Seems exactly like modern day witchcraft/wizardry hunt.
If a Middle Age dude was an expert in chemistry, he'd probably be tried quite similarly. The fact that no one around him could even comprehend what chemistry is, is now completely irrelevant to them ruining his life.
Now replace that with technology, the people with modern day morons and death with impossibly high bail/languishing in prison for years together ruining any chance of an average, let alone decent future and you've got what we have today.
The point is, they don't know the subject yet feel that they know enough. History, it seems never changes.
The beauty of your comment is that just a little over half a year ago you'd be considered a complete conspiracy nut and a paranoid tinfoil hatter but today there's no one even saying anything against you.
I am also wondering, is it smart for an intelligence agency to tell the truth when they say "We don't know how much was leaked"? Or is this a large lie in order to lower, I don't know, someone's guard. I mean, it doesn't make sense to me.
In a perverse despotic dictatorial way, killing US citizens is okay because "they're my slaves" kind of thing. He's dealing with a government that has killed a group of Yemeni family folks in Yemen who were allegedly attending a wedding accidentally with a drone strike. It is my imagination where they just say "Oops".
Not to poke holes in the implementation but even one-wire requires two connection, Data/Power  Ground. Even with their optical mumbo jumbo how the hell can they actually transfer data?
On one hand they talk about optical things, and then on the other hand they're talking about 'conductive'. Seriously? Regardless, you do not bypass the laws of physics. You need atleast a complete circuit for it to be powered. And if their cop-out is that it's got a super-micro-pico-tiny-high-density-capacitor then I'm not even going to bother poking holes anymore.
Well, there is a way but it's pointlessly slow - inductive power.
The whole concept is quite flawed in my opinion [EDIT - unless their plan is to showcase a theoretical ultrathin USB flash drive.]
I was anticipating a very smart connecting board that can determine two working connections and disable the others. I wasn't arguing it's completely viable but simply that it's not beyond the laws of physics as OP suggested :)
I'm sorry I don't understand your description. You said a grid of conductive dots right? You'd need two separate grids of dots if you're going to use one-wire. Would you superposition both grids? Then it would short. If you have one 'band' on top and one band below, then it's just a rail setup.
There's nothing special about ground, it's the same as a digital pin set to low (from an M/C perspective). You don't need to have two separate grids. Just try out combinations of pins as data/power and ground until you get a set that works and float (disconnect/set as input) the others.
I'm not sure how dropping off the grid would help you? If you don't d it all the way the others will find you. And living like that is impractical, while not preventing ability of authorities to find you (just minimizing).
I have studied Mechanical Engineering as well, and I, on the other hand see plenty of opportunities to use things taught in ME in real life. Might be as simple as "How safe is this plank for me to walk on" (bending moment) to "It's strange that there are cold pockets in this room, what's the optimum positioning of a flow mixer".
But we don't generally think even for a second. People just take a 'common sense approach' to most things, which while good enough for a large set of applications breaks down in many cases. And come on, you're an engineer, you should try to get the optimum solution possible. Obviously, I'm not pointing to you directly but to people in general.
And yes, I do know that there's analysis paralysis situation as well, but a good engineer know where that line is, and to stop just before that line.
Not to take away the intelligence of people but a hacker is someone who excels in situations as this - Limited time, limited resources/cheapness to spend money, Have objects X, Need functions Y.
That takes a hacker. Everything else is just a builder (be it building code, or cabinets, or robots). The core ideology of being a hacker is seeing beyond the normal functionality of the item like this roommate has seen. He looked at the wardrobe and saw a sliding table. That is hacking.
They absolutely are. But in normal conversation when you speak to people about this, they'll most probably say "Wow, that's pretty smart man, I wouldn't have thought of using a pipe as a sound carrier" (or something like that).