Unlocking the iPhone

The Justice Department and Apple Computer are locked in a bitter legal battle in the FBI’s desire to unlock the iPhone used by the San Bernadino terrorists, both of whom were killed after their attack.  The FBI, understandably, wants to see who else might be in the terrorists’ network.  Surely, in the name of fighting terrorism, Apple should simply unlock the phone–right?  Well, it isn’t that easy.

My iPhone has a four-digit code that I have to enter every time the screen goes black.  When I got the phone, the guy at Verizon sternly instructed me that a user has six tries to enter the correct code.  If the wrong numbers are entered, eventually the phone is disabled and everything on it is erased.   A pang of fear shoots through me every time my big fingers hit the wrong numbers.

So if the FBI tries to unlock the terrorists’ phone–since it can’t get the correct numbers from the users, who are dead–they will likely instead cause the phone to erase everything they want to know.  So the government wants to coerce Apple into developing a way to get into the phone anyway. [Read more…]

World Table update

A new version of our commenting system, which we are testing for Patheos, has been installed.  Details after the jump.  Note the additions soon to come. [Read more…]

We will soon evolve into “Homo Optimus”

A futurologist is predicting that we will merge with computers and evolve into a new species:  Homo Optimus.  We will live in the internet, be able to project our consciousness into multiple android identities, and live forever.  This may happen as early as 2050.  I think I am evolving into Homo Pessimus. [Read more…]

“I’ve heard a lot about purple”

We’ve blogged about the new technology that allows people who are color-blind to see in color for the first time.  Now these special glasses are available through optometrists.  After the break is an excerpt and a link to an article recounting the experiences of people with red-green color-blindness, who usually see both colors as a muddied brown, now being able to perceive those colors.

Favorite line from the story:

“I’ve heard a lot about purple,” Robison said before he tried his new glasses.

And after?

“It was everything I wanted it to be.”

 

[Read more…]

Outlawing visits to websites

ISIS and other jihadist groups are using the internet to spread their message and recruit new members.  To combat this, Eric Posner, a prominent law professor from the University of Chicago, says that we need to put limits on freedom of speech.  Specifically, he proposes in Slate that we make it illegal for anyone to visit or link to or point other people to jihadist websites.

Again, note the syndrome:  Our security is at risk, so eliminate civil liberties!  Fear as the pretext for doing away with freedom. [Read more…]

The assault weapon in question

The push for gun control following the San Bernadino shootings is filled with misinformation, according to columnist Rich Lowry.  He takes a look at the “assault weapon” used in the attack that many want outlawed. [Read more…]


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