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  • Nov 8th, 2014 @ 5:17am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, but it would make the most sense if all certificate authorities published lists of which domains were allowed to use which certificates. (Presumably, few domains would need to use more than one certificate.) So, if the domain Bank.com suddenly required not its usual certificate from Verisign, but a certificate from Chinesegovernment, the browser should say, nah-uh, that authority is not in my list for this domain. Similarly, the browser would not accept a certificate normally used for a website of the American government to authenticate a website of the Chinese government.

  • Oct 25th, 2014 @ 1:18pm

    Re: Now I get it

    I'm sure the media have a hand in it. But why, if so many things are wrong with the American government, do the American people not vote them into oblivion? The article calls it "voter apathy", but then what is the cause of this? That is the question, I think.

    Part of a possible answer may be the fact that there isn't much to vote between. Only two parties stand any chance of winning seats, and people hate voting for a sure loser: they vote "strategically". And this in turn is largely causes by the winner-take-all system of elections, where only the biggest party in a district or state gets all the latter's representative power.

    This could be partly solved by making elections for President, House, and Senate all proportional: all citizens in the entire country vote for whichever party or person they prefer, and in the end the parties each get a number of seats proportionate to the number of votes they received.

    As a result, it would be far easier for a new party to enter Congress, so more parties would be represented there. If you are, say, in favour of economic liberalism, but also concerned about the environment, you have no party who represents your points of view at the moment; but, with proportional representation, such a party might emerge. And the current government shut-downs and fiscal cliffs, which seem inevitable when you have only two parties, will disappear.

    As an additional benefit, super PACs and election spending are less effective if you abolish winner-take-all. In the current system, suppose there are two candidates for a post, the Democrat at 48% and the republican at 52%. If nothing changes, all representative power will go to the Republicans. But if you spend just enough money to sway the results by 3 percentage points, suddenly the Democrat gets 51% and the Republican 49%: 100% of representative power has been shifted through your fairly moderate spending. In theory, you would only need to spend enough to affect 50x3 percentage points (one per state) of the voters across the country to achieve a 100% power change. That is a cost of 150 percentage points total.

    If, however, there were proportional representation, your 3x50 percentage points would only get you a 3% power change in the country as a whole (simply 3 percentage points per state equals 3 percentage points for the total number of seats a party will get). In short, the winner-take-all system provides campaign spending with a huge amount of economic leverage, which is undesirable.

  • Oct 16th, 2014 @ 10:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Read and think critically before you post

    I'd say it is up to the German courts to determine how to deal with Vattenfall's projected losses fairly and responsibly. No need for undemocratic foreign lawyers with huge conflicts of interest.

  • Aug 5th, 2014 @ 9:19pm

    Re: If there is ever a just case for this kind of decision...

    First, this is not really a foreign company, but a Russian company. So "foreign investors" is a bit of a leap: partly foreign shareholders?

    Secondly, Yukos was mostly bought by Chodorovsky for 310 million, even though it was probably worth far more. Putin is of course horrible, but, in a way, Chodorovski and the shareholders stole this money from the Russian people through corrupt officials, and they do not deserve the 50 billion either:

    "[O]wnership of some of Russia's most valuable resources was auctioned off by oligarch-owned banks... Although they were supposedly acting on behalf of the state, the bank auctioneers rigged the process-and in almost every case ended up as the successful bidders. This was how Khodorkovsky got a 78 percent share of ownership in Yukos, worth about $5 billion, for a mere $310 million..."
    — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yukos_Oil#Privatization_.281995.29

    Third, if this had been a Western company wronged by the Russian government, the more desirable situation would be for its country to stick up for it, not enabling a few very rich people to get an arbitrary amount of money from a country through an arbitrary tribunal. As in the WTO, it should be country v. country, if anything.

    Lastly, in general, I think nationalisation and otherwise depriving foreign companies of assets or profits is not always so bad per se, especially if the company's interests legitimately conflict with those of the country. And companies are free not to invest in a country that might do this. So do we need any mechanism at all to fight this?

  • Jul 30th, 2014 @ 6:44pm


    At least he is on his way out: a new Commission will be installed soon (so far, only the President of the Commission has been chosen).

  • Jul 13th, 2014 @ 7:07am

    (untitled comment)

    We have good public transportation in Holland. It just requires some money. Of course it is better in areas with a denser population, but you can still reach most remote locations in the country in a few hours by bus. Like healthcare, education, etc., it is considered a minimum requirement for the state to give to those who need it. Additionally, it is better for the environment if you get people to take the train rather than go by car. And it makes the cities less ugly if there are fewer parked cars everywhere.

  • Jul 13th, 2014 @ 6:38am

    Re: Re: Futile?

    Another (conspiracy) theory that has been offered is that the GCHQ-NSA had installed hardware backdoors in the systems of the Guardian and wanted to destroy the evidence. It sounds a bit far fetched...

  • Jul 7th, 2014 @ 10:28pm

    (untitled comment) (as Cerberus™)

    Use the extension Greasemonkey in Firefox. Find the userscript Enable Context Menu (I think that's what it's called, I am now in my mobile) and install it. Et voila! You can disable it at will and per domain. It is best disabled on websites that have (useful) context menus of their own, like Google Maps.

  • Jul 6th, 2014 @ 7:00pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Hmm any idea why Hamburg, specifically?

  • Jul 6th, 2014 @ 6:46pm

    Re: Re: paper copies?

    I don't think it is about de-indexing the link altogether: I think it is only from the results if you search for the person's name (and nothing else), so it can still show up for a slightly different search term. Still, a horrible ruling, of course.

  • Jul 6th, 2014 @ 6:45pm


    The only extenuating circumstance is that the removal applies *only* to search results when you type just the name of the person, "Stan O Neil". If you make it "Stan O Neil corrupt", then you should get uncensored results, or so I read. Still, a horrible ruling, and I say that as a European.

  • Jul 6th, 2014 @ 6:38pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I think Google is interpreting the verdict in a much broader way than it was intended; I believe the court excluded facts that could be important for society, politics, etc. Google may be doing this on purpose, in order to show the world how bad the ruling was (and, as a European, I would support Google in this: the court's censorship is stupid).

  • Jul 3rd, 2014 @ 5:12pm

    Re: Re:

    One thing to consider is that copyright may stimulate superficial mass culture over smaller-scale, possibly higher-quality culture.

  • May 28th, 2014 @ 9:32pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I have heard two possible explanations, both fairly tinfoily:

    1. Truecrypt has received a Security Letter from an American or other agency (we don't know where they are) to build in a backdoor. They are not allowed to announce having received the letter, but they can simply rip out the encryption part of their software and make a general announcement like this one.

    2. Were hacked but regained control. But why weren't they more specific in their warning, then?

  • Mar 10th, 2014 @ 9:00pm

    (untitled comment)

    The upside is that downloading music, films, and books is 100 % legal in the Netherlands. The tax, while stupid, is low, so it is a minor nuisance.

  • Jan 17th, 2014 @ 7:43am

    Make a blacklist of bad registrars?

    Can't we compile a blacklist of registrars that are known to comply with such requests, and a whitelist of "safe" registrars?

  • Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 11:58am

    German justice system

    @Mike One thing to consider is that it's not so bad to be liable in Germany as compared to America. Any potential punishment or fine will be a lot more reasonable.

    What is more, I would not expect a German court to ever actually punish you if there is content on your website that is libelous, unless you ignore the verdict. And the verdict will always be "now that the other party has provided real proof that this is libelous, you must remove the content within x days or pay a daily fine". So for you, as a website, it is always safe to not act on complaints unless the a judge tells you to. So there is a significant barrier for complainants.

    Further, it is easier and less expensive to defend yourself in a German court: courts are more active than in the common-law system, so you probably won't have to do anything if the complainant has no real proof accepted by the court as such: then the judge will acquit you. I imagine in some other countries you may be convicted if you do nothing, even if the complainant can't really prove anything.

  • Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 11:44am

    Re: Personal responsibility

    That's not entirely the same thing, but I like your way of thinking. Perhaps the government should not be involved in libel at all? People can simply defend themselves by posting their own arguments elsewhere on the Internet, and readers must decide for themselves.

    One reason why governments might want to get involved, however, is that it is easier for you to set up a campaign of libel against someone if you are rich and powerful. You can pay people and companies to spread the word, make advertisements. So that might be where a government might want to level the playing field, as it were.

  • Nov 15th, 2013 @ 10:09am

    Re: It's not only Lobbyist we'd need to worry about

    Exactly! That is what will happen if this mercantilist treaty is ratified: parliaments, courts, and constitutions will have to be ignored, or countries will be sued at one of those three-lawyer tribunals that enforce such treaties, and the countries will be made to pay billions because some foreign corporation doesn't like a certain law/verdict/constitution. It's almost treason by their trade representatives.

  • Nov 15th, 2013 @ 10:05am

    Re: US proposal contradicts SCOTUS ruling in Kirtsaeng

    Wow, you're right, that directly opposed Kirtsaeng. The audacity they have to try and overrule the supreme courts and constitutions of countries is quite shocking.

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