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Comment: Re:Misleading to call it "non-copied" (Score 1) 657

by Bobb9000 (#38828609) Attached to: Non-Copied Photo Is Ruled Copyright Infringement
Actually, something can be "barely copyrightable", in the sense that only the literal and precise expression of the work can be protected by copyright. In most cases, minor variations on a work do not excuse copyright - for example, I can't take Harry Potter, change all the character's names, and then release the books as my own. However, if the work is an expression of otherwise public domain material, and doesn't show large amounts of input on the part of the creator beyond the bare minimum required to create it, then only the precise expression can hold copyright. Sometimes, you can't even get copyright at all, as in photographs of paintings designed solely to reproduce the painting.

Comment: Re:Intercepted TV transmissions (Score 1) 498

by Bobb9000 (#33669328) Attached to: Former Military Personnel Claim Aliens Are Monitoring Our Nukes

Clearly the aliens caught a broadcast of Independence Day and thought it was a war game simulation showing our defense strategy.

Hmm...if that's the case, the aliens aren't very smart. They should have just taken out Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum from orbit and been done with it.

And cue the "and nothing of value was lost" in 3...2...1...

Comment: Re:The main danger is (Score 1) 357

by Bobb9000 (#32252342) Attached to: Scientists Question Safety of New Airport Scanners
No, I haven't actually. I'd expect that they'd be slower than metal detectors, but since they do so much more and, in a sane system, could replace some existing detectors I still see them as a net benefit. 30 seconds seems excessive, though. As to people's inability to understand instructions, I would guess that would improve over time. People always get confused when the systems change. If they do cause such a slowdown, and that can't be improved, I'd see that as a good argument against using them. It's not relevant to my earlier point, however, that people are freaking out disproportionately to the privacy invasion involved.

Comment: Re:The main danger is (Score 1) 357

by Bobb9000 (#32252292) Attached to: Scientists Question Safety of New Airport Scanners
I can see that our current airport security system is largely theatre; anyone with an inquisitive mind can't help but think up all the interesting ways to circumvent the current system. Hence why I'd like to see more effective measures in place. Backscatter machines seem like an effective way of checking for a number of different threats in a minimal amount of time. Combined with luggage x-rays, that seems like a good compromise of speed and effectiveness. I know they probably won't implement it the way I'd like, but if I cried about it every time government failed to do that I'd die of dehydration. I'm mostly complaining about the notion that this is somehow taking away our liberties more effectively than various other options that people seem much less freaked out about.

Comment: Re:The main danger is (Score 1) 357

by Bobb9000 (#32246366) Attached to: Scientists Question Safety of New Airport Scanners

Because the act of getting into a motor vehicle and driving to work significantly more dangerous than boarding an airplane under the pre 9/11 security protocol.

True, and if there was a way I could significantly lessen the danger of driving by having a government employee see me naked with minimal hassle I'd probably do that too.

When someone pulls a stick of TNT out of his ass and tries to bring down a plane will you be meekly submitting to cavity searches?

No, because I don't think the discomfort and time involved in a cavity search is worth it compared to the risk of someone hiding a stick of TNT up their ass. If they invented a scanner that would detect items concealed in such a manner without all the trouble of a cavity search or the risk of high radiation exposure, then I'd be ok with it. Slippery slopes aren't actually all that slippery unless you have your eyes closed.

Comment: Re:The main danger is (Score 1) 357

by Bobb9000 (#32244800) Attached to: Scientists Question Safety of New Airport Scanners

Hint: Nothing in life is completely safe. The sooner you accept this the better you'll feel.

A fact of which I am well aware. The issue is not my failure to accept that fact, but that, as you note, acceptance does not mean we should stop trying to prevent terrorism. The fact that the last successful mid-air bombing was twenty years ago does not mean it couldn't happen again (as the recent attack indicates: he wasn't thwarted by security, but by poor bomb-making skills). If new technology allows us to avert more threats with less hassle and (to my mind) less intrusion, then I support it.

Good for you. Some of us value our privacy more than we value expediency.

I understand that not everyone shares my lack of concern about people seeking my penis, but when it comes to risking a successful attack on the lives of at least several hundred people vs. something which does no physical harm and does not significantly expand the power of the state, I really have trouble bringing myself to care about your concerns. A government employee seeing my penis, or my wife's breasts, or even my kids' respective same, does not allow the state to learn any more about my private behavior, beliefs, or predilections than it already knows (aside from piercings, I suppose, but the metal detector already does a fair job of that). There is thus no harm from such machines other than treading on an illogical and tradition-based taboo, unless the concerns of this article turn out to be well-founded, of course. I'm sorry that you consider that an important part of your privacy, but there can be no such thing as absolute privacy - it's always a matter of deciding where to make the tradeoffs. I don't really understand why you consider a fairly minimal invasion of the nudity taboo more important than averting a small but non-trivial threat to your life.

Comment: Re:The main danger is (Score 2, Insightful) 357

by Bobb9000 (#32244512) Attached to: Scientists Question Safety of New Airport Scanners
And as I said, fair enough - I'm concerned about possible health dangers too. But one group of scientists is not a consensus, and nothing has zero risk. I think these concerns should be responded to, and if they turn out to be a problem, then that's an excellent reason not to deploy these scanners.

Comment: Re:The main danger is (Score 4, Insightful) 357

by Bobb9000 (#32243052) Attached to: Scientists Question Safety of New Airport Scanners
While a locked cockpit door is a big plus, people could still threaten the entire plane with a bomb. Frankly, other than possible health dangers, I find the millimeter-wave scanners to be a very promising thing - if I could go through airport security just by walking through a scanner instead of all the rigmarole of three different detectors and randomized pat-downs, I'd be a much happier traveler. I really don't care if some homeland security person is looking at my penis. I'm not that insecure, and I'm not that wrapped up with stupid modesty taboos. Looking doesn't hurt me. Long lines do, and to my mind pat-downs are a heck of a lot more invasive than a greyscale picture on a screen.

Comment: Re:Interesting... (Score 2, Interesting) 332

by Bobb9000 (#31944804) Attached to: After DNA Misuse, Researchers Banished From Havasupai Reservation
Everyone keeps saying that they violated the terms of the agreement, but from TFA, I'm not so sure that's the case. The agreement said that the blood would be used to “study the causes of behavioral/medical disorders”. Most of the research described seems to fall under that category. It was originally presented as work to help understand the high diabetes incidence in the tribe, because that was why the blood was collected in the first place, but when that work was done, they still had the DNA. Why not do research to the full extent covered under the agreement? It would have been more polite, perhaps, to for the various researchers working with the samples to keep the tribe updated on their work and findings, but nothing in the agreement required that.

Regarding your insistence that this was a violation of "do no harm" - I'm not buying it. I understand it's place in medical lore, but if you think it's really a useful guide, you're wrong. If "do no harm" was truly a useful rule for guiding doctors' actions, then they could never perform surgery, they could never prescribe drugs with harmful side effects, and the entire structure of medicine as we know it would cease to exist. They have to do some harm; the question is whether the harm is outweighed by the benefits. "Do no harm" sounds nice, and as a sort of generalized medical philosophy it's salutary, but it's so vague as to be useless for actually making decisions. That why, when doctors are actually looking at the ethics of their decisions, they don't ask "Did I do harm?". They look to the rules of medical ethics which have been developed through a lot of hard work by people actually dealing with real-world problems. Much as with science generally, relying on the writings of people who have been dead for thousands of years rather than your own judgement and the evidence is a terrible idea.

Comment: Re:Categories (Score 3, Insightful) 572

by Bobb9000 (#31808566) Attached to: Larry Sanger Tells FBI Wikipedia Distributes "Child Pornography"

First of all, thank you for calling me a authoritarian pig. It's always good to have a friend that knows you better than you know your self.

Sorry, but as a disinterested third party, I have to say that the position you just advocated kinda does make you an authoritarian pig:

That way there will be no discussion in court about the images being real or not.

In general, speaking positively of rules which ban the introduction of relevant, defendant-exonerating evidence in court, as opposed to mentioning it only as a last resort, means bad things about your commitment to having a free society.

If that also means obviously drawn child porn is illegal, that is fine with me. Everybody that needs images of children of nay kind to fap should have their heads examined.

Then again, looking for the intention behind the words is kind of silly if you just go and state your authoritarian prejudices explicitly.

Now, I don't necessarily disagree that, as a matter of necessity, some provision may need to be made for the criminalization of photorealistic 3D renderings. However, that isn't something to be happy about - it's a very bad thing. The only legitimate reason for banning child porn is protecting children from being exploited in its production. Take that away, and all you have is totalitarian moralism.

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