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Comment Re:The price we pay for sanity (Score 1) 265

I guess in some roundabout way it makes sense for things like CDs and MP3 player devices. But this is supposed to be a tax on memory cards! There's a very small fraction of these being used in mobile phones, and whatever is being used for music often got paid for, again, through iTunes and co..

The real large bulk of usage is other data on mobile phones, as well as use in cameras. Is the entire software industry being recompensated, too? And how is that large fraction of the price of especially the smaller memory cards appropriate when most usage is NOT for music?

Comment Did I find the culprit(s)? (Score 1) 916

This is almost obligatory. Part 30 shows some interesting things, though there are also quite a few of the other parts that are relevant. Get to know the Discovery Institute by video... if you want, feel free to also read about it on Wikipedia

Now, here's the more specifically likely source of this "null hypothesis" stuff, the flawed arguments by Dembski, another one of the former members of Discovery Institute.

Comment Re:UN regulated. (Score 1) 160

The united nations is about avoiding disputes over commercial ventures. The UN should actually be the ones that "own" the solar system, because determining who does in the classic military fashion mankind settled such possible disputes in the past would be a very, very bad idea.

And the only large-ish space station that I know of that even fell even just partially uncontrolled actually hit the ground far from where it was supposed to go (Skylab). The bigger MIR was very carefully de-orbited - still debris hit the ground. You don't want to know what would have happened if someone actually tried to maximize rather than minimize the damage... or what would happen if the same was done with something of the size of ISS.

And really, some of these nations destroying some satellites (which in some cases doesn't even mean "completely shattered") does not at all mean they can deal with a space station or an asteroid with a slightly altered trajectory. Nor will things be fine until all nations can be protected.

Comment UN regulated. (Score 0) 160

I'd like UN regulation and control of all exploitation of space. If there can't be broad consensus over it should be used commercially, space should just remain unused. We can't afford quarrels over space.

Besides, until the nations of the world can defend themselves against, say, asteroids that may have their trajectories altered or falling space stations, it is also not at all clever to allow any particularly large or particularly maneuverable commercial venues out there.

Comment Re:Uh, unless you're a programmer... (Score 1) 766

Even with FOSS software you depend on others to maintain it. If they stop, then you don't get updates.

Wrong. You just don't get free updates anymore if others cease to maintain a piece of software, now you have to create additions or maintenance fixes by yourself.

Or, as is more realistic for most people and organizations, hire someone with skills matching the problem to do it. It is not like programmers -even fairly well-trained ones- are much more of a rarity or generally more expensive than doctors of matching skill. Plus, maybe your problem is one that doesn't even require skills like any kind of doctor. Add to that that some may be convinced to give you a discount, because open source work can be counted as "charitable", too.

Comment Re:Typical Euro politics (Score 2) 695

If you don't get paid well enough for your contributions to the economy, that's a different story and should be addressed. But not by cheap fuel with all the side-effects, but just plain higher, more fair wages. Indirect solutions only get you screwed over.

This here is really just about petrol cars and their emissions. Emissions which have effects that provably accumulate a lot of varied damage all over society. The health costs alone are quite insane, but not the only cost.

It is damage which so far people would ignore, because doing anything individually does mainly just dents their own budget with no visible personal gain. Well, now you eventually might have to, and it makes sense for (almost) everyone if everyone drastically reduces or stops their emissions.

Comment Re:NO BLOOD FOR OIL!!! (Score 1) 688

So, according to you, the plan is:

1. Obama does not withdraw from Iraq as fast as he promised to during his election campaign.

2. ???

3. The US attack Libya with the intent to get its oil - and not like before in trade, but occupation of sorts. Also implied: Libya exports to the US, not to the EU, China, and Turkey anymore as it did before.

4. Profit!


Comment Re:Well....he certainly talks a good game (Score 1) 285

If it turns into a "Serbian-style" conflict, then we'll be helping the wrong side yet again.

Assuming you're a citizen of a NATO member country, you were on the correct side. Both in the humanitarian sense (fighting the worst war criminals, even if combatants had a pretty shoddy record) and in the general sense (supporting a democracy or an authoritarian state - guess which is better)...

Comment Re:UN declares war on Libya (Score 1) 501

I also feel very strongly against this action. UN-sanctioned or no, it's a declaration of war

I disagree, the UN matters. It decides what is the law of nations, and whether and how to enforce it. We all know it is still law made by men, but in this case, it represents the overwhelming majority of humanity and a good part of its power, too. It should not be ignored, for both practical and moral reasons.

war of which we have plenty right now.

Hey, if you wanted to stay clear of this one, you could actually do so, the rest will likely somehow get the job done. But would you really want to start two wars that aren't exactly perceived as righteous, and then turn down one that mostly is?

This is a civil war. Ghaddafi keeps his revolutionary guard well-paid, and his military is more than he needs to maintain control. The UN forces will only prolong the fighting, and it's very difficult to convince the world that the no-fly action has nothing to do with the price of oil.

I don't think either applies.
A few things about the actual fighting: There's no real way to take heavy equipment or even just cars or carts with supplies through the desert when superior planes and helicopters control the air. And the important cities are the ones at the coast. Guess who'll have superiority in either place, even if it were just France vs Libya?

About the Libyan oil: Really, there are probably economic motivations at work, but this idea seems far-fetched. The EU and US at least surely care more about not getting a rebel army worth of refugees, safe shipping channels through the mediterranean sea, and safe coastlines. Definitely not the comparatively small bit of oil that might be expensively exploited (the cost of paying for the security of the extraction effort, the cost of domestic protests against it all, etc.) instead of just bought in trade.

Comment Re:UN declares war on Libya (Score 2) 501

'Everything short of an invasion' is rhetoric. This is a declaration of war. It violates Libya's sovereignty. From here on in, its not a question of who is right and who is wrong. It is a question of who applies more force to subdue whom.[...]

I think you missed the part where member states, like Libya, explicitly agreed to various things the UN charter demands from members.

The UN is also not just some random faction subject to international law. No, it is essentially the international law, even though if its enforcement is only taken care of by willing volunteers.

Comment Re:Similar Revolts (Score 1) 501

With the intervention of western countries, do you think this resolution will influence further revolutions across the globe, fueled by the hope that the UN will come to the rescue if the targets of revolt become aggressors similar to Gadhafi?

I wouldn't advise anyone starting a revolution unless they realistically can win. As far as Libya is concerned, the world's most powerful factions are now quite convinced that Gadaffi and/or his forces are too insane, too brutal, too much going against their ideals and interests, and too close nearby, and the rest does not even disagree. Protecting people as described in the resolution is hence already very close to meaning the destruction Gadaffi's armies, so it may actually benefit the rebels decisively.
But I don't think most other rebels can even be "too close nearby" or get many of these other things, at which point it may even be doubtful if anyone cares for them.

Isn't it interesting that social media and modern technology have done more for the desire for democratization than most of our cold-war efforts ever did?

Social media are helpful. But it took enormous steps for all of China, Russia, and the EU, even (in recent times especially) the US to get to where they are now. All social media wouldn't matter much otherwise, we would either already be at each other's throat, close to or entirely extinct, or actively preventing anyone from gaining prestige, territory, influence and anything. In the last case, what the rebels wanted wouldn't matter, they'd be just one more battlefield to fight on over entirely different issues, or be ignored.

Comment Re:Open source vs proprietary (Score 1) 792

[...]The point is that Stallman probably doesn't insist on full schematics for his microwave. He probably doesn't ask for the complete recipe for the TV dinner he's nuking. He probably doesn't tour the facility where the TV dinner (and/or microwave) was built. He probably doesn't check to make sure that the cows that were used to make the leather for his sneakers were free-range and humanely slaughtered.[...]

You actually can modify (fix or alter) your sneakers or microwave with not much more effort than the original producer. Looking at the components from the outside as they are will generally tell you exactly what they do, too. And here, unlike with software, an occasional surprise inspection and scrutiny of the equipment available and used in the industrial facilities and tests of samples is quite good to ensure animals get butchered humanely or that food is created according to a certain recipe.

But with software, you generally need all of the code, build instructions and documentation as well as access to the binary in order to meaningfully be able to either inspect or modify it. And evil can be done in the slightest fraction of it, generally without any good means of detection and with maybe only one programmer knowing that it was done.


Submission + - Australia creates cyberwarfare unit (

An anonymous reader writes: Australia's Federal Government computer emergency response team and other spy agencies are teaming up to create a cyberspooks unit to counter threats from other countries, the nation's chief lawmaker said last night. In a speech referencing Stuxnet and GhostNet, Attorney-General Robert McClelland said the unit would protect sensitive Australian Government and business information from espionage by the nation's foes. Recently new powers were handed spymasters to deal with the enhanced security threat that the Greens party said were "excessive".

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