top HealthCare.gov Can't Handle Appeals of Errors
Right now in the USA, corporations are so powerful that the government often caves to them, but this can not change for the better if you reduce the government.
You can't remove big corporations. They are here to stay, as we will not be moving away from capitalism.
You could maybe remove big government. The result is that big corporations get even more powerful, imposing their agenda as de-facto law. Not by adding things to the lawbooks, but everybody small and big does exactly what they want. Check Samsung in Korea for a textbook example.
You don't want to remove big government (since that's not really helping) and you can't remove big corporations. But you can build strong walls between government and corporations (for example disallow the current outright bribery), reinforce democracy (e.g. the Swiss direct voting), increase transparency (that's rather difficult as it requires the corrupt to cooperate... so you need rather disruptive changes) and everything will get _much_ better.
Again, the idea that big government is a problem is an ideological blind alley. Remove big corporate influence on the big government and you get Sweden/Finland/Switzerland, which are countries that libertarian-minded people find awesome to live in.
top Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Approve Work On DRM For HTML 5.1
But then again many of us would like to see better services than Netflix and Hulu. By making their specific business model virtually mandatory, I'm deprived of "voting against DRM with my wallet" by exclusively using services without DRM.
For me, missing out on Netflix&Hulu is much less important than having a non-crippled web.
Apart from personal preferences, I actually think we can agree that DRM objectively has no business being in the foundation of the open information sharing mechanism the web is meant to be. Let them have a go at coercing users into jumping into jails, but don't make it a default requirement.
top No more Groklaw
I'm confused... she certainly must have heard of public key encryption. GPG is easy to set up and she can put her public key right on the website. She can authenticate keys privately with those friends of hers. Use 2048 bit keys, and Tor for obfuscating metadata. If she distrusts her operating system, start by not using Windows and OSX. If she distrusts the hardware, use a Yeeloong for email.There is no forced exposure if she doesn't want it to be.
I get the feeling that the true reason for stopping is not really what is written there. Maybe a burnout, maybe something completely different.
Anyhow, thanks to Pamela for her great service to the community and best wishes for whatever she does next. about a year and a half ago
top Bill Gates Is Beginning To Dream the Thorium Dream
It would be nice if a private health care system were better, but I fear this is just wishful thinking. Can you show me any case of such a system coming into being? Will any one of the countries without health care coverage today be able to develop it on a private basis soon-ish? Do you think the private sector could acomplish anything close to the US interstate highway system or the German Autobahn in terms of quality and accessibility? Same for the postal systems emphasising coverage of every remote location a citizen lives at? Or the worldwide internet infrastructure, backbones at payable customer rates. Not to mention the LHC, ITER or the ISS...
Realistically we have to answer all these with: no.
Private funding simply does not lend itself to huge infrastructure investments with (often many) decades of ROI, most of which is not even going back to its pocket. Public investment does however, because it states a goal (= need to be satisfied) and realises it at a monetary loss, while netting other important gains.
The free market is an awesome concept and the best known reliable optimiser-for-profit, but some things, like infrastructure (to which I include education and health care), are not meant for profit, no matter how much your local 1%er claims will trickle down to you ;)
As for your question: Lasik is a luxury service with a clear monetisation mechanism, not the constant and long-term expeditures in geriatrics or the fiscally thankless basic coverage for low-income families.
It's very well suited to profit optimisation and should be in a free market environment, but most of medicine isn't.
 The profit oriented sort because of the lengthiness, and the second kind, charity, because the number of private individuals who have
that much money to burn is negligibly small (or often zero). about a year and a half ago
top Bill Gates Is Beginning To Dream the Thorium Dream
While Carnegie and Standford are admirable individuals, I think you're somewhat in denial here. The vast majority of long term projects happening in the world these days are funded by governments (whether they matter to the actual
survival of the human species is another question, as humanity would survive just fine without any privately funded and without most government sponsored endeavours). But take health care for example: all charities in the whole world combined only achieve a fraction of the medical support solely the US health care system provides for, let alone the European ones. Private charity makes for very good PR, but simply lacks the mass to come anywhere close to the amount public services require.
As for vision, both individuals in interaction with government (= active involvement with their own society) and those know-it-better separatist privates can have visions equally. Personally I would take Neil deGrasse Tyson's campaigning over Bill Gates' profit oriented private funding, but luckily we can have both!
about a year and a half ago
top Data Storage That Could Outlast the Human Race
Err, meant to reply to your parent and hit refresh&reply to see if anybody else had posted already
:) about a year and a half ago
top Data Storage That Could Outlast the Human Race
You're describing arithmetic coding, a fairly standard entropy based compression method e.g. used in DMC or PPM.
The problem is, as you point out, that the accuracy required for large amounts of data becomes quite tricky. Measuring would be nontrivial, as direct measurement (whole block compared to some length, or photographing and counting pixels, or anything that gives you the number of atom layers in the block) requires crazy high resolutions, while time based measurement (laser traversal) needs very precise alignment of a slab of rock to atom level accuracy. And I imagine natural erosion, material stretching/contraction etc. will become non-negligible factors. about a year and a half ago
top Are You Sure This Is the Source Code?
It only works because
.Net is "comparatively" niché (with regards to C/C++, but then again everything is). Bananas to bananas would be more like: does decompiling across many different .Net versions yield the same results (since you don't know which framework versions and exact libraries were originally used)? Does running the whole roundtrip except for the untrusted binary compilation on Mono yield the same results (aka different vendor implementations)?
But i'll give you that, it'll always be easier with byte code compared to machine code, as Java and
.Net demonstrate. Likewise it'll always be easier with interpreted code compared to byte code (what an insight... just read the code).
So hardware distance respectively level of abstraction gives us advantages in verifying specific executables from one untrusted source. With regards to the big picture
.Net is as "bad" as everything else, because in any case you have to trust the runtime (libc, virtual machine, ...) which at some point must be machine code, nowadays usually generated from C/C++. And let's not get started about trusting the hardware.
 When only distrusting that specific program, otherwise see third paragraph.
about a year and a half ago
top Proposed Rule Would Drastically Restrict Chimp Research
So why not breed humans in cages for experimental research? Then they'd just be "material with a specific function" as well. Same argument. If we discovered tomorrow that humanity was actually a breeding colony created by alien researchers would that somehow reduce the value of your life to you?
Because we agree that this would be cruel, "do unto others what you wish done unto you", "we can do better than that", etc. We think it abhorrent to regard other people as material.
But to be perfectly honest, I don't see the life of a bird anywhere near equivalent to the life of a human, i.e. even though birds have intelligence >0 and show feelings in form of caring towards their young, the classical "you can only save one" scenario would be no real contest IMO. Is it "speciesism"? Where does it stop? Can it justify racism? (the last question is an easy "no", but not on topic here)
Or can we say that our species is a priority, but the life of a dog is worth X hours of a homo sapiens suffering at a specified intensity... and then "trade" in this norm.
Now that would be an interesting though unnatural concept. We only "recently" started with the novelty of caring at all for other species, where it benefits us (cattle, guard dogs, pretty view in a zoo), so the main problem would be finding the sweet spot. With regards to other species, we usually practise right of strength, with constraints (like the eschewal of unnecessary cruelty) that are actually much more about ourselves.
As for us being bred by aliens: the question is more like "Why should they keep enabling our ability to reproduce / the sun burning /
... and does this give them the right to do certain things with our offspring, within limits only they decide upon and we can't influence?" ... full of helpless, doomed, cold irony, that one.
As for your second paragraph you leave a gaping ethical hole: what of the intelligent beings created illegally? We're probably not far from the point of being able to manipulate organisms to develop human-class sapience - if the only protection such creatures have is that it's illegal to create them in the first place then what happens to them when they are discovered? By any ethical yardstick they would be people, but people with no claim to human rights. Do we just say "Hey, a slave race, cool. We created you so we can do whatever we like. But don't worry, we threw your creators in prison so it's all good."?
A big part of this question is technical. If they were created illegally, the perpetrators should be punished and prevented from doing so again, and measures should be taken so this doesn't happen. What to do with them after the fact is an open question. Assuming that they are somewhat equivalent to humans, why not give them full membership of humanity and be done with it? This would be roughly in line with female suffrage, non-white-male-land-owner rights and similar achievements. If they are illegal to create, immediately set free upon discovery and their creators punished, there would be not much of a motive to create them. What their creators do with them in secret is a moot point, just as with those guys who hold their daughters or other women captive for years and rape them (Fritzl et al).
Now if a democratic majority actually said "Yay, cheap slave species!"
... well, we've had that many times already, so there's hope we'll overcome it with regards to highly intelligent artificial beings just like we did with other races/tribes.
The more tricky part is what to do with beings that are not equivalent to humans, or of highly debatable equivalence. Like chimps. And if that is resolved favourably for chimps, then orang utans, dolphins, dogs, and so on.
I do not contest that the gains of animal experimentation may well be worth the sacrifice, my objection is only that the ones making the sacrifice are given no choice in the matter, and the people performing the experiments tend to deny that the moral dilemma exists at all. Perfectly understandable from a perspective of their own psychological well-being, but intellectually dishonest. And it means it has to fall on the rest of us what sort of moral price we're willing to pay
The devils advocate says that there is no moral dillemma if we're talking about "material with a specific function", even "material" with cognitive capabilities.
And in practice, this is precisely what we're creating. I've already asked whether this should be allowed in my previous comment... IMO within limits that are important for us and our ethics, not those of the animals, since we can't ask our creations about such things (yet). about a year and a half ago
top Proposed Rule Would Drastically Restrict Chimp Research
These chimps were bred specifically for this purpose and wouldn't exist otherwise. Being alive solely to undergo a procedure you never got the chance to even realise, let alone agree/disagree with, makes you just "material with a specific function" and is about as dehumanising as it gets.
IMO likening it to human prisoners is off the mark.
The question is whether we should be allowed to create living, feeling, intelligent beings for experimental purposes.
That this helps and saves members of our own species is well established. Few would object to holding delphins in captivity for therapeutic rehabilitation purposes, and most people don't really mind if someone is chopping up mice in order to try to cure paraplegia, hereditary diseases, HIV... But it's a big question of ethics about what kind of "life" is deserving of what kind of "treatment", aka to draw the line (it also hurts some of our species members feelings, usually not those whose life has been saved by the results of animal research, and only if the animals in question are cute). about a year and a half ago
top Nearest Alien Planet Gets New Name
I don't think it was a fiasco at all. Keep in mind that having 9 planets is out of question.
For starters, you'd have a hard time arguing that Pluto is a planet while Ceres isn't.
Either we designate Pluto, Haumea, Makemake, Eris (notably bigger and more massive than Pluto) and possibly Orcus, Quaoar, OR and Sedna as planets... or we stay with Mercury up to Neptune.
There's a clear orbital distinction between the first 8 and the other 9+, so it really makes sense to group them in two categories, especially since we aren't sure at all that we have found all dwarf planets yet.
top Most Projects On GitHub Aren't Open Source Licensed
Not to mention if that were true why would Apple have given so much back to BSD like CUPS or Webkit?
You do realise that Apple hasn't given CUPS and WebKit "to BSD"? And you do realise that both CUPS and WebKit (KHTML) are GPL licensed projects? Would Apple give anything back to the community if these two were BSD licensed? Maybe, you can't tell... they've done so with some (I'd like to point out gcd as an "offer back to" FreeBSD, which is very neat) but not others.
The rest of your comment is, sadly, just ranting, and mostly not worth addressing. But please at least get your facts right.
Hmm, you're placing me inside "them" because I stated it's progress for "them". If we're talking about service providers in general (i.e. my local apache server), there are two points I'd like to highlight:
1. This enables "all of them", not just "the part of them that is me". When it comes to my security, I prefer the exclusive approach.
2. The typical situation is that you're not really a part of "them". "Them" is for example G+/Facebook, and you can try to play along and run a Diaspora node, but... well, we're witnessing how well that's going. "Them" is Dropbox, and you can try to play along and share stuff over your http home server, or (what I'm doing) make accounts for people and ask them to install sftp (or SparkleShare etc.), but sadly some people don't accept that in Dropbox' stead, which in turn requires me to use it.
Good point about Encarta, but this (GGPs comment) is about the technicalities of running random binaries fully within the browser, not where we store the data... which would be perfectly fine with a Wikipedia App that runs natively and obeys the OS... let's call it Firefox.
top Does Scientific Literacy Make People More Ethical?
This is something we learn in the first weeks of calculus: "if X then X" does NOT assume that X exists. In the most retentive case it simply says "if X exists as an assumption, then X must be an assumption".
More frequently used in the context of mathematics is: "if X is a true assumption, then X is a true assumption", which is just a relative expression and doesn't even say if X is possible.
Now the mutable part is something completely different. Then I must say "if X between times t0 and t1, then X between times t2 and t3" (most often t0=t2, t1=t3, depending on what you want to say). Now set Y = "X between ..." and you get "if Y then Y". In mathematics, most claims are time-independent (an even number stays even), so that part is rarely useful.
That's the key to logic: don't make bold steps, but small ones that hold up to scrutiny. We have no idea what happens outside of the time interval in the mutable form, thus we sure aren't going to claim anything about it.
I think his point was that the improved UX and hardware let you do more, which is called progress.
But having it run wholly inside a web browser, instead of a native GUI that has optional (clearly interfaced) internet storage support but can be controlled by my own firewall... this does not really enable you to do more (but it enables "them" to do more, e.g. built-in app obsolescence via DRM, profiling via tracking, etc.) and therefore is not progress.
top Why Freeloaders Are Essential To FOSS Project Success
Splendid! Your offer is graciously accepted!
Please download all of these and then... well... I guess... just have them?
top Why All the Higgs Hate? It's a 'Vanilla' Boson
The Higgs boson is supposed to be "the end of the story" only according to bad media reporting.
In reality, pinpointing the Higgs particle was supposed to enable us to ask more meaningful questions... Now it seems that we still have to ask the same questions as before (only slightly more precise), which is nice but not what some have hoped for.
top Spinning Black Hole's Edge Rotates At Nearly the Speed of Light
If I were to take a very long, very rigid (say: diamond) stick with me on one end and someone else sitting on the moon on the other end, then by pushing the stick a bit back and forth we could communicate via the Morse alphabet (ignoring orbital movement, wind drag, etc. for a moment). You'd obviously need something even more rigid (and stronger) than diamond, but keep in mind that light takes some 1.3 seconds for that distance, so this is the maximum speed information can be transmitted with.
This means that the stick must be "soft" enough such that the pressure wave from morsing propagates through with slightly under light speed, so we have an upper bound for the hardest and strongest material in the universe.
I doubt that this would be sufficient to withstand the much larger dimensions involved with this black hole, so even with the "best" material, see the comment above mine.
top Ubuntu Community Manager: RMS's Post Seems a Bit Childish To Me
Why not look at developing countries that don't have strict patent enforcement and build a 'free software nation' there [...]
Because he wants to see his own country improve?
Because he thinks he can make the most global impact this way? (influence is usually USA->India, not the other way around) Because it's hard to establish an existence in a foreign country with as little personal wealth as he has? Also language, etc. Because it's not necessary (see below)?
Why isn't it necessary? (First note that the software policy has little overall influence in the question whether a whole "nation would flourish", e.g. mandating all software to be GPL by law in Ethiopia won't stop the children from starving.)
China's local software industry has grown to be quite impressive over the past decade. You might say that they are stealing everything from the USA, but then it's a simple fact that they'd be much more backwards if they had strong copyright laws. Russia has substantially stronger copyright, but still insufficient by US standards, so it's not really necessary to foster the spread of ideas there as it already happens with less barriers than in western countries. So what happens when the the Chinese run out of stuff to copy? I expect them to become dominant in software development anyway, because (aside from work ethics and sheer numbers) their system allows for motivated, creative and ambitious individuals to build their own enterprises based on the available knowledge and become self-made men. Kinda like it was in the USA during the golden age of software development, before all that patent craziness emerged that lead to the current status-quo-perpetuating structure.
As a side note: in general, people only care about the one or two main views of a ideological leader. Did you know that Ghandi was a huge racist for most of his life (and later simply didn't comment on the topic)? I guess you can find faults with everyone....
Regarding Stallman, even though I don't agree with lots of his minor views (e.g. cell phones, because I'm too convenience-addicted to care about it), I think his consistent stance on software freedom has been quite beneficial to society. And he continues to serve that often-mentioned valuable anchor function.
top Ubuntu Community Manager: RMS's Post Seems a Bit Childish To Me
Hmm, your ranting style makes it even harder to read than something from Stallman, but I'll try anyway...
What I'm saying is that the GPL has a fatal flaw that makes it worthless unless you are able to make a living using one of the 3 "blessed" models of usage, software contracts, selling hardware, begging like a bum. the fatal flaw? the redistribution clause.
Again, I wouldn't limit myself to 3 models if all you can come up with globally is 4. You don't mention dual licensing with requiring copyright assignment (yep, selling the software AND "begging" AND contracts), another strategy that is successfully employed by a number of FOSS projects.
Also that's a pretty big "unless" there, as shown by the existence of thriving billion-dollar businesses focused on GPL software (e.g. Red Hat). Bluntly put: just because I can't capture humans and sell them as slaves (which used to be one of the biggest "economic sectors" in Roman times), this doesn't mean that any system forbidding this is worthless and not suited for monetising human resources.
And to show what an anti capitalist asshole RMS is I'd like anybody to explain how removing that one clause would change the outcome in his "printer story" that gave birth to the GPL in ANY way? After all he would still have the code, no change there, he could still modify it, again no change, he could even share his modifications, no different than how mods for non free games are perfectly fine and even encouraged by many companies, nope the ONLY thing it would do is
allow a company to survive by selling copies of their software which whether you like it or not IS how much software has to be distributed because there are many places the GPL blessed 3 don't work.
It probably woundn't have changed the outcome, but claiming that this is the litmus test for the redistribution clause is just a strawman. Obviously he saw the need for it (I remember reading somewhere how he explained the need to make sure it stays free), the printer story just started the thought process. The effects (some call them benefits, but let's stay neutral) of the clause are clear to you and me today.
Apart from that, a company surviving has little to do with not being able to use one narrow business model. But just to employ the same amount of drama: manufacturers saw a huge drop in profits in England when they outlawed 14 hour / 6 days workweeks for children during the industrialisation... and certainly a lot of companies who relied on that business model had a hard time adapting.
Games? Nobody is gonna buy contracts, nobody is gonna sell dedicated hardware for each game, and begging is not gonna bring in enough to keep a triple A game house afloat, which is why all GPL games look like shit from 30 years ago. And in the case at hand, desktops? Nobody is buying support contracts, in fact look at the sheer hate best Buy gets for pushing their GS support contracts. hardware? Unless you are Apple nope, not gonna get the economies of scale to compete and nobody is gonna pay more just to have a niche OS on hardware no better than what they get at Wally World in a $300 Dell, begging? We see what that has gotten Canonical, IE not enough to keep the lights on.
The FSF has made it clear that the GPL should not be used for art, documentation and other assets. Software is a tool, and it's source code has a completely different share-benefit behaviour than a nice painting or a poem.
For most games, the art (music, video, image data) and context (game lore, setting, names) are way more important than the glue code used to piece together the engine and 3rd party libraries. Why shouldn't the engine be Free Software? Sure, the engine producers can't continue to sell it, so it'd be more like the Linux kernel instead of WinNT... and that's a model shown to work very successfully. (I'd even claim that a set of Valve/Activision/EA/...-backed shared game engines would be much quicker than Linux to reach heavy adoption) Most of the mentinoed libraries are FOSS anyway nowadays, and the game companies could go on selling games just like they do now.
Desktops? How about the Canonical approach?
;) The number and variation of business models for monetising the FOSS desktop is no way near explored (part of this means also influencing user attitude, e.g. like flattr, or to donate more regularly). Just look at what has been come up with only in the last 10 years, and then wait for the next 10 (or invent something yourself and get rich).
Claiming that you have to be Apple in order to make the hardware model work is flat out false. Isn't Sony successful with the Playstation? Would it change anything for them if they made the current PS software freely available? The DRM has to stay, so simply do it like the next example: TiVo.
Or let's see what becomes of Ouya. Sure, they aren't developing the whole system themselves, but this only showcases the very strength of Free Software: sharing.
Again whether you like and accept it or not the "blessed 3" simply doesn't work in the majority of cases, hell its beginning to fail in the corporate market as more and more are saying fuck the enterprise contracts and just hiring consultants to do jobs on a one off basis when problems arise. The hardware model means you might as well rename FOSS as "Chinamart" since no American firm is gonna be able to compete with a regime that lets you dump toxic waste out the back door and of course you can hire Chinese coders for less than what we pay the guy cleaning the puke up at Chuck E Cheese, and finally the begging model may work for a couple of guys in their garage doing it as a hobby, you sure as fuck aren't gonna grow and compete with the big boys by holding out a tin cup.
Correct, your "blessed n" (let n=3) may not be applicable absolutely everywhere everytime, but:
a) I haven't claimed that. You have claimed that the GPL is totally worthless for businesses in general. I think that is false, and that it's monetisable enough, as seen in a big number of real world examples. b) Your majority is my minority. The cases where it "doesn't work" are quite often the same cases where "we need to sell these new-fangled CDs for 20.- because that was the established price for vinyl, and it doesn't matter at all that the production costs are 1/50th" ... aka "lazy profits". c) Yep, it possibly lowers the GDP. But as mentioned, so did banning child labour. I think capitalism and the opportunity for private profits are very important, but so are privacy and software freedom, if not more. We have to consider the weights in which we mix them, and much more GPL'd software would be a Good Thing (TM) IMO. d) In a few cases, it's simply the dilemma of the dying industry: when cars came up, should we have forced with every purchase a subvention for horse carriage producers, in order to support an inferior but established model?
Somehow lots of bits in your comment sound deluded to me, and this is not meant as an insult, just a repetition of the "attitude reasoning" in my previous posting. You haven't shown me any merit of your position so far, even though I'd actually like you to, because there should be something to it as there is a substantial amount of supporters.