Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Taxi licenses are crazy expensive (Score 1) 330 330

You miss the point, the state is the one guaranteeing the limited monopoly.

When did the State ever guarantee that they would maintain the medallion program and/or refrain from issuing new medallions? Scarcity of medallions is hardly a natural right, and laws instituting artificial scarcity are subject to change. If anyone over-payed for a medallion under the false assumption that the current state of artificial scarcity was guaranteed to last they have no one but themselves to blame. The only compensation owed here is to those who were unjustly prohibited from operating taxis due to the State's medallion requirements.

Comment: Re:Efficient allocation of capital (Score 1) 228 228

If the amount of labor needed to produce one person's worth of goods and services is less than one person's worth of effort, then you are going to have people sitting around doing nothing.

Fortunately, there is no upper bound on "one person's worth of goods and services". If nothing else, leisure time (i.e. sitting around doing nothing, or at least nothing "productive") is a perfectly legitimate good and can expand to absorb any excess. Every time this has happened in the past, however, people managed to find other things to strive for—goods and services which were previously out of their reach, as well as new goods and services which they now have the leisure time to invent.

Comment: Re:The Majority Still Has Follow the Constitution (Score 5, Insightful) 1083 1083

If they [rights] do not come from God, then they are simply a social construct...

This is where you are wrong. There are formulations of rights which are neither mere social constructs nor based on religion—which is, in the end, just another variety of social construct. My preference is the one based on the legal concept of estoppel, which can be summarized as the logical principle that one cannot rely on incompatible claims within the same argument. For example, one cannot consistently argue that one has the right to act in a certain way toward others while simultaneously claiming that those affected lack the right to reciprocate. Either everyone has the right or no one does. If the right exists then the first party infringed on it and deserves the punishment; if not, then neither the original action nor the response infringes on anyone's rights.

In this case there is the additional complication that "the right to marry" is really referring to a number of different aspects of the law, not simply the right to hold a marriage ceremony and consider oneself married but also power of attorney, visitation rights, joint taxation, common ownership of property, etc. However, the gender of the two parties is irrelevant to all of these legal considerations; there is no reason whatsoever that the law should permit e.g. visitation rights to a couple composed of a male and a female, but deny them to a couple composed of two males or two females.

If certain individuals of a religious persuasion wish to consider homosexuality a sin, fine. They don't have to practice it themselves, or even associate with those who do. But there is certainly nothing in the Bible which would require anyone to deny that the relationship exists, or to refuse such couples equal rights under the law. This ruling is about the law, not religion.


FBI Investigating Series of Fiber Cuts In San Francisco Bay Area 168 168

jfruh writes: Ten times over four separate nights in the past year, telecom cables have been mysteriously cut in various locations around the San Francisco Bay Area. Now the FBI is investigating the incidents as potential sabotage. ITWorld reports: "In the past year, there were 10 instances on four separate nights when telecom cables were intentionally cut in Fremont, Walnut Creek, Alamo, Berkeley and San Jose, the agency said Monday. FBI Special Agent Greg Wuthrich said it's unclear if the incidents are unrelated or the work of a single person or group, but the FBI is keen to hear from anyone who may have witnessed anything suspicious."

Comment: If you want better support... (Score 1) 479 479

... buy a commercial/business connection. Yes, it is more expensive. Yes, you get what you pay for, and nothing more.

If you're an IT pro, you'll appreciate the US-based support, static IP address, absence of blocked ports, and other services that typically come with business internet connections.


Missing Files Blamed For Deadly A400M Crash 253 253

An anonymous reader writes: Think you had a bad day when your software drivers go missing? Rejoice, you get to live! A fatal A400M crash was linked to data-wipe mistake during an engine software update. A military plane crash in Spain was probably caused by computer files being accidentally wiped from three of its engines, according to investigators. Plane-maker Airbus discovered anomalies in the A400M's data logs after the crash, suggesting a software fault. And it has now emerged that Spanish investigators suspect files needed to interpret its engine readings had been deleted by mistake.This would have caused the affected propellers to spin too slowly causing loss of power and eventually, a crash.

Ask Toolbar Now Considered Malware By Microsoft 212 212

AmiMoJo writes: Last month Microsoft changed its policy on protecting search settings to include any software that attempts to hijack searches as malware. As a result, this month the Ask Toolbar, which most people will probably recognize as being unwanted crapware bundled with Java, was marked as malware and will now be removed by Microsoft's security software built in to Windows 7 and above.

Comment: Re:Yep. I'd pay money. (Score 1) 236 236

I didn't conflate anything. "See also Lavabit" does not imply that what I said previously applied. In this instance, the word "also" implies it as a separate subject not related to the first.

Sorry if you didn't understand it the first time.

Comment: Re:Better get those lobbyists ready, Comcast (Score 3, Insightful) 98 98

The latency would be ridiculous for most use cases.

Are you sure? A round-trip latency of 13ms to the base station(s) seems fairly reasonable to me. These are Low Earth Orbit satellites with an altitude between 99 and 1,200 miles, not geostationary ones at 22,236 miles; that's 1/18th the distance, and thus latency, of existing satellite Internet providers like WildBlue or HughesNet. At the minimum LEO altitude the latency would be another order of magnitude lower still (around 1ms). Even the high-LEO delay is significantly less than the 20-40ms time to the first router reported by traceroute for my Qwest DSL connection.

The trade-offs of LEO include a requirement for many more satellites for the same coverage, the necessity of hand-offs as the satellites pass overhead, and lower orbital lifetimes / higher fuel consumption due to increased atmospheric drag.

Comment: Re: Hiding behind anonymity (Score 1) 183 183

If you are being interrogated in court you're forced to swear to tell the truth. You're FORCED to do it. And it carries a LOT of weight.

Legal weight, perhaps, under an unjust legal system, but not moral weight; an oath given only under duress is no oath at all. For an oath to be morally binding there must be consent, and there cannot be consent when the oath is coerced. Of course, even worse than the prospect of being punished for violating an oath extracted under duress is that fact that you're being compelled to testify against your will in the first place. Without compulsory testimony, the oath would be voluntary and thus actually mean something.

I'm all for computer dating, but I wouldn't want one to marry my sister.