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Comment We should get rid of all Patents! (Score 2, Insightful) 101

As one who does have a patent to his name, I have thought about this entire patent issue quite a bit.

The original intent of the patent was to give the lone inventor a monopoly over his invention in order to spur innovation. And it may have served that purpose once. But today, patents have taken on a completely different use -- the leverage for big deep-pocket corporations to beat up on other corporations and obliterate any possible competition from "the little guy", who could not possibly afford patent litigation.

So, it is my view that patents no longer serve it original intended purpose, and thus should be eliminated. Monsanto patents organisms and genes and uses that to force small farmers to buy their GMO seeds; Microsoft may use patents to beat down startups they deem as a threat, and so on.

Today, people will innovate whether or not patents exist. And most innovations don't ever see a patent, I think. It's just too expensive to procure a patent -- $5,000 to $10,000 -- and if ever someone -- even another little guy -- violated your patent "rights", you could not afford the litigation, anyway.

So let's abolish all patents and close down the USPTO!

Comment Re:Beyond Stupid!!!!! (Score 1) 489

Besides, many radio stations already stream their content over the Internet, anyway, making FM even less relevant.

A typical smartphone plan comes with 2 GB/mo, which is worth about 4000 minutes of 64 kbps streaming. This data allowance is shared with video streaming, web surfing, and other applications that also use up bytes. FM doesn't use minutes; instead of customers paying for the towers and the license, the advertisers pay.

A typical smartphone plan costs 60 USD per month. FM works even if your phone is on a $7/mo Virgin Mobile plan.

My Smartphone Data Plan costs me only $30 per month. What's really wild and unbelievable is that TEXT MESSAGING, which represents a much smaller bandwidth, costs also $30 a month, separate from the data plan. Totally insane, AT&T! (and the others do it as well).

Comment Re:Consumer Focus or Consumer Manipulation? (Score 1) 489

Perhaps I'm a dissenting voice here, but I actually do listen to broadcast radio, and I would love it if my android-based smart phone had an FM tuner in it. There are times when I don't have the music I want to listen to on the device, and I would tune in to either CBC 2 (classical music channel) or the local indy/alternative station.

I don't think mandating it is a good idea. But I do think that if more manufacturers put them in smart phones the devices would find a market.

I'm sure you can find a classical streaming source to get the classical music that you love. Or just buy a separate FM receiver. They don't cost much these days.

Comment Beyond Stupid!!!!! (Score 1) 489

If consumers WANTED FM Radios in their devices, they would be there already.

The real truth is that with the Internet, consumers have bazillions of choices already as far as what they wish to listen to or view, and adding FM radio would only add a tiny fraction to those choices.

Besides, many radio stations already stream their content over the Internet, anyway, making FM even less relevant.

Let's face the cold hard facts: Broadcast media is on its way out. Good bye and good riddens. Only a handful of choices, and 99% of them lousy or mediocre.

And the FM "feature" that nobody really wants (nor would listen to in all probability) would be at the expense of some other feature consumers may actually want.

Government needs to stay the hell out of regulating the "free" marketplace. Consumers can and will make the choices they want, and the manufacturers can and will respond to those choices to grab marketshare.

The Government and the RIAA can go please themselves elsewhere. Leave the rest of us ALONE!

Comment Re:First off... (Score 1) 774

Your criticisms are duly noted.

Guns and Cars -- yes, there are many people who drive cars, and most are probably less intelligent about it than I am. And the 41000 deaths per year on our roadways speaks volumes to this.

Innocent people are killed in car crashes, too -- lots of them. And yet we are willing to tolerate the risk. Somehow, even if everyone were free to carry, I don't think we'd have a death rate due to idiot gun accidents that would even approach what we see on the roads everyday.

Of course, we can get some ideas from hard facts. The Swiss, for instance. Or States in this country that have pretty open laws about guns, like New Hampshire.

You may be right about the DC sniper -- bad choice on my part. But I dunno. There's a good chance someone may have seen him pulling out his guns that would've been in a position to do something about it. DC is not exactly a rural area. But I would have to dig up the details of each incident, and I don't have the time. But there's been others, like the one you mentioned yourself, and a McDonald Shooting some time back. Not to mention the handful of incidents where a crazed student shoots up all his classmates. If teachers were armed, they could've taken out this individual before much damage was done.

But then there are some crazy teachers as well -- well, the public school system is crazy in its own right, worthy of a thread all its own.

It's all about risk vs. the reward, and realism. We are willing to accept a relatively high mortality rate for our right to travel. I used that as a benchmark to see how realistic our expectations and perceptions are. Everyone goes insane over the 9/11 incident, a singular incident where ONLY 3000 or so people died, but doesn't bat an eyelash to the 41000 annual fatalities on our roads. Trillions of dollars are being wasted on the so-called "War on Terrorism", and just think what that money would do if it were, instead, used to improve road safety and technology in a realistic way! How many US lives (not counting soldiers) are lost due to terrorism? The risk factors are very low and yet an astronomical figure is spent fighting it.

Which convinces me that Government has it all wrong, period. Always has, and it always will.

Comment Re:First off... (Score 1) 774

I know personally of a case where a person failed a Police firearms course when he not only failed to safe a pistol but managed to discharge it (thankfully it was pointing down range). This was a person who had been shown less than 5 minutes before exactly what to do and he still managed to fuck it up. If he had screwed up again in a public place someone could have been killed. And his performance in the course went down hill from there. If I knew that that idiot was allowed to carry a gun in public I would fear for the safety of those around him. I would however defend his right to own a gun, and use it in designated locations. And nothing prevented him from trying to pass the course again, for as many time as it took for him to pass.

All the gun owners I know of are highly responsible and have had training in some regard. Occaionally you get the idiot, but all of the idiotic cases I have ever heard of happened in Massachusetts, which is a lot more restrictive of gun ownership than New Hampshire, where I reside.

Government restriction creates inexperience, and inexperience create the problems you describe.

I am fully for responsible gun ownership, and the State must have no regulation or licensing in the matter. Why do I say this? Because if Government has a list of who owns a gun, it can decide to harass those individuals needlessly.

Case in point? New Orleans. I have a friend who volunteered for relief efforts after the mess hurricane Katrina created, and guess what? The government there were rounding up all the guns owned by "blacks", but leaving the "whites" alone. Pure discrimination, plain and simple, at a time you need your gun the most.

Perhaps you have a blind trust of government, but I know too much history, recent and past, to be that naive. We have few to no problems in New Hampshire with idiots owning guns, as we have a very strong culture of gun ownership here, and neophytes are strongly encouarged by their more experienced peers to seek training -- or are simply taught directly by their more experienced peers.

Places like Massachusetts south of us don't have this, since they hate guns so much, and that's where you see the most inane mishaps, like a young kid being allowed to handle a semi and loosing control of it due to the recoil. That crap would NEVER happen in New Hampsire. I can't imagine why anyone would be so stupid.

And I needn't say that licensing will only affect law-abiding citizens, not actual criminals who will conceal carry despite whatever laws you want to have. Better to allow free gun ownership with the option to freely conceal carry in public for such idiots. They'll be put down after the squeeze off the first shot, I assure you, thus saving many lives otherwise lost -- like in that shooting spree incident that occurred around Washington DC shortly after 9/11, or that case where the loon on the barracks went on a shooting spree recently.

But this would require you to put the usual knee-jerk fears aside and look at what ACTUALLY HAPPENS.

Image

The Fuel Cost of Obesity 285

thecarchik writes "America loves to complain about gas mileage and the cost of gasoline. As it turns out, part of the problem is us. How much does it really matter? A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found a 1.1 percent increase in self-reported obesity, which translates into extra weight that your vehicle has to haul around. The study estimates that 1 billion extra gallons of fuel were needed to compensate for passenger weight gained between 1960 and 2002."

Comment Re:First off... (Score 1) 774

Carrying a gun into the bank should be OK.

... and then Americans wonder why foreigners think they are crazy gun-loving SOBs...

We are gun-loving. But that doesn't make us crazy SOBs. Just a part of our long standing tradition and culture, as all...

Comment Re:how to stop this from happening? (Score 1) 774

Give me 10-15 minutes to explain, and they'll know. I have to explain it to non-technical higher ups all the time.

"It's software that allows somebody at a distant location to covertly take control of the computer without the owner/user knowing, allowing them to move files/data, steal the user's information, or even perform attacks on other computers."

More techical stuff is explained all the time; and you should make time to explain it in a misdemeanor trial, much less a felony one.

That's a completely functional explanation. Shame on you! :-)

Of course, explaining HOW a rootkit does all of that is another matter. Whether or not that level of understanding is necessary to the investigation is even more of another matter.

Comment Re:It's all bits and bytes... (Score 1) 774

I remember hearing about the FBI seeding fake child-porn images that would somehow call home when they were loaded by a computer. This was, of course, to catch people seeking out and downloading the images. However, some person(s) got the idea that it would be funny to take the image (or rather the image link) and place it on a website's background somewhere as a 1x1 pixel image. Thus, people physically unable to even SEE the image were nevertheless downloading the image.

Nice little trick. And then all you'd need is some Flash or JavaScript to copy the images to some place else on the computer.

Comment Re:Obvious consequence (Score 1) 774

Law Enforcement should be spending its efforts going after the perverts that create kiddie porn, where it would actually do the poor kids some good.

They'd have a lot less to validate their paychecks if they did that.

Good.

Comment Re:First off... (Score 1) 774

I can name a lot more countries where bank robberies with firearms are rare due to limits on gun ownership (e.g. most all of europe) than I can nations where peace is maintained by everybody being armed all the time (e.g. Afghanistan, Somalia). So, I really have no clue what you're basing your opinion on. Unless it's a thought experiment of some sort.

More Guns, Less Crime by John Lott.

Comment Re:First off... (Score 1) 774

I would advocate allowing both open and concealed carry. If only open carry is allowed those who choose not to carry, or are not allowed, would be easy to spot and become preferred targets of muggers, etc.. By also allowing concealed carry there would always be the deterrent factor to a mugger that even though their potential victim was not openly armed they might still be carrying.

Agreed.

I would also advocate that no one be issued a permit of any kind without first passing a weapons safety course and displaying an understanding of not only how to fire a gun but the laws regulating when you can/can not use it and the legal responsibilities involved.

Here we disagree. The government should NOT be in the business of regulating our rights to bear arms. Period. While I hold strongly that all who do bear arms should also go for a training course or otherwise become HIGHLY educated in the proper use of firearms, it's not the government's place to force that upon us.

Besides, I think most would want to train up as they arm up, anyway.

Comment Re:Here come the kiddie bombs. (Score 1) 774

Why is it that there seems to be no focus on going after those who actually CREATE the child porn? Nailing people for possession of bits and bytes does nothing to save the children. Oh, we can pretend it does, but we're supposed to be able to THINK.

Sorry, I expect too much of the human race...

They're either completely anonymous losers (abusive father/uncle only with a webcam) or making big bucks in parts of the world where that's all that matters and they can buy immunity. It also hard and costly.

And so beating up people in our country who happen to have it on their hard drives does NOTHING to stop the production of kiddie porn in those areas of the world it's coming from.

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