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Comment Re:Not until Google+ allows pseudonyms (Score 1) 456

As I said, MY choice is p2p communications, which complete eliminates the central point of censorship/failure, giving no one any opportunity either to remove users, or enforce policies. But the fact that I can (and do) run my own Jabber server does not mean that the rest of society no longer exists. The fact that I operate a server does not mean that OTHER operators of OTHER servers cannot be held accountable for their actions. And the fact that Google's actions affect so many living humans (indeed the mere fact that they control public access to so many computers and so much data) makes it far more important to hold them accountable than most other server operators.

You are definitely missing this point: The mere theoretical possibility to replace Google (or any other corporation) does not in any way eliminate their responsibility for their own policies. Even if MY restaurant does not have racial segregation, that does not excuse YOUR restaurant for implementing racial segregation. If we want an integrated society, we need to hold all spaces with racist policies accountable.

Obviously I'm not calling Google racist or comparing their policy to segregation; but I AM saying that, just as brick-and-mortar spaces must grant certain rights to the public which have been established over time, so virtual social spaces are a domain for the establishment of public rights, of standards for the treatment of the public, which are enforced whether through legal or social mechanisms.

Comment Re:Not until Google+ allows pseudonyms (Score 1) 456

You do not have to be on Facebook or Google plus. I know more than a few people that live pretty active lives that are not.

Hi LWATCDR. I don't know your real name, although I'm using mine. I just wanted to say that, whatever you think about the policies within G+ or facebook, I think it's very dangerous to accept this "love it or leave it" logic. The problem is that social web sites are kind of like public spaces, or anyway, spaces open to the public. Google has the power to decide what kind of space G+ will be: what will be the rules, how will their power to expel users be used? It is very important that they not be granted a right not to be judged according to the policies they implement. In a digital community, source code is a form of legislation. Like a government, Google must be held responsible for how it uses its power.

Simply put, if G+ is a space without privacy, Google is to blame for making our world a little less private. (For better or for worse -- many people believe we have too much privacy, although I am not one of them.) Either way, Google cannot be granted immunity simply because people had the choice not to sign up. Perhaps we don't have to worry so much since people can choose to ignore G+, and most of them probably will -- but we do have to worry, because every other web service may also decide to govern their virtual space in the same way, and then what choice will we have?

(Well, I will be choosing p2p communications, but all you other suckers are fucked.)

Comment Re:Lack of tooling (Score 1) 442

Oh, and I'd like to take an off-topic moment to point out why I think *nix people are horrible user interface designers: because all *nix command line interfaces are AWFUL.

Unix interfaces are designed for completeness, not learning curve. The model of learning is that you learn a whole little language, and then you use it. You may say that that just "sucks," but show me a Turing-complete point-and-click learn-as-you-go interface and we'll see which is easier to use.

TL;DR: GUIs are easier to use because they do less.

Comment Re:Bye-bye! (Score 1) 997

the standard 8 hours a day, 5 days a week (which we have Henry Ford to thank for - he carefully researched the optimum working time for assembly line workers)

Ford was indeed one of the first companies to grant factory workers an 8 hour work day, and a 5 hour work week, but this was not the result of some scientific calculation of "optimum working time". This was at a time of violent conflict between industrialists and labor, and such rates were a concession to the demands of labor, meant to win the favor of employees.

PS. I just read that, at the same time that Ford shortened the work day to 8 hours, it also doubled wages (to $5 per 8 hour day from $2.34 per 9 hour day).

Comment Re:Not the first, won't be the last (Score 2) 347

And the Nobel Prize isn't quite what it used to be, at least the Peace Prize isn't what it used to be. I mean, they gave one to Obama for what they thought he might do, not what he has actually done.

They also gave one to war criminal Henry Kissinger, and one to genocide apologist Teddy Roosevelt -- I don't think it was ever all that honorable. One must imagine that, had he won, Hitler would have gotten one.

Comment Re:open source ipad (Score 1) 199

OK, the difference between a for-profit and a non-profit is that the non-profit does not pay anybody dividends. A non-profit is legally forbidden to reward its investors (who are called "donors"). So, actually, it's completely different, since the entire purpose of a for-profit is to pay dividends to the investors.

A monolith on the moon certainly isn't going to pay anybody dividends in proportion to their investment. Either no investors get paid, or everybody gets the same "dividend" (even those who didn't invest), depending on how you look at it. Either way, it's a non-profit.

WRT OpenMoko, I don't know about their "original mission statement", but they were quite clearly attempting to make a phone with an open hardware platform. And now the company is making another hardware platform unrelated to phones. It's a company full of hardware designers who produce hardware as a product for sale. So I think it's fair to judge them on that basis.

Finally, the difference between taxation and theft is that taxation attempts to take from all in order to enable collective purchases, while theft does not exist to enable collective purchases.

It's really pretty simple.

Comment Re:Better Use? (Score 1) 199

In fact I can think of no better use for a tiny drop in the total sum of money floating around the planet, than a mass exercise in artistic expression. It's kind of the ultimate way of saying, here we are.

This is the question isn't it?

Certain activities are excess, certain are essential. You can't play the game forever: the food people eat is essential to their survival. Art is not, and as excess, it exists only in a situation of abundance of the essential.

The only reason excess can be derided, rightfully, is that the abundance of the essential, and thus art, exists amidst (and indeed is made possible by) the deprivation of the essential from a vast majority of humans. Art and excess are the privilege of the few amidst the many who live in a world of scarcity.

I do realize that one can make the argument that if we wait for justice before beauty, we will just end up with a world that is without both. It is unfortunately rare to see this position coupled with the candor to admit injustice.

Myself, I do not think we should refrain from all fun until the chimera of social justice is conjured -- and I am certain that even the poor and starving, that even those in concentration camps and prisons, find energy to devote to humor and celebration. However, given the state of the world, the message of such a piece of art as this is, to me, a message of the harshest disregard for human suffering and equality.

Comment Re:Get thee to the Supremes (Score 1) 438

No, the OP was quite correct: you lose the constitutional right to privacy when you are arrested (not convicted). RTFA for the relevant supreme court decision.

And of course, those who are arrested are indeed treated like those who are convicted. They are held in the same facilities, subjected to the same restrictions and punishments, and not socially separated in any way. The guards do not even know which is which.

It is said that the COURTS treat the accused as innocent until proven guilty, which is true in a certain way, but no one could ever say such a thing about the "executive branch."

Comment Re:Get thee to the Supremes (Score 2) 438

The reality is that everybody plea bargains. The percentage of cases in which arguments even occur (let alone arguments about constitutionality) is such a tiny minority as to be negligible. Mostly, the accusation leads immediately to a plea bargain which is 1/100th of the maximum penalty (or more, but in proportion to the arrest record of the accused and without regard to the accusation) and is immediately accepted. Neither attorney needs to become familiar with the case.

Comment Re:Define "Liberalism" (Score 1) 841

You don't need to means-test the services if you means-test the taxation rates.

Of course I realize that that isn't done either, for these programs.

There is absolutely no disagreement that the programs in question cannot be sustained without fundamental modification.

(But again that is an exception to the way the majority of federal taxation works -- as a political compromise, "social security" is supposed to be a mandatory mutual insurance scheme, instead of a socialist redistribution.)

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