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Comment Demilitarise the police (Score 1) 694

There's a strong "US vs. THEM" sentiment in law enforcement, facilitated by a decades-long trend of "militarising" the police, eg. SWAT teams. Originally specialised, now used for increasingly everything. The gun totery and body armour sure look impressive, but it has nothing to do with connecting with the community.

Find ways to get police forces of all sizes, local, state, and federal, to focus on policing again, not on playing supercop with the general populace as targets of convenience. Don't be afraid to get rid of a few entire agencies should that prove necessary.

Comment Re:Third parties, generally, are not good (Score 1) 694

Note that multi-party systems can work fine elsewhere. So even though this'll get plenty of knee-jerk reactions for reasons that are inscrutable to me, I'd suggest direct representational voting, or some other way to stop gerrymandering being possible, or useful.

The system was indubitably pretty neat back when, but hasn't scaled well. Take the ingredient principles and build something that fits the current (and future, for say 50..100 years--investigating your voting system every century for effectiveness and possible revision isn't bad) situation better. In general, some system that doesn't happen to have a two-party-only implicit system property.

Do away with "we don't spam because we're politicians"-exemptions, like for robocalls. Find a way to stop lobbying being so lucrative; a focus back on the voter would be nice. Might as well try and dismantle the military^Wsecurity-industrial complex, but that'd be a good thing too.

Comment Re:And yet... (Score 2) 87

I do believe that when you produce any digital content, you should have the right to control the means of distribution.

Why? What makes "digital" so different from, oh, music, books, anything with copyright on it, that suddenly the first sale doctrine wouldn't apply?

I myself wrote free software once, and when I found out somebody was selling it on ebay and elsewhere, and expecting me to support it, I was pretty well pissed off and went out of my way to make sure that it would only be distributed by the means I chose.

Yes, that is more than a little annoying, but the fix isn't DRM. It's enforcement of your copyrights. That is in fact how the GPL works. If that software was public domain (or similarly loosely licenced) then that includes allowing reselling, though the "NO EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTY OF ANY KIND" disclaimers are the usual CYA against having to support it. Some people will still be unreasonable about it, of course, but some people will be unreasonable in any case.

There is no requirement whatsoever that enforcing your copyrights includes DRM. DRM doesn't guarantee lack of false positives or preclude rampant DMCA abuse either, far from it. So you'll have to think this one through again, sorry.

Comment Re:Hey, the rest of the world (Score 1) 87

By the network effect, entrenchment, that sort of thing.

The practical fix? Make the internet be its own country, and put all infrastructure (especially the DNS) and international servers in it for legal purposes. Then every country needs only make "internet extradition" treaties with "the internet", not with every other country possible. That is also the only way to ensure cencorship as well as warrantless wiretapping stays within bounds.

You can't prevent all damage, but you can contain it, and route around it.

Comment No wonder phones are so crap (Score 1) 257

The "analysts" are, too. On top of that, phones are still a "platform" to deliver "an experience" ment only to please you insofar it lets the carrier "own" you. Thus the walled gardens. Thus the NFC push, with a secure element in your phone that isn't owned by you. It owns you, instead.

In that context, any and all extra sensors is more ways to spy on you. That is all.

What I'd like? As a phone, a device that lets me connect with the rest of the world. As a computing device something that lets me run my own code and have full control over every aspect of the hardware. Yes, down to the GSM stack, and it's possible. Combining, a device that shows me the available ways of communication and lets me take full advantage of every one in reach, any way I'd like. Enhanced by my own apps.

This is something quite different than the "seamless integrated experience" that apple does so well -- we already have that, thank you. Now for a raw power in my hands communication tool.

Plus, robust hardware that actually performs above and beyond "tickbox level" that fails to deliver when pushed (looking at you, "enterprise class" nokia phones). Good battery life. In that context, linux is and always be too heavy, simply because it contains too much code and never was designed for low-power use. You can get a long way, sure, but never quite as far as, say, psion got (before nokia fucked it up under the symbian moniker).

And then there's this: Privacy. Every single phone fails on this point in at least one way. Pity we'd need different protocols to really make it happen (ought to be part of 5G, so EU, if you're listening, make it a requirement for the subsidies you're tossing the phone industry for making 5G happen). Smartphones fail on this in more than one way, and there's really no way to fix that in the current models, so better models are needed. As well as more due dilligence. Too bad we'll only get a little fake bit of the latter, no more.

But for starters, I'll take a dual-sim (micro sim, no smaller) candybar no thicker than a centimetre, fits in trouser pocket, with a basic camera, 3.5mm jack, micro sd, wifi, voip, tethering, modem with working fax support (that really is but a SMOP, but occasionally oh so useful), basic packet data support, voice encryption, at least a week of stand-by, and cyanogenmod support or equivalent under some other OS. This obviously fits the models of exactly nobody who has any influence on what sort of phones will become available.

And so the notion of "innovation" among phones will remain rather vapid, as usual and by now entirely expected.

Comment Let it all out (Score 1) 112

Back in the day you had sewer gas destructor lamps. Seems those would work with leaked gas too. Plus, add some sensors and you can figure out where the gas is likely leaking, so you can do something about it.

Even so, lax maintenance is nothing new. I recall reading about a certain bollard in Amsterdam that had sported a nice little flame for ages. Until someone realised it must be from a gas leak. Then it got fixed in a panic.

Internet Explorer

Submission + - IE 11 to impersonate Firefox in its user agent string (

Billly Gates writes: With the new leaked videos and screenshots of Windows Blue released IE 11 is also included. IE 10 just came out weeks ago for Windows 7 users and Microsoft is more determined than ever to prevent IE from becoming irrelevant as Firefox and Chrome scream past it by also including a faster release schedule. A few beta testers reported that IE 11 changed its user agent string from MSIE to IE with "like gecko" command included. Microsoft maybe doing this to stop web developer stop feeding broken IE 6 — 8 code and refusing to serve HTML 5/CSS 3 whenever it detects MSIE in its user agent string. Unfortunately this will break many business apps that are tied an ancient and specific version of IE. Will this cause more hours of work for web developers? Or does IE10+ really act like Chrome or Firefox and this will finally end the hell of custom CSS tricks?

Comment Re:Topsoil-based fuels are wrongheaded in every wa (Score 1) 238

I'm all for reducing^Wgetting rid of protectionist subsidies. Problem is, of course, that but a few, even just one large enough party has to start and everyone follows suit for fear of being left bereft of local producers because they weren't subsidised enough.

Also, not happy with using things we could be eating to generate energy. Corn is just silly, inasmuch that ethanol-for-energy from it being economic illustrates your point. Purpose-picked and -bred crops are better, but still not ideal.

Much rather I'd try, oh, taking PV or some other collection mechanism to a desert, and somehow use it to provide shade and moisture retention for crops that couldn't otherwise grow there, as well as for its energy collection properties.

Tangentially related is the practice of getting fertiliser from faraway, using it locally, then not transporting the waste that normally would be eventually turned into new fertiliser back. That is a problem that ultimately results in exhausted land and then into more destruction of rainforest for more farmland to exhaust. Not the only factor, but still.

If we'd take out all subsidies, including indirect ones (say on fuel), we might find that prices change but not necessarily up the cost of living. The subsidies are paid for by taxpayers, so the net effect over the total population is going to be a small drop due to less overhead (ideally), even if individual food prices will be higher. What it'd do for the individual? Maybe it'll end up promoting a change in lifestyle, reducing obesity, who knows?

Comment Re:A real server OS. (Score 4, Insightful) 201

Servers are still designed like PCs.

Servers didn't use to be beefed-up desktops, no "still" about it. That they are now has to do with cheap desktop ubiquity and wanting to use desktop emulator software to underpin "servers". In short, middle management stupidity.

But that sort of thing fits well with TFA, where they say "look ma, no OS!" when they do have software acting like that, only not calling it that. Put the achievement in perspective and it isn't nearly as ground breaking as implied. So the announcement is a bit pompous. Well, nothing new there either.

It's all a bit bass ackwards, but then so is the whole peecee paradigm. The whole virtualisation thing has been with us for ages, in many guises. This is but yet another. Likewise, single-language app boxen. Lisp machine, anyone? Only this time with erlang.

On another note, rethinking how we organise monitors, supervisors, hypervisors, hardware drivers, and all that, and how they interact with userland, isn't a bad idea. This here idea is a valid approach, but by no means the only one.

Comment Re:antibioticas for viral = bad (Score 1) 240

Add a bittering agent to make the thing taste bad. It's not that otherwise it won't work, just that if it tastes foul enough (but not too foul) it'll work better.

In a sense there really should be a nicely packaged version with the usual warning sheet and everything. Possibly even a "low dosage" variant you can get at the druggist without prescription.

I'd start a venture producing them (already have a nice product name) if not for the heaps of regulatory red tape and the trouble with the required testing. Before I know it I'd get sued by animal welfare groups for needless animal cruelty or something.

Comment Re:"supposedly foolproof security tech" (Score 5, Interesting) 139

You'd have to be a right fool to be unable to fool these things. As in the link, as here, the application has very little to do with security. It's a people problem, and you can't fix those solely with technology.

Worse, treating it as a technical problem and attacking it with security kit gives a strong signal to your own {doctors,pupils,*} that they're all criminals and need to be treated as such. This in turn creates a powerful incentive to game the system.

What we have here is an incompetent administration trying to fix their mess through shitting on their underlings some more, using technology. Underlings know and dislike this.

And so gaming the system is what they'll do. This quite apart from biometrics being inappropriate everywhere but in criminal forensics. Be careful what you ask for and all that.

Comment Re:How much money and time are we wasting on this (Score 2) 308

That's fairly natural. The point of most discussion in the USoA has nothing to do with what it says on the tin. The real issue is simply which side you're on, for on any one issue, there's only room for two sides in that big country yonder. Want more choice? Just add issues.

And why that? Why, to villify the other side, of course! What other point could there be?

So big ticket issues become trench warfare, where movement back and forth is guaranteed to be minute and always at gigantic cost. This is the modern interpretation of an "inefficient government"; its very purpose is to be ponderous, and since so many people funnel so much effort to butt heads with the other side on increasingly trivial things, expensive to boot. Also because of the pork barrelling, of course, for why should other people get all the money?

In other words, if you want any one issue to be efficiently resolved, you have to game the system somehow, for it is the system that requires costing a lot while resolving nothing.

You can easily see that this is not inherent in politics, just in American[tm] politics, by looking over the borders. For example, there's countries that decide to not ever even give life sentences, nevermind death penalty. Norway is a good example.

On the other hand, there's countries like those with the Sharia, where you'll get your head lopped off no sweat. Or like China used to do: Shoot the accused and charge the family for the bullet spent. Now they just drive death vans around, with Yu Di, MD in attendance.

If you really wanted efficient, you could have it. So one could conclude that doing your level best to not have efficient means that having efficient is simply not important here.

Comment Re:Constitution = OS? (Score 3, Interesting) 260

Actually, no. The hackers were the founding fathers, hacking together something intended to last for a bit, only then the lusers came along and allowed the people's interests to be hijacked by monied sleaze. The malware more or less is running the system. There certainly are no competent administrators around to clean up the mess.

You can only stretch analogies so far, but "government" as "operating system", executing laws and directives and things, and regulating access to resources for corporations and individuals, isn't that bad an analogy, really.

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We must believe that it is the darkest before the dawn of a beautiful new world. We will see it when we believe it. -- Saul Alinsky