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Comment: Odd individuals they must have been (Score 5, Funny) 350

by Archtech (#48618169) Attached to: Sony Leaks Reveal Hollywood Is Trying To Break DNS

It seems that the bipeds who once inhabited this planet had, at one time, developed a comprehensive worldwide networking system. They accomplished much through it, from exchange of all kinds of information to commercial transactions, education, and even personal communications.

But suddenly, one day, this useful system was destroyed. Apparently a small group of bipeds, which had enriched themselves by creating carefully distorted fictional representations of life and events, decided that the network might be slightly reducing the rate at which they amassed wealth. So they sabotaged it.

We really have no idea what kind of intelligence those bipeds had - if it was even intelligence as we know it.

Comment: Re:Does Denmark... (Score 1) 184

by jfengel (#48610709) Attached to: Denmark Makes Claim To North Pole, Based On Undersea Geography

You have to take nonbinding referenda with a grain of salt. It's easy to wave the flag and claim nationalism when you don't have to deal with the difficulties of actually running a country when you do.

I'm not saying that the Greenlanders don't genuinely want independence. I'm just saying that 75% is the high-water mark. At least 25% genuinely don't want independence, and that were it to come down to a binding vote, they could well find another 26% who get cold feet at the prospect of having to deal with the consequences.

If Denmark does indeed manage to win them trillions worth of oil, they may well decide to keep it all for themselves, and vote for that. And then the sticky wicket would be getting to a binding referendum, which the Danes would not permit easily. The easiest route to it would be to buy their independence by promising a fraction of that oil revenue.

Comment: Re:this is ridiculous (Score 1) 428

by jfengel (#48610549) Attached to: Federal Court Nixes Weeks of Warrantless Video Surveillance

We have an odd kind of expectation of privacy even in public places. I'm not saying we don't; I'm just pointing out that the expectation strikes me as not obvious. The Fourth Amendment calls out "their persons, houses, papers, and effects", which notably omits anything outside your immediate control.

The expectation comes from a pre-technological age, and I certainly don't fault the Fourth Amendment for failing to see how technology would change the ways in which we expect to be private even in public. But I do think it ends up calling for a recalibration of both the law and our expectations.

Ideally, I'd like to see that codified in a new amendment. Unfortunately, given that even simple, popular legislation seems impossible to pass, I can't imagine getting agreement on something with even the faintest whiff of controversy past the rather higher bar of a Constitutional amendment. So I'd be happy for a decent national conversation on the topic.

Personally, I wouldn't have thought that the law extended to an expectation of privacy on your front lawn, since you already expect your neighbors to be watching. It's interesting to see a court disagree. I wouldn't be surprised if this is overturned at a higher level, though unfortunately, at this point I've given up thinking of the Supreme Court as anything other than an ideology engine, so really just figure out which side is which and assume that it'll go that way.

Comment: Re:this is something Google does a bit better (Score 3, Informative) 590

by jfengel (#48603441) Attached to: Waze Causing Anger Among LA Residents

But I don't think they've fully integrated the software. Google Maps apparently gets "reports" from Waze, but they seem to otherwise still be separate. They generate different routes and different estimates.

Based on my purely anecdotal experience, I've found that Maps has smarter routing but that Waze does a better job of being current on traffic. So I use Waze when I expect traffic to be an issue (i.e. during rush times), and Maps at other times. (Maps also has a more pleasant interface. Waze's voice is especially over-talkative.)

Comment: Re:Over to you, SCOTUS (Score 1) 378

At least one set of judges, the 9th Circuit, disagreed that the previous decision applied here. The current court disagrees (unanimously) with them, and what they say goes, but the fact that it made it to the Supreme Court at all suggests that there is real disagreement about the meaning and applicability of the previous decisions.

So there's plenty of blame to go around, but it includes all nine of the current justices as well as the past ones. And the current Congress, who could easily remedy this (to popular acclaim), but the leadership won't even try.

Comment: Re:Not "ridesharing" (Score 1) 136

by jfengel (#48573963) Attached to: California Sues Uber Over Practices

I'm surprised this hasn't been put to the test already. There are about 200 accidents and 1-2 fatalities per 100 million miles driven. Uber and Lyft must be closing in on that number by now, and since they're primarily about accident-prone city driving I'd expect it to be faster.

Surely something has happened by now that would have provoked the insurance companies' ire and make them start sending out warnings, but I haven't heard about it. Am I just missing it? Or have they handled it all in house so far?

Comment: Re:It may be Ok to shoot unarmed people (Score 1) 225

by Archtech (#48571253) Attached to: US Navy Authorizes Use of Laser In Combat

It never ceases to astonish me how some Slashdotters, who usually seem fairly intelligent and rational, say things like this whenever the discussion turns to politics.

I blame the influence of Hollywood and violent TV. Maybe the actual sight (and smell) of a few real dead and injured people would do you a world of good, and bring your strange thoughts closer to reality.

Comment: Re:This might alienate anti-ISI* Muslims. (Score 1) 225

by Archtech (#48571245) Attached to: US Navy Authorizes Use of Laser In Combat

"There's nothing moral or immoral about waging war".

As that is a value judgment, I shall not say that it is incorrect. It does differ sharply, however, from all international and national laws and norms. Wikipedia puts it simply:

'The International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, which followed World War II, called the waging of aggressive war "essentially an evil initiate a war of not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."'

Comment: So... did he have any tested? (Score 1) 82

by jfengel (#48550621) Attached to: Book Review: Spam Nation

I've read the review, but not the book, but a key element seems to come down to "Maybe it's real, but nobody knows". It seems a fairly simple procedure for him to order some of it and have it tested, and then he'd know. Yeah, that's a legal gray area, but it would make his case a lot stronger to be able to say "Yeah, I ordered a bunch of Russian Viagra and it tested out as 75% as good as the real stuff".

I know that means taking a risk of being prosecuted, but isn't that something we commend journalists for? At least, better than making allegations about what corporate execs and government employees are thinking without evidence.

Dennis Ritchie is twice as bright as Steve Jobs, and only half wrong. -- Jim Gettys