By timothy from Slashdot's he-should-get-a-reward-too department
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "The Editorial Board of the New York Times has weighed in on the criminal charges facing Edward Snowden and writes that 'Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight..' 'He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service. It is time for the United States to offer Mr. Snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home, face at least substantially reduced punishment in light of his role as a whistle-blower, and have the hope of a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger oversight of the runaway intelligence community.' The president said in August that Snowden should come home to face charges in court and suggested that if Snowden had wanted to avoid criminal charges he could have simply told his superiors about the abuses, acting, in other words, as a whistle-blower. In fact, notes the editorial board, the executive order regarding whistleblowers did not apply to contractors, only to intelligence employees, rendering its protections useless to Snowden. More important, Snowden told The Washington Post that he did report his misgivings to two superiors at the agency, showing them the volume of data collected by the NSA, and that they took no action. 'Snowden was clearly justified in believing that the only way to blow the whistle on this kind of intelligence-gathering was to expose it to the public and let the resulting furor do the work his superiors would not. ... When someone reveals that government officials have routinely and deliberately broken the law, that person should not face life in prison at the hands of the same government,' concludes the editorial. 'President Obama should tell his aides to begin finding a way to end Mr. Snowden's vilification and give him an incentive to return home.'"Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's look-an-article-about-actual-clouds department
Most climate scientists agree that the Earth's climate is getting warmer, but models predicting the severity of the temperature rise span a (relatively) broad range. One big reason for this is the difficulty in modeling things like cloud cover and how different air masses mix and move around each other
."Specifically, they have differences in how water-rich air at the bottom of the atmosphere gets mixed with the layers immediately above it. In some cases, this mixing increases rapidly as the temperature rises, effectively drying out the lower atmosphere and suppressing cloud formation there. This in turn would enhance the warming effect. In others, the increase in mixing is more gradual, limiting the impact of warming on clouds. The former produces a higher climate sensitivity; the latter a lower one. ... So, the authors turned to the atmosphere, using data to determine the relative importance of these processes (abstract). In the end, they find that the models that dry out the lower atmosphere more quickly are likely to get the process right. And, in these models, the mixing increases the drying rate in the lower atmosphere by about five to seven percent for each Kelvin the Earth's temperature increases. In contrast, the rate of evaporation, which adds moisture to the lower atmosphere, only increases by two percent for each Kelvin. Thus, the lower atmosphere dries out, cloud formation there is suppressed, and the planet warms even further. How much more will it warm? Quite a bit."Read Replies (0)
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's i've-got-an-inchoate-hunch department
AHuxley writes "The American Civil Liberties Union sought to challenge the U.S. legal 'border exemption' three years ago. Can your laptop be seized and searched without reasonable suspicion at the border? A 32 page decision provides new legal insight into legal thinking around suspicionless searches: your electronic devices are searchable and seizable for any reason at the U.S. border. The ACLU may appeal. Also note the Kool-Aid comment: 'The report said that a reasonable suspicion standard is inadvisable because it could lead to litigation and the forced divulgence of national security information, and would prevent border officers from acting on inchoate "hunches," a method that it says has sometimes proved fruitful.'"
It's even legal for them to copy the contents of your laptop for no reason at all, just in case they need to take a peek later. A bit of context from the ACLU: "The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Pascal Abidor, a dual French-American citizen who had his laptop searched and confiscated at the Canadian border ... Abidor was travelling from Montreal to New York on an Amtrak train in May 2010 when he had his laptop searched and confiscated by customs officers. Abidor, an Islamic Studies Ph.D. student at McGill University, was questioned, taken off the train in handcuffs, and held in a cell for several hours before being released without charge. When his laptop was returned 11 days later, there was evidence that many of his personal files had been searched, including photos and chats with his girlfriend."Read Replies (0)