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Comment: They only come for the ad viewers (Score 1) 162

by fyngyrz (#48927447) Attached to: Facebook Censoring Images of the Prophet Muhammad In Turkey

the absence of facebook won't make those problems go away.

I missed addressing that; responded a bit too quickly, sorry.

I consider this assertion to be flawed; here's why. FB has a very high public profile. Any visitor to the US that is exposed to social media is likely to be aware of both the institution and its reach. They can also learn that the reason "they can't have nice things" is because their government has stepped in the way of their citizens using religion as an excuse. Likewise, US family members who cannot connect with Turkish family members are likely to hold strong opinions, and share them.

If anything is going to make things change, I think that's far more likely than a FB presence that is repression-compliant.

Of course, this would require Zuckerberg and crew to operate using a metric quite different from the "maximize users as ad viewers" model, and that doesn't seem to be in the cards.

Comment: Agreed (Score 1) 162

by fyngyrz (#48927347) Attached to: Facebook Censoring Images of the Prophet Muhammad In Turkey

There is an issue of State here, the Turkish State, requiring Facebook to filter and or creating at least the implied thread[sic] they will be blocked if they do not filter.

Yes. But it is, in fact, the Turkish state. Not the US state.

I agree with you that I don't like FB's policy here (nor Turkey's) and I would be much happier if FB operated with a lean towards freedom of speech, but that's never been who they were -- they mute, restrict and ban US posters on a regular and constant basis WRT written material and photographs, and they have inflicted their "Real Name" policy on members without regard for the numerous negative consequences.

The objective of FB is to sell ads they can put in the faces of their members. Those who describe members as FB's "product" seem to me to be very close to the mark. How they treat membership, then, can be expected to be the fruits of a policy to maximize the size of the group. And frankly, that's what I see when I look at their policies. Not care for quality, safety or freedom of speech -- just a place to farm ad consumers.

I suspect we're in a similar position to someone trying to tell a happy dictator that "absolute power is bad." It wastes our time and annoys the pig. Er, Zuckerman, I mean. But I repeat myself.

Comment: Re:First they came for... (Score 1) 162

by fyngyrz (#48926947) Attached to: Facebook Censoring Images of the Prophet Muhammad In Turkey

If gays were members in places with fundamentalist islam, as soon as they were discovered they would likely be killed.
Banning gays from facebook in those places actually protects them

Say I'm gay, I speak the language of Some Islamic State, and I live here in the US, and I have a FB page and otherwise post around FB. Facebook bans gays in Some Islamic State. They refuse to display my page or commentary in Islam.

Or just say I'm female, same set of circumstances otherwise.

This does not protect me, it only serves to eliminate gay/female voices. The consequences of that are fairly obviously negative to you, are they not?

This is also one of the consequences common to FB's "Real Name" policy. If you are a member of some forbidden or politically disadvantaged community, your speech is constrained. This simply serves to keep you down.

Comment: Re:First they came for... (Score 1) 162

by fyngyrz (#48925721) Attached to: Facebook Censoring Images of the Prophet Muhammad In Turkey

if the positive influence outweighs the negative

The problem here is who defines positive or negative. When you go with the majority or those who otherwise hold the most power, that rules out gays right out of the gate -- because gays are a minority and hold less power.

If you ask the minority/less-powerful what the positives and the negatives are, you're going to get a very different answer than if you ask the majority/powerful. Quite often, the minority/less-powerful answer will be the correct one.

a bastardized influence, in order to exist, is still an influence, and better than no influence at all... this is called realism

Actually, I think it is more accurately described as cowardice. YMMV, obviously.

Comment: and... (Score 1) 420

by fyngyrz (#48925483) Attached to: Apple Posts $18B Quarterly Profit, the Highest By Any Company, Ever

The rest of us may gape in amazement at the fact that you're willing to shell out a premium for an inferior product, but that's fine as long as you believe it isn't inferior.

...and some of us will gape in amazement that you're willing to subject yourself on a permanent basis to a vastly inferior operating system just to save a few bucks on cheap hardware. Lotta gaping going on WRT both sides of the coin, apparently. :)

Comment: 40 years? No. (Score 1) 230

by fyngyrz (#48925303) Attached to: Engineers Develop 'Ultrarope' For World's Highest Elevator

Nor was the new testament written and compiled over 2000 years.
More like 40 years max for both.

The NT has appeared in many distinctly different versions. Bishop's bible, King James, and so on. Because of the nature of the source material (Greek, Latin, Aramaic) the act of translation is prone to producing differences. The "modern" versions often read quite differently.

For instance, Matthew 5:18:

King James: For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

God's Word: I can guarantee this truth: Until the earth and the heavens disappear, neither a period nor a comma will disappear from Moses' Teachings before everything has come true.

New Living Translation: I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God's law will disappear until its purpose is achieved.

...and so on. And that's without the various doctrinal interpretations that vary over the years and the various people who further interpret the text to others.

Those differences can be huge. The context of the above is with regard to the continued relevance of the laws of the old testament. Jesus (the speaker) says that until heaven and earth pass away (which I think we can go with "hasn't happened yet"), the law remains in place. But that doesn't stop entire Christian sects from trying to claim that the OT has been superseded in its entirety by the NT.

Comment: Up, up and away (Score 1) 230

by fyngyrz (#48924813) Attached to: Engineers Develop 'Ultrarope' For World's Highest Elevator

Hang a lighter-than-air balloon off the top of the elevator. If the balloon pops, the force is released from the balloon cable (which can be very short) and the brake engages. No counterweight or long cable required. Now you have the same energy requirements for lift (because the balloon is countering the weight of the unloaded elevator) and you can go back to considering how to create rack and pinion out of short rail sections (to allow for flex) plus power pickup of some kind (induction is an excellent candidate, because you can ensure that the energy pickups are very close to the sources during all operations. Fractions of an inch should be entirely practical.)

The only real problem is all of our bloody balloons leak. :)

Comment: Apparently, it is complicated. (Score 1) 162

by fyngyrz (#48924563) Attached to: Facebook Censoring Images of the Prophet Muhammad In Turkey

If you dont like it, dont look at it, its not that complicated.

Historically speaking, in the USA, it's been quite complicated: here, it's "if you don't like it, make a law against it" and that's about the way it continues to stand. How many cities and towns have rules about which magazines can be visible behind the counter? What about the FCC's various forbidden words? What about laws like "you can't put a flagpole / antenna / old car on your lawn"? And so on.

Comment: What do you mean by tolerance? (Score 1) 162

by fyngyrz (#48924395) Attached to: Facebook Censoring Images of the Prophet Muhammad In Turkey

In the US, the concepts of censorship and freedom of speech are inextricably bound up with speech to, for, and about government. It is not something that extends to the private sector in any legal sense. For instance, you have a case when you observe that the FCC won't let you say words 1-7 because that is actually government censorship and the 1st amendment does not contain, suggest or imply exceptions for unpopular or offensive speech. But you don't have a case when I apply exactly the same restriction in some non-governmental venue I control.

IOW, there's no legal requirement at all that I allow you to say whatever you want in my home. There's no requirement at all that I allow you to say whatever you want in a comment on my blog. And there's no legal requirement that Facebook must allow you to say anything in particular, either, or even that it allows you membership.

That doesn't mean you can't judge them on that basis; and therein lies the basis for "toleration", but it does mean that legally speaking, you don't have any support at all. All you can gain are the opinions you can sway -- and here in the US, anyway, the majority has long since demonstrated it does not care if Facebook controls its content and its membership and the identities used.

Comment: Ah, Democracy (Score 1) 162

by fyngyrz (#48924181) Attached to: Facebook Censoring Images of the Prophet Muhammad In Turkey

He just wants to make a mainstream product, which means conforming to the mainstream social norms - no matter what country you are operating in. This is not a big deal.

I take it you do not understand the concept of the tyranny of the majority. It's not exactly an insignificant issue, particularly when it is used to prohibit speech by whoever isn't popular with the majority as Facebook does.

Comment: First they came for... (Score 3, Insightful) 162

by fyngyrz (#48924141) Attached to: Facebook Censoring Images of the Prophet Muhammad In Turkey

When Facebook's TOS disallows gays from being members in places where fundamentalist Islam is dominant, will you continue to defend them? How about women? If women are forbidden to post and/or become members, is that ok?

Where should we draw the line between "we should keep some channels open for the privileged" and "we'll not be enabling that kind of repression"?

Comment: MDisc (Score 1) 244

by bill_mcgonigle (#48918659) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Medium For Personal Archive?

Asking myself the same question, I went with MDisc technology, in the BluRay capacity, in addition to my hard drive backups. MDisc uses an inorganic pigment as opposed to the organic dyes that are common on CD/DVD/BluRay recordables (and degrade over time).

I'll do an MDisc burn every year and move it offsite, to keep with the 4TB ZFS drive I rotate offsite weekly. The MDisc won't get my mp3 or mp4 files, but the stuff I can't recreate.

My best idea currently is to write PAR files of loop-back mounted LUKS volumes and include the PAR software source and ISO of the distro on the disc, in case I need the data in 20 years (emulators should be readily available for 2015 hardware).

I needed a BluRay writer anyway, so I went with this LG and it's been a great drive so far, and at the right price point for me.

Comment: Re:Success! (Score 0) 94

by bill_mcgonigle (#48915879) Attached to: FCC Fines Verizon For Failing To Investigate Rural Phone Problems

Until the fines are set to a level to remove all profit and THEN put a punishment on top, large business will continue to flout the law because it's more profitable.

You're absolutely right on the theory, but then take the next step to recognize that it's the purpose of government to ensure their profits and help them take money from us (in addition to the FCC taking money from us directly and giving it to the telco corporations).

This is evidenced by these fines never having been at a level such as you describe and, more recently, the move to no-plead agreements between prosecutors and corporations. You'll be shouting from your wheelchair in a retirement home that the government should increase fines on corporations to be proportional to their income, unless the fundamental bases of the system are changed.

Of course, if you do something wrong on the scale of millions of dollars of damage, you go to prison. If a corporation does something similarly wrong, they pay out some pocket change. Because "corporations are people, my friend."

Comment: Re:You know... (Score 3, Informative) 32

by bill_mcgonigle (#48911117) Attached to: Getting Charged Up Over Chargers at CES (Video)

Every dollar store sells USB wall chargers

Speaking of that - maybe everybody knows this already but it had escaped my attention - I was getting annoyed that my phone charges very fast with the Samsung charger/cable but rather slowly with the well-rated 2A charger I bought off Amazon.

The issue was my dollar-store cables. Long story short, there is 28/28 gauge wire inside cheap cables and the resistance means they can only pull 500mA. The electronics at both ends are smart enough to figure this out. What you need is a
28/24 cable and then you can get a fast charge.

I'm using Galaxy Charging Current Lite to measure my existing USB cables and tossing the ones that can't handle at least 1.3A. This helps with my over-stuffed box of USB cables too.

"Pull the wool over your own eyes!" -- J.R. "Bob" Dobbs