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Comment Re:Brave polling, but in real life? (Score 1) 59

Well, it depends on what passwords. Most passwords, well they can go to my webmail provider or bank or whatever and gain access regardless, most people at customs just want to know you haven't modded it to be a bomb so in reality I'm probably not going to refuse them but they're also not going to get access to anything I really want to keep secret. If you can avoid it then it's better to make them think they "won" rather than pick a fight, it's a fairly decent tactic against assholes of all shapes and sizes. Life's too short as it is so I'd rather just get on with it, even if I'm not really doing the right thing.

Comment Re:Great Flood (Score 1) 48

As is the idea that he was 950 years old when he died. Also totally believable.

Well, we have reason to believe some trees are over 5000 years old so if you believe in the creation myth and that Adam and Eve were created by divine touch that diminished over generations that is actually one of the less incredible parts. That we don't live longer is probably a compromise between reproductive age and retaining experience and knowledge between generations as giving birth to a new healthy generation might be more evolutionary "fit" than growing longer life spans, not any true kind of hard limit. Having seen how long we have and haven't gotten in medicine I don't think we'll see it in my lifetime but within the next few hundred years of science I think a thousand year life span is possible. Which doesn't mean that I think ancient people of the past lived that long, but still far more in the realm of the possible than some of the other stuff.

Comment Re:Airstrikes on population centers (Score 1) 314

Note, by the by, that helping Assad against ISIS allows Assad to use more of his own troops against, say, the Kurds, who are our nominal allies in the region.

I might be wrong, but my impression was that Assad's strongholds were in the west/southwest and the Kurds in the north with ISIS in between so they don't really have any common border to fight on. It's the other rebel groups in Syria that are taking the piss with Assad's forces on one side and ISIS on the other. And now possibly Russian death from above, they must start to feel somebody up there hates them...

Comment Professional event organizer abuses Pokemon IP (Score 1) 194

That would be a more appropriate headline. The $2 admission their company charges is basically the cover charge to get into a party with sale of alcoholic beverages. Does this sound like your typical fan gathering?:

Defendants boast that the "5th Annual Unofficial Pokemon PAX Kickoff Party" will feature among other things, "Pokemon themed shots and drinks - Smash Bros. Tournament with cash prize - Dancing - Giveaways - Cosplay Contest and more," and an "AMAZIN POKEMON MASHUP."

This sounds like a typical commercial "theme night" that bars and clubs might have, only instead of using a generic unprotected theme like Halloween they made a Pokemon party. Not surprised their lawyers got angry, They managed to put a very good media spin on it though, clearly they as event organizers know how to get media attention and manipulate it. I hope they get to pay every dollar.

Comment Re:I doubt it (Score 1) 69

Color me skeptical; I don't think this is going to happen via private industry for another 20 to 50 years at the very least.

A moon shot is only marginally more difficult if at all than a GEO satellite. Or for that matter a Mars shot, it's just a slightly longer rocket burn. The difficult part is what the fsck do you do when you're in orbit, it's the descent/landing that is challenging. That SpaceX can land rockets is obviously to save costs here on Earth but it's also to fill a major gap in our capability to go to Mars. I don't think a dedicated lander will ever get sufficient private funding, a spin-off technology of landing rockets here on Earth just might. It's not like the private industry is 50 years behind Apollo in technology, it's that they lack a business plan for going.

Comment Re:GPLv3 - the kiss of death (Score 2) 293

The GPL does not prevent you from learning from the source code to implement a compatible version under a different license.

No, but "derived from" extends further than implementing the exact same thing with different variable names that you typed up yourself. It's the same for all copyrighted material, you don't need direct quotes to infringe on a book, the exact samples to infringe on a song's melody or using cutouts to infringe on a photograph. It's not a patent, it doesn't get a monopoly on every implementation. But you have to show it's not the same implementation, because that will infringe copyright.

Comment Re:GPLv3 - the kiss of death (Score 3, Insightful) 293

The reference implementation is under GPLv3. Everyone is of course still free to create their own implementation and license it under whichever license they want.

And any time the reference implementation changes you have to alter your implementation in a non-copyright infringing way. That is a lot harder than it sounds because any time you get a little bit lazy and copy-paste, literally or practically your implementation is now legally fishy. Creating the clean room implementation and paper trail proving you've actually come up with your code independently is actually a lot worse when there is available source code than when it's not. Did you see how much shit Oracle managed to stir up over a few Java interface definitions and trivial bits of code? No company with a sane legal department is going to touch this with a ten foot pole.

Comment Re:We've been to Mars already (Score 1) 148

Yes. And I've been to Paris, because one time I saw a picture of the Eiffel Tower.

Well, 99.999999% of us aren't going to Mars anyway. Of all the reasons we sent Neil Armstrong and friends to the Moon, giving them the "authentic Moon experience" wasn't one of them. With the budgets for a manned mission to Mars we could do way more unmanned science than today, quite possibly more than with a manned mission. What it really boils down to, which is perhaps hard for many to swallow is whether sending humans will be pioneers exploring and settling new land or just an annoying radiation sensitive, temperature sensitive, pressure and atmosphere sensitive, resource intensive burden for a small army of robots to sustain while they're mostly cowering in their habitat to avoid the extreme climate outside.

For example, I doubt it will be possible to survive a night outside the habitat in any kind of mobile camp site so most likely the action radius is at most half a day's travel from where you landed for the entire trip. And if you want faster vehicles than we have, well they'll also need more energy. Not that there's roads suitable for driving very fast anyway, in double the Lunar Rover's gravity it's all going to take a more powerful engine and construction, more wear on the wheels and suspension and all that. The nice thing about rovers is that we can drop several, where we want them to be while a human mission is one site and that's it. And it might need to be a practical one, not an interesting one.

Comment Re:Let's get this out of the way (Score 4, Interesting) 443

Let's face it, what could possibly go right? They won't ever know if you've really been in a personal / employment / neighbor / whatever relationship so this will be just random unverified garbage. You could have random spam bots keeping you at a steady 5 star or 1 star average depending on what they feel like. And that's just until somebody sues the hell out of them. It's got zero credibility and is never going to get any.

Comment Re:Framing is not a new tactic (Score 1) 256

Politicians do this all the time to (alleged) adults. They frame issues and present a limited menu of options out of which the most appealing option is the one they want you to go for. Works astonishingly effectively

And we're so innocent when a PHB needs to make a decision or stakeholders need to get involved in a process? Marketing is of course an expert at rigging our buying decisions. Contracts, license agreements and terms of service are lawyers rigging your legal choices. We pretty much all do this whenever we have to give someone else a choice and want it to swing a particular way. There's just more and less ethical ways to do it.

Comment Re:You are right for the wrong reason (Score 1) 315

So no this isn't going to do much about fraud since card-not-present is actually goging to become the dominant mode of sales (internet). But the pin doesn't help much.

Is that still a big thing? All my online purchases I get a text from "Verified by VISA" with a one-time authentication code. So it's no good online, in stores I use a PIN so it's no good offline either. My impression was that almost all the fraud was either theft of card + PIN (camera, shoulder surfing) alternatively card + cell phone if it will display texts on screen or duplicating the magnetic strip and using it in backwards countries. Either that or somebody got my info on file for recurring/convenient billing and they lose control of it.

Comment Re:WinRAR (Score 1) 129

That's a bold statement because it goes either way. There are open source products that are better just because they are free and some are better because they simply are better. There are commercial products out there that outweigh open source products just because they have large teams with the right expertise and money to keep it going forward.

This is not really one of those cases though, archiving has become a commodity and the only reasons WinRAR has a huge following is that it is old (1995) from before Windows XP came with built-in ZIP support , it became the de facto archive format on Usenet and there's no open specification so competing tools can't create RAR files. It does absolutely nothing special that other tools don't do.

Comment Re:So when are they making something we can AFFORD (Score 2) 321

Whenever you see absurd prices, you must remember some have absurd amounts of money. There are people today who could light a $100 bill on fire and every ten seconds use it to light the next one, all day, all year (about $300 million) and still have more money in the bank next year. And there's people living on less money in a year than I spent on the graphic cards in my gaming rig. The world's wealth is extremely unevenly distributed.

Comment Re:illegal autonomous cars? (Score 1) 396

I doubt autonomous cars will be illegal per se - there's already a ton of driver assistance functions that intercede on your behalf. So you can put the car on autopilot, but legally you're responsible. People will of course act like the car drives itself anyway - it happened the first time they let non-project Google employees drive extremely early prototypes, you bet it will happen with average people on a production model. You're not exactly facing the death penalty for falling asleep behind the wheel and killing someone just like so many fiddle with their phones while driving. It will be the de facto introduction of self-driving cars, even if it legally won't.

C++ is the best example of second-system effect since OS/360.