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Comment Re:Considering how fast Google ditched China (Score 1) 381

It is ridiculous to ask a web site operator to have 200-odd different versions of the same web site, one for each nation, and geo-fencing shouldn't even be legal, never mind mandatory.

So *in effect* enforcing French laws on web sites located outside of France amounts to enforcing French laws outside of France. Technically, no, they're not doing that. But it amounts to the same thing in the long run.

Basically the problem is that they have jurisdiction over one part of Google's business - the parts that actually operate in France - and they're leveraging that to claim jurisdiction over other parts. Legal, no doubt, but definitely improper.

Comment Re:transistor to IC: 6 years, CPU in 9yr. Moore's (Score 1) 113

I don't think it's quite that simple. While my intuition tells me that quantum error correction can't work once the number of states becomes too large, when I tried to prove that mathematically the results showed that I was wrong. (That is, they showed that the *particular* argument I was attempting to use was wrong, not that QEC can definitely work.

I'm also doubtful that quantum mechanics is really linear at that sort of scale - historically, linear theories have always proved to be only approximations. But while a quantum computer that fails due to non-linearity would not be useful for cryptography, it would be a huge step forwards for physics - and even a negative result (yep, still looks linear!) would be interesting. So if the experts think that quantum error correction is possible in principle, I'm all in favour of the research.

Comment Re:As usual? (Score 1) 235

Yeah, I suspect still somewhat inflated - for a start, I wouldn't be surprised if they had counted every stream initiated, even the ones that only ran for 30 seconds. And if I personally had to come up with a figure I'd have wanted to look at the statistics somewhat harder - people who only stream one or two movies a week *would* probably have paid a pound per if they'd had to, but people who stream fifty movies a week probably wouldn't. (Were most of those 12 million sessions from people in the first category, or the second? I don't know, and I think it makes a difference.)

But when you're used to reading about lawsuits where the damages have obviously been inflated by several orders of magnitude, one pound per instance seems remarkably reasonable, if only by comparison. :-)

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

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.

"Conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts most subtly on the human will." -- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"