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Comments

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Cable Companies: We're Afraid Netflix Will Demand Payment From ISPs

guises Re:What? (112 comments)

It's not impossible. I don't expect it from Netflix, but ESPN has already done this. Of course, it shouldn't be taken as an argument against network neutrality, this is an argument for it, but the ISPs try to twist it around...

13 minutes ago
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A Warm-Feeling Wooden Keyboard (Video)

guises Re:That... looks... horrible. (74 comments)

pioneered by Apple (AFAIK)

I says to myself, "That doesn't sound right, Apple doesn't really pioneer anything..." After a little searching: looks like Maltron made the first one in 1978. However, apparently a guy named K.H. Eberhard Kroemer published a paper describing a split keyboard in the journal Human Factors in 1972.

So there you are. History!

yesterday
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Why Are the World's Scientists Continuing To Take Chances With Smallpox?

guises Re:The problem is... (189 comments)

The point that I was trying to make is that comparing smallpox to a gun, or even a nuclear weapon, isn't accurate. Using smallpox as a weapon is MAD even if you're the only one using it. The purpose of pointing a gun at another armed person is the idea that if you shoot him first, and do it thoroughly enough, he then won't be able to shoot you. That is not the case with smallpox.

Having live samples available is also not needed or useful for producing the vaccine. The only argument that I've heard in favor of keeping some samples around which isn't totally loony, and this is a recent development, is that genetics manipulation has reached the point where artificially creating something comparable isn't insurmountably difficult anymore. So smallpox is less of a threat, basically by obsolescence. As this is a recent state of affairs however, this does not justify holding onto it as they have for the last few decades.

3 days ago
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Why Are the World's Scientists Continuing To Take Chances With Smallpox?

guises Re:The problem is... (189 comments)

That is not the argument. I don't know what the argument is, but it can't be that - it doesn't make any sense. If we voluntarily destroy all our samples, and some other nation doesn't, then there will be that much less smallpox. This is a valuable goal in itself, even if it doesn't mean that the virus has been completely eradicated.

No one who wasn't literally insane would try to use smallpox as a weapon, the infection would inevitably spread back to the country which initiated it, and the idea that we would need samples of our own to retaliate is preposterous. For one thing, the entire premise of this scenario is that this other country has just given us all the samples that we could possibly want. For another, we still have tons and tons of missiles and bombs just sitting there, looking for a way to justify all of the money that we paid for them.

3 days ago
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Netflix Reduces Physical-Disc Processing, Keeps Prices the Same

guises Re:First world problems.... (348 comments)

Could you elaborate on the substantial reduction in titles? I've recently moved to a rural area without the broadband that I'd need for streaming and have been thinking about Netflix's disc service. The other things I've heard of, but why would they reduce the number of titles that they offer?

3 days ago
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Why My LG Optimus Cellphone Is Worse Than It's Supposed To Be

guises I don't buy this "solution" of his (289 comments)

So my solution is still essentially the same as what I proposed after trashing the Stratosphere: Some Consumer-Reports-type outlet should rate phones on a Stupid S*#t Index (along with speed, reception, etc.), based on how much stupid s*#t they run into in a week of typical usage.

It sure sounds like he's talking about Consumer Reports here. But the solution already exists, and he got burned anyway, so maybe the real solution is complaining about it on Slashdot. That gets things done.

4 days ago
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States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

guises Re:Local testing works? (777 comments)

Namely, our native poor aren't as desperate as they used to be.

5 days ago
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Australia Repeals Carbon Tax

guises Re:it is the wrong way... (291 comments)

I'm confused by your question. What exactly do they do with the taxes? They pay down the debt, they fund infrastructure, they fund education, they fund the military, they fund the arts, they fund research, etc, etc... Most of all, for this case, they fund the environmental clean up and disaster relief resulting from the pollution. What is the confusion here?

about a week ago
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How Deep Does the Multiverse Go?

guises What is the basis for the infinite universe? (202 comments)

Sure, there's probably more Universe just like ours that's unobservable,

This has come up before, and I ended up in an extended conversation with someone who was absolutely insistent that the universe was infinite. But he wasn't able to actually explain this. I don't see the basis for this assumption and I can't understand why it seems to be so widespread, is this some new(ish) theory that I haven't heard of? It's my understanding that the universe, as we currently know it (in other words the area effected by the big bang), extends only a few hundred thousand light years beyond the point of last scattering. Further, since the observable universe is slightly larger than last scattering, whatever may be beyond what we can see is unlikely to be familiar.

about two weeks ago
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Peer Review Ring Broken - 60 Articles Retracted

guises Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (178 comments)

The problem with "publish or perish" isn't the fact that scientists have to eventually share their results, it's the volume of publishing that's expected which gets in the way of actual work. When a scientist has a data set and the first thought is "How many papers can I get out of this?" it's an indication that something is wrong.

about two weeks ago
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DC Entertainment Won't Allow Superman Logo On Murdered Child's Memorial Statue

guises Re:better than what we have now (249 comments)

Well, you could have phrased that a little better... I do think it's odd that a Superman costume would be so integral to this monument when the only suggestion that the kid cared about Superman at all was a single comment by his abusive father.

Random Stranger who's organizing this didn't know the kid at all... which is itself also rather odd. Monuments like this aren't for the dead, after all, they're for the living, those who still remember and care about the people who have passed, and Random Stranger never knew this kid. Random Stranger doesn't know the first thing about his personality. Why is it so important to Random Stranger whether or not the statue is dressed like Superman?

about three weeks ago
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Lessig's Mayday PAC Scrambling To Cross Crowd Funding Finish Line

guises Re:Not a dime from me (117 comments)

Try looking at it this way: the 2012 election cost our economy just shy of $2 billion. If we do it through the voucher system, one of Mayday's proposed solutions, we can set that amount to whatever we like. Say $200 million, roughly the same as funded through FECA. That's a dramatic improvement in efficiency.

Now how you see that depends on your attitude towards money: the efficient method comes out of taxes (partially paid for by you), while the inefficient method is paid by third parties. In other words, the cost of the election in the inefficient case effects you indirectly rather than directly. As long as you are in any way connected to this economy though, you would feel it.

about three weeks ago
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Lessig's Mayday PAC Scrambling To Cross Crowd Funding Finish Line

guises Re: If you take the bait (117 comments)

The grandparent was talking about some kind of fictional first-past-the-post campaign funding system that no one has proposed. You are saying that the voucher system will give a massive advantage to incumbents. Could you explain your position? Vouchers are given by voters to the candidates of their choosing - how does this give an advantage to incumbents?

about three weeks ago
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Lessig's Mayday PAC Scrambling To Cross Crowd Funding Finish Line

guises Re:Not a dime from me (117 comments)

"Allegedly" is right. The level of rhetoric here is nuts: Mayday's stated goal is to change the way that campaigns are funded such that each person (voter) can contribute equally to the campaigns of their choice. This is in opposition to the current method, where each person can contribute an amount limited only be their means, giving drastically more influence (or speech, as the supreme court sees it) to those of significant means.

There is no group being oppressed here, though I'm starting to think that these common sense campaigns could do better by taking some sort of crazy position like that. It's all that people hear nowadays.

about three weeks ago
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Lawrence Lessig Answers Your Questions About His Mayday PAC (Video)

guises Re:It isn't irony (148 comments)

So, apparently, it is ok if someone can pay for such airtime out of his own pocket, but not if twenty people pool their pockets to pay for it.

Is this one of those, "If you can't do everything perfectly then you shouldn't do anything at all?" It's true that McCain-Feingold only dealt with corporations. It's true that it was not the end-all of campaign finance reform. So what? The law still had a big impact, and a positive one if you're someone who cares about the corrupting influence of money. Soft-money spending (outside organizational spending) tripled between the 2008 and 2012 elections.

Your concern about "the rich guy" getting heard where the paupers contributing to Citizens United are ignored is misplaced - they're all rich guys. PACs are for rich people and no one else. Anyone with less than $5,000 to contribute just gives it directly to the candidate's campaign. Further, your implication that corporate political spending is just a bunch of like-minded people pooling their money is ridiculous. If I work for Comcast does that mean that I hate anti-trust law and net neutrality? When Comcast spends the tens of millions of dollars that it spends on politics, is it representing me or is it representing just the few people at the top who control how the company spends its money?

Yes, McCain-Feingold blocked spending by non-profits and unions as well as for-profit companies. Some few of those might have been groups with legitimate political interests as you describe. Doubtless those just told their members to make political contributions directly, thereby ensuring that their members still had their speech intact. And if the organization itself can't speak? Companies don't (shouldn't) have first amendment rights.

Ultimately the best argument against the Citizens United decision is to simply look at its consequences - the vast leap in political spending, with so much of it from completely unaccountable anonymous donors.

about three weeks ago
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Following EU Ruling, BBC Article Excluded From Google Searches

guises Dictatorship (239 comments)

Had to read that three times before it stopped saying dictatorship and started saying directorship.

about three weeks ago
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Lawrence Lessig Answers Your Questions About His Mayday PAC, Part 2 (Video)

guises Re:Good idea (42 comments)

That's the WolfPAC, Mayday doesn't have an explicit goal of a constitutional amendment. Though, granted, I don't see how they intend to achieve anything without one. If you'd prefer: "it has nothing to do with the existing constitution." Better?

about three weeks ago
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Nathan Myhrvold's Recipe For a Better Oven

guises Re:the real question is... (228 comments)

Yeah... a charcoal grill is the hottest thing that a home cook is likely to have and they don't get above 375. You might think that he's talking about professional kitchens, though even they would have fairly limited applications for something that hot. In reality though, since it's Nathan Myhrvold, he's talking about patents and ensuring that no one will ever be able to make more innovative ovens without paying him.

about three weeks ago
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Lawrence Lessig Answers Your Questions About His Mayday PAC, Part 2 (Video)

guises Re:Good idea (42 comments)

No, that's wholly inaccurate. Mayday is strictly about campaign finance reform and nothing else. It's not about a return to constitutional values, it has nothing to do with the constitution, and it's not right or left wing.

about three weeks ago
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The Internet's Own Boy

guises Re:His choices... (194 comments)

If you want to take away the ability for the government to pursue the maximum possible penalty, you should also recommend taking away their discretion to pursue the minimum possible penalty as well.

Absolutely. There's no reason why the prosecutor should have any say in sentencing, that's for the judge. And to take that a step further - not only should the prosecutor be unable to pursue the minimum possible penalty, there should be no minimum sentencing in the first place. This is just interference by another route, and worse because the judge can't overrule it even when it's clearly unjust (warning: PDF).

about three weeks ago

Submissions

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Orca recently identified as 103 years old

guises guises writes  |  about 2 months ago

guises (2423402) writes "The oldest known orca has recently been spotted off western Canada at an age of 103. A female nicknamed "granny," photos exist of her from the 1930s, where she can be identified by her distinctive saddle patch. The news has prompted calls for another evaluation of marine mammals in captivity — orcas in captivity usually don’t live beyond their 20s."
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What good print media is out there that hasn't already died?

guises guises writes  |  about 3 months ago

guises (2423402) writes "A recent story discussing the cover of Byte Magazine reminded me of just how much we've lost with the death of print media. The Internet isn't what took down Byte, but a lot of other really excellent publications have fallen by the wayside as a result of the shift away from the printed page. We're not quite there yet though, there seem to still be some holdouts, so I'm asking Slashdot: what magazines (or zines, or your newsletter) are still hanging around that are worth subscribing too while I still have the chance?"
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Lavabit shuts down citing legal interference

guises guises writes  |  about a year ago

guises (2423402) writes "Lavabit, originally envisioned as a privacy-conscious alternative to Gmail, has shuttered. Ladar Levison, the company owner, offers this explanation:

I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit. After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations. I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision. I cannot. I feel you deserve to know what’s going on--the first amendment is supposed to guarantee me the freedom to speak out in situations like this. Unfortunately, Congress has passed laws that say otherwise.

"
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Canonical launches highly ambitious smartphone crowdfunding campaign

guises guises writes  |  1 year,3 days

guises (2423402) writes "Canonical has launched an indiegogo campaign for the Ubuntu Edge — a proposed high-end smartphone that would dual-boot Ubuntu and Android by default. The campaign has a lofty goal of $32 million, which they hope to raise in only thirty days. An ambitious goal, given that the highest-funded campaign ever on Kickstarter, the Pebble watch, raised only $10.2 million in thirty eight days. Never the less, the project certainly has it's appeal and those who get in early (today only) can get the phone for as little as $600."
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Al Franken proposes an amendment to overturn Citizens United

guises guises writes  |  about a year and a half ago

guises (2423402) writes "Al Franken has started a petition for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. Online petitions are perhaps of dubious efficacy, but hopefully one started by a sitting senator will have a little more impact."
Link to Original Source
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Ebay updates their user agreement, requires arbitration

guises guises writes  |  about 2 years ago

guises (2423402) writes "Ebay has updated their privacy policy, effective October tenth. Joining many other prominent companies following the AT&T v. CONCEPCION decision last year, Ebay is requiring users to agree to arbitration and give up their ability to file for class action status. Ebay has humorously included an option to opt out of this provision, but only by submitting an opt-out notice in writing no later than November 9th, 2012. (eBay Inc., c/o National Registered Agents, Inc., 2778 W. Shady Bend Lane, Lehi, UT 84043) At the bottom of the email announcing this, they include the line, "If you choose not to accept the new terms, visit this help page for further direction.""
Link to Original Source
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Wasteland 2 adds Linux support

guises guises writes  |  more than 2 years ago

guises (2423402) writes "Wasteland 2, a Kickstarter project which has already met it's primary funding goal, has added Linux to the list of platforms which will be supported if funding reaches the $1.5 million mark. Currently, they're less than $50,000 from that secondary goal. For those unfamiliar, Wasteland was an acclaimed post-apocalyptic CRPG released in 1988. Fallout was the spiritual successor to Wasteland, being made by the same people who did not have the rights to the Wasteland name."

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