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Comment Re:Propaganda or Bad reporting? (Score 1) 898

The focal question in your previous post seemed to be At what point, exactly, do I cross the line on what I say?. That is an impossible question to answer. Libel and slander and parody and indeed abusive verbiage cannot be unambiguously defined, they need to be seen in context, and yes, a lot of that is and will (especially when concerning online behaviour) be tackled in common law. That is an ongoing process, but will never lead to a nice leaflet of bullet points to guide one through lilfe. One needs to be a fairly abusive person however to cross enough gray area in order to go to jail. So, it is not about crossing a line, it is about crossing a sufficient amount of gray area. Similar arguments can be made regarding stalking. When is behaviour stalking? There is no straight answer. And no, you would never go to jail for saying that Clegg is a bastard. On Slashdot there seems to be a sentiment that any repercussions following from abusive online behaviour somehow represent an assault on free speech. It seems to be a geek impediment of all-or-nothing binary thinking. I am not equating your post with this view, but it ties in with the gray areas. It is OK to protest/get angry/slam/mock/whatnot online. But downright abusiveness and targeted bullying is not. As an aside, my remark "how hard is that grasp" did not contribute to the debate - apology.

Comment Re:Propaganda or Bad reporting? (Score 1) 898

Yes, there are gray areas. How hard is that to grasp? In the very dark-gray areas one is bound go get in trouble, in the light-gray areas one is not. The light-gray area is likely a waste of the judicial process, the dark-gray area quite likely is not. It's just like real life, no wait, it is real life. Parody and mockery are allowed. Abuse is something else. Slander and libel are something else. There is no hard-cast algorithm to decide which is which, that's why people get involved.

Comment Re:Florian is not a blogger, he is a troll (Score 2) 166

Mod parent up. The LWN link illuminates the agenda Florian Mueller is incessantly pushing. To give an idea of his style:

How will you separate this special case from other cases of copyright laundering? Are you sure Google hasn't already done this in other cases, too?Are you sure nobody else has done or will now consider doing this, following Google's example?

He is throwing mud under the assumption some of it will stick in the reader's mind. It's a veritable litany of "you cannot be sure", "X must have an agenda to do Y", "we need a reasonable degree of certainty" plus a few other standard debating tricks. It's not even done particuarly well when faced with astute responses.

Submission + - Supreme Court Takes Up Scholars' Rights (chronicle.com)

schwit1 writes: For 10 years, Lawrence Golan has been quietly waging a legal campaign to overturn the statute, which makes it impossibly expensive for smaller orchestras to play certain pieces of music.

Now the case is heading to the U.S. Supreme Court. The high-stakes copyright showdown affects far more than sheet music. The outcome will touch a broad swath of academe for years to come, dictating what materials scholars can use in books and courses without jumping through legal hoops. The law Mr. Golan is trying to overturn has also hobbled libraries' efforts to digitize and share books, films, and music.

The conductor's fight centers on the concept of the public domain, which scholars depend on for teaching and research. When a work enters the public domain, anyone can quote from it, copy it, share it, or republish it without seeking permission or paying royalties.

The dispute that led to Golan v. Holder dates to 1994, when Congress passed a law that moved vast amounts of material from the public domain back behind the firewall of copyright protection.

The Supreme Court is expected to decide the case during the term that begins in October.

Comment Re:What are they doing on Wikipedia? (Score 0) 767

Thank you for ruining a small part of my day. My visit to crackpotopia quickly yielded

It takes only one "counterexample" to disprove the theory of an Old Earth.[1] As with any logical proposition, one contradiction disproves the proposed rule. If each of 33 counterexamples has merely a 10% chance of being valid -- an underestimate -- then the probability that the Earth is billions of years old is less than 3.8%. With the total of these counterexamples at 33, they demonstrate that the Earth must be young with a likelihood of greater than 96%.

The list of counterexamples is ... amusing.

Comment Re:Too cynical? (Score 2) 537

Here is some very interesting coverage regarding one of the incidents that you mention:

"Mommy has dirty chest bumps," said a 5-year-old boy quoted in one of the thousands of case studies compiled by the FCC. "She's like the bad lady on TV. I'm afraid Mommy will take off her shirt and scare everyone. I hate Mommy." Girls were traumatized as well, often expressing apprehensions about sexual development. According to Wasserbaum, one 8-year-old girl told her parents that she didn't "want to get evil breasts."

This publication is a welcome voice of reason.

Comment Re:Physicists (Score 3, Informative) 309

As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality. — Albert Einstein

The scientist has a lot of experience with ignorance and doubt and uncertainty, and this experience is of great importance, I think. When a scientist doesn't know the answer to a problem, he is ignorant. When he has a hunch as to what the result is, he is uncertain. And when he is pretty darn sure of what the result is going to be, he is in some doubt. We have found it of paramount importance that in order to progress we must recognize the ignorance and leave room for doubt. Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty - some most unsure, some nearly sure, none absolutely certain. Now, we scientists are used to this, and we take it for granted that it is perfectly consistent to be unsure - that it is possible to live and not know. But I don't know everybody realizes that this is true. Our freedom to doubt was born of a struggle against authority in the early days of science. It was a very deep and very strong struggle. Permit us to question - to doubt, that's all - not to be sure. And I think it is important that we do not forget the importance of this struggle and thus perhaps lose what we have gained. — Richard Feynman

Comment Re:Things Mature (Score 1) 646

I am on a mission to demote usage of the word 'consumer'. Interestingly, in your quotation Henry Ford uses the much more apt term 'customer'. The word consumer, to my mind, is degrading. A consumer sits at the end of a tube. A customer is someone who might walk through the door of your shop if you go about your business right.

Comment Re:So what? (Score 1) 1182

For crying out loud, people will feel uncomfortable about everything. Recently it was on the beeb that some people complained that a presenter on the children program was not properly two-armed. A commenter rightly pitied the parents that can only handle fluffy bunnies, and a great majority pointed out that they had yet to find a child that did not shrug aside the non-issue. What at all is there to feel uncomfortable about? And why on earth would you bring sex into the equation for the present subject. Love, anyone? When two people marry, is it in your opinion just a license to have sex?

Comment Re:Oscar betrays its Western centerednes (Score 3, Insightful) 317

It is not degrading. It depicts vibrancy, spirit, hustle and bustle. Have you actually seen it? For an interview with Loveleen Tandan, the co-director, see http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/oscars/article5772395.ece The crew that made the film very much seems to have lived and worked together as a team. Storytelling is universal and knows no boundaries, and movies are not tourism commercials. Have you seen trainspotting, a movie more in the director's backyard? I think it is pretty impressive that Slumdog went on to win Oscar accolades, and that those voting looked beyond their own backyard. I'll make sure to watch the movies you mention though.

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