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Comment: Re:say it again (Score 1) 239

by Alsee (#47744635) Attached to: Latest Wikipedia Uproar Over 'Superprotection'

No "fact checking" will ever be allowed on many subjects, such as "Auschwitz", where even total myths are allowed to remain as though they were "facts". References are only made to other myth-supporting documents to support the articles. Anything that fails to support the myth is deleted.

You will instantly and consistently get shut down on Wikipedia.

The reason for that is that you are a Truth Crusader. It doesn't matter if you are Right or Wrong. Wikipedia shuts down Truth Crusaders on EITHER sides of any issue by simply declaring that Wikipedia is not a place to debate, or resolve, matters of Truth. Wikipedia pages are not filled with "Truth", Wikipedia content accurately reflects the content of "Verifiable Reliable Sources". If "Reliable Sources" consistently state something which happens to be false then Wikipedia is going to ACCURATELY report that that is what Reliable Sources say.

(Some might comment on the contradiction of "Reliable Sources" which contain false information. The world is an imperfect place, and no one can expect perfection in anything. The definition of "Reliable Source" is a set of criteria that establish a broad class of sources as reasonably reliable in general, independent of the fallibility of any particular source on a particular thing. So yes, a Reliable Source can be wrong, and Wikipedia will accurately reflect that wrong information up until the point when other Reliable Sources correct that information.)

If you want to wage a Truth Crusade exposing the "myths about Auschwitz", then Wikipedia is not the place to do it. Wikipedia does not and will not lead on that subject, nor will it lead on any other subject. Wikipedia follows. Wikipedia follows Reliable Sources. If and when you convince Reliable Sources to expose myths about Auschwitz, Wikipedia will gladly update to accurately report what those Reliable Sources say.


Comment: Re:make credibility a metric (Score 1) 239

by Alsee (#47744335) Attached to: Latest Wikipedia Uproar Over 'Superprotection'

Make credibility a visible metric assignable by the deletionists or anyone else. Articles don't need to be deleted for lack of credibility. It works the same here on SlashDot with scores. Give users the choice of seeing only highly-credible articles if they want.

That sounded like an interesting idea.... for about 30 seconds.
Then I realized that it wouldn't solve anything, it wouldn't improve anything. It would just make things worse. Much worse. People would just start waging war over credibility. When it comes to notability, simple, you dig up three reliable sources on a subject and BAM, YOU WIN! Fight over. Inviting fights over credibility would be a never ending flamefest disaster.


Comment: Re:Truly sad (Score 1) 359

by danheskett (#47694487) Attached to: Ebola Quarantine Center In Liberia Looted

You have presented the exact reason why many argue that we should shut down the US border, with the military as necessary, quarantine foreigners, and become a far more closed society.

Education is an unproven method of preventing the spread of the plague. The three proven methods are: (a) kill the sick, burn the bodies; (b) quarantine all the sick and their families until they all die; (c) vaccine. Also, combinations of a and b and c.

There is no amount of education that will guarantee that an infected carrier doesn't make it to the US, spread the infection, and become patient zero for a stateside epidemic.

Comment: Re:One word: PDFLib (Score 1) 132

by danheskett (#47626047) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best PDF Handling Library?

I second PDFLib.

I've created approximately 3 billion pages of PDF with it, since 2000. Very, very well done. The library is well thought out, and it can work even with bindings to languages that you would not think are usable. It's fast, really has a nice scope model, has a nice consistency, and rounds off the edges of PDF better than anything else with it.

If you come it with their import library, and pcos library, it can do almost everything you want. The developers are helpful and don't mess around. If you find a bug they fix it. Plus their documentation is about ten times better than anything else out there I've seen. They have a real reference and a cookbook that covers common scenarios.

Comment: Re:RUDEST PASSENGER EVER (Score 1) 928

I agree about boarding priority, but the cabin is transmitted to the government and recorded in several databases. If the airline moves the person from one cabin to another, then they have to retransmit that information, which is non-optimal, as I heard it.

Comment: Re:Are the *sure* they got the right guy? (Score 0) 790

Nonsense. If this were true, any pissed off person who knows your e-mail address could get your arrested by spamming you with kiddie-porn from an anonymous e-mail provider. You're not going to go to jail just for receiving e-mail.

You just made that up. Ready for this?

Federal law prohibits the production, distribution, reception, and possession of an image of child pornography using or affecting any means or facility of interstate or foreign commerce (See 18 U.S.C. 2251; 18 U.S.C. 2252; 18 U.S.C. 2252A)

You receive child-porn, you are guilty of receiving it, and once you've opened the email, of possessing it, even if you later delete it. Federal jurisdiction applies because they treat all Internet activity is interstate commerce.

The problem with this law, like most of them, is that is badly drafted, subject to abuse, and vague. In actual reality, prosecutors and judges and juries have serious legal jeopardy from even viewing evidence in a trial that is related to these charges.

Comment: Re:Best secure email? (Score 2) 790

A long time ago, a friend and I co-developed a utility that would use reversible encryption and a very large random dictionary that was time coded. Since it was quite early in the internet days, we would burn the large dictionary to two identical CDs, and then while chatting online, we just had to have the time sync'd on our PCs. The time was converted to a byte offset on the CD, and then the next 128-bits were read from offset, which was good for 1 second, and then sent or received message was encrypted using something (must have been.. well it was before AES so probably DES or 3DES).

If I remember right the CD was good for a long time. At 700MB per CD, with 128-bit key length, and 1-second resolution seems to work out to around 533 days of really solid encryption.

We thought it was fairly clever at the time. It was a time of the Clipper chips and all that business.

Looking back, I always think that perhaps something like with USB-drive support and a few additional features would make a fairly useful direct point to point chat tool.

Comment: Re:This is chilling (Score 5, Informative) 790

Not according to the courts. The Courts have said that an un-read, e-mail stored on a server, is like an envelope containing a letter. A warrant is required to do anything other than examine the header (i.e. the face) of the letter.

Once read, it is no longer like a letter, it is business correspondence, and a warrant is no longer required.

This is extremely relevant in law. Recently, the former head of the CIA used unsent drafts stored in a drafts folder to communicate with a lover. This has profound legal implications. It is also how some terrorists were communicating - not sending e-mails, but storing drafts in a folder. This is important because those drafts are even more protected because they are not "in transit" (even though the data is in transit, the message was not "sent", therefore, it can't be put through all sorts of special NSA/CIA dragnets).

What this means in effect is that services like Lavabit are only part of what is needed. What is really needed if you want your email security is end-to-end encryption, where the unencrypted document is never stored anywhere but your computer. Anything else, and once read, your email can be legally produced to any government agency with only a subpoena or national security letter, no warrant needed.

Comment: Re:Well at least they saved the children! (Score 2, Informative) 790

If all the evidence came from Google, I would absolutely not vote to convict. It is far, far, far more dangerous to trust a single entity with detecting and providing the sole evidence to convict a person of a serious crime than it is to allow one child predator to go free.

After learning that the DEA and other agencies of government have knowingly and continue to knowingly lie and create false histories of how evidence or alleged evidence came to be, I have upped my personal tolerance for the idea that government, in a fascist alliance with big business, is able to corrupt the legal process with impunity.

I've already had one chance to exercise that judgement, and to let the prosecutor know that was why, and I hope to have many more opportunities in the future.

For anyone who is going to jury duty: no matter what the judge or prosecutor says, you have the unassailable, unreviewable, unabridged right to acquit anyone, of any charges, for any reason you wish. They will threaten you, lie to you, and mislead you, but you have the ultimate power. It is an awesome power, and even if the person on trial is guilty, you should consider handing down a not-guilty verdict, just to keep the powers that be in check. You will sleep better at night.

Comment: Re:Sorry, but... why? (Score 1) 180

by danheskett (#47591843) Attached to: How Many Members of Congress Does It Take To Pass a $400MM CS Bill?

You've pretty much hit on a few major themes of what is wrong with the American economy right now.

Three broad things:

1. Companies have successfully externalized costs that they should be paying. This legislation is an example of that: companies that are large and profitable should pay to train the workers they want, instead of importing ready-trained (sometimes) workers for less pay. By making the education system the training ground for a highly industry specific field, big companies that need lots of technical people are pushing their costs out to third-parties, namely schools and people who pay for schools.

This is just one example. Huge companies are being built and disrupting industries, and much of it is built upon on labor, capital, and regulatory arbitrage. Uber is a good example - it is executing a strategy of regulatory arbitrage to undercut the traditional taxi business. Additionally, in the Uber example, you have massive cram-down of costs to smaller parties, like Uber drivers. A traditional taxi cab company will pay a huge operating expense to maintain and insure it's fleet. In the Uber model, that cost is pushed down to the driver, where this is enormous incentive to skimp or take risks. Every new disruptive thing that is happening is wringing not only excess (which is long-term economically good) but also decades or centuries of practice, tradition, and local law. The cost savings eventually must come from somewhere, and that somewhere is the middle class.

2. The distributed state model is good for trying out new policies, but eventually bad for business. Having a non-uniform employment and benefit market nationwide is a problem in the long-run. Also, businesses have persuaded the thousands of policy makers to create thousands, or tens-of-thousands, of small carves out, protections, etc that distort the market and create uneven and eventually economically harmful protectionists. Example, in New Jersey consumers can't pump their own gas. Nationwide, industries with good paying jobs are convincing state and local regulators to require specialty business licenses and operating requirements to prevent competition and sustain economic rent seeking activities that normally would be driven from the market. The ongoing failure to fix our national pension system, our healthcare payment and delivery system, and the failure to provide a rational basis for funding primary education has resulted in a hodge-podge of inefficient taxation and revenue collection models. Federal-level failures have created the high-cost, low-wage conundrum that you point out. The result is a labor market where the best jobs are being retained by the financially most stable and well-off cohort (the near-retirement boomers and their followers).

Basically, economic inefficiency is being codified and cemented instead of allowed to run it's course and be purged from the system. From over financialization of the economy, to corporate cost shifting, to environmental concerns - across the board, our nationwide policy making apparatus has been in paralysis for 30 very dynamic years, and it's not good.

3. The basic economics are getting out of whack. We are importing both legal and illegal a large number of foreign workers who are acting like a pressure relief value on economic development. By depressing wages and not-forming American-style, 2-parent/child households, consumption across the economy is being thrown out of whack. Despite jobs reports to the contrary, the US economy has not seen any quarters of real growth where economic activity expanded faster than new credit extension. Essentially, since the mid-1980's, every dollar of GDP expansion has come at the cost of a dollar or more of credit expansion. This is driving a growing demand gap that simply can't be papered over. Americans feel more insecure because they are poorer, which is an unusual thing for us to feel. We are not used to it. But the demand gap that been floating around in the system since 2007-2008 is getting worse, and each passing month it grows and grows. On top of that, Americans are declining, morally, into slothful and wasteful libertines, spending enomoursly on entertainment, dining, and housing far more than their relative wealth should be able to support.

The net result is that we are wasting a lot of American-labor capital, mis-allocating a dramatic share of our economic activity to things which do not increase the wealth or health of a nation, and starting to feel the effects of decades of credit-based expansion and monetary inflation.

Comment: Re:Isn't this exempted? (Score 1) 317

by Alsee (#47570553) Attached to: Ford, GM Sued Over Vehicles' Ability To Rip CD Music To Hard Drive

Nope, you misunderstand what the loophole was. It's utterly irrelevant whether or not it's easy to copy the music out.

You need to forget "plain English" and what "makes sense". We're dealing with the law and legalese. You need to think like a computer running into odd code. If a programmer writes "int Two=3;" then you'll get "Two+2=5". You need to obey the definition you're given, even if it clashes with what you think it should mean. You can't just assume Two+2 is supposed to be 4 when the code (or the law) says something different.

This law has a definitions section, and we are concerned with with three key pieces. I'll trim it to the critical bits.

A "digital musical recording" is a material object [...blah blah...]
A "digital musical recording" does not include a material object [...blah blah blah..] in which one or more computer programs are fixed

Therefore, according to the law, MP3 files on a computer hard drive are not "digital musical recordings".

A "digital audio copied recording" is a reproduction in a digital recording format of a digital musical recording [...blah blah...]

Therefore, according to the law, an MP3 player that copies an MP3 off of a computer is not creating a "digital audio copied recording".

A "digital audio recording device" is any machine or device [...blah blah...] making a digital audio copied recording

Therefore an MP3 player copying MP3's off a computer is not a "digital audio recording device".

The law only applies to "digital audio recording devices", therefore nothing in the law applies to MP3 players. Unfortunately this shitty law does seem to apply to a car audio system copying music off of CDs. Unless the judge gets "creative" in interpreting the law, it seems to me that car manufacturers are going to have to pay damages for every unit produced so far, are going to have to implement DRM on these car audio systems (preventing them from loading any song that's flagged as already being a copy), and are going to have to pay royalties to the RIAA for each future unit sold.


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