Author Topic: Humanity: Good News, Bad News  (Read 120331 times)

ZeaLitY

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Re: Humanity: Good News, Bad News
« Reply #900 on: December 02, 2010, 06:03:09 pm »
Good News

http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2010-12/nasa-announces-strange-bacterial-behavior-raising-questions-alien-life-hunters

Quote
But the results are interesting because nothing like this has ever been done before. All life as we know it depends on six key ingredients — carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur and phosphorus. This bacteria can switch from phosphorus to arsenic — usually a deadly toxin — and not only survive, but thrive. It can swap arsenic for phosphorus so completely that arsenic is incorporated into its DNA and other biomolecules like ATP, according to the study. This is a first, and it upends our assumptions about how life works.

Bad News

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19803-toxic-heavy-metals-reach-top-of-the-world.html

Quote
"People at Everest base camp often wear ventilators, simply because there is so much dust," Langley-Turnbaugh says.

Air pollution from Asian industry is probably to blame. Concentrations of both arsenic and cadmium were higher in the soil further up the mountain, as would be expected if high-altitude winds were depositing them.

BROJ

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Re: Humanity: Good News, Bad News
« Reply #901 on: December 03, 2010, 04:53:04 pm »
Bad News: US Government censors 70 websites for whole world.  :( Not one for slippery slopes, but this might start a dangerous trend with sites like wikileaks and other sites that our government doesn't 'agree' with.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/blog/2010/dec/03/wikileaks-knocked-off-net-dns-everydns

BROJ

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Lord J Esq

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Re: Humanity: Good News, Bad News
« Reply #903 on: December 04, 2010, 04:22:37 am »
I suppose there's some comfort in knowing that even today corporations can still be strong-armed by our government...but you could color me less than thrilled that this demonstration of our government's authority does not even loosely pretend to be motivated by even the most meager of this country's ethics or mine.

I don't think we're dealing with a global conspiracy or an intractable bureaucracy or even plutocracy for plutocracy's sake. To me this smacks of plain old schoolyard drama. Nerd Ferguson got some dirt on Jock Hawesome, spilled it to Larry Laughsalot, and now the Jock is kicking Nerdlinger in his pretty little pocket-protected posterior.

I dislike organizations like Wikileaks which presume to operate outside the law. But I detest organizations that commit wrongdoings and then pervert or abuse the law in order to erase any trace of their misdeeds. This is a black mark on the fabric of the nation, and a worser one than most.

BROJ

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Re: Humanity: Good News, Bad News
« Reply #904 on: December 05, 2010, 12:05:42 am »
Wikileaks did nothing illegal; the person that originally leaked the information to wikileaks however did. Not to mention wikileaks isn't even US based.

Check it, dawg:
Whether or not we understand the full ramifications of the latest leak, we can examine the legalities of prosecuting Wikileaks and the publishers. In the United States, generally publishing classified information is not a crime, though news organizations can be prosecuted for publishing the identities of covert agents, nuclear secrets, and certain communications intelligence such as cryptography, signals communication intelligence, or interception of foreign governments’ communications. The blog Legal As She Is Spoke does a good job of analyzing the applicability of the Espionage Act and its various sections, namely section 793(e), 794(b) and 798, which cover the punishments for those who communicate or fail to communicate confidential information, publish confidential information with the intent to deliver it to an enemy, or publish specific categories of information. You can find a good definition of espionage at the Looper Reed & McGraw Law Blog.
The government can prosecute whoever leaked the classified information, since that was an illegal act. However, it’s harder to prosecute Wikileaks: since it’s not based on the United States, it would probably not be subject to a court order from a U.S. district court. On the other hand, while the ruling from the Pentagon Papers case stops the Government from preventing publication, it does allow the Government to hold those who publish information accountable after publication if laws were broken. There may also be issues with prosecuting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, since he is not a US national. In the mean time, there has been talk of shutting down the WikiLeaks site or limiting its access within the US.

Other than that, I agree. 

Yet another thing to add to the list of things uncovered that are unethical at best.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2010, 12:18:04 am by BROJ »

Lord J Esq

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Re: Humanity: Good News, Bad News
« Reply #905 on: December 05, 2010, 02:49:06 am »
My assertion was not that Wikileaks behaved illegally, which is outside my area of knowledge, but that Wikileaks has the attitude that the law does not apply to it. Its whole purpose is to circumvent established power structures which hold up the dissemination of information to the public. I tend to prefer internal reform.

I have a lot more to say about the subject, but I'm afraid I won't be able to write about it any time soon. For now, that's my final word on the matter.

BROJ

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Re: Humanity: Good News, Bad News
« Reply #906 on: December 05, 2010, 03:41:02 am »
One thing, before you go off for too long. Maybe it's going a little bit over my head. But, I'm unsure what your intention with the phrase "the law" is. Are you being creative with the whole power and law analog? Because in a literal sense, the US's law does not apply to wikileaks's situation.

Other than that, please take your time. I'm in no rush, and I'd like to see what you'll have to say on this.

tushantin

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Re: Humanity: Good News, Bad News
« Reply #907 on: December 06, 2010, 04:37:04 am »
GOOD NEWS: ALL HAIL HUMANITY!! No more kidney stealing and killing!  :D

http://www.themedguru.com/20101205/newsfeature/indian-american-creates-1st-implantable-artificial-kidney-86142518.html

To all those businesses who are involved with organs theft: FUCK YOU!

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Re: Humanity: Good News, Bad News
« Reply #908 on: December 08, 2010, 05:26:59 pm »
One thing, before you go off for too long. Maybe it's going a little bit over my head. But, I'm unsure what your intention with the phrase "the law" is. Are you being creative with the whole power and law analog? Because in a literal sense, the US's law does not apply to wikileaks's situation.

Other than that, please take your time. I'm in no rush, and I'd like to see what you'll have to say on this.

I find it extraordinary to watch what has happened to Wikileaks in the past few days. I also find it extraordinary that anybody could fail to see what is happening. We are witnessing the strong-arm power of the U.S. federal government. Mastercard stopped processing donations for WikiLeaks. Amazon.com revoked its server space. PayPal closed its account. These companies are not acting on their own volition, and any public statements they have made to the contrary are lies.

All of this pressuring has been hidden from public view. All we can see is the end result of the government's tactics, but the result is unmistakably the result of major pressure from the one party who stood to lose, by far, the most from the disclosure of these classified documents: our government.

What stands out to me most starkly is the totally secret nature of the government's campaign to silence Wikileaks, an anti-secrecy organization. The government is playing for one objective only: It wants to restore control over its information. The thought must be lost on them that this degree of opacity deserved a public discourse in the first place. The thought must also be lost on them that, now that the scandal has come out, they are ethically obliged to address public concern. Most of all, the thought must be lost on them that, in behaving this way both in the first place and in response to the scandal, Wikileaks' actions have been vindicated.

Not its motives. The powers behind Wikileaks seem more interested in discrediting the U.S. government and tarnishing American power than in promoting peace and free speech (although perhaps the two are alike in their view). Their ideological allies are mostly anarchists. Their attitude is one of being above the law—and I'm not talking about the need to bypass a system which won't allow for the dissemination of information that is in the public interest. I'm talking about Wikileaks' presumption of authority in deciding what information is in the public interest at all. That's a conceit they can't justify: If they release everything they have their hands on, they shall have been indiscriminate and can only claim that there should be no such thing as classified information, which is flat-out bogus. If they only release some of their documents, or if they redact some of the documents, then they shall have demonstrated a willingness to commit the same kind of censorship they are railing against, and the only distinction between them and their enemy is one of degrees—except that the government presumably knows more about the subject matter than Wikileaks does, and therefore has the superior judgment.

Wikileaks should never have been the vehicle to release this information to us. That they did so and that this is, on the net, a public good—although that is a legitimate point of contention—is a tribute to the imperfection of our world. Our government could have preempted this problem entirely by being more forthcoming with the public in the first place. Once the scandal broke, they should have said to the public:

Quote from: President or Cabinet Member
Wikileaks came along because we did wrong. We're going to launch an internal review of the entire practice of secret-keeping in the federal government, and we will forcibly correct abusive practices. We will apprise you of our findings, and of the scope of sensitive information moving forward.

As for Wikileaks, we are not pleased at their actions, but we understand that the ultimate failure is our own. We will, however, hold Wikileak up to a rigorous legal standard, and if their actions are found to have violated the principles of our laws, we shall prosecute their leaders as best we are able—because we shall have earned your trust to be able to do so, by virtue of holding ourselves up to the scrutiny of reviewing our own practices from the vantage point of what is in the public good. What we shall not do is work outside the law, nor exploit our power over the law, to change the legal environment so that we may punish Wikileaks for causing us this great embarrassment, and with it the many setbacks in international relations and national security which we have suffered.

Now we will answer questions from the press.

But of course that hasn't happened nor will it. Instead, every indication is that the government has not learned its lesson and will continue to shield much of its operations from public scrutiny, leaving the work of public stewardship to dodgy organizations like Wikileaks who have neither the character nor the expertise to reveal sensitive public information wisely. I am sorely disappointed in my country, not for the first time, and in all those corporations which caved to government pressure, not for the first time.

Meanwhile, in our imperfect world, I am taking Wikileaks' side in this. They are, however indiscriminately, revealing information which should generally be available to the public. They should be acknowledged in that service. But, much more importantly, they have revealed a dimension to our government which is corrupt, entrenched, and beyond democratic control. In that service, we should be particularly thankful, and I hope some good comes of it.

tushantin

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FaustWolf

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Re: Humanity: Good News, Bad News
« Reply #911 on: December 25, 2010, 01:32:56 pm »
Judging from the news this morning, looks like the bombings are still rolling in, too. It's instructive that all the stuff under your bad news label are acts of destruction, while all the stuff under your good news label are acts of creativity or art.

Well, if you count "I Can Has Cheezburger" as fine art.  :)  I think a case could be made for it.

utunnels

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Re: Humanity: Good News, Bad News
« Reply #912 on: December 27, 2010, 10:15:27 am »
http://www.zerohedge.com/article/other-side-chinas-8-gdp-growth-ghost-cities

Well, I don't have much economic knowledge, but this page (and its comments) surely interested me a bit.
Nothing is more frustrating than you have to work over 60 years without spending a single coin to buy a decent apartment house.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2010, 10:18:32 am by utunnels »

FaustWolf

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Re: Humanity: Good News, Bad News
« Reply #913 on: January 06, 2011, 12:10:08 am »
Huh. While flipping through Sagan's The Demon Haunted World - lots of which we can read for free thanks to the wonders of Google - I discovered that there used to be an Office of Technology Assessment attached to the US Congress.

The "used to be" part of that makes me a bit sad.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2011, 12:12:03 am by FaustWolf »

tushantin

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Re: Humanity: Good News, Bad News
« Reply #914 on: January 06, 2011, 06:49:59 am »
« Last Edit: January 06, 2011, 07:20:11 am by tushantin »