In the perhaps foolish hope that some of you are not content in your ignorance, I recommend reading the Federalist Paper 51: http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa51.htm.
Content creators and providers want to get paid. If their fees seem too high or their contract terms too onerous don't view the content. I'm sick of people whining about it. As wonderful the concept is you don't have a free right to the creative effort of others.
My experience is that programs and computer languages can not be enhanced indefinitely. In fact they reach a peak and further changes only make them more complex and less reliable. Some believe C++ passed its peak long ago and emacs may be in that situation as well.
I seldom see this sentiment expressed but you are absolutely correct. Coding, text editing and compilation are the least important part of software development and may ultimately be automated away. In my view those who brag about their mastery of obscure keystroke combinations are missing the boat. Similarly those who brag about efficiency (speed or size) instead of correctness are scary for a slow program may still be useful but an incorrect one may be dangerous.
Yet another dig bites man story. Government requirements often mandate testing and certification by third parties, For example, FCC emissions testings.
sproketboy writes "Project Darkstar, an open source software platform from Sun labs that simplifies the development of horizontally scalable servers for online games, is being discontinued as of the Oracle acquisition. This project, mentioned a couple of years back on Slashdot, was a unique concept for building an application server specific to on-line gaming. Sadly they were so close at version 0.9.11 (which is still very stable). Hopefully the open source community can get involved and help continue work on this project."
Ant notes a piece up on WBUR Boston addressing theories to explain the universal human experience that time seems to pass faster as you get older. Here's the 9-minute audio (MP3). Several explanations are tried out: that brains lay down more information for novel experiences; that the "clock" for nerve impulses in aging brains runs slower; and that each interval of time represents a diminishing fraction of life as we age.
Some fear motivated projects are quite worthwhile. The interstate highway system for example was created to facilitate military transport between the coasts (just like the Panama canal) and more obviously the internet was created by DARPA to develop a communications network that had a chance of surviving a Russian nuclear attack.
Who gets the money's derived from patents and new ideas is of little importance except to the parties concerned. Clearly an enormous amount of money and other resources are wasted in legal fees that might otherwise be spent on research, development and invention. On the other hand this is a rich country and the real issue is whether or not the constitutional goals of the patent system have been compromised:
... to promote the progress of science and useful arts by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.
This argument is similar to the discussion of medical malpractice lawsuits . The goal is clearly to design a system that encourages good medical care for as many people as possible as well as caring for those harmed by human and system errors. Sadly many, perhaps most people are financially motivated so the problem becomes how can we use financial carrots and sticks to align with good policy.
e3m4n writes "The fictitious 'good samaritan' law from the final episode of Seinfeld (the one that landed them in jail for a year) appears to be headed toward reality for California residents after the house passed this bill. There are some differences, such as direct action is not required, but the concept of guilt by association for not doing the right thing is still on the face of the bill."
A US judge has granted political asylum to a family who said they fled Germany to avoid persecution for home schooling their children. Uwe Romeike and his wife, Hannelore, moved to Tennessee after German authorities fined them for keeping their children out of school and sent police to escort them to classes. Mike Connelly, attorney for the Home School Legal Defence Association, argued the case. He says, "Home schoolers in Germany are a particular social group, which is one of the protected grounds under the asylum law. This judge looked at the evidence, he heard their testimony, and he felt that the way Germany is treating home schoolers is wrong. The rights being violated here are basic human rights."
I would be interested in seeing what percentage of WSJ and Economist subscriptions are corporate vs individual. I suspect the number is quite high and is just another example of the much loved cost shifting technique where others pay while management reaps.
An anonymous reader writes "For years, Microsoft has allowed Visual Studio users to define arbitrary tab widths, often to the dismay of those viewing the resultant code in other editors. With VS 2010, it appears that they have taken the next step of forcing tab width to be the same as the indent size in code. Two-space tabs anyone?"