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Comment: Re:*sigh* (Score 1) 58

by bill_mcgonigle (#47713087) Attached to: Qt Upgrades From LGPLv2.1 to LGPLv3

Licensing is more complex than program itself. Everybody's getting sucked in to the lawyers' game.

This isn't surprising because one side is working with human nature - the tendency to share whatever makes them happy, and the other side is focused on battling government monopolies called "intellectual property", which is artificial scarcity enforced at the point of a gun.

Copyleft is just a hack to route around copyright damage. Absent governments enforcing it, we'd all just either release code or not release code and the licensing friction would all go away. Some dude would just issue a pull request and move on. There'd be nobody jumping up and down shouting about courts, fines, SWAT raids, caging and sexual torture over duplicating digital data.

But that's the reality we have to face. If more people chose WTFPL we'd get more done as a non-zero-sum group. The trick with the 'rising tide' analogy is that it's the sum that's non-zero; every individual value may or may not be positive, and some of those values that are currently positive might be negative and, man do humans waste time protecting their downside risks to the point of eliminating their upside potential.

Comment: Re:Fusion Has Already Failed (Score 1) 235

by bill_mcgonigle (#47709905) Attached to: If Fusion Is the Answer, We Need To Do It Quickly

It's an engineering problem now, not something that is clearly impossible.

While entirely true, I was visiting the Princeton Plasma Physics lab in 1990 and heard just that. The sad part was I'd have to wait until 2012 for the first commercial fusion reactor to be viable! It was sweet to stand in the control room while they fused a few atoms in the tokamak. And the flywheels they had were the stuff of a steampunk's wet dream!

To be fair, funding did decrease over the same time period and J.H.F.C., if the money spent on screwing up Iraq even more than it was had been spent on fusion research instead, Iraq would be much less relevant today in so many ways.

IMHO, investments in such experiments should be expanded, by both government and industry. Just like getting a man on the moon, We need a JFK'esk commitment to making this work.

We just need "JFK" to get out of the way and stop squashing every attempt commercialize technologies that actually put a huge dent into the carbon energy industry. Big oil plus big taxes on it is the stuff of _DC_ wet dreams.

Comment: Re:Bottom line... (Score 1) 148

How would you replace that? How does anarchy work exactly?

There are entire sections of libraries about how this has worked in the past, works now (every unregulated transaction), and what kinds of improvements could be made in the future, but you can YouTube Bob Murphy for some gentle introductions. Just be careful of the "but who would pick the cotton?" arguments.

Comment: Re:Bottom line... (Score 2) 148

Hell, if people could actually trust each other, we wouldn't *need* nation states in the first place.

Nation states killed 350 million people in the last century alone.

The onus is on nation states' defenders to show that neighborly spats and other small disputes would do worse than that. It's not like private conflict-resolution services don't already exist (and are always preferred in business contracts). Every lack-of-imagination excuse people have for "needing" nation states must be justified vis-a-vis the demonstrated body count (and that's only taking the utilitarian stance, not even the moral one).

If somebody showed up today promising peace in exchange for executing a tenth of the world's population, they'd be locked up in the psychopath ward and the religious people would call him an antichrist.

Comment: Re:Redundant laws weaken the system (Score 2) 179

quadrotor-cowboys that are more interested in whether they CAN obtain footage using their newfangled toys than stopping to think about whether they SHOULD

No doubt when film cameras were first invented people went apeshit about them too. Most aerobot operators are totally responsible, but there are always a few exceptions in every population.

Society will just accept these risks and move on, like in every other situation with new technology. Our problem is we have a caste that calls themselves "lawmakers" and so all they want to do is make new laws.

As the meme goes, "WTF - stop banning shit."

Comment: Re:My only question: does it work at Google-scale? (Score 1) 88

the finite number of minigames they set up with their finite number of items in them, rendering the whole thing pretty useless.

There might not be a benefit to that outcome, but a "good" CAPTCHA system does have a good outcome when it's broken.

I was talking to the guy who started reCAPTCHA many years ago, and his idea was that the OCR work they were farming out was too tough for algorithms to beat. As long as bots could not do better than humans, reCAPTCHA would be offering a valuable service. As soon as the bots were as good as the humans, accurate OCR had been solved, and reCAPTCHA had made that happen, so it was also a win, and he'd have to come up with another CAPTCHA.

I tend to shy away from helping Google StreetSpy on people, and use the audio CAPCHA when available now, but more people are doing the street number thing, which could still be used for good (if we trust Google). And if the bots solve that, maybe their algorithms could be applied to ambulance services, or whatever.

I'm not sure that the TFA's proposals "solve two problems" the way that great engineering solutions universally do. But there are certainly worthy ones out there.

Comment: "Promoting" how? (Score 5, Interesting) 177

by bill_mcgonigle (#47692923) Attached to: Fighting Invasive Fish With Forks and Knives

Does "promoting" mean passing out some posters or getting rid of the requirement to purchase a fishing license from the State to keep the northern snakehead? There are plenty of folks out of work who could help here in a win-win situation. We already have systems in place to police the fish that people keep and removing all restrictions on invasive species taking would go a long way towards reducing their populations.

Comment: Re:We could only be so lucky (Score 1) 116

Sometimes I think what America needs is mother nature hitting the proverbial reset button on us.

It'll be amazing if "America" is still around in 2080, much less 2880.

The entire population of the 13 Colonies was less than the current population of Iowa and they stood up a country just fine. China doesn't keep itself together by playing nice, and we really need to avoid going the Mao Zedong route.

The bugs you have to avoid are the ones that give the user not only the inclination to get on a plane, but also the time. -- Kay Bostic