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Comment: Re:Censorship (Score 1) 183

by rmstar (#48572535) Attached to: Google News To Shut Down In Spain On December 16th

The problem I see here is a symptom of Europe run by people who are from another era, at least in terms of thinking. The reaction by the papers is a natural one, but it is more of a knee jerk reaction that trying to understand the technology and how it works.

The people who "run Europe" may be from a different era, but it is a bit too much to simply assume that they are stupid.

The problem they are trying to address with laws like this is the destruction of the press by the internet. I know, technology and business models and yadda yadda, but if we lose the press we lose institutionalized independent journalism with the budget to do actual investigative reporting, which is crucial in a free society. Bloggers won't do as a substitute, nor the pay-nothing-for-content model of the huffington post.

So google shut down its Spanish news page. Frankly, I think this is a good thing and an opportunity for the Spanish press to reinvent some of its business models. I hope they succeed.

Comment: Re:Diversity is good, especially in SciFi (Score 1) 368

by rmstar (#48543837) Attached to: Overly Familiar Sci-Fi

I like to read, and unfortunately the signal-to-noise ratio in science fiction and fantasy is poor, so it's hard to find good reads.

There is a yearly "the year's best science fiction" collection of stories and short novels (edited by Gardner Dozois), and there are a couple of decent journals (like Asimov's). If you buy these, you will read sample stories of good writers that also publish books. That way you will find enough good SF to read for the rest of your life.

Comment: Re:Call a spade a spade (Score 1) 148

by rmstar (#48525991) Attached to: How the NSA Is Spying On Everyone: More Revelations

Where are my modpoints when I need them.

Thanks AC for that very insightful comment. It's all good but I like especially the end:

I'm sure that Senator Wyden, who's been one of the leaders in the charge to stop this bullshit, appreciates your thoughtful and nuanced views of this complex matter.


Comment: Re:EUgle? (Score 2) 237

by rmstar (#48477747) Attached to: Google Should Be Broken Up, Say European MPs

Well, the fact of the matter is that Google isn't forcing anyone to do anything.

As an experiment: try to get by without using google. The argument is that by being so successful and ubiquitous, people are forced to use it, giving google powers that society might not want to give them for very specific reasons. If it's "their fault" or not is completely besides the point.

If Google was a German company we wouldn't be talking about this.

Because if Google was a German company, it would have never been allowed to become the privacy busting, surveillance octopus from hell it is now.

Comment: Re:The Source Document (Score 1) 137

by rmstar (#48441331) Attached to: Profanity-Laced Academic Paper Exposes Scam Journal

Of course I didn't use the word "F******" in my submission, but I suppose Slashdot must be couth.

I hope you don't come to regret your bravado.

Not because there will be any retaliation (they don't give half a rat's ass, as you very clearly demonstrated) but because what you did was the proverbial wrestling with pigs - with the inevitable result of ending up covered in shit. Now you stand there, and it is not unlikely that people will remember you first and foremost for publishing a paper filled with foul language in a crap journal.

And what have you won? Certainly nothing for academia nor for you academic career.

Comment: Re:I am sure there will be a challenge (Score 3, Insightful) 137

by rmstar (#48410275) Attached to: Court Rules Google's Search Results Qualify As Free Speech

The whole point of incorporating is to separate one's person from the running of the company. If the company does wrongdoing, then the individuals involved are protected.

Uh, no, that's not true. Incorporation allows to move around companies independently of the people owning and/or running it. Also, they protect the individual to some degree from bad luck affecting the company. Obviously, if the company does something illegal the people behind it will be prosecuted, too. At least, that's the way laws are constructed, so for example, if you incorporate a company in the US that trades cocaine with Colombia, don't expect to be immune from prosecution when the company gets caught.

Comment: Re:Have seen this several times as reviwer... (Score 2) 170

by rmstar (#48367167) Attached to: What Happens When Nobody Proofreads an Academic Paper

There are two types of reviewers: The valuable ones that actually read a paper and try to understand it, and the worthless ones that look at title, abstract and who wrote it (usually easy to find out even in anonymous review).

And then there's The Third Reviewer.

Comment: Re:So what qualifies? (Score 2) 489

by rmstar (#48184479) Attached to: In UK, Internet Trolls Could Face Two Years In Jail

Who gets to decide what qualifies as trolling?

I have a feeling that there are some people who would take a polite "You're wrong and I disagree with you for the following reasons . . ." as trolling. Sure the "I hope you die in a car fire" and "I'm going to kill your animals" are low-hanging fruit, but there's a line there somewhere and it's not always easy to find.

This being Britain, I'm sure it will be an awful mess of a law dripping cruelty and class discrimination like ASBOs and other recent British laws.

It can work, however. In Germany, insulting someone is a crime. Threatening rape is a crime too, of course. There is a well established and accepted law practice regarding the interpretation and implementation of such laws. The fact of the matter is that there is ample support and acceptance of them in the population, and the upshot is a comparatively civilized and objective atmosphere in public discourse.

I'm not very comfortable with laws that require some form of human interpretation

Most laws are like that, and have always been so.

Comment: Re:Chrome and disabling SSLv3 (Score 2) 68

by rmstar (#48147577) Attached to: Google Finds Vulnerability In SSL 3.0 Web Encryption

"We used to have an entry in the preferences for that but people thought that âoeSSL 3.0â was a higher version than âoeTLS 1.0â and would mistakenly disable the latter."

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why security is so hard. You have this chaotic ape in front of the keyboard making a mess of everything. Now excuse while I go fetch me a banana.

Comment: Re:Product of the Great Recession? (Score 1) 283

by rmstar (#48089833) Attached to: Glut of Postdoc Researchers Stirs Quiet Crisis In Science

I wonder if part of this PhD glut is a delayed effect of the recession, which decreased employment opportunities over the last 6 years or so.

No. This has been going on for a long time and is getting worse by the year. From the linked article:

I would like to present to you this morning a rather analogous theory of the history of science. According to this theory, modern science appeared on the scene, in Europe, almost 300 years ago, and in this country a little more than a century ago. In each case it proceeded to expand at a frightening exponential rate. Exponential expansion cannot go on forever, and so the expansion of science, unlike the expansion of the Universe, was guaranteed to come to an end. I will argue that, in science, the Big Crunch occurred about 25 years ago, and we have been trying to ignore it ever since.

What is happening now is that the situation is becomming more extreme, and so even the best efforts at denial are crumbling.

Comment: Re:Then it happens less in science than in general (Score 1) 460

by rmstar (#47950145) Attached to: Science Has a Sexual Assault Problem

According to a study by the CDC, 51.9 percent of surveyed women and 66.4 percent of surveyed men said they were physically assaulted as a child by an adult caretaker and/or as an adult by any type of attacker.

I suppose that these figures make sense - but only after you include almost any inuendo as an assault.

Basically, I call bullshit. These numbers are way to high. I suspect they equate large swaths of inocuous stuff with real rape in order to furhter an agenda.

What is now proved was once only imagin'd. -- William Blake