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Comment Re:That's the point of Tor. (Score 1) 451

If you have nothing to hide, you should be using Tor to help protect those who do.

I was with you up until that.

I'm in the "don't think I have anything to hide" camp (maybe I'm naïve). I also think it's perfectly legitimate not to have anything you want hidden and still not want the NSA snooping through your business.

That said, why would I want to use Tor for no other reason than to "protect" people who are using it to cover up their misdeeds? If you're doing something that you want to hide from federal law enforcement, I'm not inclined to assist you. (If I'm missing something-which happens fairly often-please help me out.)

Comment Re:Of course (Score 3, Insightful) 648

It is not a sensible option. So much of our culture is based on or related to copyrighted materials. To keep in touch with culture, and to keep in touch with current pop-culture, and thus be able to easily relate to the common people you'll encounter day to day, it is important to be have access to and be exposed to copyrighted materials.

Wow, this...could almost have come from the mouth of a Comcast publicist. "You need the content we provide. Without us, you will be out of touch, and your conversations will be comically awkward. What will you talk about over the water cooler, if not last night's episode of Survivor? If you can't quote from last night's Family Guy, small children will laugh at you, and you will never be promoted at work."

I like to think that we're not so impoverished as a culture that our tastes and interactions are dictated entirely by what forms of entertainment the major media brokers deign to shovel in our direction for an exorbitant fee. How much of what's on TV is even worth the time it would take to pirate it, when there's a lot of really amazing stuff available free of charge, and in the public domain?

Comment Re:This will work well (Score 1) 188

And TPB has legitimate purposes. I've watched several free movies like Pioneer One and The Yes Men Fix the World, as well as free music like Blalock's IRP, an album from an artist named Sosa that I've never heard of before, and all kinds of things.

Don't get me wrong, that's a small minority of the links up there (since it doesn't host any files, duh) but it's not all links to pirated material.

True enough that TPB traffics partly in legitimate, public domain-type files. But that's not something I'd really advance in their defense, mostly because they themselves don't. File sharing sites since Napster have pulled that out when hit with litigation. "Maybe there's infringing content on our service; we can't say--it has legitimate uses, and we certainly don't encourage infringement (nudge, wink)."

The Pirate Bay, to their credit or detriment, depending on your point of view, has always been up front about having (and encouraging) infringing content. For goodness' sake, they call themselves The Pirate Bay. I actually like their honesty in this regard--no pretense of doing anything other than facilitating infringement. It's essentially their whole platform, as I understand it.

And you quite fairly acknowledge that legitimate content on their servers is in the minority. So c'mon--the dudes are pirates! Don't take that away from them.

Comment Re:LOLing at the "English" translation (Score 1) 585

OK, I'm going to suggest that your version did not improve on the version that made you "LOL."

Why did English scholars use all those "thees" and "thous" instead of just "you?" Well, partly to maintain pronoun distinctions in English that existed in the original language. While "you" in modern English is pretty much the all purpose second person form of address, it wasn't always so. English (like a lot of languages even today) had a second person plural pronoun ("ye") and a second person singular ("thou"). When translating languages that had fine pronoun distinctions of that sort, it made sense to render them as closely as possible in English, even if that involved using slightly archaic forms of address. Also, the use of "thee" and "thou" often connoted an intimate, familiar relationship between the speaker and the person being addressed, which would often be reflected in the original texts if the speaker was addressing deity (or, purportedly, if deity was addressing the speaker).

Now, many modern languages still maintain a familiar form of address, even though they've fallen by the wayside in English (and an argument could be made that English is not richer for having lost them). If you read the Isaiah passage you quoted in modern French, for example, the familiar second person pronouns would be used. Many modern languages, despite having a less expansive vocabulary than English, still have tenses and forms of address that allow the expression of certain kinds of feeling and relationships that are hard to render in modern English, but can still be communicated if you use an older (but as attested by your "translation," still quite intelligible) form of the language.

As to it being "harder to build a cult around prose," well, maybe. A lot of Isaiah was poetry, not prose. Poetry is much more difficult to translate into a foreign language (ancient Hebrew to English, for example), so a lot of the versification gets lost. I'm sure the translators did their best. I'd still maintain, in light of what I note above, that their efforts are probably superior to yours.

If your goal was to point out that a translator can make most any text less compelling by ignoring any depth in the original expression and brutalizing it down to a few words conveying a basic idea, then I think you are correct. But I'm not sure that language or communication will be much improved by the exercise.

Comment I am not a contract lawyer... (Score 3, Interesting) 378

Maybe there's one floating around here that could comment on whether this might be deemed unconscionable?

Seems to me Sony is spontanteously forcing users to renegotiate their use contract in a decidedly one-sided fashion. Yes, yes, all EULAs fall into that category, but this seems more like an ongoing service agreement--you've been using PSN for some time, Sony steps in and says, "Hey, if you want to keep using our network, you need to surrender an important right." Just the sort of important right that could put an individual consumer on more even footing with a multinational corporation in asserting his/her entitlements under contract.

Comment Re:Billions (well sort of) (Score 1) 297

Hoo, boy. Here's the problem with a lot of reactionary environmentalism.

Let's start by noticing that GP made a fairly neutral observation about the likelihood of a lot of batteries ending up in a landfill. You then assumed he was putting batteries in the trash. Why you thought this, I don't know. I think the tone of the original post suggested that lots of batteries in a landfill was a bad thing. GP probably shares your opinion, and you laid into him with a nasty, standoffish response.

The third paragraph you wrote was a pleasant anecdote illustrating a good way to deal with used batteries (although not everyone might have such good disposal options available to them). Your post would have been much nicer and more reasonable without the first two paragraphs. Others might be much more inclined to listen to you if you didn't respond like a condescending twit to people who are more than likely on your side (and hey, even to people who aren't).

Comment This is why I won't shop GameStop (Score 4, Informative) 343

True story. I went to Gamestop once to pick up Dragon Age: Origins. I'd seen the DLC advertised with a new copy, and that sounded like a good deal. The clerk offered me a used copy for slightly below the $60 asking price. I specified I wanted a new copy for the DLC, so he took the box out from behind the counter, I paid for it and left.

I got the game home, opened it, and there was no code for DLC included. Then I noticed the game had been unsealed and re-wrapped. I took it back to the store, presented the receipt and said, "Hey, you sold me a used game at full retail." The guy tried to backpedal, saying it was a new copy that had been opened for display purposes, and maybe someone had stolen the DLC code. It was late, so at that point I offered to take the used copy he'd previously offered if he gave me the right price for it. He then said that was the only copy they had (though he'd previously tried to sell me on a used copy before presenting me with the "new" one). He hastily provided me with a full refund.

Then I went to a competitor's store nearby, where I found a new (i.e. sealed) copy for $40, DLC included. I have not set foot inside a GameStop since. My definition of a "new game" is one that's gone from the factory to my hands without the contents of the box seeing daylight. GameStop, it seems, has other ideas.

Comment Re:Global Warming is Over! (Score 3, Insightful) 569

The fact remains that complex systems, be they markets, ecologies, or climate, remain unbelievably complex, and we have no way of knowing what our actions could do.

And as far as banalities go, how about this -- do not mess with complex systems you don't fully understand.

More than fair. The problem is, there is a HUGE political wing that not only believes it understands the complexities of ecological change, but understands them well enough to want to impose corrective measures. Those corrective measures themselves invariably involve "messing with" markets, economies, and yes, ecologies, all at public expense.

Complexity is a double-edged sword. I'm all for not meddling with things I don't understand, and treating the planet with respect; I am consequently somewhat mistrustful of those who claim to understand our gigantically complex ecosystem well enough to tell me what I should be doing to fix it.

Comment Re:Nuclear power arguments (Score 1) 664

Because nuclear power doesn't exist independently of management or engineering.

Incidentally, I tend to favor nuclear energy, but it doesn't operate in a vacuum. Your question actually does a pretty good job of framing the broad points of the debate--in theory, nuclear power is clean, safe and efficient. In practice, it's run by complex human organizations. Any complex human organization has the potential for failure at some point along its chain of obligations, and in the case of a nuclear reactor, the potential cost of a failure (no matter how small the chance of that failure occurring) is very steep, as Fukushima is demonstrating. Splitting hairs between the power itself and the structures on which it depends seems painfully semantic when catastrophe actually strikes.

Comment Re:Vigilante Justice (Score 1) 184

I believe that it may be an example of vigilante justice. However, simple criminal greed would also explain what happened here.

Are these really mutually exclusive? Lots of comments here seem to break down into the hackers being (a) righteous vigilantes handing Sony their just desserts or (b) thieves and hooligans. There's nothing about having a legitimate complaint against a major corporation that prevents you from being a greedy sociopath.

Comment Re:Naysayers (Score 1) 72

Agree wholeheartedly! I'm not sure why this was tagged "idle." This is categorically the coolest humanities project in recent memory, and it shows an amazing amount of creativity, teamwork and initiative.

I'm sure it's also completely unrelated to distressing reports of Marengo High School being razed and pillaged, and its cheerleading squad being carried off into captivity.

Comment Re:It's hard enough to be impartial abot things (Score 1) 333

Yes, my reading comprehension is fine, thank you. How's yours?

This case involves the very same organization for whom she lobbied Congress. Not a different organization with the same vague type of "case in that arena" (your attempt to muddy the waters has failed). The exact same one.

From the article (emphasis mine):

Having worked with the RIAA rather than the small movie producers bringing the current suits, and having worked for the industry on legislation rather than litigation, Howell does not appear to have any direct stake in these particular cases.

That aside, please explain the alarming difference, in terms of bias, between a lawyer representing a client in court, and a lobbyist (who is also a lawyer) representing a client before a legislature. The high ideals you have cited are admirable, but lawyers (like lobbyists) practice law to make a living. I hope all attorneys are as principled as you describe; I question whether it is the case.

Comment Re:It's hard enough to be impartial abot things (Score 1) 333

Yes, I am pretty sure it would be grounds for appeal.

On what basis? Presumably the lawyers knew who she was before they started arguing the case. If they wanted to object to her hearing it, they would have done so before they asked her to hand down a ruling. (TFA even outlines recusal conditions under federal law, but doesn't indicate there was any motion filed to have her taken off the case.) The article also acknowledges that "Howell's different perspective is defensible on its merits," apparently meaning there's nothing inherently improper about her ruling the way she did. "I don't like the way the judge ruled," by itself, isn't an issue subject to appeal.

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