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  • Nov 24th, 2017 @ 7:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: First, your Socialist slant simply doesn't apply to entertainments.

    The article indicates that "useful arts" would have meant what we now would call "inventions" - techniques for doing things. "Science" would have meant "knowledge / learning", and "the useful arts" would be equivalent to "methods for doing useful things".

    It does, indeed, not seem clear that either of these things should properly be read to cover works that exist purely for purposes of entertainment - but I can still see benefit to society in encouraging the people who create such works to release them rather than keeping them private, and a sufficiently-limited copyright is still the best idea I've seen suggested for a way of providing that encouragement.

    That only helps if the released works do then make it into the public domain within a reasonable amount of time, of course, and currently they do not.

  • Nov 22nd, 2017 @ 7:02pm

    Re: Is there ANY evidence against Moore besides allegations? LIKE THIS:

    By the way: it's difficult to refute allegations that come from out of the blue, that's why the letter is flailing. One doesn't know what the charge is or who one is fighting.

    I don't know about that; most of the allegations I've seen out of the blue make have seemed trivially easy to refute. (Some of them may have been so blatantly obvious as to basically refute themselves.)

  • Nov 15th, 2017 @ 9:16am


    I always understood that the name "Naruto" came to this case out of PETA's claim, and that PETA were claiming that that was the name of the relevant monkey.

    The only way I cank think of by which a "the wrong monkey" assertion could make sense is if the name had been applied to the monkey in the photograph, and the photograph had been actually taken by a different monkey - but that's also not what I remember seeing stated to have been the case, in the entire history of covering this.

  • Nov 15th, 2017 @ 4:17am

    Re: Less Than Zero at DoJ (HAHA)

    Re your use of "tax-feeding": I sometimes find it interesting to contrast the image of those receiving a government paycheck as "sucking at the government teat" (with the implication that these people do not contribute to society and that the fewer of them there are the better off the rest of us will be) against the image of those working for government as "in public service" (with the connotation of nobly putting themselves forward to do things that society needs done).

  • Nov 13th, 2017 @ 3:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Use or Not

    I don't understand this paranoia, do you work in IT?


    Have you used it?

    No, but one of my co-workers (the one whose judgment I trust the most, as it happens) has.

  • Nov 12th, 2017 @ 5:05am

    Re: Re: Re: 'Yeah they want to point a gun at you, but don't worry, they won't pull the trigger.'

    I guess I do have to bring this up again, so once again, are there such things as legal adult ads and should sites be allowed to host them, or are there no such thing as legal adult ads and as such sites should not be allowed to host them?

    Although he hasn't explicitly stated it that I've seen, his position appears to be "there are such things as legal ads for adult products, but there are no such things as legal ads for adult services". If you want to try to pin him down on this, it might be useful to target the question more specifically at adult services.

  • Nov 12th, 2017 @ 4:58am

    Re: Use or Not

    Intel ME can be turned off in the Bios (and is shipped to suppliers with it off) on most modern computers,

    But turning it off there does not - at least not necessarily - disable all of the things that it does, or close the potential security holes that some of those things represent. and - while from a group which is explicitly pro-software-freedom and anti-black-box, and as such may be open to accusations of bias - have a few things to say about the subject; the latter includes the claim that some ME features can only be "fused" on or off, and that once they're fused on (as many suppliers do before passing the unit on to the consumer, and as Intel may expect them to generally do), they physically can't be switched off.

    Plus no talk of the fact that Intel ships processors with this ability turned off, and you can make the change permanent.

    Because Intel ships processors that way to its suppliers, not to the consumer (unless you're buying direct from Intel, maybe), and the supplier can and very well may turn this on in such a way that you can't turn it back off.

    There are so many other easier ways to compromise a system than using 'intel's' ME, I would be much more afraid of them,

    Just because another way is easier doesn't mean that this way isn't a genuine danger. Yes, it's best to take care of the bigger risks first - but that's not justification for ignoring the smaller ones.

  • Nov 12th, 2017 @ 4:39am

    Re: Re: Re: One more time, for the slow learners

    "Not connected to (and depending on) a third-party cloud service" does not equal "not connected to / accessible over the Internet".

  • Nov 10th, 2017 @ 4:59am

    (untitled comment)

    All devices which require specific online services for their functionality should come with service agreements which contain a clause stating (in effect) "if we ever choose to stop providing the service which enables this device to work, we will release all information necessary to enable others to provide a replacement service". The absence of such a clause should be treated as reason to refuse to purchase the device.

    (Ideally the absence of such a clause would even be treated as sufficient to invalidate the agreement and require the refund of the purchase price, but it's a bit unlikely that courts would take it that far.)

  • Nov 10th, 2017 @ 3:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hollowpoint? WTH?

    It wouldn't surprise me if some organizations had explictly replaced this with "...unless you are willing to kill them", which is a significantly lower bar. It would probably explain a few things.

  • Nov 10th, 2017 @ 3:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Isn't kidnapping and slavery already illegal?

    First, this is not my argument, I'm just presenting what I understand the argument to be. I don't think that people who do voluntarily choose to work in the sex trade are trafficked.

    Second, I did state that this is how the "keep a prostitute enslaved" thing is done in cases where that happens - and that it does not by any means happen in all cases. No, not "all prostitutes are slaves" - but not all of them are necessarily in the business voluntarily, either.

    Third, I don't agree that choosing to do X under threat of loss of livelihood, and the resulting starvation et cetera, constitutes "voluntarily" choosing to do X.

    That said, I'm saying that (one part of) the argument is that some of these women are prevented from going to the police, et cetera, by believable threats of the consequences of what will happen if they do. (Exacerbated in some instances by having had their worldviews intentionally limited such that they don't see other options, or don't realize how unlikely some of the consequences may be.)

    If you consider choosing to stay with that hanging over their heads to be "voluntarily choos[ing] ... to work as prostitutes" in any meaningful sense, then we have such different definitions of "voluntary" that I don't see any point in us having this discussion.

  • Nov 9th, 2017 @ 12:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    While I'm not saying you're necessarily wrong... do you remember the "Microsoft tax"?

    There was a period where, at least as far as I recall being able to determine, you literally could not buy a prebuilt computer with no OS on it - the manufacturer would insist on shipping it with Windows (and charging you for Windows), reportedly because they got discounts from Microsoft if and only if all their computers shipped with Windows.

    I don't know when that period ended, because IIRC I only bought one computer in that time period, and after that everything I've run has been built from parts. I definitely recall its having been a thing, though.

  • Nov 9th, 2017 @ 12:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I use LibreOffice on a reasonably regular basis, simply because it's the most comprehensive office suite available for Linux that I know of. It's not exactly ideal in a number of ways, but it does generally suffice.

    LibreOffice isn't quite the same thing as OpenOffice (or even, as I believe was its last name), but they do descend from the same codebase, and not all that long ago at that.

  • Nov 9th, 2017 @ 12:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Isn't kidnapping and slavery already illegal?

    If I'm not mistaken, in the cases where it happens (which is by no means all of them), it's done by what is essentially economic coercion - "if you go to the police, even if you manage to get me arrested and avoid getting arrested yourself, you'll be back on the streets with no means of support". Although probably rarely expressed in such explicit terms.

    I've seen reports of pimps getting arrested and the "girls", upon being let go, falling promptly under the sway of another pimp - because they simply don't have (or can't conceive of, find, and get into) any place else to go, and it's psychologically (and quite possibly practically) easier to just stick with what they know.

    And as long as we even stigmatize them for being in the position they're in, much less criminalize what they do, that's unlikely to change much.

    The place to start in changing it is probably education - both of the people who may wind up in that position, to let them know (and help them understand) that they do have these other options, and of the people who could help the former type of people but might instead be inclined to condemn them, to get that latter type of people to the point where they will instead see the former as victims in need of help.

    That's an extremely big job, however.

  • Nov 8th, 2017 @ 6:42am

    Letter vs. research report

    I think saying that Jacobson's comments about the article not meeting the standards for a Letter may be based on a misreading of his intent. I think it's possible to read those two parts of his argument as internally consistent, and indeed, related.

    The logic would roughly be:

    • The difference between a Research Report and a Letter is defined by its subject matter. (Assumption on my part, inferred from an assertion by Jacobson; I have not attempted to find a relevant source to look up any actual definitions.)

    • The subject matter of the Clack article was such that it would have to be treated as a Letter, rather than as a Research Report. (Assertion by Jacobson, quoted in this article.)

    • PNAS imposes certain constraints on Letters which it does not impose on Research Reports. (Implied assertion by Jacobson.)

    • PNAS failed to apply or enforce those constraints on the Clack article. (Assertion by Jacobson.)

    • Therefore PNAS failed to consistently apply its own policies in regard to this matter. (Conclusion, implied by the above.)

    That doesn't really seem to support, or indeed do much of anything for, a claim of defamation. Any wrongdoing it addresses seems to be entirely on the part of PNAS, and to have nothing to do with Clack; also, the failure to apply one's own policies itself does not seem to even occupy the same territory as anything which could be considered defamation.

    But it does seem internally consistent.

  • Nov 8th, 2017 @ 5:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Vague FUD.

    Online doesn't work that way only because it's a choice in how you have set your site up.

    And the sites are set up that way because that's the only possible way to achieve the scale of "content throughput" which is needed to serve that large of an audience without pricing yourself out of existence, at least barring the development of strong AI (which would bring with it ethical concerns related to slavery, but that's another conversation).

    I know a number of sites that have 100% moderated comments, and still get plenty of action.

    At what scale of "content throughput", i.e., posts-per-second et cetera?

    A quick Google search indicates that Twitter, to choose one example, gets about 6,000 posts per second on average. Would the kind of moderation used on the sites you're thinking of scale to that level of throughput?

    "You move from a world of permissionless discussion, to only those with the stamp of approval can discuss."

    With very basic moderation to avoid linking to bad things, the average site is still wide open and there is no requirement to "approve" discussions.

    Do you not see the contradiction here?

    The very act of deciding what is and is not "bad things", for the purpose of blocking them under such a system, is itself a granting or denying of permission.

  • Nov 7th, 2017 @ 4:20pm

    Re: Re: Ambiguous headline...

    Try "Man Who Fought Against Actual Terrorists Prosecuted Under UK Terrorism Law For Possessing A Copy Of 'The Anarchist Cookbook'".

    Unambiguous as far as I can tell, comprehensible, and still valid headline-ese.

    Not great as a headline, but not much that reaches that sort of length is going to be.

  • Nov 2nd, 2017 @ 5:35am

    Re: The real issue...

    Reminds me of:

    "Democracy is the idea that a million men are smarter than one man.

    "...Run that one by me again? I missed something."

    Which, in its original context, was followed immediately by:

    "Dictatorship is the idea that one man is smarter than a million men.

    "Take another look at that one, too. Who decides?"

    Both quotes from Heinlein, who - while he didn't get everything right, by any means - had many insights which are still applicable in the modern day.

  • Nov 2nd, 2017 @ 4:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I would note one point: if the ISP let the customer choose a-la-carte which sites would be available, and determined a price based on that site list - rather than having predetermined lists of sites, with a price for each - then that would leave choice with the consumer.

    It would still be bad, given the frequency with which new sites appear, the likelihood that people will suddenly get linked to pre-existing sites they've never heard of before, et cetera - but it would at least be better than the pure ISP-picking-winners-and-losers scenario. (If a way to avoid those problems could be found, it might even be a legitimately interesting creative pricing scenario.)

    Other than that, well said, and I agree.

  • Nov 1st, 2017 @ 4:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I never understood

    If that link happens to be the weakest one, then yes, by your own stated point strenthening it will in fact make the entire chain stronger.

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