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Comment Contact MEPs! (Score 4, Informative) 307

Finally we have the chance to lobby elected representatives rather than aetherial bureaucracy! Don't let's waste it, guys...

If anyone in the UK wants to write to their MEPs about this resolution (you should), you can use this page to do so. I'm sure similar services exist in other countries, or you could just post the MEPs a dead tree version of your complaint.

Comment Re:More images (Score 3, Informative) 214

According to a tentative theory mentioned in Ancient Egypt: A Very Short Introduction, it's possible that the early Ancient Egyptians heard about the technology of "written languages", and then got their top scientists onto replicating the concept, in order to try to correct the economic and military disparity that would result from being illiterate in a literate world.

I'm not sure how well accepted this hypothesis is, but I find it an intriguing idea. It certainly fits in with the behaviour of nations today, as they scramble to try to replicate nuclear technology, say, or high quality Internet search engines.

Comment Re:So we still have... (Score 1) 756

I'm as pro-technological advance as the next /.er, but I've never really bought this kind of argument.

Civilizations wax and wane, ebb and flow. If Roman technological and economic advance had continued unabated, there may have been a Europe-wide steam train system by 700 AD, perhaps. But it didn't.

Maybe, just before the Sun's increased emissivity becomes a serious problem, our descendants will fall back into some sort of dark age/world war/counter-enlightenment. Who knows?

I just think it's a bit silly to assume that Moore's Law will be obeyed continuously for the next billion-odd years, without considering that maybe there will be sociological forces that come into play.


California Continues To Push For Violent Game Legislation 167

Back in February, the US Court of Appeals shot down a California law that banned the sale or rental of violent video games to minors. Shortly thereafter, State Senator Leland Yee petitioned the US Supreme Court to review the case. Now, along with California's Psychiatric and Psychological Associations, Yee has filed an amicus curiae brief with Court that elaborates on the reasoning behind the law. Within the brief (PDF) are some interesting quotes: "Parents can read a book, watch a movie or listen to a CD to discern if it is appropriate for their child. These violent video games, on the other hand, can contain up to 800 hours of footage with the most atrocious content often reserved for the highest levels and can be accessed only by advanced players after hours upon hours of progressive mastery. ... Notably, extended play has been observed to depress activity in the frontal cortex of the brain which controls executive thought and function, produces intentionality and the ability to plan sequences of action, and is the seat of self-reflection, discipline and self-control." The video game industry has filed its own amicus brief to dispute Yee's claims.

Comment Re:Pictures versus digital photos... (Score 1) 345

Hypothetical question:

Supposing there are a series of photographs of portraits that are in the public domain, but the images all have the frames in shot.

I don't think the frame should be in shot, so I write a bash script to remove the frames in bulk. Not only has a great deal of technical sophistry gone into this (I'd be surprised if 2% of the general population were capable of doing that), but the resulting .jpegs are set up in a way that I have dictated, based on my personal artistic preferences.

Are these new images in the public domain?

My gut feeling says they should be, but I don't see the difference between your actions and mine.

Whilst I don't know enough copyright law to know if the NPG is in the right or not, as a UK taxpayer I'm firmly against this legal action. Our culture is enriched by these images; let them be free!

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