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Comment Re: Micropayments? (Score 2) 214

Well, part of it is that even a small payment can still incur a psychologically large cost. If each user post here on /. cost one cent to read, would you want to have them load automatically? Probably not, many of them are not worth that much, and you could quickly run up a bill of a few hundred dollars a year on that sort of thing from this site alone. So instead you'd have to take more time to think about what was worth spending even a little on, because it adds up and the price doesn't really match the value to you of the thing you'd be paying for.

Something similar happens when people have metered or capped Internet usage compared to at least nominally unlimited usage.

You really can't avoid this problem unless the micropayment is so small that it is likely not worth the cost to implement. I suppose if I knew that a year's worth of micro payments for me, for everything I use, was no more than about a dollar a year in total, it wouldn't be so much that it would feel like I was wasting money on the Internet. But because the average user doesn't want to spend a noticeable amount ever, and there really aren't that many users in comparison to sites, the resulting pie of money wouldn't be much to split up. (Especially once you reduce the amount to account for lower average incomes elsewhere in the world)

Comment Re:Bullshit (Score 1) 386

Assault rifles, explosives, and ammunition are not against the law.

In most (sane) countries they're restricted, and even if they aren't they're pretty damning if combined with evidence of a conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism.

It's a bit like the "possession of burglary tools" charge that gets tacked on to a break and enter... having a crowbar isn't illegal. Having a crowbar while crawling through someone's backyard at 4am is an indication that you're not just really, really drunk.

Comment Re:Bullshit (Score 1) 386

Sure conspiracy is a crime, but it's not an easy one to prove.

Even when the conspirators are sitting on a stockpile of forged documents, assault rifles, ammunition and explosives?

Criminals (of any sort, not just terrorists) need tools and intelligence (of the targeting sort, not the brainpower sort), and the best opportunity to stop them is during the phase where they're gathering that stuff. Obviously, you're not going to do much if the attacker is basically walking out the door with a knife and stabbing the first person they see, but bigger targets need more tools and information gathering.

I'm not making an argument, by the way, for pervasive surveillance or anything like that; it's pretty darn obvious now that law enforcement goes to shit when you do it with a dragnet. But there's definitely a time and place for law enforcement doing proper undercover intelligence gathering and investigations. If they stopped dicking around with all the Orwellian stuff they might even have the time and money to do it right.

Comment Re:On this I side with facebook (Score 2) 147

Option 2: Active editors. These forums are cultivated, maintained, and very ban-heavy. As a side-effect, the forum can be held responsible for third-party content.

Not true in the US (other than, potentially, with copyright issues and the like).

Remember, the CDA was intended to encourage providers to engage in censorship. Since the previous state of affairs was as you suggest, the way that they were encouraged to censor was to remove liability for material posted by third parties. But since many sites don't care, and the CDA protects them fully no matter what they do or don't do, it didn't really work out. Also other parts of the CDA turned out to be unconstitutional.

Comment Re:Of course they'd blame technology (Score 1) 259

Many of the 9/11 terrorists were well-off educated people. I recall at least one of them was an engineer, apparently assimilated.

Individually, sure. But they came from a restrictive, barbaric, extremist culture. It's about the environment, not the individuals.

I doubt we'll see western culture take the long view, anyway. We're too stuck on instant gratification, quick fixes, and reactionary thinking.

Comment Re:Yes, I absolutely do (Score 3, Interesting) 259

And money, documents, connections, etc. don't scale if your goal is to move 1,000 fighters into Europe, not a squad's worth of men.

If ISIS actually had 1000, or even 100, hardcore fighters who could be integrated into the refugee streams without the cat being let out of the bag somewhere along the way, then Europe is fucked no matter what.

Comment Re:Of course they'd blame technology (Score 3, Insightful) 259

Because that is easier than blaming Merkel and like-minded leaders for self-righteously taking a position that they knew, beyond any reasonable doubt, would give ISIS incredibly easy access to their streets.

ISIS would have access to their streets whether or not refugees were accepted; what, you think an ISIS terrorist is going to take his chances going across the Mediterranean in a swamped, sinking refugee boat? They've got the money, documents, and connections needed to take a plane and rent an apartment like any normal person. He'll be wearing a nice suit, carrying quality luggage, and probably show a student visa or EU passport or something.

The main problem with the refugees is that if, rather than integrating and educating them, they dump them into refugee ghettos and don't provide them with decent opportunities then in 30 years there will be a whole new crop of "home grown" converts to whatever extremist cult is popular at that time.

The only long-term solutions to extremism are integration, education and wealth. Period.

Comment Re:Odd choice (Score 1) 337

As a (surprisedly) happy Surface user, it seems strange that Apple aren't trying to regain initiative here.

It wouldn't surprise me if Apple is at the point where they truly believe that any initiative they lose can be easily regained should they decide to enter a particular market with an iDevice.

Recent history might even lend support for that kind of belief.

Comment Re: Real smart fella (sarcasm) (Score 1) 519

Saudi Arabia beheads people almost every month.


If you're trying to say that Saudi Arabia should be considered "batshit crazy evil" and that the US State Department and the UN are complicit shitbags, most rational westerners won't argue too hard against that position.

If you're trying to say something else... well, sorry, I missed your point.

Comment Re:Real smart fella (sarcasm) (Score 2) 519

Chopping people's heads off to make a point and to recruit more crazies is not necessarily evil... uh huh.

Well, ISIS doesn't consider it evil. The rest of us think it's batshit crazy evil.

Getting back on topic, it's one thing for a western politician to argue that ISIS doesn't see their actions as evil; knowing your enemy should always be an input into your engagement strategy, and showing awareness of your enemies twisted viewpoint demonstrates you're not a complete moron.

But to phrase it they way he did on Twitter of all places, leaving any suggestion that he might sympathize with their viewpoint, shows a abject lack of understanding of public relations and political debate tactics. Social media is not the medium on which to make academic arguments about moral relativism.

Submission + - The European Parliament calls on the European Union to migrate to Free Software

An anonymous reader writes: On October 29, 2015, the European Parliament adopted a report by Claude Moraes which condemned mass surveillance. This report calls on the European Union to migrate to free software, and to add free sofware as a mandatory selection criterion in IT public procurement. Frédéric Couchet, the executive director of the French free software advocacy group April, said that “This is the first time the European Parliament is explicitely calling for migration to free software. Even though such resolution is non-binding, it is a very strong signal to the European Commission.”

Submission + - Fallout 4 release raises questions about reviews of buggy games (kotaku.com)

RogueyWon writes: Fallout 4, the latest instalment in the long-running video-game series and one of the most hyped titles of the year, was released on 10 November. The game has generally been reviewing well, currently holding a Metacritic score of 89. However, a number of reviewers have noted the very large number of bugs present in all versions of the game and have, in some cases, reflected on the difficulty that these pose for reviewers, despite still awarding positive overall write-ups. Can it be ethical to recommend a product to consumers on the basis of its strengths, despite knowing that it contains serious faults?

Submission + - Icy Volcanoes May Erupt on Pluto (space.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The New Horizons probe may have discovered two possible ice volcanoes on the surface of Pluto. "These are two really extraordinary features. Nothing like this has ever been seen in the solar system." Oliver White, a New Horizons postdoctoral researcher with NASA's Ames Research Center in California said. The mountains have been informally named Wright Mons and Picard Mons, and at their crests, each peak hosts a central crater, reminiscent of peaks called "shield volcanoes" on Earth. "Whatever they are, they're definitely weird" — 'volcanoes' is the least weird hypothesis at the moment," White says.

Comment Re:Do Canadian Scientists respect the public? (Score 1) 197

This first move was by far the easiest and is universally approved.

Implementation might be a whole other story. I've yet to see it pointed out anywhere that for the last decade, the people who have been enforcing this stupidity were by and large not Conservative politicians, but management within the government. Those people are still there. The people with morals and backbone are gone or got pushed into positions where they dislike for Conservative policies wouldn't be an issue (i.e. where they'd have no power).

It's a step in the right direction, but I'd still be treading carefully.

"If I do not want others to quote me, I do not speak." -- Phil Wayne