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Comment: Re:load of rubbish (Score 1) 265

If you live in an area where AC is mandatory and cannot be overcome with proper architecture (earth sheltering, big shaded porches, fans, etc.) then you're living in a place not viable and should relocate. Not because 'I say so' but because economics should be telling you that.

Nonsense. The economics only says that you should relocate if the cost of relocating (including giving up local opportunities like employment and access to natural resources and infrastructure) is less than the cost of the mandatory A/C. It's perfectly reasonable to stay in an area which requires A/C (or heating, or both depending on the season) if the cost of climate control is offset by other benefits.

Comment: Re:Correction...That you know of... (Score 1) 115

by JesseMcDonald (#47386549) Attached to: Use of Encryption Foiled the Cops a Record 9 Times In 2013

It's clear something is encrypted because you have to have it clear the file system should not overwrite and the markers make it quite clear that it's not just random noise.

Sometimes encrypted data is stored inside a container that makes it clear that it's encrypted. However, that isn't always the case. If I run "dd if=/dev/urandom of=file count=2K" then I have one megabyte of data that won't be overwritten by the filesystem, but there is no way to tell from the contents whether it's encrypted or random noise. If it were encrypted, the only way to prove it would be to find a key that decrypts it into something intelligible. The problem in this case is that it's obvious that the file exists, and I would need to come up with a good excuse for having a file full of random noise lying around on my hard disk. (Perhaps I'm researching properties of PRNGs?)

There are ways to go further and make it impossible to know whether there is anything there at all. For example, an encrypted filesystem can be designed to set aside a fixed amount of space for a nested "hidden volume", initialized to random noise. Since the hidden volume is always present there is no proof that I set it up deliberately or have access to the contents; there may not even be a valid decryption key. If I say that I installed the system to keep my private financial documents in the top layer, and never set up the hidden volume, there's no way to prove otherwise simply by analyzing the filesystem.

And then there's steganography, where you replace expected randomness with random-seeming ciphertext. In this case (if properly implemented) there is nothing to indicate that the encrypted data is present at all. In the second case the hidden volume provides plausible deniability by design, but in the case of steganography the randomness is an unavoidable side-effect of some other process, like the least-significant bits in raw image file or audio stream, so there is no need to explain it away.

Comment: Re:The egg comes first, the chicken later. (Score 1) 1317

I'm willing to limit the conversation to 'in the womb'...

In case it wasn't obvious, that was the "life support" part. Regardless of how one feels about actively killing the fetus, I would support the right of the mother to remove it from the womb and leave it to its own devices—even given that it can't possibly survive on its own.

Also, we don't allow the killing of unwanted infants, so your logic stumbles a bit.

That's a separate issue—and you're committing the is/ought fallacy—but I'll address it anyway. The same rule applies. I would consider it morally and ethically wrong to actively kill an infant, though I obviously lack any standing to interfere should someone else choose to do so. However, I would support the right of the parents to withdraw their support and abandon the infant to its own devices. Put another way, the infant has the right to life, so no one else can take its life, but the parents have no obligation to provide it with whatever it needs in order to live. Neither, of course, can they stop others from doing so; taking the child to be raised voluntarily by others would be perfectly fine so long as you don't try to punish the parents for abandoning it.

Comment: Re:The egg comes first, the chicken later. (Score 1) 1317

However rudimentary it is, if left alone it will most likely develop into a human.

No, only if provided with life-support for several months, plus intensive parental care for several years, will it most likely develop into a human. Left alone it will almost certainly die.

The "what if this happened to me" argument doesn't apply because the only people capable of asking that question are at the point where they really can survive and even prosper if they are simply left alone. In other words, it can't happen to them.

The right to life doesn't imply a right to life support.

Comment: Re:wealthy funders can't be eliminated that way (Score 1) 148

But the Constitution guarantees all persons equal rights under law, so the idea that people with more money have more of a right to be heard runs contrary to that tenement.

Equal rights, yes, but not equal outcomes. Everyone has an equal right to speak. That doesn't mean anyone has the right to demand free access to someone else's platform, or to make others listen. Those are things you have to negotiate for on your own, and money is one perfectly legitimate way to do that.

Free speech is really just one aspect of the more fundamental principle of self-ownership, which includes not only the right to speak freely but also the right to dispose of your own property as you see fit. The focus on free speech, while important, is far too narrow. You should be able to legally donate your own money to the individuals and/or organizations of your choice even when it has nothing to do with freedom of speech.

The real problem here is that people are easily influenced on things which do not immediately impact them, and yet are encouraged to vote on such issues anyway. Instead, people should have an absolute veto in regards to exactly those issues which negatively impact their rights—where they have both legitimate standing and a direct stake in the outcome. In other words, Unanimous Consent. That way, people don't need to be experts on everything, just those things which concern them. It would mean that politicians would need to work much harder at gaining consensus from everyone affected, rather than mere numerical superiority within a select group of so-called "representatives" who are rarely personally impacted by the bills they pass.

Comment: Re:Emperor Norton (Score 1) 160

by JesseMcDonald (#47350765) Attached to: California Legalizes Bitcoin

The Euro would still be legal tender, even if Fry's doesn't accept it.

If Fry's has the option of refusing to accept the Euro as repayment for a debt, then the Euro is not legal tender in that context. (For example, the Euro is not legal tender within the United States. It remains legal tender in the EU.)

The company's willingness to accept foreign currency does not affect the validity of that currency.

Indeed, but this has nothing to do with legal tender status. A currency does not need to be legal tender to be valid (or legal to use in trade). Lacking legal tender status just means that it can be refused as a form of payment for a debt.

Comment: Re:Communism (Score 1) 404

by JesseMcDonald (#47319097) Attached to: San Francisco Bans Parking Spot Auctioning App

But auctioning off something that is not yours isn't free market either.

You're not auctioning off the parking space. Starting from the position that you are legally occupying the space, and can legally continue to do so until the meter runs out, all this app does is let you auction off the service of leaving the space at an arranged time (within the time purchased) for the convenience of another driver.

If the city wants to say that it's illegal to sit in your parked car, or otherwise occupy the space without some particular justification regardless of the time left on the meter, that's their prerogative. I would hope that such restrictions are presented clearly prior to paying the meter, since people would otherwise reasonably expect that when they pay for two hours of parking they can actually park for the full two hours, regardless of the reason. I would also hope that the rules are enforced universally rather than selectively. Waiting for a friend? Sorry, move along—can't have the parking spots tied up any longer than absolutely necessary.

Comment: Re:They hate our freedom (Score 1) 404

by JesseMcDonald (#47318827) Attached to: San Francisco Bans Parking Spot Auctioning App

you have had your freedom to vote for the government, you have had your freedom to vote for those who makes laws, you have had your freedom to vote for the people in charge of the city, now by your freedom they have made it illegal, in practice you have made this happen with your freedom

Freedom consists not only in the majority being free to exercise self-rule rather than being dominated by a minority, but also that the rights of the various minorities are respected and not subject to the majority's whims. The goal should be voluntary consensus with the ability for dissenters to opt out, not mob rule.

If you voted for representatives knowing that they would make this illegal, then you did in fact help to make it happen. The same applies if you agree with the principle that everyone should be bound involuntarily by the outcome of majority rule, even if you happened to lose that particular vote. The rest of us are not to blame when the majority of the moment bands together to violate our rights on the flimsy authority of their greater numbers—rights we never forfeited by endorsing their system.

Comment: Re:Everything is an algorithm (Score 4, Insightful) 263

by JesseMcDonald (#47285369) Attached to: The Supreme Court Doesn't Understand Software

Any patented process and device can be described wholly in algorithmic terms.

Described, yes. Software patents (and business method patents, etc.) are the ones which can be implemented wholly in algorithmic terms. You can describe a new manufacturing process with math, but you can't actually manufacture anything until you apply that math by rearranging matter and energy in the real world. It's the application that the patent covers, not the description. The device, not the blueprints.

This ruling simply states what should be obvious, that adding "on a computer" to an abstract concept does not magically transform it into a patent-eligible invention. The patent is still really about the abstract concept, despite the "on a computer" gimmick, and thus remains ineligible.

There should never have been any question regarding the patentability of taking someone else's invention (a computer) and using it for the purpose it was designed for (speeding up the evaluation of algorithms), regardless of the specific algorithm in question. That would be like patenting the use of an off-the-shelf pocket calculator to evaluate 2 + 2. If you can't patent the algorithm on its own—and you shouldn't be able to, since it's pure math—then it makes no sense to be able to patent it "on a computer".

Comment: Re:A minority view? (Score 1) 649

by JesseMcDonald (#47277143) Attached to: Teaching Creationism As Science Now Banned In Britain's Schools

The existence of a creator could be proven with ease. Simply shout out 'Hey, God! Come down here for a moment, I've a few questions.' If God responds, that proves he exists.

No, it proves that someone or something exists which responded to your call (assuming you're not just hallucinating). Proving that this entity is actually "God" and not some imposter would be another matter entirely. For one thing, you'd first need to rigorously define what it means to be "God". Worst, by most standards of "godhood" it is trivial to postulate an entity well short of "God", yet still clever and powerful enough fake the results and/or manipulate our conclusions. Even if we did come to some consensus on what it means to be "God" and by some miracle managed to devise a definitive test, we could never trust the outcome.

Comment: Re:Well, no. (Score 1) 249

by JesseMcDonald (#47225051) Attached to: New Permission System Could Make Android Much Less Secure

You should only need root to install the Xposed framework for XPrivacy as a system app, not to use it. So if this is really a concern for you, just uninstall your root app after installing XPrivacy, and then you won't have to worry about it granting root access to some random app without your consent.

Comment: Re:Patents are Legitimate Personal Assets YOU own (Score 3, Informative) 139

by JesseMcDonald (#47224431) Attached to: Why United States Patent Reform Has Stalled

So once people say we will limit "abusive patent litigation" what does that mean?

The canonical example of "abusive patent litigation" would be the case where someone else with the same problem came up with the same solution independent of your efforts, and you sued them simply because you happened to register your solution with the patent office first. This covers in particular all the cases of "submarine patents" where someone anticipates a problem and patents all sorts of half-baked variations on possible solutions without actually putting in any of the effort to make them work, and then waits for someone else to do the actual innovation and bring a product to market before suing for infringement.

Independent invention should be an affirmative defense against claims of patent infringement. Put simply, if you developed a solution yourself, you shouldn't need anyone else's permission to use it. Naturally, the problem is proving that the solutions were really independent, since—unlike copyrights, for the most part—patents cover a very broad domain and two machines or manufacturing processes based on the same work need not show an obvious resemblance. A better solution would be to eliminate patents entirely. They don't really work to encourage innovation, they can't be implemented without violating people's natural rights, and they distort the entire economy for the sake of a mere incentive program.

Comment: Re:Gotta pay whoever comes up with this stuff! (Score 4, Insightful) 139

by JesseMcDonald (#47224327) Attached to: Why United States Patent Reform Has Stalled

I'm sorry, were you going for +1, Funny or -1, Naive? What you stated is indeed the standard line in support of patents, but unfortunately for that argument there is little evidence to suggest that patents actually foster innovation. There is, on the other hand, plenty of evidence to support the opposite position, that patents, like pretty much every other monopoly imposed by law, have a tendency to impede natural innovation and raise barriers to entry. Innovation occurred before patents, and would continue to occur if we eliminated all patents tomorrow. Perhaps not exactly the same kind or to the same extent, but rather the kinds and extent of innovation which make sense given supply and demand in the absence of artificial subsidies—the kind where innovators profit by enriching society rather than wasting resources in pursuit of monopoly rent-seeking.

It is clear that the individual who persecutes a man, his brother, because he is not of the same opinion, is a monster. - Voltaire

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