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Hackers' Shutdown of 'The Interview' Confirms Coding Is a Superpower

c Re:Is a lame Seth Rogen flick worth dying for? (211 comments)

Burning flags is free speech.

You'll find that there's a lot of people who don't think it is free speech or should be. And in places that don't put a value on freedom of speech, it isn't.

yesterday
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The Dominant Life Form In the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots

c Re:von Neumann probes (346 comments)

A real head-scratching conundrum about the universe is explaining why it's not already overrun with self-replicating robots.

Because the need/urge to reproduce and expand your territory is a biological imperative which would have to be taught to robots?

Because an biological lifeform smart enough to make immortal intelligent robots might just be smart enough not to also make them infinitely self-replicating?

Because the universe is big enough and hostile enough to make unbounded expansion less than a sure thing?

yesterday
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Hackers' Shutdown of 'The Interview' Confirms Coding Is a Superpower

c Re:Is a lame Seth Rogen flick worth dying for? (211 comments)

My question is whether a Hollywood B movie is a cause worth anyone -- our military and diplomatic people, civilians movie goers -- risking their lives?

I hate to quote celebrities, but George Clooney makes a good point:

"With the First Amendment, you're never protecting Jefferson; it's usually protecting some guy who's burning a flag or doing something stupid."

yesterday
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Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

c Re:Dry Counties? (453 comments)

Why is this any different than counties that don't allow the sale of alcohol adjacent to counties that do?

Applying logic to the War On Drugs is a lot like bringing spaghetti to the beach.

yesterday
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Top Five Theaters Won't Show "The Interview" Sony Cancels Release

c Re:Home of the brave? (579 comments)

Yes, I'd go to the mall. I have a better chance of being killed in an accident driving to the mall.

I will bet your chances of being killed in a mall go way up if there are specific threats against that mall.

Absolutely. If there's specific threats against that mall, there's going to be a fuckton of heavily armed law enforcement types swarming the place. Anybody with a grasp of statistics and/or current events should know that's a situation to avoid.

2 days ago
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Top Five Theaters Won't Show "The Interview" Sony Cancels Release

c Re:Opposite of the reaction they should have (579 comments)

The ONLY people in the whole world who really care about this two-bit movie are the North Koreans. They're not going to pull off any real terrorist attacks.

Sony is a Japanese corporation. Japan is, if you glance at a map, within spitting distance of North Korea. North Korea is well known for being collectively batshit insane, and for pulling some bad stuff on Japan with less cause.

I wouldn't be making bets either way on this one...

2 days ago
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Sony Leaks Reveal Hollywood Is Trying To Break DNS

c Re:Yeah, that'll work. Sure. (378 comments)

Unfortunately, many (small) websites are hosted on a shared server with one IP for multiple domains. The name is required in the URL else it simply does not work.

It's required in the HTTP Host header, but close enough.

I'm aware that it won't work for everyone, but in this particular discussion we're talking about sites that nobody in their right mind should ever be sharing a server with, nor do I believe a site like the Pirate Bay would want to get pinned down to a specific server.

In any case, if Sony decides to have a go at a small website, they're pretty much screwed irrespective of web server configuration.

2 days ago
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Sony Leaks Reveal Hollywood Is Trying To Break DNS

c Yeah, that'll work. Sure. (378 comments)

A huge number of people already barely use DNS. They go to places like "The Pirate Bay" by entering "The Pirate Bay" in the Google Search window, and following the first link or two that they find. So, if Google indexes 194.71.107.27 or there's a Wikipedia link to it (since, you know, that'd be newsworthy), the effect of a DNS ban has little impact on the original discovery of the site URL.

Some (stupid) ISP's already take care of this search mechanism... enter a bad URL, go right to a search page. Most browsers will also be more than happy to help out.

It'll break bookmarks, but once you know something exists, has value to you, and you know how to find it, it's nothing more than an inconvenience.

In other words, delisting doesn't work for longer than it takes a new URL to propagate.

Taking over the hostname would last a little longer, but news travels fast.

2 days ago
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11 Trillion Gallons of Water Needed To End California Drought

c Re:how much it will cost to desalinate water? (322 comments)

the solution looks costly but hardly unmanageable

According to this, the largest plant in the country costs about $1 billion and will be able to handle about 50 million gallons per day.

If you built $21 billion dollars worth of those plants, you get about 1 billion gallons per day of desalination capacity, which would take about 30 years to just to regenerate those 11 trillion gallons, not even considering what's needed to handle existing overconsumption.

Still manageable, but it's not a good short-term fix.

3 days ago
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Spanish Media Group Wants Gov't Help To Keep Google News In Spain

c Re:Imagine that! (191 comments)

While there were extreme options available to Google, such as law suits and massive lobbying, Google took a rather mild approach

Well, they could have taken an even milder approach... kept Google News in Spain, but only shown news from sites published outside of Spain. Sure, no more local news, much less news about Spain, and most of what was available would be slanted in ways the government and/or people might not like, but c'est la vie...

4 days ago
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Spanish Media Group Wants Gov't Help To Keep Google News In Spain

c Re:HAHA! (191 comments)

Just because someone lives in any particular area doesn't mean that stories about other areas aren't of interest. The bigger the news event, the broader the distribution.

Not to mention that the insights on foreign news sources on local events can be quite... interesting. Everyone has their own spin, and usually the real story is in the intersection of as many spins as possible.

What tends to aggravate me more about Google News is how reporting on major international events gets diluted with "$event Victim Has Ties To $city" types of headlines. I assume Google News has some sort of "uniqueness" score to filter out all the wire service duplication which causes these one-off local interest types of stories to bubble up the rankings, but I never find them remotely relevant.

5 days ago
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Peru Indignant After Greenpeace Damages Ancient Nazca Site

c Re:Human made (465 comments)

Yeah, that's kind of my sense. These lines are a *human* artifact, carved into the earth and left there for a thousand years. That's pretty much the definition of man despoiling the earth and it's not something I can see the hardcore environmental activist types having any qualms about trashing. They might not go out of their way to destroy it, but I can't imagine them feeling much remorse over it.

about a week ago
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Apple's iPod Classic Refuses To Die

c Re:Vinyl refuses to die too (269 comments)

I think you may be confusing buggy whips with buddy whips.

In any case, as a software developer I can't see the appeal for a buggy anything. You'd think they'd have worked out the problems and released Whip 2.0 rather than creating a whole industry around a poor product. No wonder they went out of business...

about a week ago
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Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?

c Re:No (1049 comments)

But our body is our own. Period. We cannot cross this line. If someone conscientiously objects to a treatment, it is their natural right to decline it.

Fair enough.

So, how would you like to phrase the new law... ? "No medical procedures on any individual that has not reached the age of majority or is not otherwise able to give legal consent"?

That's the reductio ad absurdum way of saying that the line has already been crossed. Society inflicts medical treatments on people (mostly children) whether they like it or not, and it's done in the name of "their best interests". Now, whether it's the parents/guardians or the government making the decisions and whether those decisions are "best" for any given person is a whole other issue, but to suggest that it's instead an issue of control over an individuals own body is, in the context of childhood vaccines, pure nonsense.

about a week ago
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Google Closing Engineering Office In Russia

c Re:so let me get this straight... (157 comments)

Google is leaving russia due to data security and intrusive legislation that harms the internet, but sees no problem maintaining an office in the United States

Well, there's a substantial practical difference between closing a branch office of 50 employees and shutting down your corporate HQ and main data center.

But, more importantly, the consequences of calling out the US government for bad behaviour is tame compared to how Putin handles corporate dissent.

about a week ago
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Forbes Revisits the Surface Pro 3, Which May Face LG Competition

c Re:Have't looked at one at all. (101 comments)

If you buy the machine specifically for running Linux, there are plenty of options that will run without problems. However if you pick a random machine at the store, odds are there will be some part of the hardware that has less than optimal drivers.

Over the last decade or so I've had more compatibility problems with the specifically-built-to-run-Linux desktop systems I've assembled than the lowest-bidder off-the-shelf corporate laptops that I've been handed at work.

I'm not sure that says more about my luck than my particularly poor skill at building Linux-compatible desktop systems...

about three weeks ago
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The Driverless Future: Buses, Not Taxis

c Re:Eliminating the bus driver is Pareto-stupid (257 comments)

Also, buses are awful unless you have quite high population density -- lots of areas don't have enough prospective trip endpoints to justify mass transit.

I have a suspicion that if you remove the driver labour costs, running small (10-12 seats?) passenger buses in areas of lower population densities becomes quite feasible, particularly if you can combine it with a certain amount of smart route/demand planning.

about three weeks ago
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Google Should Be Broken Up, Say European MPs

c Not just Google (237 comments)

They voted to "separate search engines from other commercial services".

They just voted to break up Google, Microsoft, maybe Yahoo, Baidu, and as a consequence have ensured that no large corporation would bother getting into the search engine market.

At least, that would be the case if it actually had any teeth. I can't imagine it sticking...

about three weeks ago
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Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

c Re:a perfectly stupid idea. (652 comments)

You don't want 2/3 of the people who have the best understanding of the facility to be taken out in the first few minutes of an accident.

Understand who I'm talking about here; the bean counters who play around with the numbers and externalize risks in order to maximize profits at the expense of the safety of thousands of people, the economy and the environment, and who usually escape massive disasters caused by their poor planning with barely a slap on the wrist.

If they fuck it up badly enough that the plant even has the possibility of that kind of catastrophic failure, then yes, I do want them taken out, and I don't anticipate it making the slightest difference to managing the accident response.

about three weeks ago
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Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

c Re:Deliberate (652 comments)

5. Parts should be manufactured in factories using standard methods and specifications. Parts should be interchangeable from site to site. Minimize customizations as much as possible.

6. Anyone with responsibility for the safety, maintenance and/or operating budgets of a nuclear plant must reside, with their spouse and dependants, on or near the grounds of said nuclear plant for at least 9 months of the year.

about three weeks ago

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