Facebook Censoring Images of the Prophet Muhammad In Turkey
To be fair to Zuckerberg and Facebook, the company must obey the law of any country in which it operates.
No. He came out in support of a universal maxim and then went back to his board who showed him X dollars of income they get by operating in Turkey. Just like the revenue lost when Google left mainland China. Instead of sacrificing that revenue to some other social network in Turkey run by cowards, he became a coward himself in the name of money. It is an affront to the deaths and memory of the Charlie Hebdo editors. His refusal could have worked as leverage for social change in Turkey but now it will not.
So no, your statement isn't fair to Zuckerberg and his company and the platinum backscratcher he gets to keep with "TURKEY" inscribed on it. Fuck that greedy bastard and his petty meaningless lip service.
Best 1990s Sci-fi show?
In the news recently are rumors that Carter, Anderson and Duchovny will reunite for new X-Files episodes. Fox has sorta confirmed this.
I own all the DVDs, a couple years ago I rewatched them. I may come off as a rabid fan at times but the background music was atrociously horrid. Also the story arc plot became overly convoluted and impossible to explain at times. That said, one of the most convoluted characters (Krycek) was my favorite. Aside from several minor valid criticisms like that, I really think it's a great platform for modern storytelling.
I do have to ask myself, at times, if there is some level of insane conspiracy theory today that we owe at least in part to those people watching X-Files when younger. I have to admit that the 9/11 inside job truthers movement claims could have been ripped from the pages of an X-Files script.
My biggest concern, of course, is whether or not it could still be fresh. With recent high quality additions to television canon, we'd have to be prepared for Chris Carter coming back at us with a 90's angle when episodes like Home really aren't as shocking anymore. The bar has been raised (thankfully).
Right now, The X-Files is going to occupy a contextual place in television history like The Twilight Zone. A revival could very well tarnish that. On the other hand, I've never felt like I really received closure on the whole story arc ...
Interviews: Ask Alexander Stepanov and Daniel E. Rose a Question
Alexander Stepanov, I have never had a chance to ask someone as qualified as you about this topic. I grew up on the opposite side of the Iron Curtain and have constantly wondered if (surely there must have been) alternative computing solutions developed in the USSR prior to Elbrus and SPARC. So my question is whether or not you know of any hardware or instruction set alternatives that died on the vine or were never mass fabricated in Soviet times? I don't expect to you to reveal some super advanced or future predicting instruction set but it has always disturbed me that these things aren't documented somewhere -- as you likely know failures can provide more fruit than successes. Failing that, could you offer us any tails of early computing that only seem to run in Russian circles?
If you can suggest references (preferably in English) I would be most appreciative. I know of only one book and it seems to be a singular point of view.
US Links North Korea To Sony Hacking
> It is not known how the US government has determined that North Korea is the culprit
Of course it's known. The same way they established that Iraq had chemical weapons. The method is known as "because we say so".
Are you joking? I thought it was well established that there were chemical weapons in Iraq we just only found weapons designed by us, built by Europeans in factories in Iraq. And therefore the US didn't trumpet their achievements. In the case of Iraqi chemical weapons, the US established that Iraq had chemical weapons not because they said so but because Western countries had all the receipts.
Why Elon Musk's Batteries Frighten Electric Companies
What the hell is up with the title of this article? Nowhere did I find any indication of anyone being "scared" or "frightened." On the contrary the article presents contradicting information:
Still, the Edison Electric Institute, a trade group representing America’s investor-owned utilities, recently announced that its members will help to encourage electric vehicle use by spending $50 million annually to buy plug-in service trucks and invest in car-charging technology.
“Advancing plug-in electric vehicles and technologies is an industry priority,” said EEI President Thomas Kuhn.
Uh, "advancing as a priority" is actually the opposite of fear.
Southern California Edison is planning to spend about $9.2 billion through 2017 to allow the two-way flow of electricity on its system, said Edison International CEO Ted Craver.
“We are certainly big supporters of electric transportation,” Craver said.
He added: “That electric car isn’t just going to stay at home. It’s going to go other places. It’s going to need to get charged in other places. And I think our ability to provide that glue for all those things that are going to plug into that network is really how we see our core business.”
Again, sounds positive. Actually the only negative thing in the article is that electric cars might cause a load our infrastructure isn't ready for -- to the contrary a solar charging station in the home would mitigate this. Is the new journalism format to title your articles with a thesis directly contrary to all the actual evidence you're about to present?
James Watson's Nobel Prize Goes On Auction This Week
Higher IQs are correlated with a long history of urbanization and economic specialization, where higher IQs provide a selective advantage.
There's no arguing this. But, from what I've read about James Watson, he never said anything close to this. Instead, I can even find on his wikipedia page this quote from one of his books:
He writes that "there is no firm reason to anticipate that the intellectual capacities of peoples geographically separated in their evolution should prove to have evolved identically. Our wanting to reserve equal powers of reason as some universal heritage of humanity will not be enough to make it so"
So it's related to a long history of urbanization and economic specialization? And also Watson's unequal powers of reason? What is he implying if not to say that genetically some people are born without the equal "powers of reason"? He didn't quite say that due to "a long history of urbanization and economic specialization" instead he said due to geographic separation followed by their evolution. Watson's position as a genetic researcher commenting on something that is almost certainly attributed to socioeconomic status is strange, wouldn't you think? Was he commenting on this as an economist or perhaps historian?
I also like how you link to wikipedia pages but not their internal discrepancies on your open and close case that IQ is inherited. Including this quote from your first link:
Eric Turkheimer and colleagues (2003) found that for children of low socioeconomic status heritability of IQ falls almost to zero.
From this source.
You present a perfectly acceptable and fairly logical argument about the advancement of some cultures outpacing others. One need only read "Guns, Germs & Steel" where this sort of thing is discussed in a very sound and well researched way. Do we raise our pitchforks and chase after Jared Diamond with fervor? Not at all. Then again, his arguments didn't rest entirely upon some imaginary gene expression he just hadn't found yet.
Your "political correctness" claim is largely rubbish. While it may appear a knee-jerk reaction, this is the case of people objecting to a statement with no underlying scientific basis while Watson makes claims that we should be able to isolate the "Intelligence Gene." Have we had success in isolating such a gene from the Ashkanazi? Furthermore Watson implies (though never directly says) that lack of similar genes is what keeps Africa repressed -- while making zero reference to the reverberating effects of hundreds of years of European colonizations and their leeching of wealth & resources.
James Watson's Nobel Prize Goes On Auction This Week
Your comment is extremely racist.
You're goddamn straight it is. The point is that any population -- no matter how high and lofty it is can be the target of stupid shit attributed to their genetic structure with "just so" fallacies. He makes inflammatory statements, doesn't even offer correlation as evidence for them and completely ignores socioeconomic conditions of even the past two hundred years.
How hard is it to turn James Watson's high minded lofty DNA superiority complex against his home city? Not hard at all, it turns out. Simply cherry pick from painfully recent history the horrible stereotypes and wars that their ancestors have and totally ignore any outside forces like ... oh, I don't know, the slave trade ... and then just "painfully" wish you were wrong. Notice how I apologized for having to be the one to first acknowledge something I'm not proving.
What blows my mind is that Africa was for tens of thousands of years in the same state that the rest of the world was in -- hell it's the birthplace of homo sapiens. And the time scale we need to talk about for DNA to change is at the very least tens of thousands of years. 25 million years of human evolution and James Watson measures 'genetic skin-color-intelligence correlation' from his apparently very short knowledge of history. Let's be generous and say he actually considered the past two thousand years which would be odd that he chose not to acknowledge that Europe's age of colonialism had something to do with Africa's current state.
Just like my post listed zero gene expressions, I'm not aware of any he's presented backing his statements. Furthermore, how would one divorce the nature versus nurture in such a test? The long history of racial discrimination the world over would need to be carefully controlled out of the experiment and the fact of the matter is that you can't. I'm not a Nobel prize winning geneticist and even I recognize this.
James Watson's Nobel Prize Goes On Auction This Week
Do you ever notice how enamored with American football the Chicago population is? How much money they dump into the Chicago Bears? Oh, how I wish that I would be wrong but often science is meant to be inflammatory. The testing simply shows that the people of Chicago are slovenly drunks who cannot help but repose in sloth upon their reclining chairs in their own pitiful squalor. How can we help the people of Chicago when all of our policies revolve around thinking of them as good decent hardworking people?
About a third of the Chicago population is German. Genetically, therefore they have instilled in them a 'Crazy Fourth Reich Fever' that millennia of conditioning by the BLACK Forest of Germany and they simply only want to fight and invade other peaceful peoples that are doing nothing but contributing to the advancement of the human race. Alas, my mind is tortured that nature could be so cruel as to instill a fine specimen like the German with such brutal and total warring instinct. But we simply cannot be able to even begin to help Chicago out of shit-hole status unless we come to terms with their genetically corrupted DNA structure. I know this may seem shocking to you lay people but I have suffered as Galileo has suffered. Science requires I tell you the truth that I seem to have no scientific basis for yet I know deep down in the pit of my Swedish-American stomach to be true.
Another third of the Chicago population is Irish. Genetically the Irish have evolved in an inherently beautiful land that has caused them to drink heavily whenever outside of this land. This is to deal with the squalid landscapes of Chicago. Blame them not, they are only following the unavoidable bonds of nature that tie into their DNA and make them wholesale worthless drunks. There is no hope for them and, verily, we cannot hope to even get them into rehab until we understand that there simply is no rehabilitation for them. Their origin country has a short pitiful record that I can't seem to find records on regarding any suppressors or instigators prior to being a poor island nation hell bent on alcoholism. Oh, if only my scientific inklings were wrong! How I wish I wasn't the one that has to break the news to you. Woe is all that I can feel for having to inform you that genetically the Irish are inferior.
The final third of the Chicago population is Polish. The Poles of Chicago are a daft and rotund people but it is not their fault. The DNA has been shaped by thousands of years of unhealthy food. The cold winters of Poland and Chicago force them indoors where they cannot possibly be industrious but have to sit at microscopes and furrow their brows in a vain attempt to understand these things that I have discovered. Even my high minded Libertarian business attitude can't provide enough jobs for these idle drones. Genetically they suffer from 'Polack Slack' and our policy towards helping them past working on the dock and losing weight will forever fail until we come to accept this. It pains me so to break this news to you but down in my genetically superior innards this idea has been borne and I know it to be true. I know it.
The tests indicate that our great nation would probably be more effective if Chicago and its descendents didn't exist at all. Genetically they will forever be poor and stupid, attached to the glass teat clamoring for more concussions while wallowing about in their fetid sties. Drunk and unable to form simple sentences, our once prosperous country will be held back from truly succeeding.
Ball's in your court, James.
Window Washing a Skyscraper Is Beyond a Robot's Reach
For a human, using a sponge and squeegee combo is probably the most effective way to clean a window. For a robot, I would imagine that the answer is something more like a pressure washer, with a hood which covers the work area and reclaims the wash water. The water would then be filtered and reused until the particulate count rose too high, at which point it would be flushed and replaced with fresh. A sheeting additive would be used to cause the water to run off without spotting.
This probably wouldn't replace human window washing entirely, but it seems like it has the potential to replace at least some of the washes.
I've often wondered if anyone has ever tried a project to make a building which washes itself, using a robot designed for the building, and a building designed for the robot. I can imagine many problems with such a project without even undertaking it, mostly related to critters taking up residence in the mechanisms and/or tracks, but if it operated continuously that might well eliminate some of those objections. A universal window washing robot has a more complicated task than such a device would.
Did you even read the article? You'll find it discusses how the old World Trade Center Towers had built in devices that were made specifically for the building that would automatically go up and down cleaning it. The only problem was they missed the corners and creases of each pane and the rich people at the top of the building didn't want the grimy borders to their new expensive view of NYC.
It sounds like you have a lot of ideas for building a nice big heavy expensive machine that moves up and down a building. Burst forth and implement your idea, I think you'll find that the the weight, the power and the water feed to these devices will push you towards what has already been implemented and did not do a satisfactory job. Humans had to follow up behind the built in robots to clean spots they had missed.
It's funny, I read articles on Slashdot about how AI is the one thing that threatens man. And we can't even implement AI and pattern recognition to replace a window washer -- oh the incongruity!
Interviews: Ask Rachel Sussman About Photography and the Oldest Living Things
So I'm not too knowledgeable on photography but one thing I'm aware of is that professional photographers do a lot of post processing. To the point of Adobe Lightroom or higher being so mandatory with DSLRs that they sometimes package it with lenses (especially the ones that distort like a wide angle lens). Do you post process your photos? To what extent? How do you feel about people who use advanced techniques like even adding color to their photos? For example, I came across this photo which was odd to me because I've been to that place and it's beautiful but not like in that photo -- it doesn't need fake pink clouds to be beautiful. It would seem to me a shame to have a tree live 2,000 years and then a human uses a fish eye lens on its knotted trunk to make it seem more old and gnarled and then later adjusts the darkness of the sky to give it a Halloween feel, etc. And then since that's the most artistic shot of it, that's how we remember it.
The Students Who Feel They Have the Right To Cheat
When I was younger and I first came across this quote by Mahatma Gandhi:
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
I always thought it was bizarrely tautological. If you wish something to be different and you personally can make a choice for it under your control to be different, then you make the correct choice. For example, I don't throw a soda can out the window of my car while complaining about pollution on the highway. Other people obviously don't care but I control the drop in the bucket I'm responsible for and I make the ethical choice.
But as I got older, I actually found and still find people that think they should be forced to do it the right way even while complaining about the abuse. Case in point, a friend in the medical profession was actually complaining about tax dodges while setting up his own backdoor Roth IRA. When I asked him about abusing the very rules he was decrying, he simply shrugged and said he doesn't make the rules he just follows them. He acknowledged it's shady as hell but pretty much felt like his hands were tied.
It was deeply troubling ... I get a similar feeling about this article. I understand it is sometimes harder to play by ethical rules than legal rules when everyone around you is benefiting from misconduct but ... it seems this is yet another example of the caste system thriving in India. It's simply stupefying on the "My dad is Li Gang" level.
Interviews: Ask Warren Ellis a Question
I've never really enjoyed main stream comics but the imprints that dodge the archaic Comics Code have pulled me in with various titles -- some of yours even. According to your wikipedia page you left Hellblazer after DC refused to print a controversial comic of yours in such an imprint:
He left that series when DC announced, following the Columbine High School massacre, that it would not publish "Shoot", a Hellblazer story about school shootings, although the story had been written and illustrated prior to the Columbine massacre.
Is this common in comic books/graphic novels? Have you experienced this elsewhere in your career? Do you feel that DC and other big publishers are too afraid of another Fredric Wertham to toe the line?
Huh, it has been quite awhile since I posted here
I've largely left Slashdot ... still read it occasionally but if I read one more highly moderated Jane Q. Public post I will diminish and go into the West.
Can't resist asking questions when I see a fresh interview though ...
Interviews: Ask CMI Director Alex King About Rare Earth Mineral Supplies
Recently this year the WTO ruled against China's practices in the rare earth market but some pundits have stated that this ruling doesn't matter because China controls the whole supply chain of rare earths. Would you care to comment on the efficacy of the WTO's ruling? Can you explain what part of the supply chain the US is missing? For example, we're missing mines but if we had mines we're missing refineries but if we had them we're missing ... etc. What throughput of each mineral in our domestic supply chain would we need to put the US government at ease?
Interviews: Ask CMI Director Alex King About Rare Earth Mineral Supplies
The minerals themselves aren't necessarily rare in an absolute sense, but they're expensive to extract.) The most economically viable deposits are found in China, and rising prices for them as exports to the U.S., the EU, and Japan have raised political hackles. (At the same time, those rising prices have spurred exploration and reexamination of known deposits off the coast of Japan, in the midwestern U.S., and elsewhere.
My understanding revolves around only the crudest idea about modern mining methods and the resulting tailings & water usage they often employ. I assume that in China, they get around these costs by just damaging the environment (like dumping tailings where ever instead of having dedicated settling and filtering ponds). Could you give us some back of the envelope calculations (they could be percentages or additional yearly operating costs) of what these environmental regulations mean for mining operations in the United States versus China? There's an awful lot of talk on Slashdot and other news sites about how cost prohibitive the EPA makes business in America but I've never seen an expert in the industry actually talk hard numbers. Any ballpark estimates would be greatly appreciated. In your experience, are any of these laws and regulations less or more effective than others?
Ask Slashdot: Can You Say Something Nice About Systemd?
"What Does Systemd Mean to Me?"
Systemd has a nice ring to it. The way the syllables roll off my tongue pleases me greatly. It could be the title of a great anime series. It could even be the lost name of an ancient forgotten god-king. It might even be the name I give my first born. It sounds much more authoritative and genuine than sysvinit or upstart or inetd. For instance from my non-technical fourth grade perspective this is what I interpret the others to mean:
- sysvinit - A cheap knockoff of systemd. Sounds sort of like a sexually transmitted disease phase like syphilis virus initialization.
- upstart - Sounds like you don't know what the hell is going on. "This young upstart" ... leave it to the pros, greenhorn. Leave it to systemd.
- inetd - What are we, fishing here? You netted? You netted what? At least tell us what you netted. Is it a record breaking fish? Also, nice try with the cheap 'd' knockoff at the end. Leave it to the originals. Leave it to ... systemd.
Contrary to your base assumptions, systemd does not actually boot faster on my Pentium II (Intel inside) system. I just like the way it sounds.
- Personal Experience - I actually stood up at dinner last night and slammed my fist down on the table and yelled at my wife that "WE WILL ONLY USE SYSTEMD IN THIS HOUSE FROM NOW ON" and I flung her iPad against the wall, shattering it. And then I got down on my knees in tears -- having seen the light -- and swore fealty to systemd.
- Working Examples - Three nights ago I stole away into the night across town to the Olafsen's house (a predominantly Norwegian family) and (being predominantly of Swedish descent myself) spray painted on the front of their new home: "SYSTEMD BOOT HOME" in blood red paint. This was a Nice Thing in a "never forget" sorta way. I then got down on my knees in tears and applied the spray paint liberally to my upper lip -- the same condition in which I write this post for you, dear reader.
- Links to Supporting Documentation - 
Pentagon Reportedly Hushed Up Chemical Weapons Finds In Iraq
The summary seems to have left out the most interesting tidbit:
According to the Times, the reports were embarrassing for the Pentagon because, in five of the six incidents in which troops were wounded by chemical agents, the munitions appeared to have been "designed in the US, manufactured in Europe and filled in chemical agent production lines built in Iraq by Western companies".
Where were they found? Next to the plants set up by Western companies that filled them in Iraq, of course. Who has control of those plants now? Why, ISIS of course. Don't worry, though, the people who thought it was better we didn't know about these things are assuring us that all those weapons were hurriedly destroyed.
Interviews: Ask Florian Mueller About Software Patents and Copyrights
*holds up mirror for Florian to gaze into*
Interviews: Ask Florian Mueller About Software Patents and Copyrights
You were a valuable unbiased source of information on software patents and patent litigation. Particularly the German court's struggle with them. However it came to light -- in a rather surprising way -- that you were paid or possibly employed by Microsoft and Oracle. I have heard much about this and it often casts a negative light on your blogging but I would like to hear your side of these relationships. I can conceivably understand how you could accept money that furthers your ideals but it is difficult to comprehend how I can be assured this does not influence your writing, position, selected details and bias. Are you able to lay my concerns to rest?
Does Learning To Code Outweigh a Degree In Computer Science?
Nearly half of the software developers in the United States do not have a college degree. Many never even graduated from high school.
What? I pored over the article and the US BLS link in it to find the source of these statements. Aside from a pull quote that appears as an image in the article but isn't even in the article itself and is unattributed, could someone find me the source of this statistic?
Because I'm a software developer in the United States with a Masters of Science in Computer Science. All of my coworkers have at least a bachelor's degree in one field or another. And my undergrad very much so started with a sink-or-swim weed out course in Scheme and then another in Java. Yes, they were both easy if you already knew how to code but ... this article almost sounds like it's written by someone with no field experience. Granted that's a low sample set, I'd like to know where the other half of us are. Everyone keep in mind that a Computer Science degree is a relatively new thing and there very well may be elderly coders doing a great job without technically a degree in computer science.
The only way I can see the misconception spreading is that people who use Wix to drag and drop a WYSIWYG site (for you older readers that's like FrontPage meets Geocities) erroneously consider themselves "software developers".
Rhode Island's "Kingdoms of Amular"
Phygg: Reader Voted Prepublication Academic Papers
There's a new site called Phygg.com that is a cross between the arxiv physics feed and Digg.com in that you can read papers up for prepublication and then vote them up or down. I think this poses an interesting new step in peer review and academic journals in that it gives the public a chance to participate in reading and voting on papers. From there, the journals can separate the wheat from the chaff. While it's not exactly innovative (digg + arxiv = phygg), it'll be interesting to see if people take to it and how good the general public will be at reading lengthy physics papers. MIT's Tech Review has a short blog on the launching.
Arcade Fire's HTML5 Experience
Futurama is Back!
Google's Exit Announcement as Covered in China's News
"China's Internet is open," said Jiang. "China has tried creating a favorable environment for Internet," said Jiang while responding to a question on Google's possible retreat.
"China welcomes international Internet companies to conduct business within the country according to law," she said. "China's law prohibits cyber crimes including hacker attacks."
And also on that day, they seemed to write off the hacker attacks on Google as a global problem while quoting an unnamed 'senior Chinese information official' (later given only as 'Wang') as saying:
"China's Internet is open to the world.... China is a victim of and firmly opposes cyber attacks," he said, noting the number of overseas cyber attacks on Chinese mainland websites in 2008 had increased by 148 percent over the previous year.
This last article is quite interesting in that it shifts the attention back to pornography and illicit materials, blaming those squarely on other countries. It is assumed this is to reinforce their stated right to enforce censorship on Google. And even placing the onus on other countries to:
"take active and effective measures to strengthen management of the Internet and make sure their problems do not affect other countries' cyber order."
Of course, the China Daily article ends with verbage like 'providing a favorable environment for the healthy development of minors' and calls on the government to 'ensure that information flow on the Internet is smooth and timely, and secure and orderly.'
Now, on to today, the fifteenth of January. It seems the goal here is to deflate the impact that Google's exit would have. China Daily has a story of none other than Steve Ballmer's compliance saying:
"I don't understand how that helps anything. I don't understand how that helps us and I don't understand how that helps China," Ballmer said.
Earlier on Thursday, Ballmer told CNBC Microsoft had no plans to exit China: "We've been quite clear, we're going to operate in China, we're going to abide by the law."
Really, this article is a consolidation of American news reports on Microsoft's plans in China. A clear sign that Microsoft is willing to play ball, why can't Google?
Then later, the Ministry of Commerce attempts to take the wind out of Google's sails by saying that not only have they not heard anything from Google yet but:
"Foreign investors should have confidence in China's market as China has the world's biggest Internet population," said Yao. "Any decision by Google to withdraw from China will not affect Sino-U.S. trade relations."
China Daily also appears to call Google's bluff and curiously offers new quotes from the prior day's briefing with Jian Yu:
"Relevant measures taken by the Chinese government are consistent with international conventions."
China Daily paraphrases experts as saying that the 'government will by no means compromise.' Another news article shows no support from the twenty other victims of the attack (aside from Yahoo, who hasn't been mentioned until now) that Google reported and they wrap that up with concerns that an exit from China will hurt Google's stock.
The best part might be the sour grapes editorial from a reader that claims 'Google.cn simply cannot compete with its main domestic rival, Baidu.com' which is completely true in search. But overlooks the previous day's comments from users as saying they were concerned about their Google mail, their access to Google Maps, Google docs and the slough of other services Google provides aside from search.
All of this sounds like a pretty firm "We're shocked you would consider this and don't understand why you are making such a mistake. We will continue to censor to protect our citizens and will not budge an inch for you. Ball's in your court." Well? Will Google act, stall or fold?
Five MST3K Episodes on Hulu
There are now at least five Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes up on Hulu! They are "The Starfighters (Mike)," "Secret Agent Super Dragon (Joel)," "Monster A-Go-Go (Joel)," "The Rebel Set (Joel)," and "The Giant Gila Monster (Joel)." Could we be lucky enough to enjoy the rest of MST3K on Hulu in the future?
Aussie Scientologists Strike Back
Like a lot of countries, Australia doesn't quite know what to make of Scientologists. Okay, some Aussies just can't stand 'em. Australia's Daily Telegraph sends about an effort called Youth for Human Rights, a thinly veiled Scientologist front launched to teach kids about human rights. So, if L. Ron Hubbard (scifi author and founder of the Church of Scientology) made your list of Human Rights leaders, where would you put him? This "informative" resource puts him ahead of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. I little bit of legwork casts more evidence of Youth for Human Rights real motives. With a whois turning up registration at 1332 L Ron Hubbard Way. Are you familiar with that address? Xenu-Directory is. So what's the problem? Well, these videos and booklets are being distributed and aimed at Year 6 students and there's absolutely no indication in the material that this is linked to the Church of Scientology. In fact, a warning has gone out to not use any of these materials inside the classroom. Perhaps Australia's inquiry by Senator Xenu ... I mean Xenophon into the CoS is long overdue and it's time everyone look more closely at their international efforts.
The Music Service Oddity that is BlueBeat.com
- A music service undercutting everyone else by 75%.
- A DRM-less product from a company that initially sued everyone for not using DRM -- a company called Media Rights Technology!
- You can stream whatever you want from the site, whole albums or songs!
- The company doing this is in the United States of America. Where individuals are fined to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars for sharing songs. What then, does BlueBeat imagine will happen to them legally?
So what am I missing here? Has MRT lost it? Is this a marketing tactic where they receive a DMCA take down, adhere to it and send e-mails to users asking them to delete their MP3s as their ToS says they can do? And from there just keep hosting songs that labels are too lazy to DMCA away? Something stinks but if you bought 100 songs for 25 dollars from BlueBeat and then kept using them, who would be breaking the law? You or BlueBeat?
The Patent Lawsuit Explosion in Eastern Texas
- Aircraft Technical Publishers vs. Avantext Inc. et al which entails 'the reproduction of computer-based information and data concerning the airworthiness requirements and other directives relating to non-commercial aircraft.'
- Realtime Data LLC dba IXO vs. Morgan Stanley et al which entails 'the rights to four U.S. patents relating to data compression.' (6,624,761, 7,161, 506, 7,400,274, 7,417,568)
- SFA Systems LLC vs. 1-800-Flowers.com Inc. et al which entails an Integrated Computerized Sales Force Automation System. And how do you infringe on that? 'By making and using supply chain methods, sales methods, sales systems, marketing methods, marketing systems and inventory systems.' SFA claims, "As a result of the above Defendants' infringement of the '525 Patent, SFA has suffered monetary damages ... in an amount not yet determined, and will continue to suffer such monetary damages in the future unless Defendants' infringing activities are permanently enjoined by this court," the complaint states."
Three cases every week should clog up the system. One has to wonder at the number of case titles ending with "et al" and also in relationship to software patents. A patent system that allows patents for data compression combined with Eastern District of Texas Court might be what we need for this powder keg to ignite and the power drunken sot that is the USPTO admit it has a problem.
The Futurological Congress by Stanislaw Lem
Stan Hazelton from the U.S. Delegation immediately threw the hall into a frenzy by emphatically repeating: 4, 6, 11, and therefore 22; 5, 9 hence 22; 3, 7, 2, 11, from which it followed that 22 and only 22!! Someone jumped up, saying yes but 5, and what about 6, 18, or 4 for that matter; Hazelton countered this objection with the crushing retort that, either way, 22. I turned to the number key in his paper and discovered that 22 meant the end of the world.
The Futurologists in this novel are probably best described as each one being a less optimistic Ray Kurzweil in that they all seem to be spouting their own version of obstacles humanity is soon to face and consequently their ideas to remedy it. For instance the second delegate from Japan unveils a 10,000:1 model of a housing complex some 800 stories tall with self sustaining everything and mobile in the ocean! It's the future! In fact, everything is recycled! Even the food is recycled waste and excrement from the people. The sausage left out in the hall is actually reconstituted human waste (at which point everyone in the audience stops eating and shuffles the food underneath their seats). This sets the tone for a few of the minor themes of the novel and gives you an idea of how Lem takes subtle jabs at everyone. For example another United States delegate takes the floor to talk about population problems that are rapidly developing. He outlines seven solutions: "mass media and mass arrests, compulsory celibacy, full-sale deeroticization, onanization, sodomization, and for repeated offenders--castration." The book makes other references to population control and one character notes that continuing trends of population would eventually result in human beings exploding outward at the speed of light. Nature is addressed in an equally hilarious means as later in the book all animals have been extinct and replaced with what appear to be better controlled robots.
While in his room, Tichy makes the mistake of drinking the water and discovers that the water is spiked with a powerful hallucinogenic drug. He assumes it's the work of the revolutionaries and decides not to tell anyone but as the violence outside escalates and he mentions it to a fellow futurologist, he discovers that it is the rise of chryptochemocracy! With the hotel's staff, he quickly equips a gas mask as it becomes clear that chemical warfare is afoot ... of a psychedelic nature. Planes are called in equiped with LTN bombs. LTN stands for "Love Thy Neighbor" which is pretty indicative of today's munitions and their goals with surgical strikes. Hilariously enough, the very hotel in which the congress is convening is immediately bombed by mistake.
After pages of chemical warfare that affect the crowd's temperament and counter chemicals that affect the crowd's temperament, Tichy and a friend find oxygen tanks and masks and descend to the sewers where the hotel staff is relaxing comfortably with their own oxygen tanks and masks.
Unfortunately, Tichy and his companion do not have enough oxygen to last the night and therefore must take shifts suffering hallucinations. What follows from this point is a series of hallucinations that Tichy has ending in him coming to in the sewer. Tichy has several of these bizarre hallucinations ending in him being shot by revolutionaries in the sewer. He comes to certain that he is still hallucinating and refuses to believe anyone he is not. As a result, they freeze him until they can find a cure for his mental illness and he is unthawed many years later in a reality where 'psychemicals' keep everyone happy. This overmedicated society disgusts and frightens Tichy at times. It has gotten so bad that a company now exists where you can order a psychem that allows you the satisfaction of doing evil upon another person. Murder's no longer a problem, you just get reanimated. The worst possible offense is using psychems on an individual without their consent.
Tichy attempts to adapt and I couldn't help but be reminded of Fry in Futurama with similar humor employed nearly thirty years before it. As Tichy reconnects with his futurologist friend (people stopped dying as technology caught up a la Kurzweil), he discovers something unsettling about the drugs everyone is taking. He discovers that there's mascons that act as blockers to your senses and replace it with a superficial reality. And we start to understand why everything is so mysteriously idyllic while at the same times animals have been extinct for many years and the planet is at an overburdening 26 billion people. Tichy's friend hands him two vials that will unblock the layers of mascons. You see, the 'architects' of this current psychem reality have patched and repatched side effects of psychems and mascons with more psychems and mascons in the air and water supply! I'll leave The Matrix-like vials and harsh transition from utopia to dystopia for people interested in reading the book.
This book was a joy to read and although the very end is a bit dissatisfying to me, the satire and pessimism inherent to Lem's writings have influenced me and continue to influence me heavily. I like to think that Lem borrowed from sci-fi writers like Philip K. Dick and that other science fiction authors like Douglas Adams have borrowed from Lem despite the language barrier and difference in culture. While Lem may not be the icon that Lovecraft, Clarke and Asimov have become, I certainly hope that people recognize his large corpus of works for more than just Solaris as I've enjoyed many novels by him. Lem offers a rare dark comedy in science fiction with The Futurological Congress.
You can pick up the English version of The Futurological Congress at Amazon . And catch the Ari Folman movie where the present day will be live action while the unfathomable future will be animated to adapt to the stark impossibilities the book portrays.
Fan Mail from firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Why must you lie on Slashdot? Or is it that you're stupid?
So, the question is, are you just a REALLY bad reader, or are you that guy who has to lie because intelligent discourse is beyond his intellectual capability?
Subject: God, why are you such a lying piece of shit?
"Excuse me, how did we go from sarcasm and suing:
(1) get another job, (2) sue people, or (3) invent some magic spell?"
WE didn't, YOU did. WE understood what he meant from the start and didn't have to resort to straw men and lies like you have
Subject: God, you've PROVEN you don't read what you're responding to
HE ALREADY STATED, IN THE POST YOU ARE "REPLYING" TO THAT HE ISN'T PUBLISHED BY OREILLY.
"First, O'Reilly isn't really my publisher"
How fucking stupid are you?
Yeah, I was wrong, I would like to send my apologies to Steve Stephenson who is employed at ecinstall.com and can be reached at email@example.com.
I was confused with his publisher, I am completely straightened out thanks to your extreme language. You, truly, you sir are the epitome of "intelligent discourse" as yo put it. Never have I matched wits with someone so intelligent. I only wish more people like you would send me mail so I could finally decide to stop visiting Slashdot when I am bored.
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Massive Music Contributions to Wikimedia Commons?
- Music with historical significance--a very small group.
- Music with no historical significance although popular enough that people may be interested in hearing samples of it--a very very large group.
- Music with not only no historical significance but so obscure that no one could ever possibly care--a decent amount (example Zager & Evans' In the Year 2525 (Exordium & Terminus) album).
So before I start this endeavor and devote a lot of time to it, I have been trying to find the answers to a few questions you might be able to help me with: Will all of this be torn down? Just from group 3? Just from group 2? Does Wikipedia care about the "encyclopedic worthiness" of audio files? If there is a page for a fairly obscure album like Thunder, Lightning, Strike by The Go! Team, would they like clips from every track on the album or just the popular tracks like "Huddle Formation?"
All the info I can find out there seems to be photo oriented and revolve around license disputes when marked for deletion ... but I feel I am sitting on a large volume of music and could spend some extra time carefully documenting it on Wikipedia for everyone's benefit. Is it worth my time or will I face an epic culling (like the anima/manga fans) in the future once word gets out about it?
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