ago
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CBS 60 Minutes: NSA Speaks Out On Snowden, Spying

tnk1 Re:Lie-fest from the NSA (504 comments)

So your assertion is that terrorist plots that originated in the US were not stopped by the NSA, who themselves assert that they do not track domestic traffic expect maybe metadata, so we are no more safe?

Your beef is with the FBI, not the NSA. The NSA, like the other intelligence agencies, is only collecting data, usually for foreign initiated situations. The metadata that they collect is not supposed to be for domestic consumption unless some law enforcement agency like the FBI requests it.

about 3 months ago
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NuScale Power Awarded $226 Million To Deploy Small Nuclear Reactor Design

tnk1 Re:Amazing (210 comments)

They can use their existing money and assets to buy into nuclear plants. The reason the Koch Brothers, and every rich person who didn't inherit it, has and keeps their money is because they move it where there is more money to be made. Right now it is oil and pipelines, but killing pipelines will not kill people like that. It's not entirely certain if silver or garlic will either.

about 4 months ago
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NSA Head Asks How To Spy Without Collecting Metadata

tnk1 Re:GET A WARRANT (509 comments)

Eh. Spying on foreigners is certainly not legal in their country, but everyone does it to everyone else. It would be nice and all to stop doing that, but I can name a few countries that have no plans to stop doing that and wouldn't suddenly "see the light" if we did so unilaterally. I don't find the cessation of intelligence gathering to be realistic.

And as much as privacy is a good thing, simply collecting information itself doesn't hurt anyone. The question is what you do with it. I'm much more concerned with that.

Now *inside* the US there are laws that need to be obeyed. If those aren't being obeyed, they need to be. If they are, and we still don't like them, we need to get the laws changed. We also have to not send mixed messages to legislators. For instance, if they follow the Constitution to the letter and make sure that they avoid anything that may even be ambiguously unconstitutional, they *will* miss opportunities to catch people. The real question is how much risk does that add, and how much risk do we tolerate as a citizenry. We need to accept that our Constitution has a price tag on it. "Freedom isn't free" isn't just talking about soldiers. You let people have certain liberties, those liberties can be taken advantage of. We need to learn that and become okay with the resulting risk or we're doomed to fail eventually.

about 4 months ago
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Life Could Have Evolved 15 Million Years After the Big Bang, Says Cosmologist

tnk1 Re:Millions of years of life-supporting conditions (312 comments)

I always wondered what the point was with considering panspermia. If life could have appeared anywhere in order to make it to Earth, it could have just as easily originated on Earth to begin with. There's nothing miraculous about Earth, but there is nothing sub-standard about it either.

It would be interesting to know if terrestrial life started elsewhere, but what problems does that hypothesis solve? The only one I can think of is why all almost all Star Trek aliens look like humans with different foreheads.

about 4 months ago
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Why Bitcoin Is Doomed To Fail, In One Economist's Eyes

tnk1 Re:Nope (537 comments)

The government can "take over" by passing laws that make it illegal to use or exchange bitcoins unless they are registered or have some other control feature. Private money is not illegal in the US, but it doesn't have to stay that way. That wouldn't stop the illegal usage of bitcoins, of course, but having the government go from indifferent or passively hostile all the way to actively hostile will be a serious problem. Even drug traffickers need to get their eventual profits into state-sponsored money for it to be useful for them. If they didn't, they would have created their own monetary system decades ago.

about 5 months ago
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Microsoft Narrows Down CEO Shortlist: Elop, Mulally, Bates, Nadella In Mix

tnk1 Re:Those that know ... (183 comments)

I wholeheartedly agree that the employee rating system needs to be less about competing with your co-workers and more about competing with your actual competitors.

While there does need to be some accounting for people who are not performing, you don't create a system that tries to find that out at the cost of completely undercutting your own teams.

I've met people who are shitty at their jobs, but excellent at backstabbing. MS already has too much of that. Hopefully they pick a CEO who changes that, but that will be an uphill battle, to say the least. It's already cultural.

about 5 months ago
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First Experimental Evidence That Time Is an Emergent Quantum Phenomenon

tnk1 Re:Instead of likening things to rocket science (530 comments)

I was just talking to my seven year old nephew about math and I described to him a Linear Algebra problem. He didn't understand it. What are they putting in the water these days to make kids so dumb? It's probably all dem vaccines. And sugar.

about 5 months ago
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10-Year-Old Boy Discovers 600-Million-Year-Old Supernova

tnk1 Re:A great example for kids (214 comments)

If it's on the Internet, it's true. Didn't you learn anything in public school?

about 5 months ago
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USS Zumwalt — a Guided Missile Destroyer Running On Linux

tnk1 Re:And? (229 comments)

Fire has been used by humans for 1.9 million years or so. It is very useful for killing people painfully. I'm still pretty happy with fire.

Linux has been used from the early nineties, and now its going to kill people. I'm still pretty happy with Linux.

Granted, I'm not going to brag about that aspect, but I wouldn't go so far to say it is a ghastly aspect. Modern militaries use everything from brooms to paperclips in support of their mission to kill stuff. That's because militaries use systems to accomplish their tasks, just like everything else does. If you create a system to move food around the globe, you also create a system that moves food between war zones.

I'd be proud that Linux is deemed capable of underlying a mission critical system, even if I don't like the results of said system.

about 6 months ago
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Could Snowden Have Been Stopped In 2009?

tnk1 Re:Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Latin) (247 comments)

On the other hand, one of the best generals on the Continental side was Major General Benedict Arnold. He pretty much won the Battle of Saratoga and therefore, the contributed considerably to the winning the whole war.

He was so good that he actually has one or two memorials: one at Saratoga and one at West Point. They don't actually have his name on them. Too bad about his later career.

As a tactician, Washington was not one of the great captains of history, in the sense that Napoleon or Hannibal could crush their enemies in battle after battle, but he was a very good Commander-in-Chief in the sense that he was able to hold together a fractious alliance and maintain an army in the field. He also was very much lacking the gigantic ego that the other generals, like Arnold, had. That one feature is a significant reason we have a United States today that is more or less a functioning democracy, as opposed to a string of dictatorships and juntas.

All that said, Washington was probably not going to pull a Cannae on the British, but it isn't like the British weren't trying to win. They certainly tried to stop Washington and failed.

about 6 months ago
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Digital Revolution Will Kill Jobs, Inflame Social Unrest, Says Gartner

tnk1 Re:Hard to say. (754 comments)

I see your point, and I am actually not sure one way or another if you're right. I will say, however, that you shouldn't discount even raw bandwidth as something that could drive jobs. The more software online there is, the more bandwidth is needed. A 10MBps line that would have been massive for a small company in the 90s is incredibly insufficient now. Now we need 100Mbps or something like that.

The more fiber there is, the more fiber gets laid, and the more fiber gets cut. Is it the same as churning out new cars? I don't know, and there may well be other products that are moving into the space as well.

The original Luddites feared for their jobs, not because they were all stupid, but because there was an entire paradigm shift. It would be putting a machine in a soccer goal net instead of a goalie. You'd be putting all goalies out of a job, but you'd probably have to hire twice as many people to operate the goaltender machine.

That said, perhaps this digital revolution really IS different. Perhaps we do need to consider a world were we no longer determine what a person earns by what "value" they provide. I'd say it would be a good thought exercise either way.

about 6 months ago
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How Entrepreneurs Overturned California's Retroactive Tax On Startup Founders

tnk1 Re:Don't Worry (105 comments)

That's the United States of Heinz. That's somewhere in Europe. Near Andorra.

about 6 months ago
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US Intelligence Chief Defends Attempts To Break Tor

tnk1 Re:Moral dilemma for the IT community (411 comments)

I find the idea that I am single-handedly able to overthrow a system which accreted over generations to be ridiculous. I understand that you might be saying that the mindset involved needs to change before change can happen, but to me "change" isn't enough. The system exists and is resilient because it co-opts people by working its way into a place where people need it. The Tea Party is trying to "change" things, and they look like assholes, but I will give them some props for knowing their goal and going after it. The problem is, they won't get their way without pissing off constituencies, and that is also why you really can't effect reform in other areas either.

You want to do away with government sponsored spying? Then don't support Social Security or Obamacare. Sound like completely different things? They are, but at the root of all of them is a reliance on government bureaucracy to solve our problems. It's just that other people find some problems more important than others. The problem with government is that you get an NSA for precisely the same reason you get a Department of Education: somebody who thinks big government has the power to make your lives easier and safer, the only difference is how they want the government to go about it.

about 6 months ago
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US Now Produces More Oil and Gas Than Russia and Saudi Arabia

tnk1 Re:Geopolitics (416 comments)

We'd still support the Saudis because Europe and China still use Mideast oil. We might not have been independent of Middle East oil, but we've always used much less of it than other places do. The problem here isn't feeding US SUVs as much as it is keeping the world stable and out of an energy crisis. If the Saudis suddenly stopped selling oil to Europe, the US would be mostly okay, but it would trash our allies and seriously destabilize the world picture.

about 6 months ago
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US Intelligence Chief Defends Attempts To Break Tor

tnk1 Re:Moral dilemma for the IT community (411 comments)

There's a difference between being a part of a system that you have no objective control over, and being complicit in specific activities that we have no way of having oversight over.

If I was a roofer on the Death Star, I might have no idea what the big crater looking thing was for. I'd think I was building a big battlestation, at best. Is it my fault that I didn't walk over to the other side of what was the size of a small moon and ask what they were building over there? Would I know a superlaser if I saw one? Hell no. I'm a roofer, not a turbolaser technician. I wouldn't know a superlaser from a thermal exhaust port.

about 6 months ago
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US Intelligence Chief Defends Attempts To Break Tor

tnk1 Re:Moral dilemma for the IT community (411 comments)

While I have no intention to collaborate with finding out private communications between US citizens, I don't see why the NSA would not try and break TOR. TOR is a communication system that would allow terrorists to communicate without being monitored, it is a job of a spy agency to get into those communication methods. It's like telling James Bond to not try to break into the safe of the bad guy to get the secret papers because, "breaking and entering is illegal and not nice".

There is nothing wrong with breaking TOR, because TOR doesn't deserve it's reputation if it can be broken. I'm glad that they've broken it and we know about it. I've always known that, while it had certain benefits, it has always been very susceptible to being compromised if you have enough assets and the will to do so. All they've done is proven it. Now we move on to something else, or we accept the caveats that working with TOR constrains us with.

I'm not worried about what they can do, I'm worried about what they do with their capabilities. The fact is that someone is going to be able to do what the NSA is doing, sooner or later. Let's make sure that it is the good guys who are doing it, and that those people who go into that field are responsible and honest people who understand the need for privacy in the course of normal events.

about 6 months ago
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'Dangerously Naive' Aaron Swartz 'Destroyed Himself'

tnk1 Re:Common sense? (362 comments)

In a word, "yes". What do you think happens to other people who use civil disobedience? Garden party invitations?

about 6 months ago

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