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Comment Re:so ? (Score 1) 185

Right, good point, that's an example of where a fringe or elitist policy prescription would have counterproductive consequences. But I still think the government classified information system is out of control. Unfortunately it's hard to show the need for reform since it's largely invisible.

The patent system is a mess also, and it's also an invisible problem in the sense that it's partially beyond the technical comprehension of most people, but at least we can present data when we argue about it.

Comment Re:Yes, and no (Score 2, Interesting) 427

You don't have to "prove" anything to file a lawsuit, and Monsanto launches many civil lawsuits based on "raids" (i.e. blatant trespassing) and anonymous tips. Remember these are civil cases, and the cost of defending civil actions can be more than even a large farm can bear.

Read about Pilot Grove for a good example. The suit was settled last year.

Comment Botnet != Supercomputer (Score 1) 303

Botnets are useless for number crunching. There may be many CPUs involved but the communication between processors is dead slow and unreliable. The ability of botnets to send lots of traffic from a huge number of Internet connections in different locations makes them ideal for spamming and DDoSing.

Supercomputers have few or no Internet connections and have no more potential than office PCs for spamming or DDoSing. They do have many powerful CPUs that have no problem communicating with each other as fast as they can, which makes them ideal for number crunching. The use of a supercomputer to a black hat would be for breaking encryption (or they could be useful to comic book villains for simulating nuclear explosions), but a rack of PS3s might be faster than a botnet, and definitely more difficult to trace.

Comment When will they get over it? (Score 1) 625

Millions of innocent jews and others were tortured and killed by members of the Nazi party. It was evil, and it should be condemned.

But it happened. It's part of reality, and it's something we should learn from. Denying its existence (or acknowledging it in a way) by censoring it seems counterproductive to me. Let's no stick our heads in the sand. There are lots of "symbols of evil" that the Germans do not ban. People see them and are told they represent evil, and they can be taught a lesson about evil.

And let's not forget that the swastika was an ancient Hindu religious symbol that had very positive connotations. People should be taught its original meaning and how the Nazis desecrated it.

WWII happened in the 1940's. The Germans are good people. As a culture, they have always been inventive and industrious. And, like every other nation on earth, they have a sense of superiority. And a long time ago, some people took that sense of superiority too far. In a very Microsoft-like way, they dealt with their "competitors" by crushing them, rather than trying to a better job. (Note that I don't think Microsoft are nearly as evil as the Nazis. Bill Gates is excessively competitive, but he's also a philanthropist and deserves recognition for it.) The Germans and everyone else in the world have to grow up and get past this fear of the past.

If you're a white American, and your ancestors owned slaves, should you be ashamed of yourself? No. You can be ashamed of your ancestors, and you can be ashamed of all of the cruelty and torture that went along with it. But you yourself know that slavery was wrong. You're not responsible for it. You can get past it without pretending it didn't happen.

But that's just my opinion.

Comment Re:censorship (Score 1) 625

(I happen to agree it's an inalienable right, but) one of the interesting things about inalienable rights is that not everyone agrees just what they all are.

So regardless of what rights we have inherently, it's a good idea to go through the political process and have government pass laws to protect those rights. At least after that happens, we all have notice of which of our rights are protected, and which ones we have to protect for ourselves (by force, subterfuge, or whatever).

If the German people, overall, are willing to use deadly force against people who exercise their right to sell games where players kill Nazis, then it's good that German law does not protect people's right to sell games where players kill Nazis. Otherwise there would be a conflict and you're eventually going to get into a situation where cops and citizens are shooting at each other in the streets. The way to protect rights is to persuade a (strong) majority that it's a bad idea to infringe rights. In fact, it's the only way. Having laws that are contrary to the actual will of the people, just isn't a stable and sensible situation.


ACLU Creates Map of US "Constitution-Free Zone" 979

trackpick points out a recent ACLU initiative to publicize a recent expansion of authority claimed by the Border Patrol to stop and search individuals up to 100 miles from any US border. They have created a map of what they call the US Constitution-Free Zone. "Using data provided by the US Census Bureau, the ACLU has determined that nearly 2/3 of the entire US population (197.4 million people) live within 100 miles of the US land and coastal borders. The government is assuming extraordinary powers to stop and search individuals within this zone. This is not just about the border: This 'Constitution-Free Zone' includes most of the nation's largest metropolitan areas.'"

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