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Comment: Re:NOT and NEVER WAS about Child porn, of course (Score 1) 134

by Smegly (#31112080) Attached to: France Votes Tuesday On Net Censorship
Woosh! You really have a simple world view going on there!

a) The only way for us to stop child porn is to economically prop up every country in need, at our great, great expense

It's not about propping up. It is about giving third world countries the same opportunity to develop that we had. Do you the the good old US of A would have progressed if it had to pay top Pound for seeds, medicine, steam engines and any other modern technology for the day, all the while not being able to produce these things for themselves due to English "IP" Laws. I think not, and there is plenty of research out there to back it up. The only "expense" your talking about it losing out on profits from exploitation.

b) Governments should reject the wealth of positives about these treaties in the vain, completely unfounded hope that it will inspires child pornographers to pack up and go home.

double . You really dont get it: Human Trafficking and the closely related child porn originate in developing countries... to use your simple world view: That is its home. Any policy to help the third world develop is an Anti-child porn stance. If you bothered to check the references you would see that all reports show that the "positives" you mention are all for companies based in first world countries, at the expense of the developing countries. What your really saying is: "Governments should reject the wealth of positives about these treaties for our companies. Better to pursue exploitative profits at the expense of the third world than subscribe to treaties that foster third world sustainable development.". Bravo, you effectively supporting the continuation of child exploitation, including pornography.

Comment: NOT and NEVER WAS about Child porn, of course (Score 1) 134

by Smegly (#31110590) Attached to: France Votes Tuesday On Net Censorship
Censoring the Internet is: A) A band aid solution that does not compare to tracking down and prosecuting the culprits, and B) A powerful tool for political control. Governments choose it because point A) means it is cheaper than actually solving crimes and point B) is all gravy for controlling an unruly population.

Censorship on the internet has nothing to do with stopping [insert favorite bogyman here]. For example: If Governments of the world really really cared about Child porn, there is no way in hell they would subscribe to TRIPS, GATS and other trade agreements that push so fervently for expansion of intellectual property (IP) rights worldwide. The majority of Child porn comes from poor developing countries - called "Source Country" exploitation. Many research and commissions inquires have overwhelmingly [References below] found these trade agreements severely disadvantage developing countries. Basically it guarantees keeping poor countries poor by denying them the same abilities to develop as the first world countries once enjoyed (refs below) .
Do we see your government moving to solve this major worldwide source of child porn? No of course not - they are too busy negotiating ACTA in the backrooms. Child porn is just another bogyman to push through controls on the internet - and as a result your going to get worse IP restriction AND internet censorship == the complete opposite of actually solving the child porn problem (and the closely related human trafficking, and poverty, starvation...). It could be said: If you support internet censorship then your also supporting the continuation of child porn... I know of no other place where we can debate and call into question/try to pressure our leaders to answer questions about draconian restrictions on the third world like ACTA will impose.

References (of many) you can find on the internet linking IP laws and trade agreements to continuing poverty of the developing world:

The GATS and TRIPS are both examples of rich countries investing their most vigorous negotiating efforts on agendas where the gains will accrue overwhelmingly to companies located in rich countries. They are examples of a one-size-fits-all approach being imposed and, most strikingly, of rich countries now pulling up the ladder, trying to deny developing countries the very policy options that rich countries used to manage their own economic development.

http://www.cid.org.nz/advocacy/Phil_Twyford_-_CID_Trade_Forum.pdf

Commission on Intellectual Property Rights declared the internationally-mandated expansion of intellectual property (IP) rights unlikely to generate significant benefits for most developing countries and likely to impose costs, such as higher priced medicines or seeds. This makes poverty reduction more difficult. The intensively researched, 180-page report is entitled Integrating Intellectual Property Rights and Development Policy. It is the culmination of much study and follows on more than a dozen meetings and workshops, 17 working papers, an exhaustive literature review of the field, visits to several developed and developing nations and a major conference. The report makes some 50 recommendations aimed at aligning IP protection with the goal of reducing poverty in developing nations. Topics include IP and health; agriculture; traditional knowledge; copyrights, software and the Internet; and the role of WTO and WIPO in advancing developing country interests. The Commission is an independent international body made up of Commissioners from both developed and developing countries with expertise in science, law, ethics and economics. The Commissioners come from industry, government and academia* (see list of Commissioners below). "Developed countries often proceed on the assumption that what is good for them is likely to be good for developing countries," said Professor John Barton, Commission Chair and George E. Osborne Professor of Law, Stanford University. "But, in the case of developing countries, more and stronger protection is not necessarily better. Developing countries should not be encouraged or coerced into adopting stronger IP rights without regard to the impact this has on their development and poor people. They should be allowed to adopt appropriate rights regimes, not necessarily the most protective ones."

http://www.biotech-info.net/independent_commission.html

Comment: Re:Do this guys know the definition of user lock-i (Score 1) 365

by Smegly (#31098726) Attached to: Australian Senate Hears Open Source Is Too Expensive
Followup to my comment above about OnAustralia, Just found this old 1995 news:

Microsoft can lay claim to 80 percent of the computer users worldwide (Crow & Zampetakis, 1995) and a global revenue of $US4.7 billion in fiscal 1994 (Advertising Age, 1994). Its planned venture with Telstra in Australia (Microsoft Network or OnAustralia), will offer 'filtered' access to the Internet through Telstra's AUSTPAC. This move assumes that the Trade Practices Commission approves this $AUD9 million joint venture. (Crowe, 1995.) Given the convergence of News Corporation's Fox Television and production facilities with the carrier Telstra in Australia, and the formation of a Pay-TV company, Foxtel, one might rightly expect a crossing of the bridge between these technologies. Also, one should not forget that Microsoft's Bill Gates has stated plans to launch over 800 orbiting satellites in competition with Motorola's 64 low-orbit satellites, among others, thus illustrating even further the convergence that is taking place.

http://ausweb.scu.edu.au/aw95/publishing/adam/index.html

Comment: Re:Do this guys know the definition of user lock-i (Score 1) 365

by Smegly (#31098642) Attached to: Australian Senate Hears Open Source Is Too Expensive

The rumour going around was that IBM had spent a lot of money making a few senior managers in that organisation very happy to get that deal through. Around about the time I left staff were pushing for Windows98 to be deployed in place of OS/2.

Exactly the same happened in N.S.W at "Orion Energy" now absorbed into Energy Australia - rumors of large kickbacks for the OS/2 deal to certain senior managers and the "push" from MS to convert over to Win98 apparently came with even fatter kickbacks. As an aside, back in those days (1995) Microsoft tried to damage control over the surprise (to them) explosion in popularity of the internet by spending copious amounts of money wooing Aussie developers to use MS private network "OnAustralia" using MS-words rtf format instead of html over http. Microsoft's vision of global communication network was proprietary country fiefdoms locked into their proprietary network, and the internet we know today restricted to the US and few others. I shudder to think at the consequences if they actual pulled it off...

Comment: Re:Do you agree? NOOOOO (Score 1) 334

by Smegly (#31087032) Attached to: Hackers Attack AU Websites To Protest Censorship

I don't agree about censoring drug-related sites, but about the other contents...

Sure, whatever you pick there will be some material that is offensive to downright sick and completely illegal. Censoring the Internet is:
A) A band aid solution that does not compare to tracking down and prosecuting the culprits, and
B) A powerful tool for political control.

Governments choose it because point A) means it is cheaper than actually solving crimes and point B) is all gravy for controlling an unruly population.
Censorship on the internet has nothing to do with stopping [insert favorite bogyman here]. For example: If Governments of the world really really cared about Child porn, there is no way in hell they would subscribe to TRIPS, GATS and other trade agreements that push so fervently for expansion of intellectual property (IP) rights worldwide. The majority of Child porn comes from poor developing countries - called "Source Country" exploitation. Truly unbiased research and commissions inquires have overwhelmingly [References below] found these trade agreements severely disadvantage developing countries. Basically they keep poor countries poor. Do you see your government moving to solve this major worldwide source of child porn? No of course not: they don't really care it is just a bogyman to push through controls on the internet - your going to get worse IP restriction AND internet censorship == the complete opposite of actually solving the child porn problem (and the closly related human trafficking, and poverty, starvation, death, and...).

References (of many) you can find on the internet linking IP laws and trade agreements to continuing poverty of the developing world:

The GATS and TRIPS are both examples of rich countries investing their most vigorous negotiating efforts on agendas where the gains will accrue overwhelmingly to companies located in rich countries. They are examples of a one-size-fits-all approach being imposed and, most strikingly, of rich countries now pulling up the ladder, trying to deny developing countries the very policy options that rich countries used to manage their own economic development.

http://www.cid.org.nz/advocacy/Phil_Twyford_-_CID_Trade_Forum.pdf

Commission on Intellectual Property Rights declared the internationally-mandated expansion of intellectual property (IP) rights unlikely to generate significant benefits for most developing countries and likely to impose costs, such as higher priced medicines or seeds. This makes poverty reduction more difficult. The intensively researched, 180-page report is entitled Integrating Intellectual Property Rights and Development Policy. It is the culmination of much study and follows on more than a dozen meetings and workshops, 17 working papers, an exhaustive literature review of the field, visits to several developed and developing nations and a major conference. The report makes some 50 recommendations aimed at aligning IP protection with the goal of reducing poverty in developing nations. Topics include IP and health; agriculture; traditional knowledge; copyrights, software and the Internet; and the role of WTO and WIPO in advancing developing country interests. The Commission is an independent international body made up of Commissioners from both developed and developing countries with expertise in science, law, ethics and economics. The Commissioners come from industry, government and academia* (see list of Commissioners below). "Developed countries often proceed on the assumption that what is good for them is likely to be good for developing countries," said Professor John Barton, Commission Chair and George E. Osborne Professor of Law, Stanford University. "But, in the case of developing countries, more and stronger protection is not necessarily better. Developing countries should not be encouraged or coerced into adopting stronger IP rights without regard to the impact this has on their development and poor people. They should be allowed to adopt appropriate rights regimes, not necessarily the most protective ones."

http://www.biotech-info.net/independent_commission.html

Comment: Pressure to dumb down education (Score 3, Insightful) 44

by Smegly (#31069972) Attached to: Improving Education Through Social Gaming

So desperate to find a solution that motivates students to become scientists, the government has even enlisted Darpa, the Department of Defense’s 'mad scientist' research organization, to figure out a solution.

Must be extremely difficult to create a solution that balances the pressure to both dumb down education, limit critical thinking AND become good scientists.

Education

Improving Education Through Social Gaming 44

Posted by Soulskill
from the i'd-play-a-number-munchers-mmo dept.
A piece up at Mashable explores how some schools and universities are finding success at integrating social gaming into their education curriculum. Various game-related programs are getting assistance these days from sources like the government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "For the less well-to-do educator, the Federation of American Scientists has developed a first-person shooter-inspired cellular biology curriculum. Gamers explore the fully-interactive 3D world of an ill patient and assist the immune system in fighting back a bacterial infection. Dr. Melanie Ann Stegman has been evaluating the educational impacts of the game and is optimistic about her preliminary findings. 'The amount of detail about proteins, chemical signals and gene regulation that these 15-year-olds were devouring was amazing. Their questions were insightful. I felt like I was having a discussion with scientist colleagues,' said Stegman. Perhaps more importantly, the video game excites students about science. Motivating more youngsters to adopt a science-related career track has became a major education initiative of the Obama administration. So desperate to find a solution that motivates students to become scientists, the government has even enlisted Darpa, the Department of Defense’s 'mad scientist' research organization, to figure out a solution."

Comment: Re:Suck it, AFACT (Score 3, Interesting) 252

by Smegly (#31019812) Attached to: Landmark Ruling Gives Australian ISPs Safe Harbor

The case was backed by some of the largest media companies, including 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros.

Irresponsible behavior (some would say - criminal) and total lack of respect for our internet from these last century media company behemoths really does make it that much easier to justify going out of our way to never ever pay them a penny - on moral grounds. Oh they will still get paid, and paid very well for doing nothing, what with our taxes going right to their pockets. What a convenient business model! However a serious correction in market capitalization is obviously in order for these people - they apparently will not be content until they destroy the internet.

As an aside, in parts of Europe they released the Disney channel last year or so to free view on TDT. Previously it was cable TV subscriber only where the post-war economic crisis was causing their viewer ratings to seriously drop. A generation of little EU'lings growing up without crying for their "Micky Mouse" tee-shirts or wanting to go to "WarnerBros world" must have scared the absolute goofies out of them.

Comment: Re:Money (Score 1) 317

by Smegly (#31007164) Attached to: US Missile Defense Test Fails
Nobody is blaming technology here, merely the political motivation behind where all the public R&D dollars are directed. Sure there are spin-off's from the military spending - even the internet was a spin-off - and hell you'd expect to at least get something out of massive military spending.
The point is that society would get more money's worth of development tech and benefit a great deal more and if all those billions of R&D dollars were directed to constructive projects directly rather than wait for accidental spin-offs from military projects. To argue against that idea you'd have to demonstrate that spending on military projects is the only efficient way to get good constructive and useful technology developed... a pretty tall order.
By the way, NASA Velcro did not come from military spending.

Comment: Re:Money (Score 1) 317

by Smegly (#30995014) Attached to: US Missile Defense Test Fails
The cold hard facts prove you wrong. Summarizing some key details from chapter 5 of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)’s 2009 Year Book on Armaments, Disarmament and International Security for 2008:

* World military expenditure in 2008 is estimated to have reached $1.464 trillion in current dollars (just over $1.2 trillion in 2005 constant dollars, as per above graph);
* This represents a 4 per cent increase in real terms since 2007 and a 45 per cent increase over the 10-year period since 1999;
* This corresponds to 2.4 per cent of world gross domestic product (GDP), or $217 for each person in the world;
* The USA with its massive spending budget, is the principal determinant of the current world trend, and its military expenditure now accounts for just under half of the world total, at 41.5% of the world total;
http://www.globalissues.org/article/75/world-military-spending

Comment: Re:Money (Score 4, Insightful) 317

by Smegly (#30994214) Attached to: US Missile Defense Test Fails

Maybe if the US stopped wasting money on boondoggles like this, they wouldn't have had to cancel plans to return to the Moon.

Not to mention the side benefit of generating productive tech, instead of just destructive tech. The problem with the moon missions is that the big defense corporations running the US just can't justify such large profits with moon missions. The population (or its politicians) are much less willing to fund if there is no fear factor. Fear does not drive the moon mission development like it does for military expenditure unless you try and use the fear of China doing it first to our exclusion, but even then it's still not the same kind of primeval motivation == less profit.

Biotech

+ - Scientists Discover How Rotifers Survive Asexually 1

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens
Hugh Pickens writes "Asexual organisms are extremely rare but bdelloid rotifers reproduce asexually and seem to have speciated as extensively as sexually reproducing organisms. Now, NPR reports that researchers say they can explain how the tiny freshwater invertebrates have been able to reproduce without sex for over 100 million years. Bdelloids dwell in the most ephemeral of freshwater habitats. Not just in small puddles, but in the transient layer of moisture sometimes found on moss or lichens—even on mushrooms where dessication is a routine occurrence providing the key to how bdelloids evade the constraints of the Red Queen Hypothesis — the theory that asexual lineages are quickly ended by coevolving parasites and pathogens. The researchers raised populations of the rotifers in a lab, and observed that the asexual invertebrates could rid themselves of a deadly fungal parasite by drying themselves up completely and blowing away with the wind to new territory. By doing so, the rotifers became so desiccated that their parasites could not survive the punishing conditions. The bdelloids were then able to ride the breeze and start afresh in new, presumably parasite-free pastures proving that there can be advantages to reproducing without sex: "You don't have to find a mate," says Johns Logsdon, an evolutionary biologist from the University of Iowa. "If you find a mate you don't have to worry about things like venereal disease, you don't have to worry about getting attacked in the process of a sex act.""

Comment: Re:What they NEED to hear!? Goebbels quotation?? (Score 2, Insightful) 396

by Smegly (#30933478) Attached to: Does Personalized News Lead To Ignorance?

a graph I saw a while ago... which showed the political leanings of blogs in the US, and their breakdown according to left, right, or balanced (in the middle). The vast majority were at the two extremes, hardly anyone in the middle

The US political scene (in terms of Dem OR Rep choice that Americans can choose between) is an excellent example of framing. When you take these two United states political "extremes" out of the US political frame, you find they are both very far into the Authoritarian Right compared to politics worldwide One ref of many available summed up in a nice graph of the 2008 presidential elections: http://www.politicalcompass.org/uselection2008

Due to the global nature of the internet and the trend towards non hierarchical news sources I would wage that any normal young person growing up with internet news is much more likely to be exposed to this idea/reality at some time, than any previous generation who's only news source was corporate media.

For further information on this theme, see "Too polemical or too critical? - study of the news media and US foreign policy". Ref google scholar.

from the research article:

"While the US news media are adversarial towards the US government on foreign policy, institutional filters operate to ensure that the criticisms made generally stay within narrow bounds set by the US political elite... The institutional tendency to filter out anti-elite perspectives applies not only to the news media but also to academia."
propaganda model: "It explains why the agenda and framing of news reports on US foreign policy rarely deviate from those set by US corporate and political elites. Five filters function to shape news media output, which we label in turn the corporate, advertising, sourcing, flak and ideological filter. First, the ‘size, ownership and profit orientation of mass media’ and their shared ‘common interests with other major corporations, banks, and government’ creates a clash of interest between the media’s supposed role as a watchdog of the elite and the interests of that elite. Consequently news stories that run contrary to those vested interests are, on balance, less likely to surface than those consistent with the world view of major corporate conglomerates. Second, media reliance on advertising revenue introduces a further constraining link between the news media and the interests of commerce. This reliance shapes media output in order to appeal to affluent audiences, in whom the advertisers are most interested. It also limits the amount of critical and controversial programming because advertisers generally want ‘to avoid programs with serious complexities and disturbing controversies that interfere with the “buying mood”’. Hence, money does not only talk: it also silences. Third, journalists rely overwhelmingly on elite sources when constructing the news. The need to supply a steady and rapid flow of ‘important’ news stories combined with the vast public relations apparatus of government and powerful interests more broadly means that journalists tend to become heavily reliant on public officials and corporate representatives when defining and framing the news agenda. Fourth, whenever controversial material is actually aired it generates a disproportionate degree of ‘flak’ from individuals connected with powerful interests including ‘corporate community sponsored institutions’s such as the Center for Media and Public Affairs, and Accuracy in Media (AIM) and government ‘spin doctors’. Such criticism serves to caution editors and journalists against putting out news stories that are ‘too’ controversial".

The internet is quickly turning this sad state of mainstream news upside down... however the war that is already underway for control of information content on the internet will not be pretty one. Expect more website/blog banning and online journalist restricting laws to follow.

Money will say more in one moment than the most eloquent lover can in years.

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