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Comment: Actually banned, authors went to prison. (Score 3, Informative) 410

by spikesahead (#47981939) Attached to: It's Banned Books Week; I recommend ...

The Illustrated Presidential Report of the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography.

This book was a factual record of the results of the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography, started by Lyndon B Johnson in 1969, which concluded that pornography was not harmful to consenting adults. Both Democrats and Republicans joined together in rejecting facts in favor of prejudice and roundly censured the report.

Two men gathered the results of the report, including the image material used of more or less every kind of porn in existence, and published about 100,000 copies of it before being pulled into court for publishing obscene materials. They both ended up serving time in jail.

Huffington post has an excellent article about it;

Comment: Re:noone trusts their cya legalese (Score 1) 134

The gag orders have made speech entirely pointless. It is not legal for this company to tell us the truth without going to jail because their right of free speech has been suspended. That make every statement about the subject entirely meaningless, because anyone who knows the truth is prohibited by law from saying anything about it, or even insinuating the truth via omission.

Free speech was fun, free speech is over. It's lost all meaning now.

Comment: Re:Wrong use of money these days (Score 1) 356

by spikesahead (#45712431) Attached to: GM's CEO Rejects Repaying Feds for Bailout Losses

Neither of these statements are facts.

Saying it's the 'right' thing to do is purely subjective. You don't know what he believes is the right thing to do, I'm sure in his mind he's already done the right thing and trying to argue that he should do YOUR right thing instead of his own right thing will never get you anywhere. It's a null argument.

It very much will affect his position at that company. His overriding goal is to make choices that keep the company strongest to the exclusion of all other considerations. If there is a choice to be made, his job is literally to make the choice that keeps the company as strong as possible. If he takes other concepts into consideration, such as 'the greater good' or 'common human decency or dignity' or even 'keep us from going extinct in a thousand years' he is quite literally not doing the job he's payed so very very much money to do. That's what could get him fired!

I personally share the same perspective of you, I think this is a dick move by a dick of a person in service to a dick corporation and it saddens me that there's no good way to make it more profitable to be ethical and responsible than it is to make every shady 'fuck you' deal you can. I think the only effective, non-violent solution to this will probably be the erosion of privacy for the upper classes, think universal ubiquitous paparazzi letting anyone who wanted to watch them 24 hours a day, even when they sleep, to make sure nobody's whispering shady evil deals into their profit hungry ears. It's only fair, the upper classes literally have the capacity to do that to any of us already, things will begin to change when we can do it back. The evil ones will wither under the glare of public attention while those honorable and respectable will be proven so and rewarded. I can't see any other positive future.

Comment: Re:Easily dealt with. (Score 1) 232

by spikesahead (#45455113) Attached to: US Wary of Allowing Russian Electronic Monitoring Stations Inside US

Nukes are as powerful as they are because it was originally quite difficult to aim them. You could point them at a city but they might actually land miles away, which is no big deal if you're devastating a multi-mile area.

Nukes are very messy though! Wouldn't it be so much more fun to be able to launch hellfire-equivalent munitions from space? All you really need to do to achieve that is make sure you can hit your target.

The better your aim is, the smaller the projectile can be. Wouldn't it be cool to assassinate people by dropping an arrow made of white hot supersonic depleted uranium through the tops of their skulls?

Comment: Re:Can we have a week without ... (Score 2) 144

by spikesahead (#45377315) Attached to: Bitcoin Donations To US Campaigns Might Soon Be Allowed

Backing is required for fiat currencies because they do not have any sort of built in scarcity other than what is enforced by the owner of the fiat. The promise is really to bust down my door with guns if I try to produce any US$ myself, thus creating an artificial scarcity of valuable pieces of basic paper and ink.

Bitcoin is not a fiat currency, it's closer to gold in that it has an actual scarcity, just like one day we'll run out of gold one day we'll run out of bitcoins and our option for expanding the supply will boil down to further subdividing the pool that remains. The backing is fundamentally mathematical in nature, just like gold's value as a currency is that it is very difficult to produce for ANYONE, but if I discover a gold mine in my back yard I can produce all the gold I want without worrying that someone will put me in jail for doing so.

The way the united states was weaned off the gold standard was to enforce fiat style rules on gold, treating ownership of gold the same way we treat counterfeiters, as if the act of owning gold was counterfeiting currency. They took the gold and provided fiat currency instead. It was not until the fiat US$ was firmly established that laws on gold ownership were relaxed.

Comment: Re:And how can they guarantee that (Score 1) 109

by spikesahead (#45326741) Attached to: Swiss Government Backs Privacy Oriented ISP

So far the most effective NSA attack has been the $3 wrench; they put people in a room and tell them they need to comply or a man with a gun will put them in a metal box forever. Secret laws, secret courts, gag orders preventing you from even talking to a lawyer? These are fundamentally incompatible with the legitimate rule of law.

Comment: Re:And Fire qualifies for many definitions of Life (Score 2) 401

by spikesahead (#45194123) Attached to: Physicist Unveils a 'Turing Test' For Free Will

At what arbitrary point does a chemical reaction jump from being 'just' a chemical reaction to being a chemical reaction that qualifies as 'life'?

Note that this is fundamentally human-centric question. Life is a word that we made up, there is no intrinsic property of life. If I take a handful of carbon, water, and trace elements, then use a magic machine to put them together in a new shape that farts and asks for tea, I've not imbued the items with some material substance that was not there before to make it alive, it's just the same items as before in a new shape with the difference that they're very slowly burning in a way that wants tea and causes flatulence.

The difference between a burning match and a grasshopper is one of complexity, not of a fundamental universal natural difference. The word 'life' is like the Fahrenheit scale; it serves to demarcate the world in a way that makes it easier for us to understand at our scale and with our level of understanding. It's a comparison to ourselves. When we say something is 'alive', we mean 'alive like I'm alive'. We are the metric, which is why we do not consider other complex chemical reactions to be alive despite the fact that simpler reactions like fire really do match up with the basic tenets of life.

I have no doubt that should we encounter an alien entity that has slow, deeply nuanced and complicated thoughts on the timescale of the lives of stars, it would consider all of our thrashings to be no more complicated and difficult to understand than basic chemistry. It would not consider our individual selves to be alive any more than you consider a single cell in your body to be independently alive. We would not be 'alive like it' is alive, but that won't change that we feel that we are 'alive like us' alive, because our definition of life has our kind of life at the center of it.

Comment: Re:they missed a big one... (Score 1) 443

by spikesahead (#45191843) Attached to: I wish my car could...

More like, I wish my public transport was more like a car. Unless you're very lucky (which you clearly are), points A, B, and Public Transit don't line up, and even when it does the minimum one way trip in my city is always at least a solid hour.

I heard a very interesting idea the other day, from here on slashdot no less, about how perhaps in the future we wouldn't own cars but own small trailers. When you wanted to go somewhere you would call up a self driven 'car' that was more or less nothing but an engine on wheels. The 'car' would link up to your trailer, pull it wherever you want to go, then leave it there.

This solves the problem of unruly passengers or people leaving huge messes inside of automated cabs, we would own our own passenger rickshaws and would contract out the work of pulling them around!

These engines would be able to haul people cabs rush hour and freight the rest of the time, when one had a problem it could pull over and a free-roaming replacement could pick up where it left off with minimal downtime. Why not go on vacation by mapping a route across the country and having software negotiate a bunch of off-peak pulling stints? Spend the day downtown in a new city, then pile into your camper and sleep while you're safely hauled on to the next city, with a hand-off somewhere en-route as you went between engine providers!

Comment: Local networks (Score 1) 132

by spikesahead (#44723995) Attached to: Dotless Domain Names Prohibited, ICANN Tells Google

Computers currently use the dot in a domain name to determine whether the machine is on the local network or not.

What if I made my machine name 'search''? Would I get all the traffic intended for the 'search' dotless domain? Would people be unable to resolve via my hostname at all, getting google whenever they tried to get to me?

Comment: I built my own (Score 1) 211

by spikesahead (#44665285) Attached to: All-in-Ones Finally Grow Up, With Fast Graphics, SSDs, and CPUs

It's an ergotron neo-flex with a mini-tower and a vesa-compatible monitor on the front. It's a computer that I can put away every day.

I used to have gaming laptops for this purpose, but I got tired of them dying heat deaths. I can upgrade the monitor and processing parts separately, and use whatever peripherals I want.

"Consequences, Schmonsequences, as long as I'm rich." -- "Ali Baba Bunny" [1957, Chuck Jones]