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Comment: Re:Holy cow ... (Score 0) 142

by Arker (#47858717) Attached to: Private Police Intelligence Network Shares Data and Targets Cash
Most commonly they were simply routed around.

OK, maybe I made that sound more simple than it was. When every route is covered by 'bandits' of one stripe or another, 'just route around' is easier said than done... but, what happened is that the bandits started competing.

There were two routes that could be taken to market, each harbored a different gang. One year, gang A simply took everything that tried to pass. Big gains for them that year. The same year, gang B was a little more restrained, and only 'taxed' caravans but let them go on through after coughing up a fee. Their gains were smaller that year, but the next year, caravans came through their territory and contributd to their coffers again. Gang A's territory received no merchants. Gang A got no gain from this, and would see no gains from it again for a decade or more, until they were finally driven out by a new gang which behaved differently. Gang B, on the other hand, gained more than the first year, as they now had all the traffic rather than half of it passing through their territory.

And thus was born taxation. Eco-friendly theft, sustainable banditry. The first guy to try it was no doubt considered an imbecile by his peers, at first, but it soon proved to be an advantage that only increases over time and the taxers not only held on but soon enough put the old-school bandits at a permanent disadvantage that continues to this day.

And so over time the taxer chiefs became Barons, and the Baronies were organized into Kingdoms, and the Kingdoms into Empires, and the the Empires fell apart into Baronies and Kingdoms again, a cycle that in some older areas has probably repeated a dozen times, and then after much time all of these groups were swept away by the new secular religion of nationalism, and Nations were invented to replace them. But the scam remains essentially the same regardless of the time and place.

How would that translate today? Well if we could get a clear corridor through the country of jurisdictions that repudiated this and other forms of robbery clearly, a lot of travellers would be willing to detour significantly in order to remain within that corridor. The jurisdictions that continued the robbery would, like gang A, effectively be cut out of the game, and even though travellers would make it through with most of their belongings each one would certainly drop a few dollars in taxes on these jurisdictions as they passed through. But getting the ball rolling, getting the initial free corridor on line, I got nothing practical on that at the moment, I am sorry.

It probably was not easy to do that the first time around either though. We may have existed as a species for a couple of hundred thousand years before we actually progressed to the point where travelling more than a few miles did not involve a likelihood of mortal combat to begin with.

Comment: Re:Science creates understanding of a real world. (Score 1, Insightful) 762

by Arker (#47855375) Attached to: How Scientific Consensus Has Gotten a Bad Reputation
"The global warming people haven't shown us the value of anything, so far as I can see."

That's because your definition of value and theirs are different.

Their work has inestimable value - both in terms of promoting their own careers, and their own political and pseudoreligious goals.

The fact that it does not serve YOUR goals is not really their concern, now is it?

Comment: Re:ELI5 please (Score 0) 354

by Arker (#47841715) Attached to: DMCA Claim Over GPL Non-Compliance Shuts Off Minecraft Plug-Ins
That appears to be the matter in dispute. There are many posters on the company blog saying "what's this then?" and making it a link. When I follow the link, I get a notice saying it's been removed due to DMCA notice.

It's my understanding that *if* this company owns the original code, and included it, in binary or source, with the GPA build, which they then shipped, they have either invoked the license or they are violating his copyright. And it appears the company is saying they did not do this but a lot of users are saying they sure did. At this point, since they have taken whatever was being linked to down, I cannot tell for sure.

Comment: Re:ELI5 please (Score 4, Informative) 354

by Arker (#47841193) Attached to: DMCA Claim Over GPL Non-Compliance Shuts Off Minecraft Plug-Ins
It's a little more complicated than that.

You didnt just write some GPL piece of software for windows, you wrote some GPL software that is so tightly integrated with Windows you actually had to reverse engineer parts of Windows and replace original system files with new ones, composed in part of what we think of as your program, and in part of your reverse-engineered best guess on the original Windows system code. Probably problematic to distributed, if Microsoft had cared, but it was boosting their sales so they didnt raise any fuss. In fact, they turned around and bought out your company instead. Took over operations, but critically did not receive the copyright to this GPL software (which was always, if I am not mistaken, owned by the contributors, not the company.)

This is where it gets tricky. Now THEY are the ones distributing your GPL code linked to their own code, not your reverse-engineered stand-in. I am not 100% sure I am getting that part correct, but it seems to be the case. And if it is the case... then at that point Microsoft would actually be in violation of your license. They would have, as I see it, three options. They could simply quit using your code entirely, which they obviously do not want to do, and which would only prevent continuing violations but still leave them at least theoretically liable for past damages; they could GPL Windows itself, and use your code freely; or they could purchase either copyright or a side-license to continue using the code outside the GPL.

Comment: Re:When (Score 0) 110

by Arker (#47839273) Attached to: NVIDIA Sues Qualcomm and Samsung Seeking To Ban Import of Samsung Phones
"Software is math but you could also say the same about anything that was ever invented."

No, you could not.

At least not truthfully.

Everything *can be described* using math but not everything *is* math.

On the other hand, everything a computer can do, is math.

Physical changes, excluding electrical changes which signify numbers? Zero, none, nada.

Your printer puts ink on paper? Yes it does. In response to a number calculated and sent to it by the computer. The screen shows pictures? Yes it does - in response to numbers calculated and sent to it by the computer.

Everything a computer does, is math, period.

Comment: Re:When (Score 1, Insightful) 110

by Arker (#47833545) Attached to: NVIDIA Sues Qualcomm and Samsung Seeking To Ban Import of Samsung Phones
Unfortunately that is blocked indefinitely by the failure of the court system to understand that software is math. I used to expect the next generation of judges at least would get it, but seeing a whole new generation coming out that is even less technically savvy than their predecessors kind of dashes that hope.

Comment: Re:What is it? (Score 1) 826

by Arker (#47785125) Attached to: Choose Your Side On the Linux Divide
"it does seem to me to *sort of* be outside of the "do one very specific thing well"."

I could agree with that, my emphasis added. It seems like a drastic reduction from the charge you originally leveled. 'Email' is actually a fairly complicated thing requiring a fairly complicated toolset, after all. You mention an editor as something different (and it is) but no email program could function without some editor at least. And usenet is extremely similar to email in terms of the toolset required. You *could* do all this by piping different tools together on the fly and you *could* argue that's the only twue unix way but it's stretching a pretty thin point way too far when you equate Alpine with Outlook.

Comment: Re:What is it? (Score 0) 826

by Arker (#47770403) Attached to: Choose Your Side On the Linux Divide
You act like this contradictory. Alpine is NOT some overgrown blob, it's nice because it does one thing - email - and does it in the way a fair number of people think sucks least. It may try to be your editor too but at least it is easy and straightforward to tell it to knock it off, and it listens.

Systemd is not like that. It takes over everything and wont give it back, even when it pretends to. For instance, it logs in binary. IF you read the docs and throw the right switches, you CAN get it to put out text logs. Ok, so no big deal, just flip the switch, right?

No. The main reason we want text logs is because of what happens when the system crashes. Even if you flip the switch, systemd is still logging in binary and just writing out a text version to make you happy, a few milliseconds later. So this fix is, well, not totally pointless, it does at least make the logs manipulable using standard tools again. Except on occasions when you really need to read them.

Comment: Re:My opinion on the matter. (Score 0) 826

by Arker (#47755795) Attached to: Choose Your Side On the Linux Divide
The trouble is they know exactly why they are better, but cannot be forced to see why they are also worse. New technologies always have flaws, and it takes time for the kinks to be worked out in practice, leaving a mature technology. There is a delicate balance between early adopters that keep the new technologies alive enough to have a chance to mature, and the slower moving segments of the market that need maturity and reliability.

In the tech market, in this century, the latter segment is riotously underserved. Supporting mature products is considered a waste of resources that should be instead used to push the boundaries of in-your-face ad delivery. The entire situation is ridiculous and could only occur in a market where the buyer typically has no better way of choosing between competitors than flipping a coin - because he has no idea what he his buying!

Comment: Re:Not exactly endearing you to the public (Score 5, Insightful) 441

by Arker (#47729463) Attached to: Tech Looks To Obama To Save Them From 'Just Sort of OK' US Workers
"As a tech worker myself, I don't see why foreign workers would be inherently worse."

They are not, *inherently* worse. Not by a long shot. Some of them are very, very good.

The problem is that they are being selected, not on the basis of technical skills, but on the basis of lower costs and more subservience. Companies prefer, not just foreign workers, but H1B workers specifically - because they are powerless and easier to abuse.

Just a look at the 'products' these so-called tech companies are churning out should be enough to give lie to the idea that they have any interest at all in technical excellence. They do not. They want cheap code-monkeys that will crank out utter crap as directed with no back talk, no wage pressures, and no looking for a better job to worry about.

"I mean I've seen some people, very much home grown, who seem to have such a poor grasp of how things work that I wonder how on earth they even have a job."

Sure. But we dont have any kind of monopoly on those people. Outsource to save money and you are likely to get the south asian equivalent - all the same problems, plus communication and cultural difficulties on top of it.

Comment: Re:Marx is a painful read (Score 0) 44

by Arker (#47718121) Attached to: Marx sure does spew him some drivel
"Gleaning from the Gospels, the line on the Sadducees I'd heard was that they were the over-educated, liberal poofs of their day, whereas the Pharisees, while mired in legalism, were relatively less off-course."

Hmm, I dont know about that. My read of the NT definitely wasnt adulatory to the Sadducees but I always thought the Pharisees came off as even worse there. The big BC power struggle in judaism was between the Zadok priesthood and the Pharisees, but it was effectively over in Judea when the Maccabees usurped the High Priesthood. (Ironically sons of Zadok survived later in Samaria.) The Maccabees destroyed the country repeatedly but they are idolized by the rabbinates precisely because they destroyed the priesthood and the rites and laws ordained in the Torah, allowing the rabbis to usurp their place with new rites and laws. The Sadducees were so sad in part because their struggle had been lost before they were born, and they had no animating principle or focus. There were many other groups - the early Christians, the Essenes and whatever group one would posit for Philo, for instance. All of these to some degree feed into karaism as it developed, but there was no constant unified name or identity beyond just being jews that embraced the Torah while viewing the 'oral law' stuff with skepticism.

But the impetus for actually proclaiming it 'officially' and giving it a name and turning it into an identified movement was very practical and concrete, and again the context was political power struggle. The Gaonate usurped the Exilarchate over time, starting the moment of Islamic conquest if not before. It came to a head with Anan ben David. He was the rightful crown Prince, but the Gaonate had acquired the theoretical right to appoint their own boss from the caliphate already, and chose this moment to assert it practically, choosing his brother. There were many jews that were skeptical of the rabbis, not just in academic or theological sense but also of the governance of the Gaonate and Anan stirred them up with speeches, causing a bit of a disturbance. The rabbis run to the Caliph and accuse him of insurrection. And so he is locked up.

So Anan is jailed by the caliph, who is actually a friend of his and hates to do it, but technically they are right - by challenging their right to appoint the exilarch he challenged the authority of the caliphate as well. But the rabbis are busy too - one of them, Natronai, denounces Anans brother Josiah and proclaims himself the new Exilarch, so instead of two factions of jews rioting against each other and disturbing the caliph there are now three! Also he receives word that North Africa and Spain have erupted in revolt, and an army of Franks has been seen sailing for the area as well. Sounds aggravating doesnt it?

So the caliph offers a way out - just declare a different religion, separate from judaism over whom the Gaonate at this point has the legal control. And this was instantly recognised, giving not just Anans followers, but all the jews that were rejecting the Gaonate, a legal existence throughout the caliphate - which of course stretched from India to Spain at the time. A legal right to continue to exist without having to answer to and obey the Gaonate. And a legal contination, at least for some time, of the line of David in a (separate) exilarchate.

Comment: Re:Marx is a painful read (Score 0) 44

by Arker (#47703471) Attached to: Marx sure does spew him some drivel
"I thought the "no roast beef and cheese" rule was derived from the bit about "Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk." I've always understood that as a contemporary pagan reference."

Well that is the reference they claim to derive it from, yes. But that's no derivation, that's really just making stuff up. It's a very specific and narrow command, and part of the theme of prohibiting cruelty to animals. The commandment says nothing about mixing meat and dairy, it says not to cook a kid in the milk of its mother (which, yes, was apparently a widely practiced and deliberately cruel pagan rite practiced at the time.) If it was intended to prohibit mixing meat and dairy it would say so, there is no reason it could not have said that clearly if that was what was meant.

The Rabbinate 'interpretation' is based on Midrash, figurative leaps and flights of fancy, as well as the evolving needs of the Rabbinate itself (which strengthened its own power over the people by expanding the rules until they became impossible to follow.) But for a Karaite a valid interpretation of any passage must be consistent with the plain language and grammar of the passage, as well as its context, all of which plainly contradict the Rabbinate reading.

(As an aside, and no offense intended, the same reasoning leads to rejection of scriptural status for the 'New Testament' right along with the Talmud, both works deeply rooted in Midrash and both contradict the plain words of the Tanakh at one place or another.)

I go on working for the same reason a hen goes on laying eggs. -- H.L. Mencken