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Comment Re:How would that work (Score 3, Insightful) 550

The fact that it's in the immediate interest of public safety. Watch the video from TFA; it looks like the event was far larger than anticipated, with completely inadequate crowd control. People were being shoved by the crowd through doors and down stairs. Mobs of people like this can easily knock someone down and trample them to death; it happens when there are fires in crowded space, or even when people are excited about being let into Wal-Mart on Black Friday. As the event had been announced through twitter, and the vast majority of the crowd was teenage girls with cell phones, so the hope was probably that getting a message from the official Twitter account itself would help disperse the crowd a lot better than the single cop getting up there with the megaphone, causing the crowd to just get angry.

When there's an immediate threat to life and health, compelling someone to make an announcement to disperse the crowd is an entirely reasonable thing to do. This is essentially the same case as that of calling "fire" in a crowded theater; inducing a panic in a confined space can cost lives, and likewise refusing to cooperate in trying to disperse a mob can cost lives as well.

Comment Re:Bubby? Is that you? (Score 4, Insightful) 859

Your name, address, social security number, bank account balance, credit card transactions, passwords, medical history, and so on are simple facts. Should those who have access to that information be allowed to state those simple facts? In public, on the internet, where anyone and everyone can see it?

This is an issue about freedom of speech versus the right to privacy. The murder is a simple fact, but it's something that happened almost 20 years ago. They have done their time, and are being released back into the world, where they need to try and put together a life again. Now, the question is, should anyone (such as potential employers) be able to Google their names and get a Wikipedia article naming them as murderers as the first hit?

This is a tough question. On the one hand, it is a plain and simple fact, that has been widely publicized, so it's fairly hard to put the cat back in the bag. On the other hand, someone who's been in prison for years, and is getting out and trying to re-integrate with society, doesn't need the added burden of everyone who interacts with them treating them with fear and suspicion because of something that happened long ago. Some judicial systems (such as that in the US), focus most on punishment and the deterrent value that supposedly has; others focus on rehabilitation and turning someone back into a productive member of society.

Now, I do favor protecting freedom of speech in this case; you can't suppress the information entirely, so any attempt to is just going to be more harmful than helpful. But I just wanted to point out that just because something is a simple fact, does not mean that it's OK to publish it on the public Internet.

Comment Re:Call me a cynic.. (Score 4, Interesting) 140

I like this one a lot better.

Anyhow, having new designs for representing the periodic table is not a bad thing. Sometimes seeing the same information presented in different ways can help visualize it. I approve of people trying to improve the display of the elements and their periodic relationships, even if as a general purpose reference I'll probably stick with the tried and true table.

Comment Re:"forkable ad"? (Score 2, Informative) 366

"Fork" is a term in software, particularly free software, that means creating and releasing your own version of something, without merging it back upstream with the original author. This is one of the fundamental freedoms that free software gives you; the freedom to fork it if you don't like how the original author is developing it.

Comment Re:The law is on London's side (Score 1) 526

In the UK, that question has not actually be judged yet, though it is presumed that you are right. In the US, you cannot claim copyright on a faithful photographic reproduction of a work that has entered the public domain. Even if you spent time and effort on that work, it is considered a simple copy of a public domain work, and thus in the public domain. Wikimedia is in the US, as is the uploader. It's going to be tough for the National Portait Gallery to sue this guy from overseas; unless he feels like visiting England in the future, or they can extradite him for copyright infringement (which I've never heard of), I'm not sure there's much they can do.

Comment Re:My statistics (Score 4, Informative) 575

Hmm. You do realize that Safari reports itself as Mozilla/5.0, right?

Here's mine:

Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X 10_5_7; en-us) AppleWebKit/530.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.1 Safari/530.18

They do this because various websites sniff for various browsers, and they want to show up as much like Mozilla/Gecko as possible. If your user agent parser isn't very smart, it might miss the Safari/530.18 part of that user agent string.

Of course, another possible explanation is that you work for a dental insurance company, for whom the most common users of the website are likely dental receptionists (for submitting claims), followed by people in HR (for signing up for services and looking up services on behalf of employees), both of which groups likely use only Windows machines.

Comment Re:Linux (Score 5, Interesting) 393

If an attacker can run code as your user account, then they can insert alias sudo=evilpasswordstealingsudo (as well as alias su=evilpasswordstealingsu) into your .bashrc and wait for you to start a new shell and run one of those commands.

Basically, if an attacker gets local access to an account that is ever used to privilege escalate to root, then the attacker can get root. And even if not, there are frequently local root exploits (like a recent udev bug) that can escalate ordinary user privileges to root privileges. You should always assume that once an attacker has some access to a machine, that they can root it; treat any kind of remote-code execution exploit as if it were a remote root, and treat any kind of privilege escalation exploit as a remote root (since if one exists, there's a high probability that the other does too).

Comment Re:AIMA (Score 1) 266

The second edition of AIMA has much more content about "soft" AI methods than the first edition did; it's almost like there's a whole other book added. The second edition really is a great survey of all of the various subfields of AI, from traditional logic systems to neural networks to Bayesian reasoning and decision theory. I'd say its definitely worthwhile.
Microsoft

Submission + - Microsoft/Novel agreement released

annodomini writes: "The SEC has posted the terms (with a few bits omitted for confidentiality) of therecent agreements between Microsoft and Novell, which have sparked so much debate in the Linux community and even led to changes in the GPLv3 drafting process. The three parts of the agreement are the Patent Cooperation Agreement, the Technical Collaboration Agreement, and the Business Collaboration Agreement. There are all sorts of interesting tidbits in here, like exceptions to a patent release for things like Wine, and all but calling OpenOffice a "clone" of Microsoft Office."
The Courts

Submission + - Apple and Apple kiss and make up

vague disclaimer writes: Apple Inc (the company formerly known as Apple Computer) and Apple Corps seem to have kissed and made up. Looks suspiciously like game set and match to Cupertino. Presumably it is only a matter of time before real Beatles musics makes an appearance on iTunes (as opposed to tributes and "singalongs").
Media (Apple)

Submission + - Deal ends Beatles' Apple battle

rkww writes: The BBC report that "Technology giant Apple has reached a deal with the Beatles to end the dispute over the use of the Apple name. Apple Inc will now take full control of the Apple brand and licence certain trademarks back to the Beatles' record company Apple Corps for continued use."
Music

Submission + - The Beatles coming to iTunes

Little_Professor writes: "Technology giant Apple has reached a deal with the Beatles to end the dispute over the use of the Apple name. Apple Inc will now take full control of the Apple brand and licence certain trademarks back to the Beatles' record company Apple Corps for continued use. The two companies have been wrangling over the use of the Apple name and logo for more than 25 years. The legal battle over the trademark will now end. Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said the court dispute had been "painful"."
Software

Submission + - Let's Lisp again

enlivend writes: "Lisp is one of the oldest and best-loved programming languages around, but it gets relatively little attention from programmers despite its flexibility and power. Now the organisers of the 2007 International Lisp Conference hope to raise the language's profile by inviting entries for their latest programming contest... Read more..."

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