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Comment Re:Seems reasonable (Score 1) 173

Do you think the power utility ought to audit everyone to determine whether or not their business (well, not just business, but their use of electricity) is speculative, then I can see how your position makes sense and doesn't single you out as a Very Special Person.

OTOH if you start backpedalling and claim that you don't want the power utility to adjudicate whether or not you are a speculative user, then you just outed yourself as a Very Special Person.

Comment Re:So why the secrecy (Score 1) 171

The secrecy is how we know that the government has made a significant effort to try to determine its legality, and they determined it to be illegal. Whether or not they're correct that it's illegal: that's tricky, but they think it's illegal.

I wish there were some mechanism for bringing these suspected criminals to justice. I don't mean punishment; I mean trials. Prosecute one of them for violating FCC rules or for computer misuse/fraud in doing their MitM attacks, and make them show how they got a get-out-of-jail-free pass (because without the pass, it'd be a pretty airtight case if you or I were doing what they're doing).

Comment They already had the evidence (Score 1) 258

The evidence consists of the observations which inspired them to make the computer model.

They already had the evidence; they just didn't know what it was evidence of. And then once the model predicted stuff like Sedna's orbit, they then had even more evidence: Sedna-and-friends. So that was an additional complex of evidence, for which they previously didn't know what it was evidence of.

Let's say you drop an apple out of a tree. It falls. You don't know why. Then someone notices that most of the apples eventually fall, and they run a sim where, if you hypothesize this weird (yet amazingly simple) force that makes things fall, you get consequences a whole lot like what people have observed. (Then someone realizes: "hey, this force should work on peaches too! It predicts peaches will fall." And then everyone is is "OMG, peaches do fall! We didn't understand those either, but here you are, giving us a really great hypothesis for all our observational evidence!") The sim isn't evidence of gravity, and yet it points to all these apples-falling as being evidence of the existence of gravity.

Same here. The sim isn't the evidence; it's the thing that helps you understand what the evidence means. It's a tool that was used for formulating the evidence-backed hypothesis, so that once you put your hypothesis out there, and people say "wtf? where's your evidence?" then you throw all your sim's inputs in their faces and say "there's the evidence! All that stuff you people have been seeing! My hypothesis finally made sense of the evidence for you."

Comment What is the violation? (Score 1) 130

I briefly looked at routebuilder.org and, as far as I can tell, it uses Google Maps itself, not some "wrapped" replacement of it. It just seems to tell you how long some segments are, which appear to all be drawn using the API.

I admit that I am probably missing something but at first appearance, there isn't anything here which violates Google Maps TOS.

This makes me wonder if most things that use Google Maps, may be unwittingly and obscurely violating the ToS in some way that only lawyers, but no developers, would ever understand.

Does anyone understand what, exactly, Google is saying the violation is?

Comment Re:So vague is has to be true? (Score 5, Insightful) 241

Before you "but the children", give me the percentage of terrorist activities or even bombings where someone gave warning.

I can't give you a lot of digits of precision, but here's the number I came up with: more than 0%. The warning is the terrorism. You don't have to murder anyone to be a terrorist (though it sure helps).

How to be a terrorist: Do something scary, preferably targeting a society of cowards. Did you scare people into overreacting? Yes: mission accomplished, you're a good terrorist. No: You're a bad terrorist, so don't quit your engineering day job.

They probably didn't scare any students ("yay, day off!") but the parents were hit. As for how successful it was, I'll wait for the media to tell me. Everyone, please remember to FREAK OUT, so that we can guarantee a repeat of this cheap tactic. I know I can count on Republican candidates to join the terrorists on this, but let's all please try to remember to include the progressives too: kids need more days off like this! All that pot isn't going to smoke itself!

Comment NOBODY else is in Fiorina's league on this topic (Score 5, Insightful) 345

Hillary is someone whom the country would be better without, but at least she doesn't score double-irony points with stuff like this:

"I know this community. I know this industry. I know these people. I will engage them."

Only Fiorina could get people laughing so hysterically with so few words. Even Trump has never said anything quite that shocking yet. This is like if Hillary were to sincerely brag about how faithful her husband has been.

Comment Re:Studios probably push it (Score 1) 175

Then what non-ridiculous method of conditional access to video would be acceptable to the companies that fund production of feature films.

Obviously it's hard to say whether or not increasing profits would be acceptable to everyone who funds production. There will be outliers so I shouldn't arrogantly claim that they are all intended to be legitimate profit-seeking businesses.

Nevertheless, you'd think that for the common case (production companies that are trying to get the most money), something like "standard mkv or mp4 files served by HTTP or maybe HTTPS" would be a nearly perfect solution. (I think HTTPS is usually the best way to go, but for large media files it probably makes more sense to be as cache-friendly as possible.) Those are proven techs that already have a wide variety of existing implementations, and can be relatively easily re-implemented if someone has a new idea for an innovative player.

What's the downside of that?

Is the downside that it doesn't give service providers enough of a vertical market, so they can't as easily discourage customers from using multiple providers? That's the only reason I can think of, for using proprietary stuff: if I had a convenient unified user interface that showed content available on Netflix and their competitors (e.g. HBO) then I might shop at Netflix less often. Competition is bad.

But that's just Netflix's point of view; it's not the point of view of a profit-seeking production company or a viewer. Producers and consumers should be on the same page when it comes to making things easier to buy and use. It's just the middlemen who see advantages to putting up barriers and .. *cough* .. adding value. So I think we should ignore Netflix's agenda and concentrate on the production companies, just as you suggested.

If a production company comes back and says "no, DRM-free standard files over a standard protocol is unacceptable" then we should ask them just what the hell their agenda is, if making money isn't it. We tend to think they are trying to make money, so all our proposed solutions (e.g. stop using DRM so that you can sell more copies to more people) are geared toward that. If their agenda is something more obscure, then either we should find out what it is, or just let it go and stop worrying about it. Maybe pirating videos instead of paying Netflix for them, is compatible with everyone's non-profit agenda so we're all getting worked up over a non-problem. (But then what's the copyright for?!)

My guess is that the above paragraph is totally off on a tangent, and the majority actually do want money (and want as much as they can get, where more is better), so switching to standards and losing DRM is going to be the best answer for them.

Comment Yes!!! Enforcement! (Score 1) 1134

OMG, this idea is brilliant. Why yes, I could use some easy money at taxpayers' expense. I would like to subscribe to your metal detector manufacturer newsletter. And your reseller newsletter. And the maintenance contract one too, please. Oh, and I think the bored staff who stand around the machines should be forced to unionize.

People talk about gun-free zones with contempt, but we need to start thinking of them as a yet-unfulfilled opportunity. Please, everyone, let this San Bernardino thing be the 9/11 to help kickstart the next security theater industry expansion. We can be the visionary grifters sucking the life out of the public in exchange for absolutely nothing of value. Chant with me: "gun-free zones! enforce them! enforce them! gun-free zones! enforce them! enforce them!"

Comment Re:The Source? (Score 1) 175

Wow. I had no idea.

Netflix has had many years to remove their dependency on proprietary player software so that it would no longer require closed players. As some of the stuff transitions from not-user-maintainable to completely-unmaintained, that'll just be another reason for people to remember that media requires standards. It's ridiculous that in 2015 someone is selling a video service where you can't just use whatever player you want to.

"Cord cutting" right now is something Netflix can cheer, but as expectations continue to rise and unless Netflix modernizes, all the reasons that people upgraded to Netflix, may become reasons that they upgrade from Netflix. And right here, you're looking at one of them. Netflix smells pretty "cabley" here.

Comment Re:This makes me want to run out and get a Blackbe (Score 1) 137

Right: they should be allowed, yet it should be impossible for them to actually do.

It's sort of like how I'm allowed to be President of the US. But unless everybody else in the world totally screws up to comically-negligent degree (what the fuck were you thinking, voting for me?!), it can't possibly happen.

Cops are allowed to travel to Alpha Centauri. FBI employees are allowed to live to be a thousand years old. NSA crackers are allowed to have unlimited antimatter-reactor energy for free. Our laws should allow all these things. Reality, though, may have something else to say about it.

Comment Re:Nope. (Score 1) 130

You're standing by a button. If you press the button, a million puppies will be dropped into a blender. It would be very bad for you to press that button and you shouldn't do it. The consequences will be dire. For fuck's sake, you shouldn't ever press that button!

I walk up, and point a loaded gun at your face. "Push the button," I say. I say it very seriously, too.

If you don't push the button and kill a million puppies, I will kill you (whether the puppies will remain safe or not, you simply don't know). If you do push the button, a million puppies will die but you'll live.

You decide to push the button, even though for a long time you had thought "never push that button."

People learn what happened. Do they blame you or do they blame me? I think it doesn't matter if the puppies were yours to kill or the source yours to give. I had the gun so I was making the laws at that moment, and I said "do it."

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