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Comment: Re: Who cares what RMS wants? (Score 4, Insightful) 551

by sirlark (#49015629) Attached to: RMS Objects To Support For LLVM's Debugger In GNU Emacs's Gud.el
Also, I should point out that the LLVM/clang situation is a bit more complex. If I recall, LLVM came about because the gnu toolchain deliberately obfuscates it's output and interoperability interfaces with other tools even within the toolchain. This strategy was chosen because the outputs of the individual software tool in the toolchain were not, and could not be protected by the GPL (any version). It would have been possible for a proprietary product to be developed that didn't link to gcc (or another part of the toolchain) to take the useful output of gcc (e.g. a parsed abstract syntax tree) and use it to any number of cool things. The product could still be distributed with gcc (and the required accompanying notices) but the rest of the code would be locked up, because it doesn't link to gcc, only depends on it at runtime. This violates the spirit of the GPL which is not only to make software free, but to keep it free.

Comment: Re:You can add all the very you want (Score 1) 130

by sirlark (#48882277) Attached to: New Advance Confines GMOs To the Lab Instead of Living In the Wild
Yes ... but over a long enough time (a shorter time probably) those same mutations might occur naturally. And if the mutations are not beneficial to the organism (as opposed to beneficial to humans), then they are very likely to lost again. Look, if they create an e. coli strain that produces something amazing, for instance, a viable crude oil substitute, but it also happens to be highly effective at out-competing wild type e. coli in the human gut as a side effect, and coincidently killing us because we've basically swallowed litres of crude oil, I'd say it might still be worth the risk. If they're producing vanillain, or insulin, then definitely. The problem with the crude oil scenario, is that an escapee colony would start producing a never ending oil slick. But again, the mutations would likely be lost because the organism won't need them.

Comment: Re:I`ll be the pessimist (Score 4, Insightful) 130

by sirlark (#48879159) Attached to: New Advance Confines GMOs To the Lab Instead of Living In the Wild
The whole idea is that the escapees won't survive long enough to reproduce, as being without their essential amino acids, their growth would be limited, and bacterial reproduction rates are tied to growth rates. Also, consider that as long as they're provided with the non-native amino acids, they're under no selective pressure to revert to the wild type. Yes, it's possible, but very very unlikely.

Comment: And five minutes later... (Score 0) 238

by Samantha Wright (#48858215) Attached to: Google Thinks the Insurance Industry May Be Ripe For Disruption

...Someone from the back row shouts out "Because our AdSense profile has determined you were visiting websites about cigarettes recently, your health insurance premium has gone up by 5% and you will probably die slightly sooner. Remember, [i]f you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place!"

Is it cynicism if you're just using a Markov chain to predict what other Slashdotters will say?

(Although obviously this is auto insurance, so I'm sure someone can translate the threat appropriately.)

Comment: Some more details and fixing some missing details (Score 4, Informative) 160

by sirlark (#48763359) Attached to: Over 30 Uber Cars Impounded In Cape Town

Captonian here. The summary is a bit misleading. In South Africa there are two nationwide requirements for anyone (including Uber drivers) to transport members of the public. They must be personally licensed to drive (i.e. have a valid drivers license), and also licensed to transport members of the public (a public drivers licence, which requires not having a criminal record, not having ever had your driver's license revoked, etc...). In Cape Town specifically, there's an additional by-law that means the vehicle must be licensed. This requirement is the case in most municipalities in South Africa, although some municipalities classify Uber's service as "chartered transportation" and Cape Town classifies it as a "metered taxi service".

A local talk radio show had both a representative from Uber and a representative from the city’s Safety and Security department. Both Uber and the city confirmed that Uber only checks the national requirements, i.e. the driver's credentials. Uber doesn't check that the vehicle is licensed to transport. To be fair, Uber apparently goes above and beyond the minimum checks regarding the driver, doing deeper background checks etc, but they do not check that the vehicle is licensed. All of the impounded vehicles were impounded due to a lack of the vehicle license. Uber seems to be trying to spin things saying that the City's bureaucracy is way too slow, but what it comes down to is the fact that are plenty of metered taxi's already, they need to be licensed, and there are a limited number of licenses. Uber's been categorised as a metered taxi service, so no new uber drivers are going to be given vehicle licenses. Uber wants to be reclassified as a chartered transport service, and here things get a little fuzzy. As far as I can tell, a chartered transport service requires an upfront statement of cost, i.e. the driver/company has to provide a quote for the proposed route. Airport shuttles fall under this for example, because they charge a fixed amount per suburb/area, they don't charge per kilometre. I'm not sure how exactly uber determines the fare, but it's not fixed, so technically, they're not a chartered service.

So it doesn't look like it's the city's fault. They're following the law. Now, it's open to discussion whether Uber is at fault for not ensuring their driver's vehicles are licensed, or whether it should be the driver's responsibility, but from the consumer side, I'd say the expectation is that Uber has done their due dilligence.

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