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Comment: Not a reasonable complaint (Score 1) 655

by AlecC (#48633609) Attached to: Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics'

I am afraid that, as I use the language, deniers are skeptics. Illogical or irrational skeptics, maybe, compared to the rational skeptics that the complainants would like to reserve the word for. Denying the evidence of your eyes is both skeptical and sometimes foolish.

Comment: Re:Wildly premature question (Score 1) 81

by Bruce Perens (#48620117) Attached to: SpaceX To Attempt Falcon 9 Landing On Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship

If we look at jet aircraft, wear depends on the airframe and the engines, and the airframe seems to be the number of pressurize/depressurize cycles as well as the running hours. Engines get swapped out routinely but when the airframe has enough stress it's time to retire the aircraft lest it suffer catastrophic failure. Rockets are different in scale (much greater stresses) but we can expect the failure points due to age to be those two, with the addition of one main rocket-specific failure point: cryogenic tanks.

How long each will be reliable can be established using ground-based environmental testing. Nobody has the numbers for Falcon 9R yet.

Weight vs. reusable life will become a design decision in rocket design.

Comment: Diary entry from 2150 (Score 1) 440

by Sloppy (#48610355) Attached to: Federal Court Nixes Weeks of Warrantless Video Surveillance

Told kid about nano-cam dust today. He's only 4 years old, so he didn't know about them yet, and I'm trying to teach him basic hygiene. I explained for that for nearly a a hundred years we have all lived in an environment where other peoples' cameras are always in our homes. We track them in, on our shoes. The AC intake blows them in. The servers the cameras send video too, aren't owned by people who are practicing subterfuge. It's not like they snuck "spy" dust onto our porches in the hopes we'd track them in. It just happens; it's an inevitable consequence of the stuff blowing around everywhere.

My great grandparents complained about it. They thought they had a reasonable expectation of privacy in their homes, because nanotech was new. They didn't see the dust, so they didn't know it was there. In the absence of sensual confirmation, the default expectation (at least to the layman) was that it wasn't there. That was naive, but my grandparents didn't work with nanotech or even use consumer models themselves, so perhaps their ignorance could be forgiven. (Just as my own ignorance of hyperspace can perhaps be forgiven, since I'm not a miner.)

My grandparents, though, grew up with the stuff, though it was still a bit expensive, so it wasn't totally ubiquitous yet. By their time, almost everyone at least knew about it, and if in a gathering of any five people you were to say "nobody sees me inside my home," chances were there would have been a few guffaws and someone would likely point out that the statement was likely incorrect. Sometimes the stuff got innocently tracked into your house, and sometimes it was manipulated into getting there, through subterfuge. The law and social norms lagged, though, and people debated privacy a lot.

By the time their children (my parents) grew up, though, it was all over. Everyone knew about nano-cam dust, and unless you did a rad-flash a few minutes earlier, fucking in your own bed was just as public as doing it in Times Square.

And now my kid knows too. It's just something everyone is expected to know about and deal with. If I were to write a story about it, I think I would set the story in the time of my grandparents, back when society was truly conflicted and in the midst of change. I bet those were interesting times.

Comment: Re:The Pirate Bay (Score 1) 302

by waynemcdougall (#48606755) Attached to: The Pirate Bay Responds To Raid

Copyright is an exchange. The government protects content, for a limited time, in exchange for the "owner" releasing it into the public domain.

This is incorrect. You are right that copyright is an exchange, but the default case is that ideas, songs, poems, art, etc are in the public domain, on their creation. That's been true for millenia.

The exchange that copyright provides is to delay the natural transfer into the public domain, giving the copyright owner a limited-time government enforced monopoloy on the copying of the creative work.

The benefit that society is to receive for this limited time concession, is that it should encourage the production of more creative works.

Society doesn't get immediate public-domain access to creative works, but there are more creative works being produced.

Comment: Why not ask who are in charge of defining words? (Score 1) 173

by Sloppy (#48602939) Attached to: The GPLv2 Goes To Court

If you were going to ask a "someone" how they meant to define "derived work", you would ask Congress, not the author(s) of one out of a million contracts which happen to make use of that term.

You're right that it's upsetting that (mostly) people who don't really work with copyright would end up answering it, but that's the nature of law, or at least until you start electing[/appointing/etc] authors. (Cynic: or until those people start funding election campaigns.)

It's only after you have determined that something is a derived work, that you go study licenses. Until that point, licenses are irrelevant.

Comment: Re:Here come the certificate flaw deniers....... (Score 1) 80

by Alioth (#48564169) Attached to: New Destover Malware Signed By Stolen Sony Certificate

Signing certificates are normally encrypted. Stealing the file will do no good unless you know the decryption passphrase. For example, to get a package into our local debian repository such that it can install/upgrade in our production environment, you'd not only need the gpg signing keys, but the 60+ character passphrase (which is NOT written down) to go with it.

Comment: Re:I've hired people with misdemeanors before (Score 1) 720

by Alioth (#48555701) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Can a Felon Work In IT?

> Would you want to hire someone who was convicted of violent assault?

It depends why. Were they the initiator of agression, and beat up their spouse? Perhaps not.

Were they defending themselves from a bully? Yes, I would hire them.

A 40 year old who was convicted at age 17 when he flew off the handle for some reason, but has not been in trouble since? Yes, I would hire them.

Comment: Re:Worried about society (Score 1) 181

by Sloppy (#48531271) Attached to: Do you worry about the singularity?

Do you have some kind of problem with trouble?

If people didn't get into trouble, we wouldn't even be talking about robots, yet. We'd be posting on Slashdot, stuff like "sucks that I didn't find enough berries today, and the area is running out of meaty squirrels, so I'll probably be moving along soon." You think you want to be a factory or farm slave for the rest of your life, but you don't even get to do that, until after you've already figured out that you don't want it.

Power corrupts. And atomic power corrupts atomically.

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