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Comment Non-profits can pay salaries (Score 1) 257

Hiring a programmer to take care of their software needs would certainly qualify as an operational expense they could justify.

That's a really good and valid point. The salary level depends on the non-profit. Non-profit doesn't mean they don't pay salaries, even good ones. I guess the point I was trying to make was that if you're starting from zero, doing a little free/low-pay work to build a background isn't a bad thing. It can lead to maintenance contracts and other more lucrative pursuits.

Comment I can't join the free speech religion. (Score 2, Interesting) 70

Porn isn't speech, bit torrent downloads aren't speech, and cybersex isn't speech.

Speech was originally intended to protect political and social commentary. That is of value to society. Porn, piracy and cybersex are not. We can survive just fine without them.

I realize this is an unpopular opinion on the internet, because (a) the internet has a daytime TV audience since September 1996 and (b) people like to believe their lives have meaning when they're crusading for "freedom" of some kind, even though they're just pushing out bytes on a screen on social media sites.

However, I think we need to stop worrying about what they do in other countries. We have no proof that legal porn/cybersex leads to a better way of life. We also have zero proof that banning it leads to banning of actual speech, i.e. political/social commentary.

Unfortunately these debates always become so emotional that soon it's children screaming at anyone who endorses anything but "do whatever you want, wherever and whenever, without consequences."

It's like a religion, but not an interesting or creative one. It's very much about the ego and not at all about the sacred. The sacred might emphasize a purpose in life beyond freedom/porn/cybersex, and it seems most people fear that, even if in non-religious form.

Comment The ethics threshold. (Score 3, Insightful) 63

If this is what they say this is ... this is far enough beyond an 'ethical' breach as to be obscene.

True. I sympathize with your statement. At the same time, I think that we should view ethics not as subject to violations, but as something we keep in good standing to be able to practice any number of professions linked to personal responsibility. It's a threshold measurement. A person stays in good standing so long as they are below that threshold, but as soon as they transgress and go beyond it, it doesn't matter whether it's a small or huge violation; they lose the right to have the power conveyed by that profession.

Comment Lawyers may be human too. (Score 1) 63

Lawyers are paid to be as devious, cruel, and inhuman as possible without getting disbarred, period.

Do you think all lawyers are this way?

It seems to me that some are not, just like some humans are not cruel, narcissistic and vain.

That there are very few shouldn't bother us, since most people can't code either but we still let them all use computers.

Comment Bunnies are innocent. Humans are not. (Score 1) 63

I dunno, there's a lot of risky medical testing that we are currently forced to do on imperfect animal models... Might be the only way that these people could make a positive contribution.

There's a lot of truth in that. I am always tempted because I like bunnies, cats, and other fluffy beings and would prefer they did not suffer testing when we have too many humans, and so few of them worth knowing, that we could easily lose a few to sadistic and disturbing chemical testing.

However, we'd have to follow due process rules, and those would be heightened because of the severity of the punishment (most likely unconstitutional anyway, since it would probably be found to be "cruel and unusual") which means that we would have very expensive test animals. However, bunnies. It is possible also that hardened violent criminals could be used as well, although the aforementioned constitutional bar would still be a problem.

Then again, who would want to do something unethical in pursuit of the unethical? I'm of two minds on this. Mind #1 (left side) says who cares if the method is ethical so long as the result is good. Mind #2 (right side) says that I'd be a hypocrite, I'd be signaling acceptance of their methods, and worst of all possibly, I'd be making myself more like them. Reminds me of that great Nietzsche quotation:

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

Comment Enforce ethics codes. (Score 5, Interesting) 63

Good for this judge. If someone is systematically benefiting from unethical behavior, we don't want them in our legal, political, medical or other professional systems. Lawyers, doctors, etc. get paid the big bucks for good work, and also for behaving at a level above the norm. When they don't, it's a clear sign they need "another career."

Comment The internet leaving non-profit status behind. (Score 1) 290

When the internet was non-profit, it was a community where people contributed things to be spread around. The idea was that this facilitated the growth of knowledge.

However, once you introduce commercial information to the picture, it needs to be defended because people need to get paid or they'll stop producing it and you'll be left with less powerful alternatives. One reason that we have industries is so that we can concentrate talent and reward the best, thus producing the best products.

At this point, I think it makes sense to start talking about a neo-Internet ("new internet") where all content is GPL licensed and designed to be shared. This would not be a Utopia. A lot of content (porn, entertainment, shopping) would probably not belong there.

But for those who just want to swap code and information, it would be great.

Comment If you're set up correctly, it can be great (Score 2) 380

If you have a closet for your networking equipment, and you have an older desktop PC that's fairly efficient, and you're going to be buying bandwidth already, having a server of your own is a really good idea.

In addition, it can be a useful way to learn Linux and/or Windows Server admin skills.

However, this assumes you have all of the above, and the time to maintain the thing. Who fixes it if it dies? Now everyone relies on it. Who will make sure it is going to stay up for them?

If you work a guaranteed eight hours a day and no more, you might be able to fix it up when you get home or on the weekends. Sometimes however that's not an option.

Thus while the server is cheaper, the time to administrate it may not be.

Comment Stealth became a necessary tactic (Score 4, Insightful) 197

Other aliens out there may have discovered what we haven't yet figured out:

Not everyone in the universe is nice.

Having a whole bunch of radio signals emanating from your planet is like saying "rob me! rape me! kill me!" to any wandering castoffs from alien civilization.

It might not even be organized military action; only pirates, or serial killers, or even just disaffected artists with a flesh fetish.

Comment Biological validation (Score 1) 538

There's going to be a shift from passwords in general. Not only are they often insecure, but there's no verification that the person typing in the password is the user who owns it.

No, we're going to switch to biological means. This will be more secure, but as a side effect, there will be more assaults in which the eye/finger/penis is removed and used to gain access to these bio-protected systems.

Comment Don't use your real information, unless... (Score 1) 245

There is only one time when you use real information: when you're paying for a service and it has a vested interest in keeping your information off the open internet.

Otherwise, it's time to fill in the B.S. Think of your best friend as a child, and a common object around the house. Those terms are your first name and last respectively.

- Dave Paperweight

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