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Comment: Requirements for a DMCA takedown. (Score 1) 157

What's really needed (short of scrapping the whole thing) is to change the law so that DMCA takedowns must be of the form "I declare under penalty of perjury that I am the owner of this copyrighted material, and it is being used here in violation of my copyright." And start putting some of these bastards in jail for perjury if they keep this crap up.

Comment: The Iron Law (Score 1) 538

by Mike Van Pelt (#47299747) Attached to: Teaching College Is No Longer a Middle Class Job

College administrations are bureaucracies, and what's going on is the Iron Law of Bureaucracy:

In any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people:

First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.

Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.

The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.

(Thanks to Jerry Pournelle for this observation of emperical fact. Alas, without any sure-fire way to kill the damned thing.)

Comment: Re:Big deal (Score 1) 99

Note also, if you take him up on that referral link, not only does he get an extra 5GB, but you do, too. 20GB, not 15GB. (Rats, he beat me to it...)

Another feature of copy.com is that the storage accounting for shared storage is shared. So, if you have a 1GB file that you share with nine other copy.com users, you each get charged only 100MB.

Comment: Re:Who are you? (Score 1) 646

by Mike Van Pelt (#47283827) Attached to: Washington Redskins Stripped of Trademarks

My great grandfather was Mohawk. I typically say I'm part Mohawk, not indian or native American.

That brings up a question I've never been able to find the answer to -- is there, in any Native American language, a word for "Native American", as opposed to the people who came to this hemisphere a few thousand years after their ancestors did? I'm looking for a word that existed before, oh, say 1800 or so, not a recent coinage.

Comment: Re:I just dont get it (Score 2) 646

by Mike Van Pelt (#47266293) Attached to: Washington Redskins Stripped of Trademarks

That's what I get from Native Americans I know -- they don't give a rip about sports team names. They've told me the only ones that make a noise about this are "Professional Indians". (They say with a grimace of distaste.)

Basically, I don't much care, because I despise all professional sports equally, but I don't have any evidence for the claim that actual Native Americans find the team name offensive, and I do have evidence otherwise.

Comment: Thinking about making this a service... (Score 1) 170

The difficult part is finding some place to put your device where it can transmit data that everyone can receive, but it can not be otherwise accessed. ("Recipe for unicorn soup: First, catch a unicorn...") However, there are some possibilities. On the Moon would be good for a decade or so. Even an ordinary orbit, with "destruct if anyone gets close" circuitry, would be a possibility.

Now, the easy part. Generate a bunch of ginormous public/private key pairs, one for each day of secrecy expiration you want to provide with this device. Store the private keys on the device, programmed to continuously transmit all expired private keys. Publish the public keys.

Now, to encrypt something to be revealed on January 1, 2038, you just encrypt it with the "January 1, 2038" public key. Not even you can decrypt it until the private key is transmited by the repository.

Of course, there is the itty bitty trust issue that the entity making the device didn't keep a copy of the private keys.

Comment: Consider the source. (Score 1) 204

by Mike Van Pelt (#46982629) Attached to: Thorium: The Wonder Fuel That Wasn't

As I was reading that article, my thought was "Who wrote this crap?" Tendentious scare-mongering and blatant misrepresentation of ... practically everything he mentions.

Then I looked at the URL at the top of my web browser. thebulletin.org. Ah. Figures. If I'd looked at where that link went before I clicked on it, I'd probably not have bothered.

Ah well, looking on the bright side, at least it wasn't a goatse link.

Comment: Best Quote Ever on the nuclear power issue: (Score 2) 22

by Mike Van Pelt (#46982337) Attached to: Interviews: Stewart Brand Answers Your Questions

In a TED Talk debate by Stuart Brand and someone who was taking the "All we need is sunny days when the wind is blowing energy" type person, Stuart Brand made the statement:

"I am not so much pro-nuclear as I am pro-artithmetic."

This, big-time. Industrial-technological civilization is not compatible with "energy only on sunny days when the wind is blowing". The numbers just do not add up for the energy storage schemes proposed.

Aritimetic denialism seems to rule the day among most of the people who claim to be oh so very concerned about CO2, alas.

Comment: Re:Q: Why Are Scientists Still Using FORTRAN in 20 (Score 1) 634

by Mike Van Pelt (#46982027) Attached to: Why Scientists Are Still Using FORTRAN in 2014

If you haven't seen or used modern Fortran and think it's anything like Fortran 66/77 then you're mistaken.

As Seymore Cray said, when asked what the scientific programming language of the 21st Century would be, "I have no idea what it will look like, but I'm sure it will be called Fortran."

We have a equal opportunity Calculus class -- it's fully integrated.

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