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Comment: Re:What baffles me is.... (Score 2) 94 94

If this scum has a history of making false claims then why are they still allowed to make claims at all? Better yet, why haven't they been banned from Youtube altogether?

Alice posts a video using music that Bob owns the copyright to. Carol posts a video that uses music Bob falsely claims to also hold the copyright for. Unfortunately Bob's false claim against Carol doesn't change the fact that he actually does have a legitimate legal claim against Alice's video. So kicking him off the system means he's going to issue a takedown against Alice. The whole point of bringing him into the system was to give him an incentive to leave Alice alone.

The problem here isn't Bob and Alice -- that part of the scenario is working fine. The problem is Bob and Carol. There's no incentive for Bob not to make false claims against Carol. That's the bit that has to be fixed.

Comment: Re:Fee Fees Hurt? (Score 4, Insightful) 256 256

Well, it may interest you to know that courts judging "emotional distress" is not some new Internet fad. In the year 1348 an innkeeper brought suit against a man who had been banging on his tavern door demanding wine. When the innkeeper stuck his head out the doorway to tell the man to stop, the man buried the hatchet he was carrying into the door by the innkeeper's head. The defendant argued that since there was no physical harm inflicted no assault had taken place, but the judged ruled against him [ de S et Ux. v. W de S (1348)]. Ever since then non-physical, non-financial harm has been considered both an essential element of a number of of crimes, a potential aggravating factor in others, and an element weighed in establishing civil damages.

This does *not*, however, mean that hurt feelings in themselves constitute a crime. It's a difficult and sometimes ambiguous area of the law, but the law doesn't have the luxury of addressing easy and clear-cut cases only.

As to why a new law is need now, when the infliction of emotional distress has been something the law has been working on for 667 years, I'd say that the power of technology to uncouple interactions from space and time has to be addressed. Hundreds of years ago if someone was obnoxious to you at your favorite coffeehouse, you could go at a different time or choose a different coffeehouse. Now someone intent on spoiling your interactions with other people doesn't have to coordinate physical location and schedule with you to be a persistent, practically inescapable nuisance.

Does this mean every interaction that hurts your feelings on the Internet is a crime? No, no more than everything that happens in your physical presence you take offense at is a crime.

Comment: Re:A word you made up? (Score 1) 105 105

It could easily be both, in which case the differentiating factor should be which came first - the made-up word domain registration or the well known name (which could also be a made up word - "googl" and "Google", for instance). Who has the most expensive lawyers aside, the responsibility for checking for pre-existing typosquatting domains ought to lie with the company, the same way it's their responsibility to make sure their intended name doesn't infringe on any existing trademarks and servicemarks. Back in 2001 I doubt too many people were even thinking about such things though.

Comment: I used to see that all the time (Score 5, Interesting) 242 242

Before NMCI came along, I was tasked with taking over a mapping application for the Navy and discovered the app was sending admin credentials in clear text in the URL string. Instead being of grateful I found the obvious sloppy coding they accused me of trying to pad my billing with make work and blaming the previous programmer. When I explained their application was crap and a giant security hole they would say, "Well, it works for us."

So I totally understand how apps like that make it online.

Comment: Re:Environmentalists will cause the next nuclear a (Score 4, Interesting) 127 127

Every time nuclear power comes up someone blames environmentalists for the industry's problems -- in this case before the problems have manifested. It's an article of faith.

So far as I can see there's only ever been one plant in the US that's ever been cancelled for environmental concerns is the proposed plant at Bodega Harbor, which as you can see on the map would have been right on top of the San Andreas fault. In every other case projects have been shut down after serious miscalculations in the industry's economic forecasting (e.g. lower energy prices in the 80s than anticipated in the 70s), often exacerbated by poor project management performance. In those cases environmentalists were just a convenient scapegoat for management screw-ups.

You can see that because after the very largest anti-nuclear protests in history -- against Seabrook in NH and Diablo Canyon -- the plants were built and put into operation anyway. If a company had a plant under construction that it could make money operating, that plant would get built, even if thirty thousand people turned out to protest.

Comment: Re:Shocker... (Score 2) 265 265

A segment of the population has views that are different from the average of the entire population.

You don't get a "view" on conclusions that are supported by an overwhelming weight of facts and data. You are also not entitled to a "view" that comes from a coordinated and deliberate effort to mislead by news outlets with a political agenda.

It boils down to the simple reality that one side of the debate thinks they're entitled to their own facts.

Comment: Re:Iran is not trying to save money (Score 1) 386 386

Well, you have to factor in the Iranian cultural mania for disagreeing with each other. The Shah couldn't keep them under his thumb, neither can the mullahs, who have their hands full disagreeing with each other.

From a tyrant's perspective Iran is ungovernable, which doesn't mean elements in the government don't give tyranny a go on a regular basis. It's an ideal setup for producing martyrs. The futility of cracking down means you have a little space to rake some muck before official anger overcomes reason.

+ - New way to alleviate the environmental burden of discarded electronics

jan_jes writes: A report published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2012 showed that about 152 million mobile devices are discarded every year, of which only 10 percent is recycled — a legacy of waste that consumes a tremendous amount of natural resources and produces a lot of trash made from expensive and non-biodegradable materials like highly purified silicon. Now researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison have come up with a new solution to alleviate the environmental burden of discarded electronics. They have developed a new biodegradable silicon transistor based on a material derived from wood, opening the door for green, flexible, low-cost portable electronics in future. They published this research in the Applied Physics Letters.

+ - Artificial Neurons Could Replace Some Real Ones In Your Brain->

An anonymous reader writes: The neurons in your brain are exquisitely designed to transmit signals—as many as 1 trillion bits per second, according to some estimates. The cells use chemical neurotransmitters to pass the signal from one to the next. To treat neurological disorders, scientists have only been able to hack this signal with electric stimulation or imprecise chemical changes from medications. Now a team of Swedish researchers has developed a synthetic neuron that is able to communicate chemically with organic neurons, which could change the neural pathways and better treat neurological disorders, according to a study published in the journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics.

The artificial neurons work just like the neurons in your brain right now: they detect chemical signals, transmit them electrically from one end of the “cell” to another, then release chemical neurotransmitters in response. But the artificial neurons are the size of a fingertip and made of organic bioelectronic polymers. To test their device, the researchers put one end of the artificial neuron in a petri dish with chemicals that the device could detect, then used a machine to monitor the electrical changes that it generated, then determine from there how much of a chemical signal to produce on the other end.

The researchers hope that artificial neurons like these could help repair issues of neuron signal transmission in brains impaired by disease or trauma. The researchers hope to make the device smaller in the future so that it can be implanted and tested in a real brain.

Link to Original Source

+ - Business Insider: Iran's nuclear program has been an astronomical waste->

Lasrick writes: Business Insider's Armin Rosen uses a fuel-cost calculator from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists to show that Iran's nuclear program 'has been astronomically costly for the Islamic Republic.' Rosen uses calculations from this tool to hypothesize that what Iran 'interprets as the country's "rights" under the 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty is a diplomatic victory that justifies the outrageous expense of the nuclear program.' Great data crunching.
Link to Original Source

+ - UK's National Computer Museum Seeks Repairmen for BBC Micros->

tresho writes: 1981-era 8-bit BBC Micro computers and peripherals are displayed in a special interactive exhibit designed to give modern students a taste of programming a vintage machine."We want to find out whether people have got skills out there that can keep the cluster alive as long as we can," said Chris Monk, learning co-ordinator at the organisation.

Owen Grover, a volunteer at the museum who currently helps maintain the cluster of BBC Micro machines, said they held up well despite being more than 30 years old. The BBC Micro was "pretty robust", he said, because it was designed to be used in classrooms. This meant that refurbishing machines for use in the hands-on exhibit was usually fairly straightforward. "The main problem we need to sort out is the power supply," he said. "There are two capacitors that dry out and if we do not replace them they tend to explode and stink the place out. So we change them as a matter of course." General maintenance on the machines includes replacing keys that stick and the occasional component that fails. Thankfully, he said, there were few custom-built components in the machine so getting spares is easy. Harder-to-obtain parts are cannibalised from broken or faulty machines the museum has in its stores.


Link to Original Source

+ - Is Safari the new IE?->

An anonymous reader writes: Software developer Nolan Lawson says Apple's Safari has taken the place of Microsoft's Internet Explorer as the major browser that lags behind all the others. This comes shortly after the Edge Conference, where major players in web technologies got together to discuss the state of the industry and what's ahead. Lawson says Mozilla, Google, Opera, and Microsoft were all in attendance and willing to talk — but not Apple. "It’s hard to get insight into why Apple is behaving this way. They never send anyone to web conferences, their Surfin’ Safari blog is a shadow of its former self, and nobody knows what the next version of Safari will contain until that year’s WWDC. In a sense, Apple is like Santa Claus, descending yearly to give us some much-anticipated presents, with no forewarning about which of our wishes he’ll grant this year. And frankly, the presents have been getting smaller and smaller lately." He argues, "At this point, we in the web community need to come to terms with the fact that Safari has become the new IE. Microsoft is repentant these days, Google is pushing the web as far as it can go, and Mozilla is still being Mozilla. Apple is really the one singer in that barbershop quartet hitting all the sour notes, and it’s time we start talking about it openly instead of tiptoeing around it like we’re going to hurt somebody’s feelings."
Link to Original Source

+ - Quebec government to force ISPs to block gambling websites

ottawanker writes: In order to drive more customers to their own online gambling website, the Quebec government and Loto-Quebec (the provincial organization in charge of gaming and lotteries) are thinking about forcing the province's ISPs to block all other online gambling websites. The list of websites to be blocked will be maintained by Loto-Quebec, and the government believes that the blocking will increase government revenue by up to $27 million (CAD) per year.

+ - Apple Loses Ebook Price Fixing Appeal, Must Pay $450 Million->

An anonymous reader writes: A federal appeals court ruled 2-1 today that Apple indeed conspired to with publishers to increase ebook prices. The ruling puts Apple on the hook for the $450 million settlement reached in 2014 with lawyers and attorneys general from 33 states. The Justice Dept. contended that the price-fixing conspiracy raised the price of some e-books from the $10 standard set by Amazon to $13-$15. The one dissenting judge argued that Apple's efforts weren't anti-competitive because Amazon held 90% of the market at the time. Apple is unhappy with the ruling, but they haven't announced plans to take the case further. They said, "While we want to put this behind us, the case is about principles and values. We know we did nothing wrong back in 2010 and are assessing next steps."
Link to Original Source

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