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In France, Most Comments on Gaza Conflict Yanked From Mainstream News Sites

fazig Re: Like China och USSR (480 comments)

Chinese sites remove comments themselves too. They get "guidance" from the government on what to remove. Sounds like the French situation is exactly the same: the government lays out laws saying what is and is not acceptable speech and apparently, virtually all comments on this particular conflict are unacceptable.

That's a strawman.
This is not an indicator for censorship on virtually all comments on this particular conflict. You don't know about the content of the comments. It could mean that virtually all comments on this conflict are in fact blatant anti-semitism, trolls and flames. Israel and Palestine has always been a very delicate topic, much like all political and religious debates. A lot of people that like to comment on these things seem to be strongly biased towards one of the sides.

For example you can check out the news section on pick one of the News about Israel and Gaza and scroll down to the comment section, which is not moderated, as far as I know. Have fun.

German Newspapers do practically the same thing as the French. The government only guides them to remove illegal content like, holocaust denial (which is a crime in Germany). Pretty much everything else is the websites exercising their own freedom of expression. It's their website, their comment system and therefore they're allowed to control its contents. This is very much like your householder's rights. If there's some guy on your lawn shouting something that you don't agree with you have the right to shoo him away but when he's on public property then you have no right to constrict his speech.
Most of our major newspapers mostly censor insults, trolls and baseless racism, at least from what I've seen. I can't provide any statistics to back this up. There's plenty of criticism towards Israel and the US, but on a civilized level.


German NSA Committee May Turn To Typewriters To Stop Leaks

fazig Re:So what? they can be tapped to. (244 comments)

Social Engineering.
Certainly, it's not as cost effective as other methods and requires elaborate planning. But no matter the technological level of advancement this has been, and most likely will continue to be, a very serious security threat. Simply because it targets a vulnerability that will be very hard to fix - our social, human nature.

about two weeks ago

People Who Claim To Worry About Climate Change Don't Cut Energy Use

fazig Re:No real surprise (710 comments)

That's not what I can read from his statement. But it's good that you formulated it as a question and not a statement. Less things can go wrong if you simply as a question. Even if it sounds condescending you can claim that it was simply out of curiosity.

Big Business in general is hardly interested in reducing energy consumption, because in the short term that would lower profit, and you know, you can't lower profit! Another way would be to lay off some of the work force. Most politicians don't like that because "jobs" are always a solid vote getter, and lower profit means less money from taxes, another inconvenience. So most governments just play ball with Big Business, creating these stupid carbon credits, that mostly benefit Big Business.
Neither does this mean that all those CO2 measurements are fabricated, nor that AGW as a whole is a lie, but it means that AGW was hijacked by Big Business and introduced into politics to suit their own purposes. Beneficial changes would be merely secondary effects, which are nice to have, but hardly a requirement.

about two weeks ago

When Beliefs and Facts Collide

fazig Re:Not surprising. (725 comments)

Is this a case of belief vs. scientific fact? Technically we are are animals.
It doesn't matter if it's people, foxes or peas, for genetics the same principles apply to all living things that reproduce in the same fashion, as in two sexes that combine their genetic material into an offspring.
Agriculture has used selective breeding for plants and animals, that follows the very same principle, for ages with great success.

The big difference between us and 'lower animals' as well as plants is that we created a system of morals and ethics that mostly apply to us and not those other lifeforms. And since most of us aren't sociopaths unable to feel empathy we don't like the concept of eugenics applied to the human society because it would have very inconvenient consequences. I wouldn't want it. But all that doesn't change the fact that the basis for Eugenics is in fact scientific.

about three weeks ago

German Intelligence Employee Arrested On Suspicion of Spying For US On Bundestag

fazig Re:In Soviet Germany... (74 comments)

Most certainly he would have been arrested.
At this point in the "NSA-incident" the current government probably would like nothing more than to get some dirt on Russia.

about three weeks ago

Half of Germany's Power Supplied By Solar, Briefly

fazig Re:Winter is coming (461 comments)

As a German I'm glad that we're seeking for a wide variety of energy sources, but I'm far from happy about the execution of this process. The way alternative energies are subsidized here is kinda stupid and makes a lot of people hate all forms of alternative energies, since they have to pay for the change directly through their energy bills.

With a really large economy, without losing much GDP. The point that's being demonstrated is that a power infrastructure changeover can be done without sacrificing being a first world nation along the way.

Germany didn't lose much GDP because the industry underwent changes in these years too. Since Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU there is massive influx of new workers from these countries, of which the majority demands about half the pay a regular German worker does. This increased productivity despite the ever rising energy costs for most of the non energy intensive industry. In the process it damaged the economy of adjacent countries, in which companies choose to outsource their production lines to Germany, where production is cheaper. But can the German economy keep up with that?
Minimum wages are being introduced which will make all these current low priced jobs about 60% more expensive. Eventually the influx of new workers will slow down and even come to an end. We'll have to see what happens when the last fission power plant goes offline in 2022.
Other than that the current German government is planning to build more lignite power plants for our base load demands on energy, which will definitely increase the CO2 output. Makes perfect sense, doesn't it? The coal power Lobby is a strong one here in Germany and since it will be good for the German economy by create new jobs on a large scale, the Government plays ball with them.

about a month ago

German Intel Agency Helped NSA Tap Fiber Optic Cables In Germany

fazig Re:Are the Stasi already forgotten? (103 comments)

From the perspective of a citizen it seems inconceivable, yes, but from the point of view of certain politicians and organizations not so much.
In 2009 there were controversial laws and actions within Germany concerning privacy and surveillance, that prompted videos like this, which was then adopted as a campaign commercial for the Pirate Party in the same year.
The "Vorratsdatenspeicherung", for example, was actually implemented and had to be ruled as unconstitutional by the Bundesverfassungsgericht in 2010 before it could be abolished.
For me as a Germany citizen it was inconceivable that the BND couldn't possibly be involved. As long as they don't have to spent a lot more money on their part, get some benefit from direct cooperation, and on top of that keep up good relations with a US intelligence agency, why would they refuse?

about a month ago

Emotional Contagion Spread Through Facebook

fazig Re:Turn off, tune out. (127 comments)

So, they trade their privacy for convenience, probably unmindful of the consequences. This is exactly what I was talking about.

If you and your friends' concept of online privacy is "just don't say private things online", none of you know better. You have it backwards: people don't know when to shut up about private things.

It was sarcasm on my part. But you're right it's exactly the reason why I don't want to use Facebook. I know from experience just how easy it is to let something slip, and once it is on the internet you can't undo it, especially not on Facebook where it is tied to your virtual persona. Another problem here is that you don't even need to have an account there, all it takes is to have some friends who use it and post stuff about you.
Facebook isn't the focal point, there's plenty of other stuff to talk about. It has just become the preferred method of longrange communication, for me however it still is XMPP, where I have some proper end to end encryption, but few others see it the same way. And if I want to consumate memes and youtube stuff, I know plenty of sites where I don't have to create an account.

about a month ago

Emotional Contagion Spread Through Facebook

fazig Re:Turn off, tune out. (127 comments)

Facebook is mostly used for communicating over a distance. But it's also things like the release of our upcoming schedule. It's not done per eMail or the other "old ways" like google docs, any more, they do it in Facebook groups. So I either have to ask someone else to forward that information to me or hope that they communicate it in 'compatible ways', which is done via XMPP. But it's odd somehow, since I'm the only one, besides the Professors, who requires this. Things I'm missing out on are some memes and the latest funny youtube videos.
Previously for "online communication" we used channels like IRC, ICQ, Jabber or Skype, but since there were a lot of different preferences and WhatsApp on our phones as well as Facebook were the most commonly used platforms, those were chosen for everything.

My initial point was that this isn't only teenager who can alter your life parameters in this way or another. There are adult people with considerable intellect participating in these things, letting them being dragged into ridiculous arguments about religion and politics. Then you tune in one of those rather heated debates that made it to the dinner table and although you share their views, you have to ask yourself: "Who did come up with this stupid idea in the first place, and why should even care that much? Ah, yes something that must have been posted on Facebook." Simply tuning out again becomes increasingly difficult at this point.

about a month ago

Emotional Contagion Spread Through Facebook

fazig Re:Turn off, tune out. (127 comments)

And so therefore what?
I'm 31 now, work as an engineer in an university lab. I'm not a nerd without a backbone, sitting in his parents basement, who is bullied by the popular kids in school. Most of my colleges and virtually all of my friends, none of them younger than 27, use Facebook. Since they all graduated in computer science or some field of information technology, they should know better about the security and privacy concern that come with using Facebook, but they use it anyway. It's simply too convenient for them as a platform for communication with local friends and people that you can't meet on a regular basis, and since "everyone" is using it why not use it yourself? After all you know when to shut up about private things...
Not using Facebook makes me the oddball among them, after all I'm the one who is still using 'antiquated' internet forums to discuss things and sites like Slashdot. Keeping up with them on the latest news takes a lot more effort from my side. I can feel the persistent peer pressure and its emotional effects. "Why can't you even register a proxy account and simply join us? You don't actually have to post anything." - is one of the common arguments. I brush it off, try to not let it affect me, like in the years where everyone had to have a World of Warcraft account, but I can't ignore the fact that it is a form of isolation when you don't do what everyone else does. The 'WoW'-phase passed, perhaps the same will happen to this Facebook thing, but currently there is no end in sight.
Now you might ask why I even want to keep up with those people? I could get another job, find new friends? Well I do have a lot in common with them, just not the usage of Facebook. Another thing is that you can't simply turn off and tune out your life. Note that my 'group' certainly is not representative for all people but it is the world I'm living in.

about a month ago

EU May Allow Members Home Rule On GMO Foods

fazig Re:The science behind GMOs show they are safe. (272 comments)

Now you're making another straw man.
Your previous straw man was lumping the majority of anti-nuke and pro coal people together as if this was the regular stance, because that is far from true. Certainly there are lunatics among the anti-nuke crowd but they are a minority. Yes, they might be the ones with the loudest voices but that still doesn't make them a majority. Not every vegan acts like a PeTA member on a demonstration, not every feminist wants to eradicate all men, not every Muslim wants to destroy the USA.
And they're yelling for building more alternative power sources and not only closing down the nuke plants. At least here in Germany, where the phasing out of nuclear power was decided years ago. Ever since then these things are hot topics and highly discussed among the internet with a wide variety of opinions. There are those people who are extremely bitter about the phasing out because it was done with subsidizing alternative energies in a transparent way that increased energy costs for everyone. Probably also just a loud mouth minority that distorts the perception of 'their' group.
Here something about the situation of energy economy in Germany. It is that alternative Energy sources produce cheap energy in abundant form, more than we can actually use, despite its fluctuations. That would make energy cheaper, because supply and demand applies here to. So why is that energy expensive? Well, in 2000 the Social Democrats and Green coalition had the 'brilliant' idea to subsidize alternative energy by fixed rates for power that was created from alternative energy sources. Which results in ever increasing prices for the consumer as the energy prices decline on the stock market. This is because regular energy providers are required by law to buy energy at fixed rates from private suppliers of alternative energies. And as they are well entitled to do they transfer the costs to the consumer. Basically all sides, that don't benefit from the fixed rates, call for a revision of these laws. Some politicians agree and want to abolish it completely, which would stop people from selling their energy and become somewhat independent. Others like Sigmar Gabriel want to make people pay money for the energy they create and use themselves, because it will hurt the market if you can provide for yourself. Another brilliant idea that infuriated a lot of people but the opponents of alternative energies. The audible part of them tries to discredit everything that is not nuclear power. For coal we have those statistics and AGW, for solar we have 'clouds' and a dirty production, which isn't as dirty in Germany as it is in the US, but they don't care about that. For wind, which some describe as "windmills", we have irregular weather. For offshore wind parks we have short lived technology that would require to build millions of wind wheels (not my calculations).

Ironically, at some point we'll have to hope for a magic pony, perhaps even a unicorn, to come around and fix things for us. You and I most likely won't have to face this, but we live in an universe with finite resources, of which some we have in abundance, others we don't. Currently we run on 'condensed' solar power. Fossil fuels are basically solar power transformed by plants and gravitational energy of our planet into a convenient form of high energy density. And heavy elements like Uranium are also formed in heavy stars when they go supernova. But neither are all possible isotopes of those heavy elements equally distributed nor is their half life equal, it's simply physics, electromagnetic, strong and weak interactions.
That's where I personally start to dislike the Uranium235-lobby. We have plenty of Uranium238 on this planet, which makes up more than 99% of all Uranium isotopes, yet they want to cling to the one isotope that makes up only about .7%, because the technology used here is well researched, engineered and therefore cheap. They don't want to invest money into breeder type reactors, that can utilize Uranium238 and Thorium232 and only need Uranium235 as a starter, because it's 'currently' not economical, so they keep building LWRs. Only Canada is with their CANDUs (PHWR) among the few nations that uses more advanced reactors, that required the more expensive heavy water as a moderator. The other one would be India where mostly PHWRs are used. Somehow, for them, it seems to be economical to not fully depend on enriched Uranium.

Personally I'm not against nuclear power at all. I simply have my concerns about our "never change a running system" approach to things, where adaptation seems to be way too uncomfortable until it becomes an inevitability.

about a month and a half ago

EU May Allow Members Home Rule On GMO Foods

fazig Re:The science behind GMOs show they are safe. (272 comments)

[...] why not just stick with what works and focus on getting the costs down?

If we followed that logic then we probably would still live in caves. No doubt comfortable and sophisticated caves, but still caves.

The thing with Uranium is that it will decay whether we use it for energy generation or not, so why not utilize it? But does any technology do that can use it as a fuel in any way? With more fuel efficient reactors there's less waste per Watt generated, that has to be stored away in a safe place. That is something that should be considered.

On a side note, in 2006 the German government issued a study on the Uranium238 and Uranium235 reserves. Their conclusion was that the reserves will last us another 200 years if we would generate all power that was currently consumed from conventional Uranium235 reactors.

about a month and a half ago

EU May Allow Members Home Rule On GMO Foods

fazig Re:The science behind GMOs show they are safe. (272 comments)

We know pollution from coal power is killing people, we know coal mines are killing people, yet those same anti-nuke guys rarely call for closing coal power plants when they call for closing nuclear power plants.

You're arguing against a straw man here.

The nuclear-power opponents in Europe are all but unanimous about a proper replacement of these power plants. Some call for 'alternative' energies, like wind, water, solar and organic, others call for gas or coal. Some are staunch opponents of alternative energies and state that we should not waste any money on research of new forms of energy storage, since Uranium and coal practically are stored energy. Then there are those who create the false dichotomy that it's either nuclear power or coal, and then cite statistics that illustrate how much people died from the results of air pollution, in order to promote nuclear power as the only alternative. Some want to abolish most of the conventional energy sourced, probably keep them for emergency situations.

Now to the political and economic situation in Europe: Both Germany and Poland have large deposits of lignite. Polands economy isn't doing well, which is why they don't want to give up on their cheap lignite energy. Leading German politicians are acting childlike in response, basically stating "If they don't have to give up on that, then neither will I." Although Germany has a healthy economy despite the highest prices for energy within the EU, the leading political parties promote coal-power. Political parties in Germany like the Liberals (conservatives), Christian Democrats (conservatives) and Social Democrats, of which the last two make up the current government, want to build more and modern coal power plants, because it will create a lot of new jobs, will make Germany somewhat independent and more competitive on the free market. The political parties Left and Green are against power from coal and want to promote alternative energies even more, since they see only this way as a long term solution to become independent.

What I personally dislike about nuclear-power is the Uranium235-lobby. Apparently they don't like newer reactor types like fast breeders or liquid-fluoride reactors. Neither do they want to decommission old plants nor do they want to invest money to develop these fuel efficient reactor types. Apparently they cling to their old reactors that aren't able to 'breed' fissionable materials from Uranium238 at proper rates and depend on higher concentrations of Uranium235 (enriched Uranium).

about a month and a half ago

EU May Allow Members Home Rule On GMO Foods

fazig Re:I actually read the article... (272 comments)

But he has a point.
When we 'humans' started with agriculture, natural selection wasn't the rule any more, it simply became a competitor. From that point we did the selecting, breeding, hybridization and so on.
"Germans", for example, don't like GMO, but they apparently have no problems with mutation breeding, which introduces random mutations into the genome. Most Germans don't even know about this practice and that it isn't classified as GMO, but can actually be sold as "organic" food.

about a month and a half ago

Google Fit To Curate Steps, Calories, Heart Rate, Other Biometric Data

fazig Re:Fuck Google (53 comments)

I don't know about Canada, but over here the privacy laws protect you about as effectively as a police car at the street corner can protect you from being mugged.

Actually I live in Germany. Yes we have our precious privacy laws, draconian in appearance but impractical and ineffective in application. EULAs don't hold much weight here, like most digitally signed contracts, which does give me some legal leverage, but only technically. It doesn't stop companies, that aren't located in the EU, from violating my local privacy laws and neither does it stop companies in Germany to buy data that was mined in illegal ways. Google is neither an EU nor a German company, and while the EU and Germany could prohibit Google from doing business here people will still use their services and devices.
My point here is: When you can find such an article in the EULA, you can expect that it will be done, whether it complies if your local law or not.

about a month and a half ago

Google Fit To Curate Steps, Calories, Heart Rate, Other Biometric Data

fazig Re:Fuck Google (53 comments)

EULA: You agree that Google may transfer, store, and/or share your User Data with third party organizations, like health insurance companies.

about a month and a half ago

Iran Court Summons Mark Zuckerberg For Facebook Privacy Violations

fazig Re:Zionist? (304 comments)

Yes, Zuckerberg the Zionist manager of facebook, immediately caught my attention too because it makes it sound that the verdict already is 'guilty of all charges'.
I can't answer the question about Zionism, I've never heard such allegations before, but it's very likely for "Iran" to jump to conclusions based on his yiddish (?) name.

According to a recent survey ( because the Preview didn't show me a working link), especially the middle Eastern and northern African people have rather biased opinions about the yewish faith and ethnicity. Interestingly Iran is among the nations with the least prejudices, albeit still high with 56%.

about 2 months ago

German Court Rules That You Can't Keep Compromising Photos After a Break-Up

fazig Re:German courts require break-up documentation? (334 comments)

They do have something like that, it's called marriage or civil union. Come to think of it, other nations do the same thing.

about 2 months ago

Physics Students Devise Concept For Star Wars-Style Deflector Shields

fazig Re:You mean Star Trek? (179 comments)

Yes, the rate of advance is accelerating, fusion is only 40 years away, like it was 40 years ago. Although, this problem could be tackled.
Here we are talking about an antimatter reactor, in an universe where antimatter has to be 'created' at extremely high energy expenses and has to be contained in strong magnetic fields, which require high electrical currents, since there is no 'material' container for antimatter other than antimatter. A reactor that is so powerful that its energy can bend space itself, with the virtual mass of an entire star. A reactor that is very hard to control, therefore they had to invent "Dilithium", an element with magical properties, while being somewhat impervious to antimatter itself.
These things are preposterous, while other stuff from Star Trek is not. You might enjoy this one.

about 3 months ago


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