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Slashback: Protest, Similarities, Orbit 152

Slashback items tonight on India's satellite launch, a bi-coastal EFF-organized protest (yes, will involve leaving your cubicle, basement, silo, remote farm, etc.), Apple not falling far from the tree, and the death of Indrema. Read on below :)

Show your truuuuueee colors ... h0mee writes: "Howdy! This has already been posted on slashdot, but we still need more volunteers showing up at the protests. This protest is being organized by the EFF against federally mandated censorware in schools and libraries. The protests are occuring on this friday in the SF Bay Area and the NYC areas. I'd like to remind slashdot readers on the completely cynical side that even small groups of protestors showing up will have big impacts, as the FCC will be caught completely off guard by hordes of angry geeks showing up- this protest can make a difference! Please check out the EFF's protest page on this for more info for coordination and ridesharing, or this rant on craigslist for SF bay locals. Show your geek pride, and help us distribute Clue to the FCC!"

Hey, stop looking at me! And no feeling, either! In response to CmdrTaco's recent post about Apple moving yet again to block the makers of Apple-reminscent themes, WillAdams writes:h "The response, and the original letter are up at

They'd like a lawyer..."

Sounds fair. Soon lawyers defending Open Source will take over as the heros of the software world. "Didn't there used to be programmers, too, dad?"

Up in the air, Junior Birdman w00ly_mammoth writes: "After an aborted attempt, India has launched a satellite rocket. Signals from it were picked up in Canada. The Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, or GSLV-D1, is capable of giving the nation communication and military capabilities, according to western analysts. The US has been concerned about this development for a while. This could also rattle the aerospace industry, since it marks an entry into the lucrative satellite launch market."

(Invent your own aphorism involving ashes, phoenixes and plant life.) impaler writes: "Games Mania has a story with three people's views on the death of indrema. They interview Mark Collins (author of Linux Game Programming), Clinton Ebadi (me / that lamer that does nothing useful), and Steve Baker (of TuxKart fame). All three offer different opinions on why indrema went down."

Speaking of games, ryants writes: " is reporting that NVidia's GeForce3 meets or beats the functionality available in DX8 via OpenGL extensions. This bodes well for Linux gaming." Take your grains of salt, head out back, and play some TuxKart;)

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Slashback: Protest

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    1. Is the statue of david pornographic? What about if the computer is surrounded by a group of giggling girls? What if one of those girls then wants to do a speech on the statue?

    2. How is trying to block porn feasible?

    3. What if other valid stuff (breast/testicular cancer information, STD info) gets blocked in the process?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Wrong. My sister is a high school science teacher, and she is constantly bitching about their "BESS" proxy. There is no way for anyone but the admin to override it. And the admin (of course) won't do shit.

    They have a 192.168/16 internal network, and they use BESS as a proxy on their 'firewall' which does not do any kind of NAT.

    At least you can tunnel Yahoo Messenger throught HTTP, so I can IM her, until BESS catches on and blocks yahoo's IM servers.
  • And furthermore, my mother used to tell me to eat all my food because there were starving children in India. 30 years later, I now weigh approximately 450 pounds. If India is actually firing off rockets now, I shall begin dieting.
  • But not much more morbid than the results of an overpopulated earth.

  • I think the position was more like "If people don't want to see "indecent" websites, they can use filterware to prevent it themselves. The Internet should not be filtered for everyone against their wishes." The CDA was grossly unconstitutional anyway, and I'm glad it's gone.

  • It sure was nice for the EFF to let its members know about this...

    Why dosen't the EFF let its members know? I am a paying member yet I NEVER get any email from them and yes I have signed up to the newsletter...
  • if we didn't have censorware, a large portion of the students would be spending the majority of their "research" time on and porn and all sorts of things that are not at all related to what they are supposed to be doing.

    I think part of the point is that with censorware they may not go to, but they can still got to, or a few thousand other porn sites, while you are blocked from some ligitmate research sites because they have the word breast, or are hosted on the same megaserver as some porn site, or promote abortion (making it harder to research Roe v. Wade)...

  • Dont' worry - XBox will likely have TiVo-esque functionality. (but probably not as good and crippled by agreements with the networks et al)

    I have a post frome more recently that puts forth a theory of why precisely MS is really getting into consoles. It's not for games.
  • Hey, I only visit for the linux article....
    See: l

  • It's simple. There was a window of opportunity for a real next-generation console, but it slammed shut the day Playstation 2 shipped. With Xbox going into the PC hardware side of the gaming market, and Sony dominating the "entertainment center" approach, there's only room for one or two more players, max. Nintendo is on their way to the market, and even Sega couldn't keep up. How's a product like Indrema going to make any splash at all in mid-to-late 2001 against that competition?

    If they had shipped a product last summer, there might have been a niche to exploit, but it was too late. The other possibility would have been an alliance with TiVo - both companies had Linux-based equipment (albeit on different processor platforms) and perhaps a hybrid TiVo/Indrema gaming console/TV recorder could have carved out a place in the market. Though the cost of the hardware would have gone up quite a bit accordingly.

    As much as an Open Source gaming system would have been cool, better the company die now while there's less money at stake than build a lot of consoles that sit on shelves because they don't play Playstation, Xbox, or Dolphin games.

    - -Josh Turiel
  • Why has it no educational value? In many cases it's far more educational than the "abstinence" crap they preach in schools as opposed to explaining how things work (like conception, contraceptives, etc.). Inappropriate on a school's pipe? I dunno. It doesn't strike me as much different than a couple of 12 year old boys stumbling across dad's stack of Playboys. Maybe you're right. Perhaps we should put the smack down on our kids for *daring* to think about sex. The little worms, allowing puberty to cloud their judgement. [end-sarcasm] So aside from that evil nasty porn, what else shouldn't kids get to see in their schools? What else would you have them not learn about?
  • Does it bother you that people fuck dogs? Nope. Not one bit. I'm not going to seek it out, but more power to 'em! When freedom of speech is censored because someone finds the speech (or picture, or video, etc.) offensive, that censorship is wrong. Good luck convincing me that A) a kid who isn't looking for it will accidentally stumble upon it (what's he gonna type, "dogs fucking women" into and B) a kid who does "stumble" upon something like that wasn't really seeking it out (or will find a way to see it elsewhere).
  • People seem to forget that the moon is an incredibly strategic place for a military base. Think about it, you're up there at the top of Earth's gravity well... minimal effort is required to toss big-ass rocks down on your enemy. See Heinlein's "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" for an rough draft of the required engineering. ;-)

    Of course, establishing any kind of long-term moon base is an extremely challenging project.

  • I think one thing that helps India is the southern tip of the Indian sub-continent is much closer to the Equator than any Chinese launch facility.

    This means the Indian space agency can better use the assist of the Earth's rotation, so you don't need a fairly large launch rocket like the US, China and Russia has to do from their native launch sites. It's the reason why the European Space Agency built their launch pads in French Guiana--only 6 degrees north latitude from the Equator. It's also why Boeing headed the Sea Launch consortium that has a floating launch platform; the floating platform is at the Equator out at sea when the rocket is launched, so you don't need a big rocket to achieve geosynchronous transfer orbit.
  • After the last "Windows Rebate Day []" debacle, it would be nice to see people valiantly representing the interests of freedom without looking like total idiots.

    Still, this sign is funny []


  • According to the CIA World Factbook, India's population as of July 2000 was estimated at 1.01 billion people. China's estimated population at that point in time was 1.26 billion. I don't think that really qualifies as "a lot".
  • The US and Russia basically did the same thing using German technology, at first. With time, we learned and built on top of what we had to produce what we now have today. It may not be as cool as building a rocket totally from scratch, but putting together something like this is still a large (and importantly, useful) achievement.
  • Absolute differences don't matter at all. If there are ten more people in the apartment next to mine than in mine, that's a huge difference. If there are ten more people in Canada than in the US, that's so close as to be astounding.

    The difference between India and China is only around 20%, which isn't a lot.
  • I wish India the best, but I really hope that the Chinese kick their space program into high gear first, because that's the only thing that would arouse enough competitive spirit to get Uncle Sam off of his couch and back into orbit and beyond. Nationalism isn't great all the time, but it's good for pushing the human race into new frontiers, and so in that regard the more competitive China gets, the better. If recent history has shown anything, it's that the U.S. does better when there's somebody to compete with. Otherwise we get complacent, dumb, and irritable.

  • Once the American public realizes that you can drop some pretty big rocks on the USA from the Moon, they'll care about it. I think people could get all worked up about another space race and that in fact something like that is needed. Americans are nothing if not competitive; and a large part of the emotional problems we've displayed on the world stage recently are due to the fact that we don't really have an external focus or goal as a nation. Americans don't know how to sit back, relax, and enjoy their success; there always has to be a next goal and when no such goal is in sight, we have problems domestically until a new goal is found.

    If President Bush really wanted to be remembered for more than "The Business of America is Business" (actually that was Coolidge IIRC), he'd lay down a Kennedyesque ultimatum to have a fully functional international space station and the start of a permanent lunar settlement before the decade is out. The development program would be good for the U.S. aviation and defense industry, and business could really take it to the next level once they have cheap access to space. Not to mention the millions of other useful advances that a major investment in a space program brings.

    Sorry, I got carried away there. Bottom line: humanity has to spread, and if I have to pit China vs. the USA to do it, I'll send a spy plane every day of the week :)

  • Anyone viewing porn in the library can already be asked to leave, under existing library policies and terms of service. Just like if you had a problem with someone whacking off to a physical Playboy mag in the next study carrel. Likewise for school libraries, especially since you could just require students to login. You wouldn't leave kids alone in the classroom to tell dirty jokes and intimidate girls, why would you leave them alone in the school library long enough to do so? (In reality, of course, you can't stop young boys from telling dirty stories no matter what you do, which makes the effort to ban the virtual extension of this all the more addlepated.) Sorry, the intimidation factor is a red herring.

    Censorware isn't about preventing porn, it's about control. Although those that want to control information may start off with the best intentions, I refuse to submit to that kind of control.

    I agree that in a perfect world there are some things that kids wouldn't be exposed to until they're ready, but in Real Life kids are already talking about it and surfing the Internet for it at home anyway. The only way you can really protect them is to talk to them beforehand and explain how the world really is. If they're forewarned, they aren't going to be any more intimidated by the occasional school library porn than they will be by the myriad jokes they hear in the restroom every day.

  • There are some things that should be blocked out of schools.

    Even if you believe that, you should still be outraged. Your education dollars are going to be spent on pork -- subsidising the filter makers -- and in exchange for that money, you will get nothing. The software doesn't work. None of it will work w/out strong AI.

    It's fraud, pure and simple. The victims of this bill aren't just everyone who believes in the Bill of Rights, but also everyone who pays taxes that would have gone to education and are instead going to be diverted to bogus snakeoil software companies.

  • It was in EFFector 14.06, sent out at the beginning of April.
  • Cheer up. We can't really destroy the planet. Ourselves, possibly, but the planet will survive and recover from anything we can do.

    The cockroaches are waiting patiently.
  • As one of my friends in the semi-conductor industry said.. Anyone can make one, its making thousands and millions (ok, dozens when it comes to launch vehicles) cheaply and reliably that counts.

    Still a long way (about 5-10 years) to go before launching sats can be turned into a business in India I think!

  • OK, let's say there IS a call for sencorware at schools ( instead I think a supervisor should be around).
    Then it should be rateable depending on age or research purpose.
    And it should DEFENATELY be possible for a teacher/guardian to override it when it hampers research.
    For me it's absolutely unacceptable that some uncontrolable person/company/forum decides what is good/bad for the kids.
  • Well, you must remember that the GPS birds are military satellites. They're owned and operated by te U.S Air Force. If they were built to commercial standards, would they be lighter? Probably not - they'd just have more power;bigger solar arrays, batteries, power amps and shunts taking over the mass gained from throwing off "other things." They are, after all, global broadcast satellites with crosslinks, so more power in space translates to smaller, cheaper gear on the ground. They fit on a Delta,and you can't get much cheaper than a Delta by throwing off a little weight, so why sweat weight?

  • The GPS satellites are not immense. They are middlin' in size, and much smaller than most of the communications satellites being built today. They are also in a fairly high 12 hour orbit, and they can't reenter. They simply don't have enough delta-velocity on board to come close to reentry.

    All of the above is unclassified information, but I assure you it's true.

  • NO kidding... don't be an idiot and please keep in mind that many of us read this from work, and don't wish to be explaining to management why we are looking at racist materials online. thanks again!
  • Just out of curiosity, is your sig a joke?
  • 1) .... Another way is to say that they fall up to local discretion.....

    Why not leave the whole issue up to local discretion?

    2) Gee... how feasible is trying to eliminate crime. oh, it's impossible, I guess we should get rid of the legal system then. WRONG! You do the best you can and you try to get better at it.

    More like "let's detain everyone who looks suspicious. Who cares if most of them are innocent, we'll still cut down on crime, right?" Oh wait, we actually do that.

    Well, I guess that the constitution really isn't worth much these days anyways. Remind me again why public-school students have no First Amendment rights?
  • Absolutely not. It is simple biological truth.

    Oh, I see.... [backing away]....

    Well, I'm not getting involved in that debate right now....
  • Censor ware isn't all bad. Generally the kids who are looking up porn at school are NOT the computer junkies.. they are the people / kids who don't care about school and things. Instead, the it's the people like fjordboy and myself, who knows how to get around proxies and what not, that don't look up porn, and hence know how to get aroud BESS (bad dog!) when she comes up. Granted, there are those who have good intensions and still can't get to where they are trying... but for everything else there's Mastercard :)

  • If you ever want to be taken seriously, you must take a more reasonable stance.

    Ah yes, "be reasonable" the cry of the subversive. Compromise is merely a tool used by the patient to undermine the desires of the opposition. Mainstream support is irrelevant in such issues because the mainstream does not care.

    It is true that if the censors have the support of the people that this is a lost cause, however, allowing yourself to be demoralized by "being reasonable" will solve nothing.
  • Progress does not depend on unreasonable people, it is based solely on reasonable people. How far did nazi germany get, what about soviet russia, maybe the great leap forward, the early french revolution?

    Nice canard. All strong opinioned persons are Nazis. I like it!

    In trying to adapt the world to yourself you leave out the others who disagree, the only way to get your way is then violence. That is why we will never see a democratic facist or communist government.

    An appeal to a tyranny of the masses, how nice. Unfortunate that some moral absolutes may offend the mainstream. Since we are bringing up canards, slavery at one time was the will of the people, no?

    Your entire outhouse of an argument rests on the overflowed cesspool of moral relativism. The assumption being, of course, that there are only two sides to a given argument and that the apporpriate solution is to simply meet in the middle. Propaganda what fun.

    And while in your closed minded world there is only proof against the effectiveness of 'censorware', in the real world it is effective.

    Oh. And this statement of fact is based on what? Your exhaustive research. Or is it based merely on your absolutist opinion that filtering software is appropriate and therefore all those who disagree are being "unreasonable."

    Until you have a constitutional right to view all internet material

    The Constitution is an explicit listing of the duties and powers of government. It is not an exhaustive list of the rights of men.

    the government has the right to mandate filtering software for connections they help pay for.

    Government has no rights, it is given privelages and duties. The restraint of speech is not one of those.

    Moderators, please do not moderate me down because you disagree.

    They should mod you down, however, because you are wrong. You are a hypocrite. And because you are attempting (poorly) to use sophistry to argue in support of restraint of speech as opposed to making a direct argument.
  • Hell no. Whats 250,000,000 people? Drop in the ocean really.

    I guess that means the population of the U.S.A doesn't really amount to much either.
  • It's really too bad that the EEF chose to stage a protest at the same time as the FTAA protests []. They'll be greatly overshadowed, and they instantly depleted their source of politically-active geeks, like myself.

    It's too late to change it now, but it really is bad timing.

  • >These are schools for crying out loud. There are
    >some things that should be blocked out of

    "And today kids, we're going to learn about the United States Constitution, but you don't need to take notes because it doesn't apply to you anyways."
  • >For that age group it's reasonable to block
    >racist websites. ie. sites that say that niggers
    >[sic] are a pestilence.

    Gee, that's the exact same logic that people use to advocate banning classic literature, like Huckleberry Finn. But, [] who wants a generation of young adults who understand satire anyways, since satire can be used to criticize the status quo!
    Oh, and thanks to your post and the use of the keyword "nigger", this Slashdot discussion is now blocked. Oh well.
  • >Well, I guess that the constitution really isn't
    >worth much these days anyways. Remind me again
    >why public-school students have no First
    >Amendment rights?

    Oh, because in 1988 the Supreme Court didn't think it was okay for a high school student newspaper to discuss birth control and divorce [].
    Remind me again why so many people in power are hypocrites? []
  • >Oh please, that argument has been heard a million
    >times and it wasn't that original to begin with.
    Uh, since when does an argument have to be original to be valid?

    >Porn is defined as such by a general consensus.
    Community decency standards vary between communities and as a function of time. There was a time when it was illegal to mail information about contraception [] through the mail.
  • >Yes because schools are not there to pass on ALL information.

    Do you want to know why so many kids don't take the dangers associated with drug use seriously? Because campaigns such as "Just Say No" hammer in the idea that drugs are 100% bad and there is no good reason to use drugs. Then reality sets in and a kid tries ecstasy for the first time. "Wow," they exclaim. "The adults were lying, this stuff feels good. Therefore, the adults were also lying about how this stuff can kill people." Trust is gained through honesty and disclosure.
    "[T]hough all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play upon the earth, so truth be in the field, we do injuriously, by licensing and prohibiting, to misdoubt her strength. Let her and falsehood grapple; whoever knew truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter?" John Milton, Areopagitica, A Speech for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing to the Parliament of England (1644).
  • Fake link alert.
  • TuxKart has 100% more penguins and 133% more herrings than TuxRacer. :-)
  • Indrema promised TiVo-like functionality with the standard game console - but as a software add-on to be released after the initial console launch.

    However, for a company that would have had to sell their hardware at a loss - making profits on software licensing - it's quite dangerous to make the console *too* useful for things other than playing games. Suppose 10,000 people bought Indremas' just as a cheap video time-shifter and then proceeded not to buy any games. Indrema could
    easily have flushed a million bucks down the drain as a result!

    Similar concerns were raised about people buying Playstation-2 as DVD/MP3/CD players.

    The bizarre concept of selling hardware at a loss that is the core of the game console business results in many 'obviously good' ideas for the product turning out to be disasterous.
  • If you ever want to be taken seriously, you must take a more reasonable stance.

    As Shaw put it, The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."

    But that's irrelevant to the issue at hand; opposing a federal mandate for the use of censorship software - software which has repeatedly been shown not to work - is eminently reasonable.

    Tom Swiss | the infamous tms |

  • Progress does not depend on unreasonable people, it is based solely on reasonable people. How far did nazi germany get, what about soviet russia, maybe the great leap forward, the early french revolution?

    If Socrates had been "reasonable", he would have shut up, saved his life, and been forgotten.

    If Tom Paine and Thomas Jefferson had been "reasonable", we'd still be a British colony.

    If Gandhi had been "reasonable", so would India.

    If Rosa Parks had been "reasonable", persons with dark skin would still be sitting in the back of the bus.

    Remember that Chinese protester who wouldn't move from in front of the tank? "Unreasonable" in the extreme.

    The terrors of Nazi Germany were fought by "unreasonable" resistance fighters, and "unreasonable" people who hid refugees.

    All these people refused to accept the social concensus - they refused to be "reasonable". "Reasonable", in this sense, is simply another way of saying "either cowardly, apathetic, or ignorant".

    And while in your closed minded world there is only proof against the effectiveness of 'censorware', in the real world it is effective.

    This is obviously some strange new usage of the word "effective" that I have never encountered before.

    Tom Swiss | the infamous tms |

  • "Trying to seperate yourself from the mainstream may make you feel superior, but it will get you nowheres."

    So then basically you can't do anything. If there is a problem, you cannot protest, because protest would be non-conformant, and non-conformancy is looked down upon. How the hell did we get into this situation. This is not a good thing. This is an AWFUL thing. "Think what we want you to think. Act how we want you to act."
  • It seems to me that you are against the federally mandated censorware in schools. They block legitimate sites, and do not block some extremely vulgar and profane sites, which are supposed to be blocked. I think that there would be wide opposition to this, but I think that many people assume that the censorware that is used actually works.

    The fact is that they're not building better censorware. They're implementing the current, faulty, censorware, and making no efforts to implement legitimately working censorware; aren't you opposed to that?

  • This is about PUBLIC ACCESS funded by federal money, with a mandate from state and federal lawmakers demanding GOVERNMENT MANDATED CENSORSHIP. This is utterly unconstitutional, regardless of how you look at it, because it is backed by federal monies. Now were it a private library, there would be no question, since it's not funded by the government. But whenever the government funds the operation of something, they MUST ABIDE BY THE CONSTITUTION, even if that means that you have to walk with your daughter across the oh-so-dangerous library.
  • Speaking one's opinion in the library isn't bad though. But if your opinion is deemed "offensive" by the filter (even if it isn't), you can be silenced.

    I've heard the crap about the porn mags. But not bringing in porn mags is very different than actively blocking anything an ambiguous third party is deciding what you can and can't see. And yes, the goverment does archive that stuff. The companies that make it send it in for copyright protection, suprisingly.

    I shouldn't have to ASK for my rights that the goverment cannot abridge in any way. It's like being forced to ask a police officer for the right to speak your mind, with the risk that now that you're under their control, they'll say no.

    And no, the library doesn't need to be open 24/7. I can wait until the next day if I have to. That doesn't infringe on my rights, so long as I can get access, period. Rare books have to be protected from environmental damage. That's why you need permission, not because the content is "offensive."

    The danger here is the precedent. They got the "bad, nasty internet," so what's to stop them from going after the "bad, nasty books?"
  • Haha, i've been waiting for that one. And it came from the man who calls himself unreasonable, and now links to the moronic mike moore us government in exile page. Not that it was flamebait.

    Progress does not depend on unreasonable people, it is based solely on reasonable people. How far did nazi germany get, what about soviet russia, maybe the great leap forward, the early french revolution?

    In trying to adapt the world to yourself you leave out the others who disagree, the only way to get your way is then violence. That is why we will never see a democratic facist or communist government.

    Progress, and democracy comes from those who do not try to adapt the world solely for themseleves, but using reason take into account the needs of all people.

    And while in your closed minded world there is only proof against the effectiveness of 'censorware', in the real world it is effective. Until you have a constitutional right to view all internet material, the government has the right to mandate filtering software for connections they help pay for.

    Moderators, please do not moderate me down because you disagree.

  • Protesting like this does nothing except isolating them from the mainstream. Without mainstream support, all that they are is a group of extreamist nuts who will ever be taken seriously in a democratic country.

    Another problem is that while some thing, like reverse engineering restrictions are bad, goes futher, into things that most people disagree with.

    If you ever want to be taken seriously, you must take a more reasonable stance.

    As above please do not moderate me down because you disagree with me.
  • Sorry, i accidentally posted as an AC.

    In a democracy there are two sources of protection. One is the courts, and they are ideally not influenced by public opinion. The second in from the legistative body, and they should ideally be influenced by public opinion. In order for the majority to protect the rights of the minority they must not only see why it is important, but _understand_ why it is important.

    The only way that you're rights will ever be protected is if the mainstream understands the importance of it. Protesting moves in the opposite direction, and if large enough, with the possibility of 'mob mentality' taking over, you will lose all credibility.

    Trying to seperate yourself from the mainstream may make you feel superior, but it will get you nowheres.
  • While I am not philisophiscally opposed to censorware in schools,

    1) The use of censorware, or any specific requirements on the type of censorware should be entirely up to local district policy. The Federal government should not be mandating or regulating it use.

    2) I don't belive any currently available products do their job well enough to be allowed in schools.

    3) Experience has shown that policies involving censorware are neither well defiened nor reasonable.

    4) Teachers and school librarians are so poorly trained/educated in the use of computers to make good recomendations to school districts or to effectively enforce an acceptable use policy.

    In short, I don't believe it is currently wise to implement censorware in schools, and if it ever were, I don't think the federal goverment should have anything to do with it. Therefore I support the EFFs protest.

    I also happen to think that censorware doesn't solve an important problem. I don't think that seeing some porn on the internet is going to scar children for life. As much as purveyors of censorware would like to convince you, their software *isn't* going to protect people from meeting pedophiles in chat rooms or irc. While I think the supposition that reading violent neo-nazi propaganda causes school violence isn't without merit, that starts to look very much like free speech to me. If students are deliberately seeking out that kind of material for whatever reason (research, curiosity, teen angst, desire to form a militia), I don't think it is right to censor them. Aside from the philisophical reasons, from a practical standpoint censorware vendors have shown gross incompetence when selecting what material to block, and seem to resort mostly to blocking any potentially controversial material, such informationa about the holocost, women's rights, homosexual rights, religon, and medical information on breast cancer.
    People who say things like "The solution is to build better censorware" are usually too drunk of the technilogical progress of the last 30 years to realize that not every problem is a simple matter of engineering. We don't know how to make good censorware, and the chances of someone being able to make good censorware in the next 5-10 years is, IMO, negligible. Certainly a combination of blacklists and whitelists, open or closed, is woefully inadequite, and none of the heuristic methods seem to be any good.
  • 1. Nobody claims filters are perfect. They don't have to be. An argument that they aren't perfect is no argument.

    It's not that the filters aren't perfect -- it's that they don't do what they claim. They leave many pornographic sites unblocked, and they block many sites that they have no legitimate reason to block (some apparently for political reasons). The filtering requirement is simply a huge handout of public money to the software companies selling the snake oil^W^W filters. Why should we support the fraud?

  • next few weeks

    Seeing as classes meet or twice weekly, "in the next few weeks becomes tomorrow or after class in the stair well nobody uses.

    12 year old boys don't stumle across dad's stack of playboys IN SCHOOL!

    They don't learn much either at home or at school, so what's the difference?
  • I recall that over 30% of americans doubt that man ever landed on moon. I'm certainly one of those who think that it would have been highly unlikely with 1960's technology. Now yes, then unlikely.

    How great a percentage of the people who were not yet born back in late 60's or early 70's (or weren't old enough to comprehend) truly appreciate the fact that u.s. (maybe) wen't to the moon and (emphasize on the following) *beat the soviets*. It is not so much that you wen't to moon, but that you beat your nemesis while doing it.

    Yes, americans are patriotic about heroes but put things into modern perspective and a lot of that is lost. Like I said earlier there is no cold war anymore. No nemesis, no true nationalism.. Corporatism and stock markest yes,..

    I really doubt that any american would question them being the undisputable world power #1. Having established this status some puny asian nation isn't really going to make much of a difference whether they'll make it to the moon or not. U.s. still rules and money matters.. Infinite budgets to beat your ark rival are a thing of the past in u.s. BUT *not in india or especially china!*

  • by inburito ( 89603 ) on Thursday April 19, 2001 @06:45PM (#278337)
    And even if India and China both put a man on moon the american public is going to care because? I doubt that even a mars mission from would gather that much interest. There is no cold war going on and people are more concerned about their standard of living here on earth.

    Neither one of those countries can really threaten (no a silly plane with 24 men doesn't count) the u.s. aside doomsday scenarios and nobody really wins at those..

    Space race was a product of cold war that is long gone and forgotten along with nationalism.. It's all about the money nowadays.. Wish it weren't, though..

  • Protesting like this does nothing except isolating them from the mainstream
    By definition, by its very concept, supporting free speech means one is in favor of protecting the rights of that which is contrary to mainstream acceptability.

    This is not posturing. This is not bragging. This is an inherent aspect of the concept itself.

    As the saying goes, inoffensive speech needs no protection, because no-one tries to censor it.

  • by Rogain ( 91755 )
    How does a piece of human garbage like Fabricio Vayra, the lawyer who wrote apple's responce to MacThemes sleep at night?
  • The second in from the legistative body, and they should ideally be influenced by public opinion.

    So Congress should legalize Napster since obviously the majority of people want it and love it. Sorry your argument is totally off. Some legislation may be passed on behalf of the public on certain issues, but for the most part, legislation is there to protect people, not satisfy their whims.

    "Goose... Geese... Moose... MOOSE!?!?!"
  • "Maybe I'm just being a little too PC."

    I'm not trying to be a jerk, but yeah, you probably are. "Would make the world a lot less crowded" is a blatant joke. :)

  • Don't worry too much. India generally gets along very well with NATO countries and the US' other friends in the asia/pacific rim area. It's Pakastan, China and North Korea we should be worried about.

  • Neither one of those countries can really threaten

    Yes, but they will be able to in 10 years.

  • EFF is so concerned about not spamming its members that they often miss sending out notices about events. The EFFector is the only ongoing email they send to members. Unless an event happens to be announced in an issue of the EFFector I end up finding out about EFF activities from Slashdot or some other media source.
  • My mom used to tell me the same thing. I used to tell her that she could send what I didn't eat to them.
    =\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\= \=\=\=\
  • Every additional country (or hopefully in the near future, company) with satellite launch capability means more competition in the space industry. More competition in the space launch industry means lower prices, and a reasonable chance that normal people will be able to travel to space in our lifetime.

    Having the ability to leave this planet might be the only thing that saves the human race if the ability of the Earth becomes destroyed by: asteroidal or comet impacts; solar fluctuation ; environmental devastation due to human stupidity; {nuclear,chemical,biological} warfare; etc.
  • 40% of the chinese population live along the banks of the Chang Jiang river. This river also is responsible for 40% of grain production and 70% of rice production in the country.

    Natural floods of this river are devestating to the population, and happen frequently - floods still occurs almost yearly. Major flood events have occurred in 1931, 1954, 1991, 1993, 1996 and 1998, with increasing frequency and severity during the 1990s. The 1931 flood killed some 400,000 people and affected more than 50 million people.

    Now, here's the kicker:

    The "Three Gorges Dam" project is an attempt to build a MONSTROUS (read: biggest human project ever attempted) dam far upriver.

    So... anyone who goes to war with China and needs to wipe out 40% of their population, 40% of their grain, 70% of their rice, and who knows how much of their industry (? anyone know?) just needs to blow the dam.

    I know that's no easy task, but modern weapons can knock out mountains (read the articles on NORAD and how the inside of a mountain no longer provides adequate protection).

  • I think the best way to make sure that the students will not lookup inappropriate material is to require the students to login before surfing. The idea that they would be logged with their name and the site which they visited would stop most from doing it during school. Nobody wants to get into trouble for something they can as easily do at home.
  • by CA']['O ( 112596 ) on Thursday April 19, 2001 @04:33PM (#278349)
    Assuming that you go to a high school, I think that students have much better things to do with thier time in school than to look up porn. I go to a high school with 500 of the most immature people i have ever known. However, I would say that out "Acceptable Use Policy" is violated no more than 2 or 3 times a week, and most of the time it is not having to do with porn. We have no internet blocking software and it does not seem to be a problem. I think your guess of about half the school looking up porn is groundless and way off. My theory: students can easily look up porn at home in their own privacy. The risk of looking it up in a building crawling with authority figures just isnt worth it. Of course, for a few the risk IS the fun, but those types of students are looking for approval from their friends (i.e. class clowns) and are not looking up porn because of other reasons. I support restricting access to explicit sites, but not at the price that it comes at right now. I say keep internet blocking software out of schools until the software actually does what it is supposed to do.
  • Cheaply and Reliably ? ISRO has launched a series of rockets which can carry satellites to different types of orbits (low-earth, polar, ...) RELIABLY. Success of the present launch is a result of third attempt (first one failed due to some problem with strap-on booster separation, second was aborted last month when the onboard saftysystems shutdown the launch just before liftoff on launchpad). If one goes through the history of launches of all the previous generation launch vehicles of India, it can bee seen that the test to routine launch of different generations of rockets were achieved with minimum number of launches. This is partly because of relatively limited funds available to the Indian space agency (as comapared to ESA, NASA, Russian, ...). Only uncertainty as far as this version of the GSLV is the last stage rocket used (a cryogenic rocket engine from Russia). In fact the present launch was delayed several years because these were not delivered in time by Russia, possibly due to pressure from USA. But I am sure that it is only a matter of time before they replace this with their own version. As far as the cheapness part is concerned, probably noone except China will be able to beat them.
  • As an addition to the previous posting ...

    India has already done/doing some limited scale commercial launches (for low-earth, polar, ... satellites) using their previous genration launch vehicles (like PSLV) for clients from countries like Germany, Korea ... So one can expect thing to happen (commercial launches using GSLV) soon (much earlier than 5 years ...).

  • What they ought to do is lobby for a law that allows specific, significant damages for incorrect blocking, and requires notification for blocked sites.
  • ALL filter makers are known to intentionally block of non-porn sites, particularly those that criticize makers of said filter.

    really? ALL of them? big claims require big evidence not vague claims.

    Try it yourself. Copy, say, the Bill of Rights into a file called "purity.htm". Put it up on your site. Use any blocking software. Hell, go down to Kinkos and see if you can bring it up there.
  • I think the best way to make sure that the students will not lookup inappropriate material is to require the students to login before surfing.

    Was it HS or Jr. Hi? I can't remember, but there was a guy who got himself in the yearbook several times, one of them as "Frank Zappa." I believe he owns a telecommunications company now.

    I think we may have several whole generations now who understand the idea of fake persona and who have no idea alternate identities could even be morally wrong. So what's next - earprint access to library computers?
  • You know, my local library has an absolutely brilliant solution to this problem of filtered internet access on public computers. The first page you see when you open a web browser is the library home page, with 2 big links right in the middle "unfiltered internet access" and "filtered internet access" Yes, that's right, the USER chooses whether or not they want filtered net access. So worried parents, just get their kids started on filtered net access, and they're fine. Of couse, if kid is technically proficient, this is fairly easy to get around by going back to the page and selecting unfiltered. But if they can figure that out, I'd consider them intelligent enough to respond to any "objectionable materai" appropriately.
  • When I went to highschool in the US, our school did not have any censorware, and I don't think I know of anyone looking up porn. I mean, these kids arn't going to masterbate at school, I think the only reason that they try to get it is because they can't. They're more intrested in 'hacking' at school then wanking.

    Rate me on []
  • I don't want my government funding a way for sick little kids trying to get their fix or porn everyday at school.

    God forbid kids should be curious about sex. There is obviously something wrong with any child who is curious and intrigued by this great adult mystery.

    You know, maybe if our culture would just lighten up a bit on the whole sex thing, we'd have fewer sex obsessed freaks running around. And if (horrors!) there were actually cultural institutions that allowed teenagers to get their rocks off in a safe and healthy way, maybe it would be possible for a 15-year-old to think about something other than sex for ten minutes at a time.

  • Your recollection is faulty. This Gallup poll [] survey shows the number of Americans who think the Apollo moon landings were faked is about 6%. The number hasn't changed since 1995. I recall another article that I can't find the URL for right now (at least I acknowledge my inability to recall) that basically said the 6% number is lower than it was in the '70s or '80s!

    You think it would have been "highly unlikely". Do us all a favor and shut off your computer and never turn it back on again. You can't even research a number that has been widely publicized, often misquoted, or outright lied about (a la Fox) . But you expect us to listen to your opinion. Sheesh.
  • Nah, it's just government censorship. If you could censor taxpayer funded libraries, I suppose you could censor anyone and everyone saying anything that an ambiguous censor might deem offensive to a religious man, a panzy, a wimpy ass, etc. The government can not censor the public *cough*KingGeorge*cough*. I'm right, you're wrong, 'nuff said, end of discussion.
    faith (fath)
  • I think everyone should be given open internet access initially but forced to log in before being given such. By forcing user logins open internet access could be given to those able to use it responsibly, while those who abuse such a thing could have their access restricted or even terminated.
  • I think that federally mandated censor ware is innappropriate, however, I think that censorware in schools in not necessarily a bad thing altogether. I go to a school with about 2500 students, and i guaruntee, if we didn't have censorware, a large portion of the students would be spending the majority of their "research" time on and porn and all sorts of things that are not at all related to what they are supposed to be doing.

    Not having censorware would be nice, for those of us who follow the rules. However, I am betting that nearly half of the people in my school would NOT follow the rules if there was not "bess" in place. It would be incredibly difficult to control, any schoolteacher knows that if the ENTIRE class is disruptive, it is nearly impossible to keep control of it. There are enough people that cause trouble in my school to make the internet connection at school more of a burden than a resource...and our school board would gladly drop the axe on something that allows students access to porn and such. The censroware isn't perfect, and often annoying, but it is effective and saves a lot of time for teachers.

  • I don't want to go into the ethnic diversity and the drug problems in our school...but i do know for a fact..that when i am using the computer in the library and in our labs....half of the kids are TRYING TO LOOK UP PORN!!! they ask me how to do it because they know i know ways around the blocking (proxy at house) but these kids are CONSTANTLY trying to look up porn and other things at school! if there was no censorware...i know for a fact that these kids would be looking up porn the whole time. Half of these kids don't care about getting in trouble and just want to get their porn. the bad behavior and such rises exponentially with school population. your school of 500 probably has less than 1/50 of the problems this school has. wahs [] is a very ethnically diverse school in a high-crime city. We have loads of druggies from philly and lots of people that only go to school because they are forced. Censorware saves a LOT of time and problems in our school. I is not perfect and sometimes it doesn't work, but it takes care of the majority or problems.

    The risk of looking it up in a building crawling with authority figures just isnt worth it no..this is not true...probably only a quarter of the kids in my school even have internet access at home...and they don't care about getting caught by our school's authority figures because they are used to being caught by govt authority figures for drugs and violent crimes.

    I admit...censorware is NOT for all schools...and should not be enforced for all schools, but it is not a bad thing in and of does its job at my school....and i think if it was taken off, the school board would soon axe any internet access.

  • by issachar ( 170323 ) on Thursday April 19, 2001 @04:06PM (#278368) Homepage
    need more volunteers showing up at the protests. This protest is being organized by the EFF against federally mandated censorware in schools and libraries

    Maybe, just MAYBE, there isn't actually widespread opposition to censorware in schools & libraries. I for one am not against some form of censorship in schools. These are schools for crying out loud. There are some things that should be blocked out of schools.

    Libraries are a different issue, but I find myself unable to support protests because my moderate stance in unwelcome with the EFF.

    And I am NOT saying that censoreware is perfect. It's obvious that it's not, but the solution is even more obvious. Build better censoreware with open lists of what is blacklisted.

    Moderators: What I've said may be unpopular, but do not mark me down as a troll or flamebait because I'm serious and this is a legitimate point of view.

  • And, of course, those of us who believe that their little girl should be able to walk through the library without having to watch teenagers leaving animal sex videos running should also feel free to show up to these protests and demonstrate support for filters on public internet access terminals.

    Once again, it must be pointed out that:

    1. Nobody claims filters are perfect. They don't have to be. An argument that they aren't perfect is no argument.

    2. If you want to bypass the filter, you can. Simply ask the librarian. Censorship is not an issue.

    3. This is about PUBLIC ACCESS. People have a right to be able to go to the library without being intimidated by teenagers leaving porn around as a "joke".

    Again, I encourage anyone who believes in reasonable filtering to show up at these rallies so that we don't risk suffering under the tyranny of the minority.


  • I think the only reason that they try to get it is because they can't.

    Or they use it to sexually intimidate girls. It's amazing to me how many Slashdotters are so sympathetic to physical bullying, but are completely oblivious to the psychological bullying of porn.


  • What do they need long range missiles for? Pakistan's not THAT far away!

    They also have long term tensions with their neighbor to the far north, China. Thus it pays to have both satellites as wel as long range missles. And then they can get their own telemetry without having to depend on the USA, etc.

    Check out the Vinny the Vampire [] comic strip

  • This was sent to the EFF in regard to the CIPA and the rallies going on today.


    I would like to add my support for this online. I'm not currently able to
    attend the rally in NYC, though I would if I could. This legislation cuts
    down on neccessary freedoms - I have never seen in the Constitution where it
    says that children shall be second class citizens to whom the Bill of Rights
    does not apply. However, what is worse, it causes the censorware companies
    to be subsidized with taxpayer money. I am incensed that part of the money
    freedom-loving, anti-censorship Americans pay as taxes will then go to
    support censorship and the trampling of the constitutional rights of
    children. These companies have never done a single thing right; their
    products are faulty and do not work as advertised, and furthermore are not
    needed. They do not deserve to be subsidized by the people of the U.S.

    I will also be investigating into the matter of which representatives
    are/have voted for this atrocity, and I will certainly weight that into my
    decisions of who to vote for in the next congressional elections. I will
    try to do my part to prevent those who love censorship and hate freedom from
    being in power in this nation.

    I urge everyone else to get off their duffs and get involved! If I could go to that rally in NYC, I would. Write your congressmen. I intend to send a copy of this to mine.

  • Perhaps a bigger issue (at least for the libertines and constitutionalists), is not whether or not there should be censorship software in the schools, but whether or not it is right for the federal government or even a state government to be dictating censorship at all.

    Some might say that this idea is the epitomy of the "middle road" requested in a previous thread. I disagree. I think this idea is the most extreme stance -- that of demanding that the decision to withhold anything from my children remain MY decision and not that of a federal or state entity.

    I am well aware of the extent of my wishful thinking. At this point it would probably take another revolution to get our rights back.
  • by MadCow42 ( 243108 ) on Thursday April 19, 2001 @07:31PM (#278400) Homepage
    "But Mommy, there WAS no such thing as the Second World War... I searched and searched on the Internet at school, and there was nothing!"

    Censorware in theory has its applications, but those with the power to influence what other people see, hear, and read are all too likely to abuse that power. Just look at the track record of current Censorware companies, blocking sites that oppose them, competitors sites, and the like.

    My example above is a little extreme, but who's to say that some programmer or marketing guy at "Censorware R US" won't have a personal bias or vendetta that gets slipped in?

    There's NO excuse to rely on Censorware... the best way to ensure that kids don't end up seeing Porn is to SUPERVISE THEM. The Internet is quickly replacing television as the babysitter of the new millenium.

    Maybe I just have Hoof-in-mouth disease, but the thought of censoring ANYTHING, for noble reasons or not, makes me sick.


  • From Yahoo: A key aspect of the GSLV is its Russian engine that uses liquid oxygen as a fuel that helps place the satellite in orbit as high as 36,000 km in space.

    It's hydrogen. Oxygen is oxidizer. Hydrogen is fuel.

    GSLV [] uses hodgepodge of technologies: the L40 [] strap-ons and second stage L37.5 [] are from Ariane heritage, first solid stage S125 is Indian, the third stage C12 "cryo-12" is Russian KRB 12 "Kryogenic Rocket Block, 12 ton".

    The vehicle has interesting flight profile: the core first stage burns out first at 100 seconds, and strap-ons are going until 160 sec., hauling an empty steel cylinger for a whole minute before stage separation.
  • There is no technology solution that will "protect" children from the world into which they were born.

    Firstly, machines lack intelligence: they cannot distinguish between wholesome material and "vile" material at all; any so-called experts who make that claim are telling people what they want to hear - that there is a simple technology that will save us from having to be responsible parents. Moreover, these technologies always block access to completely unoffensive material due to the vagaries of the censor (websites about Essex, England, for example).

    Secondly, there is no such thing as an objective standard of what material is offensive. Where censorware is employed, some unknown person's judgement is made about what constitutes offense or, even more likely, some lest common denominator of decency will define what children can see and hear. It is one thing to offer ratings of sites, and let parents or teachers be forewarned; it is another thing entirely to restrict access to materials that perhaps most citizens would find acceptable for their children, and certainly it is not permissable that that totally unoffensive material be abolished for a dubious "protection" against offensive material.

    I do agree though that an interesting possible alternative would be a website rating system something like the moderation system of slashdot, which is effectively a distributed rating system. Though it would be important for the default rating to be reasonable; i.e. by default a site without ratings should be considered OK. It's more important to promote the good than to filter out the few bad things that not moderated down.
  • by TGK ( 262438 ) on Thursday April 19, 2001 @04:06PM (#278406) Homepage Journal
    What do they need long range missiles for? Pakistan's not THAT far away!

    This has been another useless post from....
  • and play some TuxKart

    Sorry, too addicted to TuxRacer [].

    TuxRacer has all the elements of a classic video game... penguins and herring. Anything more is just featurebloat. :)

    Ryan T. Sammartino

  • After reading the EFF's protest page, I'm left confused as to what they're actually protesting. They complain about blocking software overblocking the good stuff and underblocking the bad stuff. While I don't disagree with that assessment, it seems to imply that if blocking software actually worked correctly, they might not be in opposition to it in public institutions?

    Okay, it's obvious that the spirit of their protest is against any censorship whatsoever, regardless of whether the intended sites are censored properly or not. But throwing this argument in there only seems to hurt their cause. What if blocking software could be made to function in a very reliable, thoughtful, nonbiased way (not really possible, but what if)? By using this argument as a component of their protest they only hurt themselves IMHO.

    I can't quite bring myself to agree with their anti-censorship tack, however. While I can see some argument to leaving library computers unblocked (at least for adult patrons), I can see no reason whatsoever to allow kids in schools to be able to surf wherever they want. I don't want my kid getting exposed to pr0n until I'm damn ready to explain the facts of life first. If censorship software does *any* good whatsoever, then I support its use in schools at least. If parents feel it's important for their kids to be able to surf anywhere they want, let them do it at home then.
  • Other interesting notes about the GSLV is that it puts India in the Heavy Lifter Club (USA, Russia/CIS, EU, Japan, China). The rocket can put about 5 tonnes into LEO, and the US Gemini capsules only weighed around 3 tonnes each. Now, if they really get their act together, and/or buy Russian technology, they have a small chance of beating out China as Space-Faring Power #3.
  • "*cough* 1/5th world's population *cough* 1/2 our GDP and 1/20 of the world's *cough* nuclear weapons *cough*"

    Bad math on my part. I was thinking of the US's $10 trillion GDP, and that somehow got perverted in my mind as 1/10. China's GDP is 1/8 of the world's, not 1/20.

  • by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Thursday April 19, 2001 @07:03PM (#278422)
    "And even if India and China both put a man on moon the american public is going to care because?"

    Because after thirty years, landing on the moon has become an utterly American piece of history. It is a sign of national identity to be able to say "We've done what nobody else has done before or since."

    Because as can be witnessed by that "silly plane" you mentioned, America loves to hero-worship. Niel Armstrong and the other 11 men that landed on the moon during the Apollo program are probably the most idolized Americans of the 20th Century, if not American history.

    And, finally, because Americans love memorials. the USS Arizona still sits on the bottom of Pearl Harbor, even though it was sunk almost 60 years ago. Gettysburg has so many monuments that it wasn't feasable to shoot the movie there. The concept of footprints that will be on the surface of the moon for thousands of years appeals to us, and the idea of the Chinese or anybody else possibly messing that up disgusts us.

    Mark my words: Within a year of a non-American setting foot on the Moon, the US will launch a mission to Mars.

  • by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Thursday April 19, 2001 @09:50PM (#278423)
    "I recall that over 30% of americans doubt that man ever landed on moon."

    I seem to be in the dark. Where does that number come from?

    "I'm certainly one of those who think that it would have been highly unlikely with 1960's technology."

    I take it you've never seen a Saturn V, or even an F-1 engine. :)

    "Now yes, then unlikely. "

    I find it amusing that you make that distinction, since "modern" US (manned) space flight capabilities is built on 70's technology. Enterprise and Columbia are not much younger than I am. Though I suppose it's more advanced than the Soyuz capsules the Russians have been using since, what, the 60's?

    "It is not so much that you wen't to moon, but that you beat your nemesis while doing it. "

    Few people remember that there was a lot of competition between various parties to be the first to fly non-stop over the Atlantic. The only thing important in the history books now, though, is that Lindbergh (sp?) was the first, not that he beat a whole mess of others (especially European efforts) in the process. As far as most students are concerned, good ol' Chuck woke up one morning and said "I think I'll fly over the Atlantic today..."

    Of course, they also fail to remember that he was an outspoken proponent of the Nazis, but that's something altogether different.

    Enemies come and go. But the fact that we're now buddy-buddy with the UK and Canada doesn't mean that monuments like USS Constitution or Ft. McHenry have any less meaning as far as national identity are concerned.

    "No nemesis, no true nationalism"

    Perhaps you failed to notice all those yellow ribbons they had in Washington State a few days ago, or all the pro-US flamebait in that one recent /. editorial about the failure of hyperreality.

    "Corporatism and stock markest yes"

    Those concepts don't have faces to carve into mountains or places with hourly tours. And if you can't erect large chunks of marble somewhere, what's the fun in that?

    "Having established this status some puny asian"

    *cough* 1/5th world's population *cough* 1/2 our GDP and 1/20 of the world's *cough* nuclear weapons *cough*

    "U.s. still rules and money matters"

    Money may provide the illusion of power to those that have it, but buying yes-men isn't true power. Power is the ability to inspire people, to sway their emotions. Napoleon's and Hitler's troops didn't take over Europe because they were the best-paid troops, but because they believed in what they were fighting for and were inspired by their leaders. The US lost Vietnam not because the North Vietnamese were richer, but because they were more inspired.

    Let me let you in on a little secret: When Sputnik I was launched, the US was still enjoying the post-war economic boom. There was a nuclear missile gap with the Soviets heavily in favor of the US. Hell, we probably could've gotten away with a first strike at that point. The Soviets were a distant #2 by all respects. However, the Soviets were the ones who put a glorified basketball into space. By showing their technological and economic expertise (nevermind that it was behind America's), they were able to both frighten the West and inspire other communist movements.

    THAT'S power.

    If the Chinese land on the Moon, there will be a lot of letters to Congress saying "How come they can do it but we can't?" Having multi-gigahertz PCs and The Matrix on DVD is poor consolation for the ability to point to something that grand and say "We did that."

    Besides, what good is having all this money if we don't spend it?

An elephant is a mouse with an operating system.