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Submission All Malibu Media subpoenas in Eastern District NY put on hold

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: A federal Magistrate Judge in Central Islip, New York, has just placed all Malibu Media subpoenas in Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, and Staten Island on hold indefinitely, due to "serious questions" raised by a motion to quash (PDF) filed in one of them. Judge Steven Locke's 4-page Order and Decision (PDF) cited the defendant's arguments that "(i) the common approach for identifying allegedly infringing BitTorrent users, and thus the Doe Defendant, is inconclusive; (ii) copyright actions, especially those involving the adult film industry, are susceptible to abusive litigation practices; and (iii) Malibu Media in particular has engaged in abusive litigation practices" as being among the reasons for his issuance of the stay.

Comment Re: Waaaahhhhh!! (Score 2, Insightful) 581

Linus has been acting that way since the beginning, in fact since Matthew Garrett is 22 Linus has been acting that way since before he was born. Linus's behavior is not an existential threat to the project since it's one of the most successful projects in human history despite the fact that he has always acted like that.

Comment Re:Cool article... (Score 1) 132

If a serial killer killed you during your Uber ride, how would you give them a bad review?

Uber would know you didn't arrive. I suppose the serial killer could deliver your phone to your destination...

Also, you could start calling 911 or taking other action with your phone as soon as you realized something was going wrong. That wasn't an option for taxis when the current regulations were set up.

Comment Re:How do they define GM? (Score 2) 320

Wrong, breeding for desired characteristic is an entirely different matter than what Monsanto is doing.

So, how do you feel about selective breeding processes that include drenching the organisms in radiation or mutagenic chemicals in order to dramatically increase the mutation rate? Nearly everything in your grocery store was bred via this method, which has been in use for at least a century, because it works really well. By massively increasing the mutation rate you can get your desired characteristics orders of magnitude faster than relying on natural mutations and cross-breeding.

If you're not okay with that method, then there's not much available for you to eat.

If you are okay with that method, can you explain how insertion of single gene to produce a desired effect is worse that thousands of random mutations, all of which are completely unknown outside of the immediately-observable phenotypic effects?

The fact is that humans have been doing various degrees of genetic engineering on our food crops for millenia, and massively increased it in the last couple of centuries (once Darwin explained how it worked). The methods of the last couple of decades are refinements which, if anything, should be dramatically safer than what came before, since the changes are smaller and better-controlled.

Comment Re:Cool article... (Score 1) 132

The taxi industry is regulated for very good reasons (one being safety)

I hear this all the time, but no one ever elaborates on what the reasons are. You said safety, but didn't say what the regulations are, how they are intended to affect safety and whether or not they really do.

One regulation that does make sense is the requirement that they carry commercial insurance policies. I think Uber has addressed that part (though I know some think Uber's solution inadequate).

As far as I can tell, the rest of the regulations are just an attempt to construct a functional reputation system in a context where little information is available to riders. By making it difficult and expensive for people to become cabbies, and relatively easy for them to lose that privilege, regulations ensure that only people who are serious about making taxi service a long-term business will do it. For exaple, this prevents J. Random Serial Killer from painting his car yellow and using it to pick up victims. Unless J. Random is also very wealthy, in which case he has lots of easier options. That's just one example, but the same line of reasoning applies to many other forms of abuse.

That all makes sense in a context where riders have no way to judge cabs other than by their appearance. But smartphones and the real-time, ubiquitous access to driver reputation databases they make available change the equation. Or so it seems to me.

Can anyone articulate precisely what other problems the regulations solve, and why the "rideshare" model (yes, I know it's not really ride sharing; let's discuss substantive issues, not quibble about naming) doesn't address them as well, or better? I'd like, for once, to have a conversation about this subject that goes beyond "Uber is exploitative and law-breaking!!!" and discusses the actual underlying issues. In what way, precisely, are cab regulations a better/safer/more efficient solution than ridesharing?

Comment Re:EU Privacy (Score 1) 58

Obviously you can't invert md5, but if I hash my list, and you hash your list, and there is significant overlap, you can, to a reasonable but not 100% certainty, figure out which items on my list correspond to items on your list.

Depends on how it's done. For example, the advertiser could generate a bloom filter and provide that, rather than hashes of individual items on the list. Assuming the false positive rate was tuned correctly, you can use this method to arrange to provide very little information, while still generating the matches you want (plus some). Most advertisers wouldn't know how to tune the false positive rate appropriately, of course, but Google could tell them.

That's just off the top of my head, first glance at the problem. I suspect that there are even cleverer techniques that could be used, and while I don't know any details of how this system works, I do know Google engineers, and Google privacy design policies and procedures, and I'd be shocked if there were any obvious way to extract personally-identifiable information, in either direction.

(Disclaimer: I'm a Google engineer, but I'm speaking only for myself.)

Comment Re:We'll see what Microsoft has planned (Score 1) 90

It's so strange because it's backwards compared to personal accounting. People usually want to pay off their cars or houses and live in them without a mortgage or car loan, for example. Businesses seem to want to go to software companies and say, "Please, let me pay you forever to use your software."

(In the general case...)

As an individual, you have to consider the last 10-20 years of your life where you will need to survive without an income.

As a business, you do not.

Specific to hosted vs local systems, generally speaking keeping people on staff to manage systems is expensive, with nearly no benefit vs paying for a functionally equivalent hosted system. This is simply a product of technological advancement that has made hardware incredibly cheap, internet connections cheap, fast and reliable, and people expensive.

Comment Re:Gun-free zone? (Score 1) 1148

Frankly, college students are adults, they should be able to have guns on campus.

Not all college students are mature enough to own a gun responsibly.

Apparently the college students in Utah are. Campus carry has been legal for more than a decade. Number of student shooting rampages: zero.

Comment Re:Gun-free zone? (Score 1) 1148

So what you're saying is that all (or virtually all) campuses are gun free, so the fact this specific campus is gun free is pretty much meaningless.

No, actually. Several US states permit firearms on campuses. See the map at (hover over each state to see its rules).

Comment Re:I much prefer... (Score 3, Informative) 278

...the way pedestrians act in Boston and New York: total chaos. People wander across the street randomly, and drivers are very aware that this is going to happen, so they slow down.

Interestingly, Boston and New York have very different pedestrian accident rates. New York has 1.52 pedestrian deaths per 100K, not much better than San Francisco's 1.70. Boston, though, has 0.79.

It's also worth pointing out that SF is actually safer for pedestrians than most big US cities. Boston appears to be the safest.

Comment Re:That'e exactly the wrong outcome! (Score 5, Interesting) 43

If they really want things to change, they should agree to work towards abolishing stupid patents---not to create semi-trusts that other companies have to fight.

Google has been spending tens of millions lobbying for patent reform, and only started to playing the patent game when it became clear that changing it wasn't going to work quickly enough -- though they haven't stopped trying to reform patents. The apparent contradiction has led some some pundits to question their motives, though I don't see that it's really a contradiction... the patent system is badly broken, but that doesn't mean Google can function in the industry as it is without playing the patent game. It's perfectly reasonable to play by rules you hate because that's what you have to do while simultaneously trying to change the rules.

Personally, I think software patents are a crock, but I'm listed as inventor on a few of them. I hate the game, but it is what it is so I play it while donating to organizations trying to change it. My rule is that I donate 50% of my patent bonuses to the EFF. I suppose if I were a better man I'd donate 100% (after taxes), but I do like to have some recompense for the effort I put into writing disclosures.

(Disclaimer: I'm a Google engineer, but I'm speaking for myself only, not for Google.)

Comment Re:So you remove their only way to make a living? (Score 1) 166

That's a stupid thing to say, and you're a stupid person for saying it. The bar is not whether you're feeding many people or many many people, the bar is whether you're feeding many people. Try opening a soup kitchen and giving away food and see if you get inspected for health reasons. But nobody is going to inspect your kitchen at home unless you plan to feed the masses from it.

You don't need a commercial kitchen certification to have a party.

You do need one if your business is providing food as a service to others, even if it only serves a handful of people a day.

They key point - the "bar" - here is a business providing a service for others, not the number of attendees. To take an extreme example, a restaurant that only served one meal a day would still need appropriate commercial kitchen certification, but you could have fifty friends over for a barbecue without needing one.

Making a vehicle commercial does not increase its passenger capacity.

That's a stupid thing to say, and you're a stupid person for saying it.

A commercial vehicle for hire carries a far higher number of passengers, over a far higher number of kilometres, and a far greater area. It is driving around 24/7. To argue it presents the same risk profile as a personal vehicle carrying a handful of different people a relatively short distance, driving maybe 5 hours a day at most, over a limited area, is ridiculous on its face.

Driving a taxi is more dangerous for the driver than for the passengers, statistically; they are way more likely to have a crime committed against them by you (or another passenger) than you are by them.

Indeed. I drove taxis for years, remember ?

Doesn’t change the fact that drivers can also be dangerous to passengers.

Do you propose that we pre-screen all taxi passengers for the safety of taxi drivers?

That's a stupid thing to say, and you're a stupid person for saying it.

Again, the same rules should apply to all drivers whether commercial or not.

Right. So is your position is that someone with a criminal history in, say, violent theft, shouldn’t be allowed to have a driver’s license at all, or that someone with a criminal history in violent theft shouldn’t have any problems getting a job as a taxi or limo driver ?

But in this case, the taxi driver is at more risk of being killed or otherwise harmed by a passenger than the passenger is at risk of the opposite, so it's still a shitty argument here.

That's a stupid thing to say, and you're a stupid person for saying it.

Your core argument is that there is no difference - legally, ethically, or otherwise - between someone doing something (driving, cooking, watching children, whatever) in a social context, and someone doing the same thing as a business, providing a service to all and sundry. This is stupid. They haven't been considered equivalent since we lived in tribes of a few hundred people. Trying to abuse the word "sharing" to change this, does not.

"We shall reach greater and greater platitudes of achievement." -- Richard J. Daley