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Comment: Re:Rotation (Score 5, Interesting) 51

by Dan East (#47421891) Attached to: Study: Why the Moon's Far Side Looks So Different

But really, did the earth stay hot enough for "a few million years" - hot enough to affect the locked side of the moon more than the other?

The moon has no atmosphere, thus radiation from the earth cannot affect the far side of the moon at all. So obviously, even to this day, the earth still affects "the locked side of the moon more than the other". The question is simply how much. The moon and earth were both molten after the collision, so it was not a matter of the earth being hot enough to melt the moon, but merely the earth imparting energy to prolong the cooling of the near side. No matter what, the near side must have cooled slower than the far side - it's a straightforward matter of thermodynamics. One side of the moon was receiving energy from the earth while the other side was not. The near side didn't need to stay so hot it was incandescent, but merely "softer" so that small impacts would heal more on the near side than the far side, and the duration only needed to be long enough to result in some degree of visible difference, which is what we still see today.

The whole thing sounds plausible to me.

Comment: Pascal (Score 3, Interesting) 390

by Dan East (#47410073) Attached to: Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

Wait!!! What happened to Pascal?!?!? On a more serious note, Pascal was the premier teaching language back in the day, but it really wasn't used much in the real world. It was a stepping stone for learning C, which is where the real power was at and what "real" applications were developed in. I believe there is less disconnect today between the popular learning languages and what is actually utilized in the real world.

Comment: Re:501(c)(3) Classes (Score 4, Insightful) 228

by Moryath (#47362567) Attached to: The New 501(c)(3) and the Future of Open Source In the US

Most open-source "foundations" have been operating in a "give away the razor, sell the blades" mentality.

Give away the razor (base software), sell the blades (support contracts / phone support / specific pay-for-implementation requests / etc).

I can see why the IRS is having a hard time taking claims of being a nonprofit or public-benefit company seriously when that's examined. It's kind of taking the "how to make money off FOSS" instructions constantly published in the community at face value.

Comment: Re:The question to me seems to be... (Score 1) 148

by SteveWoz (#47357639) Attached to: Lawrence Lessig Answers Your Questions About His Mayday PAC (Video)

End goal: change the constitution. We need a start. It's easy to see how hard this will be and to give up early, but some of us feel the imperative to fight for it. We can change things. The vast will of the masses (corporation political donations are not equivalent to the free speech we enjoy as individuals) needs to be strategically gathered. Critical mass could take decades, as with things like gay marriage.

Comment: Re:So....far more than guns (Score 4, Insightful) 453

by Dan East (#47333511) Attached to: CDC: 1 In 10 Adult Deaths In US Caused By Excessive Drinking

For example: for the first year after purchasing your first handgun, that's the single most likely cause of death in your life, approaching almost 50% of deaths.

...which indicates that the gun was bought specifically for that purpose in those 50% of handgun suicide deaths. It wasn't the other way around - people didn't die because they happened to have bought a handgun, which is the way you phrased it. They wanted to die, so they bought a handgun. I've owned my handgun for over 20 years, and I've not wanted to die, hence I'm not dead by it.

Comment: Appalachians (Score 4, Insightful) 501

I live in the Appalachian mountains. As I watch weather radar, observing weather systems come at us from the west, I've seen dozens if not hundreds of times over the years where very powerful, well-defined weather systems (individual cells as well as frontal systems) totally disintegrate as they cross over from flat regions of North Carolina and Tennessee into Virginia, because they hit a literal 1,000 foot wall of mountains. Tornadoes are extremely rare here. A few years ago we had small one that messed up a couple sheds and the canopy over a gas station, and that was the first in decades. So I do believe this physicist is onto something that would be effective. Whether or not it's practical or acceptable to construct such a thing is another question.

Comment: Re:The key distinction in the ruling (Score 1) 484

by cpt kangarooski (#47316847) Attached to: Supreme Court Rules Against Aereo Streaming Service

So basically, if they just shift from LIVE to a TIME DELAYED model, they could go right on transmitting and not be considered "performing" under the current act.

As J. Scalia points out, the 'standard' the Court has chosen is unclear. Maybe that would be legal, maybe it wouldn't be. We'll never know until either 1) Congress amends the law to be clear about that; 2) Someone tries it and the Court reverses this opinion in a useful way; or 3) Someone tries it and the Court rules squarely on that in light of this opinion.

One thing is for sure: Only someone with lots of resources and a lot of daring will even attempt to find out by actually trying it.

Comment: The key distinction in the ruling (Score 5, Informative) 484

by cpt kangarooski (#47315793) Attached to: Supreme Court Rules Against Aereo Streaming Service

This case boiled down to one major issue: Whether the allegedly infringing conduct in this case was engaged in by either Aereo, or by its users. Don't get hung up on the public performance v. private performance issue; it was really certain that if Aereo was liable, that the performance was public; if it were the users, it would be private.

J. Scalia's dissent does a good job of explaining the issue:

There are two types of liability for copyright infringement: direct and secondary. As its name suggests, the former applies when an actor personally engages in infringing conduct. Secondary liability, by contrast, is a means of holding defendants responsible for infringement by third parties, even when the defendants âoehave not themselves engaged in the infringing activity.â It applies when a defendant âoeintentionally induc[es] or encourag[es]â infringing acts by others or profits from such acts âoewhile declining to exer- cise a right to stop or limit [them].â

Most suits against equipment manufacturers and service providers involve secondary-liability claims. For example, when movie studios sued to block the sale of Sonyâ(TM)s Betamax videocassette recorder (VCR), they argued that Sony was liable because its customers were making unauthorized copies. Record labels and movie studios relied on a similar theory when they sued Grokster and StreamCast, two providers of peer-to-peer file-sharing software.

This suit, or rather the portion of it before us here, is fundamentally different. The Networks claim that Aereo directly infringes their public-performance right. Accordingly, the Networks must prove that Aereo âoeperform[s]â copyrighted works, Â106(4), when its subscribers log in, select a channel, and push the âoewatchâ button. That process undoubtedly results in a performance; the question is who does the performing. If Aereoâ(TM)s subscribers perform but Aereo does not, the claim necessarily fails.
The Networksâ(TM) claim is governed by a simple but profoundly important rule: A defendant may be held directly liable only if it has engaged in volitional conduct that violates the Act. ...

A comparison between copy shops and video-on-demand services illustrates the point. A copy shop rents out photocopiers on a per-use basis. One customer might copy his 10-year-oldâ(TM)s drawingsâ"a perfectly lawful thing to doâ" while another might duplicate a famous artistâ(TM)s copyrighted photographsâ"a use clearly prohibited by Â106(1). Either way, the customer chooses the content and activates the copying function; the photocopier does nothing except in response to the customerâ(TM)s commands. Because the shop plays no role in selecting the content, it cannot be held directly liable when a customer makes an infringing copy.

Video-on-demand services, like photocopiers, respond automatically to user input, but they differ in one crucial respect: They choose the content. When a user signs in to Netflix, for example, âoethousands of . . . movies [and] TV episodesâ carefully curated by Netflix are âoeavailable to watch instantly.â That selection and arrangement by the service provider constitutes a volitional act directed to specific copyrighted works and thus serves as a basis for direct liability.

The distinction between direct and secondary liability would collapse if there were not a clear rule for determining whether the defendant committed the infringing act. The volitional-conduct requirement supplies that rule; its purpose is not to excuse defendants from accountability, but to channel the claims against them into the correct analytical track. Thus, in the example given above, the fact that the copy shop does not choose the content simply means that its culpability will be assessed using secondary-liability rules rather than direct-liability rules.

So which is Aereo: the copy shop or the video-on-demand service? In truth, it is neither. Rather, it is akin to a copy shop that provides its patrons with a library card. Aereo offers access to an automated system consisting of routers, servers, transcoders, and dime-sized antennae. Like a photocopier or VCR, that system lies dormant until a subscriber activates it. When a subscriber selects a pro- gram, Aereoâ(TM)s system picks up the relevant broadcast signal, translates its audio and video components into digital data, stores the data in a user-specific file, and transmits that fileâ(TM)s contents to the subscriber via the Internetâ"at which point the subscriberâ(TM)s laptop, tablet, or other device displays the broadcast just as an ordinary television would. ...

The only question is whether those performances are the product of Aereoâ(TM)s volitional conduct.

They are not. Unlike video-on-demand services, Aereo does not provide a prearranged assortment of movies and television shows. Rather, it assigns each subscriber an antenna thatâ"like a library cardâ"can be used to obtain whatever broadcasts are freely available. Some of those broadcasts are copyrighted; others are in the public do- main. The key point is that subscribers call all the shots: Aereoâ(TM)s automated system does not relay any program, copyrighted or not, until a subscriber selects the program and tells Aereo to relay it. Aereoâ(TM)s operation of that system is a volitional act and a but-for cause of the resulting performances, but, as in the case of the copy shop, that degree of involvement is not enough for direct liability.

In sum, Aereo does not âoeperformâ for the sole and simple reason that it does not make the choice of content. And because Aereo does not perform, it cannot be held directly liable for infringing the Networksâ(TM) public-performance right.

However, that's not the decision that the Court reached. Instead, J. Scalia describes the Court's opinion as:

The Courtâ(TM)s conclusion that Aereo performs boils down to the following syllogism: (1) Congress amended the Act to overrule our decisions holding that cable systems do not perform when they retransmit over-the-air broadcasts;4 (2) Aereo looks a lot like a cable system; therefore (3) Aereo performs. ...

Making matters worse, the Court provides no criteria for determining when its cable-TV-lookalike rule applies. Must a defendant offer access to live television to qualify? If similarity to cable-television service is the measure, then the answer must be yes. But consider the implications of that answer: Aereo would be free to do exactly what it is doing right now so long as it built mandatory time shifting into its âoewatchâ function. Aereo would not be providing live television if it made subscribers wait to tune in until after a showâ(TM)s live broadcast ended. A subscriber could watch the 7 p.m. airing of a 1-hour program any time after 8 p.m. Assuming the Court does not intend to adopt such a do-nothing rule (though it very well may), there must be some other means of identifying who is and is not subject to its guilt-by-resemblance regime.

Two other criteria come to mind. One would cover any automated service that captures and stores live television broadcasts at a userâ(TM)s direction. That canâ(TM)t be right, since it is exactly what remote storage digital video recorders (RSâ"DVRs) do, and the Court insists that its âoelimited holdingâ does not decide the fate of those devices. The other potential benchmark is the one offered by the Gov- ernment: The cable-TV-lookalike rule embraces any entity that âoeoperates an integrated system, substantially dependent on physical equipment that is used in common by [its] subscribers.â The Court sensibly avoids that approach because it would sweep in Internet service providers and a host of other entities that quite obviously do not perform.
That leaves as the criterion of cable-TV-resemblance nothing but thâ(TM)olâ(TM) totality-of-the-circumstances test (which is not a test at all but merely assertion of an intent to perform test-free, ad hoc, case-by-case evaluation). It will take years, perhaps decades, to determine which automated systems now in existence are governed by the traditional volitional-conduct test and which get the Aereo treatment. (And automated systems now in contemplation will have to take their chances.)

The Court's opinion states that it doesn't have an effect beyond Aereo and Aereo-like services:

Aereo and many of its supporting amici argue that to apply the Transmit Clause to Aereoâ(TM)s conduct will impose copyright liability on other technologies, including new technologies, that Congress could not possibly have wanted to reach. We agree that Congress, while intending the Transmit Clause to apply broadly to cable companies and their equivalents, did not intend to discourage or to control the emergence or use of different kinds of technologies. But we do not believe that our limited holding today will have that effect.

For one thing, the history of cable broadcast transmis- sions that led to the enactment of the Transmit Clause informs our conclusion that Aereo âoeperform[s],â but it does not determine whether different kinds of providers in different contexts also âoeperform.â For another, an entity only transmits a performance when it communicates contemporaneously perceptible images and sounds of a work. ...

And we have not considered whether the public performance right is infringed when the user of a service pays primarily for something other than the transmission of copyrighted works, such as the remote storage of content.

But, as J. Scalia points out:

The Court vows that its ruling will not affect cloud-storage providers and cable- television systems, but it cannot deliver on that promise given the imprecision of its result-driven rule.

Comment: C#? (Score 5, Interesting) 254

by Dan East (#47285605) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Way to Learn C# For Game Programming?

Why C#? Develop your game in C++ using OpenGL ES for rendering. Your code will compile as-is for iOS, Android, Windows, OSX, and others. You will only need a couple hundred lines of native code (java for Android, Objective C for iOS, etc) to handle events and pass execution into your C++ code. My game engine runs on all the above platforms and 99.9% of my code is shared across all of them.

Also, these days many, many developers simply use an existing game engine and only bother with the high level code specific to their game. Mundane stuff like the low level rendering, Audio APIs (which unlike OpenGL ES, differ quite a bit from one platform to another), physics, etc, is ground that's been treaded several thousand times nowadays, and most game developers leave that stuff to the experts in the various fields to handle the nitty gritty. Optimization of those routines is usually where the "expert" part comes into play.

I work with a game designer / artist who implements all the high level game stuff in Lua, and my engine takes care of all the aforementioned "boring" stuff, freeing him up to actually develop games, and not worry about crap like polygon tessellation algorithms and tons of other very boring stuff that would just be a waste of his time.

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