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Comment Re:Not the real thing? (Score 1) 365

Mmm. There was an underlying social movement involving the engagement ring. As US courts became more reluctant to award damages in breech-of-promise suits, valuable rings as a mark of engagement became more common. If the man broke the engagement, the woman kept it, thus collecting the value of the ring without having to go to court. If she broke it off, she was expected to return it; courts, in fact, would enforce the demand for the return.

The standardization on diamond rings was very much DeBeers marketing; initially, rubies were actually more popular. But the underlying phenomena didn't have particularly much to do with the traditional wedding ring at all.

Comment Re:Whatever it is, it's out and not "Linux" (Score 1) 163

No, sorry, you misunderstand.

Cygwin is GNU for Windows. It compiles and puts the GNU system on Windows.

"Windows Subsystem for Linux" is not GNU for Windows. It is subsystem for executing compiled-for-Linux ELF binaries on Windows. It's a Linux subsytem/ABI on Windows much like Wine is a Windows subsystem/ABI on Linux. You can run GNU software compiled for Linux on it, because it implements the Linux system calls on Windows, but it is not a port of GNU software to the Windows kernel.

Comment Re:Maybe it's about saving lives, not money? (Score 1) 108

Actually, no, the source I'm using for that nuclear death estimate number explicitly includes deaths from accidents in making material for nuclear weapons, waste handling, uranium mining (both accidents and radiation exposure), no-linear-threshold analysis of radiation exposure, the maximal estimates of Chernobyl and Fukushima deaths (including the deaths from evacuation-related stress in Fukushima), and so on.

It's the sources that don't do that that come up with stupid things like "Zero civilian nuclear deaths in the US", which I agree are nonsense.

I mean, yes, it's possible that there are a bunch of incidents in Russia and China that have been kept quiet, but they would have to cumulatively be on the same order of magnitude as Chernobyl in order to move the needle enough to bring the nuclear death rate up to wind (which is mostly falls by maintenance workers, divided by the rather low amount of wind power generated) . Getting the numbers up to global hydro (which is dominated by a few really big dam failures, mostly in places like China) requires some truly ludicrous numbers of unknown nuclear deaths.

Comment Re:Maybe it's about saving lives, not money? (Score 1) 108

Yeah, see, I'm not ESR, the guy who's been editing the Jargon File since the late 1980s, and who added entries like "Fisking". I'm just an archivist, of every version I've been able to lay my hands on. The only agenda involved in the Jargon File Text Archive is making as much of the File's history as available as possible to everyone; I've got versions, from before and after ESR started editing, that were previously not collected anywhere else.

Comment Re:$$$ Workstations (Score 1) 310

Er, no. The Hz race has not been stalled for a decade because every player in the industry suddenly changed their priorities all at once.

IBM, which you cite for its lab work, would be perfectly happy to be able to deploy substantially faster POWER chips to increase its market share at the expense of x86. But POWER's stagnated on frequency since 2006, too. Similarly, the "rest of the industry" that you say wants to replace x86 with ARM would quite gladly ship 10 GHz ARM parts if they could figure out how; after all, that would greatly help in stealing market share from x86.

No, we're stuck where we are because nobody can yet figure out how to actually move any technique for increasing speed from the lab to an actual mass-manufactured part, even though every single player in the desktop and server spaces has a massive incentive to be the first to do so.

Comment Re: BIG ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN (Score 1) 348

Yeah, everybody remembers he ended the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Of course, the better lesson is that he caused the Cuban Missile Crisis. There wasn't any inherent reason the US couldn't have tried to privately negotiate their removal first, with the trade of removing US missiles in Turkey and Italy that actually happened anyway, rather than making a big public crisis and sending out the navy to confront the Russians and whatnot.

But, then, that's a sober analysis leaning on the fact that the missiles in Cuba didn't seriously increase the threat level to the US as a whole anyway; long-range Soviet missiles and Soviet missile subs already existed, after all. The real issue with the missiles in Cuba was that they combined short flight-times with reasonable accuracy, so that existing plans to evacuate the Top Men from DC in case of a nuclear war were no longer reliable. So the Top Men in DC panicked now that their safety was in danger, and they acted completely irrationally.

The correct response to the CMC would have been for the American public to form a mob and take Kennedy and his NSC and hang them from lampposts for almost starting a nuclear war in a panic. Instead, Kennedy gets all sorts of hosannas because when he pushed us to the brink by performing acts of war against the Soviets and Cubans, Khrushchev was calm and sober enough not to push us over. Khrushchev paid for that world-saving statesmanship, of course; it made the Soviets look weak, which was a major reason he was removed from power a couple years later.

Comment Maybe it's about saving lives, not money? (Score 1) 108

The global rate of deaths per trillion kWH for coal power is 100,000.

The global rate of deaths per trillion kWH for coal power is 4,000.

The global rate of deaths per trillion kWH for hydroelectric power is 1,400.

The global rate of deaths per trillion kWH for wind power is 150.

The global rate of deaths per trillion kWH for nuclear power is 90.

Comment Re:Goodbye, internet! (Score 1) 296

The control you speak of is nonexistent.

As a technical matter, anybody can set up their own root servers, and anybody can aim their machines to point at different root servers. The maximum damage anyone can do with control of any particular root servers is to make people have to decide to re-aim at an alternative.

As a legal manner, any less-liberal country can already try to pass a law censoring root servers -- Turkey did that to its ISPs. Since Turkey couldn't control root servers outside of Turkey, though, five minutes later Turks were putting graffiti on walls telling each other how to configure their computers to aim at uncensored overseas DNS servers.

If you trust the US not to censor root servers, there's no risk in the US not overseeing the ICANN servers, since alternates could always be set up by private persons or organizations in the US. And if you don't trust the US not to censor root servers, there's no safety in having the US oversee the ICANN servers.

Comment Re:Imagine (Score 1) 121

As long as we're imagining, let's imagine if they'd spent the last two decades following through the original GNU plan to build a desktop on top of GNUStep, so our long-refined desktop environment sits on top of an API and object model source-compatible with macOS.

Comment Oh, lord, this nonsense again (Score 2) 128

This is meaningless outside of symbolism.

Anybody can set up an alternate root server, and the only thing that makes any particular root server's assignments valuable is if ISPs in general use it. At worst, if ICANN (or any successor) abuses control over the root servers, there will be a few weeks until everybody switches to a fork under new management (probably under a consortium of businesses led by Google anyway). And as the so-called US government oversight of the current servers is entirely without any practical effects at all, so would be "surrendering" it.

The fact that US "control" keeps generating news stories is the obvious reason to give it up; it causes antagonism and controversy without adding any value at all.

Comment Re:I have seen some abuse of this but. (Score 1) 187

"Fair use" is an American legal doctrine (though the Philippines kept it from when it was a US colony and Israel, South Korea, and Poland have recently adopted their own versions), not a UK one. The UK/Commonwealth equivalent is "fair dealing", which is generally more restrictive than US "fair use".

Comment Re:Reading comprehension fail (Score 2) 31

Why assume it's state-sponsored? The Chinese people are perfectly capable of irrational acts of nationalist vandalism all on their own. (It wasn't the Chinese government that denounced the US, attacked KFC and McDonald's outlets, and smashed iPhones in anger over the China-Philippines sea boundaries ruling.)

So, why would angry Chinese attack a Vietnamese target? Simple enough. Because a number of Vietnamese citizens went out and celebrated the sea boundaries ruling, denouncing China and praising the Philippines (without any state support, and in several cases getting arrested by the Vietnamese government for it).

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If Machiavelli were a hacker, he'd have worked for the CSSG. -- Phil Lapsley