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Comment Re:blame the voter (Score 3, Interesting) 191 191

Ah. I think I see what you mean. The key phrase is "The diversity of interests represented in any large political body makes such an approach relatively ineffective" - in other words, in the US, voters in different parts of the nation may want very different things. That's much less true pretty much everywhere else in the world, which might well explain why the US system is so different.

In a pure democracy, the voters in different parts of the US would have to negotiate directly with one another. That's implausible, so you have a representative democracy, and the representatives negotiate with one another.

When you put it that way, it actually makes sense. ... it still isn't how democracy was *first* designed to work, which is what I was originally thinking of - but it seems fair to say it is how American democracy was designed to work, and that's what I should have been thinking of. :-)

Comment Re:blame the voter (Score 1) 191 191

No, it's not how democracy is designed to work. The decision to support or oppose a policy is supposed to be based on whether the policy is a good one, not on whether or not you can get support for one of your policies in return.

The US is unusual in this respect, I believe, though presumably not unique. Whether the more usual system (party line voting) is any better is open to question; I prefer it, but that's presumably just because it's what I'm used to.

Comment Re:Was MS wrong? (Score 1) 49 49

Actually the article confuses two unrelated security issues. Microsoft said they weren't planning to do anything about the counter-mitigation technique, which may allow an attacker to bypass ASLR in IE on 32-bit Windows. The cookie-stealing vulnerability will presumably be patched in due course.

Comment Re:Self-fulfilling statement (Score 1) 49 49

No, those are two unrelated issues. There's an exploit against IE that allows an attacker to steal localhost cookies. This affects both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows, and will presumably be patched in due course. Then there's a new counter-mitigation technique, which only affects IE on 32-bit Windows, and which Microsoft apparently aren't planning to fix. That one might allow an attacker, in possession of an exploit that potentially allows code execution, to run code when the mitigation would otherwise have made it impossible - but it is only a counter-mitigation technique, not a vulnerability in and of itself.

Comment Re:University network (Score 1) 49 49

These are two unrelated issues - a vulnerability which affects machines that have web servers running on localhost, and a counter-mitigation technique that affects IE running on 32-bit Windows. Those machines are probably affected by both issues, but the first will probably be patched in due course and the second isn't an exploit as such but a method of making other exploits more effective.

There are a number of mitigation techniques that either don't exist or aren't as effective on 32-bit Windows. I don't think this one is necessarily a game-changer.

Comment Unrelated vulnerabilities (Score 1) 49 49

The vulnerability described in the first link appears to be completely unrelated to the vulnerability discussed in the second link. One is a straightforward information exposure vulnerability, the other is a counter-mitigation technique that bypasses ASLR.

I've checked the detailed reports, too; neither "ASLR" nor "mitigation" appear in the first report, and neither "cookies" nor "localhost" appear in the second report. They're from different people and different organizations. Apart from the fact that they both affect IE, they've got nothing to do with one another.

Comment Re:No, you don't have a right to be paid (Score 1) 368 368

"If I develop a product such a film that people are interested in seeing, then I have a right to charge a fee to let them see it." ... of course, so long as you maintain possession. As soon as you sell someone a copy, what right do you have to prevent them from copying it again, if they are capable of doing so?

(If I sell someone a hammer, I don't get to charge them on a per-nail basis for the rest of eternity!)

"That's how copyright benefits society" ... YES. Copyright exists because it was believed that the benefit to society (more art) would outweigh the costs. But if that is no longer true, then copyright should be abolished. And I believe we're rapidly reaching that point.

"A machine that can make apples can be copyrighted, apples cannot." ... now you're just arguing in circles. *Why* can't apples be copyrighted? Why would it be ethical to copy apples, but not films?

"If someone needs a hole dug and you dig it for them," ... but that's not how copyright works. Of course an artist can refuse to work unless someone agrees in advance to pay them for it. You don't need copyright for that.

"If someone has a product that you want" ... if the artist *literally* has the product, then of course they can charge you for it. But if I can obtain the same product from someone else - because they purchased it from the artist *and then made a copy* - then the analogy falls down.

The problem is that you're trying to pretend that an abstract concept - a series of zeros and ones - must be treated as though it had a real, concrete existence, must be someone's "property". And that's simply not true. It is *convenient* for us to treat an abstract work of art as if it were concrete, and to assign a limited form of ownership to it on that basis - but it is not *mandatory*.

Comment Re:No, you don't have a right to be paid (Score 1) 368 368

Nonsense. There's no ethical justification for copyright other than its benefit to society. You're not automatically entitled to government protection simply because without it your business model doesn't work.

If we one day develop a machine that can duplicate, say, apples, we're not going to demand that everybody pay the person who grew the original apple before they eat one of the duplicates. So why should we pay the person who recorded the song before we listen to a copy of it?

(It's more complicated than that, of course; artists have invested time and money into their work precisely because we promised them they would be paid for it, so it wouldn't be ethical to simply abolish copyright outright. We'd have to have some sort of grandfather clause and/or compensation. And its not likely to happen anyway, because the people that benefit most from corporate welfare schemes such as copyright have too much influence. But it's important to realize where copyright came from if we're going to resist even more encroachments on our personal rights.)

Genius is ten percent inspiration and fifty percent capital gains.