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Comment Re:Mickey Mouse copyirght extenstions... (Score 1) 73 73

Why do creators of copyrighted work owe free stuff to the public?

Because in the course of the long haul, society benefits from a continually diverse influx of creative works. Certainly there is a valid argument (and one that I very strongly support) that the creator or agents authorized by the creator should be allowed a monopoly on controlling content that they distribute for a limited time, but if that content is not ultimately allowed to be freely copied by the society that it was provided for, then the content creator is disincentivized (is that a word?) from actually providing or creating other works. Given that almost the entire point of copyright in the first place was to give the creator some kind of assurance that their works could not be freely copied by other people even if they published, thereby providing an incentive to publish and so have the potential to enrich society by an influx of creative works, not ultimately releasing the work into public domain after some set period (where, if society is so inclined, the public can then further transmogrify it or build upon it to create even more diverse works in the future to the extent that other intellectual property whose ownership may survive the copyright expiration, such as trademarks, are properly respected), is wholly counterproductive to the real benefit of copyright.

Disney holds a trademark on Mickey Mouse, and can retain said ownership into perpetuity. That aspect alone can rightfully keep anyone else from utilizing the character in their own works, forever, if Disney so desires, but the works themselves are copyrighted, and the duration on copyright should necessarily be limited to maximize any potential benefit it can offer to society. IMO, no copyright should last more than 30 or so years after the date of first publication, and probably less for certain types of works that are continually deprecated by newer works such as computer software.

Comment Re:Why can only humans read and write? (Score 1) 168 168

Children are incapable of deception until they are about 3 years old.

That assertion is incorrect, as another commenter has posted. Although anecdotal, my youngest grandaughter is not even 2 and has been recently caught a couple of times trying to manipulate her mom or dad into giving her attention at a moment's notice by sometimes pretending to be hurt when she was not. Being only a year and a half old, she's not particularly adept at such deception (so bad at it. in fact, that it's almost funny), but it's still quite definitely a form of lying, even if it is mostly non-verbal.

On the subject of apes, I've suggested that somebody should really try teaching an ape to read beyond the scope of a parlor trick where it is simply doing it to satisfy some immediate physiological need or desire, and hopes that by performing said stunt, it will induce its owner or keeper into giving it such a reward. The ultimate test of reading comprehension would be when it can learn entirely new skills by reading about how to perform them instead of being trained by somebody else. The new skills do not necessarily have to be complex, nor do they necessarily have to be performed expertly, but if they were able to read, they should at least know the mechanical and cognitive steps involved in the task, and be able to make what are readily observable attempts at performing them, and also be able to realize when they are not following such steps. For example, could an ape learn to play a simple count-and-capture game such as Mancala by reading the rules, even if the ape had never been taught the game by a human? A six-year old child can learn to play such a game by reading the rules (not necessarily very well, but the child will still know the rules of the game and competently demonstrate an ability to follow them even without having been instructed how to play by anyone else). If chimpanzees or other similar apes are so cognitively similar to humans, it seems to me that this should be possible.

Also... arguing that some humans can't read or write is drawing on exceptions rather than the rule when a person has been raised in an environment where that education is actually provided.

Comment Re:Why can only humans read and write? (Score 1) 168 168

Whole societies have existed without writing, true, but you could take almost child who was born in that society and provide them with a proper education, and statistically speaking, have a fairly good chance of being able to teach that child to read and write by age 6 or 7, barring any developmental disabilities that might impede it (which are the exception and not the rule anyways). How poor the family might be, or how many generations back the family has been illiterate is entirely irrelevant to how quickly the child might be able to learn the skill.

My point being that the human mind, at least generally speaking, is sophisticated enough to be able to learn something like this by a relatively young age. Why, if some primates are so cognitively similar to humans, can they not be trained to do likewise? And if they are not so cognitively similar, then why is that being presented as an argument that animals should be treated like persons in the first place?

Comment Re:Why can only humans read and write? (Score 1) 168 168

Such developmental disability is the exception and not the rule.. p. Also, where did I say anything about sign language? I asked about reading and writing.... and in particular, using such skills to meaningfully communicate original thoughts and ideas as well as learn how to do things they didn't used to know how to do.

Comment Why can only humans read and write? (Score 2) 168 168

Can someone explain to me why none of the great apes that supposedly share so much with humans in terms of cognitive ability can be taught how to read and to write, not merely as a parlor trick that the creature utilizes so that it will receive some reward that might satisfy an immediate physiological craving such as hunger, but as a technique that the animal might use to communicate its own thoughts and ideas to others (can an ape write a creative story with a beginning, middle, and end, for example?), and in particular, be able to teach this ability to successive generations of apes who may then even surpass the ability of their own instructor? An ape that could read could then teach itself how to do many more things than what it currently knows simply by reading about them, rather than having to be explicitly instructed by someone else... it could learn the rules to a game like chess, for example.

Practically any human being can typically be taught how to read and to write by the time they are six or seven if the education is available to them. Can somebody tell me what, if anything, is so unique about the human mind that no other creature on the planet can be taught this?

Comment Prices need to come down, range needs to go up (Score 1) 869 869

The money you can save each month on gas doesn't mean squat when the difference in monthly payments on the cost of an electric car vs a conventional vehicle of similar size can often be more than what you'd spend on gasoline. You can mitigate the issue by extending the duration of the car loan to lower monthly payments, but long-period loans on something like a car doesn't tend to make a whole lot of financial sense.

Also, the effective daily range really needs to go up on most EV's.... (that is, how far you could reasonably expect to be able to go in one day, including any time spent recharging, travelling in absolutely any direction that there are roads in the first place). Sure the range on EV's right now is practical for about 90% of all driving, but when that bloody 10% is going to be a recurring problem, you still feel like you need to have a regular car at your disposal too. But not everyone has the luxury of being able to have two cars... one for commuting and the other for longer trips, especially if they are paying more money for the electric car in the first place.

When EV makers can make a vehicle that is actually priced on parity with what you'd spend on a conventional engine car of similar size plus the cost of gasoline, I will start to consider it... when they can allow me to go absolutely anywhere I want to, and drive a thousand km in a day if I want to, including time spent stopping for a recharge, and not charge me a premium of more than double what I could spend on a conventional engine car of similar size and otherwise comparable style (I'm looking at you, Tesla), then sign me up.

Comment Extend this.... (Score 1) 316 316

... are they suggesting it should eventually become illegal for people to simply *remember* anything embarrassing that somebody else did when they were kids?

That'd really be a downer for "open mike" at weddings, where opportunities to embarrass the bride and groom abound.

Comment Re:It'll sure save HP money, just like Yahoo (Score 1) 471 471

All that remains are the employees who either lack the confidence in their skills to feel that they are employable elsewhere... or those employees who lack the skills.

While I can certainly see how the first one would happen, if one actually lacks the skills to do their job, then shouldn't they have been fired already? Not being productive enough *is* a reason to let someone go.

A right is not what someone gives you; it's what no one can take from you. -- Ramsey Clark