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Comment Servers (Score 1) 203

you're getting dedicated servers. On the PC it's not an issue, because you can run your own pretty easy/cheap. I have several buds that are hardcore PC gamers that pitch in and buy server time with some company to run their Quake/CS games off of so they don't hit performance bottlenecks.

I don't care much for playing online, but most of my friends that do on the PS3 complained about lag. And I can't imagine developers didn't have a hard time running the all net code client side on top of the game...

Obama on Surveillance: "We Can and Must Be More Transparent" 537

Today President Obama held a press conference to address the situation surrounding the NSA's surveillance activities. (Here is the full transcript.) He announced four actions the administration is undertaking to restore the public's confidence in the intelligence community. Obama plans to work with Congress to reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to give greater weight to civil liberties, and to revisit section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, which is the section that allowed bulk collection of phone records. (Of course, "will work with Congress" is a vague term, and Congress isn't known for getting things done lately. Thus, it remains to be seen if anything substantive happens.) Obama is ordering the Dept. of Justice to make public their legal rationale for data collection, and there will be a new NSA official dedicated to transparency efforts. There will also be a new website for citizens to learn about transparency in intelligence agencies. Lastly, a group of outside experts will be convened to review the government's surveillance capabilities. Their job will include figuring out how to maintain the public's trust and prevent abuse, and to consider how the intelligence community's actions will affect foreign policy. In addition to these initiatives, President Obama made his position very clear about several different aspects of this controversy. While acknowledging that "we have significant capabilities," he said, "America is not interested in spying on ordinary people." He added that the people who have raised concerns about privacy and government overreach in a lawful manner are "patriots." This is in stark contrast to his view of leakers like Edward Snowden: "I don't think Mr. Snowden was a patriot." (For his part, Snowden says the recent shut down of encrypted email services is 'inspiring.') When asked about how his opinion of the surveillance programs have changed, he said his perception of them has not evolved since the story broke worldwide. "What you're not seeing is people actually abusing these programs." Obama also endorsed finding technological solutions that will protect privacy regardless of what government agencies want to do.

Comment Re:Currency? (Score 1) 425

The OP presented a definition that currency is only issued and backed by governments. I would agree legal tender can be defined that way but most consider currency a broader term than legal tender.

You may very well be correct, which is exactly why I wrote "it's safer to say ... legal tender."** Of course the term under consideration in this case was 'money.' What, if anything, distinguishes 'money' from 'currency' from 'legal tender' in a technical (whether legal or economic) and coherent sense, notwithstanding the what most consider (usually without too much considering), becomes less clear the more one considers it. Colloquially, either 'money' or 'currency' can of course be used in any number of senses.

Personally, I cannot declare OP wrong for using 'currency' as a synonym for 'legal tender' any more than I can declare another wrong for distinguishing between them. It may well be that currency is any exchange technology, (by which I mean something which derives the greater part of its value from its use in exchanging other goods or services), which definition would clearly encompass BitCoin. Then again it is perhaps exclusively the official exchange technology. So this dispute largely devolves into argument by definition and even argumentum ad dictionarium, which is best avoided by agreeing on a particular set of definitions prior to the argument. Of course it is another matter when a judge is called upon to determine what definition the law will henceforth accept.

In the end, we have a system that leaves it up to judges.

Indeed, and as someone who has had to read a fair number of judgments, I find this particular one to be wanting.

I would be surprised if any court rules that bitcoin is not currency.

Or, more pertinently, not money. I wouldn't be surprised either way, but I would be interested in reading the legal analysis which led to such a determination. This is what is sadly lacking in the present opinion.

[** I do this when I'm feeling timid. In a less cowardly mood, I'll simply declare money to be what is, from place to place, legal tender. Swashbuckling, no? Currency is perhaps any exchange technology, (by which I mean something which derives the greater part of its value from its use in exchanging other goods or services), which definition would clearly encompass BitCoin. Then again it is perhaps exclusively the official exchange technology. ]

Comment Re:Priorities (Score 1) 83

Calm down a little, no?

What the hell? Spoken like a ignorant stereotype of Americans. At what point, exactly did the US government EVER give fuck all about artistic, philosophical, and scientific endeavors? The only reason NASA was funded in the first place was the Space Race. Afterwards science was funded out of pure selfishness, in order to be #1.

You will probably have to stretch a little farther back to discover U.S. politicians reverence of artistic and scientific pursuits. Let me pull one strange character from our history books: William Hope Harvey. In his own words:

"... The record of ancient civilizations which we have unearthed do not tell the merits and demerits of those civilizations, the struggles of those people and why they fell. The Pyramid to be erected here will contain all such records. Upon opening the Pyramid and reading the documents contained therein, mankind thousands of years hence will learn of the railroads, the telegraph, the linotype, the flying machine and of the circulation of the blood through the human body, all discoveries of the last 400 years. ..."

"... Wonderful discoveries have been made by this civilization in a knowledge of the universe and in the sciences as applied to the human anatomy and industries, but comparatively few in statesmanship and non in the study of civilization as a science. Upon the mastery of this latter depends the perfection of a civilization. Nothing less than this in the mental and soul structure embraces this all import divine knowledge.

"... This purpose of the Pyramid is as stated and the person no one will be entombed therein. There will be nothing about it that partakes of self or vanity and no one's name will appear on the outside of it. The only inscription will be what appears on the metal plates.

In short, there are thousands more from the 19th century. You may need to find their accounts in books; you won't find much on Google. One thing is certain, they do not resemble our politicians today.

As a US citizen, it is remarkably easy to travel around the world. I suggest trying. World travel is a great enlightened - you see exactly how fucked-up the rest of the world is. In addition lots and lots of Americans can't stand living anywhere but America. The food is all wrong, the climate is uncomfortable, the locals constantly scheme and cheat foreigners, I could go on and on.

I thought you said it was remarkably easy? ;) I am currently abroad and have experienced all the pitfalls. Some places are far worse than others (i.e. being robbed by the police, extorted.)

According to my French friends (I've lived out of America for 10 years now BTW) the France of today is a shadow of what it once was.

I can understand your French friends; these aren't the days of 19th century France before the wars. France never seemed to fully recover from them.

If you don't like America, I suggest getting the fuck out and stop complaining. I think you will very quickly find that you hate it. Most Americans do. If not, then welcome to the tiny community of Americans who live abroad and love it.

If you've traveled extensively, are there cultures you'd recommend? And in which countries/regions are you able to obtain long-term visas? What are your thoughts? I hear good things about Berlin and Tokyo.

Comment Re:Currency? (Score 1) 425

Presenting as proof, any particular definition of 'currency' or 'money' when the question is what constitutes an apt definition of 'currency' (or 'money'), is begging the question. In fact both these terms prove so difficult that even someone like Allan Greenspan can famously admit that he does not know what money is. (Which is actually wisdom notwithstanding the lampooning he received). And observers such as Steve Forbes can declare that Whatever [Bitcoin] Is, It's Not Money! (Not sure I find his reasoning any more convincing than the current judge's)

And one could equally quote the classical money theorist Georg Friedrich Knapp's quip to the effect that "money is whatever is accepted at government pay offices" to argue the bitcoin is not money. Though perhaps it's safer to say that legal tender is what can be used to a) dispose of tax liability (or fines) and b) to coerce a creditor to settle a debt. Whether money is or is not something other than legal tender is an open question.

Given the highly difficult and contentious nature of 'money' and/or 'currency,' I have to agree with OP that this judge's determination, based largely on the idea bitcoin can be exchanged for conventional currencies, is somewhat lacking. I say this as a lawyer and someone with an interest in money theory. Here is how superficially the magistrate judge disposes of this thorny question:

First, the Court must determine whether the BTCST investments constitute an investment of money. It is clear that Bitcoin can be used as money. It can be used to purchase goods or services, and as Shavers stated, used to pay for individual living expenses. The only limitation of Bitcoin is that it is limited to those places that accept it as currency. However, it can also be exchanged for conventional currencies, such as the U.S. dollar, Euro, Yen, and Yuan. Therefore, Bitcoin is a currency or form of money, and investors wishing to invest in BTCST provided an investment of money.

One hopes a superior court would provide a more considered evaluation as to what constitutes 'money' for the purposes of these Acts.

Comment Re:To eat or to upgrade? (Score 1) 520

Thanks for the info.

It should be obvious that there are a lot of reasons besides poverty to prefer other smart phones over Apple phones.

I wasn't suggesting as such. Only whether the majority could *afford* an iPhone. I saw documentaries and reports showing Chinese factory workers who had never even seen their end product nor could they ever dream of owning one.

Do you know what are the price points for smart phones in China?

Comment Priorities (Score 4, Insightful) 83

Can we give the NSA, DHS, CIA budget to NASA? You know, let's do something as a people. The only difference between the U.S. and other great empires, is that the U.S. government and leaders give fuck all about artistic, philosophical, and scientific endeavors. You know, the stuff that gives us dignity as a people. They use to. Or at least pretended to.

Man, do I oft times wish I lived in a different culture. I'm sick of this fascist corporate utilitarianism. What's the progress? The only thing the U.S. gave to the world was done by our impoverished and enslaved. Now, we can't even have viable land to grow for our personal needs.

France could sound cool; you have to give props to a culture that created Joan of Arc. What current cultures are there that welcome such endeavors? Really, I want to know.

Comment Re:Turn off the god damn sun so I can get some sle (Score 1) 173

I agree with your message but its lacking in rationale. Beliefs and thoughts about our origin is not comparable to "camping sets your clock straight". Everyone knows this *innately* as living beings. Or are professors and scholars less living than others and not in tune with their innate needs?

Really, are you backing this as a legitimate study? Sure, they may have followed scientific method; but there are no results. The best outcome of such a study gives a foundation for someone else to work upon -- unlikely since there is nothing to work off of. The worst case scenario, is that you make the scientific community look like apes throwing their own feces and wasting resources.

The scientific method is just a method and isn't an end all to truth. Truth can also be discovered in other means and methods.

This study is soft science at best. It's bullshit and idiotic.

Comment What's the problem? (Score 1) 520

These are old machines that aren't capable of upgrading to a more recent version of Windows. The hardware requirements from XP to Vista were to great that no one bothered. XP will still be used well past its expiration point and many will be using linux after.

Further, what percentage of these machines are running pirated copies of WinXP? I know in Latin and South America, they're almost all pirated. How is it in China?

And whats up with referencing Net Applications? I haven't stumbled upon a site using their analytics since the 1990s.

Sources for TFA are elusive at best.

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