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Comment: Re:Ah, come one, don't we trust the Feds? (Score 2) 86

It's not that we want the FCC regulating network neutrality, but more like we were pushed into that corner.

In an ideal world, the market would work out any network neutrality issues and the government wouldn't need to get involved. For example, if ISP A degraded Netflix traffic in an effort to promote their video offerings and get Netflix to pay them, then ISPs B, C, and D would stand ready to pick up the customers who fled due to bad Netflix connections.

We're not in an ideal world, however, and the market is broken beyond repair (at least near-term repair). Right now, I have a choice of one ISP: Time Warner Cable. Most Americans have only one ISP or, if they are lucky, two to choose from. (Side note: Wireless doesn't count because the data charges make streaming videos an expensive proposition. You can't argue that an alternative to buying a small, somewhat affordable car is buying a $1 million tricked out limousine.) This means that an ISP can do what it wants knowing that its customers have nowhere to flee. If customers can't vote with their wallets, there is nothing reigning in the company from doing whatever it wants to do.

Even with this situation, we could have avoided government regulation, but the ISPs got greedy. They started complaining about Netflix getting a "free ride" (they pay for their own bandwidth fees the same as anyone) and tried charging Netflix to not be slowed down ("that's a nice web service you've got there... It'd be a shame if something HAPPENED to it..."). Needless to say, there was a frustrated outcry.

EVEN then, the FCC tried to enact some weak regulations that would have effectively let the ISPs do whatever they wanted. Verizon sued to get those regulations overturned and succeeded. The courts said the FCC would need to use Title II. Which they just did.

The ISPs backed us into this corner with their own actions. We didn't want to be here but they didn't give us any other choice.

Comment: Re:If "yes," then it's not self-driving (Score 1) 342

by Jason Levine (#49188173) Attached to: Would You Need a License To Drive a Self-Driving Car?

And automated cars will likely just get better every year as better software is written.

Meanwhile, those meatbags will stay at the exact same level of driver quality. (Except, perhaps, for some improvement as bad-driver-meatbags turn over control to automated cars leaving only good-driver meatbags counted in driver quality ratings.)

Comment: Re:If "yes," then it's not self-driving (Score 1) 342

by Jason Levine (#49188131) Attached to: Would You Need a License To Drive a Self-Driving Car?

Look at a traffic jam in a reasonably sized city. There are a lot more cars in them then there are planes in the sky. Now imagine these cars flying through the air instead of stuck in lanes on the ground.

Drivers already try to swerve into non-traffic lanes (side of the road) or lanes that they know will end to shave 10 seconds off their trip. Who is to say that, without full automation, a flying car driver wouldn't just say "why am I hovering in place in this sky lane when I can dive down, buzz the top of that building, pass between those other buildings, and be past the jam in a minute?" Flying car lanes would wind up being violated to shave off "precious" seconds.

This doesn't even get into the fact that a flying car collision would rain debris down on the people below.

Unless we get 100% automation, I hope we never see flying cars.

Comment: Re: Have Settled Charges? (Score 1) 91

by Jason Levine (#49188043) Attached to: FTC Targets Group That Made Billions of Robocalls

I can't speak for the court system by you, but I got a ticket once for going through a stop sign. (I did a "rolling stop.") I appeared at the court house and all of the people with tickets were, one by one, being told to speak with the prosecutor at which point they'd come back with a non-moving violation and a small fine. I wound up agreeing to "parking on the sidewalk" which got me a $100 fine and wasn't reported to my insurance company. (My fine was higher than everyone else's and to this day I still wonder if it was because I questioned the validity of the ticket since the officer wrote down the wrong street that it happened on.)

Comment: Re:conditions found in space (Score 1) 129

by Jason Levine (#49187985) Attached to: NASA Ames Reproduces the Building Blocks of Life In Laboratory

Not to mention that, when the public hears "alien life", they think of intelligent creatures or, at the very least, something the size of a house cat running around the planet's surface. However, life on other planets could still be bacteria-sized. Even if it wasn't a big life form, finding single celled alien life would be a huge discovery.

Comment: Re: And the escalation continues (Score 1) 448

That is a danger, yes. If someone is attacking you online, you should be careful if you're going to retaliate in this manner. Still, in this case, the outed trolls admitted it was them and apologized (though it was more of a "sorry I got caught" then an actual apology).

Comment: Re:Virtual Self Defense (Score 1) 448

True, but they didn't even want to make the effort. To them, the whole affair of tracking down who stole my identity and was using it to open a credit card in my name was a waste of time.

If they thought an identity thief with the proven capability to open credit cards in my name was a waste of time, they surely wouldn't do much beyond "fill out a report" for Curt Shilling's daughter.

Comment: Re:That does not make sense (Score 2) 123

by Jason Levine (#49181081) Attached to: The Mexican Drug Cartels' Involuntary IT Guy

I'm not sure I'd want to work for them no matter how much they offer. Sure, they give you a million dollars and you set up their network. Then, when your work for them is done, you become a liability. After all, you know how their systems work so you can undermine them or turn them in to the police. So you are forced to give them back their money and then you "disappear."

Comment: Re:I read some of the comments to her (Score 3, Insightful) 448

I'm sure these kids will be fine in the long term. They will likely suffer for awhile until they get themselves back on their feet - perhaps at a different job or school. However, they will hopefully learn that actions (including stuff you post online) have consequences and there are actual people on the other side of that screen. Hopefully, other people who would otherwise have engaged in the same actions will learn from this as well and not post horrific "I'm going to rape you" threats (which is their horrid way of saying "you've said something online that I don't like but I'm horrible at debating my position without resorting to graphic threats of violence").

Maybe if more trolls found themselves victims of the consequences of their own actions, the Internet would be a nicer place.

Comment: Re:This is about accountability (Score 1) 448

People suggesting that victims simply shrug off such behavior are either themselves psychopaths or have never themselves been the target of such abuse.

Exactly this. I suspect that most people who say "just ignore them" have had, at worst, someone say something mildly mean to them online. Once. And then it stopped. So when they hear of Internet trolling, they rely on personal experience and think "oh, something kind of like that happened to me once and it wasn't so bad. Just grin and bear it and you'll be fine." It's sort of like the people that say "Oh, measles is kind of like having a cold. I had a cold once and it wasn't too bad. Therefore measles isn't too bad either." When your personal frame of reference doesn't include anything remotely like the issue at hand, it's easy to dismiss it as "not that bad" and deride anyone complaining of it as being a "whiner."

Comment: Re:Virtual Self Defense (Score 3, Informative) 448

I was a victim of identity theft a few years ago. Someone obtained my personal information and opened a card in my name. (It happened to land on my doorstep because the idiots paid for rush delivery BEFORE changing the address.) When I reported it to the police, they admitted that they weren't likely to put much effort into the case because they'd likely have to do a lot of work to track down the perpetrator only to hand the case off to another precinct. They also demonstrated some basic lack of understanding of all things Internet. (They got the online credit card order form with the IP address and date but called it a dead end. I showed them how to tracert the IP to find out the ISP and then told them the could get the ISP to give them the person signed into the account at that time. Not that they did the latter, mind you.)

In short, the police might not have the skills or the motivation to look into an online threat of rape by some Internet trolls. It's not like Curt Shilling got their home address, surprised them outside their houses, and beat them to a pulp. He just said who they really are. Everything that happened afterwards (losing jobs and spots on teams) was a result of their own actions catching up with them.

Comment: Re:Doxing is asking for trouble. (Score 1) 448

He said he would have ignored it had the comments been directed at him. However, these people were threatening to rape his daughter. As a parent, I can tell you that nothing turns a father into an attack dog quicker than his kids being threatened. These people were hiding behind anonymity to threaten his daughter with violence. All he did was remove that anonymity. Surprisingly*, they trolls quickly apologized and claimed they were just having some harmless fun and didn't really mean anything by it.

Some people need to learn that freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom of consequences of speech. Say what you want to say but don't think that threats of rape will mean your boss will never hear of it or your coach will be in the dark merely because your Twitter handle doesn't list your name and address.

* Not surprisingly at all.

Comment: Re:And the escalation continues (Score 1) 448

My personal rule is that I never say anything online if I wouldn't say it to a room filled with my wife, my boss, my family, and my friends. (Maybe my kids too, but they're young so there are some things that wouldn't be appropriate for them to hear just yet.) Granted, I would never think of threatening to rape someone's daughter - even as some kind of sick "joke" - no matter how anonymous I thought I was at the time. I guess trolling is just not in my nature. (Something for which I'll spend exactly zero seconds mourning.)

Human resources are human first, and resources second. -- J. Garbers