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Ukraine Asks Zuckerberg to Discipline Kremlin Facebook Bots

Zocalo Re:Wait.... what? (234 comments)

Hmm, the plot thickens. I suspected it might just be a regional office based in Russia covering a large area of Eastern Europe that happens to include both Russia and The Ukraine that just happens to be located in Russia, which would have been a fairly sensible choice given that it has a both a larger on-line population and better technology infrastructure. That however does not appear to be the case at all. A quick search on Google shows that FB has been looking into opening a Russian office since early 2010, well before the conflict started, but while some of the stories from 2010 talk about it in the past tense, there is speculation in the future tense about it happening from 2012, and a map of FB offices around the world shows nothing in Russia. My guess is when they say "office", they really mean "department" or "desk", and it's actually most likely based either in the EU or the US.

2 days ago
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Ukraine Asks Zuckerberg to Discipline Kremlin Facebook Bots

Zocalo Re:Maybe, but maybe not... (234 comments)

That would be why I wrote "Ukrainians believe", but given the obvious bias shown by certain elements of the media on both sides of the conflict I don't think it much of a stretch that this could actually be happening. My point though was more about the general problem here in that most tend to be local enough to fall within the territory of the same regional office for a given company, and that office is within a country with a stake in the conflict, let alone one that has a track record for having poor freedom of the press, then accusations like this are probably inevitable. Now that the issue has been highlighted, we can only hope that FB et al think about how they might deal with such potential censorship in the future.

2 days ago
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Ukraine Asks Zuckerberg to Discipline Kremlin Facebook Bots

Zocalo Re:Maybe, but maybe not... (234 comments)

Reading between the lines of the article I think you probably got the gist of what happens, but missed the crux of the complaint. I get the impression that Ukrainians believe something like this is happening:

  1. 1. Pro-Ukraine poster makes a post.
  2. 2. Pro-Russian bots generate complaints into Facebook's automated systems.
  3. 3. The post gets automatically blocked.
  4. 4. OP appeals to the Ukrainian office to get it re-instated.
  5. 5. OP's appeal is denied because the Ukrainian office is actually in Russia and headed by an alledgedly non-neutral Russian.

There's definitely a potential problem there, and one that will probably be repeated in similar circumstances in the future. Seems to me that the best thing FB (or anyone else) can do in this situation is to remove oversight for posts made by both sides from regional offices in the area in question and hand them off to more neutral offices, at least for posts concerning the conflict.

2 days ago
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Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report

Zocalo Re:Irreversible? (530 comments)

Nope, just pointing out that using an absolute like "irreversible" isn't perhaps the smartest thing for the IPCC to do as it will almost certainly be seized on by the climate change deniers. Doubly so since it's demonstrably not the case except in our ability to use current science to resolve the problem.

Frankly the only things left in doubt for me about GW is just how much of a contribution mankind has made (it's certainly not zero, but I don't think it's 100% either), and whether the changes we *can* make to reduce the symptoms will have a worthwhile effect. Given enough will we can obviously reduce our GHG emissions significantly, migrate to cleaner fuels and generally move closer to living in balance with nature, but is that enough? The irony is that the more the AGW deniers are wrong about the level of our involvement, the greater the difference that we can make by changing our ways, but if they are right then we are all doomed to ride this out, wherever nature is taking us.

about a week ago
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Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report

Zocalo Re:Irreversible? (530 comments)

"Irreversible" is a very strong word, and clearly incorrect. We're not so much talking about unscrambling eggs here as something than *can* be corrected, and in all likelihood *will* be corrected, just by leaving it alone and waiting long enough. The problem for us humans here today, of course, is that we won't we around that long and in all probability neither will many generations of our decendants. I fully expect the naysayers to latch on to this in combination with the historical record showing that the earth has been warmer than this in the past as further "evidence" that the IPCC has no clue in their rebuttals over the next few days.

about a week ago
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Choose Your Side On the Linux Divide

Zocalo Re:Choosing Sides (810 comments)

Not just the Registry, but it's also rapidly becoming the equivalent of "svchost.exe". I probably wouldn't have a problem with SystemD if it were designed to be *much* more modular, but the design goals for the package seem to be to embrace, extend and extinguish a significant number of other processes essential to the Linux boot process and to bring most of it straight into PID1. That's just asking for major problems if/when anything goes wrong, and makes troubleshooting a nightmare because you have one huge black box instead of a bunch of daemons. If the SystemD team want to manage network startup, system logging, firewalls and whatever else takes their fancy, then fine, go right ahead; just do it in a way that makes it easier for system admins to disable it and plug in a more fully featured and/or stable alternative, and do it as a child of PID1 so if/when it does crash it doesn't bring the whole system down with it.

If you want an eye opener take a look at the dependency list for SystemD and those packages that depend on SystemD some time, note how entries appear in both lists, then consider the following questions: Bearing in mind that SystemD is the first thing that is loaded after the Kernel; does that look like a good design to you? Does it explain why so many distros have adopted it, given that many of those dependencies either won't work without SystemD underneath or require a considerable amount of customisation to use any alternative?

Still, there's always BSD.

about a week ago
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Iceland Stands Down On Travel Alert: From Orange To Red and Back Again

Zocalo Re:OMG (29 comments)

You missed my point, I think, I wasn't saying there was any connection with Eyjafjallajökull other than it might have prompted a slightly over cautious reaction in closing airspace before any actual airbourne dust became apparent. Sub-glacial volcanoes don't tend to throw huge volumes of ash into the atmosphere, so the main danger in the event of an eruption is far more likely to be flash floods than airbourne ash, although predicting the nature of a volcanic eruption is hardly an exact science so only time will tell. Of course, if Bardarbunga does manage to erupt with enough power to throw a sufficient volume of ash high enough into the atmosphere to cause chaos on a par with 2010 then an awful lot of ice is going to have to have been melted in the process, so there could still be a combination of physical damage from the hlaup and economic damage from disruption to air travel.

about a week ago
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Iceland Stands Down On Travel Alert: From Orange To Red and Back Again

Zocalo Re:OMG (29 comments)

Probably just erring on the side of caution after Eyjafjallajökull in 2010. There are a whole number of ways the potential eruption, if it happens all, could go but most of them are probably not going to result in massive volumes of ash being pumped into the atmosphere; the most likely outcome being that the melting ice will cool the magma and prevent anything hazardous reaching the atmosphere. The main danger from Iceland's sub-glacial eruptions is actually the hlaup, or outflow of water from beneath the glacier in the form of a potentially devastating flash flood, which is why people have already been evacuated from the highlands. If there is an eruption, I suspect the priority with be evacuating whichever sections of the coastal lowlands are going to be in the path of any outflow (somewhere along the South coast, I suspect), rather than rerouting aircraft in the area.

about a week ago
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BBC and FACT Shut Down Doctor Who Fansite

Zocalo Re:Anyone know what, exactly, was the issue? (186 comments)

Thanks for the clarification, I was leaning towards that being that case, but as others have noted that *really* need to be in the summary as it sets the tone of the entire story from "fan site shut down" to the far more accurate and far less newsworthy "site hosting lots of copyright infringing content shutdown". There's a big difference between the BBC exercising its rights to shutter outright copyright infringement and the BBC strong-arming a legit fan site for using too much content, and it's not that the latter gets DICE more page views and ad impressions.

about two weeks ago
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BBC and FACT Shut Down Doctor Who Fansite

Zocalo Anyone know what, exactly, was the issue? (186 comments)

FACT was involved, so my first guess was that they were hosting full episodes, or perhaps links to torrents, but according to TFA DWM had refused to carry any of the leaked episodes from the new series which seems unlikely for a site turning a blind eye to copyright, yet further up is the following quote: "Often times, having watched stuff there led to me purchasing the exact same content on iTunes as well as all the various other content available for Doctor Who", which implies they were hosting episodes, or at least extensive clips.

So, is this a case of major fansite being shutdown for using a more copyrighted material than the BBC was prepared to stomach (in which case where was the friendly letter asking them to "tone it down a bit, please"), a copyright infringement portal being shuttered for hosting/linking to aired episodes and other content, some kind of trademark issue, or just a domain grab by the BBC ("doctorwhomedia.co.uk" is a fairly nice domain name, afterall)?

about two weeks ago
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Study: Ad-Free Internet Would Cost Everyone $230-a-Year

Zocalo Re:missing the point (610 comments)

I was thinking more of the sites that shutdown due to lack of funds, but yes, they could burn it all down when they shutter the site if they really wanted to be dicks about it. If they go to a subscription only model, then the content is still available, even if you have to pay the sub - it's just a personal call whether you think their version of the content is worth paying for of one of the free alternative sites meets your needs.

about two weeks ago
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Study: Ad-Free Internet Would Cost Everyone $230-a-Year

Zocalo Re:missing the point (610 comments)

Quite. Also, even when a site is using ads there are usually alternatives that provide similar content for free. If we were able to wave a wand and magically remove all advertising companies from the Internet (or better still, existance in general), I suspect most ad-funded sites would try and transition to Tip Jars or subscriptions, the browsing public would re-distribute to different sites, and a number of sites would ultimately fold, including most of the ad-laden SEO landing pages. No actual content of value would be lost (although some might only continue to exist in the Wayback Machine) and life would go on, only without the ads and malware attack vectors that piggyback on it.

Where do I sign up?

about two weeks ago
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Study: Ad-Free Internet Would Cost Everyone $230-a-Year

Zocalo Re:That's it? (610 comments)

Adblock and no script do more to keep viruses out of your stuff than antivirus.

That's actually a very good point. I haven't had a single alert from the AV component of my security suite (software on PC, host and hardware firewalls, etc.) for longer than I can remember, and that was a false positive from an installer. Then again, I whitelist cookies, JavaScript, Flash, etc., block all ads, treat all links/files I get sent with a healthy degree of skepticism, and don't tend to visit sites usually regarded as "suspect" (compromised is another matter, of course), so even the likes of SpyBot S&D and CCleaner seldom flag anything. Given how ineffectual AV is against the latest 0-day vulnerabilites and drive-bys, I'm giving serious thought to just switching off the real-time scanner and running a manual scan every week or so for peace of mind.

about two weeks ago
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Of the following, I'd rather play ...

Zocalo Re:Go (274 comments)

If we hit that bullseye, the rest of the dominoes should fall like a house of cards. Checkmate!

about three weeks ago
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Putin Government Moves To Take Control of Russia's largest space company Energia

Zocalo Re:Trillion-dollar boo-boo (252 comments)

I think that the natural resources are a big part of the solution, but it's not just figuring out to how exploit them and looking at the overall national GDP that many seem to have latch onto; the really telling numbers are when you compare the GDP ranking for the country as a whole with the per-capita rating - there's a serious problem with the human side of the equation too. The country as a whole is right up there with the EU's big three (6th in the world, according to Wikipedia's 2014 estimate), but is languishing down in 58th per capita, on a par with second world countries (which is what Russia really is these days) and/or countries that have massive over population and subsistence employment issues. Ultimately, there's a fundamental problem with the distribution of wealth in Russia (Occupy Wall Street has nothing to complain about in the light of a hypothetical "Occupy Red Square"), and stunts like this are not going to help fix the problem, especially since those that have the money also have the all the power and are not afraid to use the latter to keep them both. At this point, perhaps the only option left might be for the people of Russia to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution with another one...

about a month ago
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Putin Government Moves To Take Control of Russia's largest space company Energia

Zocalo Re:Trillion-dollar boo-boo (252 comments)

Yes, it does, the Moscow Exchange, or MICEX.

This kind of rampant corruption and cronyism is also the same reason why, despite an abundance of available resources and labour, Russia can't drag its economy out of the doldrums and up to a level that it ought to be capable of achieving. Russia's GDP is on a par with the that of countries like the UK, Germany and France - realistically it ought to be at least an order of magnitude above that. Ultimately though this is mostly an asset grab - you watch as control over Energia is transferred to Putin's supporters over the next few months - and probably an attempt to try and recoup funds lost through the latest round of sanctions imposed over Ukraine.

about a month ago
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Crytek USA Collapses, Sells Game IP To Other Developers

Zocalo Re:StarCitizen? (121 comments)

Chris Roberts and other CIG developers clarified this when the rumours about Crytek first started getting discussed on the forums. They have a full license to the CryTek engine source code, so even if Crytek were to completely collapse they still have everything they need to get the game finished. At this point they have already customised the engine so far that it's now pretty much a dedicated SC-specific engine anyway, so the worst case is that they will lose any future development into new core engine features that might have come out of Crytek and have to do all the future development in house. That's almost certainly time and money they didn't expect to need, but at least they are not likely to have too many problems getting hold of ex-Crytek employeess looking for work who can work on it.

about a month ago
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Ford, GM Sued Over Vehicles' Ability To Rip CD Music To Hard Drive

Zocalo Good luck with that (317 comments)

The Act protects against distributing digital audio recording devices whose primary purpose is to rip copyrighted material.

So, the primary purpose of the CD system is ripping CDs is it? Not, for instance, listening to the radio, playing CDs, or even listening to the music I have previously ripped from CDs using the system AARC is complaining about? According to their argument that would have to be the case, even to the extent of ripping a CD and then only playing it back once, to meet the "primary purpose" claim. Or is the AARC expecting to convince a jury that owners of vehicles with these devices are ripping CDs onto a hard drive in a device that they will then probably need to dismantle in order to remove and attach the drive to some other system in order to play back the ripped music somewhere other than in the car?

AARC's greedy lawyers are greedy. Music (ripped in-car, naturally) at eleven!

about a month ago
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London Police Placing Anti-Piracy Warning Ads On Illegal Sites

Zocalo Re:Might fine police work there, Lou! (160 comments)

No one confuses Rapidshare for BMG's official site.

No one should confuse The City of London police for an actual police force as most people imagine them, either. They are a territorial force responsible for a tiny area of Greater London as a whole that measuring a little over square mile and consists of mostly financial institutions and only a few thousand actual residents. Still, owing to their location in The City, they have developed quite a reputation for fraud investigations and also incorporate a division dealing with Intellectual Property, so other than the jurisdictional issues of interfering with websites (or at least the ads displayed on them) that are most likely hosted outside The City they actually do have the means and backing to look into this kind of thing.

about a month ago
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The debate over climate change is..

Zocalo Re:n/t (278 comments)

Pretty much my sentiments too. There's plenty of debate (albeit sometimes less than lucid) on both the political and scientific sides of the fence, the issue is that the press is mostly focussed on the political side of things and that then skews people's opinions of what is going on. On the non-biased scientific side, it's pretty much a done deal; real, on-going and that we are partly to blame - with much of the remaining debate surrounding just how big a part we play, since that is what we can possibly do something about and the amount is still far from certain. It's the politicians, lobbyists and paid-for "scientists" that are spouting all the denials and confusing statements making it seem like it's still in doubt at this point, and until more of the mainstream media starts providing balanced coverage of the debate that's the general impression that the masses are going to believe.

about a month and a half ago

Submissions

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Star Citizen takes the crowdfunding crown, reboots the Space Sim genre?

Zocalo Zocalo writes  |  about 2 years ago

Zocalo (252965) writes "Star Citizen, Chris Robert's attempt to reboot the Space Sim genre, hit a major funding milestone earlier today, exceeding the previous record of $4,163,208 secured by the game Project Eternity and more than doubling the initial funding target set by the producer of the Wing Commander series. With Stretch Goals now being passed every few hours bringing new features to the planned game, and David Brabham annoucing a new installment of the classic Elite using a similar funding model at Kickstarter could this be a wake up call for the big game publishers to take another look at the genre?

There's still two days left of Star Citizen funding as well, so if you feel like being a part you can chip in either at the main RSI site or on Kickstarter."

Link to Original Source
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A glimpse at piracy in the UK and beyond

Zocalo Zocalo writes  |  about 2 years ago

Zocalo (252965) writes "The BBC has a fascinating look into the music download habits of the UK population based on stats compiled by Musicmetric. The stats, gathered through the monitoring of BitTorrent swarms and geo-locating the IPs, shows the hotspots for music copyright infringement across the UK and regional preferences for certain types of music. Some of the outliers are somewhat unusual though, suggesting some problems with the methodology or sample size, unless people on the Isle of Wight really do prefer trumpet-playing crooner Louis Armstrong to the likes of Rihanna and Ed Sheeran who top the lists nationwide.

Not in the UK? There are some global stats on the "Most pirated near you?" tab of the story. Better yet, if you want to crunch the numbers for yourself all of the data has been made available at the Musicmatch website under a Creative Commons license and a RESTful API to access the data (free for non-commercial use!) is also available."

Link to Original Source
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CNet / download.com trojaning OSS tools

Zocalo Zocalo writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Zocalo (252965) writes "In a post to the Nmap Hackers list Nmap author, Fyodor, accuses C|Net / download.com of wrapping a trojan installer (as detected by various AV applications when submitted to VirusTotal) around software including Nmap and VLC Media Player. The C|Net installer bundles a toolbar, changes browser settings and, potentially, performs other shenanigans — all under the logo of the application the user thought they might have been downloading. Apparently, this isn't the first time they have done this, either.

Fyodor's on the lookout for a good copyright lawyer, if anyone has one to spare."

Link to Original Source
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Free IPv4 pool now down to seven /8s

Zocalo Zocalo writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Zocalo (252965) writes "For those of you keeping score, ICANN just allocated another four /8 IPv4 blocks; 23/8 and 100/8 to ARIN, 5/8 and 37/8 to RIPE, leaving just seven /8s unassigned. In effect however, this means that there are now just two /8s available before the entire pool will be assigned due to an arrangement whereby the five Regional Internet Registries would each automatically receive one of the final five /8s once that threshold was met. The IPv4 Address Report counter at Potaroo.net is pending an update and still saying 96 days, but it's now starting to look doubtful that we're going to even make it to January."
Link to Original Source
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Following protons on a trip to (& through) the

Zocalo Zocalo writes  |  about 4 years ago

Zocalo (252965) writes "Ars Technica visits CERN and takes an in-depth look at the LHC, providing details on the extensive array of supporting technologies and science that don't get the same level of media attention as the main ring. The article details the various stages and sub-accelerators that protons go through in their roughly 6 million kilometer journey from CERN's proton sources, through to their entry into the LHC's main 26km ring and then onwards to an eventual high energy collision at one of the four detectors. Unsurprisingly, there is no mention of any of Dan Brown's outlandish super-jets and paragliding facilities, but there are plenty of fascinating bits of information about the accelerator and the high degrees of precision involved in its construction and operation."
Link to Original Source
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KDE Software Collection v4.5 officially released

Zocalo Zocalo writes  |  about 4 years ago

Zocalo (252965) writes "Version 4.5.0 of the KDE Development Platform, the Plasma Desktop and Netbook workspaces, and many applications are released today. The KDE team focused on the usability, performance and stability of many previously introduced new features and technologies — click on the relevant links for the full announcements. Ars Technica has already posted a quick look at the new release of the Plasma Desktop here."
Link to Original Source
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Microsoft to pay providers to delist from Google?

Zocalo Zocalo writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Zocalo (252965) writes "Slashdot recently discussed Mark Cuban's plan to kill Google which was later revealled to be just a thought experiment, but has Microsoft been taking the idea seriously? According to Matthew Garrahan and Richard Waters of the Financial Times, discussions to achieve just that may already be in the early stages with News Corp., and probably with other providers too. Could getting search engine providers to pay for the "privilege" of indexing their sites be a means for old media companies to survive in the Internet era or does Matt Brittin's (Google's UK director) statement that "economically it's not a big part of how we generate revenue" indicate that Microsoft (and News Corp.) are grasping at straws?"
Link to Original Source

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