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Switching From Microsoft Office To LibreOffice Saves Toulouse 1 Million Euros

Kilobug Re:Good to hear (296 comments)

Well, if Dia is fine functionality-wise, but the art assets are not good enough, when you look at the involved budget for a big city ($1.8 million in that example), paying a graphical design studio or a couple of freelancer to make more adequate art asset wouldn't cost as much as the MS licenses.

about a month ago
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Experiment Shows People Exposed To East German Socialism Cheat More

Kilobug But was it really unethical ? (619 comments)

In the realm of ethics, three main schools are contesting : virtue ethics, deontology and consequentialism.

Virtue ethics say that being ethical is showing a certain number of virtues, and lacking a certain number of vices. Honesty is a virtue, dishonesty a vice.

Deontology ethics say that being ethical is following a certain number of rules (self-imposed or not), and usually deontology ethics contain rules against lying, too.

Consequentialism ethics say they being ethical is judging acts for the consequences it has on people. For consequentialist, lying (or stealing, or killing) aren't bad in thesmselves, but only because they have bad consequences (ie, they hurt people). For a consequentialist, stealing something that would be wasted. For example, after a natural disaster, a supermarket is wrecked and has no staff anymore, and food products are getting rotten, there is no harm done in taking them, so it's ethical to do so.

If you look at that setup, well, what harm is done by lying? Not much, so while virtue ethics and deontology would still prevent people from lying, consequentialism doesn't. Maybe the answer is just that people growing in DDR, less exposed to religion, are more consequentialist ? Which doesn't make them less ethical, none of the three system is clearly the "best", it's a highly contested topic (I tend to lean towards consequentialism myself, but don't completly reject the other two).

And on this, I'm definitely a consequentialist. Being a role-player, "lying about a die roll" has no strict ethical value to me: if I'm a player, it's unethical, but if I'm the DM, it's just part of the job ! ;) I never lied about die roll as a player, and would never do it, so you can consider me to be "very ethical"... but on the other hand, in a setup like that experiment (when the harm of lying is not clear at all) or as a DM, I don't have any issue with lying.

about a month ago
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Internet Shutdown Adds To Venezuela's Woes

Kilobug Beware of the media manipulations (194 comments)

So, a handful of people (the recent "protests" were in the number of hundreds, maybe a few thousands at most, nothing of a big and massive popular protest, as Venezuela had in the past, with both opposition and chavistas massing hundred of thousands, even millions) violently protest, attack public infrastructure (city halls, metro stations, hospitals, ...). People are killed - not by the police, but by the protesters, most of the death are _chavistas_ not opposition.

Then, the opposition start a massive media manipulation, with photos and videos of repression taken from all around the world (Chile, Spain, Greece, ...) pretending it's the Venezuelan government doing it. All the western media jump on that, and without a single second of critical thinking, claim Maduro is repressing.

And now, some governmental Internet links have problem functioning. It must be Maduro doing censorship ! From France, I've troubles reaching many Venezuela government sites, like VTV (state TV) website, or CanTV (public operator) website. Why would Maduro censor his own sites ? Especially VTV ! And why would he cut CanTV, while it's just one operator among many, especially on mobile Internet (and most people in Venezuela, especially among the opposition, have a cell phone) ? It just doesn't make sense.

Couldn't it be that the violent protests damaged the infrastructure ? Couldn't it be that the Venezuela opposition, which is _very_ rich (they have the 1% among them, and they get massive funding from the US), is doing some DDoS or similar attack on CanTV ? Couldn't it be a sabotage, from opposition workers inside CanTV, or from abroad ? I should remind you that during the 2003 oil "strike" in Venezuela, the US corporation that handled the computer systems of PDVSA (state oil company in Venezuela) sabotaged them, just to add to the chaos and create the conditions for a military coup.

Given all this past and all those facts, shouldn't we wait until the exact reasons of the (very partial) shutdown of CanTV services are known before yelling "censorship" or "dictatorship" ? Because that's exactly what the Venezuelan extreme-right wants us to do, and it's not the first time they would manipulate media and perform false flag attacks to do it (remember the events of 2002, where the opposition killed people, blamed Chávez to justify a coup).

about 6 months ago
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Venezuelan Regime Censoring Twitter

Kilobug So much disinformation... (152 comments)

First, it is not "massive protests", it's the typical (for Venezuela since 1999) protest of the wealthy minority opposing the Bolivarian Revolution, despite dozens of electoral victories of PSUV and allies (ratified by various international observers). And it is violent protests, like when Capriles contested the elections of Maduro, in both cases there has been PSUV supporters _killed_ by the opposition. The opposition also assaulted public building, like Chacao municipality or Caracas metro system (this time), or schools and hospitals (when Maduro was elected).

On the broader picture, the opposition isn't at its first violent attempt to oppose the democratically elected government. For those who don't remember it, in 2002, the same opposition did a military coup attempt, in which Pedro Carmona (the leader of business federation) briefly took power, suspended the Constitution and constitutional guarantees, dissolved the Parliament and the Supreme Court, imposed martial law, closed the public TV station and many independent local TV channels (like Catia TV). Capriles, the current leader of the opposition in Venezuela, was personally involved in supporting the coup, including in a violent assault against the Cuban embassy in Caracas.

Those protests aren't done by "students", they are done by a rich elite refusing to lose their privilege, and not stopping at any means (including violence, murder, and military coups) to undermine a legitmately elected and always re-elected government. They are fascists, as shown by how they behaved (suspending all constitutional guarantees and dissolving all democratic institutions) when they briefly took power in 2002.

As for the media, before listening to all the lies about "censorship", you should remember that the media in 2002 actively participated in the coup attempt, manipulating footage to pretend that Chávez supporters opened fire on the opposition, while in reality it was sharpshooters from the opposition killing Chávez supporters from the roof of on hotel. There is a very good documentary on that topic, "The Revolution will not be televised", that was made by Irish filmmakers who happened to be in Caracas during the events. I advise strongly everyone to watch this documentary before supporting the "opposition" in Venezuela and criticizing the attitude of the Venezuelan government towards the media. In most countries of the world, including Europe or USA, if media did half of what they did in Venezuela, there would have been prison sentences.

Finally, for the Twitter "censorship", the PSUV Twitter account was hacked recently, and Twitter is not cooperating the Venezuelan government to help them track the authors of that infraction. While no one knows (yet) all the details of what is going on between the Venezuelan government and Twitter, it's way too early to call about "censorship" in that context, it may very well be just a way for the Venezuelan government to pressure Twitter to cooperate in tracking the authors of a penal infraction.

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Books Everyone Should Read?

Kilobug My top 10 list, altering fiction and non-fiction (796 comments)

1. Foundation - Isaac Asimov (well, the whole Foundation cycle) - the best scifi cycle of all times (that is a purely objective statement, right ?)
2. Gödel, Escher, Bach : an Eternal Golden Braid - Douglas Hofstadter - clever, insightful and amazing book on AI, nature of consciousness, mathematical structures and art
3. Dune - Frank Herbet - another breathtaking scifi cycle
4. A Brief History of Time - Stephen Hawking - nice introduction to how the universe work.
5. Ringworld - Larry Niven - some glimpse at our possible future : massive scale engineering
6. The Selfish Gene - Richard Dawkins - nice introduction to genetics and how selfishness at gene level can lead to altruism at people's level
7. Permutation City - Greg Egan - another glimpse at another possible future : mind upload
8. The End of Time - Julian Barbour - controversial, radical but interesting proposal : and if time itself was just an illusion ?
9. Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality - Eliezer Yudkowsky - hilarious and enlightening fanfiction about "what if Harry was a math/science genius when he entered Hogwarts"
10. Modern Operating Systems - Andrew Tanenbaum - to understand how your computer really works

(Note : I could have added some political books, but not wanting to start a flamewar I didn't)

about 8 months ago
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Quantum Teleportation Sends Information 143 Kilometers

Kilobug Re:If I recall..... (333 comments)

You can't "send states" either. You measure on your own photon (or electron, or whatever) and if you find a value. The other guy measure his own photon (or whatever) and find a value. The two values, once you communicate with each other (slower than light) will always match (be the same, or be opposite, depending of the way you entangled them). But you don't send the value of your measurement, and you don't even send the fact you did a measurement.

It has uses, for example in cryptography. Or if you want to run a solar system wide lottery and have the people on Mars and Earth follow, exactly at the same time (warning: that's layman speach, it doesn't have any real meaning in GR), the outcome of the lottery, and no one having the result before the other. But not for communication.

about 2 years ago
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Astronaut Neil Armstrong Has Died

Kilobug One giant loss for mankind... (480 comments)

RIP Neil Armstrong. You'll forever rest among the heroes of humanity, alongside with Gagarin, Newton and Einstein.

All around the world, regardless of politics, religion and nationality, you inspired people and opened the future. You were the first human to ever walk another world. To cross the immensity of the hostile void, and to actually walk on the moon. You made us all make that giant leap. You changed forever the way we think, at night, when we looked at that silvery crescent up there.

I wasn't born when you did it, and yet, you still inspired me to love science and dream of a better future. Future generations won't forget you. The best tribute we can make to you is continuing what you started. More than ever, we should continue the space program. Unite humanity together to send people on Mars and beyond. That would be the best way to honour you, Neil Armstrong, hero of humanity.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Science-Fiction/Fantasy For Kids?

Kilobug For my own memories... (726 comments)

At that age, I loved the Philippe Ebly novels, but I don't if they are translated to English (he's belgian, writing in French). But I'm pretty that those are the ones that made love scifi and fantasy so much.

Asimov is my favourite writer, but 8yo is probably too young for Asimov, I think I started enjoying Asimov around 12.

Jules Verne is also quite good, but I'm not sure how old I was when reading them, maybe a bit older like 10.

more than 2 years ago
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Should Science Be King In Politics?

Kilobug Things don't work that way... (737 comments)

There are many issues involved, making the whole claim totally, well, wrong.

The first problem is that science can't fix **goals**. Einstein explained it well in http://monthlyreview.org/2009/05/01/why-socialism but it's a much more general point admitted by most serious rationalists : science (or more exactly rationality, from which science is a subset) is the most powerful tool to understand the world, and to change it to match your goals. But science can't fix goals. It can enable you to maximize your utility function, but it can't fix your utility function. And people will disagree on goals. That's the main reason for which elections and democracy are the best (or at least, "less worse") system, for it allows people to fix the goals together. Imperfectly, but since there is no objective set of goals, no ultimate utility function, only asking to everyone what they want can solve disputes between goals.

The second problem is that science requires the ability to perform repeatable measurements. Large-scale social sciences (like macroeconomics) are therefore not really sciences. You can't perform repeatable experiments and measurements in macroeconomics, with changing one factor and letting the others stay the same. While you can measure the speed of light, or the amount of energy liberated by fusion between two given isotopes of hydrogen, you can't measure how much a tax cut or welfare policy will affect the economy as a whole. You can't make an experiment for that and have 5 other labs around the planet to repeat it in the same conditions. Same when you test a drug on humans, you'll test it on hundred or thousands of cases, comparing it with a placebo. You can't have the same level of confidence in large-scale social science (such as macroeconomics) than you can in physics or biology. You can use rationalism over the evidence we have favoring one or the other systems, but that will still be much more disputed than a claim of "science", and you'll find economists defending and opposing every proposed policy, in a way you'll never see in physics.

The third problem is that science is definitely not conservative. Associating science with conservatism is completely misunderstanding what science is about. Science is completely revolutionizing itself. Relativity and QM are the most known revolutions, but science is directly bound to the idea of **progress**, science is a process of always getting closer to the truth - making your map of reality always closer to what reality really is. Science is definitely not something static, with final answers that will never be changed. That's one of the most fundamental differences between science and religion. Conservatism is resistance to changes. Science is embracing change, realizing you were wrong and fixing it.

That said, yes, we would gain to use more rationalist (or scientific, if you prefer) approach to many topics in politics. And more trust from politicians towards scientists.

And that, I'm pretty sure, would not favor "conservative" policies. It would favor gay rights and abortion. It would oppose death penalty or gun ownership. And it would oppose the current economical orthodoxy, which just, well, fails, from Argentina to Greece to USA. Just for USA, it was much faring better off in the 60s and 70s when it add very high income taxes on the richest, and regulations like Glass-Steagall act, than nowadays after the Reagan/Bush cuts and Clinton liberalism. That part is very well open to debate, but the 3 first reasons for which those claims are just, well, *false*, are much less debatable.

more than 2 years ago
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CERN Experiment Indicates Faster-Than-Light Neutrinos

Kilobug Re:Einstein replied "Check your measurements, son" (1088 comments)

Actually, you *can* make bell's theorem, realism, locality, causality, special relativity and quantum mechanics work well together : that's what the Many Worlds hypothesis does. It's not proven as a theory like QM, SR or GR, but it does create a framework in which, well, everything (from QM to SR) just add up to normality in a clean and compatible way - you just have to discard one thing : the fact that there is only one copy of the universe.

It doesn't solve the quantum gravity problem, but it doesn't make solving it any harder.

more than 2 years ago
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Apple Remove Samba From OS X 10.7 Because of GPLv3

Kilobug Re:GPL is the problem (1075 comments)

No. GPL is only defending freedom. What the GPL is doing is "you're free to do anything with the code, as long as you don't take that freedom over from others". That's the definition of freedom. Freedom is not the ability to do anything, or kidnapping someone would be a freedom. The scale of offense is different, and that's what the scale of punishment for breaking the rule is different (jail if you kidnap someone, only losing the rights to use the software if you violate the GPL), but in both cases it's the same ethical stance : ability to deny to someone the freedom you were granted is not freedom, but power.

And the GPL doesn't prevent making money from the code. Unlike the article says, "GPLv3 license, which prevents Apple from using the software commercially" is false. GPLv3 perfectly allows making money from the code. Even RMS started by selling copies of the GPLed GNU Emacs. What it doesn't allow (like the GPLv2, but with additional protections for new ways of depriving users from their freedom) is only taking freedom away from the users.

As for corporations go, they tend to *prefer* GPL than BSD, because with GPL they are likely to get something back (patches, ...) when they invest on a product and then decide to share it under a free software license. GPL license encourages sharing, while BSD license, with it's "law of the jungle" attitude, rewards the selfish (who take from the community without giving back their own pacthes).

more than 3 years ago
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Internet-Spreading American Gets 15-Year Sentence In Cuba

Kilobug Re:Internet-spreading ? Or covert agent ? (386 comments)

It's not "providing internet access to anyone". That would just require the US to lift the blockade. It's "providing internet access to those who oppose the government". Which is indeed corruption : you oppose the government, you receive goods that other people can't buy (because of the blockade).

more than 3 years ago
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Internet-Spreading American Gets 15-Year Sentence In Cuba

Kilobug Re:Cuba has a long history of intervention (386 comments)

"They could take over Cuba in a weekend if they wanted to." Like they could in Vietnam ? The USA knows that they can't win a war against Cuba, without having to slaughter most of the cubans. They can't afford it, especially when there is no oil in Cuba to justify it in front of corporate USA.

"The Bay of Pigs rebellion was performed by Cuban citizens, with some support from the CIA but no direct military intervention from the USA." No, it was performed by mercenaries. And it had cover by USA frigates and airforce, if that's not military intervention.

"This is very different from the Cuban invasion of Angola." Cuba didn't invade Angola. Cuba sided with one side of the two belligerents in a civil war in Angola, only because the other side was supported by Apartheid South Africa imperialist forces. The defeat of South Africa in invading Angola, thanks to Cuban effort, was recognized by Nelson Mandela as a major step in the fall of Apartheid.

"The fact is that the Cuban dictatorship uses the USA as a convenient excuse for keeping their country under their military rule." If that was really the case, why wouldn't the USA just stop the blockade ?

more than 3 years ago
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Internet-Spreading American Gets 15-Year Sentence In Cuba

Kilobug Re:Revolution? Control? (386 comments)

Dictatorship of the Proletariat is one of the most widely misunderstood expression, used a few times by Marx (and it was a very clumsy wording from him, indeed). What Marx meant by it is a strong government *in the hands of the working class* able to realize fast and profound changes in the society. He didn't mean by it a Stalin-like totalitarian state. He was even clear that for him, "dictatorship of the proletariat", was something like Paris' Commune. Which was the most democratic form of government that existed in modern history in France. In which elected representative could be recalled at any time at the demand of the basis. Which abolished death penalty, and gave right to vote to women, as early as 1870. Even the "army" of the Commune (the National Guard) was democratic, with the officers elected by the guards.

As for the Cuban government, it's not perfect, but it's not a "dictatorship" under the common meaning of the word nowadays. People aren't arrested there for just disagreeing. There is no torture. People aren't kept in jail without trial. There are elections, and if we can discuss their fairness and the weird system they use, it's not the case only in Cuba (hint, 2000 election in the USA). There is no forced labor camps. Police don't open fire on protests.

If you compare Cuba to its neighbors, it has much less human rights violations than for example in Mexico, Peru, Colombia or Chile (which are US allies and recognized as "democracies"). And it has several very positive aspects. One of the best healthcare system of the world (with the same life expectancy as USA despite the blockade, and a lower child death rate), one of the best educative system of the world (lower illiteracy and higher university enrollment rate than in USA).

Cuba isn't perfect, and we should criticize what is broken in the cuban system. But Cuba is not a "tropical gulag", it's not the hell of a country that the mass media tell us it is. Considering its history and the hostility of a nearby superpower, it's quite impressive they managed to get all the good things they have, without much more bad things. Especially when you compare with so many other countries of Latin America.

more than 3 years ago
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Internet-Spreading American Gets 15-Year Sentence In Cuba

Kilobug Re:resentment for people with more rights than me (386 comments)

"Quasi-gulag ?" I went to Cuba. I spoke to cuban. I saw how they live. Not in luxury and there are problems, yes. But it's definitely not a "quasi-gulag". The only "gulag" in Cuba is Guantanamo.

"No one should be punished for an unjust law." Indeed. But a law saying an agent from a foreign hostile power can't come to your country to stir unrest, build a covert communication network, and corrupt people to oppose the government, well, it's not that an "unjust" law, and similar laws exist everywhere in the world.

"I'm sure the people in Cuba's prisons who are there for the horrible crime of criticizing the government would agree with that." No one is. There are people in Cuba's prisons for the horrible crime of receiving money or goods from a foreign hostile power to undermine the government. That's completely different. Now we can argue about the fairness of the trial, and some may be innocent of the crime they are accused of. Like there are people innocent in jail in every country. We should criticize it every time we have data on such a case, and we can criticize specific methods used in the court process. There is a lot to criticize on that topic in Cuba. But also in USA, and also in the European Union.

more than 3 years ago
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Internet-Spreading American Gets 15-Year Sentence In Cuba

Kilobug Internet-spreading ? Or covert agent ? (386 comments)

So, what ? A man employed by an hostile foreign power (a power imposing to a country an illegal blockade since 50 years, and sponsoring terrorism against that country) is arrested because he, secretly and without any permission, is corrupting local persons into subverting the local government. He would be arrested in any country for that.

As for USAID, it's a not a charity, it's a CIA cover entity since long.

If USA were really interested into spreading Internet in Cuba, they would lift the blockade restrictions that forbid Cuba to connecting to the trans-atlantic cable that runs not so long from it. If they were really interested into spreading Internet in Cuba, they would allow Cuba to purchase computers.

But no. They don't want to spread Internet in Cuba. They want to reward the few cubans (and the wikileaks are clear that even the SINA (US "embassy" in Cuba) acknowledge the "opposition" in Cuba is very small and unpopular there) who betray their own country to support the agenda of the nearby imperialist power. That's it. It's plain corruption.

Cuba system is not perfect. It has many flaws. It also have many positive things. We should encourage them to keep what's good and change what is not. But it's not by sending cover agents to corrupt people to oppose their government that it'll happen. And the cover agent who tried to do that is not a freedom-fighter.

And I can understand Cuba being strict with those cover agents, when you see that the Cuban Five were sentenced to much harder penalty, while they weren't at all opposing the US government, but only infiltrating the Miami-based terror groups.

more than 3 years ago
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The French Government Can Now Censor the Internet

Kilobug Re:The law isn't passed yet... (419 comments)

In french law-making process, a law is proposed by someone (usually the government, but groups of MP can also propose laws). The law is then discussed in committees, and can be modified at that point.

Then the proposal is discussed and voted article-per-article, with amendments being discussed and voted on each article. Then the law is voted as a whole, with all the amendments that were accepted. It is exceptional that the law as a whole isn't voted, but it occurred a few times (IIRC, it happened on the law allowing GM crops, but the government forced a second vote, with threats to the member of UMP who wouldn't vote it... lovely gov respectful of MPs).

That process (article-per-article and full vote at the end) is done on each of the two chambers. Usually the two versions are different, so they need to make a common version and vote again the common version in the two chambers. The exact process for that "merge" depends if the law is voted in "urgency mode" or in "normal mode".

In case where a common version isn't voted by the two chambers, at the end, the Assembly can override the Senate with a qualified majority, but that almost never happens, they usually reach a common ground before the end.

The best hopes to me are that the Senate puts back a judge in the process, or that the Constitutional Council does it at the end. Would be a lesser evil, but with such a control-freak government as we have now, I fear it's the best we can hope until new elections (in 18 months). And french judges have shown the ability to defy the government more than once, so this would be a real safeguard, not just cosmetic, even if still very dangerous.

more than 3 years ago
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The French Government Can Now Censor the Internet

Kilobug Re:The law isn't passed yet... (419 comments)

Hum,my quotes were eaten :/ " The free communication of thoughts and of opinions is one of the most precious rights of man: any citizen thus may speak, write, print freely, save [if it is necessary] to respond to the abuse of this liberty, in the cases determined by the law." is a quotation, and I added quotes around "protect the children" because of course it's just the excuse, not the real intent.

And I also made a mistake at the end, I wanted to say "they may validate it" instead of "they will validate it". I think they won't, but I'm not sure.

more than 3 years ago
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The French Government Can Now Censor the Internet

Kilobug The law isn't passed yet... (419 comments)

As terrible as the news is, there is still hope. The law isn't passed yet. The article was voted in the National Assembly (lower chamber). It still requires, before being a valid law :

1. A vote on the law as a whole in the lower chamber.

2. A vote on the article in the upper chamber (Senate).

3. A vote on the law as a whole in the upper chamber.

4. If the two versions are different, even a coma apart (which is almost always the case), a full new vote on each of the chambers.

5. A validation by the Constitutional Council.

Points 1. and 3. are very likely to succeed, saddly. But point 2., the vote on the article in the upper chamber can reasonably change the law, adding a validation by a judge for example. The UMP (Sarkozy's party) doesn't have absolute majority in the Senate, so they need to compromise with the center-right which may obtain that.

And then the validation by the Constitutional Council is unlikely, they censored the HADOPI (three-strike law for "illegal downloading"), stating clearly that Internet in the XXIest century is protected by the article 11 of the Declaration of Humans and Citizen Rights (which is part of our Constitution) : The free communication of thoughts and of opinions is one of the most precious rights of man: any citizen thus may speak, write, print freely, save [if it is necessary] to respond to the abuse of this liberty, in the cases determined by the law. , their interpretation being that abuse of this liberty, in the cases determined by the law can only be confirmed by a court after due legal process. It would surprise me for them to turn back on this stance, and allow Internet censorship without decision of a court.

But since the UMP has more friends than foes in the Constitutional Council, and that it is to protect the children will they will validate it :(

But anyway, it's still not a lost battle, and we are still fighting against the law.

more than 3 years ago
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Watch the 1st American Newsreel of Sputnik Launch

Kilobug Re:Respect (133 comments)

USSR economy "failing so badly" is propaganda. USSR was far from perfect and had many problems, mostly political ones, but also some economical ones, but you can't said it "failed". Just look at https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/File:Soviet_Union_GDP.gif . GDP of USSR in 1990, just before the fall, was more than 3x the GDP of USSR in 1970, +200% in 20 years is a feat few countries can achieve. And it took very long for the capitalist Russian Federation to reach the level of the USSR.

USSR collapse was much more due to political reason and the "usual" collapse of a repressive regime than to economical reasons.

more than 3 years ago

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