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  • May 20th, 2015 @ 5:28pm


    What is the Internet?
    by Secretary of State and Homeland Security Secretary

    The internet is a series of tubes.

    There, I wrote it for them.

  • May 20th, 2015 @ 2:33pm

    Re: Re: Save Lives?

    Good point.

    Although, when you do the other graph it looks a little bit steeper...

  • May 20th, 2015 @ 2:30pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Although I agree, it's sort of a moot point anyway. Until there's some actual evidence that the mass spying programs actually are saving our lives I'll take my liberty.

    If we take this to a logical extreme for fun, the question then becomes why doesn't the government just lock everyone up in solitary confinement? They're unlikely to be killed there.

    Huh, the U.S. has the highest prison population in the world. I guess it's a work in progress?

  • May 18th, 2015 @ 4:58pm

    Re: Re: From bad to worse

    Obviously. If no one admits there's a problem, there isn't a problem, right?

    Right, guys?

  • May 15th, 2015 @ 2:55pm

    (untitled comment)

    If it's fiction--as some have implied, it's plagiarism.

    Um, is she basically saying that her original story was fiction? Because that's how I'm reading this.

    Well played?

  • May 15th, 2015 @ 11:34am


    Biological and nuclear weapons are effective too but we seem to have a little reluctance to use them. Why? Because we don't want them used on us, either. So we ban them because even potentially saving American lives by using weapons of mass destruction rather than ground troops is a secondary concern to the ethical ramifications of these weapons and our desire to avoid having these weapons used against us.

    Guess what? Mass spying is similar. We don't want to be spied on by our own government, even if it is to protect us. It's all too easy for that power to be used with the best of intentions for all the wrong reasons. After all, once we've "fixed" the terrorist problem, why not use it to hunt down drug cartels? Drugs are bad, right? Next let's identify those illegal immigrants; they're breaking the law, too! Hey, we can use this to easily identify people speeding, let's start fixing that issue...

    Woah, wait. You're going to start tracking me for speeding tickets? I'm not sure how I feel about're arresting me for copyright infringement? Jaywalking? Spitting on the street? Get off my case, I'm trying to live here!

    Be careful justifying something just because it's effective (especially when it's not, but that's another issue). There are plenty of people out there who truly believe that no one should be allowed to break the law when living on a daily basis means breaking the law. In a country with 2.4 million people already in prison, more than any other country in the world, you might want to be careful what you wish for.

  • May 15th, 2015 @ 11:18am


    It's simple then...require them to patent the code used to accomplish the task.

    Oh, wait, there's a problem...different languages can have the same results. So instead, require them to submit everything in compiled assembly, on written pieces of paper.

    Then watch and laugh at the patent office try and figure it out. I wonder how long before we'd lose software patents?

  • May 15th, 2015 @ 11:12am

    (untitled comment)

    Second, we find limited substitution into consumption of licensed offline video content...

    There's licensed offline video content? Where?

    Our results show that consumers do not increase their visits to websites of movie theaters or to DVD-related Amazon webpages.

    Oh, you mean there's no substitution for crappy offline video content. When somewhere starts selling DRM free video files then they can say they're an actual alternative to piracy. Until that point what they're selling is always inferior to the option piracy offers regardless of price.

    Streaming is OK, assuming you have a good, stable internet connection, are OK with paying multiple subscriptions to get a portion of available content and/or willing to deal with annoying ads, and don't have an issue frequently losing access to content, well, it exists. But it's not a replacement for a file that you can convert and transfer to any of your devices.

    DVDs are worthless; why would I use an easily breakable, un-reusable, 4gb data storage for a single film that requires its own peripheral to use that isn't used for anything else? When I could use a cheap 128 gb flash drive that can hold around 85 or so high quality movies, easily transfer them to other storage devices, and plugs into any USB port, for $30-$40? None of my computers even have DVD drives anymore; if I absolutely want to watch a DVD I switch over to my old Xbox 360 that I've had for ages.

    And movie theaters? I have a kid, which pretty much makes them useless. Not only are they ridiculously expensive (especially if you have to buy a babysitter too) but you have to go out and sit in a mildly uncomfortable seat with inability to pause, adjust the volume, rewind if you missed something, etc. For people with a moderately good home theater system and children a movie theater is strictly inferior in cost and experience to watching a movie at home.

    Ten to twenty years ago dealing with these options was the only choice. Home theater systems were rare, internet bandwidth was minimal, and physical distribution was still the most convenient for people. That world no longer exists, and I find it insulting that companies would expect us to just accept backwards technology because it's convenient for them. The fact is there is a demand for DRM free, offline digital video, which virtually no one is selling.

    I will end quoting Firefly, the perfect example of a show so excellent that only the gross negligence and broken system of our network television could possibly have destroyed it before it finished its first season. Not the original show, but the movie that was funded purely from DVD sales and fan support, even when the studios had abandoned it.

    "You can't stop the signal, Mal. Everything goes somewhere, and I go everywhere."

  • May 15th, 2015 @ 10:33am


    "Hi, I'm offering no meaningful contribution to the conversation, and telling everyone I'm an idiot for posting a response to something I consider click bait. Troll on, Anonymous Coward!"

    FTFY. Now shoo.

  • May 13th, 2015 @ 2:03pm

    Re: Re:

    This. That's why the restriction was made by the FCC, not the FAA. It basically relates to spectrum use when you have cell phones moving rapidly between cell towers.

    Honestly, at this point, we restrict electronic devices for the same reason you wear those ridiculous lead bibs when getting an x-ray at the dentist. Modern dental x-rays produce less radiation than walking around outside for a day or a few hours flying on an airplane; the "protection" is entirely for show. Why? People would get nervous if you suddenly didn't need it anymore, and rather than explain it over and over, they hand you the stupid bib.

    If we think about it logically, if the electromagnetic field of a bunch of handheld electronic devices is such an issue, why are airlines replacing flight manuals with iPads? After all, those are right next to all your instruments, and presumably would be able to be referenced during flight.

    Never mind. If I bothered to try and keep track of every stupid thing we do because someone thought it was a good idea, regardless of a complete lack of evidence, I'd never think about anything else.

  • May 12th, 2015 @ 2:08pm


    You realize men play Candy Crush and Farmville also, right?

    Women play video games. This is a fact, confirmed by multiple studies, not to mention personal experience and common sense. The majority of games aren't marketed towards women, but that doesn't change the appeal. Whether being introduced by a significant other, a friend who plays, or just from interest, many, many women play video games. Just because they don't announce "I'm a woman!" every time they play a game online doesn't mean they aren't there (and there's moderately strong social pressure to avoid declaring themselves by their gender in video games).

    You might want to do some "research" before making assumptions based on, well, whatever you were basing it on (your buddies, maybe?). Most women I know play video games, including games like DOTA 2 and Call of Duty (both of which I don't play because I think they suck, but to each their own).

    Sorry to intrude on your non-existent boy's club fantasy land.

  • May 11th, 2015 @ 12:53pm


    Preserving classified information is a lower priority than truthfully answering a question under oath. Keep in mind that Wyden is on the Select Committee on Intelligence, a senate committee specifically charged with overseeing the intelligence organizations. There's a reason Clapper called Wyden "Sir;" it's because Wyden outranks Clapper. Clapper would not have been "cutting a new one" to anyone; if anything it would have been the opposite.

    If you had experience with classified information you would know this. You would also know that senators are protected from revealing classified information during debates on the Senate floor. You would also know that information that protects illegal or embarrassing activity cannot be classified by executive order.

    I realize that individuals that work with classified information are trained to protect classified data above all else. It's their job to do so, and in intelligence circles, classified information is held to an almost sacred level, regardless of what the actual information is. To an analyst, the sentence "(TS//SCI//NOFORN) The sky is blue." is a sentence worth killing or dying to protect. For the guys doing the day-to-day intel work, this is the reality, and it's a good thing; we don't need people with a little bit of information making decisions that could affect national security.

    Wyden and Clapper are not those people. They're the ones that are charged with deciding whether or not intelligence operations are in the best interest of the public. Wyden believed the 215 program was not; Clapper presumably believe it was. As a senator representing the American people, and as a member of the senate committee in charge of overseeing the intelligence community, it is absolutely Wyden's place to question whether or not a specific program should be classified, and he did in a way that gave Clapper an out, but also allowed for the opportunity to establish a public debate.

    Instead Clapper chose to lie under an oath to tell the truth. Considering that he was "protecting" classified information under another oath, I find his willingness to disregard one while having the option to avoid doing so extremely concerning.

  • May 11th, 2015 @ 12:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    In fact, there's an executive order that literally states you cannot classify information in order to:

    (1) conceal violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error;
    (2) prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency;
    (3) restrain competition...
    I think this is one of the reasons many people are extremely interested in whether or not this program was legal or not. If found illegal, it means the classification was illegal as well, unless they can use some BS retract-o-logic to state they didn't know it was illegal at the time so it could be classified.

    I really wish I could use that excuse; "Sorry, officer, I didn't know the speed limit, I was driving by so fast I must have missed it. Since I didn't know, it's not illegal, right?"

  • May 8th, 2015 @ 7:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: How will we earn a living? - GET. A. JOB.

    The popular arts had not yet developed during the writing of the Constitution.

    OK, really? You mean the Constitution written right during the end of the Renaissance period? I'd recommend against using history as a basis for your argument when you clearly don't understand it at all.

    Most people don’t nor does a single creative professional I’ve ever met.

    And this (among other statements) is the core of your issue. Not the anecdotal evidence used to strengthen your point (it doesn't). The "creative professional." You use it again when you say "The public benefits from artists being able to sustain their careers."

    This comes from the false belief that three things are true...there are "professional artists" and "consumers" and that the two are never the same, that money is the primary motivation for artists to create, and that those artists must make their living from royalties on previously produced content.

    The fact is few people are able to make art a career, and even fewer on their own. Like any business, you need a market and demand for your goods; the demand is not automatic, and a business is not guaranteed to succeed.

    Likewise, never in human history has monetary gain been the primary motivation to create art. For those few that are able to produce enough quality art that has a high enough demand they can make a living off it but the majority of "artists" make content because they enjoy it. I've written books, made videos, wrote poetry, made (bad) music...and I've never made a dime. And I never needed that incentive to make it. Maybe I'd be able to make more stuff if that's all I needed to do, but really there's no guarantee that's the case.

    Lastly, if you believe that publishers are giving a fair deal to content creators, you're either incredibly ignorant or delusional. The very services you claim are harming artists are making them more money with royalties than their publishers ever did. Even Megaupload, the boogie man of the anti-piracy crusade, helped artists. I find it very interesting that the last Megaupload commercial before its shutdown was a group of actual, well known musicians, including Kanye West, Diddy, Snoop Dogg, Will.I.Am, Alicia Keys, Lil Jon, Chris Brown, Jamie Foxx and more [1] thanking the service for the money it was bringing them...and this was because Megaupload's paid content was actually making more money for them than their record labels.

    Again, I ask, why are you entitled to get paid for something your created previously for the rest of your life? No other industry gets the same benefit, unless you count banking investments, but even that is not a guaranteed return (as we all discovered circa 2008). And why are royalties on previous works your sole source of income?

    No wonder so many "artists" are poor. If they're hoping the scraps fed to them by publishers will sustain their income I can't imagine any other outcome. Go read some books on economics, business, and entrepreneurship and stop playing the victim.

  • May 8th, 2015 @ 6:29pm

    Re: Re:

    You had me, and then you lost me. You forget that all drug dealing is violent crime. It's just a subtler, more insidious form of violence than physical force.

    Uh, no. This logic makes absolutely no sense in the context of what I wrote. "Drug crimes" could be anything from cartel smuggling to getting caught with a couple grams of marijuana.

    Likewise, if you're going to complain about life-destroying addictions, I can't take you seriously if you don't explain why all individuals selling tobacco and alcohol products are not in prison. Heck, if you're talking about addiction, sugar and caffeine are addictive substances that have huge markets.

    You're making some massive assumptions with "drug crimes" and I'm not sure how selling addictive substances can ever be equated with murder, even assuming the majority of people in that 48.7% were dealers (much more likely for most to be users).

    Not that any of that really relates to my argument. The point is that we have a third more individuals locked up in prison than a country that outnumbers us by a billion people and is under the control of an authoritarian government known for human rights abuses.

    If that doesn't terrify you, it really, really should.

  • May 8th, 2015 @ 6:09pm

    Re: Re: It's beyond puffery; it's consumer fraud.

    It's sort of like buying a pair of roller skates that advertise speeds of up to 120 MPH*.

    *When rider falls off a cliff.

  • May 8th, 2015 @ 6:03pm

    Re: Re: If Verizon supplied electricity...

    Totally possible, if your cat simultaneously hit the fast forward button.

  • May 8th, 2015 @ 5:48pm

    Re: Re:

    They don't need 512 protection. They aren't hosting any illegal content. At all. They are reporting on sites that were reported. If they aren't hosting any illegal content they don't need a designated agent.

  • May 8th, 2015 @ 3:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: In addition

    Second, even with the big name agencies that have crypto-busting supercomputers, they don't have enough computing power to decrypt everything that they want to. It takes a large effort, so they have to be very, very interested in you specifically to do it. This is unworkable if what you want to do is have a widespread surveillance capability.
    This needs to be repeated more often. Intelligence agencies aren't afraid of encryption per se. They're afraid of losing access to massive amounts of private plaintext data for their "find an imaginary terrorist" algorithms.

    Also, it can help prevent your friendly neighborhood police from sending your personal photos to other officers. After all, encryption can only lead to abuse, not prevent it, right?

  • May 8th, 2015 @ 3:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Just a thought

    Go talk to your psychologist. You need your meds dialed up.

    Is there a medication I can take to understand how my clearly sarcastic post became a discussion on ADHD treatment?

    Because I need some of that.

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