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Comment Re:Everyone Is Guilty, Only Enemies Will Be Indict (Score 3, Insightful) 109

If you are a leftist, beating the shit out of private companies is well and good. Remember: corporations are evil! Prosecuting them is only a good thing. Are you a corporate shill?

I am neither a leftist nor a corporate shill. I believe in beating the shit out of private companies that deserve to have the "shit beat out" of them. You need only look at the lengthy history of consumer protection in the United States to find instances where this was and is necessary. Take, for example, Debt Collection Practices. Please, please, please "beat the shit out" of unscrupulous collection agencies. Please "beat the shit" out of the companies that call my grandmother to deliver unsolicited advertisements about a "warranty extension" on her car. There are plenty of private companies that should have this done to them. The issue I take with China's implementation is 1) that it will never target a state owned business and 2) the guidelines are by no means clearly laid out and can be ambiguously interpreted. Who will interpret them? When will they interpret them? Why just in time and by the same state body that made them. Please tell me, how can I prove that my product's advertising does not "Cause detriment to national dignity"?

Comment Do Not Conflate This With Individual Free Speech (Score 2) 109

Communists don't believe in free speech?


It's not that binary. The United States has its own truth in advertising laws that, in my personal opinion, are beneficial at both the federal and state level. Slashdot readers are free to go the Libertarian route and claim the free market would alleviate these issues on its own or perhaps point out how downright pedantic it can be at times. But the truth of the matter is that, as a consumer, we only have so many hours in a day to decide which of the thousands of products we consume in a year we should spend our money on. So it does come down to federal guidelines for what is "Grade A" or "Organic" or "Green" when there is a label espousing these properties and there are consumers paying a premium for this notion. Without those guidelines those words will mean absolutely nothing and there will be no way to tell where your product was made, how much cadmium it has in it or whether it is the end result of spewing carbon into the atmosphere. Without similar laws, you wouldn't be able to trust the nutritional information at the grocery store. Is it free speech to claim that my potato chips cure cancer and lead to weight loss no matter how many of them you eat? People will know that I'm lying? Cigarettes used to sooth sore throats. Trans fats used to taste awesome.

Speech used by an individual to express ideas is free speech. Advertisements -- especially advertisements representing a very large organization -- are not. Corporations should not have the same rights individuals have and I feel that free speech is one of those clear cut distinctions. There is a long history of consumer protection everywhere in the world -- learn about your own country's struggles with it. It's not a simple issue and advertisement should not be regarded as free speech.

Comment Everyone Is Guilty, Only Enemies Will Be Indicted (Score 5, Insightful) 109

Here is the full text of the newly amended law. Here is the WIPO listing the deltas with the older 1994 version of the law (click expand notes). It appears that this is the first change in this law since 1994. Also the WIPO provides a PDF of their English version which seems to be slightly different. I also found a definition of the extent of what is regulated advertising by the PRC. Here's the WIPO's full list of defined restrictions:

1) Overt or covert use of national flag, anthem or emblem of People’s Republic of China or military flag, anthem or emblem;
2) Overt or covert use of the name or image of national public institute or staff of national public institute;
3) Use of words such as “national-level”, “the most” and “the best”, among others;
4) Causing detriment to national dignity or interests, or disclosing national secrets;
5) Interfering with social stability, or causing detriment to social and public interests;
6) Harming personal or property safety, or disclosing privacy;
7) Interfering with social public order, or going against good social norm;
8) Containing obscene, pornographic, gambling, superstitious, terrifying, or violent content;
9) Containing discrimination based on nationality, race, religion, or gender;
10) Affecting protection of environment, natural resources or cultural heritage;
11) Other situations prohibited by laws and regulations.

Merely sounds like another tool for the Party to deal with companies that are not state owned. Most companies will be found guilty of some section of this but they won't be prosecuted until they run afoul of the Party. In China (and increasingly in the US) everyone is guilty of something but only those that the state wants to be prosecuted will be prosecuted.

So looking at the story, we have a new law enacted a month ago and whose head is on the chopping block today? Xiaomi? Well from wikipedia:

Xiaomi Inc. is a privately owned Chinese electronics company headquartered in Beijing, China, that is the world's 4th[4] largest smartphone maker. Xiaomi designs, develops, and sells smartphones, mobile apps, and related consumer electronics.[5]

Aaaaaand there's your problem. Wake me up when a state owned company is prosecuted under these new laws. Xiaomi's true crime was probably doing better than Huawei.

Comment Re:Flash home page (Score 1) 202

What I find very curious are the web sites whose home pages are fully and completely written in Flash. If you do not enable flash, you see nothing but a blank page.

The owners of those websites were probably sold a bill of goods for a "cool website" by the same designers who proffered flaming logos 20 years ago....

Or, the web developer thought it was not a good idea, but the client insisted on Flash. She wouldn't listen to me, and now her site is invisible on mobile....


Genetically Modified Rice Makes More Food, Less Greenhouse Gas 295

Applehu Akbar writes: A team of researchers at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences has engineered a barley gene into rice, producing a variety that yields 50% more grain while producing 90% less of the powerful greenhouse gas methane. The new rice pulls off this trick by putting more of its energy into top growth. In countries which depend on rice as a staple, this would add up to a really large amount of increased rice and foregone methane.

Comment Have We Lost the War to Quid Pro Quo Complacency? (Score 3) 359

Time and time again I see news articles that seem to herald the idea that users are willing to sacrifice something like privacy for the use of software. Take Facebook for an example. You get a robust and snappy storage and website for communication at the cost of control over your life and privacy. And as I try to explain to people the tradeoffs most of them seem to be complacent. Even I myself use GMail, there's just no better mail service. Even if there were, I'd have to run the server from my home to be sure that I'm in control in it and it's truly free (by your definition). So given that much of the populace isn't even prepared technologically to harness truly free software, don't you think they have slowly accepted the trade offs and that the pros of your arguments -- though sound -- are only possibly realized by those skilled enough to edit source code or host their own mail server from their home?

Comment Companies Selling Actually Free Software? (Score 5, Interesting) 359

I found your piece on selling free software to be pretty logical on paper. However, has it ever worked in the wild? Can you name companies or revenues that currently operate on this idea (and I'm not talking about services or support of the software)? I simply can't come up with a widely used monetized piece of software licensed under the GNU GPL whereby the original software was sold at a single price and shipped with the source code -- free for the original purchaser to distribute by the license's clauses. Can you list any revenue generation from that? I must admit I'm not exactly enamored with paying for free software (as in your definition of free) before it's written yet I cannot think of any other way this would fairly compensate the developer.

Comment Re:redditers will flip out. (Score 3, Informative) 467

The headline is a little clickbait-y, but the article is neutral. how do you associate one headline with the "SJW-side"?

I find your sneer about a "parliament" rather odd. It's not a "bogeyman" to note that people who generally take one side of an ideological issue will... generally take one side of an ideological issue. Yes, there are disagreements within teams, but it's not unfair to make general statements about ideological teams when those teams usually act like teams.

How many do I need to post to prove my point? Here's Arthur Chu, the self-described "social justice stormtrooper," again expressing the "SJW side": Reddit’s Terrorists Have Won: Ellen Pao and the Failure to Rebrand Web 2.0. A big feminist blog: Pao! Right in the Kisser: Reddit assholes celebrate CEO’s resignation after a week of abuse. SJWs Brianna Wu and Randi Harper are lining up just as one would expect. The NY Times puts their editorial view directly into the news. I'm sure there will be more in the coming days.

Understanding is always the understanding of a smaller problem in relation to a bigger problem. -- P.D. Ouspensky