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Comment Re:The Americans are tampering with our internet! (Score 3, Interesting) 274

Sure - there are plenty of political agitators in the US, all over the political spectrum. The funniest thing with respect to this article is that whatever agitation the Chinese are complaining about is probably laughable compared to the scrutiny and venom to which *our* elected government is subjected from Rush, Beck, HuffPo, Daily Kos, Air America, etc. Seriously, who would *want* to be president of this angry-ass country?

(That said, I respectfully note both parent and GP 4-digit IDs and defer to your old-timey judgement) :)

Comment Re:I'm sorry but... (Score 5, Funny) 699

but she did feel safe thanks to the lack of warning on the google directions.

I totally sympathize with her. I was looking up walking directions from Seattle to Brisbane, Australia and when the Google Maps turn #10 ended up being "Kayak across the Pacific Ocean," for 2,756 miles at first I was like, "No way I can kayak that far." But then I realized that Google Maps wouldn't tell me to do something that wasn't perfectly safe so I went ahead and did it.

Sooo... Long story short, do you think Omaha Steaks delivers to GPS coordinates in the ocean? Also, do they carry sunblock?

--Sent from my Blackberry wireless device

Comment Re:free but not cheap (Score 1) 332

A service on the other hand, is entirely under the control of a third party and can change at their whim.

When you enter into a service contract where you're obligated to pay nothing, you're more willing to accept very permissive "change-at-the-provider's-whim" stipulations than if you were actually paying for some value.

This article is entirely about a service that started off working, and then the company providing it stopped providing it to the one particular user with no explanation as to why.

...which would be an actual issue if the guy had actually entered a contract where Google wasn't allowed to do that. He didn't. Why are we shocked when free services aren't as well supported as paid ones? How do you expect Google to pay for the electricity to their datacenters? (other than ad revenue ;)

Comment Time to stop relying on public education... (Score 1) 895

The fact that there are alternate "liberal" and "conservative" versions of certain subjects demonstrates that those subjects should no longer fall under the purview of an organization whose goal is to establish commonly agreed-upon standards for what every kid needs to learn. Since we clearly can't agree on which version is right, there are two alternatives:
  1. Let parents decide, individually, what sort of biased version of certain subjects their kids will learn.
  2. Leave the decision up to politically-motivated, impersonal boards to fight over the bias to which all kids will be exposed.

I don't know about you, but I'm not so insecure about my particular biases that I think everyone should be forced to be exposed to them. So I guess the real question is, how do you cull out the bias-laden subjects? Maybe you can't - I mean, you could even make arguments that math can be taught with a political slant. So maybe the right answer is to scale back the scope of boards of education to establishing quality gates for education, rather than mandating the manner in which the education is delivered.

Comment Re:he should think this through (Score 1) 631

Now, 60 similar cases nationwide claim that the standard design of table saws, unchanged for decades, is defective. In addition, they claim manufacturers are negligent in failing to adopt a flesh-detecting technology like SawStop's

This is a weird situation. I can see the logic behind holding a company responsible if they ignored a law requiring certain safety standards or procedures. I can also understand holding a company responsible if they did not provide or adhere to widely-accepted industry-standard safety feature or procedure.

But in this case, the legislative branch (via the patent though I guess, technically, via the USPTO) created a negative incentive for adopting the technology in question. And now the judicial branch has, de facto, created a severe penalty for *not* adopting it. These are two external, artificial market forces that are in direct opposition to one another.

I mean, not to get all Adam Smithy or anything, but consider the situation where the patent is allowed to persist, *and* the precedent of the lawsuit is followed by more similar absurd lottery-payout lawsuits. Now that it's effectively infeasible to *not* use SawStop(TM) due to the risk of getting sued for a hojillion dollars, table saw manufacturers that can't afford the patent royalties and, who up until this landmark legal decision, were able to provide perfectly good table saws to their customers, go out of business. Table saw manufacturers who can afford to pay for "SawStop" stay afloat, but with increased costs, and make and therefore sell less saws. This results in a decrease in the supply of table saws, which results in an increase in the price of table saws. Which results in an increase in the price of things that require the use of table saws (such as houses).

Whatever. My point is that if something's so important that a court would find a company negligent for not using it, then there should be a law *requiring* that all companies use it. A corollary is that if Widget X or Procedure Y falls into this category, then there should be no artificial manipulation of the market price (a patent is such an artificial manipulation) so that we, as a society, can produce the optimal amounts of things that use those widgets and/or procedures.

Comment Re:Echoes of B5's "Night Watch" for IT? (Score 5, Insightful) 211

Just out of curiosity, when *are* you going to start holding Obama accountable for the state of things? It sounds to me like you've set up a perfect moving-goalpost situation where "badness" == "Bush's Legacy" whenever it's convenient.

I'm definitely not a big fan of Republicans and their degenerate relationship with religious folks these days, but is it really productive to mask the bad behavior of one political party by blaming it on another?

Comment Re:Here is a solution to cell phone madness (Score 0, Troll) 319

Then they should also reject the arrangements currently in place for fire fighting, public education and Medicare/Medicaid etc. In our movement, we do not compel anyone to join. What we do, is to offer choice.

Great idea! This year when I file my taxes, I'll just check the, "No thank you, I would not like to pay taxes for Medicare or Public Education!" boxes!

Actually, this is great argument to present to confused people who seem to think that taxes are some sort of donation that everyone should be happy to pay rather than a forcible confiscation of your hard-earned money. If you really *are* for "freedom" and "choice," then why don't we just allow people to voluntarily pay taxes only for the pieces of government that they actually support? That would include things like funding wars, etc.

Now *that* would be freedom.

Comment Re:Hypocritical (Score 1) 686

Actually there are programs to encourage men to go into nursing. Men don't though, do you know why? Same reason women don't get into computer science: cultural conditioning.

Isn't "cultural conditioning," just another way of saying "how to raise your kids?" So what are the types of conditioning that are personally acceptable to you?

Comment Re:laughable (Score 1) 647

The problem is that property is not pulled out of vacuum, it's created out of natural resources depriving others of said resources.

At this point, on this planet, just about everything that can be owned already *is* owned. So the exchange of property (i.e., matter) for money (i.e., time) and vice-versa works within that system according to the rules that emerge from natural rights.

If by "natural resources," you mean stuff that somebody already owns (e.g., land, minerals they've mined, etc.), and that ownership is legally recognized by some contemporary government, but you have some sort of cosmic-fairness-based argument why they *shouldn't* own it, objections about how they historically came to own it, or ideas about how we ought to provide some sort of reparations for the wrongs that came along with that initial establishment of ownership, then please just stop here - I don't care to have that argument. We had our "Wild West" days of expansion and acquisition, and I wouldn't disagree that many people were wronged in that time. But the sad fact is that, no matter how you personally feel about it, those things *are* owned, and in just about every nation there's a framework that both supports the legitimacy of the current owners. That argument is focused on the redistribution of current ownership based on past grievances, not a real critique of property rights.

However, I agree that there's a problem if by "natural resources" you mean "stuff that nobody owns yet." That's an interesting issue - given, at this point that would almost have to be something extra-planetary. The right to property can't exist unless there's a government that can effectively prevent others from depriving you of property by force or fraud. While we're done with the Wild West days on this planet, there's a whole universe out there that isn't under lock and key by any planetary government.

So the question is, can we somehow devise a system under which the next phase of expansion and acquisition is done in a more orderly and just fashion than the last one?

Comment Re:laughable (Score 1) 647

I think that natural rights impose an obligation on others to not unduly take from you one thing or another. I also think that natural rights can't be anything that obliges someone else to provide something for you. The distinction might be narrow, but it's important.

For example, the right to life imposes an obligation on others not to deprive you of that - in other words, not to kill you. But even though there are things that you need in order to remain alive (e.g., food, shelter), those are not natural rights because that would require an obligation on someone else to provide you with food and shelter.

The right to liberty imposes an obligation on others not to forcefully or fraudulently cause you to do something against your own rational judgment. However, it does not provide things like freedom from the consequences of your volitional actions.

When you consider natural rights in this way, the right to property kind of makes sense - it obliges people to not unduly deprive you of property, but it makes no obligations on others to provide you that property in the first place.

The place of government is to provide a framework that protects our natural rights with minimal imposition on those same rights - we pay taxes in order to have police and courts and such, in order to protect us from being forcefully or fraudulently being deprived of life, liberty or property. But taxes are, of course, a violation of the right to liberty because money is just a means of exchanging your work, or really your time and efforts, for someone else's time and efforts. When you're forced to provide money for a thing, it's really that you're being forced to give up your time and effort for that thing.

It's not perfect, but the point behind the concept of natural rights is to maximize the liberty of all, with the knowledge that in order to provide that liberty, you've necessarily got to impose on the very rights you intend to preserve. That's why it's extremely important to have a very minimal set of "natural" rights - every thing you declare as a "natural" right is only provided by government at the expense of another.

Comment Re:laughable (Score 2, Insightful) 647

Or does 'this' libertarian fall into the convenient category of including property rights into the group of 'natural' rights by twisted logic?

Just out of curiosity, what do you consider to be 'natural' rights? And could you explain how is the right to property not one of them, since you clearly think it isn't? And what constitutions/rules of governance throughout the world *don't* provide protection for property rights? The US, Canada, the EU, the UK, Australia, and most South American and Asian nations do. I'm hard-pressed to find one that doesn't.

That's mostly why I'm surprised at your comment - your opinion seems to be in the *vast* minority, and historically, nations that have lacked protection for property rights have generally been third-world nations run by dictators, or else proven to be abject failures and collapsed under their failed economies (i.e., the USSR).

Was your comment just sophomoric romanticizing of collectivism? Or have you actually thought this through?

Comment Re:Hypocrites. (Score 1) 187

I agree that more informed choice among browsers among consumer users is a good thing. But that wasn't my point - My observation was that these companies are jockeying for *position* in a list, which implies that they recognize that, for some significant portion of users, it'll end up being essentially a random choice.

I figure people will fall into three categories: 1) Tech-savvy users who know exactly which browser they want - My guess that this will come out probably favoring Mozilla, 2) Casual users who haven't really thought about browser choice will probably be slightly confused by this screen, but don't want to make a totally random choice - My guess is that most will recognize 'Microsoft' and pick that by association, and 3) People who will just click 'Next' and take whatever's selected by default (essentially a random selection).

Point is that all this scheme does is to chip away at Microsoft's market share via group #3 - the totally clueless people who really, really don't care what browser they use (or maybe even know what a browser is). These are the people that'll end up complaining to their friends (and Microsoft) that their Interwebs are different and weird because they randomly selected, say, Opera on the ballot screen.

Anyways, I'm really really interested in seeing how the selection rates come out.

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