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Comment: Re:What's unclear? (Score 1) 58

by mbone (#48899257) Attached to: Why We Still Can't Really Put Anything In the Public Domain

IANAL, but I believe that the actual rights-holders would need to go to court to establish their rights, and, yes, if they won a judge could invalidate promises made by the other parties. Likewise, I believe a judge could declare an actual rights-holder incompetent, and invalidate their grant of rights. A last-minute deathbed grant of rights into the PD might be subject to that kind of attack, if the heirs thought it wasn't proper, or the dying author / composer was no longer competent.

Comment: Re:What's unclear? (Score 1) 58

by mbone (#48899209) Attached to: Why We Still Can't Really Put Anything In the Public Domain

It's clearly illegal to do that with the intent of changing your mind later.

Did you RTFA? The whole point is that it IS legal to change your mind later, and no amount of promises, or guarantees, or written contracts can change that. You cannot give up, sell, or renounce, your right to change your mind, no matter what you do.

Just because some article says something doesn't make it so. If you want to play this game, I would strongly recommend you get competent legal advice.

(As it happens, I have received legal advice in this area, and it sure didn't agree with what you said.)

Comment: Re:What's unclear? (Score 1) 58

by mbone (#48899123) Attached to: Why We Still Can't Really Put Anything In the Public Domain

IANAL, this is not legal advice, but I agree with your argument.

The only ways out I see would be if your heirs tried to convince a judge you were not legally competent to make the PD assignment at the time you made it (or, of course, if someone came along and said they also had some rights in the work in question, say by being co-creators). So, there would always in practice be a little risk, but after 35 years? That seems like a stretch.

Comment: Really? (Score 1) 58

by mbone (#48899039) Attached to: Why We Still Can't Really Put Anything In the Public Domain

Specifically, the PK post highlights that thanks to the way copyright termination works, even someone who puts their works into the public domain could pull them back out of the public domain after 35 years.

Really?

So, I should infer that all of those "irrevocable" open source licenses are meaningless, because the grantor of the rights could just change their minds? Somebody sure should let RMS know.

IANAL and all that, and this is for sure not legal advice, but when I have gotten such advice, it was always along the lines of, be careful what you place in the public domain, because you won't be able to change your mind. I am sure I would not want to go in front of a judge and say something along the lines of, "yes, I told people this was public domain, but they were silly to think I actually meant it."

Comment: Re:They already have (Score 1) 661

by Bruce Perens (#48897151) Attached to: US Senate Set To Vote On Whether Climate Change Is a Hoax

There is no reason that we have to pick one and abandon work on the others. I don't see that the same resources go into solving more than one, except that the meteor and volcano problem have one solution in common - be on another planet when it happens.

The clathrate problem and nuclear war have the potential to end the human race while it is still on one planet, so we need to solve both of them ASAP.

Comment: Re:Ppl who don't know C++ slamming C++ (Score 5, Insightful) 143

by hey! (#48894501) Attached to: Bjarne Stroustrup Awarded 2015 Dahl-Nygaard Prize

Well it's been many, many years since I've used it, which was back in the late 80s and early 90s. My impression from this time is that C++ is unquestionably a work of genius, but that I didn't particularly like it. Part of that is that we didn't really know how to use it effectively. In that era most object oriented programmers used concrete inheritance way too much. Part of that is due to aspects of what we thought an OO language should have that turned out to add complexity while being only marginally useful in practice (e.g. multiple concrete inheritance and operator overloading).

But in terms of meeting its design goals C++ is a tour de force of ingenuity -- even if some of those goals are questionable by today's standards. The very fact that we know some of those features aren't necessarily ideal is because they were taken out of the realm of academic noodling and put into a practical and highly successful language that could tackle the problems of the day on the hardware of the day. It's hard to overstate the practical impact of C++ on the advancement of both theory and practice of software development.

Any prize for contributions to OO programming pretty that didn't include Stroustrup in its first recipients would be dubious.

Comment: Re:I have an even better idea (Score 2) 282

by hey! (#48894185) Attached to: Government Recommends Cars With Smarter Brakes

I have an even better idea: let's find a way to fix human beings so that they're perfectly consistent in their behavior.

While certainly taking demonstrably bad drivers off the road is a no-brainer, even good drivers have lapses. My teenaged son is learning to drive, and whenever someone does something like cut us off I make a point of saying we can't assume the driver did it on purpose, or did it because he was an inconsiderate or bad person. Even conscientious and courteous drivers make mistakes or have lapses of attention.

It's the law of large numbers. If you spend a few hours on the road, you'll encounter thousands of drivers. A few of them will be really horrible drivers who shouldn't be on the road. But a few will be conscientious drivers having a bad day, or even a bad 1500 milliseconds.

Comment: Re:Salary versus cost of living in each city (Score 0) 132

by bill_mcgonigle (#48892555) Attached to: By the Numbers: The Highest-Paying States For Tech Professionals

The gag is that the seriously wealthy aren't worried about Obama's new tax policies, because they can afford a tax lawyer who can prove that they earn nothing.

If you haven't been paying attention for the past few millennia, the purpose of government is to transfer resources from the masses to the few. I know, they don't tell that to the masses in their indoctrination centers, but if you look at all available evidence, it's pretty clear.

Sure, they throw a few bones to the dogs to make sure they don't turn on their owners, but look at every available trend and analyze the data.

Comment: Re:I have an even better idea (Score 0, Troll) 282

by bill_mcgonigle (#48892529) Attached to: Government Recommends Cars With Smarter Brakes

Let's just enforce existing laws and get dangerous drivers off the road.

Correct.

THERE IS NO RIGHT TO DRIVE.

Stop acting brainwashed. The Right to Travel is a fundamental human right. Go check out the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that your government probably signed on to if you don't believe me. It does not mean that humans have a right to crawl through the muddy forests to get from place to place - it means all humans have the fundamental right to travel in the common manner of a society. Whether that's a donkey cart or an SUV with DVD Entertainment System or an Airbus A340.

There are even places where automobile travel is the only allowed method of travel - we have an area around here where the local road was taken over for an Interstate and the only way in or out is an exit.

If you are a dangerous driver you can and should be taken off the road.

Correct. There's a mechanism for that.

No person shall ... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law

The Right to Travel is a fundamental liberty and we have a way to deal with taking away liberties for the protection of society. It doesn't require parroting some bullshit statist rhetoric your phys ed. teacher told you in high school.

Now your insurance company - they ought to have a lot to say about your competency as a driver. Sadly, they almost never do, except in aggregate, such as very high insurance rates in MA where the passing grade on a DMV test is 60%. You ought to be able to save $400 a year if you score 95% or better, but no ... that wouldn't be _fair_. Regulators gotta regulate, whether it does harm or not, so everybody pays high rates and the incentives to improve are eliminated.

Comment: Re:Why would anyone buy something from those catal (Score 3, Insightful) 64

by bill_mcgonigle (#48892427) Attached to: Smartphones, Tablets and EBay Send SkyMall To Chapter 11

Long before those things ever existed people weren't buying SkyMall's useless, overpriced crap.

Obviously false, since people don't stay in a business for decades just to piss away money.

However, the economy is the worst it's been in 60 years (vis-a-vis age-discounted labor participation rates) and so there's just less of a pool of money to waste.

Skymall took some cream off the top but we're down to whole milk now.

Smartphones might have helped it along, but there are people posting here about reading the catalog for entertainment because they couldn't figure out how to bring a book with them on the airplane. Those people aren't planning ahead on their phones either.

Comment: Re:What's the difference between China and EU? (Score 1) 190

by bill_mcgonigle (#48892401) Attached to: China Cuts Off Some VPNs

And if anyone thinks they should be, let them and their loved ones be the first victims, for "their cause".

That's certainly a risk. Not a huge one, but a real one. One in a million is not zero.

This is why freedom requires courage and bravery, and an acceptance of personal responsibility. To be sure, such concepts are anathema to many individuals.

Then perhaps the rest of us in the world can then live better lives.

You mean to say 'safer' lives. A life without freedom is never better for people who value it.

It may be that we'll all be happiest if people who do not value freedom separate themselves from those who do. If only there were a Natural Rights Republic somewhere that the freedom-loving people could flock to ... maybe China will take those who want a centrally-planned society.

ASHes to ASHes, DOS to DOS.

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