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Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

mdmkolbe Re:Terrible summary of an interesting paper (657 comments)

No, this is the very definition of oligarchy:

oligarchy, noun: a small group of people having control of a country, organization, or institution.

The GP describes a money-archy (monetarchy?). How they act and how counteract them are subtlety different. (E.g., grass roots can make a difference if they get money.)


Nature Publisher Requires Authors To Waive "Moral Rights" To Works

mdmkolbe Re:Reply from the Nature Group (82 comments)

The “moral rights” language ... is there to ensure that the journal and its publisher are free to publish formal corrections or retractions of articles

In that case, the language should limit the waiver of moral rights to such cases. Something along the lines of "The Author grants NPG permission to publish corrections to or retractions of the Work". See, no broad waver of moral rights necessary.

about two weeks ago

T-Mobile Jumping Into the Check-Cashing Industry

mdmkolbe Re:Why do these exist (211 comments)

Could you elaborate on what makes it not cheap?

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Way To Implement Wave Protocol Self Hosted?

mdmkolbe Re:I'm 40 and what is this? (112 comments)

Wave was marketed as a successor to e-mail, but (1) that just confused everyone (because what does "successor to e-mail" even mean) and (2) in my experience that was not a good way to view it.

A simpler way to view Wave was as a federated form of Google Docs with added support for threaded conversations in the style of e-mail threads or chat logs.

If we want to break it down, Wave is/was a federated, personal, realtime, wysiwyg wiki with strong support for threaded conversations, sharing, history, and privacy and access controls. This combination of features means that wave can be used for a wide variety of communications from chat to e-mail to blogging to collaborative document writing.

Wiki: I'm going to assume you are already familiar with the "Wiki Way". Basically a "wave" document is a wiki page that you create and can freely edit.

Threaded: While wave allowed multiple users to edit document as holistic entities, it also supported structuring documents as a mailing-list style tree structure of threaded replies. Private side conversations not visible to the entire group were also supported.

Realtime: Perhaps the most important feature of Wave was that your edits were instantly viewable. If you and a friend make successive edits, it can be used as a chat system. (Wave had support to make this easy and so each additional edit could be appended at the end.)

Personal: The wiki documents that you create exist in their own private namespace (e.g. just like documents on different webservers) and usually (always?) are just internal identifiers not intended for to directly manipulate. This avoids the problem that standard wikis have of dealing with contention for document names.

Sharing: You could send a "wave" document to another user and have it appear in their inbox. You could also invite others to participate in an existing wave. Your inbox would also be notified when a wave that you were watching was updated (e.g. like how you receive a reply to an e-mail).

Privacy: Wave documents are by default not publicly visible and have sophisticated and easy to use access controls.

WYSIWYG: User's edit their documents as they would in any modern word processor or e-mail client without having to know about any sort of wiki syntax.

History: Like any good wiki, wave supported viewing older versions of a document.

Federated: I can run a wave server and you can run a wave server and both of them can interoperate. This is similar to how different companies can run different e-mail servers and unlike private communication systems like Facebook messaging. For people who want to maintain a free internet, this is an important feature. However, unlike e-mail, the authoritative copy of the document stays on the creators host. Though there is support for caching, I never clearly understood where wave fell on the problem of hosts lying and trying to rewrite history.

In the end, Wave was a good product that was marketed poorly (the marketing explanations left people not knowing what it was). The efforts to make it federated required the creation of a public spec which also probably slowed down development.

I think Wave was an awesome idea and others should build on its concepts, but shouldn't tie themselves to how those ideas were implemented in wave. In particular, the rise of Facebook may have changed what people expect from their communication platforms so some of Wave's ideas may need to be updated to encompas that. (I don't use Facebook so I don't know what those changes would be.) But if the next social platform were to support Wave-like ideas, then it could be very nicely positioned as a Facebook-killer as it could represent a next-generation advance in social platforms.

about 4 months ago

Drive With Google Glass: Get a Ticket

mdmkolbe Re:Not, however, if it's handsfree (638 comments)

If the legislators aren't creative enough to make a law that makes driving with an open laptop in the driver's lap illegal but not an open laptop in the passenger's lap, then they have no business being legislators. (Not that that has ever stopped them.)

(Side note, someone else in this thread posted the actual California law. I was misled by the AAA summary. Unless I missed something, there is no "equipped" requirement and it includes "business applications" in addition to TV broadcasts.)

about 6 months ago

Drive With Google Glass: Get a Ticket

mdmkolbe Re:Might be legal (638 comments)

So would it be illegal for a passanger to use a laptop?

about 6 months ago

Drive With Google Glass: Get a Ticket

mdmkolbe Re:Not, however, if it's handsfree (638 comments)

Note the key words "equipped" and "usually displaying a television broadcast". Wearing Google Glass does not "equip" the car with a video screen any more than the passanger holding a laptop does. Also Google Glass is not "usually" used for displaying a television broadcast.

Making Google Glass illegal while driving might be a good idea, but what you're citing doesn't apply to Google Glass.

about 6 months ago

Oregon Extends Push To Track, Tax Drivers Per Mile

mdmkolbe Re:Partisan BS (658 comments)

As for the meters, that is just for a pilot program the real program will not use that, it will use odometer checks.

Why would the pilot program use the more expensive, harder to implement option of meters if they don't intend it in the real program? Unless there is a really good reason that the pilot needed meters instead of odometers, I can't believe the claim that the meters are "just for the pilot".

about 6 months ago

NSA Director Keith Alexander Is Reportedly Stepping Down

mdmkolbe Re:Running away (92 comments)

Nixon was pardoned for any crimes he "might" have committed, so I don't think it requires admission of guilt. (Though there might be a perception of guilt and political fallout from that.)

Even if it did, Obama could just pardon him on his (Obama's) last day of office. If they delay the trial with pre-trial motions for a couple of years, the pardon would come through before anyone does any time.

(Of course, given that there isn't any real suggestion of an actual trial, this is all academic speculation.)

about 5 months ago

Math Advance Suggest RSA Encryption Could Fall Within 5 Years

mdmkolbe Re:RSA = out of date (282 comments)

Under a chosen plain text attack, an attacker would know m.

about 8 months ago

Judge Rules In Favor of Volkswagen and Silences Scientist

mdmkolbe Re:Not a US case. No First Amend. (254 comments)

Thank you for pointing that out. I was wondering how this jived with the no-prior-restraint doctrine.

about 9 months ago

Boston Marathon Bomber Charged With Using 'Weapon of Mass Destruction'

mdmkolbe Re:Yes (533 comments)

It is something that other nations managed to get right with prosecutors needing to pay for accusations that don't result in convictions.

What mechanisms do other nations have to make prosecutors pay for over-charging? I presume it's not a monetary fine because that would bring a whole host of issues, but I'd be interested to hear what mechanisms have been instituted.

about 10 months ago

Security Researcher Attacked While At Conference

mdmkolbe Re:i would have killed him. (666 comments)

polish courts have set sometimes quite big limits of what you can do in self defense

Not just Polish courts, most courts have much bigger limits on self defense than what people realize. For example, in most US states, if you have the option to run or otherwise escape, then you must. If the attacker stops attacking even briefly or becomes incapacitated, then you must stop counter attacking. If you don't, then you become the attacker and they have a right to defend themselves.

Most people's notion of self defense is more akin to an action movie scene than what is actually legally permitted.

about 10 months ago

Security Researcher Attacked While At Conference

mdmkolbe Re:Current evidence does not support reasonable do (666 comments)

I have no doubt that her story is substantively true.

I can think of at least three rational alternative that while unlikely prevent any claim of "no doubt".

  1. Man tries to secretly steal from woman. Woman catches man. Struggle ensures. Woman claims rape b/c she thinks he is more likely to be punished that way.
  2. Woman and man get along. Man decides to stop, but woman wants more. Fight ensues. Woman feels she was scorned and makes up rape claim.
  3. Woman and man get along. They start discussing things. Big argument starts. Fight ensures. Both woman and man hurt. Woman makes up rape claim to cover why she has a black eye.

None of these are particularly likely given what we currently know, but it is absurd to have "no doubt".

about 10 months ago

Security Researcher Attacked While At Conference

mdmkolbe Re:Innocent until blogged about (666 comments)

And how did her stuff end up in his room?

Under her version of the story, how did her stuff end up in his room? Theft wouldn't exactly be at the top of someone's mind after being beaten back from attempting rape.

(I say this without making any commentary about the veracity of her story. We armchair detectives don't have the tools to make a judgment, and it would be hubris to do so.)

about 10 months ago

Officials Say NSA Probed Fewer Than 300 Numbers - Broke Plots In 20 Nations

mdmkolbe Re:I'm sure it's effective (419 comments)

Do you have a citation for those numbers? I'd like to be able to use them when I'm discussing this topic with people.

about 9 months ago

Supreme Court: No Patents For Natural DNA Sequences

mdmkolbe Re:Why is it odd? (214 comments)

Keeping in mind, of course, that this is just a thought exercise (IIUC, the court ruling does not rely on this line of reasoning), you are right that I overlooked the fact that usually "genes do not spring into existence as a result of sex". (Though we still have to consider novel gene mutations regardless of where they come from.)

Since the patent under discussion does not apply to a genome (I doubt any DNA patent does) but rather to particular mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, if the patenter created/discovered the mutation before it's first occurrence "in the wild", then the defense of the original poster would fail. ("First to file" instead of "first to invent" complicates this, but prior art may get us back to the same place.)

That then leaves two potential loopholes (though they do not apply in this case). First, just as pharmaceutical companies can breathe new life into old drug patents by tweaking an "irrelevant" part of the molecule, it is conceivable that companies could patent variations of the mutated BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes that have not yet occurred in the wild. Second, companies could proactively patent gene mutations that have not yet occurred, but that they think will become important (e.g. some other mutation of BRCA1 that they think would cause cancer if it eventually occurred).

I don't know enough about gene mutation rates or interactions to know how feasible these loopholes would be, but I might hesitate to rely on this defense because of these loopholes.

about 10 months ago

Supreme Court: No Patents For Natural DNA Sequences

mdmkolbe Re:Why is it odd? (214 comments)

Patents should be for creations, not discoveries. The ONLY people who should be entitled to a patent on my genome is my parents, and even that is questionable.

But what if someone created/discovered a gene you have before your parents did? In patent law (unlike copyright), independent creation/discovery is not a defense. All that matters is who was first. This means that protections against DNA patents need to be based on a stronger line of reasoning.

about 10 months ago

California Bill Would Mandate Open Access To Publicly Funded Research

mdmkolbe Grant for Open Access fees (105 comments)

On a slightly more serious note, I wonder if California could start a series of grants just to pay for the "author-pays" fee ($2000-$8000 depending on publisher). Some publishers are typically closed, but allow an author to make a particular article Open Access if they pay this fee. Unfortunately, paying that fee could enough of a barrier to prevent young researchers without enough money from choosing Open Access (especially if they are publishing multiple papers per year), but a grant to cover just that fee could lead to many more Open Access articles.

about a year ago

California Bill Would Mandate Open Access To Publicly Funded Research

mdmkolbe Re:$1 Grant (105 comments)

They'll never know whether it was because of the California law or just dull results.

The peer review process is separate from the publication process. One is run by volunteers from academia. The other is run by employees of the publisher. You'll absolutely know if they try to blackball you due to your funding sources. (My apologies if I'm misreading you.)

Lastly, even if it cuts out half the research, most for-profit journals would rather do that than all the revenue.

I don't know how it is in other areas, but the publishers in my area wouldn't survive the backlash if half the submissions were barred from publication over this. The social dynamics at play are subtle, but if even 10% of articles accepted by the peer review process were rejected over shenanigans like this, things would change.

about a year ago


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