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Comment: Re:I Don't See A Problem (Score 1) 182

by james_gnz (#49535771) Attached to: Chinese Scientists Claim To Have Genetically Modified Human Embryos

Scientifically, however, a fertilized egg is the first point in the process where you have a new individual. That's a rather solid line to use, even if it is rather inconvenient for certain purposes. Of course, depending you your point of view, that may be a benefit of the line, not a problem.

A lot of ethical considerations stem from what you consider to be a "human". While you can set that point anywhere you want to, the problem is also that you can set that point anywhere you want to. With the ability to genetically engineer humans, it's far too convenient to state that they're not human until you're done altering their genome at the most obvious point of intervention.

I think it's a mind that defines a person, that a mind depends on neuron activity in the cerebral cortex, and that this activity, as evidenced by brain waves, commences after 20 weeks gestation (18 weeks of pregnancy). This seems far more relevant to me than when there is an individual body. Also, twinning can occur, or a fertilised egg may produce only a placenta, so I don't think it's accurate to call fertilisation "the first point in the process where you have a new individual" even if you are only interested in bodies.

Comment: Re:Cautionary Tale? (Score 1) 182

by james_gnz (#49535383) Attached to: Chinese Scientists Claim To Have Genetically Modified Human Embryos

I always thought that Vampires were Zombies with slightly less messy eating habits and a hell of a lot more culture

AFAIK, the heyday of belief in vampires began with the worrying of livestock in Europe. Somehow people decided that those attacking the livestock had climbed out of graves in the night, and that it would be a good idea to dig up graves to look for them. Bodies dug up appeared to have fresh blood around their mouths, and their bellies swollen from their meals. Fingernails and facial hair appeared to have grown, and when bodies were stabbed in the chest to kill them, they let out a sound like a scream, apparently confirming they had been alive.

The blood around their mouths had actually been pushed out of their chests by bloating due to internal decomposition. Fingernails and facial hair appeared to have grown because the skin had shrivelled. The sound was due to air being forced out of the lungs with the impact of the stabbing.

OTOH, zombies originated in Central America. People believed dead were seemingly brought back to life, although without their mental faculties intact, and with the expectation that they would work for those keeping them alive.

Actually they had been poisoned to cause the appearance of death, and were subsequently kept drugged to impair their mental faculties.

So actually zombies have better eating habits than vampires (vampires worry livestock, whereas zombies eat somewhat normally, if with less coordination), and however little culture zombies may have, vampires give them no competition (whenever vampires aren't out worrying livestock, they're lying motionless under the ground).

(Although this is just my understanding, and I'm not an expert on either vampires or zombies.)

Comment: Re:Unless (Score 1) 300

The copyright isn't "theft" it is Nazi memorabilia. Note, not the words or books of the words, which are in libraries all over Germany, apparently, but the *copyright* on the words.

But still, the /copyright/ wasn't sold or displayed (you couldn't display a copyright, because it doesn't physically exist).

Yes, this is logically nonsense, but if all the courts agree to the same nonsense then it becomes legal (cf, Generally Accepted Accounting Standards) or at least a legal fiction.

Yeah, I guess so. :-/

Comment: Re:Unless (Score 1) 300

Likewise, the German courts could just redefine the copyrights G's diaries as Nazi memorabilia or some such, and if it is agreed by any court that could reverse it in Germany (don't know how their courts are organized) then it stands. Since Nazi memorabilia cannot be sold or displayed in German jurisdictions, the copyrights cannot be enforced. I assume that the German government cannot just make an ex post facto law covering the situation like the British could, of course, since that is the simplest way to go if one can get away with it.

If a quote were memorabilia, then wouldn't a book containing the quote also contain memorabilia, and therefore be illegal to sell? Also, if we're going with copyright=theft, then, even if it's illegal to sell memorabilia, is it illegal to sue for theft of memorabilia?

Comment: Re:science doesn't have the answer... (Score 1) 133

by james_gnz (#49499745) Attached to: The Origin of the First Light In the Universe

Yes, we are all going to die sooner or later, and all civilisations will fail sooner or later (if for no other reason, the cosmos will eventually succumb to entropy). In any case, I'd rather go with later than sooner, and I think worrying about it might help.

I think it's fair to say that some civilisations probably failed due to events that were beyond their ability to predict or prevent, but I think it's also fair to say that other civilisations probably failed due to events that they could have predicted and prevented, if only they'd worried more. Rapanui (Easter Island) and the Roman Empire are a couple of examples of cases that might fall into the latter category.

There are also disasters such as plagues and fires, etc. that have been pretty damaging, but not civilisation ending. In my country, a city was hit by an earthquake a while back, that caused a lot of damage. Building codes are stricter now, because people are more worried about it, and think this might help.

I always wear a seat belt when travelling by car, and in almost every case it's been an unnecessary precaution, and then one day, it wasn't. I've had vaccinations, which were possibly unnecessary, I don't know. My country, like most, has armed forces which spend most of their time /not/ fighting off foreign invaders.

We don't have complete knowledge, so we do risk management. We estimate, or just guess, the probability of an event, it's severity if it did happen, and the costs and benefits of preparations for it, and act accordingly. I think we should, even if the events usually don't happen, because one day, one might.

Comment: Re:The law makes no allowances for irony. (Score 1) 122

by james_gnz (#49162991) Attached to: Craig Brittain (Revenge Porn King) Sues For Use of Image

The photographer does hold the copyright to the photograph, but copyright isn't a right to make copies of the photograph, it's a right to prevent people from making copies of the photograph. People other than the photographer may hold other rights that also preclude making copies of the photograph (but that doesn't mean they're allowed to make copies of the photograph either).

Your first link is very different from the other two. In the first case, the guy who owned the camera initially claimed he was not the photographer--specifically that a monkey picked up his camera and took the photo itself. (The photo became a bit of a sensation on this basis, but when it came to light that you don't get copyright just by owning a camera, the guy changed his story, and instead claimed he had got the shot ready, and just let the monkey push the button.) In this case, the question is about who (or what) the photographer was, and therefore who (if anyone) holds copyright (since monkeys can't hold copyright). In this case, it is questionable whether the guy who owned the camera holds copyright, and therefore whether he can preclude others from making copies.

The other two links don't relate to disputes about who the photographer is, and therefore don't relate to disputes about who holds copyright. In these cases, it is not in question that the photographer can preclude people from making copies. What is in question is whether other people hold other rights that also preclude the photographer from making copies.

Comment: Re:Pretty much a given? (Score 1) 24

by james_gnz (#49025739) Attached to: EU Parliament Blocks Outlook Apps For Members Over Privacy Concerns
I expect this was a quip, rather than serious. Was the USA ever trustworthy, going back to the formation of the Union between 1776-1789? I'm not an historian, but I'd guess they started out relatively trustworthy. I'm given to understand they had some high ideals. Power corrupts though, I suppose.

Comment: Re: Moral Imperialism (Score 1) 475

by james_gnz (#48193695) Attached to: Manga Images Depicting Children Lead to Conviction in UK

Giving someone money isn't speech, but it can be closely tied to speech in such a way that taking away your ability to do so effectively infringes upon your free speech rights.

I disagree. I rather suspect that most of the money that people might make from such speech (assuming drawings of children having sex is considered a form of speech) comes from the legal right to prevent other people from copying them. This legal right is granted "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts".

To be clear, I'm not advocating a ban on drawing, or the possessition of drawings, but I'm far from convinced that the right to free speech encompases a right to claim payment for drawing children having sex.

+ - Wikipedia threatened with legal action over monkey 'selfie'->

Submitted by james_gnz
james_gnz writes: The Huffington Post and The Telegraph among others report that Wikimedia has been threatened with legal action over publishing a 'selfie' taken by a monkey.

Apparently, while photographer David Slater was attempting to photograph monkeys in Indonesia in 2011, one of his intended subjects appropriated his camera and proceded to photograph itself. Some of these photographs turned out rather well, and made headlines, and income, for Slater. Now the photos are making headlines and income for Slater again, as he threatens to sue Wikimedia for not recognising his copyright over them on the grounds that he didn't take them.

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re: Laugh all the way to the bank (Score 1) 83

"In very rare circumstances do you ask a court to rule on a contract before anything has happened." -- queazocotal

That's my understanding too--a court generally gets involved when someone alleges someone else has broken the law, not when someone is considering doing something and wants to check it won't break the law. I expect Dixie_Flatline got the opposite view from the linked Microsoft or WinBeta articles, both of which imply otherwise (although neither directly state it). I'd hazard a guess that the WinBeta article is largely parroting the Microsoft one, and my feeling is that neither are particularly reliable sources.

Comment: Re:Who is being taxed, exactly? (Score 1) 322

by james_gnz (#47189423) Attached to: Fixing China's Greenhouse Gas Emissions For Them

How about instead of playing five knuckle shuffle while attempting to funnel more money into the government coffers we instead look at ways to sequester the carbon emissions and perhaps replace them with naturally economically viable solutions?

Governments could put more money into research, but it would still have to come from somewhere (not that I'm saying this is necessarily a bad idea, but I think it's a false dichotomy).

The entire idea behind cap and trade is to restrict usage and it hits the poor the worse.

Yes, but everything hits the poor worse. If food prices rise as a result of increasing crop failures, this would hit the poor worse too.

Fear is the greatest salesman. -- Robert Klein