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Comment Re:No global deletion (Score 1) 76

Remind me again who is having their free speech silenced by this

Google. And in practice, the people who rely on it to have their content be found (i.e. everyone else).

3. Why does Google have free speech rights that normal companies don't, e.g. credit references can't report things that happened long ago by law, and can't claim free speech allows them to.

Maybe those companies should? The solution to "some idiots excessively weight events that happened 20 years ago" is not censorship of facts, it's to educate people that other people change and that needs to be taken into account.

Comment Safe zone all over again, not the same (Score 1) 203

Some people are too sensitive, so they want to stop other people from saying things that offend them. But instead of dealing with it themselves, they appeal to some authority to fight the “problem” on their behalf. Because not only are they super-sensitive, but they’re also LAZY.

At a university, we certainly cannot condone physical violence. And patterns of sustained harrassment are also not acceptable. However, college is a place where people need to be CHALLENGED, socially, intellectually, and ideologically. You can no longer live in the little shell that your parents and no-cussing high school used to provide for you. If you REALLY need a break from all the noise, you can go to your doom room and put in some ear plugs.

Twitter is a different matter. They run a business, and that business requires people to actively engage in sharing of news and information. Trolling minorities can created a disproportionate amount of noise. If we tell the nice people to “go somewhere else,” they will, and that means they stop using twitter. After a while, Twitter devolves into a community of nothing but trolls trolling each other. The trolling continues to escalate to the point that it becomes undeniably illegal, and the whole system is crushed under its own weight. Twitter cannot allow that, along with those of us who find value in that as a communication medium. Sometimes there’s a fine line between “freedom of speech” and “abuse of speech.” We want to trust individuals to make that choice, but there are too damn many people who cannot be trusted with that responsibility that we end up being forced to insitute rules that sadly do restrict some valid messages. This is why we can’t have nice things. A few assholes ruin things for everyone else. And so forth.

So let’s consider a valid point that would get most people in trouble for saying:

- Gay men have a substantially increased risk of transmitting STI’s. This is a consequence of the way the body works. Unfortunately, condom use is not taken for granted within the gay community, and there’s a great deal of promiscuity. This puts more gay men at excessive risk of disease, along with many people in the rest of the population. The solution is for gay men to adopt condoms and monogamy as standards and to shame those who do not. And the best way the rest of us can facilitate monogamy among gay men is to strongly encourage gay marriage. This requires that everyone grow up and recognize homosexual relationships as being as valid as any other. Being in a gay relationship does not make you a sinful person, opening the door for “worse" behavior. Gay men need to have standards, and other people should stop getting in the way of them adopting standards. Sexual relationships are both a right and a responsibility.

Now, if I were to blog about this, I’d get a lot of shit for what I just said:

- The right would tell me that I’m terrible for encouraging sinful homosexual behavior.
- The left would tell me that I’m terrible for singling out gay men and discouraging them from certain irresponsible behaviors.

It seems like if you want to make a point based on math and science (the disease transmission rates among gay men are quite clear), everybody will hate you for saying something counter to their political agenda. What we have is one group handing down rules from ancient literature and another group saying that people should be allowed to act however they want without considering the consequences.

Comment Re:Subpoenas and the right against self-incriminat (Score 1) 163

It sounds to me like the problem is a flaw in the constitution or the way it's being interpreted, to be honest. The prohibition against incriminating yourself is very obviously there to stop people being tortured until they falsely claim they are guilty. But giving up a password is not a proclamation of guilt or innocence either way. All it can possibly do is yield more evidence, hopefully leading to a more accurate outcome of the case.

I mean, under the same logic, search warrants should be illegal because by letting someone into your house you'd be "self-incriminating". Doesn't work that way.

I think the simplest fix to this problem the FBI has is for courts to stop treating "you must tell us the password" as falling under the self-incrimination clauses. It doesn't make logical sense, would yield a reasonable balance of power (FBI/other agencies cannot do bulk data harvesting from phones, which is the real danger here), puts protection of the device or not under the control of the court, etc. This is the compromise other countries have arrived at and it seems to work OK most of the time.

Comment Re: No problem (Score 1) 653

No it isn't. Absolutely nothing stops ad blockers using heuristics to identify "ad shaped images" or simply having manually written lists of DOM paths to nuke.

I find this whole attitude of "shut up whiners, make your ads EXACTLY meet my unique criteria or else I'll just benefit from your work for free - see if you can stop my nya nya" to be appalling.

Apparently people haven't thought through where this ends. It ends with someone eventually making a non-web content platform that doesn't support ad killers, uses video-game like "anti cheat" techniques and which gets the lions share of the best content because publishers are sick of being ripped off. You know, kind of like how the PC used to be the primary gaming platform in the world and eventually most of the AAA games were coming out on consoles first, and PC maybe or never. Basically, because of piracy and the console makers commitment to fighting it.

Comment Re:Roll-back as in play-back? (Score 2) 71

Banks can roll back transactions for various reasons, e.g. bankruptcy proceedings, mistakes by their own operators or by customers, or ... transactions that are fraudulent. The Metel gang obviously had a sense of irony in exploiting this ability to undo fraudulent transactions to their own benefit.

Comment Input method lock-in (Score 1) 158

One of the reasons that I really dislike drag-and-drop methods of coding and schematic capture for circuits is that you end up locked in to one tool’s peculiar method of entry. If you decide you don’t like that editor, you’re stuck with it for old designs because you can’t always export and import proprietary formats. When writing code, I’m using a portable language, and I have my choice of compilers on different platforms.

PCB layout is one of those corner cases that’s so physically-oriented that some of the steps really need graphical interaction. However, the tools have to export to standard formats that are understood by the PCB manufacturers. As long as you have those formats, you can switch tools with some degree of success.

Comment Re:No, they shouldn't thow in the towel (Score 1) 144

The difference is most people dont go around shoplifting, murdering and defrauding. Pretty much everyone who uses the internet violates copyright every day.

Google "http", 15.2 Billion hits;
Google "all rights reserved", 4.8 Billion hits.

So almost one third of web content is illegal to browse.

Comment Not entirely ridiculous, but not an “allergy (Score 1) 83

I have “touch urticaria.” Especially at night when I like in bed, the pressure against my skin causes histamine production. I’ve had this checked out, and while my histamine levels are high, my IgE levels are completely normal, so this is NOT an allergic reaction. Something else is putting excessive histamine into my system. A dietician suggested that it could be intestinal flora generating histamine, and a dietary change may help, so I’ve been working on that. But at this point, I have to take Allegra every night so I can get to sleep without itching and scratching for hours. (Fexodenadine is very weak, but it's the only antihistamine I can stand — all others zombify me the next day, including Claritin and Zyrtec.)

Comment This is how cheaters think (Score 1) 229

I teach graduate CS courses at a university, and we get the occasional cheater. Sometimes, the cheating is blatant three students just turned in exactly the same work. However, there are occasions where we suspect cheating, but they did a good job of disguising it. Of course, they do poorly on exams. If those students would spend their time and energy on learning the material, they would learn something and get a good grade.

Comment Hypersensitivity can be a medical problem (Score 4, Informative) 668

I have a family member who went through a period in their life when they were hypersensitive to perceived slights. Some of the problem was real pressure to conform to other’s expectations that were unreasonable. But the inability to tolerate it and blow it off turned out to be caused by a hormone disorder.

I think that some of these hypersensitive people are just whiny babies who can’t handle an environment with a more diverse set of ideas. But for some people who get so overwhelmed that they need to run off and hide in a “safe place,” they may want to look into getting their endocrine levels checked (thyroid, adrenal, and various pituitary).

However, we live in a culture where we blame everyone else for our own failures, so it’s unlikely that most such people would ever even imagine that the problem originates in their own bodies.

Comment Lithopolis, OH; RIP (Score 1) 582

On my way to Canal Winchester on OH-674, I’d pass through a small section of Lithopolis, where the speed limit inexplicably drops to 45mph. It’s a well-known speed trap, for the locals, so the village makes(or made) money mostly from visitors. One time, an Ohio state legislator was caught in that speed trap, and there was a bit of a smack-down that ensued. But that wasn’t the beginning of the end of Lithopolis. That started when they closed the only interesting thing in the whole village, which was the Wagnalls memorial library.

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