I'm not uber-experienced in the world of networking... I'm more of a OS guy than anything else. I do see your point though, in stating that it's essentially a stupid idea. I don't really know much about network security, so that's probably the source of my ignorance in this discussion. I have a firewall set up properly (I think), Tor+vidalia, and various other things like that as a safegaurd against casual hacking and tracing attempts, but I'm well aware that it would only slow down an experienced hacker and/or tyrannical Gov't snoop at best. In that vein and based on your combined recommendations, my goal is this: how can I better protect myself from a) tracing and traffic analysis b) hacking c) data theft/encryption cracking.

And yeah, I'm a tinfoil hat-type guy. Hasn't anyone read the text of the Patriot Act or the TIA Act?