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Comment: Common Carrier (Score 1) 170

by Mr_Blank (#45859967) Attached to: Facebook Being Sued Over Mining of Private Messages

The brave new world is sorting out what companies, services, and communication mediums are subject to Common Carrier regulations. If Facebook is a common carrier, then there should be some expectation of privacy. If not, then not.

Facebook (and many service providers) are currently and deliberately in a gray zone. If they are not common carriers then they can do whatever they please with the goods (electrons, bits) that they transport because it is their own private property once you hand it to them; per the terms of service. That is good for business because people are handing over "free" stuff that the companies can turn into profits.

However, if companies are not common carriers and they own whatever is handed to them then they are subject to intellectual property violations, libel suits, fourth amendment oddities, and other violation of the law. A telephone company is not criminally prosecuted when land lines are used to break laws; a common carrier is immune to prosecution for what is transmitted. The lawsuits resulting from not being a common carrier could be bad for business.

In the long run, the market could sort this out. If some companies clearly are common carriers and some are not then consumers can decide. Or, it can stay muddled long enough for the gray area to become its own class according to judicial precedent, law, and the public.

Comment: Impossible Math & Chemistry (Score 1) 600

by Mr_Blank (#44890557) Attached to: Physicists Discover Geometry Underlying Particle Physics

Every attempt to refer chemical questions to mathematical doctrines must be considered, now and always, profoundly irrational, as being contrary to the nature of the phenomena. . . . but if the employment of mathematical analysis should ever become so preponderant in chemistry (an aberration which is happily almost impossible) it would occasion vast and rapid retrogradation....
Auguste Comte, The Positive Philosophy, 1853

+ - What's Causing the Rise In Obesity? Everything.->

Submitted by Mr_Blank
Mr_Blank (172031) writes "We all know — because we are being constantly reminded — that we are getting fat. Americans are at the forefront of the trend, but it is a transnational one. Apparently, it is also trans-species: Over the past 20 years, as the American people were getting fatter, so were America’s laboratory macaques, chimpanzees, vervet monkeys and mice, as well as domestic dogs, domestic cats, and domestic and feral rats from both rural and urban areas. Researchers examined records on those eight species and found that average weight for every one had increased. The marmosets gained an average of 9% per decade. Lab mice gained about 11% per decade. Chimps are doing especially badly: their average body weight had risen 35% per decade. What is causing the obesity era? Everything."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Total Annihilation - Will it ever come back? (Score 1) 121

by Mr_Blank (#44366895) Attached to: Atari Facing $291 Million Debt Claim From... Atari

    Keep an eye on Planetary Annihilation.

The Planetary Annihilation engine was built for this project, so we could make the game that we wanted to make. Built by the same engineers who built the Total Annihilation and Supreme Commander rendering engines.


+ - Texas Declares War on Robots-> 2

Submitted by Mr_Blank
Mr_Blank (172031) writes "Organizations like the EFF and ACLU have been raising the alarm over increased government surveillance of US citizens. Legislators haven't been quick to respond to concerns of government spying on citizens. But Texas legislators are apparently quite concerned that private citizens operating hobby drones might spot environmental violations by businesses. Representative Lance Gooden has introduced HB912 which proposes: "A person commits an offense if the person uses or authorizes the use of an unmanned vehicle or aircraft to capture an image without the express consent of the person who owns or lawfully occupies the real property captured in the image. ('Image' is defined as including any type of recorded telemetry from sensors that measure sound waves, thermal, infrared, ultraviolet, visible light, or other electromagnetic waves, odor, or other conditions.)" Can you foresee any unintended consequences if this proposal becomes law?"
Link to Original Source

+ - Batmobile Copyright Prevents Unauthorized Copies->

Submitted by Mr_Blank
Mr_Blank (172031) writes "A federal judge has ruled that Batmobile replicas built by Mark Towle, of Gotham Garage infringe on copyrights and trademarks held by Warner Bros. Towle's attorney argued that US copyright law doesn't allow "useful articles" to be copyrighted. Zerner, in court documents, insisted that Warner Brothers' lawsuit claimed the entire Batmobile was protected including doors, seats and tires. The judge agreed, but then ruled the law does allow copyrighting of unique design elements of useful articles. The judge said, "Defendant did not copy the design of a mere car; he copied the Batmobile character. The fact that the unauthorized Batmoble replicas that Defendant manufactured – which are derivative works – may be 'useful articles' is irrelevant. A derivative work can still infringe the underlying copyrighted work even if the derivative work is not independently entitled to copyright protection." Expect other car manufacturers to put their cars into copyrighted works soon!"
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:So, Microsoft, you're saying just like Steam? (Score 1) 592

by Mr_Blank (#42819147) Attached to: Xbox 720 Could Require Always-On Connection, Lock Out Used Games

    Too right. If Xbox wants the profits from the Steam model then they will have reduce prices drastically.

    On the Xbox I buy new games for $50 ($60 minus pre-order discounts) and resell them quickly for $30 - $40. I buy 4 - 6 Xbox games per year.

    On Steam I buy games for $2 - $10, typically. I buy 15 - 30 Steam games per year. I never buy games for more than $30 on Steam.

    Also, Steam costs $0 per month to maintain my library. Xbox costs $5. If the Xbox locks me out of games that I own and that I can't sell then the Xbox will not be part of my gaming free time.

Comment: I LV TOFU (Score 1) 178

by Mr_Blank (#42746021) Attached to: DMVs Across the Country Learning Textspeak

2009 Story out of Denver, Colorodo:

Kelly Coffman-Lee wanted to tell the world about her love of tofu by picking the letters for her car's license plate. Her suggestion for the plate on her Suzuki: "ILVTOFU." Department of Revenue spokesman Mark Couch said the letters could be misinterpreted. Coffman-Lee, 38, said tofu is a staple of her family's diet because they are vegan and that the DMV misinterpreted her message.

2012 Story out of Virgina:

If the Department of Motor Vehicles is going to let people praise certain religions or ethnicities on their license plates, it also must let people denigrate individuals of those faiths and nationalities. That's the opinion of a Circuit Court judge, who ruled last week that part of the DMV's guidelines governing vanity tags is unconstitutional. The ruling stemmed from an appeal from an Iraq War veteran who disagreed with the state's decision last year to revoke his personalized plates, which read "ICUHAJI." "Haji" is a common and often derogatory term for Arabs used by U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The veteran's attorney, however, said his client did not intend to offend anyone.


+ - EA Is The Worst Company In America->

Submitted by Mr_Blank
Mr_Blank (172031) writes "After more than 250,000 votes, Consumerist readers ultimately decided that the type of greed exhibited by EA is worse than Bank of America's avarice. Game-players have voted to send a message to Electronic Arts and the gaming business as a whole: Stop treating your loyal customers like crap... There have even been numerous accusations that EA and its ilk deliberately hold back game content with the sole intent of charging a fee for it at a later date. It's one thing to support a game with new content that is worth the price. It's another to put out an inferior — and occasionally broken — product..."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Violence or Violence? (Score 5, Insightful) 402

by Mr_Blank (#39450411) Attached to: French President Proposes Jail For Terrorist Website Visitors

Anyone who regularly consults Internet sites which promote terror or hatred or violence will be sentenced to prison

Such a law would be a joy for military recruiters. Click the links below to be put onto a French terrorist watch list!
Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines!
Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines!

I suppose the French President meant violence he does not agree with should be prosecuted. That makes more sense.


+ - CCTV to Stop Refueling for Uninsured Cars-> 1

Submitted by Mr_Blank
Mr_Blank (172031) writes ""Cameras at UK petrol stations will automatically stop uninsured or untaxed vehicles from being filled with fuel, under new government plans. Downing Street officials hope the hi-tech system will crack down on the 1.4million motorists who drive without insurance. Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras are already fitted in thousands of petrol station forecourts. Drivers can only fill their cars with fuel once the camera has captured and logged the vehicle’s number plate. Currently the system is designed to deter motorists from driving off without paying for petrol. But under the new plans, the cameras will automatically cross-refererence with the DVLA’s huge database.""
Link to Original Source

Comment: It just so happens (Score 1) 237

by Mr_Blank (#38504300) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Tools For Teaching High School Kids How To Make Games?

    I am teaching my nephews how to program during their week off from school. I went with a platform that all households had readily available: Excel. Excel VBA is robust enough to create fun games from the Atari generation, forgiving enough to keep new programmers from being frustrated quickly, and the skills learned will carry my wards into many business environments for years to come. Even if Excel goes away, learning to manipulate data, graphics, and data in a spreadsheet program will be useful some day.


The end of labor is to gain leisure.