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Comments

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Selectable Ethics For Robotic Cars and the Possibility of a Robot Car Bomb

Etherwalk Timely discussion. (239 comments)

Until a proposed system to make automated vehicles feasible on public roads in mass is proposed, developed, protocols and legal procedures released related to this come about, this is nothing but a scare topic making vague assumptions about things that aren't even a topic for development yet.

Not really. We already have self-driving cars, and we have a lot of data about traffic accidents and mortality. The cars aren't available at retail yet, but they exist. Teaching them to drive in a way that makes the right safety tradeoffs is appropriate. (E.g. driving slowly through a stoplight might cause more accidents and fewer deaths; that's a hunch, but we have lots of data so there's a moral calculation that should be made based on the data and desired outcomes.)

about two weeks ago
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Facebook Tests "Satire" Tag To Avoid Confusion On News Feed

Etherwalk A notsatire tag... (131 comments)

A "seriously" tag should also exist. It's not the satire that's problematic--it's the real news that is so absurd it seems to be satire. This pops up with amazing frequency.

about two weeks ago
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Apple Begins Storing Chinese User Data On Servers In China

Etherwalk Market... and HQ Raids (92 comments)

Parent A/C is right.

This is entirely about marketshare. Apple decided its market in China was worth making it really easy for China to take Apple's data and use it against people. It's an understandable business decision. You know, like when the Pope didn't denounce Hitler.

about two weeks ago
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Posting Soccer Goals On Vine Is Illegal, Say England's Premier League

Etherwalk Ticket Copyright Ownership (226 comments)

Not necessarily. Suppose the back of the ticket agreed in advance to sell the copyright to any media you take, or to grant an exclusive, irrevocable license, or the like. Then you get to fight about whether that's a valid agreement, but you may not own the copyright.

about two weeks ago
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Posting Soccer Goals On Vine Is Illegal, Say England's Premier League

Etherwalk Lawyers and judges (226 comments)

Correct. There is no such thing as fair use in the UK. But if the video/twitter feed is hosted in the US then I am not sure where the 'infringement' is considered to have taken place.

The lawyers and judges will be happy to spend hundreds of hours trying to figure it out.

Even in the US, it is arguable how much context, and what kind, you would need to give the video in order to make it fall under "fair use." Even major television studios avoid using game footage without permission, even when they know they have an absolute right to use it, in part because of reputation issues but really because they don't want to be sued. You also have the issue of breaking copy protection by using the analog gap, at least in theory.

Bottom-line: if you're risk-averse, don't do it. Instead, describe it with your pretty words. If you want to do it, pay a copyright and sports law expert in your jurisdiction a few hundred euros to give you his best answer and listen to his advice. Do not get legal advice on slashdot.

about two weeks ago
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Wikipedia Gets Critical Reception from UK Press at Wikimania 2014

Etherwalk Altering History has precedent (113 comments)

History has always been altered. Napoleon was the greatest general in the world not because of his generalling, but because he *bought the newspapers*.

People who had a bad reputation used to be able to move to another town. Now we have tracking.

That's good because it warns us when someone actually has molested children, but bad because it makes people unemployable even a thousand miles from their home because of stupid mistakes they made when they were 18 or 19, for example.

It's not black and white that all history should be preserved. Some history hurts the future more than it helps it. If tomorrow the whole world forgot the Israel-Palestine conflict, would it make the future better?

about three weeks ago
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DEA Paid Amtrak Employee To Pilfer Passenger Lists

Etherwalk Criminal Embezzlement or Breach of Contract (127 comments)

Actually, if the employee was selling Amtrak's proprietary information without Amtrak's consent and was keeping the money, they are guilty of embezzlement and DEA employees may be guilty of crimes related to arranging that activity, e.g. conspiracy or solicitation.

If the employee was selling Amtrak's proprietary information and giving the money to Amtrak, the DEA was breaching its contract with Amtrak. The DEA has to share the proceeds of drug busts based on information that comes from Amtrak with Amtrak, and this method circumvented that deal.

about three weeks ago
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Comcast Drops Spurious Fees When Customer Reveals Recording

Etherwalk Re:They're Monopolies (368 comments)

And, recording or not, they'll soon just start ditching "troublemaking" customers, like the hospitals do.

So, let's all be troublemaking customers. Let's make it as unpleasant and difficult as possible for Comcast to do business. We will be doing the world a service.

You will be punishing the service reps, not the people who make policy.

about three weeks ago
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Chinese Researchers' 'Terror Cam' Could Scan Crowds, Looking for Stress

Etherwalk Paging Normality... (146 comments)

The problem with this kind of tech is a combination of false positive and police harassment of false positives.

Suddenly anyone with high blood pressure is a suspect.

I wonder if when tech will get deployed at customs.

about three weeks ago
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China Smartphone Maker Xiaomi Apologizes For Unauthorized Data Access

Etherwalk More flies with honey... (64 comments)

Why is it considered okay to do this until you get caught? Then you apologize? How about not stealing the information in the first place for starters. Fuckwads!

When an institution or a person does something right, I find it useful to commend them for it.

There may be many other things they can do right in the future, that they are doing wrong now. And there may be things done in the past that were profoundly wrong.

But they've still done a good thing.

In the United States, communications professionals (and the people they coach, like our politicians) avoid admitting when they are wrong, avoid even *engaging* in serious discussion, precisely because people so easily latch onto any words acknowledging another position and turn it into a sound byte. Attacking people who do the right thing for not doing more encourages them *not* to do the right thing in the first place.

Here, a company admitted it was wrong and apologized. It may or may not be disinformation to distract us from spying on behalf of the Chinese Government; and the company may or may not still be doing things we consider wrong. But the company's message was the right one, and they deserve praise for taking responsibility for a foul-up and acting to correct it.

about three weeks ago
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Every Day Is Goof-Off-At-Work Day At the US Patent and Trademark Office

Etherwalk Not experts but not laypeople (327 comments)

Patent examiners review applications and grant patents on inventions that are new and unique. They are experts in their fields, often with master's and doctoral degrees.

If thats true then anyone should be able to get a job there, seeing all of the idiotic patents they allow. Thus the funny parts were "masters" and "doctoral degrees"

Examiners are not experts in their field. You could be approving Apple's patents based on the mere fact that you own an iPhone. Examiners do not judge the technical merits of a patent, nor are they expected to.

Patent examiners are not experts in the sense that we think of experts--they are not, for example, in the top 100 people in the world working in a given space, nor do they even have lots of professional experience in the space.

They are also not laypeople. They need to have a technical degree, and the degree they have is generally but not always relevant to the patents the office has them review.

So while they are not experts and not supposed to be experts, they are also not the clerk from your supermarket--unless the clerk happens to have studied engineering.

about three weeks ago
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Hackers Demand Automakers Get Serious About Security

Etherwalk Re:deaf ears (120 comments)

Nothing is going to happen until they get sued.

Nothing is going to happen until (1) a senior officer at GM has his car hacked, (2) a very public hacking makes security a point on which automakers compete, or (3) they get sued.

about three weeks ago
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Slashdot Asks: Should Schooling Be Year-Round?

Etherwalk Re:No, school should not be year-round. (421 comments)

Education isn't about getting jobs or any other such nonsense; it's about furthering people's understanding of the universe.

That is one goal. Another goal is having students be employable when they graduate. These are not mutually exclusive.

about three weeks ago
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China Cracks Down On Mobile Messaging

Etherwalk Censorship Useful, but Risky. (58 comments)

This would help cut down on the stupidity that "news" outlets in the US spread to the uneducated and or uninformed population

Yes. Freedom of Speech, as conceived in many nations, includes the freedom to speak irresponsibly. These nations may be destroyed by that freedom, which creates an ecosystem of mostly-stupid ideas that it is very, very hard for wiser minds to change. Or they may be saved by it, if nations such as China tighten their grip on information far enough that they overly limit the free flow of innovative ideas and legitimate idea-generating-and-analyzing debate.

There are people on both sides of the political spectrum who should never be allowed to publicly speak to the American public about politics again. Not because we may disagree with them, but because they are obviously wrong, and alarmist, and they are hurting America by their false contributions to the debate. So it is in many free nations.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

Etherwalk Re:Not this again. (637 comments)

I designed and built a custom CPU in college. And it had to be somewhat Turing complete.

Computer science isn't what it used to be.

I had to build my infinite tape drive so that it stretched uphill in the snow...

about three weeks ago
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Microsoft Tip Leads To Child Porn Arrest In Pennsylvania

Etherwalk Re:Microsoft's child porn collection (353 comments)

Nope. Just the hashes.

Which is all well and good. From what I hear, people who actually have to look at the images to verify them end up having psych problems. When the agencies are doing it right, I think they rotate those agents through counseling on a regular basis. As soon as the image is recognized, hash it so nobody else has to look at it again, store the original bits and if the computer does a bit-for-bit match on the image that should be evidence enough without anybody having to look at it again.

This. The pictures I've heard described would give me psych problems, too: I would have the immediate urge to hunt down the person taking the photographs and beat them senseless.

about three weeks ago
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40% Of People On Terror Watch List Have No Terrorist Ties

Etherwalk Re:40% of 680,000 is useless (256 comments)

If I had cells of 5 people in a few states.... I could cause wide spread chaos and fear.

If you owned TV networks, newspapers and such you could do it very efficiently. You don't need to directly hurt anyone or mess around with bombs to cause terror.

The biggest problem is the lack of effective propaganda. There are some good propaganda campaigns out there--Big Oil has some amazing people who do that, for example--but I have a sneaking suspicion that the largely unregulated market forces we have in place in determining news outlet content is actually incredibly destabilizing.

about three weeks ago
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Microsoft Files Legal Action Against Samsung Over Android Patent Dispute

Etherwalk Summary silly -- Contracts are always voluntary (83 comments)

"Samsung voluntarily entered into a legally binding contract..."

As opposed to what, being forced to sign under threat of listening to executive Karaoke?

about a month ago
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"ExamSoft" Bar Exam Software Fails Law Grads

Etherwalk Re:Lockdown (100 comments)

Besides handling the uploading of completed exam questions, ExamSoft locks down the computer on which it runs, so Wikipedia is not an option.

Yeah, that'll work, because nobody has internet capable cellphones, secondary machines or even Virtual Machines.

It doesn't need to be perfect, just decent enough to make it harder to cheat. Things like the consequences of getting caught also apply--law is a highly regulated profession, and getting caught would keep a person from ever becoming a lawyer. Failing the bar exam generally just means you retake it six months later and study more.

Cellphones are not permitted in the exam room; so are second computers; and I believe the software is designed not to run on at least some class of virtual machines.

about 1 month ago
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Chinese Government Probes Microsoft For Breaches of Monopoly Law

Etherwalk Security (110 comments)

This is like being accused of overeating by the world's biggest fat man.

Yes, it is. It is about security rather than monopoly. Both discouraging Chinese citizens from using Microsoft (this lets state media trash talk them for a little while) and trying to get their hands on source code or other references to flaws in the OS.

about 1 month ago

Submissions

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China Criticizes US For Making Weapons Plans Stealable, Alleges Attacks.

Etherwalk Etherwalk writes  |  about a year ago

Etherwalk (681268) writes "Huang Chengqing, director of the National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team/Coordination Center of China, alleged that United States cyber-attacks on China have been as serious as those on the United States. In response to the recent hacks of United States military designs, he replied with an observation whose obviousness is worthy of Captain Hammer: "Even following the general principle of secret-keeping, it should not have been linked to the Internet.""
Link to Original Source
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Manhattan, 1984

Etherwalk Etherwalk writes  |  about 7 years ago

Etherwalk writes "The New York Times (and the usual suspects) are reporting on developments in the quest to charge driving fees for all vehicles headed below 86th Street in Manhattan. Notably absent from any part of the discussion? A record is made of every car or truck that enters, together with the vehicle ownership information and the date and time of travel — either as part of EZ-Pass or in license-plate photos taken for subsequent billing."
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Etherwalk Etherwalk writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Etherwalk writes "NY's Mayor Bloomberg announced today a series of green initiatives to reduce pollution in New York City, notably planting 1 million new trees and adding an $8 fee for all cars and $21 for commercial trucks driving below 86th Street from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM on weekdays, the fee to be levied via EZ-Pass and license photos. The system's implementation effectively would make it a crime to enter lower Manhattan in your own vehicle without creating a record of your driving habits for the state."

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