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Comment: Re:Outrage due to Censorship, not the test (Score 1) 219

by lennier (#47354819) Attached to: Facebook's Emotion Experiment: Too Far, Or Social Network Norm?

I talked to several (non-tech) friends about this, and they were more upset about Facebook "censoring" out posts than the emotional manipulation.

YES. This is exactly the problem.

Those of us who understand the tech already understand that Facebook's Newsfeed is not a 'dumb pipe' and that it runs an extremely opaque and proprietary filtering algorithm. We realise that a lot of posts get silently dropped; we constantly switch from 'Top Stories' to 'Most Recent' to try to counteract this. Many of us use Twitter instead and crosspost to Facebook because we know that Twitter tends to deliver all posts rather than silently screen them.

But non-tech-savvy people - our parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts - don't realise this. They think that the posts they see on the Newsfeed are exactly and only what their friends are saying. They think that if they see something with a thousand Likes, it's because their friends like it too. And why wouldn't they? To them, Facebook is a messaging service, not a media service. They know that TV and newspapers filter and select content. But they don't see Facebook as a newspaper. Their prior examples of messaging services are the telephone, post office, and then email - all three systems are ones that place a very high priority, almost a moral imperative, on the message always goes through unchanged without alteration or censorship. If they thought about it - which they generally don't - they'd expect that there was actually something in the user contract that specified this, because hey, isn't that the way things have always been? Isn't there something in the Constitution about freedom of speech? They don't realise just to what extent the Facebook terms and conditions say 'we reserve the right to hide posts from you, and not pass your posts on'. They don't realise that Newsfeed is far more like Rupert Murdoch paper than the Post Office.

That's the scandal here. It's shocking and it should be shocking to all your non-techy, non-cynical friends to see Facebook proudly talking about how they deliberately manipulate people's Newsfeeds to not actually be a representative sample of their actual friends' actual posts.

Keep the focus on that. The scandal is about censorship, free speech, and trust, not the esoterica of experimental protocols. It's important.

Comment: 400 out of how many flights? (Score 3, Insightful) 97

by GodInHell (#47289369) Attached to: When Drones Fall From the Sky
Good point. Also - without knowing how many flights? There are hundreds of thousands of car crashes every year - but there are millions upon millions of miles traveled by car every year, so crashes are relatively rare. If there were 1000 drone flights and 400 crashes the article would have a point, but there were probable hundreds of thousands of military drone flights in the last 10 years.

Also, Military aircraft do tend to crash very often around the world. see Wikipedia List of accidents and incidents involving military aircraft (2010–present). Note the string of fatalities caused by those crashes.

Comment: Re:Key Point Missing (Score 2) 34

by NewYorkCountryLawyer (#47234405) Attached to: Appeals Court Finds Scanning To Be Fair Use

The summary misses a key point. Yes they scan and store the entire book, but they are _NOT_ making the entire book available to everyone. For the most part they are just making it searchable.

Agreed that it's not in the summary, but as you correctly note, it's just a "summary". Anyone who reads the underlying blog post will read this among the facts on which the court based its opinion: "The public was allowed to search by keyword. The search results showed only the page numbers for the search term and the number of times it appeared; none of the text was visible."

So those readers who RTFA will be in the know.

+ - Appeals Court finds scanning to be fair use in Authors Guild v Hathitrust

Submitted by NewYorkCountryLawyer
NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) writes "In Authors Guild v Hathitrust, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has found that scanning whole books and making them searchable for research use is a fair use. In reaching its conclusion, the 3-judge panel reasoned, in its 34-page opinion (PDF), that the creation of a searchable, full text database is a "quintessentially transformative use", that it was "reasonably necessary" to make use of the entire works, that maintaining maintain 4 copies of the database was reasonably necessary as well, and that the research library did not impair the market for the originals. Needless to say, this ruling augurs well for Google in Authors Guild v. Google, which likewise involves full text scanning of whole books for research."

+ - Councilman/Open Source Developer submits Open Source bill->

Submitted by NewYorkCountryLawyer
NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) writes "New York City Council Member Ben Kallos (KallosEsq), who also happens to be a Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) developer, just introduced legislation to mandate a government preference for FOSS and creating a Civic Commons website to facilitate collaborative purchasing of software. He argues that NYC could save millions of dollars with the Free and Open Source Software Preferences Act 2014, pointing out that the city currently has a $67 million Microsoft ELA. Kallos said: "It is time for government to modernize and start appreciating the same cost savings as everyone else.""
Link to Original Source

Comment: A little late, but welcome (Score 1) 136

by NewYorkCountryLawyer (#47119749) Attached to: Federal Court Pulls Plug On Porn Copyright Shakedown
A cynic might argue that the key difference in this case was that, for a change, the ISP's, and not merely defendants, were challenging the subpoenas; but of course we all know that justice is 'blind'.

An ingrate might bemoan the Court's failure to address the key underlying fallacy in the "John Doe" cases, that because someone pays the bill for an internet account that automatically makes them a copyright infringer; but who's complaining over that slight omission?

A malcontent like myself might be a little unhappy that it took the courts ten (10) years to finally come to grips with the personal jurisdiction issue, which would have been obvious to 9 out of 10 second year law students from the get go, and I personally have been pointing it out and writing about it since 2005; but at least they finally did get there.

And a philosopher might wonder how much suffering might have been spared had the courts followed the law back in 2004 when the John Doe madness started; but of course I'm a lawyer, not a philosopher. :)

Bottom line, though: this is a good thing, a very good thing. Ten (10) years late in coming, but good nonetheless. - R.B. )

Comment: Re:Activity Rewires the Human Brain (Score 1) 291

by eam (#47108061) Attached to: Parenting Rewires the Male Brain

Sounds like your wife got all of motherhood and half of fatherhood ;-)

I experienced the same thing. When I was alone and in charge, everyone got fed, bathed, bandaged, etc. Everyone survived despite the fact that mom was at work. When she was home, I didn't do things "right".

What I discovered over the years (kids are now 15, 13, and 11) is that if you are patient, the children will make your argument for you. Eventually, if she isn't completely delusional, she will realize she doesn't know any more than anyone else. At that point she will welcome the opportunity to share the decision making as well as the blame.

Of course, it probably helps in my situation that we usually agree, and love each other, and our mutual goal is to get the kids raised well enough that they can get jobs and move out of the house.

Comment: Re:Because they can. (Score 3, Informative) 252

by GodInHell (#46944225) Attached to: $200 For a Bound Textbook That You Can't Keep?
The law school I am familiar with leaves the choice of text up to the prof. Some of them will avoid these textbooks because of the ethical challenges, some won't. Of course, my school also ran its own bookstore and probably made quite a lot of profit off reselling used books, so there's that too. On the other hand $200.00 is not very much for a law school text.

Comment: Re:Not causing headaches, preventing companies fro (Score 2) 62

by kilgortrout (#46910271) Attached to: VHS-Era Privacy Law Still Causing Headaches For Streaming Video
In the US your library records are generally confidential and will only be disclosed in response to a lawfully issued subpoena. The American Library Association has promulgated specific privacy guidelines on this issue:

http://www.ala.org/Template.cfm?Section=otherpolicies&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=13084

These rules were formulated in the 1950s in response to McCarthy era hysteria on "subversive" communist/socialist books. At that time certain governmental agencies were asking librarians to turn people in that were reading these materials without getting a court issued subpoena. How all this fairs in the modern era of the Patriot Act and the NSA is anyone's guess.

They are relatively good but absolutely terrible. -- Alan Kay, commenting on Apollos

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