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Comment VERY mixed - but does work sometimes (Score 1) 143

Wikipedia is at its best when its articles are properly referenced to decent published sources. That way in the humanities, it can be a starting point for further research or a quick guide to someone you've just come across for the first time. In STEM it can be a source for basic data. Where the model works badly is if people are undisciplined about providing good sources, or only present one side of a debate. It should be a term paper for undergraduates to write a decent Wikipedia article on a topic in their subject that is at the moment a mess, and having done that, they may begin to engage with it in an appropriate fashion. OTOH anyone who quotes Wikipedia as a source should lose a grade point...

Submission + - Canadian Music Industry Faces Competition Complaint Over Public Domain Records->

An anonymous reader writes: A Canadian record label specializing in public domain releases has filed a complaint with the Competition Tribunal over alleged anti-competitive conduct by Universal, Sony, and host of other music industry leaders. The complaint tells a fascinating behind-the-scenes tale, with the recording industry doing everything in its powers — including posting false reviews, pressuring distributors, and lobbying for changes to the law — to stop the sale of competing public domain records.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - London taxis to give off peak discounts in response to Uber->

Bruce66423 writes: “Taxi drivers cannot work at the prices Uber drivers do."

Possibly. London black cab drivers do have to use those particular cars, rather than just any vehicle. But otherwise?

"This is something the industry has wanted to offer for some time. We just haven’t had the technology to do it."

Funny how it's happened now...

"The difference between us and Uber is that when it’s quiet we’re going to give you a discount but when it’s busy we’re not going to charge you more,”

Nice line. It's worth remembering that London — and indeed ALL UK taxis — have faced competition from 'private hire firms', which require you to book ahead, not hail on the street, for many decades. As a result there has been a legal framework in place for Uber to slot into without any difficulty.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - FCC wants to lock down devices to prevent Open Source use

An anonymous reader writes: The website LibrePlanet.org reports:

Right now, the FCC is considering a proposal to require manufacturers to lock down computing devices (routers, PCs, phones) to prevent modification if they have a "modular wireless radio"[1][2] or a device with an "electronic label"[3]. The rules would likely:

Restrict installation of alternative operating systems on your PC, like GNU/Linux, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, etc.

Prevent research into advanced wireless technologies, like mesh networking and bufferbloat fixes

Ban installation of custom firmware on your Android phone

Discourage the development of alternative free and open source WiFi firmware, like OpenWrt

Infringe upon the ability of amateur radio operators to create high powered mesh networks to assist emergency personnel in a disaster.

Prevent resellers from installing firmware on routers, such as for retail WiFi hotspots or VPNs, without agreeing to any condition a manufacturer so chooses.

Take Action Now!

The FCC is asking for comments on this proposal. The most important thing you can do is comment on the FCC's proposal and tell them you want to be able to control your computing devices. Will you do this?

Comment deadline extended to October 9.

Read the full article here:-

See also


Submission + - Germany wants to force FB to obey its rules about Holocaust denial->

Bruce66423 writes: In a classic example of the conflict of cultures bought about by the internet, Germany is trying to get Facebook to obey its rules about banning holocaust denial posts. This, of course, is in total contradiction to the US tradition of 'anything goes'. Who should win, and why?
Link to Original Source

Submission + - More than half of psychological results can't be reproduced->

Bruce66423 writes: A new study trying to replicated results reported in allegedly high quality journals failed to do so in over 50% of cases. Those of us from a hard science background always had our doubts about this sort of stuff — it's interesting to see it demonstrated — or rather, as the man says: "Psychology has nothing to be proud of when it comes to replication,” Charles Gallistel, president of the Association for Psychological Science.
Link to Original Source

Comment Fair comment (Score 1) 706

True, there is a history of legislation introduced in a rush going horribly wrong. OTOH, unless an incident occurs, legislators are unlikely EVER to act. Actually the prospect of a successful group litigation might concentrate a few minds as much as legislation; a few shareholders asking 'Is the CEO confident that the cyber security of your firm is adequate' might then concentrate minds. Certainly it's got the subject publicity!

Comment Fascinating misunderstanding (Score 1) 706

With the exception of a few horrendous examples of gay people fearing for their lives, I'm not aware of danger of PHYSICAL attack as a result of this fiasco. And if you were in the slightest hearing me as suggesting that would be good thing, then I've got it badly wrong.

But suppose this hack had been of the identities of people watching child pornography? Wouldn't the reaction from the majority have been far more negative? Instead of a mixture of embarrassment and tittering, the people exposed would have excoriated by wider society. And yet, it is arguable, that a WATCHER of child porn is less destructive to real children - especially if that porn is CGI generated - than an adulterer who destroys a family.

To my mind it is appropriate to challenge BOTH these behaviours to a substantial extent. Yet in practice the adulterer tends to be easily forgiven, whilst the child porn viewer is held up to public rejection for ever more. How would you react if a friend of yours got sent to prison for watching child porn? And how would you react if she got caught in flagrante delicto with another person?

Ultimately it's all about WHERE we draw the line, and why. Everyone draws the line somewhere: Overt racism will probably get you booted out of most circles etc etc. I think the adulterer deserves the same treatment as a racist. YMMV. But to dismiss my treatment of an adulterer as the behaviour of a lynch mob but condone similar treatment for an overt racist shows a failure to think. Adults are expected to think - that's why they let us vote...

Comment Anecdotes and theses (Score 1) 706

"Does an anecdote prove a thesis? No, but it can disprove one."

Whilst a persistently recreatable test tube based experiment will disprove a thesis in 'hard' sciences, in the social sciences, the best that is on offer is a degree of correlation: this pattern of behaviour is associated with more positive outcomes than this pattern. It's on this basis that the claim that marriage acts as a bulwark for family stability is made - there is a marked propensity for married people to stay together, thus providing kids with the stability they need - whereas there's a propensity for the unmarried to split up. Now there will be exceptions - and the fact that you can show an example of an unmarried couple staying together is good to hear - but it doesn't disprove the thesis.

Comment OK? (Score 1) 706

The bible records a lot of things. That it's 'in the bible' doesn't prove that it's OK. The story of Lot being got drunk by his daughters and then seduced by them (Genesis 19) doesn't give a commendation for their behaviour. There are passages that you can argue endorse behaviour that we can't accept - but this isn't one of them.

Comment Sexual frustration as an excuse for divorce? (Score 1) 706

Underlying society is a set of implicit and sometimes explicit contracts that make the place operate. One of the explicit ones is the terms on which a marriage is entered. Historically there was also an implicit understanding that children would only be born within marriage.

Modern rebelliousness has resulted in marriages becoming less worked at, and the need to get married before children are born has disappeared. The result is a lot of messed up kids. It's also led to an epidemic of loneliness.

We've now arrived at a society where 'personal fulfilment' has become the ultimate good, to the de facto exclusion of all other considerations. A society will fall apart if there is that freedom to do whatever you want without regard to your responsibilities. Bread and circuses may get us through a few more years, but Islam will be along shortly to appeal to those who have had enough. I assure you that that won't be fun...

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.