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Comment: Re:Maybe someday we'll know why we invaded iraq (Score 1) 224

by bradley13 (#49757213) Attached to: WSJ Crowdsources Investigation of Hillary Clinton Emails

I agree with your comments about the Iraq war (see my other comment below), but I disagree with brushing off Benghazi. Both major parties in the US are corrupt. The fact that one party has done evil is no justification for excusing evil by the other party. Benghazi, in terms of the number of deaths, was small compared to the various wars. Note, however, that Obama's administration carried on with those wars, with Guantanamo, and with lots of other lovely things.

The reason Benghazi is currently important is that it appears to be characteristic behavior for a major presidential candidate: Hillary Clinton is a narcissist, and likely a sociopath. What she wants is more important than a few corpses (Benghazi), or than federal statutes and regulations (email server). Anyone who wasn't a member of the innermost circle would have gone down in flames for actions like these. She has that support, or perhaps she knows where other people's indiscretions lie, so she is untouchable.

Someone of her apparent character (or lack thereof) as president of the world's largest military power? Shudder...

Comment: Um, no... (Score 1) 224

by bradley13 (#49757135) Attached to: WSJ Crowdsources Investigation of Hillary Clinton Emails

"WTF are you talking about? EVERY nation's intelligence service agreed that Saddam was working to obtain nuclear weapons, and everybody ALREADY KNEW that he had chemical weapons"

Um, no. I live in Switzerland, and based on the European news at the time it was completely clear that Saddam had nothing left. He may have wanted such weapons, but what he had left was a shell-game he was playing with UN inspectors, with empty shells.

When Bush announced the Iraq attack, and I told my family back in the US that he should be impeached for telling such blatant lies, they were shocked. They totally bought into those slick PowerPoint slides from Colin Powell. That was the moment it became clear to me that the US (and their lapdop the UK) had determined that they wanted to attack Iraq, and had run internal propaganda campaigns to support this.

Apparently the deception holds to this day...comes from getting your news only from within your local country, which is pretty typical for both the US and the UK.

Comment: Yes, and that's why lambdas are a bad idea (Score 2) 407

by bradley13 (#49743317) Attached to: The Reason For Java's Staying Power: It's Easy To Read

Yes, Java is pretty easy to read. It contains all the standard control structures, and not a lot more. Aside from inheritance (which, by now, pretty much all developers understand), there isn't a lot of hidden functionality: See the code, understand what it does.

This is one reason that I object to the introduction of Lambda's in Java 8. Lambdas belong in functional languages, where they make sense in the context of the language. Java is not functional, so lambdas break the paradigm. Moreover, they are unfamiliar to most developers, and they are cryptic in a way that hides functionality.

Comment: "Theft" of trade secrets? Huh? (Score 4, Interesting) 100

by bradley13 (#49734579) Attached to: US Levels Espionage Charges Against 6 Chinese Nationals

Back when I learned about this stuff, companies basically had two options to protect their technology: patents and trade secrets.

- If you file for a patent, the theory is that you tell the whole world how it works, but get the exclusive right to produce it yourself, or license it to others. Yes, the patent system has problems, but that's theory. This is supposed to help technology advance, because you can build on other people's work.

- If you go with a trade secret (think: the secret recipe for Coca Cola), that means that you don't want to publish the information, so you receive no protection from the government. Protecting the secret is up to you; if someone steals it, that's your problem. This lack of protection is deliberate, providing motivation for filing patents and publishing information.

What I didn't know is that in 1996, the government passed the Economic Espionage Act. This essentially grants government protection to trade secrets, not only by criminalizing their theft (but that is likely a criminal act anyway), but also by criminalizing the use of the trade secrets by another company.

Of course, the act also explicitly exempts the government; the government can spy on you as much as it wants.

The act also funds the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. You've gotta admire the US Congress - they never miss an opportunity to include pork.

Comment: Unenforceable laws (Score 4, Interesting) 55

by bradley13 (#49725611) Attached to: Swedish Court Orders Seizure of Pirate Bay Domains

It's been said before, but: when a law is essentially impossible to enforce, the problem is with the law. The ease with which digitized goods can be copied is an indication that copyright probably should not apply to them.

I actually believe (naively?) that this would not cost individual authors and musicians anything at all. I choose to by music and books from artists that I like, because I want them to continue creating.

Likely, it would affect the big companies, like Disney. They would have to find new ways to monetize their assets, and might have to create new mascots more often than every hundred years. The worlds tiniest violin...

Comment: Strange profession (Score 1) 615

by bradley13 (#49706675) Attached to: The Economic Consequences of Self-Driving Trucks

If you step back a bit and think about it, truck driving is kind of a strange profession. The long distance truck driver is actually, really essential for in-city driving and for unexpected events (like breakdowns). But the vast majority of their time is spent on the highway, and staying in a lane on a highway, likely convoying with other trucks, requires no human skill whatsoever.

The first phase will be for the AI to take over for this time, requiring the driver to be in the cab "on call" on a few minute notice. This is similar to the situation where trucks go onto trains, and the driver have nothing to do until it's time to unload. However, among truck drivers, even this is met with massive resistance. Perhaps they genuinely enjoy sitting behind the wheel for hours at a time? Or is it just that they see the writing on the wall, because the second phase will be to eliminate their jobs?

But truck driving - on the highway - is a low skill job. Free people to do something else. Seems like a great concept, but what about those people who currently have no other skills? Buggy whip makers all over again...

Comment: Wow, thank you (Score 3, Interesting) 604

by bradley13 (#49696953) Attached to: A Plan On How To Stop Sexism In Science

Thank you for your comment. I've been saying much the same thing for - it seems like - forever. But it's one thing coming from a guy (even though my wife is in tech, and agrees with all of this), and entirely another coming from a woman.

"there are sexist men out there"

I would put it even more generally: There are jerks out there. Men and women both. That is, unfortunately, just the way life is...

"You can have equality - a notion that assumes women are capable of all the things that men are, including handling their own problems - or you can have the notion that women are somehow handicapped and need gentler handling. Pick one."

This. Exactly this.

Comment: Impossible situation (Score 2) 57

This "right to be forgotten" is impossible!

First, the government required private companies to take action, without any recompense. Few if any companies will invest time and effort in something that only costs them money. Note: it's not only Google (though they are always mentioned) - this applies to all search engines.

Second, the entire concept is flawed: It only requires search engines to remove the links; it does not require the source material to be deleted. Take, for example, the original case that caused all of this: a Spanish businessman who filed for bankruptcy two decades ago. His claim - likely correct - is that this ancient bankruptcy still causes him problems today. Fair enough - is the Spanish government willing to expunge their records? And require all Spanish newspapers to delete their articles? No?

If the academics want transparency, they should be willing to finance that transparency: pay Google to help run the requests the way they want them managed. And Bing. And DuckDuckGo. And IXquick. And all of the others. Alternatively, they could invest their energies in getting this abominable legal situation corrected: Either there is no "right to be forgotten" or else it should apply to the source data. The current situation is beyond stupid...

Comment: Spotify is irritating (Score 2) 167

by bradley13 (#49671301) Attached to: How Spotify Can Become Profitable

I listen to the free version of Spotify once in a while, but it's fundamentally irritating. They have commercials, and that would be fine (since it's free), but the only commercials they have are 2-3 Spotify commercials that they repeat over-and-over-and-over, telling me I need to upgrade to get rid of the commercials.

In other words, they can't sell their advertising, at least not in Switzerland. But they don't want the non-paying user to have an uninterrupted experience, so they put in their own interruptions. The result is just irritating, and that's why I don't listen to Spotify very often.

Lastly, I find their prices kind of high. As someone who listens to music maybe once a week, I just don't see paying $15/month for the privilege. If they have a problem with too many people not buying their premium service, maybe that's because it's overpriced for the typical user.

Comment: No fault insurance, done (Score 3, Interesting) 408

This is why "no fault" insurance was invented. Even with people, the liability in traffic accidents is often complex. Require no-fault insurance, you insurance is responsible for you, mine is responsible for me, and you are basically done - at least as far as car insurance is concerned.

What may be left is civil liability. If a manufacturer produces a genuinely faulty product, they can be sued in a completely separate action. The laws are already in place for that. The problem I see is the exact opposite of what you are worried about: People will sue, regardless of the quality of the product. Because bad things aren't supposed to happen, and if they do, someone must be to blame.

So someone without insurance t-bones my autonomous car, and I want compensated. The other driver is broke, so I sue my car manufacturer. Stupid, but entirely possible under US law. Loser pays would be the simplest solution: if you file a stupid lawsuit, you'll be paying the other side's legal costs. In the case of class action suits, the attorneys for the class should be liable for the loser's legal costs if they lose.

Before any company brings autonomous cars to market, the US tort system has got to be fixed.

Comment: Not yet statistically significant (Score 4, Insightful) 408

I expect the number haven't been publicized, because they are still to limited to have any significance, and also because the cars have been running under fairly tightly controlled conditions.

When there are a few hundred cars, running in all kinds of weather and traffic conditions, with millions of miles - if the numbers are still good, you can bet that they will be plastered all over the internet

Comment: No need for new regulations? (Score 1) 110

Is there really a need for new regulations? Or are government bureaucrats just feeling their oats?

Endangering a commercial aircraft? There are already laws covering that. Spying on your neighbors? "Peeping Toms" are nothing new. Flying over other people's property? Existing trespassing laws can be applied, since people have rights to their airspace immediately above their property. As other posters have pointed out, there are also all of the old rules for model aircraft and model rocketry.

"The new rules are almost certainly require RC pilots to have full FAA pilot licenses in order to operate them. That's just outrageous"

Yep, that's outrageous. But it's not really the fault of all the idiots out there. I mean, sure, they are idiots - but they are already violating existing rules. There's no need for new rules. The more serious problem are the bureaucrats who take every opportunity to create even more regulations.

Comment: Education professionals? Bad, bad idea... (Score 1) 227

" let educational professionals decide how best to invest that money"

That's a bad idea if there ever was one. The quality of schools in the US has been steadily declining ever since the federal government started sticking its nose in. More and more bureaucracy, regulations and administration. Less and less effective teaching.

You know, if federal control of schools were any good at all, the schools in Washington D.C. would shine. Instead, despite their huge budget (second highest in the country), D.C> schools are the worst in the country.

Send all of the "educational professionals" to flip hamburgers. Return schools to state and local control. Hire teachers who hold degrees in the subjects, instead of in education (this might be important). Some places will be disasters (but they already are). Others will finally be able to do something about fixing their schools. Without all the federal regulation, it'll probably cost a lot less, too...

Comment: Grinding slowly but exceedingly fine? (Score 4, Interesting) 71

I suppose there is some justice in the Prenda principals* living this trainwreck for years, as a sort of additional punishment before their inevitable jail sentences even start. However, I can't help but think that it shouldn't take this long. They spent years scamming people, before a court finally had the balls to actually take action against them (one somehow suspects special treatment for fellow lawyers). Now they are spending more years wasting judicial resources and time, meanwhile they may well be running some other, new scam to finance their modest lifestyles.

* Note to editors: it's not "principles" - those are what the Prenda principals failed to live by.

The degree of technical confidence is inversely proportional to the level of management.