An anonymous reader writes "In the midst of Congressional races around the country, one stands out to techies. Thomas Massie, an MIT whiz kid who pioneered touch-based interfaces and founded SensAble Technologies in the 1990s, is the favorite to win the Republican nomination in his Kentucky district next week. SensAble was recently sold on the cheap, but in a new exclusive, Massie explains why he left the haptics firm years ago to lead a simpler life of farming, family, and guns — lots of guns. Along the way he built a solar-powered, off-the-grid house and became a local hero of the Tea Party. Now Massie is leading the charge to get more engineers into politics, and if he wins, he could be a force to be reckoned with in Washington, DC."
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New submitter PantherSE writes with an article at CNN about the geopolitical importance of labeling, excerpting thus: "Iran has threatened legal action against Google for not labeling the Persian Gulf on its maps. 'Toying with modern technologies in political issues is among the new measures by the enemies against Iran, (and) in this regard, Google has been treated as a plaything,' Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Thursday, according to state-run Press TV. He added that 'omitting the name Persian Gulf is (like) playing with the feelings and realities of the Iranian nation.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has a status update for Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin: Stop attempting to dodge your taxes by renouncing your U.S. citizenship or never come to back to the U.S. again." See this earlier story on Saverin's plan to make the leap out of the U.S. tax system.
First time accepted submitter Arker writes "A federal judge granted a preliminary injunction late Wednesday to block provisions of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act that would allow the military to indefinitely detain anyone it accuses of knowingly or unknowingly supporting terrorism. The Obama administration had argued, inter alia, that the plaintiffs, including whistleblower and transparency advocate Daniel Ellsberg and Icelandic Member of Parliament Birgitta Jonsdottir lacked standing, but Judge Katherine Forrest didnt buy it. Given recent statements from the administration, it seems safe to say this will be the start of a long court battle."
Fluffeh writes "A recent study of over 1,000 folks for a paper published in Nature Climate Change has found that the average U.S. citizen is inclined to pay a premium to ensure that by 2035, 80% of U.S. power comes from clean energy. At random, respondents received one of three "technological treatments" or definitions of clean energy that included renewable energy sources alone, renewable sources plus natural gas, and renewable sources plus nuclear power. Delving into the socioeconomics, researchers found that Republicans, Independents, and respondents with no party allegiance were less likely by 25, 13 and 25 percentage points respectively to support a NCES than respondents that identified themselves as Democrats."
New submitter ancientt writes "As a thought experiment, what if the constitution of the U.S. was amended so that no idea (with exceptions only for government use, like currency) could be protected from copy or use beyond January 1, 2035 for more than a five-year period. After a five-year span, any patent, software license, copyright, software NDA or other intellectual property agreement would expire. (This is not an entirely new idea, but would have had significant recent ramifications if it had been enacted in the past.) Specific terms are up for debate, but in this experiment businesses must have time to try to adjust to sell services and make the services good enough to compete with other businesses offering the same basic products. Microsoft can sell a five-year-old variant of OSX, Apple can sell Windows 2030. Cars, computers and phones would, or at least could, still be made, but manufacturers would be free to use any technology more than five years old or license new technology for a five-year competitive edge. Movie, TV and book budgets would have to adjust to the potential five-year profit span, although staggered episode or chapter releases would be legal. Play 'What if' with me. What would be the downsides? What would be the upsides?"
TheGift73 tips an article discussing a new study (PDF) which found Americans are now more worried about cybersecurity threats than they are about terrorism. Here's Techdirt's acerbic take: "Well, it looks like all the fearmongering about hackers shutting down electrical grids and making planes fall from the sky is working. No matter that there's no evidence of any actual risk, or that the only real issue is if anyone is stupid enough to actually connect such critical infrastructure to the internet (the proper response to which is: take it off the internet), fear is spreading. Of course, this is mostly due to the work of a neat combination of ex-politicians/now lobbyists working for defense contractors who stand to make a ton of money from the panic — enabled by politicians who seem to have no shame in telling scary bedtime stories that have no basis in reality."
New submitter Dainsanefh sends this quote from the LA Times: "Ron Paul, Mitt Romney's lone remaining rival for the Republican presidential nomination, announced Monday that he would stop spending money on the party's 11 remaining primaries, in effect suspending his campaign. ... Apart from President Obama and Romney, Paul has raised more money than any other White House contender this year – more than $36 million. His calls for strict adherence to the Constitution and his no-nonsense manner have spawned a vocal and well organized group of followers, but not enough to give him a realistic shot at the presidency."
Hugh Pickens writes "Katherine Ellison reports in the Atlantic that a group of high school students is suing the federal government in U.S. District Court claiming the risks of climate change — dangerous storms, heat waves, rising sea levels, and food-supply disruptions — will threaten their generation absent a major turnabout in global energy policy. 'I think a lot of young people realize that this is an urgent time, and that we're not going to solve this problem just by riding our bikes more,' says 18-year-old Alec Loorz, one of the plaintiffs represented, pro bono, by the Burlingame, California, law firm of former U.S. Republican congressman Paul 'Pete' McCloskey. While skeptics may view the case as little more than a publicity stunt, its implications have been serious enough to attract the time and resources of major industry leaders." (Read more, below.)
Hugh Pickens writes "Dr James Hansen, director of the NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who first made warnings about climate change in the 1980s, writes in the NY Times that he was troubled to read a recent interview with President Obama in Rolling Stone in which he said that Canada would exploit the oil in its vast tar sands reserves 'regardless of what we do.' According to Hansen 'Canada's tar sands, deposits of sand saturated with bitumen, contain twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by global oil use in our entire history. If we were to fully exploit this new oil source, and continue to burn our conventional oil, gas and coal supplies, concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere eventually would reach levels higher than in the Pliocene era, more than 2.5 million years ago, when sea level was at least 50 feet higher than it is now.' Hansen says that instead of placing a rising fee on carbon emissions to make fossil fuels pay their true costs, leveling the energy playing field, the world's governments are forcing the public to subsidize fossil fuels with hundreds of billions of dollars per year."
alphadogg writes "No one will ever say that America's wireless carriers are too proud to beg. This year's Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association Wireless trade show in New Orleans seemed less like an industry gathering at times and more like an infomercial dedicated to forcing the government's hand to free up more spectrum. Start with CTIA President and CEO Steve Largent, who dedicated the vast majority of his introductory keynote address to discussing the challenges carriers will face if they don't get fresh spectrum to use within the next few years. Execs from T-Mobile, Verizon and others also beat the drum. Verizon Wireless CEO Dan Mead, for example, said: 'Innovation is at risk today due to the spectrum shortage that we face. If additional spectrum is not available in the near-term, mobile data will exceed capacity by 2015.'"
bs0d3 writes "According to a recent ruling in New York state, from Senior Judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick, 'Merely viewing Web images of child pornography does not, absent other proof, constitute either possession or procurement within the meaning of our Penal Law. Rather, some affirmative act is required (printing, saving, downloading, etc.) to show that defendant in fact exercised dominion and control over the images that were on his screen.' Which means under New York state law, creating, and possessing child pornography is illegal; the lawmakers never specifically said that merely viewing it is a crime. The prosecution mentioned that the images were saved on his hard drive via the browser cache. However the court ruled that this was not the same as having a saved image. This means that people from New York state who click the wrong link by accident will no longer face serious jail time and a lifetime of registering as a sex offender. People will be able to report what they've found to the police who can then go after the source of the child porn, instead of someone who was merely browsing the internet."
TheGift73 writes with a Techdirt story about a House Oversight Committee report that is very critical of the TSA's handling of money. "The House Oversight Committee has come out with a report slamming the TSA for tremendous amounts of waste, specifically in the 'deployment and storage' of its scanning equipment. Basically, it sounds like the TSA likes to go on giant spending sprees, buying up security equipment and then never, ever using it." Earlier this month Rand Paul laid out his plan for dealing with the TSA.
TheGift73 writes "By far the most controversial bill discussed in the Queen's speech today has to be the 'Draft Communications Bill' which '...will allow the police and intelligence agencies to collect data on communications, like texts and emails, flexible to changes in technology, such as the Internet. This will apply UK wide.' The Queen's Speech has set out the government's legislative plans for the next year." El Reg has the skinny on the CCDP related parts. From their article: "It's unclear if those 'strict safeguards' mean that a warrant, for example, would be needed before spooks could access such data. The rough proposal appeared to only fuzzily indicate that such protection for British citizens would be provided, however."
TheGift73 writes with this quote from an AP report: "Senate Republicans blocked a Democratic bill Tuesday to preserve low interest rates for millions of college students' loans, as the two parties engaged in election-year choreography aimed at showing each is the better protector of families in today's rugged economy. The 52-45 vote to begin debating the legislation fell eight votes short of the 60 needed to proceed and stalled work on an effort both parties expect will ultimately produce a compromise, probably soon. For now, each side is happy to use the stalemate to snipe at the other with campaign-ready talking points while they are gridlocked over how to cover the $6 billion cost."