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In UK, Internet Trolls Could Face Two Years In Jail 484

Posted by timothy
from the don't-worry-he's-trolling dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this news from The Guardian about a proposed change in UK law that would greatly increase the penalties for online incivility: Internet trolls who spread "venom" on social media could be jailed for up to two years, the justice secretary Chris Grayling has said as he announced plans to quadruple the maximum prison sentence. Grayling, who spoke of a "baying cybermob", said the changes will allow magistrates to pass on the most serious cases to crown courts. The changes, which will be introduced as amendments to the criminal justice and courts bill, will mean the maximum custodial sentence of six months will be increased to 24 months. Grayling told the Mail on Sunday: "These internet trolls are cowards who are poisoning our national life. No one would permit such venom in person, so there should be no place for it on social media. That is why we are determined to quadruple the six-month sentence.

Comment: Apple Pay vs. Google? (Score 1) 353

by PapayaSF (#48166627) Attached to: Apple Announces iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3, OS X Yosemite and More

Thank you for that explanation, which got me thinking: Apple Pay could remake the web, in some very good ways. Just expand Apple Pay into the micropayment system I've wanted for over 15 years.

If Apple can "scale this down" (even by losing some money on overhead and transaction costs) and make it painless and worthwhile for a website to charge as little as one cent for something, then many good things happen. I think a vast number of web users would happily click a "1 Cent Apple Pay" button to read the second half of an article or column, or hear a song or a podcast, or watch a funny cat video. If it's good, it's worth one cent. If it wasn't, it was only a penny.

Or think of it as $10 for every 1000 articles read/artworks viewed/songs heard: a trivial expense for weeks or months of web usage for most people, in exchange for the content without registrations, or subscriptions, or pay walls, and without advertising. You know, that annoying stuff you try to block. That stuff that Google sells. (Oh-oh...!)

But this would be much more than a way to drop a pipeline into Google's core revenue source. Creatives and publishers and entrepreneurs of all sorts could just add Apple Pay to a page like a social media button, and then sell or rent their work directly and affordably. One cent transactions may only add up to just a few dollars for some, but what are they making now? Web ads bring them little. Maybe they're happy selling songs for $1, but they might be thrilled by the number of people willing to pay one cent to listen to one song, once.

And it could scale up really well. Charities and activists could raise real money in tiny, painless increments. Even one cent per page view adds up to a big chunk of change for newspapers and magazines that now struggle to survive on advertising and/or subscriptions. I think the New York Times website would be thrilled if their 17 million page views a day made them one cent each: that's over $62 million a year. Or maybe some big players get "greedy," and decide to charge a whole five cents for that big story, or virtual art show, or for your first listen to that new song from your favorite band: a million nickels is $50,000.

Now think of ebook sellers who don't need Amazon any more. Think about PayPal, and streaming music services. And why not Bitcoin via Apple Pay....

I'm sure some of you will see this as a dystopian vision, but I think Apple could do a lot of good and (eventually) make a lot of money with my distributed digital free market daydream.

Comment: Re:best idea: ask for good ideas (Score 1) 348

by PapayaSF (#48166083) Attached to: White House Wants Ideas For "Bootstrapping a Solar System Civilization"

Politicians often discover that when the issue they wish to move forward is resisted by their peers, they can appeal directly to the public. Explain their plan and encourage input from everyone. If they build enough support among the voters, then their peers may be forced to support the plan as well.

Absolutely true.

Kalil may or may not have support from the White House or anyone, but if he gets a big response to this challenge Obama and others will have to reconsider their reluctance.

Now you're not being cynical enough. I think this challenge is likely to be the result of a direct White House request to come up with some good "news for nerds." I don't think it's a coincidence that we are weeks from an election that Democrats are dreading (publicly or not). It's aimed at a core voting/donating demographic that largely supported Obama but now is ticked off about the NSA, the IRS, government transparency, the Middle East, and a bunch of other things. There's no commitment, it costs little, there's little risk of a downside, and it's even legal and ethical. It's a small but perfect election-season ploy.

But regardless of the political motivation and the odds against a real project resulting from it, I'm still in favor, for all the standard nerd reasons.

Comment: Re:No, that's not the problem (Score 2) 279

by PapayaSF (#48137761) Attached to: Who's In Charge During the Ebola Crisis?

Why is this a problem? Research should always be done, however ridiculous your hypothesis may be. The freedom to do such insane research is what has made USA the leader of all sciences.

Of course research is generally good, but priorities must be decided. Right now, I suspect people would rather that money had been spent researching Ebola.

Comment: No, that's not the problem (Score 4, Interesting) 279

by PapayaSF (#48137079) Attached to: Who's In Charge During the Ebola Crisis?

one could argue that the United States is hobbled by an outdated constitution in responding to epidemics

The USA has handled many epidemics in the past. The experience of Western Samoa vs. American Samoa during the Spanish Flu epidemic is an interesting example. The TL;DR: version: Western Samoa decided they couldn't stopping the importation of plantation laborers, and as a result 20-25% of the population died. American Samoa self-quarantined, and nobody died.

One of the core problems today is that the CDC has lost focus, and instead of controlling infectious disease, they spend money things like playground safety, workplace accidents, guns, and birth defects. And then there was the NIH grant to study why gay men are often thin and lesbians are often obese.

We don't need to change the Constitution, just the spending and research priorities of a bunch of bureaucracies.

Comment: I have never understood this (Score 5, Insightful) 124

by PapayaSF (#48136605) Attached to: Federal Government Removes 7 Americans From No-Fly List

What exactly is the point of this odd half-assed sort of category, a "no-fly list"? If the federal government suspects a citizen or resident might be a terrorist, OK, then get a friggin' warrant and bug their phone and search their house and get some real evidence. Since terrorists can do a lot more than hijack airplanes, what's the message here? "We want to prevent you from hijacking an airliner, but a bus is OK?" Either treat them like a suspected terrorist, or just stop hassling them.

Comment: Re:Reasonable (Score 1) 144

by PapayaSF (#48133815) Attached to: Google Rejects 58% of "Right To Be Forgotten" Requests

Google's approach to this is reasonable. Criminals and public officials voluntarily give up a level of privacy due to their voluntary status as criminals and public officials.

I agree, but I dislike this whole "right to be forgotten" thing. Yes, for some people it sucks to have bad/old information on the internet, but in effect what's happening here is various people demanding censorship of information about themselves, and then Google deciding whether or not to comply. Are we sure we know what their standards are, and that they will be applied fairly? The opportunities for bias are obvious: will a request to remove (say) an old bit of dirt on someone associated with a cause or political party that Google likes will be treated the same way as dirt on someone associated with a cause or political party that Google doesn't like?

Plus, there's a slippery slope. Now that politicians know they can force Google to censor results, why not expand that for "the good of society"? How long before some politician decides that Google users shouldn't be able to search for things deemed to be "racist" or "sexist" or "hate speech" or "climate denial" or whatever?

Comment: Re:Doctor Mary's Monkey (Score 1) 162

by PapayaSF (#48064247) Attached to: AIDS Origin Traced To 1920s Kinshasa

As a species, we've been eating meat for a long, long time, and our digestive and immune systems have proven well-adapted to the preventing of cross-species viral contamination through that means.

What was the dental hygiene like in Kinshasa in the 1920s? Might not there have been some people with gingivitis (bleeding gums) who ate some bushmeat that was a bit rare/bloody?

Comment: Re:The cult of diversity is really out of hand (Score 1) 227

Except that this is not true. Biology has not radically changed in the last few decades, yet the number of women wanting to enter engineering, math, or computing programs at school as dropped by a very large amount.

I'm not sure what you are saying is "not true," because what you say supports my point: nobody thinks discrimination against women in tech has increased in recent decades, so this is more likely to be the result of a bunch of individual decisions.

Now I could be persuaded that there might not be a problem, as you seem to imply, if you could show that all of these women are getting jobs that pay as much as the CS oriented jobs do.

Why must they get jobs that pay as much as the CS oriented jobs do? Maybe they'd rather have different jobs that pay less. Maybe they'd rather have kids and stay home. As long as they are making free choices, let them do what they want, and don't obsess over "inequalities" and "lack of diversity" that are purely statistical and based on a false conception of how humans behave.

Comment: Re:This is why I am worried about Ebola (Score 1) 209

by PapayaSF (#48059473) Attached to: GlaxoSmithKline Released 45 Liters of Live Polio Virus

Early Ebola symptoms are things like "headache, muscle pain, weakness, stomach pain" - basically, it looks like the flu.

But he had just arrived from an Ebola zone.

Dude shows up at the hospital, is like "guys I feel kinda sick," they give him the standard treatment "take 2 and call me in the morning." Given that he lied about his risk factors on the travel documentation, I doubt he told the full truth at the hospital.

He did tell some people at the hospital he had just arrived from Liberia, but apparently everyone there didn't get the word.

In the meantime, workers clean up the vomit on the sidewalk, because that's what you do with vomit on the sidewalk.

You don't clean up Ebola-victim vomit by pressure-washing it, especially without a Hazmat suit, because one droplet landing on a mucus membrane can give you Ebola.

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