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Comment Re:This will never happen, even if I want it to. (Score 4, Interesting) 273

I also wonder if the Russian government would let Snowden leave their country so easily, given the remote possibility that some other country wants to give him asylum without the danger or extradition.
Odds are that Snowden had at least some contact with Russian intelligence agencies and also had the chance to learn a couple of things about them. And here I doubt that they'll make the same mistake US agencies did.

Comment Re: Censorship has never improved society (Score 4, Interesting) 117

Well, that's mostly the case.

Hate speech is not about stating that you "hate" a group of people. That's protected by your freedom of expression in Germany. You may also insult or offend people based on race, colour, ethnicity, sexual orientation or whatever. And while there are lawsuits here and there filed in those cases, they're usually dismissed. However what's not protected and classified as hate speech is if your speech includes threads of violence or similar things, that are covered by coercion laws. In German the expression for this is "Volksverhetzung" which loosely translates to 'incitement of the masses'. Another expression is 'Hassprediger' which translates to hatemonger and describes people that incite hatred or violence towards other people or groups. Holocaust denial is the really special case in Germany, that should disappear soon. The more time goes an, the fewer people's experiences get denied and ridiculed by this. The original intention to get rid of the remaining Nazis, was also fulfilled. There's no practical reason to keep this up any more besides of censorship of people who want to publicly declare that they're ignorant of a lot of evidence.

The weird thing is that there are already laws that cover these things. Individuals can be persecuted, although they rarely get convicted. So why trying to make platforms liable? The answer is simple: Next year is election year and politicking, as in doing things for the sake of appearing to care for the people, is a very popular move in politics.

Comment Re: That is not mocking (Score 1) 88

Yeah, they do.
ATM on the right, bank statement printer on the left

While not all bank statement printer look like the one of the left (example), pretty much all ATMs look like that one on the right. What's also common for statement printer is a rudimentary user interface as you do not need to put in any information, all you do is to insert your card and the device will start printing after a short while.

Comment Re:Yeah, but that's the problem (Score 1) 168

Unfortunately, in our stupid societies (Germany included) apologizing and or admitting to be wrong is easily interpreted as a sign of utter incompetence.
It doesn't matter if someone admits being wrong or starts to compromise in order to find a better solution or approximate the truth.
All that matters is winning the argument.
So what they have to do, in order to not appear weak and incompetent, is to stand by their bullshit by finding whatever excuses are possible, no matter how wrong it is. And if all fails, just keep repeating the lie until the majority accepts it as a truth.

Comment Re:Is "ship with" really the big takeaway here? (Score 1) 370

Well, it was both if you want to know the full story.
The *nerds of that time wouldn't accept nor support them either in many cases; you know because girls were different and scary. But the individuals I've spoken with were more bothered by the rejection from other girls. Which one was objectively the worse thing is not for me to say. But I think this impression was partially due to the fact that many schools separated boys and girls for various activities like sports, field trips and similar things.

*I call them nerds because the iconic neckbeard didn't exist back then as they do today. At least not from what I've experienced. Most of the nerds I've known had proper body hygiene like anyone else. They just didn't use the same amounts of deodorant or hair-gel as others did.

Comment Re:So the bureaucrats have solved all the problems (Score 1) 296

Where exactly do you live in Germany, somewhere on an 'Aussiedlerhof"? The infrastructure isn't that good in all the states. Especially those that suffered from the oppressive thumb of communism are still lagging behind more than a decade.
I've used to live in the 'outback' (Black Forest) of South-west Germany for a while and there was a bus every 30 minutes (tops 60 minutes), even for villages that were comprised of something like ten houses. And most of the time, public transport is on time.
I also suppose that those who call for a ban of ICE would also welcome financial incentives for electric cars and similar nonsense (subsidies are in my opinion a bad idea that will be exploited to no end).

Anyway, since the auto-mobile industry is probably the most important export industry for Germany, lobbyists from Porsche, Mercedes and of course VW will delay any such initiative by many years if it ever gets past the Bundesrat.

Comment Re:Is "ship with" really the big takeaway here? (Score 1) 370

I did ask many females in computer science and engineering about this, because most of those that made it through their bachelor were as good as any man in their field. So I started to wonder why there's so few of them there. Guess what! The most obstacles to overcome were other females during their teen years. Because showing an interest in technology, computers, science and other hobbies that belong to the 'nerds', a subset of boys, got them ostracized from social groups they simply 'had to belong to' according to societal standards. They also had to take an interest in things that were liked and accepted by the majority of their age group (boy groups, pop music, MTVs, cosmetics and fashion clothing) in order to fit in. And well... you can only do so much with your spare time. Many of them simply accepted their role as an outsider and followed their own ambitions. I have a lot of respect for that, because I've received plenty of support from other boys of my age, teachers and other adults because of my 'nerd' interests. Granted, those people went through the equivalent of high-school during the late 80s to the early 2000s in Germany, so it might be out of date.

Comment Re:Browser history (Score 1) 144

I suppose that not only IP pros, but most people who had to fix some internet/browser related issue for someone else, have found out one or more thing about that person, that could be considered as embarrassing. Especially when it comes to personal machines, that are only used by a single person, the use of some kind of "privacy mode" seems to be overwhelmed by the convenience of using bookmarks and similar things.

I've seen a couple of things that I consider to be weird, but I do not judge people based on that, since it's none of my business.

Comment Re:Seems like freedom of speech to me (Score 1) 195

I'll try to keep it short But I can make no promises.

In this case, the entity who's delivering the message is partially to blame, even if the message was from a friend. For example it's a very common thing here to have a "no unsolicited advertisement" sticker on your physical mailbox. Which tells the entity who delivers ads, that you do not want them on your property. From my moral point of view, something similar as you've already mentioned (opt out or even better an opt in) would be absolutely sufficient in order to resolve this matter. And this is what I believe to be the consequence of this. Some mechanism where you opt in and then receive all those updates, similar to a newsletter, which is not considered to be spam.
A blanket ban would not infringe those who welcome those ads. Since this is civilian law, a person who has been damaged or had their rights violated has to sue first. And if they do not chose to sue, it's none of the state's business. If a 3rd person chooses to sue on your behalf, but without your consent, they can't build a case, since no one was damaged. Just as with unwanted advertisements in your physical mailbox, usually the worst thing that will happen to the party that distributes unwanted ads are complaints. They might get some angry letters, faxes or phone calls. But virtually no one is suing about something that's so insignificant.
I'm not sure how our courts would view something like a profile on facebook. As far as I know there's no precedent. But I suppose, as long as the messages stay on facebook and are not delivered to your private eMail box, it's not considered as spam. But again, I'm not sure here. Depending on the judges and lawyers, they may very well find some odd loopholes for this.

Ultimately I'm not sure if this is much of a free speech issue. I was just replying to people who were trying to make it a free speech issue and pointing out that such an act would not be protected by free speech.

Yes, I know that the laws can differ greatly from state to state.
Here, where I live it's similar to what you're writing about Maine. Well, actually what I'm going to talk about here is federal law in Germany.
I also do not have the right to use force in order to get rid of trespassers or even burglars for that matter. I've got to call the police. And that's how it usually goes down, when it come to trespassing. You ask them to leave and if they refuse, non violently, you call the police. Then they'll be removed and possibly liable for the damages they've caused, if there are any.
I'm fine with this. I'm not a violent person and prefer a peaceful way of resolving a conflict.

But there's something else that bothers me a lot. It doesn't matter if they're breaking into my house, destroy everything in their way and threaten my children. If I hit them and hurt them, in a situation that didn't call for it, then I'll be having my day in court. And there's no jury which may emphasize with my situation. On the contrary, it's likely that there will be lawyers which are making me look like the bad guy, for not inviting the burglars into my house (doesn't matter if they didn't even bother to ask first) and share some of my wealth, because those burglars had a very difficult childhood and whatever. God forbid if I dare to shoot them with the guns that I legally own (I do not own any guns at the moment). Doesn't matter if they're armed as that would only entitle me to defend myself with non firearms. Since I'm basically not allowed to have a loaded weapon in my house. Doing that would pretty much result in jail time, even though I only protected my family from someone who forcefully broke into my home. Pretty much the only scenario where I'd be allowed to use weapons, is when they're armed and shoot first.
In fact what I'm supposed to do is retreating. Hiding, calling the police and wait until the burglars are long gone before they arrive. I'm not even allowed to capture the burglars by non violent means, like locking them in, because that's false imprisonment. Imprisoning them would be a violation of their human dignity, which is inviolable according to the very 1st article of our constitution.

Thanks for your explanation. I always appreciate first hand information about things.
Other than that, I'm not sure if I'm a good sample for the culture that I live in. Most Germans are very staunch supporters of zero tolerance gun control. They grew up in this environment and have this belief, that no one really needs a gun and that guns almost never can cause something that isn't bad. Basically everything, something gun related happens, like a shooting at a school, the blame is shifted to guns, besides of video games. Politicians push for even stricter laws and basically all political parties agree.
I used to be one of them, since it's not easy to escape the kind of peer pressure when it comes to opinions on gun laws. But after I've done some of my own research, looked into statistics for violent crimes, gun related crimes and compared it with the gun control laws of the respective countries, the realization was pretty simply and ought to have been obvious a long time ago.
Guns don't kill people. Sure, they're making it a lot easier, but in the end they're simply tools. Also, guns do not seem to promote violent or gun related crime. There must be some more important factors in that equation, other than gun ownership and lax gun laws. Maybe politicians should look more into socio-economic factors, it's not as convenient as gun restrictions or banning video games, but looking for a cause instead of treating the symptoms doesn't sound like such a bad idea to me.
I'm in favour of lowering the requirements for carrying permits and ownership here in Germany, but I'm also in favour of rigorous background checks, psychological evaluation, tests of marksmanship and gun safety. Unfortunately I'm pretty much alone with this. Except for some of my closest friends (all academics with advanced degrees), not many people accept my attitude. Again and again I can experience how hard it is for people to break out of the "I never needed a gun and you certainly don't either"-attitude.
Still, I'm currently working on my hunting licence, which will entitle me to buy and own two handguns and as much rifles as I want, as well as the required ammunition and additional equipment. Unfortunately, a carrying permit doesn't come with that, which means that I'm not allowed to transport guns for other reasons than going hunting, returning or for repairs, for example.

Lastly, when it comes to things like nationalism, I always have to think back what I learned in school. Pride and shame are emotions that are appropriate for events that you've caused. It's appropriate to feel pride for your accomplishments and same for your failures. But something like feeling pride for being born in some specific location on our planet, with specific genes and all the other things that you didn't get to decide, that's false pride. It's alright to be glad about your fortune, but pride is a tricky emotion since it can be hurt easily. And then you end up defending something, that you may not even stand for.
It made sense to me back then and still does.

Comment Re:Seems like freedom of speech to me (Score 1) 195

I don't really care that much nationality related things.
I just wanted to shed some light on the issue of freedom of speech here. When it comes to your private property, your freedom of speech supersedes that of others who might want to voice their opinion on your private property. If you do not like advertisements from certain individuals or groups on your private property, you're entitled to take legal action against them.
It's not that dissimilar from the US. There you also don't have to allow someone to voice their opinion when they're on your property. You're within your rights to shoo them away or even use force. For example you've got the right to get rid of WBC protesters that are protesting on the lawn in front of your lawn (if applicable) if you do not agree with them. But once they're on public property, you're not allowed to censor their speech.

Comment Re:Seems like freedom of speech to me (Score 1) 195

I'm not sure how it works in your country, but freedom of speech in Germany doesn't entitle you to dump your unsolicited advertisements on the property of others. I can see how they want to extend these laws to things like eMail-boxes as well.
However, I don't see why they're targeting Amazon here. As I understand it, it's the people who use that share button who are to blame.

Comment Re:QWERTZ auch (Score 1) 315

If I may ask: What do you find tedious about typing German with a German keyboard layout?
Other than that, I can't confirm that Germany officially discourages the use of accented letters. They did do it in the past, but not any more. For example I've got a lot of "ü" and "ß" on my ID card.

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