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  • May 26th, 2018 @ 3:17am

    Re: Re: SO I'm right yet again. Thanks, minion.

    Ah, perhaps he's merely one of their minions, too. I recalled one of item from "Cellblock A" of the Evil Overlord list at http://www.eviloverlord.com/lists/dungeon_a.html :

    109.I will see to it that plucky young lads/lasses in strange clothes and with the accent of an outlander shall REGULARLY climb some monument in the main square of my capital and denounce me, claim to know the secret of my power, rally the masses to rebellion, etc. That way, the citizens will be jaded in case the real thing ever comes along.

  • May 26th, 2018 @ 2:57am

    Annoyance to the large incumbents, death to small enterprises

    The wonderful Scotland-based hexgrid wargaming site hexwar.net has been killed by the GDPR.

    Evidently the "private information" that must be rigorously protected includes the state of games being transmitted back and forth between players in an internet analogue of play-by-mail. Somehow the same company's e-commerce side that sells play-against-AI hexgrid games and deals with things like credit card numbers, actual names and addresses and actual money has managed to comply, but the "private data" of where my virtual Marshal Ney, Marshal Grouchy and Napoleon, along with the various divisional-sized groupings of the Grande Armee are located on a hexgrid a map of the Belgian countryside couldn't be brought up to snuff for the EU's regulators.

    And yes, those of us who played games there would have all opted-in to have that data shared with the company and the other players -- heck I wouldn't care if it were published for the whole world to see.

  • Apr 14th, 2018 @ 7:17am

    Why? Rent seeking

    The legal department at In-N-Out seems to have noticed that Australia has allowed copyright succcesful claims against transformative homages to songs (the flute riff on Waltzing Matilda in Men at Work's Down Under) with monetary damages,and figured they could apply the same "principle" in the trademark domain to get a bucket of money for very little work.

  • Mar 27th, 2018 @ 5:34am

    The problem in a nutshell

    When the assertion, "I think my refrigerator is spying on me," represents a sound, rationally held belief, rather than evidence of paranoid schizophrenia, something is definitely wrong.

  • Mar 21st, 2018 @ 7:59am

    feature or bug?

    Are you sure that suppression of free speech is something the EU doesn't want? I suspect that's a feature, rather than a bug, from the point of view of the European Commission.

  • Mar 6th, 2018 @ 8:19pm

    Re: Re:

    Not likely. While Spain has some influence, Poland's influence on the European Commission is just about nil. A proposal this sweeping isn't going to come out of the Commission without France and Germany being behind it. The only authoritarian influence in play here is the EU itself.

    Quite frankly this sort of thing should make everyone in the UK glad that "Leave" won, no matter how rocky the change to trading with the EU under WTO rules proves to be. (Yes, I think it will come to that, precisely because of the "we are to be obeyed" attitude of the European Commission.)

  • Jan 12th, 2018 @ 6:56am

    Signals Intelligence

    The conduct of signals intelligence is a war measure. The fact that so many in government want to conduct signals intelligence against the populace at large makes it clear they regard us as an enemy.

  • Jan 10th, 2018 @ 9:04am

    ...to authors and inventors...

    Maybe the discussion of copyright (and for that matter patent) terms misses the point. If the law followed the plain meaning of the Constitution "by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries," The rights wouldn't ever be secured to publishers, and corporations would only be able to hold the rights to things the corporation produced -- yes that's possible, movies tend to not be the product of a single individual, and industrial research labs invent things through group effort.

    The original point of that clause was to authorize Congress to make analogues in American Law of the then still-innovative British Law of Queen Anne and Statute of Monopolies of 1623, which replaced the old custom of the Crown granting copyrights and monopolies to printers and favored noblemen or guilds and limited monopolies to authors and inventors respectively.

    It would be harder for publishers (record companies included) to screw artists if the right still inhered in the artist, rather then being transferable to a publisher in toto as a condition of publication.

  • Jan 4th, 2018 @ 5:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No. I'm suggesting, for instance, that shouting down school choice as "racist" on the plea that it would deprive minority-serving public schools of resources, when ordinary African Americans support the policy in public opinion surveys because it would give them the chance (at least) of sending their kids to better schools -- the countervailing argument -- is an abuse of language which serves the interests of expansion of government (objectively the main goal of the left) and public service unions (who donate to the left), but not the interests of racial minorities, and is akin to "War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength".

    I'm suggesting it's an abuse of language, irrespective of the race of the speaker, though if the speaker claiming school choice is "racist" is a white liberal, I think your point applies (see above).

  • Jan 4th, 2018 @ 3:14am

    How does it matter? (in answer to the First Word)

    Yeah, kids think that having a zero-marginal-cost digital copy of a work isn't theft. What matters about the public domain is its use in derivative works and public performances. Had moneyed interests *who are neither authors, nor composers, nor songwriters* not managed first to alienate copyright from the actual artist (the point of the "...to authors and inventors..." was actually to *not* give Congress the power to grant monopolies to publishers and manufactures, but *only* to authors and inventors -- the point of the the British copyright and patent laws the American Founders were looking at when the wrote the Constitution) by making it into salable "intellectual property", and then replaced Anglo-American copyrights of fixed terms with French-style "life plus" copyright terms complete with droits d'auteur to allow suppression of derivative works, our culture would be much richer.

    The public domain is not about being able to have it in your iTunes play list, it's about being able to play it in a cover-band, to retell the story from a different point of view (Remember Margaret Mitchell's literary estate's attempts to suppress "The Wind Done Gone" a retelling of "Gone with the Wind" from the point of view of the slaves? Yeah, that came out right in the end, but the author of the retelling should never have needed to go to court and pursue appeals), to use elements of the existing culture in new cultural works without permission from someone who purportedly represents the "interests" a long-dead previous contributor to our culture, but is really just after monopoly rents for something that they didn't actually create.

  • Dec 21st, 2017 @ 3:20am

    Re: Re:

    The word "racist" is now Newspeak and means whatever it serves the interests of the left for it to mean at any given time. It can mean the same as in English -- a person who believes people should be treated differently according to their skin color or ethnicity, or who believes one race is superior to another -- or someone who advocates a policy the left opposes on the plea that it will harm racial or ethnic minorities (even when the policy if prima facia race-neutral and even if there are countervailing arguments, rejected by the left, that it might help racial or ethnic minorities), or even simply a white person (cf. the claim "all whites are racist" often heard in the halls of academe).

  • Dec 21st, 2017 @ 3:09am

    Signals Intelligence

    Signals intelligence is a war measure -- the vigorous conduct of which against foreign adversaries I strong support. The desire of many in government to apply it to the American citizenry is an unwitting admission that they regard the populace they are, in theory, elected, appointed or hired to serve as an enemy.

  • Oct 28th, 2017 @ 6:26pm

    Fake news like...

    ...pieces by Jayson Blair, perhaps?

  • Sep 26th, 2017 @ 7:12pm


    My discipline in mathematics, category theory, has already done it. Our preeminent peer-reviewed journal is Theory and Applications of Categories. Authors retain copyright to their own papers but grant permission to the journal to offer the papers in perpetuity on the web and maintain print archival copies in several locations. The infrastructure is provided by Mount Allison University in New Brunswick. Just like commercially published journals, academicians donate the editorial services and refereeing, and mirable dictu no one is collecting monopoly rents on the donated labor of academician.

    The problem is each discipline has to step up and create peer reviewed journal run entirely by academicians in the field who aren't venial and out to collect monopoly rents for themselves.

  • May 13th, 2017 @ 12:09pm

    Re: Europeans

    Actually, the Europeans are just following America's lead on this: we are the ones who started this notion that our laws apply to non-citizens outside our borders Julian Assange and Kim Dotcom are but recent examples.

    I think the failing is not stupidity, but arrogance.

  • Apr 18th, 2017 @ 7:37pm

    Perhaps he can champion legislation to make that so...

    These remarks being made at the end of tax filing season are beyond risible. I invite Rep. Sensenbrenner to actually file his own Federal Income Tax and find a way to do it without using the internet. His office can then start working on legislation to make it so one doesn't need to use the internet to file one's Federal taxes.

  • Feb 16th, 2017 @ 12:01pm

    Thoughts on Flynn and related matters

    A modest proposal: Trump could pardon Edward Snowden, and offer him a top position in the administration overseeing intelligence matters. Besides really sticking it to the intelligence community that seems bent on, if not destroying his administration, at least destroying any chance of rapprochement with Russia -- the only upside I ever saw to a Trump presidency -- this also has the virtue of shocking and surprising everyone on both sides of the political divide.

    More seriously, whatever you think of Trump and Flynn, as an OpEd in The Telegraph (UK) asked is it right for the permanent apparatus of the intelligence services in a liberal democracy to be using leaks to the media, rather than passing information to appropriate authorities (in the US case, Congress) to bring political appointees and thereby harm an elected government? Divorced from the personalities involved, the answer is very clearly "no", and therefore the answer is "no", even if it's General Flynn who's being brought down, and Donald Trump who is being harmed in this particular instance.

  • Feb 3rd, 2017 @ 8:12am


    I think the joke was originally told about Malenkov.

  • Feb 3rd, 2017 @ 8:08am

    Rather misses the point of freedom of the press

    Having a government agency sit in judgement over what can or can't be published rather misses the whole point of the First Amendment. Enough factual matters bearing on public policy are matters of controversy that giving a government board the power to suppress what it judges to be false is tantamount to creating a government censorship board. (As an example under the Trump administration, publishing "value added" climate data with imputed data in the polar regions and adjustments downward of past temperatures made on the basis that some new measurement technique gives different results, might be suppressed as "fake news", while under the next Democrat administration publishing any raw climate data that doesn't provide prima facia support for the notion of potentially-catastrophic anthropogenic greenhouse-gas induced global warming might be suppressed as "fake news".)

    And, of course, when "fake news" means people circulating parody articles mistakenly thinking them to be real news, how exactly is the FTC to deal with this? Obviously by banning parody! (It's the only way to be sure.)

  • Jan 14th, 2017 @ 9:09am

    A modest proposal

    Perhaps all companies subject to NSL's should make a practice of keeping them on a server used only for governmental communications and secured with a trivial-to-guess username and password so amateur hackers who have not been issued a gag order can "hack" the governmental communications server and pass them on to wikileaks.

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