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Comment: Re:"Net neutrality", my ass. (Score 1) 52

All we need to solve the problem of the Comcasts and the Time-warners of the world is to expose them to competition.

If that were true, we wouldn't need common carrier regulation for shipping companies. That's where common carrier started (hence the term "carrier"). It was put in place to keep carriage networks, which are naturally limited in the efficient number of competitors, from exploiting their natural n-opolies by making preferred carrier deals with incumbent manufacturers.

In the case of wired data carriage networks, once there is one set of cables in the ground, the cost of putting each subseqent set in the ground faces an barrier-to-entry that rises more quickly than the natural barriers on, for example, retail stores. In the case of wireless, the limits on frequency band interference do the same thing.

Practical reality does not match the idealistic theories we wish were true, whether those be socialism, anarchy, or anything in between. Give up the -isms and consider observable reality. Learn from history, not religion-peddling pundits.

Comment: Re:Privacy Last (Score 1) 122

by Bob9113 (#47803907) Attached to: Tox, a Skype Replacement Built On 'Privacy First'

Since the earliest days of USENET and IRC Chat, the geek has a flawless record of making one-on-one communication over the Internet as painful a process as possible for the non-technical user.

Don't be facetious. One-on-one communication could be much more painful. In the specific case of secure (ie: end-to-end encrypted) communication, Tox is approaching the theoretical limit of simplicity. Key exchange has a mathematically bound minimum complexity in order to be secure. The reason Skype is not secure is precisely because it is easier to use than Tox.

Or, slightly differently: Tox is an example of geeks making one-to-one comm as easy as it possibly can be, for the given requirements.

Comment: Re:Key exchange (Score 1) 122

by Bob9113 (#47803873) Attached to: Tox, a Skype Replacement Built On 'Privacy First'

And how do you exchange key? Do they plan a web of trust à la GPG?

That was one of my first questions. The answer is; however you want. They provide an "easy" (hence vulnerable) method for doing so, but you can check the public key hash against your securely transferred value before approving a key if you want.

Or, slightly differently; this is not a key exchange system, just a comm system you can use once you have authenticated a key to your level of security requirement.

Comment: Re:Privacy (Score 1) 374

by Bob9113 (#47803741) Attached to: Should police have cameras recording their work at all times?

There needs to be a way to disable the cameras for a short period of time. I don't think we need to see police officers using the restroom. Then there are times when officers have private conversations that are not work related. Do you really think it is valid to have anyone monitored every second from start of shift to end of shift? Would you work under those conditions?

It is a good question; how about this: The officer can click the "this is private" button any time they want. That segment of the video is still recorded, but is not included in routine reviews. If there is reasonable cause, IA can look at the protected video. If an officer is putting too much time in private mode, their superior or IA can ask what's going on. If an IA officer is abusing their privilege to look at private mode video, they get canned (pursuant to an IIAA investigation, presumably).

Comment: Re:"Moderation?" Don't you mean "Censorship?" (Score 1) 75

by Bob9113 (#47801299) Attached to: Study: Social Networks Have Negative Effect On Individual Welfare

Censorship is the suppression of speech. For example: "You can't talk about Oranges, they are evil!"
Moderation is the regulation of speech: "You can talk about Oranges, just not here. Go over there to talk about Oranges."

A related problem is the "Free Speech Zones" outside political party rallies. They do not censor speech, but they do prevent you from speaking in some portion of the public square. To the extent that Facebook has become the public square, the cost to society of speech prohibition in that forum is the same. To the extent that "Free Speech Zones" are an infringement of free speech, and Facebook has become the public square, Facebook presents the same risks to society.

This is not merely a question of how you dice the legal technicalities, it is a question of the purpose and means of free speech. Free speech is more important to our society in the long run than any other right; it is the basis of having a strong GDP upon which Facebook can build its business. If Facebook becomes destructive of the system, it is our rationally self-interested duty as a society to stop it, even if the particular existing legal terms can be parsed in a way that says it is legal.

Comment: Re:Farmers will be delighted... (Score 1) 101

by Rei (#47800097) Attached to: The Passenger Pigeon: A Century of Extinction

Passenger pigeons were not primarily a grain species, although they would eat grain when other preferred foods were in short supply. Part of the reasons the flocks increasingly turned to grain with time is due to the cutting and burning of many of their native forests to make room for farmland (and with an average lifespan in captivity of 15 years, probably half that in the wild, populations don't readjust right away). They were a migratory species, of course, but the habitat destruction was going on all over their range. If you get rid of the oaks and chestnuts in an area and the only other food option is grain, of course they're going to eat that. They also ate insects, mainly when breeding.

When you're talking about reintroducing a species from scratch, obviously the issues of what to do if a billion birds come into the area is totally inapplicable. The forests capable of supporting those numbers are gone. Birds that primarily consume seeds and grains are a much bigger threat to farmers than birds with a primary focus on nuts like the passenger pigeon.

Comment: Re:Ecosystem (Score 1, Interesting) 101

by Rei (#47800041) Attached to: The Passenger Pigeon: A Century of Extinction

it would take years for the ground plants to recover

Citation needed. Bird manure is one of the best natural fertilizers in existence. Have you seen what people charge for chicken manure? It's outrageous. Now, it's a concentrated enough fertilizer that you have to use it more like a chemical fertilizer than a soil suppliment - so it's possible that the pigeons would "nutrient burn" a location. But that's short term, in the long term that means leaving the area incredibly lush. And not to mention full of seeds in their droppings.

Trees and many smaller plants primarily cater to birds as their seed distributors.

Comment: Re:Ecosystem (Score 1) 101

by Rei (#47799999) Attached to: The Passenger Pigeon: A Century of Extinction

Passenger pigeons mainly ate tree nuts, particularly acorns, for most of the year. So they had a big effect on controlling tree distribution - in particular red oak has taken over from white oak after their demise in their former habitats (white oak is a slightly more valuable timber tree, FYI). During the summer they would also eat berries. They would sometimes steal grain from farmers but it wasn't a main part of their diet. They additionally consumed insects such as caterpillars and snails, so they did some good for farmers as well.

FYI, honeybees aren't native to the US. And colony populations are totally artificial, as people can raise as many colonies as they want, queens are mass-raised (you can mail order them) and the only limiting factor on the number of honeybees is the number of hives raised by beekeepers. Colony losses are a financial hit to beekepers but they're no threat to the species or the usage of honey bees for pollination (only the economics of their usage). And the increase in the rate of colony loss is way overplayed.

Comment: Re:Ecosystem (Score 3, Interesting) 101

by Rei (#47799907) Attached to: The Passenger Pigeon: A Century of Extinction

There were humans living alongside the passenger pigeon for thousands of years before European settlers arrived.

Anyway, this "readapting" of an ecosystem isn't necessarily a good thing. For example, the extinction of the Carolina Parakeet (the only parrot native to the eastern US) coincided with major spreading cockleburs in the US, as it was a major part of their diet. Are you a fan of cockleburs?

Comment: Re:Bah, character-set ignorance. (Score 1) 35

by Rei (#47797479) Attached to: Iceland Raises Volcano Aviation Alert Again

Mér finnst samt pirrandi THegar fólk gerir THetta. THað er ófagmannlegt - Washington Post er mikil fréttasíða, ekki eitthvað skrifað á Facebook. :P

If it's so reasonable to "transliterate foreign proper names", then why is it that they only seem to do it with countries like Iceland? They don't usually transliterate proper names from other countries - for example, German (Düsseldorf) or France (Équipe FLN), just to pick a few quick examples.

Comment: Re:Down Again (Score 1) 35

by Rei (#47797407) Attached to: Iceland Raises Volcano Aviation Alert Again

The Met Office's decisions have all been perfectly cogent, it's only the poor reporting that's led to confusion from lay people.

In the first case there were all signs of an eruption under the glacier. They issued an alert. Later there were no signs on the surface, so they removed it. Later on, glacial subsidence proved that an eruption had indeed taken place, but stopped. In both cases, correct behavior on their part.

Then there was the 1st Holuhraun eruption. When an eruption begins, theres no way to know how its going to evolve, but since it was just a lava eruption, it was only restricted on instrument-only flight and only to 5000 feet. When it died down, they removed it. Again, right call by the Met Office.

Then there was the 2nd Holuhraun eruption. Again, 5000 foot instrument-only restriction, and when it steadied out, they removed the restriction (yes, the Slashdot article is wrong, the restriction has long been removed). Again, right call by the Met Office.

People need to stop armchair quarterbacking, they're doing the right thing.

Comment: Re:Doesn't affect just people flying to/from Icela (Score 1) 35

by Rei (#47797385) Attached to: Iceland Raises Volcano Aviation Alert Again

Or for an English example volcano, "Yellowstone" (11 letters).

To an Icelandic speaker who knows the component words, it's obvious where they split. Eyja (of islands) Fjalla (of mountains) Jökull (glacier), easy as pie. Their brain automatically cues into the "a"s as context clues for splits to make it even easier.

But picture a person who doesn't speak English at all who sees yellowstone. So they don't know the word "yellow" and they don't know the word "stone". Nor do they know what letter clusters are common together in English - or example, "st" - and which ones are not - for example, "ws". To them it'd be just the same thing, they don't see where to split it, and thus the word looks like a jumble of letters.

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