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Ask Slashdot: What Would It Take For Developers To Start Their Own Union?

moonbender Re:Does *any* industry start a new union anymore? (761 comments)

Maybe, just maybe, you're confusing cause and effect there? Government workers aren't mistreated quite as much as, say, people working in an Amazon warehouse because they are unionised. Among other things, obviously: the government has a harder time mistreating people because there is some sort of political and democratic oversight. For the same reason, the government can't appear to be suppressing worker organisation. And of course government workers are usually more highly trained and less replaceable than warehouse workers.

For the record I have no idea if parent's assertion that government workers in the US are strongly unionised and my assertion that they're less mistreated bears any resemblance to reality.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Would It Take For Developers To Start Their Own Union?

moonbender Re:Unions are archaic (761 comments)

Facilitating communication is, at best, a secondary (if necessary) function of unions. Unions serve as collective bargaining platforms to somewhat level an otherwise inherently unbalanced power relationship. I don't know about the specific unions you're talking about, and I don't care. There are many kinds of unions, and they don't share many attributes regarding their internal structure. I do know that fundamentally nothing has changed regarding the imbalance of power.

Unions may be archaic, but so is human society.

about a year and a half ago
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Pakastani Politician Detained By US Customs Over Opposition To Drone Strikes

moonbender Re:Disgousting behaviour (560 comments)

So, this is the poll you're referring to: http://www.people-press.org/2011/08/30/muslim-americans-no-signs-of-growth-in-alienation-or-support-for-extremism/

The actual wording in the poll is (in English, who knows what the poll said in Arabic, etc): "Suicide bombing/other violence against civilians is justified to defend Islam from its enemies..." (and then select one of Often, Sometimes, Rarely, Never, Don't know)

It's fairly bizarre to conflate suicide bombing specifically with an abstract range of things, violence against civilians. Violence against civilians could mean all kinds of things to different people, it's quite vague. The wording implies that only suicide attacks against civilians are relevant, not (military) suicide attacks against non-civilian targets, another thing to misunderstand.

Civilians itself is the key word, I guess, our assumption would be that violence against civilians is not permitted almost per definition, civilians being exactly those people who are not to be targeted. But clearly, Western armed forces have had a pretty tough time figuring out who is a civilian and who isn't in recent conflicts -- usually erring on the side of calling somebody an armed insurgent. We just define our problem away.

Next, the question whether an attack is justified. Under Protocol I of the Geneva Convention (caveat IANAL!), killing civilians can be legal in certain circumstances, you just have to try to avoid it, or not know about it (despite due diligence), etc etc. Calling that a justification of an attack on civilians is a bit twisted, but it's a legal framework. And of course it happens all the time, legally, and without any serious repercussions. The US hasn't ratified Protocol I, BTW. To be fair, the wording of "against" civilians sort of implies an attack where the civilian casualties are the objective, and not just involved. But that's a fairly fine point to make, people are being asked to answer a poll, not write a paper.

Defend is another fun word to toss in there, as I assume many subjects wouldn't consider your average terror attack an example of "defense". Or maybe they do, whatever, we don't know, it's pointless to argue about it.

Defending Islam strikes us as odd, because that ain't a country, but first of all the question/sentence was written by Pew, subjects were not given a choice of slightly rephrasing it (I guess their best option to deal with a false premise is DK or possibly no answer); second of all defending Islam isn't any stranger than defending freedom or the free trade and if anything it's less strange than fighting a war on terror or on drugs.

The final "its enemies" ties the whole thing up neatly, going back both to the point about who's a civilian and who's not and to the point about defense.

There'd be more to say, but I am all out of words.

about a year and a half ago
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Wayland 1.0 Released, Not Yet Ready To Replace X11

moonbender Re:Hopefully another 25 years or more (455 comments)

I'm using eclipse running on another host in the LAN via X11 every day. It works fine. There's no appreciable difference to running it locally. Granted, this is on a fast LAN that's somewhat tailored to do this well.

about a year and a half ago
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iPhone 5 GeekBench Results

moonbender Re:You continue to claim you understand? (470 comments)

Posts like these are why I mostly stopped reading Slashdot after a decade or so. I can take the trolls. I don't care about dupes or bad summaries or even off-topic stuff, I come here for the discussion. But when even the people who seem to have something worthwhile to say continue to make an ass out of themselves on formal grounds, there is just not much signal left in the noise.

about a year and a half ago
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When a Primary Source Isn't Good Enough: Wikipedia

moonbender Re:Your are missing the point (333 comments)

The best method we have for judging whose truth is the right one is observation and logic.

Yes, but how do we establish whether a certain observation was made or whether certain logic is sound? Or, from another perspective, given a situation where different people communicate different truths, how do we deal with this situation? These things matter when you make decisions as a group. But I guess that's politics, not science -- point taken.

But still... I guess you could take the position that the hive mind is better than any individual at making the kinds of factual determinations we're talking about, so even if you come to a different conclusion, it's safer to bet on society than on yourself. Not that I'm saying this is the right decision for every person in every situation (since there wouldn't be any progress in this case).

about a year and a half ago
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US Carbon Emissions Hit 20-Year Low

moonbender Re:Imaginary Numbers (245 comments)

How would you honestly come by such a figure, when there are myriad sources that can cause health issues (including people who smoke!)?

Well, we're not talking about any pollutant here, just greenhouse gases, and mostly CO2 when we're talking about energy.

I agree that it's not straightforward to establish a cost figure. So I guess one way to do it is set a goal of total emissions, run a few models to establish a tax amount that'd get you close according to those models and then run it in the real world and adjust in both directions appropriately. I guess you'd ease society into it by lowballing the tax and gradually increasing it until it you get to your intended goal.

I wouldn't want immediately toxic emissions to be handled in the same way because I don't want an individual plant to emit those at will and only subject to financial limits. But CO2 seems more like a finite resource than a toxic emissions.

about a year and a half ago
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Ebola Outbreak Kills 13 In Uganda

moonbender Re:The irony with Ebola (105 comments)

We've got vaccines for rabies...

about a year and a half ago
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Where Are All the High-Resolution Desktop Displays?

moonbender Re:No OS support. (565 comments)

A dead pixel on a high-res display is not as big an issue as on a low-res one, and a dead pixel on a high-dpi display is a smaller issue, still. Almost nobody is going to notice an individual dead pixel on a 250+ ppi display. A stuck-white pixel might be more noticable, not sure how easy they are to see if they're really tiny.

about 2 years ago
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Remembering America's Fresh Water Submarines

moonbender Re:As we move into Memorial Day and Americans reme (225 comments)

And the fact that you eat "beef" and "veal" instead of Cu and Cealf is an artifact of the French conquest of England. Not sure what any of this has got to do with the military threat any country or group of people poses to another in modern times, though. "Skirt" is an artifact of the Scandinavian people invading England -- better watch out for those Norwegians, I hear they're still on a spree of rape and pillaging through Central Europe!

about 2 years ago
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Pollution From Asia Affects US Climate

moonbender Re:I laught at the western countries when I look (209 comments)

I think the hope is that pollution standards will (continue to?) rise along with living standards in Asia, and at that point the West will already have developed certain practices and technologies that the newly developed countries can adopt. E.g. the price of PV panels has dropped significantly in the past years (along with the energy required to build them), fueled by an increase in demand in the Western countries. If it drops a bit more, it'll be cost effective enough to at least be a part of the strategy dealing with the rapidly increasing energy needs of the Asian countries. That's just the general argument and you don't need to "believe" in PV power generation to buy the argument itself.

Of course that's just one part of it, there's also the fact that despite much better environmental regulations, our per-capita emissions are still much worse (even you don't consider "exported" emissions via product manufacturing) and of course the fact that we've been emitting for a much longer time than the newly developed countries[0]. Those are moral arguments, the first one is more utilitarian -- e.g. even if you don't think per-capita emissions should be the important figure, the argument holds water.

[0] We have been emitting since the industrial revolution, that is. I wonder, though, considering the growth of both population and world economy -- 28% of the human hours lived were lived in the 20th century and, incredibly, "over 23% of all the goods and services made since 1AD were produced from 2001 to 2010" --, if the (CO2) emissions of the past 10 or 20 years don't exceed all emissions made prior to that.

about 2 years ago
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Neil Armstrong Gives Rare Interview

moonbender Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (248 comments)

Could you get any melodramatic? Sounds like it should be a speech in Top Gun.

It has nothing to do with risk aversion to do and everything with there being few compelling reasons to build a moon base apart from chauvinism. I can't speak for the reasons for going 40 years ago, but I suspect chauvinism and grandstanding was a big part of it back then, too. I guess that's what you call desire/ambition/duty/honor/competitiveness.

And to the people trumpeting the "trickle down" research benefits from doing bizarre prestige projects like this -- that's a moderately reasonable argument, but one that can be made for any project of such magnitude. Once you're willing to accept that the end goal of the project is less important than the research it generates, a virtually unlimited number of projects start to be reasonable. Make a national effort to dig the deepest hole, ever, and you'll get some actual useful research out of it.

If you argue in terms of trickle down research and not on the practical merits of the project itself, you have to argue why the project has the most promising trickle down research. I.e. why would a moon base result in more useful research than digging a deep hole; and not just that, why would it result in more useful research than all the other conceivable ultimately pointless projects. Not to mention all those huge-scale projects which do have merit and which would all result in useful "trickle down" research as well. E.g. ultra high speed passenger trains along the coasts, all kinds of medical research projects, energy research. I'm sure the national highway system -- a project of epic scale and of immediate utility -- had some useful research coming out of it, despite not being particularly high tech.

about 2 years ago
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Arizona Attempts To Make Trolling Illegal

moonbender Re:Even worse (474 comments)

I tried to find references for those quotes.

#1: I couldn't find evidence that Carter said that. Morgan Freeman apparently did say something like it (but I couldn't find a verbatim quote).

#2: Okay I couldn't bother trying to look up "guy replying to my facebook".

#3: Couldn't find anyone who said that, the parent comment is the top Google result and the only one vaguely related.

#4: Couldn't find anything related without quotes, with quotes the parent comment is the only result.

about 2 years ago
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UK Man Jailed For 'Offensive Tweets'

moonbender Re:For the curious (922 comments)

Yes, unfortunately I did leave out the worst of it -- the article in the Daily Mail which I saw only mentioned that first one. Serves me right for relying on that paper for anything, though I really figured publishing the drunken ramblings of a racist would have been their specialty.

about 2 years ago
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UK Man Jailed For 'Offensive Tweets'

moonbender Re:For the curious (922 comments)

Wow, shit, sorry for misrepresenting this. I wish I could edit my original post (and not just because copy/pasting mangled the formatting).

about 2 years ago
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UK Man Jailed For 'Offensive Tweets'

moonbender For the curious (922 comments)

Here's what he wrote, according to the Daily Mail: âoeLOL, **** Muamba. Heâ(TM)s dead.â (I assume he actually wrote "fuck", there.)

about 2 years ago
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Police Find Apple Branded Stoves In China

moonbender Re:Apple's next announcement... (212 comments)

You'd think, but it doesn't seem to cause any issues around here. Shouldn't leave it lying around in your fridge for day(s), though.

more than 2 years ago
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Police Find Apple Branded Stoves In China

moonbender Re:Apple's next announcement... (212 comments)

Well, the raw onions are optional. People eat it with just salt and pepper, too. I like the raw onions, initially, but I grow tired of everything still seeming to taste like raw onions four hours and two toothbrushings later. ;)

more than 2 years ago
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Police Find Apple Branded Stoves In China

moonbender Re:Apple's next announcement... (212 comments)

Raw minced pork is also moderately popular in Germany, served on bread rolls with hardly any seasoning other than raw onions and salt and pepper.

more than 2 years ago
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Where does your electricity come from?

moonbender Re:I have no idea (498 comments)

I deliberately don't buy power from one of the biggest energy producers, and I'm pretty confident that they don't participate in green-washing in the manner you describe.

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

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Linux receives 20th birthday video from Microsoft

moonbender moonbender writes  |  more than 2 years ago

moonbender writes "The Linux kernel has received birthday wishes from an unexpected direction — a video animation from Microsoft. Quoting The H: The video picks up on the strained relationship between Microsoft and Linux by displaying the phrase "Microsoft Vs. Linux" and then showing Tux, the Linux mascot, turning his back on the offer of a birthday cake from Microsoft. After a brief outline of the history between Microsoft and Linux, the video ends with a conciliatory gesture: Tux accepts the birthday cake in his igloo and the video ends with "Happy Birthday" and the editing of the initial phrase to "Microsoft and Linux?". The Linux Foundation has more stuff celebrating the kernel's 20th birthday."
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Decentralised social web movement meets in Berlin

moonbender moonbender writes  |  more than 2 years ago

moonbender writes "W3C and PrimeLife, a EU research project on privacy issues, join forces with Diaspora and others to start developing standards for a federated social web during a conference in Berlin next month. There will be a keynote by Egyptian blogger-dissident Amr Garbheia, presentations, workshops and a hackathon to start implementing stuff to prepare a post-Facebook web. Friday evening will see a round table with people from the European pirate party, Google, Diaspora and London's Imperial Business School... That should make for some butting of heads. The call for papers ends next monday — but the open spaces stay open.

At the same time analysts voice growing concerns about the current market value of facebook, while Assange calls it a spy machine. First signs of Facebook's demise?"
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Linux Chrome 7 might encrypt stored passwords

moonbender moonbender writes  |  more than 3 years ago

morsch writes "Chrome 7 for Linux is planned to tie in with the Gnome Keyring and the KDE Wallet to securely store saved browser passwords. Users of the stable version of Google's Webkit-based browser might be surprised to find out that, so far, passwords are stored on the hard disk as clear text. On Windows, Chrome has always used a platform-specific crypto API call for encrypted storage. The corresponding Linux function was never implemented — until now. Unstable versions of Chrome 7 still disable the feature by default; it can be enabled using a parameter."
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P != NP

moonbender moonbender writes  |  more than 3 years ago

morsch writes "Researcher Vinay Deolalikar from HP Labs claims proof that P != NP. The 100 page paper has apparently not been peer-reviewed yet, so feel free to dig in and find some flaws. However, the attempt seems to be genuine, and Deolalikar has published papers in the same field in the past. So this may be the real thing! Given that one million USD prize money from the Millenium Prize is involved, it will certainly get enough scrutiny. Greg Baker broke the story on his blog, including the email Deolalikar sent around."
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German Wikileaks domain suspended without warning

moonbender moonbender writes  |  about 5 years ago

mb (547943) writes "Germany has gone one step further in impeding access to Wikileaks. Their own take on it: "On April 9th 2009, the internet domain registration for the investigative journalism site Wikileaks.de was suspended without notice by Germany's registration authority DENIC. The action comes two weeks after the house of the German Wikileaks domain sponsor, Theodor Reppe, was searched by German authorities, on March 24, 2009, following WikiLeaks' publication of Australia's secret internet censorship list." Of course, Wikileaks remains accessible through other domains — for now!"
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iTunes gift card key system, exploited

moonbender moonbender writes  |  more than 5 years ago

moonbender (547943) writes "Fake but working iTunes gift cards are being sold on Chinese auction sites for a fraction of their value: "The owner of the Taobao shop told us frankly that the gift card codes are created using key-generators. He also said that he paid money to use the hackers' service. Half a year ago, when they started the business, the price was around 320 RMB for 200 USD card, then more people went into this business and the price went all the way down to 18 RMB per card, "but we make more money as the amount of customers is growing rapidly."" The people at Outdustry have apparently confirmed this by buying a coupon and transferring it into an iTunes account. Oops."
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