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Comment: Re:471 million? You may want to think about that. (Score 2) 247

by jaa101 (#49755679) Attached to: California Votes To Ban Microbeads

471 million potatos is a lot of potatos.
471 million .2mm bits of plastic is enough to cover in plastic all of the living rooms in California.
Wait - no - one living room. Or about a dinner-plates worth a day.

If the beads are 0.2mm in diameter then, by my maths, that comes to about 1 (one) (US) gallon of them. Did someone leave off some zeros?

Comment: Flawed Comparison (Score 0) 42

by jaa101 (#49741623) Attached to: How 1990s Encryption Backdoors Put Today's Internet In Jeopardy

I don't think this is a good comparison to make. As I understand it, the restrictions of the 1990s did not require a back door to be inserted; they just limited the strength of the cryptography, presumably to a level breakable by the NSA even then. The old Clipper-chip back door fiasco was not responsible for logjam et al. and the new proposals are not intending to limit key length.

N.B.: I still definitely think that the current noises about mandating back doors is very worrying. My hope is that it won't happen due to the major privacy and security issues it presents. Perhaps our saviour will be the inability of different governments to trust each other.

Comment: Re:BYOD in the NAVY??? (Score 2) 68

You also agree that you will not use these products for any purposes prohibited by United States law, including, without limitation, the development, design, manufacture or production of nuclear, missiles, or chemical or biological weapons.

But no where does it say "launching". Launching should be fine.

I'm not sure you understand what "without limitation" means.

Comment: Re:Sounds like 6 strikes is terrible (Score 2) 186

You appear to be stuck on the notion that if copyright violation on a movie, for example, were theft, that it is the movie itself that was being allegedly stolen

Never said anything like that. All I'm saying is that if I download a movie (or other IP) in violation of copyright laws then that is not theft. If you want a catchy, single-word term, use "piracy" (though, in my view, that devalues the original crime of that name which is still going on) but use of the word "theft" in this context by big content et al. is wrong.

Comment: Re:Sounds like 6 strikes is terrible (Score 5, Insightful) 186

Since "good" refers to something physical, I see you've decided to respond with the predicted "it's not tangible, so therefore it doesn't count" excuse.

This completely ignores the fact that things do not have to be tangible to be considered to have a measurable value. Your time, for example, is worth money both to yourself and your employer.

Nobody is saying that there's no value in copyright violations. What they are saying is that it is not theft. I like the car analogy for this one:

  • Theft: Somebody come and steals your car parked outside your house. Now they have a car and you don't.
  • Copyright Violation: Somebody comes and makes a copy of your car parked outside your house. Now they have a car and so do you.

See the difference? And remember that it was you who said it makes no difference as to whether the things are tangible or not.

Comment: Re:Missing features. (Score 1) 222

by jaa101 (#49490587) Attached to: Google Sunsetting Old Version of Google Maps

You haven't done much navigating have you? Nautical miles remain very much the standard for both aircraft and ships. It's because a minute of arc (a sixtieth of a degree) equals a nautical mile on the earth's surface ... and that's not going to change. 21600 (nautical miles around the equator) is a much nicer number than 40000 (kilometres around the earth via the poles) anyway.

For aircraft, altitude is still always reported in feet, presumably because changing would inevitably cost lives during the transition.

Comment: Re:Missing features. (Score 4, Interesting) 222

by jaa101 (#49485873) Attached to: Google Sunsetting Old Version of Google Maps

But you can't choose the distance units any more. It defaults to where you are or you can say you're in the US and it will show you miles or you can say you're in Australia and you'll get kilometres, &c. Too bad if you want nautical miles, which the old version allowed you to select, along with many other units.

Comment: Re:So what is the answer? (Score 1) 106

by jaa101 (#49482269) Attached to: In New Zealand, a Legal Battle Looms Over Streaming TV

Yes, data are data, but I don't see how a law making it illegal for you to obtain content that has been geo-blocked would break the Internet. The law wouldn't have to talk at all about technical details and they could catch people by following the money more easily than by following the bytes. More practically, it would make it hard for service providers in the jurisdiction to offer services to work around geo-blocking, making the case that started this thread open-and-shut.

As for the content providers grey-marketing their content, that's (currently) a contractual issue between them and their suppliers. New Zealand has historically been very pro-consumer-choice; explicitly allowing region-free DVD players so that people could grey-market the discs. If you're going to try stopping streaming suppliers, don't forget to also have Amazon stop shipping media (including books) internationally.

Comment: Re:So what is the answer? (Score 1) 106

by jaa101 (#49476691) Attached to: In New Zealand, a Legal Battle Looms Over Streaming TV

VPNs are perfectly legal. Proxy servers are legal. Using a different DNS server is legal. These things cannot be outlawed.

Maybe these things cannot be outlawed in the US, due to your strong constitutional rights to free speech, but they certainly could be in many other countries. Even in the US I believe there are limits on distributing ways to defeat copyright protection mechanisms. I'm not saying this is right, just that it's naïve to think this couldn't be legislated and upheld in many jurisdictions.

Comment: Taser-Proof Clothing at Last (Score 4, Interesting) 44

by jaa101 (#49402019) Attached to: New Yarn Conducts Electricity

This is just what we need to wear to taser-proof ourselves. The conductive fibres should be able to short out the high voltage more effectively than our bodies. We might get a little burned---I'm not sure how much power (as opposed to voltage) tasers put out---but I suspect that's going to be preferable to the alternative electrocuting effects. I guess if it works the police will ban it the same as bullet-proof vests.

Heard that the next Space Shuttle is supposed to carry several Guernsey cows? It's gonna be the herd shot 'round the world.