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Comment: IMO.... (Score 1) 183

by mark-t (#48609211) Attached to: Denmark Makes Claim To North Pole, Based On Undersea Geography

First some facts. I once looked this stuff up because when I was a kid, I was try8ing to figure out which nationality Santa Claus would be. It happens to be the case that the northernmost point on land in Greenland is 440 miles from the North Pole, the northernmost point on land in Canada is 472 miles from the North Pole, and the northernmost point on land in Russia is 493 miles from the North pole.

Canada and Russia are both independently sovereign, which I think gives their claims to the pole more credibility than Denmark's. However, Russia's claim over the territory is weaker, IMO, since the pole is actually on the North American continental shelf, not part of Eurasia at all. Also, for what it's worth, the northernmost populated settlement happens to be located in Canada.

However, national borders do not extend any further than about 14 miles into the ocean (basically, approximately the distance to the horizon as seen from a tall ship's crows nest) so in the end, I think none of the countries have any true claim over the territory in terms of their national jurisdiction.

Comment: Re:I quite doubt that the GPLv2 goes to court here (Score 1) 172

by mark-t (#48603369) Attached to: The GPLv2 Goes To Court
Yes, it is all about copyright law.

But for what it's worth, the GPL doesn't even really relinquish any of the restrictions of copyright law either. Copyright law says that you need explicit permission from the copyright holder to copy a work or to create a derivative work of it. The GPL explicitly grants such permission to anyone who agrees to abide by the terms of the license. If you don't agree to abide by the terms (by failing to abide by them), then the terms of the license are simply not applicable to you, and you have not received permission to copy the work or create a derivative work in the first place.


Comment: Re:Why are taxi drivers all so horrible? (Score 1) 295

by mark-t (#48597239) Attached to: French Cabbies Say They'll Block Paris Roads On Monday Over Uber

From the above post, to which I responded.... (emphasis mine)

English is the standard language of business because a huge majority of the businesses...

I do not disagree with this assertion... I was only trying to point out is no "official" language for anything that is practiced worldwide... although there can easily be a standard one. The very definition of the adjective official means that it must be designated as such by some recognized authority, and there is no single recognized authority that governs how the entire world communicates, even if there are extremely widely recognized standards that are followed. A company can have its own official language for doing business, because it can be an authority for everyone who works in that company, but it cannot be an authority for how any other company does business. Companies communicate with other companies for business purposes based on *standard* practice, not because anyone ever made the mechanisms "official", because nobody ever did, and I was merely suggesting that the poster to whom I had responded above was conflating those two terms.

In a nutshell, "standard" != "official".

Comment: Re:One good turn... (Score 1) 234

by mark-t (#48567731) Attached to: James Watson's Nobel Prize Medal Will Be Returned To Him
I would agree that facts may be racist... since attitudes about racism or anti-racism are based only on what society might prefer to be the case, but it is always possible that real data, when measured might show that what was preferred is not reflective of reality.

For example, one could say that it is racist to suggest that white people are brighter than black, but when talking strictly about the optical spectrum, this is indisputable, since white, by definition, is a brighter color than black.

Comment: Re:One good turn... (Score 1) 234

by mark-t (#48567623) Attached to: James Watson's Nobel Prize Medal Will Be Returned To Him
He was saying, in a nutshell, is that in the data that he had analyzed, he could not find evidence to support the notion that Afircans are as smart as Europeans. Whether this is because this was actually a valid conclusion, or because his data set was not large enough, or because he was misinterpreting the data, or because there were potentially other causal factors influencing the data that were not accounted for is not known, but speaking for myself, I actually doubt the validity of his conclusion, and were I in his position, I would want to carefully investigate exactly why the data appeared to indicate such a result before ever thinking of making such a statement.

Comment: Re:One good turn... (Score 4, Interesting) 234

by mark-t (#48567019) Attached to: James Watson's Nobel Prize Medal Will Be Returned To Him

More generally, he stated that there is no actual data to support the notion that race does not contribute to intelligence, making a specific reference to Africans, and which happens to be a politically incorrect notion, but is still an accurate statement.

This does not mean that members of one race are necessarily intellectually inferior to another, it only means that there exists some sizable amount of data which merely suggests it as a possibility, and that no data has yet been accumulated which can actually show that this is not the case. The strongest objection to the conclusion comes from a political reaction to it, and does not arise from the data itself. It would have been far more interesting to do a detailed exploration on exactly why the data appeared to indicate that than to simply make the statement about the data that he did, since there was absolutely no possible way to interpret it without him being seen as racist.

Comment: Re:Comcast Business Class (Score 1) 291

by mark-t (#48564375) Attached to: Comcast Sued For Turning Home Wi-Fi Routers Into Public Hotspots

As I said, they could, at least in theory, reimburse customers for the extra electricity that the modem uses so it would cost the consumer nothing.

Enabling the mobile hotspot on my cell phone is a different story, since the cell phone is battery powered, and the hotspot will drain the battery more quickly than normal. Although this will not increase my monthly costs by any significant amount, it *does* have a significant impact on the convenience of the cell phone, which will need to be recharged more frequently, or even worse, may end up running out of power when it otherwise would not have, and during a time when I was actually requiring use of it. For something that's plugged into the wall 24/7, that is not an issue. The only factor that costs the customer anything at all that they weren't already paying for and personally getting use out of is the electricity to power the public hotspot.

Comcast does not currently reimburse their customers for the electricity usage that the hotspot incurs, but even if they did, the amount would not be very much, and probably wouldn't feel remotely justified by the amount that people are complaining about it.

I've got all the money I'll ever need if I die by 4 o'clock. -- Henny Youngman