The subtle point of the Initiative that seems to be lost on you is that there exists a whole spectrum of possible implementations of copyright law in between the quasi-Hitlerian approach taken by Hollywood and the rest of the high-volume industry and the free-for-all approach envisioned by fourteen year olds in the comment section on TPB. Making sure artists are compensated for their work is one thing. Very few people seriously argue against that. But allowing the monopolisation of culture for the lifetime of several generations? Bankrupting or imprisoning people for sharing a few songs or films? We treat arsonists, drunk drivers and drug dealers less harshly than the punishments some of the high-profile filesharing cases resulted in.
The whole notion is dumb. It's hit the peak now, it's downhill from here. [...] Then you get people comparing home 3D printing to word processing, as if they still don't get that you can't compare information processing to handling matter. It's not the same, and never will be.
I kindly disagree. Today's machines indeed are only really useful for a limited audience, but once the complexity of use - both in software and hardware - decreases sufficiently their usefulness will expand to fields not even thought of today. I am looking forward to using the 3D equivalent of facsimiles of historical material in history classes. Just consider the possibilities: Instead of showing a picture of a Stone Age arrowhead or a Pope's seal - or, looking at other subjects, molecules, DNA, bacteria, organs... - I could pass around a life-size replica. Not just one taken from the limited collection my school has seen fit to purchase, but one chosen specifically to fit into my topic.
Similarly we are currently evaluating different 3D printing options for the volunteer emergency service I am a member of for producing scaled models of damaged buildings, vehicle wrecks etc. for strategic training. It would open up scenarios currently infeasable to simulate with our hand-built models.
It still is a long way off. But so were ubiquous cheap colour print-outs just 20 years ago.
Why should a company located in the USA obey german law? [...]
Offices in Germany == subject to German law.
About one in three smartphone apps accesses and uploads the private data you store on your phone. Your privacy is as stake, and the risk of being profiled rises with every app you download."
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A new, simple implant that can be fitted as outpatient surgery has been developed consisting of a 1.2mm electro-acoustic transducer, which is positioned at the so-called “round window,” which is where the middle and inner ear connect. It then produces amplified mechanical vibrations that stimulate the auditory nerve. Even though the transducer is tiny, it can reach volumes of up to 120 decibels."
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Or maybe god is not evil, but he's doing whatever he's doing to prevent even greater suffering. Maybe man's believe in god (tenuous as it is) is the only thing keeping unspeakable evil from reining down on earth and whatever cruel acts we see in god are actually part of his efforts to save us from the greater evil.
Looking at the atrocities committed in the name of religion, I for one would rather take my chances with that other evil.
[...] what's the significance of that?
And why the hell is Richard Attenborough suddenly buying up Central American islands?
The issue is not that they can tell which phone number you use, obviously. As I see it there are three problems with this kind of tracking technology:
Firstly they could potentially track you across devices based on your behaviour. Think "disposable" phones. Sure, here in the Western world those are mostly used by criminals, so being able to track them may appear to be a good thing. But such technology usually ends up in the hands of repressive regimes.
Secondly, mass surveillance is not just about you as an individual. By looking at where you go when and how long you stay there and correlating this with who else goes there at the same time one can make deductions about social networks within society without ever looking at one person up close. We already have a rampant practice of police doing what is in German called "Funkzellenabfrage": they request the names of every person logged into one specific radio cell at a given time. Essentially hundreds or thousands of people are made into suspects based on one point of data and consequently investigated, often to the point of harassment.
And, even more importantly, algorithms can tell when you deviate from your regular pattern. This is the Next Big Thing in the security theatre. And I for one do enough "random" stuff to be worried that I may in the future find myself singled out by law enforcement based on what some computer says. Geo-caching alone should make my movements stand out quite a bit from the general population. Just look at the abundance of issues with existing "dumb" solutions like the US no-fly list or the European anti-terror watch lists.