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Comment Re:I live a block away (Score 1) 961

"*) There's a huge number of DSLRs at the protest - combined with iphone4, means nobody there is really starving."

By your logic there can be no legitimate complaint about poverty. If you can afford to complain you're not poor and have no right to complain. If you're poor but not complaining you're not really poor, or you'd be complaining.

I don't know how many, if any, of these protesters are claiming to be impoverished, but just because they found a way to acquire expensive cameras and phones (presumably with $50/mo plans) doesn't mean their points aren't valid.

Furthermore, from what I've read, it's not the depth of poverty of which they are complaining, but the disparity between the wealthiest and everyone else. Their own status is irrelevant. They may even be children of wealthy stock brokers for all we know. That wouldn't invalidate their message. What would invalidate their message would be if resources were in fact equitably distributed.

Comment Re:Protest - permit required (Score 1) 961

I disagree with the implied motivation of your hypothetical ("they shouldn't be able to protest if I think it costs me money or annoys me"), but what you described is already prohibited in most jurisdictions by jaywalking laws. Pedestrians must cross in crosswalks and must obey traffic lights. Protesters who violate those laws may be cited, and if they persist they may be detained.


Comment Re:nigger nigger (Score 1) 238

Posts that get modded down to -5 should automatically have their IPs revealed.

Point one: circumstantial evidence

Just because a network transaction occurs between two IPs doesn't mean the hosts currently behind those IPs or their users were responsible for the offensive transaction. Your request (expose IPs of offensive ACs) is the meatspace equivalent of "hate speech sent through the USPS should have the return addresses posted publicly."

Letters and cards sent from buildings, and IP packets sent from hosts are circumstantial evidence. Condemning the owners or residents of a building, or the user of a host by its mail or network traffic is short-sighted and unjust.

Point two: free speech

Words alone are not harmful. Speaking out against a class of people is a bad idea, but it must remain protected speech for slippery slope reasons. We draw the line at threats only because they announce a destructive intention, and even then we respond to threats less strongly than we do to action. This is fair. Saying "X is bad" is not actually harmful to X. Saying "I'm going to hurt X" announces an intention to do harm which should be dealt with. Saying "It would be a good idea to hurt X" is a grey area which must be judged within a context to determine which side of the line it falls on.

When we fail to defend free speech our society becomes more brittle at best, and we give away power to cheaters at worst.

Point three: gaming the system

It is not particularly difficult to amass an army of Slashdot accounts with moderation points such that a single person could decide to apply -10 moderation to a post at will. Your proposal would grant such an army the ability to lookup any slashdot poster's IP. Do you know who is most likely to have the time and impetus to do this? The kind of person who trolls slashdot with racist nonsense.

You are asking to give control of the privacy of every slashdot poster to the kind of person who has no reservations about acting anti-socially.

TL;DR - End the witch hunts. Trollers gonna troll.

Comment Use case: Clinical Trials Data Acquisition (Score 2) 835

Finally a slashdot article I can post authoritatively on.

I work at a non-profit HIV/AIDS research organization administrating their data management software.  About 150 sites around the world fill out "Case Report Forms" (CRFs) and send them to us by either fax or email.  About 15% of the 100k pages we receive in a month come in by phone fax.  We are actively working to move them to email wherever possible because of its reliability and economy, but for some of our sites email faxing is not an option.  The usual concerns mentioned already do not apply in these cases.  Privacy is not a concern because the data is anonymized before it is sent to us for blinding and privacy purposes.  Authenticity is not a problem because the originals can be pulled from the site should any data come into question, though in practice this never happens anyway.  The reasons phone faxing is still popular are inertia and the ubiquity of phone service.  Our African sites are willing to pay long distance prices to send us data by phone because it is harder/more expensive to get reliable Internet access to them.  Even running IP over the phone lines they send faxes over is less practical than just sending us the phone faxes.  Three of our sites phone fax their CRFs to a fourth site which relays those faxes to us by email.  It sounds like a terrible idea, and it certainly has its problems, but it works well enough to not be the next problem worth solving.

I anticipate that all of our sites will move to IP based data delivery (mostly email with some Electronic Data Coordination) within two to five years as Internet access becomes more ubiquitous.  For now it is a mistake to underestimate how well POTS works in third-world countries.

Comment Re:One day we will be done with java... (Score 1) 338

Preventing mistakes is nice, but the best reason to delegate resource control is code clarity. Allocating and freeing resources is something that has to be done all the time, like moving data in and out of registers in a CPU. We didn't move from ASM to C just to save us from mistakes in register allocation. We did it to save us from tedium and allow us to focus on new problems once we'd figured out how to generalize the old ones enough to hand them off to compilers. Memory and handle allocation is a solved problem. There are multiple competing solutions (reference counting, mark and sweep, etc), but it doesn't matter much which one your compiler/library/interpreter uses because unless you're writing a compiler/library/interpreter, that's not what your project is about.

So yes, humans are fallible, but taking control out of their hands is not the greatest benefit of higher level languages. The greatest benefit is increases in expressiveness.

Comment The next step (Score 1) 533

Clearly Wikipedia fills a niche. The next step is a p2p model.

Participants run a "shared reality documentation store" on their machines to host documents and media they endorse and a "shared reality documentation client" proxy service which behaves like a web site and queries the stores. It's like FreeNet without trying to preserve anonymity.

Instead of edit wars there would be multiple documents on the same subject competing for popularity. Looking up "Evolution" you'd get dozens of results. The top two would be endorsed by 90% of the well-liked network participants and would represent the two dominant views on the subject. Individuals' search results could be adjusted to take their own moderations into account. That is, if Alice tend to disagree with Bob, the meaning of Bob's input is reversed in the context of Alice's searches.

Users would be pseudonymous but (like Slashdot) would have some sort of aggregate "good citizen" metric based on past behavior as judged by their peers. Users could browse the public behaviors of their peers and assign valuations to actions, including other people's "moderation". I might hate your article endorsements but love your moderation. For people not interested in that kind of granularity, users could have the option to just like or dislike another user (like the friend/foe system here). Users would not be required to provide CPU and disk space to be considered good users, but their decisions about how much to contribute would be public and could be used to make automatic or manual judgments.

Articles would scores would be based on some function of the scores of the users who had endorsed them. Participants can only delete articles from their own store and then campaign for others to delete it from theirs. There would be no global "notability" threshold, only a cumulative score based on users' moderation actions.

This is basically how the internet works already, lobbyists and pending legislation not withstanding. The main difference here is formalization and making a uniform UI which non-techies would enjoy using.

(Yes, I realize this is a fairly raw and flawed proposal. I'm hoping someone will see the valuable parts of it and make it happen.)

Comment How much are you saving? (Score 1) 103

Do you log details of blocked pre-fetches? Do you have data on what portion of blocked pre-fetches were then followed by real visitors? You say "My sites show up plenty fast enough on demand for my visitors, ..." but does that apply well to heavily bandwidth-constrained users? Modems may be old-fashioned, but mobile and wireless users still frequently get poor network performance. Do you have data on how fast all of your visitors download your pages?

You may well have done all the analysis and come up with the best cost-vs-benefit balanced solution, but I would worry about premature optimization in a situation like this. Pre-fetching doesn't exist at random. It solves a real problem and your defeating of the mechanism has real costs which are less obvious to you than they are to some of your visitors.

If you have done this analysis, it would make an interesting read and you should submit it as a /. story.

Comment Self-policing by passive beneficiaries (Score 1) 84

What I'd like to see are RICO prosecutions where the otherwise "legitimate" entities who claim ignorance get prosecuted. I think you'd quickly end up with a lot more self-policing by the passive beneficiaries.

Oh god please no. Don't give service providers an excuse to discriminate against potentially illegal activity. I do not want VISA, MasterCard, Quest, Comcast, FedEx or UPS guessing at my true purposes when I use their services and then blocking me if I trip their "illicit activity" filter.

"Innocent until proven guilty" is a good idea. Let's stick with that, please?

Comment Re:Am I the only one? (Score 1) 244

Am I the only one to find them funny?

You're not the only one. My wife and I also find them funny. It's a little bit of "When I stub my toe it's tragedy. When you fall off a ladder and break your arm it's comedy." But even as I know I could be a victim, I still root for them and enjoy their style of antics.

Don't ever change, LulzSec!

Comment Re:Two minds (Score 1) 497

There are lots of potential motivations to pay for porn or sex (all of which could be invalidated in context):

  • absolution of guilt: I know this person wants to have sex with me because I paid them. That makes it consensual.
  • feeling of control: They have to do what I want because I'm paying them.
  • proprietary feelings: I don't want to sleep with a stranger, but since I'm paying this person they belong to me (for an hour), so they're not a stranger.
  • illusion of quality (sometimes justified): I'm getting better sex because this person is a professional.
  • expectation of security or discretion: Since I'm paying for it, this person won't try to get something else out of me later.

Paying for porn or sex is no stranger than paying for music when you've got plenty of musicians in your circle of friends who'd be happy to make music for or with you. Paying for it allows you to choose from a wider variety of styles and to enjoy it in the way you want to (odd times of day, peculiar tastes, etc).

I "have to wonder" about people who treat all transactions in life as part of a zero-sum game to be optimized for maximum personal benefit. I also "have to wonder" about people who think picking someone up at a bar for a one-night-stand is always equally as satisfying as maintaining a professional relationship with a trust-worthy sex worker.

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