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SourceForge Clarifies Denial of Site Access

ermon Re:Can you say, 'Proxy Server'? I knew you could! (396 comments)

I am not sure how this will work - You won't know a request comes from a 'proxy' rather than a 'user' unless you have some sort of world-wide authentication of users.

Sure, the US can ban the use of proxies in the US - but how about a proxy in Finland or Russia?
Is the US going to filter inbound connections and drop requests coming from 'known proxies' (which is also unlikely to be an effective measure)?

about 5 years ago

TSA Subpoenas Bloggers Over New Security Directive

ermon Re:Because obscurity... (379 comments)

There is a practical problem with total information, though -

In today's world there is just too much information. Even if you had access to it all, would you know what to look for? where to look for it? Or even that there was something to look for in the first place?

For that you would probably rely on someone to guide you to the right place or at least to the right question. That person would still need anonymity if they are acting against the wishes of the powers that be.

Ideally, access to information provides equality but in practice access is not enough. That is why we have experts in fields like mathematics... Everyone has access to all of the information but very few can make proper use of it.

about 5 years ago

Engaging With Climate Skeptics

ermon Re:ESR said it very well - Open Source Science (822 comments)

In the academic world it is:
1) Easier to get a paper published if it makes predictions that carry more weight, so overhyping results and especially implications is regretfully a frequent occurrence in the discussion sections of papers.
Note that these are not lies/propaganda in the actual paper. Instead an author is more likely to present and emphasize the most influential and important scenarios.

2) It is easier to get grant money and general funding if the problem you are discussing has grave implications... Grant money is what makes more research possible.

All in all, the academic world rewards research for important findings - and I think we can all agree that the greater the danger of climate change, the more important the finding that reports it is.

more than 5 years ago

Public School Teachers Selling Lesson Plans Online

ermon Re:What questions? (590 comments)

Well, there is another difference here - Schools/Universities generally do not use lesson plans nor do they generate or store them.
Moreover, I do not think the administrators view that as part of their role.
I agree that this is partly due to a cultural difference between academia and industry, but moreso it is because a lesson plan is deemed to be part of the teacher's repertoire and experience, much like knowledge of a specific programming language or paradigm is something a programmer put on their CV.

There might be cases where schools actually do have specific lesson plans they want teachers to use, and in those cases it is clear that the school is the holder of the rights for those plans - but in other cases, especially when a teacher arrives at the school with experience teaching the class (including lesson plans), the teacher would seem to be the one with the rights to the plans.

However, I do agree that in the sense that many lesson plans are derivatives of many people's works they are somewhat alike to the GPL and other free software licenses in spirit.

I would love to see a world in which there is a central pool of license plans for teachers to pick and choose from.
Unfortunately, in the US it is more likely to be a market. But even a market is better than the limited amount of sharing that has been going on so far. Change comes in increments.

P.S: As some other comments have mentioned, I believe that if eventually ownership is decided to belong to the schools very little sharing would be possible.

more than 5 years ago

Public School Teachers Selling Lesson Plans Online

ermon Re:US Copyright laws (590 comments)

Disclaimer: I teach classes at the college level.

I think the situation is more vague than you make it appear. A teacher is hired to teach students, often with the understanding that they have prior experience teaching this class (and that includes lesson plans).

One the one hand you can argue that a lesson plan is an integral part of the "teaching" activity. On the other, you can argue that teachers develops it on their own to aid their teaching.
Often, this lesson plan was developed prior to their current job (these have a tendency to develop over the lifetime of the teacher and are some are passed from one generation to the next)

Mostly, a lesson plan is an external representation of internalized knowledge and organization of the subject matter.

Would you argue that the teacher's knowledge of math also belongs to the school if they teach math?

To use the programmer analogy that has been floating around this discussion, if a programmer learned prolog as part of her current job is she allowed to utilize her newly acquired knowledge in her next job?
Can she tutor other programmers in prolog?

A lesson plan is just that - a form of knowledge preservation. It helps the teacher remember how they taught the class before so they can more easily teach it again and become better over time.

I am not a lawyer, so I cannot claim to answer whether a lesson plan created by a teacher is a "work for hire", but my intuition is that the consensus among teachers is that it belongs to the teacher.
In any case, I do not think the situation is as clear cut as you make it to be, especially if we consider how lesson plans come to be and how they are used.

more than 5 years ago

Public School Teachers Selling Lesson Plans Online

ermon Re:What questions? (590 comments)

A disclaimer: I am a PhD student and I teach classes at the college level.

I think the issue is not as clear cut as the parent makes it seem. While "teaching" is work for hire, at the college level in many cases you are hired to teach a specific course, often with the assumption that you have already taught it before and therefore have some experience in the matter.

Note that this means that generally the teacher brings the lesson plan with them when they are hired. Moreover, it is common for friends and colleagues to share their lesson plans.

Overall, I believe the consensus among teachers (at least the ones I know, both at the college and at the public school/kindergarden level) is that the lesson plans you come up with (usually improvements over other people's lesson plans) are yours to do with as you wish.
The work you are hired to do is teach. The lesson plan is a "tool" you bring from home - much like the knowledge you acquired over the years (which lessons plan arguably are)

Also, lesson plans are often very personal - from my experience even when you get someone else's lesson plans you have to do quite a bit of work to adapt them to your own style.

Finally, do you believe that when I graduate and move to another institution I should have to ask permission of my current employer to use the lesson plans I developed? or perhaps that I should be barred from using/improving them altogether?

more than 5 years ago

Recovering the Slums of the Internet?

ermon Re:You Don't. That's the point. (218 comments)

If you're an ISP or hosting provider, and you harbor spammers and botnets, the IP ranges you hold are permanently devalued. That means it's harder for you to get customers, more expensive to support your legitimate customers, and your business, when you decide to sell it, is worth less than if you'd booted the goddamn spammers off your network when you had the chance.

While this is good policy on it's face, it has a severe problem - the ISP itself is not permanent. What if the spam-friendly ISP goes out of business and it's IP range is reassigned to a spam-hostile provider?

The parent seems to conflate an IP address assignment with an ISP. IP assignment is not permanent - IP addresses and ranges can and have been reassigned from one provider to another.

Based on the type of permanent blacklisting argued for by the parent, the spam-hostile provider is still blocked simply because they reside in the a range previously owned by spammers. Over time, spammers move around and contaminate an ever growing portion of the IP space. If this IP space cannot be reclaimed the number of useful IP addresses will shrink over time.

In some sense, IPv6 is the solution - but until that blessed day arrives, IPv4 addresses are in short supply. As a result, some method of reclaiming "bad" IP addresses once their owners reform must be made available.

That is precisely the question under discussion here.

more than 5 years ago

UK Law Enforcement Is Against "3-Strikes"

ermon Re:Reassuring (134 comments)

Not really necessary when you can lock someone up for two years for refusing to divulge keys.

However, asking for someone's key lets them know you're watching them... Perhaps it isn't a problem if you already have what you need from the wiretap, but how can you be sure?

more than 5 years ago

Spammers' Upend DNS

ermon Re:False positive when dropping invalid link (304 comments)

I think you missed the point.

Say we both work for some company X, and we use a server that is within the firewall and called foo.local

I am at home, and the e-mail I read at home is a@isp and not a@corporate.

You want to send me an urgent message to log onto the company VPN and check out something on foo.local, but I have to send it to a@isp.

The @isp mail server can't resolve foo.local and will therefore drop the message, meaning I will never get your message.

There are times when you want to send e-mail about internal domains to e-mail addresses residing outside of the domain, where the MX server at the end of the line cannot resolve the internal domain, but the person reading the e-mail can (through access to the internal servers).

about 10 years ago


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