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Comment: Re:But We Didn't (Score 3, Interesting) 267

by tnk1 (#49154309) Attached to: We Stopped At Two Nuclear Bombs; We Can Stop At Two Degrees.

No. The reason we have not blown up the rest of the world has nothing to do with luck. There has been a very concerted effort to keep them on a leash. If you think that its all luck, remove all the controls we have added over the years against proliferation and watch how quickly a very large western city becomes an irradiated wasteland due to some extremist with too much money and too little sense.

If World War III is going to happen, it is not because someone got unlucky, but because someone created a plan to use those weapons for some purpose. That won't be luck, that will be pure stupidity.

Comment: Re:Censorship (Score 1) 285

by tnk1 (#49123419) Attached to: Google Knocks Explicit Adult Content On Blogger From Public View

Corporations have the ability to take things away and this can definitely affect individuals and groups in major ways.

However, the difference is that corporations are, at least in theory, opt-in. If you don't want to use Google or pay for someone else's product, then you don't. The government not only makes you pay for it's programs, but it puts guns in your face if you are willing to accept the hardships of not using government services. That's why censorship and other governmental actions that undermine individual rights are a special problem with special restrictions. I am happy to be an American, but if I wasn't, I'd still have to deal with the US government or some government no matter where I go or what I do.

It may be difficult to create a viable competitor to a multinational, but it's not illegal to try and it does occasionally happen. That's the distinction. If you want to have a content search engine that brings up content that Google won't, you (may) have a means of providing value that Google isn't. That means that you can more effectively overcome Google's absolute mastery of capacity and search algorithms because your audience cannot use Google for what they want.

Of course, you might find that the problems and risks inherent in allowing unfettered search on all content isn't justified by the small amount of reward. And this is likely Google's calculation as well. They probably get fuckall, comparatively, for ads based on "adult" search, while at the same time, they need to be wary of liability or moral outrage for hosting the results for those marginal sites.

This is not the same thing as government censorship, although the root causes can be similar. Corporations must shift for themselves, and like an actual person, they're going to have their own risk to reward ratio. Not everyone feels like being jailed or tear gassed for their principles, and Google is probably becoming similarly risk adverse, but does that surprise anyone really? They're a public company and have been for years now.

Is what Google doing "censorship"? I suppose, but if we accept the use of that word to describe what Google is doing, we still have to make a distinction about what is really going on. Would you like to be forced to accept risk for something you don't really believe in? Probably not, and certainly without some sort of protection against those who would have a problem with you.

Comment: Re:Artists paid 16 times as much for Spotify than (Score 1) 303

by tnk1 (#49115681) Attached to: Pandora Pays Artists $0.001 Per Stream, Thinks This Is "Very Fair"

I agree that the conversation is hidden from us with a Spotify, but again, this is a business arrangement that I also had little say on, one way or another. If I insisted that Spotify give more to artists, then Spotify would charge me more. If I couldn't or wouldn't pay that, then Spotify could not operate, or it would pay out less.

If we believe that Spotify is actually greedy, as opposed to providing operating costs + a fair profit margin, then perhaps people can work together to provide another service that does want to pay more for art, but unless that was run with some business sense, that would fail too.

I don't really see art as something different than any other job. Many people do work that does not bring me any satisfaction, and many artists do nothing that interests me either. To do either professionally requires some sort of commitment. Both "normal" jobs and making art can require talent and often require work and resources. I'd rather be in charge of my own film studio, but even if I had ability, if I don't know how to make money at it, I'm not going to make films because I'll be starving and all my assets will be repossessed in short order.

There are musicians who are good business people, and if they have any talent, they can support themselves. Many do not have business ability, and therefore they need to rely on others. Which is fine, except when those people are not looking out for you. Perhaps instead of complaining about Spotify, we should work on simply taking up a collection for them and giving them money. Don't even bother associating it with a track you like, don't even bother with "ownership" or a license to have a copy of their recording. Just sponsor them.

I think people want the music business to be run like a Charity for Deserving Musicians With No Business Sense. If that's what you want, then don't make Spotify do it for you, cut out the middleman and just pay them as a benefactor or patron. If they start making crap, then stop supporting them.

Comment: Re:Seems pointless to sue (Score 1) 114

by tnk1 (#49115523) Attached to: Lenovo Hit With Lawsuit Over Superfish Adware

Is your point to get a million dollars out of them, or is it to discourage them from doing this to you again?

If you want a million bucks out of them, you could win. Maybe. On February 30th.

If you want the company to be "corrected" or simply punished, then hit them with the class action suit.

The victory in the class action suit is that you punished them, and you did, by getting more money out of them than you ever would have alone. The fact that it benefits lawyers is irrelevant. You paid nothing to get it done, and the lawyers did what you could not.

There are problems with relying on lawyers. Perhaps the government should regulate more, but that's not free to you either. You will pay more taxes for more enforcement. At least with lawyers and a class action suit, you're not even indirectly footing the bill, and private lawyers can be very effective in extracting as much as possible from their targets.

There is a point to these lawsuits, but it is not about financial compensation. It is about future outcomes where no one does that thing again (and maybe a little revenge). You may or may not benefit from the future outcomes. Certainly, like in the case of laptops, if you punish them now, you will be much less likely to face a problem when you buy your next laptop from *any* laptop manufacturer. If you pursued the suit yourself, you might lose and that judgement could embolden the perpetrator, instead of chastising them.

Comment: Re:War is Hell. (Score 2) 224

by tnk1 (#49113953) Attached to: 100 Years of Chemical Weapons

No, that was not the plan. It is a result of poor planning and short-sightedness. We give the people who put us in these messes far too much credit. We'd prefer to believe that they planned it, as opposed to simply not planning anything at all or simply not caring at all.

Not that the West needed to be involved to make the Middle East unstable. If we left the place alone, it would be just as unstable. Tribesmen and various empires have been fighting over that area for centuries. Oil has just made it worse.

Comment: Re:Too Much or Too Little? Economically? (Score 1) 303

by tnk1 (#49113083) Attached to: Pandora Pays Artists $0.001 Per Stream, Thinks This Is "Very Fair"

Before there was a music business or copyright, people like Mozart or Handel or name your pre-20th Century composer/performer here, and they got paid. And people who were not as talented did as well.

Mind you, many of these folks like Mozart had money problems, although some of their money problems were due to how they lived, as opposed to scarcity of payment. By and large, however, it was mostly enough to live on, and they didn't need to work in a field to get that payment.

I think changing the model would change the number of people in the music business, but probably for the better. Too many artists is the problem. More supply than demand, for the most part.

I want to hear $10 worth of music a month. That is my budget. If there are 1000 tracks to choose from, then each will only get 1/1000 of my ten bucks. If there are only 10 tracks, then they will get a buck of my ten bucks. I may have less choice in artists, but that's what *I* get for not budgeting more for music. If I can't pay 20 bucks for music, due to not having the reasonable budget to pay for that, then I can't pay for it. And if I can't pay for it, then I can't pay musicians for it either. That's all there is to it.

Comment: Re:errr. huh? (Score 1) 531

by tnk1 (#49097939) Attached to: Stephen Hawking: Biggest Human Failing Is Aggression

The thing is, when Hawking admitted that aggression was useful in the Stone Age, it sounded like he was lumping it in with being ambitious and competitive. I doubt he wanted to suggest that we stop being competitive, but it's a short path from being highly competitive and making your own outcomes, to aggression, which is making your own outcomes by attempting to forcibly remove someone else as an obstacle to your goals.

I don't really think you can remove aggression without removing competitiveness. I think that aggression level is simply competitiveness that is brought to its most extreme expression. I don't think we need to remove it, I don't think we really can. I do think we need to moderate it and find a way to channel its expression so that highly aggressive behavior is not necessary to accomplish the same goals. Oddly, we sort of did that with nuclear weapons. I just hope there's a less horrible way to accomplish the same goal.

Comment: Re:What should they do? (Score 1) 131

by tnk1 (#49097773) Attached to: Carnegie-Mellon Sends Hundreds of Acceptance Letters By Mistake

Let's be clear. I didn't say Google itself cared. I said it might be somewhat more useful to go to C-M if you wanted to work at Google. That's different.

Google has a Pittsburgh office whose opening was motivated, in part, due to close ties with C-M. Also due to the high quality of IT candidates in that area, which is also a side effect of C-M.

They may not have a requirement that you have that name on your diploma, but there is close proximity to that Google office, and C-M has very good outreach and an excellent reputation.

There are also a fair number of C-M grads there. That ensures that there is a level of familiarity with the C-M program and the definite possibility of networking. All useful in obtaining a job out of school.

Finally, if you go to a school like that, you're honestly a lot more likely to engage in projects and hobbies that would interest Google. They have the labs, the faculty, and the environment that helps with that. Same goes for an MIT or a Berkeley.

Chances are good that going to C-M is an advantage if your goal is to work at a Google (or Apple or Microsoft for that matter). Schools like that don't just rely on the strength of their name for placement.

Do you have to be smart or have done something to impress Google? Sure. There are no guarantees about placement anywhere where there is a huge line at the front door.

However, if I was selecting a school to go to, with an eye towards having an edge towards making myself more attractive, that would be one of the schools that I'd have on my list.

The point is, making 80k is relatively easy and you don't need a C-M degree or even a degree to make that in IT. That's not why you go to C-M. You go to places like that to take advantage of its particular opportunities to improve your game as a CS person and that can get you where you need to be to be marketable to the top places to work.

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 1) 531

by tnk1 (#49097015) Attached to: Stephen Hawking: Biggest Human Failing Is Aggression

I think pacifism works, but in such a manner that not enough people, to date, have really had the balls to try.

Effectively, you overcome aggression by bending, but not breaking, in the face of it. As the one passage says, if someone wants your cloak, you give them your robe as well. It is extremely inconvenient to have that happen to you, but you can probably get another cloak or robe.

Case in point. A guy lets himself get executed in a backwater province of the Roman Empire based on a pacifist program. 300 years later, even the Emperor is kissing his ass. Today, it is a pillar of Western civilization. Does pacifism have power? Hell, yes it does.

The cloak and robe example works even more so if the community's response to the robbery isn't to punish the offender, but to make sure the victim gets a new cloak or robe. After all, they can keep stealing someone's cloak or robe, but eventually, that guy's going to have a bunch of robes and cloaks that he has no use for. Maybe next time, no one has to be mugged for a garment.

Indeed, what IF someone threw a war and no one showed up? Power is exercised via hierarchy, but in the end, the "powerful" are few and can't do shit without everyone else. Thus pacifism becomes incredibly powerful as the more people believe in it. The problem is getting people to believe in it. And that could get them killed like that other guy. So more than a little courage is required to walk that path, but less and less is required as more people get with the program.

Comment: Re:errr. huh? (Score 4, Interesting) 531

by tnk1 (#49096797) Attached to: Stephen Hawking: Biggest Human Failing Is Aggression

People fail to see the endgame of a non-aggression principle as having any equitable position for the practitioner in the face of a world that does not comply with it.

If someone kills my wife, killing them back doesn't get my wife back. Indeed, it is theoretically possible that forgiving the killer actually does less harm to me than agitating for the murderer's destruction. It is also possible that a forgiven murderer reforms and becomes a model citizen.

But even if you could mathematically prove that was the case, good luck with trying to convince me that wife's loss of life and my own pain doesn't require some sort of vengeance. How would it be acceptable that someone could walk away scot free, or with just a slap on the hand?

Non-aggression also implies a courage that even some of the people who practice it don't understand. In the end, you have to be willing to accept that you can't make an attack to proactively stop a terrible outcome that you know is going to happen.

You see that dictator across the sea subjugating people, building missiles, and spreading rhetoric to prepare their people to come attack *you*. You know you could prevent or blunt their attack on you by hitting them first.

The destruction in a war happens to the defenders. The only time an aggressor takes real damage is when they are forced on the defensive themselves. Non-aggression means you're going to be fighting a just war, but you're going to be fighting it in the rubble of your own home.

That doesn't mean non-aggression is wrong, it just means that you really, really need to understand what the cost is for that theoretically superior outcome.

Comment: Re:errr. huh? (Score 1) 531

by tnk1 (#49096693) Attached to: Stephen Hawking: Biggest Human Failing Is Aggression

It depends on how you define aggression, I suppose.

Given his description of it as being responsible for keeping humans from extinction, however, I think he's defining in such a way that I would disagree with him.

I don't think aggression needs to be removed, but it does need to be redirected where it is helpful and least destructive. For instance, instead of fighting a duel for a mate, two suitors could work to demonstrate their superiority in other forms of competition.

However, that requires all three people to participate: the two competitors willing to compete in that way, and most importantly, the potential mate needs to actually consider the alternate activity to be valuable and attractive.

What perhaps needs to be removed from humans is the misunderstanding that brute force is the ultimate form of power. And in this civilized world, that is actually true to a greater extent.

Comment: Re:It was a movie--duh (Score 4, Insightful) 133

by tnk1 (#49096619) Attached to: Why Hollywood Fudged the Relativity-Based Wormhole Scenes In Interstellar

And much the same reasoning goes to why NASA uses false color images for release: many of the colors out in space are pretty muted and there's a whole lot of brown and grey. There are some striking exceptions, but mostly, the universe looks pretty boring compared to the special effects laden adventure you'd expect from an sci-fi movie.

Comment: Re:Hey, no worries. It's no big deal (Score 1) 149

by tnk1 (#49096551) Attached to: Federal Court: Theft of Medical Records Not an 'Imminent Danger' To Victim

Yes, but if common sense does not conform to a legal precedent, the precedent wins. That's the system. If the precedent needs changing, then the higher court needs to act on it, or it needs to be overridden by legislation.

If there is no precedent, then sure, the judge can apply their own sense with a lot more leeway.

The problem is that when you expect a judge to use their "common sense", what that is varies for every person, even if just a little bit. Judges are in a position to legislate from the bench without being elected by anyone, so if you let them use "common sense", you may not always like the result.

This is already an issue, but it is mostly tamed by making the strongest precedents made by the Supreme Court, which are more likely to be noticed by the legislature, and the people, and overridden by others.

Comment: Re:"Standing" (Score 2) 149

by tnk1 (#49095647) Attached to: Federal Court: Theft of Medical Records Not an 'Imminent Danger' To Victim

We need an ombudsman or independent commission which has automatic standing in Federal court with the specific charge of investigating scenarios like this where someone believes they could have been harmed, but they can't get enough evidence to prove that they have standing. The commission would then get the information, which they would keep secret until they determine a list of people where there might be probable cause that they have been injured. That or the commission sues, is granted an award, and then as evidence appears that people have been harmed, those people can apply to the commission for redress.

There are a lot of holes in that idea I can see, but the general idea is that we probably need an innovation to cover this standing and accountability gap.

Comment: Re:Hey, no worries. It's no big deal (Score 5, Insightful) 149

by tnk1 (#49095589) Attached to: Federal Court: Theft of Medical Records Not an 'Imminent Danger' To Victim

I don't know that this is entirely fair. While a lot rides on a judge's opinion, in the end, the judges are only supposed to interpret the law and precedents from higher courts, not make things up as they go along. If there had been no precedent (ie. the Clapper decision), he may have felt more free to define a better test for "imminent threat".

Most lower court judges work to make sure their decisions will pass muster on appeal. That requires them to respect precedents or you can be sure that those judges will be constantly overruled on appeal. And if a judge is constantly overruled on appeal, it means that more cases end up waiting on appeals and fewer cases can be heard. If the Supreme Court is constantly having to decide cases that end up in their lap on appeal, they'll have no time to ensure the most important ones get their time. If a judge becomes a passthrough to an appeal, that judge will have their reputation and possibly their career suffer.

There is a reason that judges are appointed, sometimes for life. They're supposed to be accountable to the law, not the electorate directly. If we have a problem with definitions, we need to get legislation with the right definitions. I am not suggesting that anyone get doxxed, but if someone was to be, it needs to be legislators.

When the weight of the paperwork equals the weight of the plane, the plane will fly. -- Donald Douglas