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Comment Re:Example (Score 1) 75

That's a very of odd definition of fluency. I could be unfamiliar with the concept of intransitive verbs or genitive case and still be considered fluent in my native language. Not knowing whether to use 'there', 'their' or 'they're' in a given sentence has little to do with your knowledge of grammar and basic linguistics. If you have to analyze a sentence grammatically to correctly use 'their' in "She went to their house", you almost certainly are not a native speaker of English.

I suspect that many people develop a greater understanding of their own language, and languages in general, by studying a second language. I still remember the "Ah ha!" moment I had in junior high school when it dawned upon me the doing word for word translation of English to French was almost never going to produce the correct result. My world grew much larger that day.

But my fluency in English was unchanged.

Comment Consider the tech book (Score 1) 122

I buy tech books often to teach myself about things I think will be useful at work. I do not read them cover to cover - I study the portions I'm interested in, those that may solve a perticular problem. I may return to them later to study another aspect that I need to know. I consider the money well spent if I'm able to learn what I need when I need to learn it. That's what I consider a valuable resource.

I've used several MOOCs in the same way. I've worked my way through the bulk of them without difficulty. But I never bothered to complete them. I learned what I needed to know and moved on. I consider these courses to be tremendously valuable resources. I just don't use them the way the designers expected me to.

That doesn't make them a failure. It just means that if you provide a great source of information for free to the net, people are going to use them in ways that make sense to them.

Comment How constant over time? (Score 1) 69

The nice thing about a person's actual fingerprints is that they don't change over time. As one poster pointed out, oscillators do drift over time. I can't help but think that the components they're trying to measure also will change in the tested characteristics as they age. If a digital fingerprint doesn't stay constant over the life of the device, is it really of any value?

Comment Re:No weather maps for Texas.. (Score 1) 387

NOAA uses manned airplanes now. So do a lot of people. The advantage of drones is that they are significantly cheaper than manned aircraft. So Texas is basically killing innovation and new business models before they ever get started.

In most states, it's already illegal to take pictures that invade privacy. It doesn't matter if the picture of you and your wife making love in your bedroom is taken by a drone or by the guy next door sitting on his roof using his camera and telephoto lens. Both are already illegal.

This isn't about privacy.

Comment Re:Missing Option: Don't Care (Score 1) 381

Too late? Really? I think not.

Maybe you've read about those red-light cameras that were all the rage a while back. I've never seen one, and it wouldn't matter if I did - I don't run red lights, so it's not an issue. If you really followed those stories, you also read about the large number of communities where the citizens got pissed off and decided to have them removed. So the towns did. Not everywhere, certainly, but in enough places to convince me that after they were put up, it wasn't "too late".

The cameras will stay so long as they don't cause issues. When they do, they'll be removed - perhaps by popular vote, perhaps by "citizen justice". But they'll go if they're causing problems for people who are just going about their lives. Don't misunderstand - if enough people think, "I don't like being watched", that's causing problems. If no one cares, they'll stay.

If they aren't causing problems, what's the issue?


Submission + - Judge Robert Bork on antitrust: Google Is No Microsoft (

Freshly Exhumed writes: Robert Bork, the fiery former federal judge whose U.S. Supreme Court nomination battle galvanized a generation of conservative activists, spent the late 1990s arguing that Microsoft should be carved up into multiple pieces because of antitrust violations. Bork, an antitrust scholar and author of a landmark book on the topic, is now saying that Google is no Microsoft. In a new analysis released at an event in Washington, D.C., today, Bork offers a point-by-point refutation of claims that Google has violated the law or acted in an anticompetitive fashion. Rather, Bork says, it's a case of competitors' sour grapes. 'None of the purported antitrust problems that Google's critics have raised indicates that Google is behaving anticompetitively,' concludes the 29-page legal analysis. 'Given the serious factual, logical, and economic flaws in the antitrust complaints about Google's practices, one can reasonably conclude only that Google's competitors are seeking to use antitrust law to protect their own market positions.'
Your Rights Online

Submission + - Dutch DoJ admits breaking the law (

xonen writes: A spokesman for the dutch police, Mr. Lodewijk van Zwieten — national officer for cyber-crime and interception — admitted that the dutch police violates the law by breaking into foreign computers on a frequent base.

He claims the law does not cover current times when it comes to 'the online hunt for pedophiles and other criminals' — as the digital world is border-less but most jurisdiction isn't.

"While we have to ask our foreign colleagues for permission, criminals can access the whole world with a press of the button", van Zwieten sais. As examples are mentioned a recent kp case, and the 'Bredolab' botnet. "When cyber criminals infected 30 million computers worldwide with a hostile virus, the dutch recherche hacked foreign computers".

They plead for laws that 'can catch up with the current speed of developments, because else detectives are always a step behind'.

According to Van Zwieten "internationally, investigation bodies are all having the same problem, and 'have to learn to look at the existing rules with new glasses"

Apparently, laws do not apply to the police, and international criminal activities did not exist before internet, outdating any existing law, giving a free ticket to break them — as long as Justitia is your employer.

--With my humble excuses for the primitive translation.

Submission + - DHS monitors...Popular Science Magazine (

An anonymous reader writes: The Department of Homeland Security is busy keeping us safe from scary bad guys. For example, they're closely watchiing Popular Science magazine, which dares to publish terrorist-friendly stories on things like kid's toys. Turns out they're interested in phrases like "waging war" (on winter), anything relating to disasters, and even zombies. Meanwhile the CIA is trying to find nonexistent pictures of Khloe Kardashian on the PopSci site, and the FBI is interested in trendy cuisine. Huh?

Submission + - Battleheart developer drops Android as 'unsustainable' (

mr100percent writes: Battleheart's creator Mika Mobile in an update explained that it was dropping Android support. Google's platform was losing money for the company, since it spent about 20 percent of its time supporting the platform but only ever made five percent or less of the company's revenue. Much of the effort was spent on issues specific to Android, where the diversity was only creating problems rather than helping. "I would have preferred spending that time on more content for you, but instead I was thanklessly modifying shaders and texture formats to work on different GPUs, or pushing out patches to support new devices without crashing, or walking someone through how to fix an installation that wouldn't go through," one half of the husband and wife duo said. "We spent thousands on various test hardware. These are the unsung necessities of offering our apps on Android."

Submission + - MIT Hails GE's Jet-Engine Powered Power Plants as Key Innovation (

An anonymous reader writes: MIT’s Technology Review magazine just published its TR50 list of the 50 most innovative companies in 2012. “The TR50 companies are leaders,” said Jason Pontin, editor in chief and publisher of the magazine. “They are setting the agenda in their markets and prompting other companies to follow them.”

GE is on the TR50 list. The editors recognized GE’s jet engine-powered gas turbines as a “key innovation” for “building flexible and efficient natural-gas power plants.”


Submission + - Cdn Music Industry Wants Subscriber Disclosure Without Court Oversight ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: The incredible demands of the Canadian music industry as it seeks a massive overhaul of Canadian copyright law continues. It is seeking increased liability for social networking sites, search engines, blogging platforms, video sites, and many other websites featuring third party contributions plus a new iPod tax, and an extension in the term of copyright. Last week, it went further, demanding a requirement for Internet providers to disclose customer name and address information to copyright owners without court oversight as well as takedowns with no due process and unlimited statutory damages.

I have a theory that it's impossible to prove anything, but I can't prove it.