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Comment: Re:good luck (Score 1) 98

by bussdriver (#49201571) Attached to: Has the Supreme Court Made Patent Reform Legislation Unnecessary?

Being first to market doesn't count then... Trade secrets still continue today and corporate espionage is at an all time high. So they still have plenty to hide which they can not patent. Before patents, or even before they existed as they do today there was plenty going on in the world and secrets were a bigger deal. Things did disappear as a result but things also leaked out.

Innovation is a meaningless word today. Mostly it is applied to things that are not true inventions but applications of inventions by others.

There are reasons to invent which will continue without patents. The significant inventions are largely outside the corporate world anyhow. They will invent ways to bring true innovations to market because a profit can still be had-- just not as much of one for as long. In some cases growth slows. But you can't really prove that current experiment is the best; it's merely a belief, an assertion.

I think most of today's patents have little to do with making the world better for the inventor's children. You also act like it's all made up of people in their garages; when it is not; also the people in low income situations are an insignificantly small proportion. Maybe there is an argument to be had from providing some dream like someday becoming a pro-sportsman but the odds of that are slim to the point of being false advertizing... but it may motivate some people so then it must be ethical right?

Some of us do things for other reasons. more mature reasons. exclusive ownership with the hope (not promise) of piles of money does not motivate everybody to the same degree. Academia is loaded with such people. Also the military has some people who are not there for the money...

Comment: If comcast is FUNDING IT it is BAD. (Score 1) 417

The FCC and the executive branch have ZERO power to fix our internet EXCEPT under the administrative powers of the FCC which is fully within it's rights to classify ISPs under title 2.

This is the only thing they can really do; that previous move they made was stupid and bound to lose in the courts like it did.

What is really needed is a sane law to be passed which does actual Net Neutrality. But as anybody who has been paying attention (Faux News doesn't count) knows that our government is foobar. That isn't going to happen and if history is any guide, despotism is all we can realistically expect in the future and if people are lucky, a short lived one before another democracy forms. As is the life cycle of democracies... (see Ben Franklin's full speech which closed out the constitutional convention, it's always relevant.)

Comment: Re:Yes. What do you lose? But talk to lawyer first (Score 4, Insightful) 687

by hey! (#49193289) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should I Let My Kids Become American Citizens?

Personally, I don't see that any of these things as compelling practical advantages, given that the kids already have dual Swedish and Belgian (and therefore EU) citizenship. If they were Moldovan and South Sudanese, that'd be a different story. Or if they were citizens of a country from which getting a visa to enter the US might be difficult in the future.

But most importantly I think this is one of those decisions that you just don't make primarily on a cost-benefit basis. It's not like deciding to join Costco or subscribe to Hulu. Citizenship entails responsibilities. If you want your kids to shoulder those responsibilities and feel allegiance to the US then it makes sense to get them that citizenship come hell or high water. But given that they already have two perfectly good citizenships from two advanced western democracies with generally positive international relations worldwide, I don't see much practical advantage in adding a third.

Still, I wouldn't presume to give advice, other than this. The poster needs to examine, very carefully, that feeling he has that maybe his kids should be Americans. The way he expresses it, "sentimental reasons", makes those feelings seem pretty trivial, in which case it hardly matters if they don't become Americans. After all, most other Belgians seem to get along perfectly well without being Americans too. But if this is at all something he suspects he might seriously regret not doing, or if it nags him in ways he can't quite put his finger on, he needs to get to the bottom of that in a way random people on the Internet can't help him with.

Comment: Your friendly neighborhood word pedant here (Score 0) 153

by hey! (#49191827) Attached to: Developers Race To Develop VR Headsets That Won't Make Users Nauseous

... with some food for thought.

The ending '-eous' or '-ious' is added to a noun to produce an adjective that means producing whatever that noun is. Something that is 'advantageous' produces advantage for example. Something which is ignominious produce ignominy (shame, embarrassment). Something that is piteous arouses pity in the onlooker.

I think you see where I'm going with this. The word the headline writer should have used is 'nauseated', although making users nauseous in the pedantic sense would certainly be a concern for the developers of any product.

Comment: Mod parent up. (Score 1) 492

by bussdriver (#49190253) Attached to: White House Threatens Veto Over EPA "Secret Science" Bills

Anybody who's watched the EPA fight with some corporation knows it goes way beyond FUD tactics. They will try to setup roadblocks to even being regulated in the 1st place. Then after the information is gathered, they not only try to deny the facts and create uncertainty about them --even clear results-- but their P.R. people attack witnesses, officials, the agency, and they almost always fund attacks against the EPA, government regulation, and fund politicians who do the same (or buy them to do that;) it's not even well hidden because we don't have any good journalists to point out the "other side" is usually just a few corporations (and their hired PR hitmen.)

They also will fund PR campaigns about how smoking is good for you, etc. hire some PhD whores (from brothels called "think tanks,") or advertize how we are not using ingredient X anymore, when they just lowered it's amount or choose something they knew was worse. Even more diabolical are the TV ads they will buy that don't sell anything at all just so the TV news will not report bad things about them. This includes PBS. I knew people who worked in TV news; it happens!

They'll also dodge and ignore things even in court to drag out the product sales as long as possible knowing people are dying and even when the court proves their whole plan they just get a small monetary fine which still made it worth doing (thinking of Merck. ) The process is quite similar because we have an industry of experts who know how to game the whole system who help anybody with enough $ to hire them.

Comment: Re:Why do I need a license for ANY car? (Score 1) 350

by Jeremi (#49190119) Attached to: Would You Need a License To Drive a Self-Driving Car?

Of course! But that's red-herring â" I'm not against driving laws. I'm against the licensing requirement â" which turned the right of free movement into a privilege.

How else would you suggest that society could make sure that people driving vehicles on public roadways have at least some basic knowledge of how to safely operate a motor vehicle? The honor system?

Comment: Re:Why do I need a license for ANY car? (Score 1) 350

by Jeremi (#49189975) Attached to: Would You Need a License To Drive a Self-Driving Car?

So, where is that "clear bright line" you claimed existed?

At the boundary between your private land and the public road system.

My whole point is that the right to drive a motorized vehicle on a public road has disappeared while we weren't paying attention. It is not a right any longer. It is a privilege.

It's not clear what the distinction you are trying to make is. What is the significant difference between "a privilege" and "a right subject to safety regulations", exactly? Call it what you want, either way you are allowed to drive as long as you follow the traffic laws, but if you abuse the right/privilege, it can be taken away from you.

Comment: Re:Why do I need a license for ANY car? (Score 1) 350

by Jeremi (#49189029) Attached to: Would You Need a License To Drive a Self-Driving Car?

Which bloodshed and chaos is avoided by making driving a privilege?

To give one example: chronic drunk drivers can have their licenses revoked. After that, they can no longer drive, and therefore are no longer a danger to the public.

But that ease is abuse-prone. We deliberately make it harder for the government to fight other "bloodshed and chaos"

As always, there are trade-offs to be made between freedom and safety. You clearly lean towards the "freedom" side, and that's fine, but society is not required to share your opinion about where the best place is to draw that line.

Comment: Re:Why do I need a license for ANY car? (Score 1) 350

by Jeremi (#49188993) Attached to: Would You Need a License To Drive a Self-Driving Car?

And that's different from walking and bicycling on the same roads how?

Walking and (to a lesser extent) bicycling are inherently less hazardous to other people, in that there is less mass moving less quickly in areas where other people might be. As a consequence, walking and bicycling are less heavily regulated than driving.

That said, there are also regulations governing walking and bicycling -- bicyclists have to obey traffic laws when on public roads, the same as any other vehicle, and even pedestrians are forbidden to jaywalk.

Or are those activities not rights either?

You seem to think that if there is a right to do something, then that activity cannot be regulated by the government for safety reasons. The law (and common sense) disagree with you.

Comment: Re:I have said it before (Score 1) 379

by epine (#49188871) Attached to: French Nuclear Industry In Turmoil As Manufacturer Buckles

When you begin counting the cost of nuclear, you've got to count ALL the costs. Including, as at Fukushima, basic engineering errors that ultimately cost astronomical amounts years after construction.

Do you know what the lead engineer of the GE design team for the original Fukushima reactor drove around town? A 1959 Edsel Ranger.

Certain mistakes were made back then in the heyday of mature industries like OS/360 and the Boeing 707 that we no longer make. Even the outlandish and highly inflated AI claims from the same era (which were held against the entire discipline for 50 years) are now almost becoming reality with deep learning. Times change. Even for AI. Even for nuclear.

Semi-retraction: Although I just made up that bit about the Edsel, I can't actually claim it's a false statement.

Comment: Re:Insurance and registration (Score 1) 350

by Jeremi (#49186605) Attached to: Would You Need a License To Drive a Self-Driving Car?

Driving on the road isn't the problem, it's driving on the road and not hitting the deer that just ran into it, or avoiding the knucklehead who just swerved into your lane because he's drunk.

Actually I think that avoiding unexpected road hazards will be the self-driving car's strong point. A car can be watching in all directions, all the time, and can react within a few milliseconds to avoid a collision. Computing the best way to react is not a terribly difficult problem either, since all you need is a reasonable physics model in which the car can play out the likely results of each of its various options, and then choose the option that looks like it will yield the best result. (if you want to imagine what driving is like for a computer, imagine that time was slowed down by a factor of 1,000. You'd find that driving was more like chess and less like an arcade game)

I think the difficult parts for a self-driving car will be the parts involving communication with other human beings -- e.g. noticing that the traffic cop in the intersection is signaling that the car should stop (or go) now, or that the road cones placed between two lanes are meant to indicate that the right lane is currently closed to traffic. Compared to that, getting collision-avoidance-physics right will be fairly straightforward.

Comment: Re:Why do I need a license for ANY car? (Score 1) 350

by Jeremi (#49186561) Attached to: Would You Need a License To Drive a Self-Driving Car?

I do not â" nor do I need it. Unless you are going to claim, walking or riding a bicycle may also â" some day â" become a privilege... Because there is no "clear bright line" between driving, which is a privilege already, and those other activities, which are still rights...

Actually, there is a clear bright line, and that line is the "public" in "public roads".

If you are on your own private property, you are free to drive/ride/bike however you want to. You can race non-street-legal cars at 300 miles per hour while drunk, blindfolded, nude, and not wearing a seat belt, if that's what you feel like doing.

The public road system, on the other hand, is not your personal plaything. You share it with everyone else, and as such your rights to the use of the public roads stop where other peoples' rights to that same road system start. In particular, you do not have the right to endanger other peoples' lives or property. The various rules and restrictions on how/where/who can drive all follow logically from that.

Comment: Re:Why do I need a license for ANY car? (Score 1) 350

by Jeremi (#49186545) Attached to: Would You Need a License To Drive a Self-Driving Car?

Why does a free citizen of a free country need government's permission to drive on public roads to begin with?

The pragmatic answer is that some regulation of the roads is necessary in order to avoid bloodshed and chaos.

Originally there were no laws restricting how people could use their automobiles on the public roads.

Then certain people started causing problems by driving recklessly, not maintaining their vehicles, driving drunk, etc, and they were causing unacceptable levels of damage to other people and property.

To address the problem, people came up with laws to regulate driving in order to make the streets tolerably safe for everyone.

As you've probably noticed, the real world is driven more by necessity, than by abstract ideological principles. The Constitution is not a suicide pact.

Science is to computer science as hydrodynamics is to plumbing.