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UK Authorities Threaten To Storm Ecuadorian Embassy To Arrest Julian Assange

Xiroth Re:He REALLY pissed off governments.... (1065 comments)

This isn't just about their own population. Violating the sovereignty of a friendly nation's embassy contravenes centuries of international law. This is the kind of action one would only expect from a rogue state.

Among other things, if they do this, you can expect the European Parliament to come down *hard* on one of their member states for violating international law, and therefore damaging the standing of the European Union in international negotiations.

about 2 years ago

Senate Passes Landmark Patent Reform Bill

Xiroth Re:Does not Affect Prior Art Doctrine (362 comments)

Err, that's specifically what this is designed to solve. If you can show that prior art existed in public before the patent was filed, the patent is void. End of story.

Whereas currently, you have to prove that the patent troll didn't invent the item before the prior art existed. So you've got to go into this complicated discovery process to prove things one way or another. The first-to-file system solves a lot of the he-said she-said nature of current lawsuits as everything relevant is on the public record, simplifying them significantly.

more than 3 years ago

Amazon To Launch 'Amazon Appstore For Android'

Xiroth Re:More interesting, mimics Apple app store (222 comments)

Precisely. The advantage that Android retains over developing for iOS devices, though, is that if Amazon shoot down your application on whatever grounds (such as what happens with Apple), you can always be sure that you'll be able to find another app store to publish through.

What I think that we'll see is 'tiered' app stores - Amazon and perhaps a couple of other companies will run the top tiered app stores where everything is carefully checked and things like pornography is not allowed; then Google and a couple of other companies will run mid-tier app stores which allow pornography and run a relatively small amount of malware-checking; and then there'll be bottom-tier app stores which sell whatever to whoever, including completely illegal software. At least this means that developers won't be completely left out in the cold, although obviously the higher-tier store, the better for most things.

more than 3 years ago

Statistical Analysis of Terrorism

Xiroth Re:How about... (265 comments)

There's no doubt that Bin Laden is a fervent Islamist fundamentalist. Without doubt, he will not be satisfied with anything less than the subjugation and conversion of the entire world to Islam. The real question, though, is how does he continue to attract so many followers and so much support? The vast majority of people, no matter their religion, are perfectly happy spending their life living as best they can (being the "sheeple" that some around here seem to detest so much) - they wouldn't have anything to do with such dangerous ideology if there wasn't something driving them to do it. The way that those who want peace can win is by leaving fanatics left all alone.

more than 3 years ago

Texas Supreme Court Cites Mr. Spock

Xiroth Re:While i like the reference, utilitarian reality (345 comments)

As opposed to letting everyone starve? That's even eviler.

There is no such thing as free will in the first place.

If there's no such thing as free will, there's no such thing as evil. Just saying.

more than 3 years ago

Conroy Still Hell-Bent On Internet Filter

Xiroth Re:Conscience votes (254 comments)

I'd beg to differ, to be honest. Voting for your representative rather than your party sounds nice, and in fact before the previous election I supported the idea. Unfortunately, having that situation turn into a reality (3 independents now hold the balance of power here in Australia) has shown what that leads to: pork and unreliable ability to deliver the policies that the party was elected on. I hear a lot of Americans complain about the incompetence of their government; have you ever considered that perhaps it's because of the every-man-for-himself style of legislative body you have? Where every representative has to spend all of their time trying to wrangle things for their seats, as otherwise their seats would get nothing? What if all money spent in a state was purely on the basis of nation-wide policy, rather than individual bits of cash added into legislation purely to benefit the representative's chances of being voted back in? Maybe you wouldn't have so much ineffectiveness in your government

I'm not saying that our system doesn't have problems - far from it, and in many ways the US does it better. But I think that legislating for a whole nation rather than just bits of is a much better fit for a federal legislative body.

more than 3 years ago

Researchers Cripple Pushdo Botnet

Xiroth Re:Cyberterrorism is ok, huh? (129 comments)

If you bother to RTFS, you'll note that they worked with the content providers - they shut the servers down themselves. No hacking involved.

more than 3 years ago

Teacher Asks Students To Plan a Terrorist Attack

Xiroth Re:How do you anticipate weak points (412 comments)

Hey, that would have been a really good reason to do it. Unfortunately, the real reason was just to tie the lesson into an upcoming movie about Australia being invaded. She was just teaching the kids how to mount a resistance! :P

more than 2 years ago

Does the GOP Pay Friendly Bloggers?

Xiroth Re:Wow, this election should be interesting (759 comments)

Ah, so you prefer the Thai model then, where every time an election happens, the losers' people are bussed into the capital to shut it down (airports, government buildings, etc.), crippling the economy? And then the government might resign, their opponents take over (despite their electoral loss), and then the previous government's supporters are bussed into the capital to shut it down all over again? Crippled government and anarchy - that's the way any respectable country should go.

more than 3 years ago

Battlefield Earth Screenwriter Accepts Razzie

Xiroth Re:The lesson here? (295 comments)

This is related to why anything of the form [religion] [normal thing] generally just means [sucky] [normal thing].

While I'm not in favour of religion myself, Bach's body of work (amoung many, many others) might just disagree with you...

more than 4 years ago

Anti-Gamer South Australian Attorney General Quits

Xiroth Re:I know this is a bad idea to ask this (104 comments)

Every independent survey run found wide support for an R rating for games amoung the Australian community: Link (reference in there to a survey finding 88% support). Atkinson is considerably more conservative than his base on the issue - this is (or was) a politician's individual crusade, not him representing his electorate.

more than 4 years ago

An Exercise To Model a "Solar Radiation Katrina"

Xiroth Re:Since when? (225 comments)

Err, nooo, the big difference is that densely populated Asia is not far enough north to be affected by this. Russia would be knocked out, Mongolia and Kazakhstan would be knocked out, and if it was a really, really bad storm, it might reach Beijing (but to be that bad it'd need to make it well into northern California). But most of China and all of southern and south-east Asia would be fine. Equally, Africa is pretty much immune - only Chile, Argentina, New Zealand's south island and the Australian state Tasmania would be affected in the southern hemisphere (well, along with the researchers at the Antarctic bases, obviously). Meanwhile, half of Europe's population and a fair chunk of the US's would be hit by this. Those densely populated places are where things would get really nasty.

more than 4 years ago

Subversive Groups Must Now Register In South Carolina

Xiroth Re:Too bad (849 comments)

Hmm, I wonder what the impact of fining a governing body whenever its legislative arm makes an unconstitutional law would be. If you, say, issued a fine of 0.001% of their next budget if a law is struck down by SCOTUS, and the money was distributed to all of the other governments in the USA (1/3 to the federal*, the rest to the other states), would people start caring if their representatives were passing stupid laws?

*If it *were* the federal government that passed it, the money should probably be split amoung the states of all of the lawmakers who voted against the bill.

Anywho, random thought.

more than 4 years ago

Your browser's home page is...

Xiroth Wikipedia (496 comments)

Free OS-related seemed the closest for me. I have Wikipedia's random article URL as my home page - it throws up some interesting stuff sometimes.

Random article:

more than 4 years ago

NASA Trying To Reinvent Their Approach

Xiroth Re:NASAs first priority (123 comments)

Armageddon and other Hollywood flicks have lead us to believe that we have the power to blow apart masses thousands of kilometers wide, which I really don't think we do.

Th-thousands of kilometres?! Good god, how many rogue planets are there? Earth is only 12,000km across.

No, the asteroid that is likely to have wiped out the dinosaurs and created the K-T boundary was estimated to be about 10km in diameter, and that impact is estimated to have had the power of about 100 trillion tonnes of TNT - about 2 million times the size of the largest nuclear bomb ever tested (Wikipedia link).

No comment on whether that would be feasible. It's within the realms of possibility with current technology, but would be incredibly, ridiculously difficult. Still, saving the species may be worth it.

more than 4 years ago

What's the Importance of Graphics In Video Games?

Xiroth Re:A good combination of a storyline and graphics. (506 comments)

The rear half of a mutant rat, with a nice green-brown mold for extra flavour. Delicious. Unfortunately breakfast was interrupted by the other blokes digging a pit under our position and I lost it in the ensuing fight.

Now, with that out of the way, I too dislike feeling like I'm a pretend character, essentially because I tend to get too sucked in if I allow it. I like my life, I don't want to feel like I need to be someone else to enjoy myself. But I play games to explore other peoples' minds - the minds of the game designers and developers.

Different people have different reasons for playing (or reading or watching). There is no one true way, and I reject any attempt to impose your preferences on my enjoyment.

about 5 years ago

World's "Fastest" Small Web Server Released, Based On LISP

Xiroth Re:"functional programming languages can beat C" (502 comments)

Finally, his code seems typical of what I've seen from good LISP programmers -- including even at times myself. Poor documentation. The code is simple, elegant, and should "speak for itself". Well it doesn't. Not to someone trying to maintain it.

C programmers -- perhaps because of the nature of the language -- seem less prone to this particular trap, though still bad.

Most likely because it's much easier to verbalise what a small segment of C is doing compared to a small segment of LISP. When writing C, I usually have a mental running commentary of what each line of code is doing. When writing LISP, I found that thinking about what it was doing in English was only stuffing me up, and I really had to let go of that kind of 'verbal thought' and think quite differently - in some ways more mathematically, but in some ways unique to functional programming. All this does make it a little more difficult to write comments for LISP, since 'shifting gears' to write in plain English is a much more difficult leap.

more than 5 years ago

Ancient Fossil Offers Clues To Primate Evolution

Xiroth Re:Meanwhile over in Congress (311 comments)

Of course, religion based ethics say no. But what about your own, non-religious ethics?

I can't speak for the GP, but my own non-religious ethics would definitely say no. Using disproportionate influence gained in a manner that is against the agreed-upon rules to do something that affects those who followed the rules and would not want that outcome is not just - when there is general agreement that the rules are appropriate, then breaking them is not the right thing to do, no matter what you believe will result. Unless the rules are clearly unjust, work within them for change.

Followers of Abrahamic (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) religions do what they feel is the good thing to do. Good and evil - morality - requires an absolute arbiter, which they have in their god. I do not believe in a universal arbiter, therefore I do not believe in good or evil. Instead, I see actions as right or wrong - justice as best we can see it with our imperfect understanding. We may not get it right every time, but in accepting that our notion of justice is imperfect we have the capacity to learn and improve.

more than 5 years ago



Australian Court Rejects Copyright Demands on ISPs

Xiroth Xiroth writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Xiroth writes "The Australian Federal Court has rejected Australian copyright body AFACT's demands that ISPs act as enforcers regarding copyright infringement on their networks. The challenge to their demands was brought by ISP iiNet, which refused to comply with AFACT's demands and referred their lawyers to the police. The Court sided with iiNet that it is indeed the responsibility of the police to enforce the law, and that ISPs have no responsibility in these matters unless issued with a court order or are found to have actively 'authorised' acts of infringement."
Link to Original Source

Google rejects censor proposal by Aussie Minister

Xiroth Xiroth writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Xiroth (917768) writes "Google has rejected overtures from the Australian government to censor YouTube clips that had been given a RC rating by Australian classification authority, the OFLC. According to a Google spokesperson:

"YouTube has clear policies about what content is not allowed, for example hate speech and pornography, and we enforce these, but we can't give any assurances that we would voluntarily remove all Refused Classification content from YouTube," Iarla Flynn said. "The scope of RC is simply too broad and can raise genuine questions about restrictions on access to information. RC includes the grey realms of material instructing in any crime from [painting] graffiti to politically controversial crimes such as euthanasia, and exposing these topics to public debate is vital for democracy."


Link to Original Source

Aussie Government Mulls R18+ For Games

Xiroth Xiroth writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Xiroth (917768) writes "The Australian Government is currently soliciting public input on a recently released discussion paper assessing whether games should have an R 18+ classification available to them. If you're interested in having your voice heard, you can submit your comment here, although please make sure that any comments are reasonable and rational or your submission may end up being counter-productive."
Link to Original Source

Australian web filter to censor downloaded games

Xiroth Xiroth writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Xiroth (917768) writes "The Australian Federal Communcations Ministry has confirmed that they intend to use the planned filter to block the download of games that have been refused classification by Australian classification authority, the OFLC. As a Electronic Frontiers Australia spokesman noted, 'This is confirmation that the scope of the mandatory censorship scheme will keep on creeping.'"
Link to Original Source

Aussie censorship 'live trials' won't be live

Xiroth Xiroth writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Xiroth (917768) writes "In what could be the first step to backing-down on the plans to censor the internet, Australian Communication Minister Stephen Conroy has made it known that the live trials of the Government filter will not, in fact, be live, instead being downgraded to a closed network test. Given that this would provide no further information than what Government tests have already provided, this may prove to be a face-saving measure before the plan is quietly scrapped. Nonetheless, concerned Australians are encouraged to attend protests planned for this weekend to ensure that the Government gets the message."
Link to Original Source

Studios' Oz power-grab revealed

Xiroth Xiroth writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Xiroth (917768) writes "More details are beginning to come out about the lawsuit launched by film studios in Australia. According to law experts familiar with the case, the studios seek to force the ISPs to become 'police, judge, and executioner', effectively giving the studios the legal clout to switch off ISP customers' internet connection at will. Apparently the ISP iiNet is the unlucky victim for the test case as, unlike other ISPs, they refused to pass on infringement notices to their customers."
Link to Original Source

Australian Government gagging censorship critics

Xiroth Xiroth writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Xiroth (917768) writes "Critics of the Australian Government's internet censorship plan have accused the government of attempting to gag dissent. They've also described the proposed systems as slowing access to the internet by 21 to 86 percent, depending on the thoroughness of the system, and returned false positives on between 1.3 and 7.8 percent of legitimate material. The Rudd Government also revealed that it was seeking a two-tier system, where one tier could be opted out of but the other applied to all people accessing the internet in Australia. Regardless of the issues with the system, the government appears keen to press on with the live trial."
Link to Original Source

Microsoft makes US$44.6B offer for Yahoo!

Xiroth Xiroth writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Xiroth (917768) writes "As reported in various media outlets, Microsoft has made an unsolicited offer of $44.6 billion US dollars in cash and shares in a takeover bid of Yahoo!.

The deal would pay Yahoo shareholders $31 a share, which represents a 62% premium from Thursday's closing price. Microsoft's statement said the offer allows Yahoo shareholders to elect to receive cash or a fixed number of shares of Microsoft common stock, with the software giant's offer consisting of one-half cash and one-half Microsoft common stock.

Link to Original Source


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