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Supreme Court Rules Against Aereo Streaming Service

Beeftopia Re:One disturbing bit: (484 comments)

Also, it seems to me that making rulings in order to achieve desired social outcomes rather than based on reasonable interpretations of the law undermines the rule of law.

about a month ago
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Supreme Court Rules Against Aereo Streaming Service

Beeftopia Re:One disturbing bit: (484 comments)

If certain actions criminalize a religion without just cause (i.e. the criminalized set of acts is representative of a harmless behavior, or a set of non-criminal acts that only happen under this religion in this way)

It seems to me that if a reasonable interpretation of a law leads to negative unintended consequences, it then becomes the legislative branch's duty to rectify it, not the judicial branch's. Creating an incoherent ruling merely to achieve a desired social outcome severely undercuts the separation of powers, it seems to me.

about a month ago
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Supreme Court Rules Against Aereo Streaming Service

Beeftopia Re:Predictable (484 comments)

Regardless of the clever implementation, Aereo behaved like a subscription cable service. How it collected and stored programming was not relevant to this.

Appearances can deceive: The elephant bird may have looked like an ostrich but it's not related to ostriches. It's actually related to kiwis.

From the article: "Launched a year ago in New York and then extended to 10 other U.S. cities, it allows customers to watch over-the-air TV programs on a smartphone, tablet, or computer for as little as $8 a month."

Here's how Aereo [works | worked]. Redirecting a free over-the-air product over the web is a clever idea. It would seem to me that it would give advertisers a broader reach.

I don't think this tech is going to go away. This ruling merely consolidates the power of the existing media companies over the broadcast medium. Which, in my opinion, is regrettable. They already have too much power IMO.

about a month ago
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Supreme Court Rules Against Aereo Streaming Service

Beeftopia Re:One disturbing bit: (484 comments)

He's not: "As Stephen Breyer, one of the Supreme Court justices, said in this week’s hearing, “What disturbs me is I don’t understand what the decision for you or against you is going to do to all kinds of other technologies.”

It seems to me that judges should be ruling based on the law, not perceived ancillary social influences. That's why we have three branches of government: legislative, executive and judicial. Legislative makes the law, and judicial merely determines if actions are legal or not legal? Quaint, no?

about a month ago
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Interviews: Ask Lawrence Lessig About His Mayday PAC

Beeftopia Re:Term Limits (308 comments)

We imposed term limits to prevent an imperial presidency.

We did nothing to limit an imperial congress.

about a month ago
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Interviews: Ask Lawrence Lessig About His Mayday PAC

Beeftopia What if the PAC supports politician I oppose? (308 comments)

So - I really like the idea of the PAC. I want to contribute. BUT, I don't want to undermine my other causes.

Question: Will this PAC be promoting both liberal and conservative politicians who advocate this one very important issue? The mayday.us website says 5 races will be targeted. What races and why those particular races?

Example:
Politician A is "wrong" on every issue but campaign finance reform.
Politician B is "right" on every issue but wrong on campaign finance reform.

How can someone like me - who believes the current campaign finance system is a rot at the heart of our democracy, but also has to balance this issue with other important issues - how can my concerns be assuaged?

about a month ago
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Steve Wozniak Endorses Lessig's Mayday Super PAC

Beeftopia Amazing that politicians can take donations (209 comments)

It is amazing to me that politicians can take money from people and businesses with the expectation of favors in return.

This is perfectly legal. It is nothing but legalized bribery.

From a recent article on a court case which further loosened campaign finance restrictions: "For the donors, they really prefer to cut the vast number of checks,” he said. “For them, it’s not about giving money, it’s about building a relationship. You’re not going to get any face time, they’re not going to hear your story.” Individual donors want to feel gratitude from the candidate — legal, “completely non-corrupting gratitude,” Backer hastened to note."

Politicians shake down big donors. Big donors try to influence politicians. It's a symbiotic relationship. What's lost are the interests of the populace. Granted, those interests can be varied, in direct conflict and not monolithic. But the politician's incentives - while always self centered of course, they're only people - should be more aligned with the public interest rather than merely with the interest of a few large donors.

about a month ago
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HP Makes More Money, Cuts 16,000 Jobs

Beeftopia Re:HP - Great Name - Good Riddance (288 comments)

I discovered the big problem in American business today: Executives can make big money by running a company aground. Enough money so that their grandchildren won't have to work.

Greenspan thought companies would self regulate. His mistake was subtle: He assumed that the leadership of the company needed the company to be healthy in order for the executives to prosper. But a new pattern emerged: executives could engage in behavior which could yield a multiple-lifetime supply of wealth by engaging in practices which ultimately destroyed the company.

And that's what happened to the financial sector in the US. And doubtless other companies which yield this particular prize.

I don't know what the common underlying reason is but this is the common symptom - being able to make the Big Score by running a company aground.

about 2 months ago
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Who Helped Kill Patent Troll Reform In the Senate

Beeftopia What are the money and politics behind this? (157 comments)

It started last summer, when patent trolls started messing with one of the biggest political donors of all time - the National Association of Realtors.

If you take a look at Patrick Leahy's donors, you can see real estate is down the list.

Summary - this issue got before Congress only when the NAR was bitten by it. I don't the issue is dead, not by a long shot. The NAR has deep connections in government and unless they somehow get the issue to go away for them personally, anti-patent troll legislation is likely to come back. Perhaps more quietly next time.

about 2 months ago
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IT Pro Gets Prison Time For Sabotaging Ex-Employer's System

Beeftopia It's "at-will" employment (265 comments)

You can walk away for any reason and they can let you go for almost any reason. Being fired/laid off is a bitter pill... but impulse control keeps you out of jail. And it's the other side of being able to walk away at any time.

about 2 months ago
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Congress Unhappy With FCC's Proposed Changes To Net Neutrality

Beeftopia The concept of "Natural Monopoly" (208 comments)

"Natural Monopolies" are an economic concept. These are industries in which the barriers to entry are so high that new competitors are blocked from entering. Infrastructure is commonly cited - power lines, power stations, the last mile infrastructure. The same goes for most infrastructure - telephone lines, cable lines, oil and gas pipelines, railroads.

So, there's no way to let customers vote with their feet in natural monopolies. There are no competitors. Hence the need for regulation to avoid the problem of monopolies, which is "monopoly pricing."

about 2 months ago
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Congress Unhappy With FCC's Proposed Changes To Net Neutrality

Beeftopia Camel's nose in the tent (208 comments)

Say there's a pesky blog that keeps posting pointed, critical commentary at NBC-Comcast or at a cause they support. If you allow prioritizing of data, shockingly, that site's traffic might receive the lowest priority possible, or intermittent blockage. The Internet is the last bastion of the free flow of ideas. That should be protected, strongly. Because if there's an opportunity to abuse the privilege of prioritizing data, in order to increase profit or stifle dissenting voices, it most assuredly will be abused.

Here is an informative 3 minute video highlighting some of the ways to abuse data prioritization.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Easy-To-Use Alternative To MS Access For a Charity's Database?

Beeftopia Re:Stay away from any database for non-technicals (281 comments)

Also: No maintenance for Excel files other than backing them up, i.e. copying them to thumb drives or DVDs. Access files get corrupted and need to be recovered. Servers have to be rebooted and client-server databases have to be backed up.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Easy-To-Use Alternative To MS Access For a Charity's Database?

Beeftopia Stay away from any database for non-technicals (281 comments)

I've created a several Access applications, plus several LAMP-based Internet applications. I've interfaced a lot with non-technical people. They don't GET databases. They don't understand normalization or foreign keys or indexes. They don't understand SQL or joins. It's not their area of expertise. They do the actual work of the charity or the company so I'm not in the least bashing them - but they just don't understand databases.

My experience is that after brief training, they'll get spreadsheets. They understand tables very quickly and easily. Explain to them the concept of worksheets. And there's no complexity in opening an Excel file. You just double-click and you are immediately there, looking at the data. Heck, with some thoughtful use of the individual worksheets in an Excel file, you can even get a hint of normalization. Like putting different geographical regions in different worksheets in a single workbook. Having multiple Excel files (workbooks) for different larger groups. People kind of naturally understand that tree-like data structure.

Many people think Access is a toy. But it's still a database and it uses database concepts and SQL. And that is beyond the ken of non-technical types. Spreadsheets are simply much more understandable to them. And ultimately - much more maintainable. And maintainability and understandability is the key here. The charity is going to be here, on the ground, doing their work, long after you've moved back to the States.

There is a fraction of the learning curve with spreadsheets than there is with any relational database, regardless of whether it's a file-based system or a client-server system.

FYI, here are the Excel load limits.

about 2 months ago
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FCC Votes To Consider Next Round of 'Net Neutrality' Rules

Beeftopia Understand the money and politics of this (182 comments)

You have big players on either side of this, but the big communication companies have probably donated much more to politicians. AT&T is the 4th largest donor to federal politicians over the period 1989-2012, for example. Also, the big communications companies got their man on the inside as the head of the FCC. These rules could go through, and it'll start driving prices up, but by then, the voting public won't make the connection between any politician and rising prices or worse service. Most people don't understand what net neutrality is.

Net result: Keeps the big donors happy, very little or no voting consequence, especially with responsibility plausibly divided between both parties.

about 2 months ago
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H.R. Giger, Alien Artist and Designer, Dead at Age 74

Beeftopia Wow, no more H.R. Giger calendar (92 comments)

Alas. Those wall calendars were fantastic.

Best wishes in whatever comes next and thanks for the freaky art.

about 2 months ago
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Norwegian Infectious Disease Specialists Have New Theory On HIV In Africa

Beeftopia What's the reason in the US then? (118 comments)

Per the CDC, black hetero females in the US have just about 4 times the new HIV infection rate than white hetero females: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/statistics/basics/ataglance.html

More CDC statistics here: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/statistics/basics/

Certainly this is a worthwhile course of investigation by the Norwegians, but the relatively high black female HIV prevalence in the US could indicate factors specific to race and not merely location.

about 3 months ago
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$200 For a Bound Textbook That You Can't Keep?

Beeftopia Universities have to enable this (252 comments)

It's the universities and teachers who choose what books the students must use. They could:

1) Boycott this publisher.
2) Act indifferently.
3) Enthusiastically join with this publisher.

Follow the money. I'm guessing it will be 2) or 3) above, depending on the deal the publisher strikes with the university.

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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Researcher proposes "multicompiler" to prevent instruction-level exploits

Beeftopia Beeftopia writes  |  about three weeks ago

Beeftopia (1846720) writes "A researcher proposes the concept of a "multicompiler" to generate a unique, slightly different set of binary instructions in each compiled output file in order to disable instruction-level attacks. From the article: "Dr Franz has already built a prototype that can diversify programs such as Firefox and Apache Linux. Test attacks designed to take over computers running the resulting machine code always failed. The worst thing that happened was that the attack crashed the target machine, requiring a reboot. The rest of the time it simply had no perceptible effect. Dr Franz puts the chance of a hacker successfully penetrating one of his randomised application programs at about one in a billion.""
Link to Original Source
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200 million social security numbers possibly stolen in Experian breach

Beeftopia Beeftopia writes  |  about 4 months ago

Beeftopia (1846720) writes "A 2012 breach at credit reporting company Experian may be much larger than first reported. The article states, "In what could be one of the biggest data breaches in history, the federal government and authorities in several states are investigating the criminal sale of Social Security numbers, bank account data and other personal information for up to 200 million U.S. citizens."

The investigations stem from the 2012 case of Hieu Minh Ngo, who sold names, addresses, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, places of work, duration of work, dates of employment, state driver's license numbers, mother's maiden names, bank account numbers, bank routing numbers, email account names and addresses and other account passwords, court records show."

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Traumatically injured patients to be put in suspended animation

Beeftopia Beeftopia writes  |  about 4 months ago

Beeftopia (1846720) writes "A new procedure will be tested on traumatically injured patients by doctors at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh. The patient's blood will be replaced with cold saline solution, dropping body temperature to 10 C. Brain activity and respiration will cease, indicating the patient is clinically dead. Surgeons will repair the damage then slowly refill them with warm blood at which point vital signs will reappear.

"Every day at work I declare people dead. They have no signs of life, no heartbeat, no brain activity. I sign a piece of paper knowing in my heart that they are not actually dead. I could, right then and there, suspend them. But I have to put them in a body bag. It's frustrating to know there's a solution," says surgeon Peter Rhee. "[After our animal experiments] the definition of 'dead' changed," he said."

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IBM's Watson to be used for cancer treatment

Beeftopia Beeftopia writes  |  about 4 months ago

Beeftopia (1846720) writes "The New York Genome Center and IBM will investigate whether Watson can be used to parse cancer genome data and then recommend treatments. The trial involves 20 to 25 glioblastoma patients with poor prognoses. The article states, "It should theoretically be possible to analyze [genomic] data and use it to customize a treatment that targets the specific mutations present in tumor cells. But right now, doing so requires a squad of highly trained geneticists, genomics experts, and clinicians. It's a situation that can't scale to handle the [number of] patients with glioblastoma, much less other cancers. Instead, that gusher of information is going to be pointed at Watson... Watson will figure out which mutations are distinct to the tumor, what protein networks they effect, and which drugs target proteins that are part of those networks. The net result will be a picture of the biochemical landscape inside the tumor cells, along with some suggestions on how clinicians might consider intervening to change the landscape."
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Gut bacteria in slim people extract more nutrients

Beeftopia Beeftopia writes  |  about a year ago

Beeftopia (1846720) writes "Researchers discovered that inserting gut bacteria from obese people into mice without gut bacteria led to the mice becoming obese. Gut bacteria from slim people inserted into the same mice did not lead to mouse obesity. The researchers concluded that gut bacteria from the slim people were more efficient at extracting nutrients from food than those of the obese."
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Major Automaker Sets Delivery Date For Autonomous Car

Beeftopia Beeftopia writes  |  about a year ago

Beeftopia (1846720) writes "Nissan has set 2020 as the anticipated delivery date of its first autonomous car. It becomes the first major automaker to set a delivery date. Nissan states that "it is working with major universities including MIT, Stanford, Oxford, Carnegie Mellon and the University of Tokyo on the technology. Work also is underway on a special-purpose test track in Japan that Nissan says features "real townscapes.""
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Paper: Evolution favors cooperation over selfishness

Beeftopia Beeftopia writes  |  about a year ago

Beeftopia (1846720) writes "Conventional wisdom has suggested selfishness is most beneficial evolutionary strategy for humans, while cooperation is suboptimal. This dovetailed with a political undercurrent dating back more than a century, starting with social Darwinism and more commonly seen today as a Randian philosophy. A new paper in the journal Nature Communications casts doubt on this school of thought. The paper shows that while selfishness is optimal in the short term, it fails in the long term. Cooperation is seen as the most effective long term human evolutionary strategy."
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Patent trolls finally bite the wrong organization

Beeftopia Beeftopia writes  |  about a year ago

Beeftopia (1846720) writes "Patent trolls have long been a thorn in the side of the tech industry. No serious effort has taken place in Washington DC to rein them in. Until now. It seems that a patent troll has decided to lock horns with the 5th largest all time contributor to federal politicians, the National Association of Realtors. It is this unfortunate choice of target that has encouraged federal politicians to act. From the article:

Several lawmakers have introduced legislation to curb patent abuses, and President Obama has also moved on the administrative front, but comprehensive legislation is really what’s required to curb the practice. And that’s what NAR is calling for in the letter with its partners.

"

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Puzzling disconnect between greenhouse gas emissions and surface temperature

Beeftopia Beeftopia writes  |  about a year ago

Beeftopia (1846720) writes "From The Economist magazine: A puzzling disconnect between carbon emissions and surface air temperatures has become apparent. Over the past 15 years, surface air temperatures have been flat while greenhouse gas emissions have continued soaring. While temperatures fluctuate over short periods, this lack of warming is a surprise. The mismatch between greenhouse gas emissions and non-rising temperatures is among the biggest current puzzles in climate science. If temperatures remain flat, they will fall outside of the predicted temperature models in a few years."
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Scientist removed from EPA panel due to industry opposition

Beeftopia Beeftopia writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Beeftopia (1846720) writes "The relationship between regulator and regulated is once again called into question as industry pressure leads to a scientist's removal from an EPA regulatory panel. From the article:

"In 2007, when Deborah Rice was appointed chair of an Environmental Protection Agency panel assessing the safety levels of flame retardants, she arrived as a respected Maine toxicologist with no ties to industry. Yet the EPA removed Rice from the panel after an intense push by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), an industry lobbying group that accused her of bias. Her supposed conflict of interest? She had publicly raised questions about the safety of a flame retardant under EPA review."

"

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Homeland Security warns to disable Java amid zero-day flaw

Beeftopia Beeftopia writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Beeftopia (1846720) writes "From the article: "The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has warned users to disable or uninstall Java software on their computers, amid continuing fears and an escalation in warnings from security experts that hundreds of millions of business and consumer users are vulnerable to a serious flaw."

Hackers have discovered a weakness in Java 7 security, but "due to the number and severity of this and prior Java vulnerabilities, it is recommended that Java be disabled temporarily in web browsers as described in the "Solution" section of the US-CERT Alert."

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Majority of landmark cancer studies cannot be replicated

Beeftopia Beeftopia writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Beeftopia (1846720) writes ""NEW YORK (Reuters) — A former researcher at Amgen Inc has found that many basic studies on cancer — a high proportion of them from university labs — are unreliable, with grim consequences for producing new medicines in the future.

During a decade as head of global cancer research at Amgen, C. Glenn Begley identified 53 "landmark" publications — papers in top journals, from reputable labs — for his team to reproduce. Begley sought to double-check the findings before trying to build on them for drug development. Result: 47 of the 53 could not be replicated. He described his findings in a commentary piece published on Wednesday in the journal Nature.

[...] But they and others fear the phenomenon is the product of a skewed system of incentives that has academics cutting corners to further their careers.""

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Intellectual Ventures starts anti-reform campaign

Beeftopia Beeftopia writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Beeftopia (1846720) writes "Intellectual Ventures begins running radio ads equating patent reform with big bank thievery, on DC news radio. A new bill, HR 1249, called the American Invents Act, will scale back business method patents. Naturally, they are opposed (warning: PDF)"
Link to Original Source

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