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Comment two reasons (Score 1) 11

It's allowed for two reasons.

First, if you suggest that any company's monopoly be returned to the people, who liscensed it to them in the first place, then everyone thinks that you're Stalin. Yes, being against the government granting a private party the authority to come dig up your land, run lines under them, and take profits from your land without paying you a dime of rent, is apparently the red Soviet menace incarnate. So reason number one, Americans like to lick the boots of their elite. Or ruling class, or business leaders, captains of industry (that one's a laugh), or whatever you want to call them. Wish I could figure out why.

Second, even if hypothetically the American people decided tomorrow to oust the monopolies, that still doesn't mean the net would be saved. Going from your example, if you don't want car companies owning gas stations, then a lot of people will see you as a God-fearing capitalist who opposes vertical integration.

But if you want your pipe to just be a dumb pipe, then you're one of the horsemen of the infocalypse. You must be guilty of something. Citizen, this tranmission is using non-standard port numbers for all civilian purposes, and the Ministry of Internal Security has been unable to determine the purpose of these transmissions. Also, they appear to be encrypted. Do you have an encryption permit and a valid business use for encrypting these transmissions?

Yeah anyway, there's of course the obvious solution to this crap. New amendment:

All monopolies, including, but not limited to, utilities and intellectual monopolies, granted to private parties by any government within United States territory are hereby rescinded. In the case of utilities, all authority vested in any utility established by a grant of monopoly shall hereby be vested in the government which granted it. Henceforth, no government within United States territory shall have any authority to grant any monopoly to a private party.

Boom. Done.

Anyway, we as a nation are going to have to go a lot further into some kind of Stalinist/Maoist hybrid before we realize (and have the balls to admit) that we've made some big mistakes. We can't have any progress until then.

Comment A University Degree is over-rated (Score 1) 165

I recently read an article which compared the lifetime earnings of someone who earns an average amount with a high school degree versus someone who earns an average amount with a Bachelors degree. The conclusion was that when one factors in lost earnings and student loans, the person who got a job right out of high school will do better on average than someone who gets a Bachelors degree.

Comment re: peer review (Score 1) 6

Well, lots of problems here.

This reminds me of something I say about Sarbox, email retention, paper correspondence retention, etc. Now this article is talking about the UK, but I know this happens in the US. Considering we inherited a lot of their crappy legal system, it wouldn't surprise me if they have this too.

We have a policy of charging potential defendants with collecting, retaining, investigating, and providing potential evidence against them. Now, besides this being a braindead policy that could only come from the mind of a lawyer, it's, IMO, cleary a violation of the 5th amendment.

This, from what I know, is kind of how it works in medical studies. For example, if a local restaraunt gets a health complaint, what happens? Do they "swear" they've double checked everything and found "no violations"? And then the local health board just accepts that? Hell no, they get a visit from a health inspector. Now I'll agree that these kinds of systems are prone to abuse themselves, but any form of self-policing is just ridiculous on its face.

Yet, with a medical study, these companies certify that their drugs "pose no serious side effects". ORLY? Drugco said that? Well, then I guess Ritaxiloril must be safe right?

2nd, and this is another big obvious one that I push, abolish IP. In fact, abolish all government-granted monopolies. It has the nice side effect of abolishing all monopolies. That reduces the incentive to pull this kind of crap.

3rd, academia needs to grow a pair and throw off the journal middle men. Journals should be public domain, as well as all source data. Anything less shouldn't qualify as science, and shouldn't be treated as such.

But a world like that wouldn't leave much room for parasites, so I guess I'm just dreaming.

Comment Re:Here's an idea on fixing the system... (Score 1) 232

But that would imply that they aren't property. We can't be having that.

If you put it in the peoples' heads that IP, rather than someone's private property, is only a monopoly granted by the government, well then they might just want to abolish it. Better to leave them thinking that anyone who wants to abolish "Intellectual Property" is a communist.

A communist who hates them for their freedom.


Submission + - Microsoft offers Windows 7 to students for $30 ( 1

Ernie writes: Microsoft today announced students would be able to purchase upgrade versions of Windows 7 for a significantly reduced price until January 3, 2010 at 12:00am CST. A valid e-mail address given by a college or university must be used. An e-mail will be sent telling the student if he or she qualifies for the discount. Eligible students are allowed to purchase one copy of either Windows 7 Home Premium or Windows 7 Professional from the online store. The discount price applies to the following countries: the UK (£30) and the US ($30). More information is available at, a site just launched today that is dedicated to advertising Windows 7 to students.

Submission + - DragonFly 2.4 released

electrostaticcarrot writes: "DragonFly — that fourth major BSD — has had its 2.4 release. The "most invasive change" is the addition and usage of a DevFS for /dev; building on this, drives are now also recognized by serial number (along with /etc/devtab for aliases) as listed in /dev/serno. This is also the first release with a x86-64 ISO, stable but with limited pkgsrc support.

Other larger changes include a ported and feature-extended (with full hotplug and port multiplier support) AHCI driver (and SILI driver based on it) originally taken from OpenBSD, major NFS changes, and HAMMER updates. A pkgsrc GIT mirror has also been set up and put in use to make future pkgsrc updates quicker and smoother.

Two of the mirrors:"

Submission + - Universal 'Death Stench' Repels Bugs of All Types

pickens writes: Hugh Pickens writes

Wired reports that scientists have discovered that insects from cockroaches to caterpillars all emit the same stinky blend of fatty acids when they die and that the death mix may represents a universal, ancient warning signal to avoid their dead or injured. "Recognizing and avoiding the dead could reduce the chances of catching the disease," says Biologist David Rollo of McMaster University "or allow you to get away with just enough exposure to activate your immunity." Researchers isolated unsaturated fatty acids containing oleic and linoleic acids from the corpses of dead cockroaches and found that their concoction repelled not just cockroaches, but ants and caterpillars. "It was amazing to find that the cockroaches avoided places treated with these extracts like the plague," says Rollo. Even crustaceans like woodlice and pillbugs that diverged from insects 400 million years ago were repelled leading scientists to think the death mix represents a universal warning signal . Scientists hope the right concoction of death smells might protect crops and thankfully, human noses can't detect the fatty acid extracts. "I've tried smelling papers treated with them and don't smell anything strong and certainly not repellent," writes Rollo in an e-mail. "Not like the rotting of corpses that occurs later and is detectable from great distances,."

Submission + - RIAA's elementary school copyright curriculum ( 2

selven writes: In a blatant attempt devoid of any subtlety the RIAA is fighting for the hearts and minds of our chilldren with its Music Rules, a collection of education materials on how to respect copyright. It includes vocabulary such as "counterfeit recordings, DMCA notice, "Grokster" ruling, legal downloading, online piracy, peer-to-peer file sharing, pirate recordings, songlifting, and US copyright law." with no mention whatsoever of fair use. Compounding the bias, it includes insights such as that taking music without paying for it is "songlifting", and that making copies for personal use and then playing them while your friends come over is illegal. On the bright side, it includes math which shows that the total damages from copyright infringement by children in the US amount to a measly $7.8 million.

Submission + - Bullet-proof sheets of carbon nanotubes (

An anonymous reader writes: FTA: "Lashmore's company, Nanocomp Technologies, is the first in the world to make sheets of carbon nanotubes — microscopic tubes stronger than steel but lighter than plastic.(...) In April, Lashmore had a mechanical multicaliber gun shoot bullets at different versions of his sheet, each less than a fifth of an inch thick, at a speed of 1,400 feet per second. Four sheets were breached, but three showed no damage."

Other possible uses: Shark suit? Bullet-proof Faraday cage?


Submission + - Amazon bans public domain from Kindle ( 6

John B. Hare writes: "John B. Hare writes "Many publishers of public domain content on the Kindle are being turned away for reasons which Amazon declines to clarify. In the past two weeks any publisher posting a public domain book (or a book which appears to be a public domain book) have received the message "Your book is currently under review by the Kindle Operations team as we are trying to improve the Kindle customer experience. Please check back in 5 business days to see if your book was published to the store."

Amazon claims that this is a quality control issue, that readers can't figure out on their own that a five page Kindle book for $9.99 is a rip-off or yet another Kindle edition of 'Pride and Prejudice' is pointless. This was supposed to be the point of user feedback and the Kindle return policy: the user can quickly decide what the best choice is, and if they don't like it, back out without any harm done.

I own and run one of the primary contributors of new public domain etexts on the web: When the ban went into effect, I was just back from an intense round of chemo. I was disappointed to get this message. I am (was?) in the process of converting all of the 2000+ ebooks at sacred-texts into Kindle editions. I use a homebrew preflight Kindle filter to construct the Kindle binary from my master files, which we have invested nearly a million dollars into creating. We spend thousands a month in-house doing legal clearance, scanning, OCRing, and proofing, often by domain experts. So we are hardly a fly-by-night operation. In fact, many of the PD texts floating around on the Internet and on the Kindle were originally done at sacred-texts at great investment of labor and time. Our Kindle return rate is close to zero.

This morning I received an email stating:

Dear Publisher,

We're working on a policy and procedure change to fix a customer experience problem caused by multiple copies of public domain titles being uploaded by a multitude of publishers. For an example of this problem, do a search on "Pride and Prejudice" in the Kindle Store. The current situation is very confusing for customers as it makes it difficult to decide which 'Pride and Prejudice' to choose. As a result, at this time we are not accepting additional public domain titles through DTP, including the following: The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ
The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ
Traces of a Hidden Tradition in Masonry and Medieval Mysticism
The History of the Knights Templar by Nicolas Notovitch...

If you believe that we have wrongly identified this title as a public domain title, and you are the copyright holder or are authorized to sell it by the copyright holder, then please reply to with appropriate documentation of your e-book rights.

Thank you,

As can be seen, this brings an entirely new issue into play: apparently, if I owned the rights to a public domain book and can prove it, they will reconsider. However, nobody can own a public domain book. Amazon is telling us that in order to post our books we need to prove a contradiction!

One key point is that Amazon has applied this ban completely non-selectively. Established publishers such as myself and others who have never had any quality control issues whatsoever, and give good value for the price, have all been tarred with the broad brush of 'Public Domain Publisher--do not post'.

By banning new public domain books from the Kindle, they are making an implicit decision as to which books people should read. You can argue that 'you can get these texts anywhere' but by excluding high quality Kindle books of them from the nascent Kindle marketplace, Amazon is implicitly trying to decide what is a valid part of our culture and what isn't. This trend does not bode well for the future of ebooks.



Submission + - Major MMO Publishers Sued for Patent Infringement ( 1

GameboyRMH writes: Maximum PC reports that major MMO publishers (Blizzard, Turbine, SOE, NCSoft, and Jagex) are being sued by Paltalk, which holds a patent on "sharing data among many connected computers so that all users see the same digital environment" — a patent that would seem to apply to any multiplayer game played between multiple systems, at the very least. Paltalk has already received an out-of-court settlement from Microsoft earlier this year in relation to a lawsuit over the Halo games.

If Microsoft can't fend off Paltalk's legal attacks, the odds don't look good for their latest group of targets.

Submission + - Wikimedia Italia sued for 20,000,000 Euros (

Sbisolo writes: Wikimedia Italia, the Italian chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation, has been sued for 20,000,000 â together with its former president, Frieda Brioschi by Antonio and Giampaolo Angelucci (a father and son), allegedly because of some edits made to the Italian Wikipedia's Antonio Angelucci article, which they claim were defamatory to the reputation of both men.

More info here:,000,000_%E2%82%AC
In italian:

The Internet

Submission + - B.C. (Canada) court of appeals decides website lin ( writes: I found this promising news over on Michael Geist's website: In an amazing display of wisdom and understanding, British Columbia (Canada) court of appeals (in a split decision) decided that it is not libelous to link to defamatory content.
The judge stated that "there is, in my view, no substantial difference between providing a web address and a mere hyperlink. Whether the hyperlink is a web address, as is often the case, or a more specific reference, both require a decision on the part of the reader to access another website, and both require the reader to take a distinct action, in the one case typing in a web address and in the other case clicking on the hyperlink. In other words, there is a barrier between the accessed article and the hyperlinked site that must be bridged, not by the publisher, but by the reader. The essence of following a hyperlink is to leave the website one was at to enter a different and independent website."
The case was brought about by B.C. businessman Wayne Crookes who claimed that p2pnet had damages his character by linking to websites with which he did not agree.
n.b. Presumedly, the websites with the actual content in question is outside of the purview of the canadian courts, however, p2pnet is not.

PC Games (Games)

Submission + - Fastest Tetris game (40 lines in under 24 seconds) (

Rik Haandrikman writes: "After about a year of working with the international Tetris community GamePoint has launched their own falling block puzzle game inspired by Tetris: Blockbox. The game, built entirely in Java, has minimized factors like input-lag and features advanced control customisation options. This has allowed Maserati, one of the games' earlier testers, to break the world record in the 40 lines challenge. This game mode challenges players to clear 40 lines as fast as possible. Maserati managed to clear 40 lines in the amazing time of 23.68 seconds! Replays are automatically saved and as this new record has been uploaded to Youtube, you can watch it at To play the game yourself (and match your strength against Maserati) visit Registering and playing is totaly free."

Submission + - Johns Hopkins student kills man with samurai sword ( 1

hjames writes:,0,114199.story

Hours earlier, someone had broken into John Pontolillo's house and taken two laptops and a video-game console. Now it was past midnight, and he heard noises coming from the garage out back.

The Johns Hopkins University undergraduate didn't run. He didn't call the police. He grabbed his samurai sword.

With the 3- to 5-foot-long, razor-sharp weapon in hand, police say, Pontolillo crept toward the noise. He noticed a side door in the garage had been pried open. When a man inside lunged at him, police say, the confrontation was fatal.

"He was backed up against a corner and either out of fear or out of panic, he just struck the sword with force," said Baltimore Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. "It was probably with fear for his life."

Pontolillo, who rents the house in the 300 block of E. University Parkway in the Oakenshawe neighborhood, struck the intruder no more than twice, police say, nearly severing his left hand and inflicting what police termed a "spear laceration."

The intruder, Donald D. Rice of Baltimore, a 49-year-old repeat offender who had been released from jail only Saturday, died at the bloody scene.

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