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Comment: Just how would you explain the risks? (Score 2) 168

by aegl (#44143311) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Explaining Cloud Privacy Risks To K-12 Teachers?

We already have groups of people afraid of wifi, vaccines, and a host of other things that are non-issues. They are also disproportionately afraid that their child will be abducted (by strangers, or even by aliens).

Pretty much whatever you say will either be misunderstood by some subgroup, or deliberately misconstrued by another - and then a school faces the problem of providing a special exception* for some group of students that have been opted out.

* Note that I'm generally in favour of special exceptions in schools because children do have different learning styles and paces - but this would be a crazy addition

Comment: Scalia's dissent wasn't about keeping DOMA (Score 1) 1073

by aegl (#44117469) Attached to: Supreme Court Overturns Defense of Marriage Act

Scalia was outraged that SCOTUS hadn't dismissed Windsor for the pretty much the same reasons that they dismissed Perry. There was no case. The district court said that DOMA(3) was not constitutional. The government agreed. Should have been end of story with DOMA(3) in the trashcan (in that district ... but with more to follow from other cases like Golinski, Pederson, Gil, and a dozen others). The supreme court exists to resolve disputes - and there was no dispute here. Both parties to the case were in full agreement.

The only fly in the ointment was Speaker John Boehner sending in the BLAG (bi-partisan legal advisory group - which is anything *but* bi-partisan since the authorization came from a 3-2 committee vote of Republicans vs. Democrats) to make the appeals to the circuit court and then to SCOTUS.

So Scalia's preferred outcome would probably have been to deny Cert in the first place, or to ditch the case on standing grounds - either of which would have still resulted in DOMA(3) being struck down.

The latter part of his dissent makes it clear that he isn't a big fan of same sex marriage

Comment: Are ISPs really throttling bandwidth? (Score 2) 82

by aegl (#44025755) Attached to: Intel Streaming Media Service Faces An Uphill Battle for Bandwidth

Lots of talk about how ISPs could do this to protect their own video offerings. But are they really doing it? My current ISP is Comcast, previous was AT&T U-verse. In both cases I did not subscribe to their TV option - just to internet and voice.

I have had no problems streaming video from Netflix, Amazon or Hulu+ through my Roku box. Base bandwidth to maintain a video stream is only 5 Mbits or so, so it would seem to be increasingly difficult for ISPs competing for customers in the Mb/s battles to throttle things so much as to prevent streaming video.

Comment: sending texts sounds like a problem (Score 2) 213

by aegl (#40718259) Attached to: Judge: Cops Can Impersonate Owner Of Seized Cell Phones

I can see that once the police had the phone, that looking at the address book is equivalent to looking at an old style rolodex. Looking at received texts is like the precedent cited of looking at received messages on an old style pager. But *sending* texts seems like something new. Are there precedents where a police officer who is a skilled voice mimic answers a seized phone, or starts making calls from a seized phone and impersonates the true owner of the phone?

Comment: What about the smart meter crazy people? (Score 1) 61

by aegl (#39341353) Attached to: San Jose Plan Reintroduces Large-Scale Municipal Wi-Fi Coverage

We seem to have a highly vocal minority that believe the "radiation" from smart meters is destroying their lives. They've managed to convince PG&E to offer an opt-out plan to let them keep a non-transmitting meter. Surely a few of them live in the 1.5 square miles covered by this. Waiting for lawsuit to stop this in 3 ... 2 ... 1

Comment: Too late to be useful? (Score 2) 284

by aegl (#39039195) Attached to: Sony Outlets Control Electricity Through Authentication

I remember the days when my laptop would only run for a couple of hours on battery and then die. Back then seats next to electrical outlets at airports and coffee shops were in high demand as the road warriors clustered around them.

But now I have an "eight hour" battery (which I am sure will run for 5+ hours, perhaps more). So I don't care any more. A few days ago I was in a meeting with the projector connected to my laptop running on battery. A colleague helpfully passed me a power cord - and I literally stared at it for five seconds thinking "Why? I don't need this, the meeting will only run for another hour at most and I'm 100% confident that my battery will last."

So there might have been a market for this up until 2010/2011 or so, but that market is disappearing fast. If your business model is to charge people $5 for $0.005 worth of electricity at airports ... you may need to rethink how much demand there will be.

Earth

Air Guns Shake Up Earthquake Monitoring 38

Posted by samzenpus
from the shake-it-up dept.
sciencehabit writes "Petroleum geologists have long used air guns in their search for oil and gas deposits. Sudden blasts from the devices generate seismic waves that they use to map underground rock formations. Could the same technique be used to study earthquakes? A team of Chinese scientists thinks so. The researchers have designed an air gun that could be useful in monitoring changes in stress buildup along fault zones."

Comment: He may be right, it might be fair use ... (Score 1) 242

by aegl (#38860895) Attached to: Romney Invokes Fair Use In Dispute With NBC Over Campaign Ad

But unfortunately the legislature and the courts have not given us any clear description on what is and is not fair use. The only way to find out is to take a case to the courts and have a judge evaluate the evidence and issue a ruling.

So Romley needs to do exactly that ... have his ad pulled by a DMCA takedown. Appeal that. Have NBC sue (and get an injuction to stop him using this video until the case is resolved). Go to court. All this could easily be resolved by mid-2013 (unless the loser appeals to pregressively higher levels of the court system).

Wait - you say you need this ad now, while the primaries are going on? Sorry - that's not how it works.

Mitt: Time for a campaign promise to fix these damn laws so that they provide clear guidelines for fair use - I'd certainly take notice if you did that (you'd have to drop a bunch of other stuff before I could be persuaded to vote for you).

Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool discovers something which either abolishes the system or expands it beyond recognition.

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