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On Forgetting the Facts: Questions From the EU For Google, Other Search Engines

silfen Re:Institutional hypocrisy (183 comments)

At the beginning of the 20th century, Europe was a mess of countries all out for blood, with century-old hatreds.

Oh, I'm sure believing that WWI and WWII happened because of irrational hatred is a comforting thought to Germans, but it's not true. Germans were motivated by the strong conviction that their culture, economy, and system of government was superior, in particular to the Anglo Saxon model, and that they had a moral duty to spread it across Europe. Things only got bloody because other cultures didn't like the idea. And you illustrate that many Germans still hold the same kinds of beliefs.

3 days ago
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On Forgetting the Facts: Questions From the EU For Google, Other Search Engines

silfen Re:Interesting (183 comments)

That's overly defensive. The question, as asked, is not accusing, nor implying, that the notification of the website publishers is wrong. The aim is probably to determine whether they considered doing this and, if they didn't

Google didn't just consider doing it, they did it. And it rubbed European legislators the wrong way because all of a sudden they had to explain themselves to publishers. That's why they are asking this weird question.

And the question is truly weird because notifying people that their content is being removed from Google search results should require no "legal justification"; in fact, given the EU pressure on "fairness" in search results, Google may well have an obligation to tell people when they are removed from search results and why.

3 days ago
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On Forgetting the Facts: Questions From the EU For Google, Other Search Engines

silfen Re:Institutional hypocrisy (183 comments)

The trade volume between the USA and the EU is about 60 billion US$ monthly [census.gov]. However, the USA imports a lot more, while the import/export balance of the EU is almost balanced (http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/eu-position-in-world-trade/). Make a guess who would suffer more..

Both the US and the European economies would suffer greatly in such a trade war. Investments would lose massive amounts of value; banks, pension plans, and governments would be unable to meet their obligations on both sides of the Atlantic; both sides would have difficulties paying for raw materials and energy from abroad.

The ultimate outcome would be unpredictable, though if history is any guide, the US would probably pull through it while Europe would end up in utter political turmoil and possibly war. Americans are still quite a bit more individualistic and self-sufficient than Europeans, investors would have more confidence in the political stability of the US, and the US as a whole has easier access to raw materials and energy domestically and through Canada.

You see, the scenario you outline isn't all that different from what happened at the beginning of the 20th century. Your attitudes are the typical continental (and, in particular, German) attitudes from back then.

3 days ago
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On Forgetting the Facts: Questions From the EU For Google, Other Search Engines

silfen Re:Correct yet misleading (183 comments)

In that case, the proper response is to get rid of the monpolies/monopsonies, which are almost always artificially created by government.

Destroying people's free speech rights after destroying their rights to engage in free commerce is adding injury on top of injury.

3 days ago
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On Forgetting the Facts: Questions From the EU For Google, Other Search Engines

silfen Re:Not a Slippery Slope (183 comments)

I agree completely with what you said. But I think in addition, there are strong economic and political motives for pushing this; it's not just a "non-issue".

European companies are lobbying and spreading anti-Google propaganda in order to gain market share and political favors. European spy agencies hate it when Europeans use US online services because it makes it much harder for them to spy on their own citizens. And European political and intellectual elites have had tight control over information flow and propaganda since the invention of the printing press, and they see that threatened by Google and other US companies (just look at the number of German politicians felled by Internet-based revelations of plagiarism and their attempts to blame the Internet in response).

Anti-Google and anti-US lobbying and politicking isn't just a convenient distraction by European politicians, it's about big money and huge shifts in European political power.

3 days ago
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On Forgetting the Facts: Questions From the EU For Google, Other Search Engines

silfen Re:Slippery Slope (183 comments)

It is absolutely technically possible to filter based on source IP address country. They can do it for advertisement, so there's absolutely no excuse for not doing it for legal compliance.

For advertisements, it doesn't matter much whether they get it wrong and show you some ads from the wrong country, in particular if you choose to go to a different country domain. For search results, that affects the core of their product quality.

Europe would like its laws to be honoured by corporations doing business in the EU.

Europe wants a lot of things, that doesn't make it morally right. Furthermore, I can use the same argument to say that US First Amendment rights should apply to US corporations worldwide, as well as European corporations who happen to do business in the US.

3 days ago
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On Forgetting the Facts: Questions From the EU For Google, Other Search Engines

silfen Re: Slippery Slope (183 comments)

The decision by the courts would be that Google be allowed to list the American's post so as to not violate the posters free speech rights.

Google is under no obligation to publish anybody's post. Free speech rights only apply vis-a-vis the government. If Google chooses, they can fully comply with whatever hare-brained censorship Europeans want to apply world-wide.

What the EU can't do is force other US sites to comply. If you only do business in the US, you can tell the EU to take a flying f*ck when they come with censorship demands. And if the EU wants to block their citizens from participating in US discussion boards or Wikipedia, they have to pull the plug on their end.

3 days ago
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On Forgetting the Facts: Questions From the EU For Google, Other Search Engines

silfen Re:Slippery Slope (183 comments)

The EU seems to have Google in their sights, but I'm not sure what Google did to get them quite so riled up.

Google is commercially successful and threatens numerous European businesses; those businesses lobby their governments to get protection and to make life hard for Google. Some of those businesses also control European newspapers and TV stations, so it's easy for them to spread views hostile to Google. And European intellectuals have generally been anti-American anyway for as long as the US has existed, so all of that lobbying is falling on fertile ground. Or, to put it more succinctly: the causes are money and chauvinism.

3 days ago
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The Least They Could Do: Amazon Charges 1 Cent To Meet French Free Shipping Ban

silfen Re: Not France vs US (309 comments)

What does a story about Amazon shipping charges have to do with Google? In any case, Amazon is complying with French law: they are charging for shipping. You'd think that all those highly educated, literate, and cultured French lawmakers are capable of writing correct laws, no?

Since Amazon probably gets sweet deals from shipping companies, they'd probably still be accused of trying to undermine the law even if they charged an estimate of their actual shipping costs. So, they might as well just comply with the letter of the law and let the French lawmakers go back to changing it.

about three weeks ago
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FAA Pressures Coldwell, Other Realtors To Stop Using Drone Footage

silfen Re:that's not the FAA's job (199 comments)

"The United States Government has exclusive sovereignty of airspace of the United States.

Yes, as opposed to the French government etc. That means that only the laws of the US apply. It does not mean that the US government can impose arbitrary restrictions on the air above people's private property.

The only air rights you have over your property are those you can reasonably use in connection with the property, e.g. adding another storey to your house

No, traditionally, I have rights "from heaven to hell", i.e., everything above and below my property. When commercial aviation appeared, an act of Congress limited that right upwards in order to enable commercial aviation. The intent of those laws was certainly not to create the legal situation you state.

The FAA is now attempting to encroach on the space above private land further, and they are trying to do it simply by issuing regulations and hoping that they stick. That is wrong. One can debate whether the FAA should have this expanded authority, but granting that authority should require an act of Congress, not simply rule making by the FAA.

about three weeks ago
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The Least They Could Do: Amazon Charges 1 Cent To Meet French Free Shipping Ban

silfen Re:Why the assumption.... (309 comments)

Stop being so naive. It's not "the French people" vs a "private company". This whole thing is about wealthy and powerful European publishers trying to rid themselves of competition that's threatening to erode their profits and their power, and local bookstores are a pawn in that issue.

As for the French people, if the majority wanted to shop at local bookstores, the issue would be moot, because local bookstores wouldn't be going out of businesses. Of course, even if the majority had that preference, it still doesn't have the right to impose that on the minority who prefers to shop at Amazon; the ability to engage in business without arbitrary restraints is essential to democracy.

about three weeks ago
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The Least They Could Do: Amazon Charges 1 Cent To Meet French Free Shipping Ban

silfen What's the point? (309 comments)

I really don't see how making books more expensive than they need to be by adopting policies that support physical bookstores helps anybody. Shouldn't the goal be to make reading and culture as affordable as possible and meet the needs of buyers, instead of imposing particular delivery methods?

about three weeks ago
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FAA Pressures Coldwell, Other Realtors To Stop Using Drone Footage

silfen Re:that's not the FAA's job (199 comments)

I can account for ballistics, yes. Kind of depends on the size of the property doesn't it?

Furthermore, there is no need for regulation there. If I were stupid enough to injure you by taking reckless action against a drone that was violating my private property, you can already recover damages and penalties under existing law; there are no new regulations needed.

about three weeks ago
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FAA Pressures Coldwell, Other Realtors To Stop Using Drone Footage

silfen Re:that's not the FAA's job (199 comments)

No, it's not "air traffic" because it's not "traffic": it is simply something you do on your private property in your private airspace, airspace that you own. It's the FAA's job to keep traffic out of your private airspace. It isn't their job to regulate what you do there.

And you are absolutely right that there is a safety aspect there and that I don't want a drone outside my bedroom window. That is why the FAA's attempts to assert jurisdiction over my private airspace are so disconcerting, because if the FAA has jurisdiction, they can (and don't kid yourself, will) allow Amazon to violate what is currently my private property.

You are erroneously assuming that the FAA is trying to protect you and your rights, when the only consequence of the extension of their jurisdiction is to take away your property rights and prepare for intrusions into what used to be something that you had total control over as a property owner.

about three weeks ago
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FAA Pressures Coldwell, Other Realtors To Stop Using Drone Footage

silfen that's not the FAA's job (199 comments)

The FAA was created to regulate passenger and air traffic, not to assert arbitrary authority over any airspace above our heads.

And even with the massive mission creep, airplanes need to stay 1000ft above any buildings on private settled land. What you do below that on your land is your own business, and it should stay your own business.

That means that if you want to shoot down low-flying Amazon delivery drones, you should be able to do that. Likewise, if you want to fly your own drone to take pictures of your own property, you should be able to do that too as long as you stay below 1000ft.

And make no mistake, FAA's attempts to assert authority have nothing to do with safety. The motivating factor here is power and money. Ultimately, the FAA wants to assert rights over the non-aviation airspace over your property, something they never had any say about in the past. And the people benefiting from it won't be you, it will be a few wealthy corporations that will be flying low-flying drones through your backyard whether you want to or not.

about three weeks ago
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Lyft's New York Launch Halted By Restraining Order

silfen this b.s. has to stop (92 comments)

Whether a driver and a passenger decide to hook up and drive around together via an app should be nobody's business. Attempting to regulate this is just an attempt by entrenched special interests and their cronies in city government to block competition. Kick these jerks out next election.

about three weeks ago
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Blueprints For Taming the Climate Crisis

silfen it's irrelevant what the US does (389 comments)

Even if the US emitted no carbon at all, it wouldn't make much difference, since China and India are dwarfing its contributions in climate models and predictions, and they are not going to sign up to such nonsense.

And anybody who thinks we can plan economic development like that is an utter fool; if the failure of the USSR central planning doesn't convince you, just look at the complete failure of Obama's own economic predictions or the effects of his policies.

about three weeks ago
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Study: Global Warming Solvable If Fossil Fuel Subsidies Given To Clean Energy

silfen Re:Infinite Bank Account (385 comments)

I didn't say that they weren't investing in it. I simply said that if green energy can deliver what it promises, then people will invest in it voluntarily, without government coercion or subsidies.

(However, if you check Yahoo Finance for green energy funds like RENIXX, you'll see that they have been performing horribly, so apparently few people share your confidence.)

about three weeks ago
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Uber Is Now Cheaper Than a New York City Taxi

silfen Re:And in other news (139 comments)

No, that's wrong. When they are not carrying passengers, they simply have lower legal requirements, but their actual coverage is likely higher than the minimum legal requirements.

And what difference does it make anyway? Why shouldn't the same insurance rates apply to everybody, simply based on mileage, driving history, and vehicle type? I mean, if I wanted to pick out a category of drivers to charge more, it would be mothers with children in their cars (they are dangerous), not Uber drivers looking for rides.

about three weeks ago
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Study: Global Warming Solvable If Fossil Fuel Subsidies Given To Clean Energy

silfen Re: Infinite Bank Account (385 comments)

You keep repeating this paranoid b.s. about the "kings" getting financially hurt by a switch to green energy. How? Any company that is now selling you oil can just sell you whatever other energy source you like, and make a bigger profit than they would with selling you fossil fuels. That's exactly what's happening in places like Germany.

What's actually happening is that "green energy" companies are lobbying for massive government handouts without ever being able to deliver, and folks like you fall for it and even fancy themselves as a crusader for what is good and right. If you want to see a crony capitalist, look in the mirror: it's dopes like you that enable corporate greed and government corruption.

about three weeks ago

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