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Comment Re: Damn people are getting dumb (Score 1) 77

Or how about a more novel idea: Instead of paying to avoid copyright, either actually pay for the movies you watch or don't watch them.

I tried that. No one would take my money. And 6 months later when they did want to take my money they wanted to take twice as much as normal because... well I assume they had the added cost of dubbing the original so people said "aluminium" instead of "aluminum" and had to put the missing 'u' back into various words in the subtitles. Maybe they even edited the footage so the toilets flushed in the opposite way, that would justify the cost.

Comment Re: Damn people are getting dumb (Score 1) 77

Or you could take the low-hanging fruit principle. Are studios likely to go after people who obfuscate their presence or likely to just record IP addresses and John Doe them to their nearest ISP?

I think VPN torrenters or those using SOCKS proxies will be relatively safe until everyone starts doing it.

Comment Re:This is how it begins (Score 1) 191

Use the state of emergency to suppress legitimate protests.

Define "legitimate protest". We are talking about protests against the government which runs one of the lowest CO2 producing countries in the EU, a government who recognises climate change, and a government who's leading the way in curbing emissions, not just global warming, but also things like NOx with new regulations. I wonder how much of this protest was actually "legitimate".

Comment Re:"using the opportunity to suppress dissent." (Score 2) 191

You don't need to be a climate denier to get sick of some of the protesting crap that is happening in the world. France is in the bottom quartile of CO2 emissions in the EU countries both in absolute terms and per capita terms. They are also on the forefront of regulating diesel use, and attempting to reduce car use in the inner city (not helped by Paris's crap air quality).

The idea that people are protesting against the French government on environmental grounds seems quite strange to me.

Comment Re:Books thesis (Score 3, Insightful) 141

Well, having worked in both the non-profit sector and in public health, I think the criticisms of the Gates Foundation's public health efforts are malarkey. It's basically an opportunity cost argument and by that standard virtually every charitable foundation is wanting. Why are you spending money on the ballet when there are kids who can't read? Why are you spending money on literacy education when there are kids who don't have enough to eat etc. The problems of the world are endlessly varied and complex, and you can't ask much more of anyone than that they pick a spot and take a whack.

That said, the idea that spending money on infectious diseases is wasteful is particularly inane. Sure, in some places obesity may result in more premature deaths than malaria, but the fact is nobody really knows how to effectively fight an "obesity epidemic", whereas malaria is clearly eradicable -- and once it's gone, it's gone forever, because P. falciparum has no natural host other than humans. The same goes for communicable diseases for which we have vaccines; we know how to fight those cost effectively, even eradicate them in many cases. The missing piece of the puzzle is money.

Now criticism of the foundation's education efforts is a lot more warranted. Just like everybody thinks they're qualified to design a website because they have opinions about which sites they like and don't like, everyone thinks they're qualified to redesign the educational system because they went to school. The difference is that Gates has the money to make his bad ideas materialize. It may be hacker philanthropy, but most attempts at "hacks" result in kluges.

So overall it's a mixed bag. While you do have to give props to Gates for being "the man in the arena", sometimes, unlike in Teddy Roosevelt's famous speech, the man in the arena's failings don't fall exclusively on himself. So while philanthropy is admirable in itself, where the philanthropist's activities impinge on areas of public policy like education his actions should be held up to scrutiny like anyone else's.

Comment Re:Book misses major points (Score 0) 141

I don't think she sufficiently covered the HOW which is the problem.

They don't fund a charter school and see how the students there do.

They fund political campaigns to move money FROM the existing system TO their system.

When their system does not support their projections, they leave it. BUT THEY DO NOT PAY TO HAVE THE LAW REVERSED.

So the end result is a worse public school system.

Comment Re:Where was the CIA, FBI and NSA... (Score 3, Insightful) 283

How do you know it was credible, besides through the benefit of hindsight? The CIA/FBI/police get 100 tip-offs per day that the stranger down the street must be a drug dealer/kiddie fiddler/international terrorist because he can't whistle 'Dixie'.

Strawman argument. The point is that there were several credible warnings of both an Al Qaeda attack and specific concerns with piloting students affiliated with them, some from foreign intelligence agencies; all these reports were not duly considered and discarded -- not because they were the moral equivalent of not being able to whistle "Dixie", but because of organizational and political dysfunction.

It was a failure -- specifically a failure to do something that was well within the government's power to do. I'm not saying that signals intelligence is not important, but it's an evasion of responsibility to claim our failure to take effective action was because we needed some technical capability that we lacked at the time. We had everything we needed to catch the 9/11 hijackers before they struck except for leadership.

"Spock, did you see the looks on their faces?" "Yes, Captain, a sort of vacant contentment."