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You Might Rent Features & Options On Cars In the Future

feepcreature But it will be a felony to hack the features (437 comments)

I don't agree - stupid consumers will get screwed, and unlocking features that were not licensed off the factory will be a new hack-athon...

Like with DRM, it will be a felony to bypass the feature locking mechanism in the USA (and most of the rest of the world, thanks to lobbyists and policy laundering. All consumers will get "screwed".

Hope you DIY enthusiasts aren't living in a state with mandatory life sentences for your third "felony"!

1 year,9 days

AT&T Introduces "Sponsored Data" Allowing Services to Bypass 4G Data Caps

feepcreature low cunning, not clever (229 comments)

It's just a repackaging of the old net-discrimination ideas that provoked the Net Neutrality debate.

Make data allowances artificially low, and charge content providers to "ensure" they are not throttled. It's not in the interests of consumers, and it's not in the interests of content providers.

I can see why AT&T might like it though...

1 year,25 days

Majority of Americans Say NSA Phone Tracking Is OK To Fight Terrorism

feepcreature It's OK to spy on OTHER people (584 comments)

Of course most people will say that. It's about Terrorism, after all, and they are not Terrorists, so the government is only spying on Other People, right?

And it's not so bad that other bad people give up a little of their privacy to keep US safer.

about a year and a half ago

Sweden Imports European Garbage To Power the Nation

feepcreature Actually pretty clever partial solution! (165 comments)

Because, of course, it contributes NO greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

We're some way off global, carbon-free energy production, as you point out. But that's not the problem this is solving.

Of course energy from garbage contributes greenhouse gases. But this is not displacing greenhouse-gas-free nuclear or wave power generation - it is reducing the dependency on high-running-cost, greenhouse-gas-producing oil / gas / coal power. So it increases sustainability to that extent. That is a good thing. And less landfill is also a good thing.

It's not about "shiny", so much as improving things where and when we can. But we need to increase reuse and recycling (in that order), and reduce waste caused by built-in obsolescence, excess packaging, and excessive consumption too.

more than 2 years ago

Australian Government Censors Draft Snooping Laws

feepcreature early days... nip it in the bud? (150 comments)

It sounds troubling, but it's hardly even a Government proposal for legislation, never mind a Bill being laid before parliament. And the decision to withhold the draft may still be appealed.

This seems to be an early draft (a bit like the ACTA negotiations, perhaps) since the grounds for withholding are:

  • the material is still in draft form
  • the material has not gone through the necessary whole-of-government review and approval processes; and
  • to release such material at this stage would, in [the bureaucrat's] view, prejudice the current negotiations and decision making processes which are in train

So the Department concerned is probably committed to something like the draft, and they are trying to work out what is feasible, but the rest of the government has not yet had a chance to comment.

The appropriate response at this stage is probably (1) appeal, (2) contact representatives in government and opposition who may oppose any provisions that threaten civil liberties, and (3) use the media (and slashdot) to raise awareness that something is coming in the future.

But it is not normal to release early drafts (that have not yet been thought through properly) to the public - at that stage you could not possibly have a workable policy, and people may get very worked up about errors that the government themselves will address. Surely the time for public scrutiny is when concrete proposals are made?

Though crowdsourcing of bills might be interesting... it worked for the constitution in Iceland, didn't it?

more than 2 years ago

Wave Glider Robot Helps Forecast Hurricane Isaac's Path

feepcreature drones in war on weather! (35 comments)

So does this mean that in the war on weather, we can use the drones to shoot down hurricanes and suspected hurricanes before they reach the US?

Great news, I think (clearly I didn't have time to read the summary).

more than 2 years ago

"Open Source Bach" Project Completed; Score and Recording Now Online

feepcreature How do you review this sort of thing (110 comments)

TFA is a bit light. I'm wondering how you review a score? Was it "muse score software didn't display this note properly", or "the music would sound better if you went up instead of down here, or repeated a theme differently"?

Open source music, now there's an idea. Could be like composing by committee...

more than 2 years ago

Microsoft Wrongly Gives Britain the Day Off

feepcreature Mi part of USA, World Series part of World? (253 comments)

If it only hit Missouri, it would still be called a US Tour. It happens all the time.

Is that how they named the "World Series"?
To be fair, I guess all the teams are actually in "the world" :)

more than 2 years ago

ACTA Signed By 8 of 11 Participating Countries

feepcreature Re:info about what's bad about it? (213 comments)

As I said in an earlier post, the" MAY" clauses are a problem, because the governments / lobbyists who write the legislation required by the treaty will include them! Good luck with teh line-by-line scrutiny of the bills as they pass through your legislatures.

> The parts the EFF seems worried about are, in RFC terms, MAY clauses, not MUST or even SHOULD clauses.

more than 3 years ago

ACTA Signed By 8 of 11 Participating Countries

feepcreature Re:What's the problem? (213 comments)

The problem?
The ACTA treaty confers powers with dangerously broad and ambiguous language - an example is language to ban:

a device or product, including computer programs, or provision of a service that... has only a limited commercially significant purpose other than circumventing an effective technological measure.

So legitimate purposes that are significant, but can be made out not to be commercially significant, won't protect you. Education and research purposes, and fair use gone, at one stroke!

The international coordination is all about the interests of "intellectual property" owners (mostly distributors, in the content industries), and not about consumers or the broader creative economy. The only stakeholders explicitly mentioned are "rights holders" - if we're lucky, the rest of the world may sneak in as "other relevant
stakeholders" - but don't hold your breath - it hasn't happened yet, and isn't happening in the shady negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. And the only measurement or analysis to be done is about how well they tackle the nut of infringement, with no examination of the sledgehammer of social and economic costs of the enforcement regime ACTA requires.

Then there are the optional extras such as:

A Party may exclude from the application of this Section small quantities of goods of a non-commercial nature contained in travellers’ personal luggage. [a Good Thing]


A Party may provide for the remedies described in this Article to be carried out at the infringer’s expense. [not necessarily A Good Thing]

A good government would implement the protections ACTA says they MAY do, and omit some of the more onerous and opressive powers the lobbyists got into ACTA as optional extras.

Our governments, on the other hand, will use draft legislation written by the same content industry lobbyists who wrote the original ACTA policy shopping list, and will try to omit every inconvenient consumer protection measure some ACTA negotiaters insisted on, and include each of the overreaching powers the negotiators reduced from MUST to MAY in ACTA.

Or we can just stop worrying and hope that the law-faries will bring us cuddly, fair and reasonable legislation that servers the public interest, instead.

more than 3 years ago

Evangelical Scientists Debate Creation Story

feepcreature Re:Land of Nod (1014 comments)

Adam and Eve weren't the first humans to exist. They were the first to receive a soul which is what makes humans different from all other animals...

Scary AND incoherent: if the soul makes humans different from animals, how could there be humans [even before Adam] without a soul?

If you think there can be people with souls and people without souls, then you may feel tempted to do or allow sorts of evil to anyone you consider "without soul". Though some so-called musicians clearly don't have soul, and deserve all manner of evil. Get those kids with their walkpods off my lawn.

more than 3 years ago

S&P's $2 Trillion Math Mistake

feepcreature Re:fault them both - they deserve it (1040 comments)

From what I read here, outside of the USA, where the media are less partisan when covering internal US issues

Are you kidding? Britain in particular is way left-of-center.

By less partisan, I mean not so much dominated by the twin US-centric filters of either "the Democrats are destroying the country" or "the Republicans are destroying the country". Also, the broadcast media in Britain are generally committed to presenting two views (and exactly two views) on any issue. It's almost the same as balance, and a lot more like balance than what Fox / Huf Post do.

As for "Britain is left-of-center", in Global terms Britain is probably a little right-of centre, with privatised industries, private participation in healthcare, and competition in broadband provision . The US is a lot further to the right (except for the competition in broadband provision bit), which may explain why the rest of world looks a bit communist.

Perhaps the "center" is somewhere far to the right of the "CENTRE"?

more than 3 years ago

S&P's $2 Trillion Math Mistake

feepcreature fault them both - they deserve it (1040 comments)

Democrats want the government to spend more. The TEA Party wants the government to spend less. Who do you think is right here?

A plague on both their houses!

From what I read here, outside of the USA, where the media are less partisan when covering internal US issues, the Democrats want the government to spend LESS, and the Tea Party wants the government to spend LESS too. They disagree a little on which parts of government should have most cuts.

Also, the Democrats want to increase taxes a little, to narrow the gap between government spending and income.
The Tea Party DO NOT want to increase taxes to narrow the gap.

Both are proposing that the government spend more than it raises.

Did I miss anything important?

more than 3 years ago

Researchers Expose Tracking Service That Can't Be Dodged

feepcreature don't legislate technology - target behaviour (173 comments)

This sort of thing is why the EU's half-witted privacy rules on cookies miss the point.

The thing to control is the tracking of users (particularly without their consent), and the storage and onward transmission/sale of user-information - not some particular technology that is being used to do that at any given stage in the evolution of the web.

Of course, if your legislative process is owned by the corporate world, or your voters believe in the rights of corporations, rather than citizens, that is unlikely to happen.

more than 3 years ago

House Websites Jammed After Obama Debt Speech

feepcreature Re:Rewrite the Constitution or face default! (1042 comments)

"Pay the fair share of taxes"... What does that even mean?

I'm guessing it means that tax paid as a proportion of income should be similar for the rich and the poor (Or maybe slightly higher for the rich, because they can "afford" a little more). I gather that, at present, the rich tend to pay a much smaller proportion of their income.

If the ratio is massively out of line then something would seem to be rotten with the State of the Union.

I would like to seee credible figures on this though... if gathering them would not make government too big ;-)

more than 3 years ago

House Websites Jammed After Obama Debt Speech

feepcreature but what to cut? (1042 comments)

So spending should be cut. Where should the axe fall?

Corporate welfare would seem to be a good place to start - a really, really good place, in fact - but I'm sure there are other places where money is spent that does not help the country, the people or the economy.

Maybe they should lead by example with an across the board 15% cut in legislators' salaries?

And are not special-interest tax loopholes a form of subsidy, whereby the remaining taxpayers shoulder the burden that is dodged by the lucky (and often rich) few?

But that's just tinkering round the edges. More cuts will be needed. What (else) should be lost?

more than 3 years ago

Mozilla Ships Firefox 5, Meets Rapid-Release Plan

feepcreature Re:FF5 release notes (282 comments)

If I read that correctly, it amounts to
- CSS animations
- Do Not Track setting can now be found
- improved performance & standards, security & bug fixes
- some plugins not yet compatible

A good thing, but not as good as a 5.0 version number might imply.

more than 3 years ago

Re: the U.S. 2012 election campaign, I am:

feepcreature Re:Obvious (462 comments)

This far away from the elections, you'd need some sort of reason to be interested. Like being from the USA, or having actual policy statements from candidates, as opposed to vague promises, and criticisms of rival candidates (or potential nominees, or whatever stage the Byzantine process is at now).

Is there anything concrete to base an opinion on, yet?

more than 3 years ago

Activists Destroy Scientific GMO Experiment

feepcreature straw man much? (Stopping Science/Thought) (1229 comments)

If you are so terrified of a universe humans understand, shed the hypocrisy.

This seems like a straw man argument. While there may be wild-eyed protesters with ill thought out objections to change, it's crazy to pretend that everyone who disagrees with you does so for the poorest of reasons:

Don't like genetics research because it isn't natural?

At least some of the objections are because

  • the rate of change of genetic material is very high, and genetic interactions are hard to predict, so slow to detect harmful effects seem hard to rule out
  • the tests are often out in the open, and if there are harmful effects, the pollen will already have escaped into the wild
  • the eventually produced GM food is not clearly labelled (thanks, lobbyists & industry) so the "market" aka consumers can't really decide.

Unnatural is not the only objection - it's not even a good one.

Don't like stem cell research because it is an affront to God?

At least some of the objections are because

  • For human embryonic stem cell research, some critics believe that the enbryos which die to produce the stem cells are actual humans. You may not agree with that judgement, but it's about respect for human life, not necessarily what some clergy say.

There is no stopping science.

There can and sometimes must be. During the last world war, scientists performed all sorts of barbaric experiments on those they thought of as less human. In very very few of these cases, useful science was produced. In more recent decades, coloured people in the americas were deliberately infected with diseases by scientists, to "advance medical knowledge". But it is ethically unacceptable to treat humans in that way. In third world countries, drug studies are carried out that would be unethical in the west.

Sometimes scientists need to be stopped. Science is not the supreme good.

more than 3 years ago



feepcreature feepcreature writes  |  more than 8 years ago

feepcreature writes "Ars Technica and LWN report that the British Library (UK Equivalent of the US Library of Congress) has published a Manifesto calling for a balance in Intellectual Property rights between the interests of users, creators and publishers. There are 6 key recommendations, including: DRM should not override users' statutory rights; Analogue rights should apply to digital media; and Copyright terms should not be extended without evidence that this would be good for society. This is part of the debate on the UK Government's Gowers review of Intellectual Property, due to report in the Autumn (Fall, for US readers)."


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