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Comment: Re:the totalitarian synergy (Score 1) 146

by steelfood (#48218421) Attached to: Mark Zuckerberg Speaks Mandarin At Tsinghua University In Beijing

That's flat out wrong. Other countries have been and continue to meddle in Chinese affairs.

China does not have a history or culture in meddling in other countries' affairs, at least not the type of meddling that's associated with Western powers over the past five centuries. This is quickly changing as China's adapting to the needs of the 21st century, but it's largely ingrained in the philosophical underpinnings of Chinese culture. The cultural tenets that reinforce this begin with not pointing out the faults of other's houses if your own house suffers the same faults, and end with the (historical) idea that the Middle Kingdom is the strongest culturally and economically. In fact, this is the very premise that led to the disastrous Great Leap Forward (though the Cultural Revolution was a result of the complete opposite). That China could've been beaten by other countries economically was simply inconceivable. This cognitive dissonance resulted in, as you'd expect, insanity.

China's not benevolent, not by a long shot. But the Chinese have been playing this game for far longer, and are far more adept at it than most Westerners are willing to believe and able to recognize (even though they've been self-handicapped by starting at a point 50 years behind everyone else, they're catching up quickly). China understands how to acquire and retain power. If and when they do become a dominant superpower, historical European imperialism and modern American imperialism will look like a child's drawing against a da Vinci painting. This is assuming by then, people would even known where to look.

At which point, we can only hope that the American ideals of freedom and self (which are far more interesting, even if applied imperfectly) will not be buried under Chinese pressure to conform and behave. Unfortunately, I think our ignorant and powerful within our own society are currently more dangerous to these ideals than China is and could posssibly be for the next 30 or so years

The only hope we've got is if the Communist party collapses. That probably won't happen considering the rest of the world is basically keeping them in place by continuing to buy cheap stuff.

Comment: Re:Bull (Score 1) 37

by steelfood (#48218269) Attached to: Microsoft Exec Opens Up About Research Lab Closure, Layoffs

Sorry, I do have to bring something up. One of Microsoft's most lucrative patents is for FAT32. One of the reasons they're making so much money off FAT32 patents is because some genius standardizing SD flash cards put in a requirement that all SD cards use FAT32 ("genius" may or may not be sarcastic). Thus anyone who wants to include a SD card reader, including microSD cards, must license the patents from Microsoft.

However, the tides may be changing after Alice vs. CLS. Those FAT32 patents may not be valid anymore. In which case, Microsoft is about to lose a fairly large revenue stream.

I don't disagree that they are still fairly research-heavy, and that it's a good thing. The problem I see is that their business side (marketing, sales, etc.) has a history killing all the cool stuff that's coming out of their engineering side (including research). This closure may be symptomatic of a continuance of that culture under the new CEO, or it may not. Without intricate knowledge of the internal politics at play (because it's Microsoft and there's always politics at play there), it's hard to say for certain either way.

Comment: Re:Summary (Score 1) 93

by steelfood (#48218205) Attached to: Leaked Documents Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Ebola Vaccine Issues

And the ethics around live human trials are tricky, because some participants in the trial will die from ebola.

At this point, there's no use for a control group. There's also no point in artificially introducing test subjects to the virus, since there are so many people at risk already. Inject everybody already infected with the vaccine/cure and see what happens. The likely worst case is that people die from side effects of the drug, but without the cure, most people are going to die from the disease anyway. The absolute but unlikely worst case is that one strain has mutated to the point where the cure is no longer effective (e.g. entry under a secondary pathway). But that's even more likely to happen if we don't get the outbreak under control and soon.

As for manufacturing capability, many governments have been known to seize drug patents in times of crisis and take on the bulk of manufacturing and distributing responsibilities. The real issue is the time needed for them to ramp up, which would be a similar issue for GSK as well.

Comment: Re:His main points (Score 1) 187

by steelfood (#48218173) Attached to: Assange: Google Is Not What It Seems

Not sure, but when it happens we'll all know a precedent has been set. It may have already happened, and we just don't know about it yet. In fact, we won't until another whistleblower comes forward with the information, or a court ruling makes information public.

I think it's unlikely though. The biggest roadblock is the government itself. Remember Qwest and their CEO Joseph Nacchio? Doing the right thing, doing the ethical thing, is literally dangerous to people's health and freedom. I'm certain Page and other Google executives are under the same pressures, and probably worse, since Google has a far bigger public face. In fact, I wonder if they've already been threatened. There've been numerous instances of the government dropping charges against Google or giving them a slap on the wrist for something clearly illegal (not necessarily unethical, just illegal). I'm suspicious Google's compliance in some government matter was behind those outcomes. What those matters are however, we'll probably never know.

What's interesting is that since those events, Google's grown increasingly silent on advocating for social "good." Microsoft and Yahoo have publicly stated they are fighting government attempts at intrusion into the private affairs of people and other companies. Funny that while Google has announced certain moves that appear to increase the privacy of their users, they have made no similar announcements that they've been actively fighting government intrusion and overreach. In fact, a good number of the moves are largely ineffective against NSLs and the other tactics of federal agencies. It's also strange that Google has recently stopped loudly advocating for net neutrality and voicing their opposition to draconian IP laws.

This all might sound like something that would come out of a conspiracy nut, but time and again these past two decades, the conspiracy nuts have been proven right. It's not so far fetched that the government and corporations are locked in one large circle jerk and have been since the 50's or even earlier; anyone on both sides who doesn't play ball gets disqualified from playing.

Comment: Re:When you are inside the box ... (Score 5, Insightful) 187

by steelfood (#48216847) Attached to: Assange: Google Is Not What It Seems

America used to be the one who fight for liberty.

Nah, that was just PR for the masses. You weren't around for the internment camps during WWII or the McCarthy witch trials, but you should've been around for the CIA's involvement in South America and Iran.

America stands as much for liberty and freedom as China stands for money. Liberty and freedom are convenient lines to trot out to the masses when the government wants to take some otherwise unpopular action (just like money is convenient to keep the masses quiet, but all over the world, not just China). The real motivation behind America is imperial power via trade. Unlike the first and second ages of imperialism, the people in power in the U.S. realize you don't have to own the land, you just have to control what the land produces.

Sorry to burst your bubble. Outside looking in can be as limiting as inside looking out. It's best to have both perspectives.

Comment: Re:His main points (Score 5, Interesting) 187

by steelfood (#48216791) Attached to: Assange: Google Is Not What It Seems

His main point is that we should more cautious of Google than we currently are. This is based on the idea that every company, after a certain point, will begin manipulating the government for continued dominance and the ability to expand to new markets, Google being no exception. He backs this assertion using Eric Schmidt's close ties to Washington which is a bit shaky, but the premise is historically accurate.

He occasionally goes into a bit too much hyperbole and too deep rhetoric, but some of the links between Google and the U.S. government he mentions to reinforce his point are unexpected and interesting nevertheless. For example, the fact that Google was supplying the NSA with search technology to sift through the collected data is news to me, and a bit alarming at that. That they're collaborating technologically with the shadier parts of the U.S. government in search, and others like maps, is not surprising, but still a little disappointing.

The big thing that's not mentioned in the piece is Google sharing the data they've collected using their consumer-facing products with the U.S. government. Now that would be a bombshell. That's not the assertion here, but Assange does drop hints that even if it's not happening currently, it's bound to happen soon enough.

In any case, I think we should be wary of Google, both because of the power they wield over information on the internet, and because they continue to insist they are doing "no evil." Unlike Assange though, in the same way that George Washington set a precedent by stepping down after two terms as President (he could very well have crowned himself if he wanted), I'm waiting to see if Larry Page's Google will set a precedent before I pass final judgment on Google's corporate existence. But that doesn't mean I won't continue to be suspicious of Google's activities in the meantime either.

Comment: Re:Oh yeah, that guy (Score 2) 187

by steelfood (#48216435) Attached to: Assange: Google Is Not What It Seems

I suspect Assange hasn't really done much these past year or so is because of Snowden's leaks. The leaks on NSA's illicit activities, and the U.S.'s response to them, have completely dwarfed every other whistleblowing discussion. At this point, more leaks would just be lost in the crowd.

It's also why Snowden's been fairly quiet too with only one or two revelations every so often. He's already got the ball rolling on discussions on government invasionof personal privacy, security audits, etc. People today are more aware of just how badly they've been violated by their government than ever. So long as that ball keeps rolling and doesn't stall, there's no need for him to give it a push.

Things are a shitshow anyway. Between Western Europe's fear or Putin despite their governments' reluctance to do anything about his land grabs, ISIS threatening to destabilize the Middle East, the ebola outbreak that will certainly affect everyone if it's not brought under control very soon, the riots in Hong Kong, and all the other usual stuff (drug cartels, extreme weather, etc.) there's strife in almost every part of the world. People really aren't going to be interested in what happens abroad if their own country is losing stability.

Comment: Re:A bit???? (Score 1) 157

by steelfood (#48214217) Attached to: Austin Airport Tracks Cell Phones To Measure Security Line Wait

Better yet, don't go to the airport. You're probably being tracked on dozens of cameras via your face alone. You could cover your face with something to prevent tracking, but that might cause other problems.

These systems, assuming they are in place, are not active systems. They're passive systems, used to address events after the fact. Somebody jumps the terminal exit? Track them back to when they entered. Somebody caught with a bag that didn't go through security? Track them back to the person who gave it to them. That kind of stuff.

Anyone that paranoid about tracking should basically avoid the larger parts of society. Live out in a cabin in the woods near some small town, or in a trailer park in the middle of nowhere. Hell, that's what most people trying to avoid being tracked already do.

Comment: Re:Of Course it did (Score 2) 245

by steelfood (#48208373) Attached to: Michigan Latest State To Ban Direct Tesla Sales

You're looking at it wrong. You're looking at things from an ideological perspective.

Most voters are looking at things from an economic perspective. If keeping these people in power are going to keep them their jobs, they're going to vote that way. Even if they end up losing their job ten years later due to a collapse in their entire industry, money in the pocket now trumps any imaginary gains ten years in the future.

Sorry, that's just how the world works.

Comment: Re:Link... (Score 1) 91

by steelfood (#48206877) Attached to: Judge Says EA Battlefield 4 Execs Engaged In "Puffery," Not Fraud

The URL text contains the title of the story it's pointing to. Just hovering over the link, or pasting the URL in between the double quotes of <a href=""></a> will tell you where the link is going.

There's incompetence, and then there's gross incompetence. Guess which one this falls into.

Comment: Re:This is just wrong. (Score 1) 661

by steelfood (#48206713) Attached to: FTDI Reportedly Bricking Devices Using Competitors' Chips.

As another reply has already stated, the counterfeit chips are marked with FTDI, so the chips counterfeiters are infringing on FTDI's trademark.

But your larger question is if the counterfeit chips are (otherwise) legal. Since they're using FTDI VIDs, and misreporting themselves to the host as FTDI chips, they may be violating some standard body's rules. But other than the blatant trademark infringement, there may be no legal violation. Not that it matters, because the counterfeiting is done in China, and such behavior is not illegal there.

The IBM-PC clones pretty much did the same thing in the 80's. Except they did a proveable clean room implementation and marketed themselves as "compatible." The proveable part was important against IBM's lawyers looking for copyright infringement, and by marketing themselves as merely compatible, they were not infringing on any trademarks either. It's quite possible if these chips called themselves FTDI-compatible and not FTDI chips, they may very well be legal.

Comment: It's risky and unlikely to succeed. (Score 4, Insightful) 661

by steelfood (#48205893) Attached to: FTDI Reportedly Bricking Devices Using Competitors' Chips.

Device manufacturing companies may just avoid FTDI chips outright. This is especially true if some suppliers are mixing the real chips with the counterfeit chips.

Worse, since it's coming through Windows Update, the engineers working on Windows Update might outright blacklist FTDI. And Microsoft would be at least partially liable for any bricked device, which would make their lawyers a bit uncomfortable. I wouldn't be surprised to see Microsoft release a patch in the future to automatically unbrick the affected devices.

"Mach was the greatest intellectual fraud in the last ten years." "What about X?" "I said `intellectual'." ;login, 9/1990