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Comment: Re:Well actually he's pretty solidly anti-gun too. (Score 1) 234

by Mephistro (#46599705) Attached to: Anti-Game-Violence Legislator Arrested, Faces Gun Trafficking Charges

... and you end up with taxes on drugs to pay for some of the likely increase in health problems

If you remove the war on drugs, you also remove contamination -poisonings-, variations in drug's concentration -overdoses-, needle sharing - AIDS, hepatitis- and most of the reasons for violent drug related crimes. Your "likely increase in health problems" is quite unlikely, indeed.

Comment: Oh, well (Score 5, Interesting) 296

You can build your own steam machine for peanuts, if you are technically inclined. If you aren't, you can request the help from a friend, and if you can't/don't want to do that, you can still buy a suitable PC an add SteamOS on top. If you're too lazy even for that and have money to expend, you can purchase one of these pretty Steam machines. At the very least you'll be free from the Windows tax and still you'll end up with a full fledged PC with a serious OS (Linux) that can run lots and lots of 'serious apps' + a growing number of games. I think Valve has hit the nail in the head with this one. Kudos to them.

Comment: If I had to design a weapon to be 3Dprinted... (Score 1) 344

by Mephistro (#43278329) Attached to: The ATF Not Concerned About 3D Printed Guns... Yet
... it wouldn't be a 'classic' firearm.

You don't need receivers and metallic mechanical parts if you use electric ignition, just an electric trigger, a battery and some circuitry.

You don't need proper barrels if you can use thin standard tubing encased in a 3d printed plastic sleeve, both for reinforcing the barrel and for safety.

You don't need magazines if you can store several bullets in the barrel and make the barrels single use and swappable. Due to their flimsy construction, the barrels should be strictly one use only, having to swap barrels for a new burst.

A company called Metal Storm is already applying some of these concepts in the real world.

As for lack of precision due to the lack of rifling in the barrel... they'd still be great for urban guerrilla scenarios, and probably far more precise than UZI style weapons.

I don't think the ATF guys have thought this one thoroughly enough.

Comment: Re:Provoking (Score 1) 1130

by Mephistro (#42737441) Attached to: Machine Gun Fire From Military Helicopters Flying Over Downtown Miami
Reality states that at least it would make weapons more expensive for the criminals. Nowadays thousands of weapons are stolen from their rightful owners, or illegally sold by their rightful owners to criminals every year. As smuggling operations have to compete against these sources of weapons, they have to keep prices low. If you close the former sources, smuggled weapon prices will soar, just like with any other monopoly.

What is more, with the actual status quo, for many crims not having a weapon would be suicidal, as many of their prospective victims are probably armed and willing to shoot at them. It's like an arms race, with the added factor that most of these weapons are sold to both sides by the same companies.

Comment: Re:Blame Napster (Score 1) 334

by Mephistro (#38974931) Attached to: File Sharing In the Post MegaUpload Era
"do you think you can bring Harry Potter onto the big screen without the resources of big budget movie studio?"

Give it ten or twenty years and technology will make expensive films and film studios follow the path of dinosaurs. In that timeframe and thanks to Moore's Law the average user will have enough power at his fingertips to make CGI films indistinguishable from reality, including tricks like motion capture. A group of friends could do a film for peanuts, and if the film is good enough it could make tons of money for its makers. Of course, there would be lots of crappy films, but without the help of some humongous promotion campaign, they would be winnowed out really fast.

In that moment, with good quality films costing less than, say, 50000 $, it suddenly would make sense to obtain revenues by alternative means, i.e. publicity and product placement, and what we call 'piracy' would be the best way of promoting a film.

I think that movie studios are aware of this, and are just desperate to milk the cow as much as possible, before she falls dead.

Comment: Re:not to mention... (Score 1) 174

by Mephistro (#38897287) Attached to: Early Plants May Have Caused Massive Glaciation

The fossil record shows that time and time again biosphere changes are not only recovered from, but that the net effect is dramatically positive in terms of long term diversity.

Yep! You're totally right! If we trigger a mass extinction, in a few millions of years everything will go back to normal, and our descendants -if they miraculously manage to survive - will thank us for our hindsight in causing said extinction.

Nah.

Comment: Re:Rational decisions are relative to wants (Score 1) 439

by Mephistro (#38544718) Attached to: Doctorow: the Coming War On General-Purpose Computing

Well then by your definition my Linux system contains spyware since it also checks for updates.

There are a few differences:

You can choose to prevent any software in your Linux system from updating, either individually or collectively. You can choose to prevent any software in your Linux system from "calling home" and/or sending data about you.

The updates you received are Open Source programs, and have been reviewed by a community of experts and users before being deployed.

Using Linux -or any other general use OS- lets you choose what programs to install or use. You can install paid-for software, open source software, or even create your own software, without being a prisoner in a walled garden where competition doesn't exist. If you are in the garden, everything is pretty, but you end up paying more and getting worse software, and your data and apps are used as hostages and can be remotely erased or blocked from you, at the whim of a private company.

Advertising is a valuable economic factor because it is the cheapest way of selling goods, particularly if the goods are worthless. -- Sinclair Lewis

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