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Comment Re:What!? (Score 2, Interesting) 658

modify this a little ...

"If they can [come up with a barely plausible scenario] that you [gave away/sold] [a burner/a modem/access to website/cool hardware hack/a torrent/whatever] to a person you [have no idea whether they might] use [to violate copyright/exercise fair use] then yes, you [should] be charged with a crime.
[Who cares if] there are so many legitimate uses for [a burner/a modem/access to website/cool hardware hack/a torrent/whatever], the [media] lobby is so powerful, [it doesn't matter that it's] nearly impossible to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you thought whoever you were selling a [a burner/a modem/access to website/cool hardware hack/a torrent/whatever] to was going to use it for non-illegal means, [access to a burner/a modem/access to website/cool hardware hack/a torrent/whatever must be prevented at all costs]."

just sayin'

Comment Re:have you seen my representative government late (Score 1) 239

IMHO, the problem with the "stranglehold the Republican and Democratic parties have on the machinery of government" is the result of corporate influence on those parties ...
"We need to limit federal legislation of states and depend upon each state to make the decisions ... "

when some corporations have revenue (and sometimes profits) greater than entire nations (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/01/business/worldbusiness/01iht-exxon.4.9679416.html), state budgets (http://www.nasbo.org/Publications/PDFs/FSSpring2009.pdf), and global influence, the various state gov'ts will be immune to this ... how?

Comment Re:California (Score 1) 451

years of observation have allowed me to make the following generalizaton:
when the waves fade, and the uncountable hordes of pasty tourists arrive, that's summer.
when the pasty hordes disappear, and the waves return, that's winter.
reportedy, the rest of the US has two transition seasons, while we simply note the two holidays at either end

Comment Re:How to do a much shorter article next time (Score 2, Insightful) 171

The plot can usually be summarized as:
...
It seems to me that a lot of science fiction has an anti-science bent.


You could just as well say that all non SciFi has the same problem... Govenrment wants to do something stupid and only the maverick politician can save the day; Spouse does something stupid and only two hours of dramatic avoiding-the-real-problem can reunite the couple; Boy wants girl but it takes 90 minutes of wacky adventures and two near-death experiences before he gets the courage to ask her out.

The "best" SciFi doesn't make science out as the villain or the hero - Instead, it shows us the (possible) realities of everyday situations in a setting that extracts those problems from the limitations of "modern" science... ie, The boy will still take 90 minutes and nearly die before he gets up the courage to ask the girl out, whether he lives today, or in a dirt hovel 300 years ago, or on a colony station orbiting Jupiter in the year 3517.

I think your real complaint applies to most forced-plot movies in general... You need some artificially-induced source of tension, followed by stalling and CGI to make the story last more than five minutes, followed by a completely predictable but somehow "unexpected" resolution to the original problem. Faux-science just happens to make for some good villians without needing to really justify their motivations. Why does the god-like AI want to enslave humanity? Because, um, er, humans look weak and inefficient (and what about dogs, trees, ants, and every other lower life form on the planet that A, humans don't see a need to enslave/exterminate, and B, we must look barely better than them to this god-like AI?).

So blame Hollywood, not SciFi in general. :)

Comment Here's a problem (Score 1) 409

The problem I have with it is that the Sun shareholders own something of value - namely the brands, technology, and organizational structure (that is, they don't own the employees of course, but the do 'own' existing business relationships with those employees which could be transferred, and those relationships have value). Even if the company is not worth what it once was, shouldn't the shareholders have the freedom to sell off the assets of value which they own to an interested buyer?

Capitalism is, first and foremost, about freedom - that people should have the freedom to do business without undo interference by the government. The great economic tragedy of the current political climate is that all the people who are hating on capitalism right now forget that the *reason* the USA has traditionally chosen a mostly capitalist economy (I say mostly because, it definitely hasn't been a 'pure' capitalist business system in a long time) is because that is the most Free system of business.

There must be a very compelling reason, indeed, to impinge on the freedom of others. Sun shareholders should have the right to sell what is left of the company to a willing buyer.

Comment Re:Traffic Jams on the way to work (Score 1) 447

Because I only owe a little over 50K on my house. With the housing prices in Vancouver Canada, for what I pay for my 3 bedroom house, I could not get more than a one bedroom apartment in town. I have fruit trees in my back yard, I have a back yard, I have enough space for all my toys, and that is why I put up with such insanity.
NASA

Submission + - SPAM: NASA teams to build pod-like tranportation system

coondoggie writes: "It looks a little like the Jetson's flying car but it travels on magnetically levitated highways. That's one vision of a future commuter system that could be developed by a marriage of NASA robot-control software and car-like pods from Unimodal Systems. Specifically, per an agreement announced today between Unimodal and NASA, Unimodal will contribute its SkyTran vehicle and its advanced transportation technology while NASA will provide its Plan Execution Interchange Language (PLEXIL) and Universal Executive (UE) robot control software to control the vehicle. SkyTran will use small vehicles running on elevated, magnetically levitated (maglev) guideways, which distinguishes it from other railed systems. The vehicles are lightweight, personal compartments that can transport up to three passengers, according to [spam URL stripped]."
Link to Original Source

Comment Re:Put's the lie to their open source claims (Score 1) 284

Also, IBM has been a good friend to the open source community now for many years, just like Sun. They may have valid corporate-profit driven motives, but heck, who cares? They've been great for a lot of projects. They contribute their patents to the pool to defend open-source, rather than trying to kill Linux, like Microsoft.

Anyway, IBM is right. Software patents have been huge for open source. Open source projects only come about when the authors can't make any money selling the things. Software patents have made it far harder to actually sell a viable software product, resulting a huge boom on open source.

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