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Comment Re:10 ways - all local (Score 2) 570

> Charity begins at home.

But why? Living near you doesn't seem any more relevant to who you should help than choosing people of your own gender or race would be; it's a morally irrelevant fact. I'd rather choose who to help based on *who needs the most help* and *which help is the most effective per dollar*. Unsurprisingly, this doesn't involve donating to my local area -- everyone there is not starving or dying for silly reasons that could be easily solved with small amounts of money.

Comment Re:None (Score 1) 570

As has already been argued, this is not a good idea if you're trying to maximize impact, as the OP is.

This is because the kinds of tasks that dramatically improve quality of life are tasks that you could pay people significantly less (than you earn at your job) to do better at than you would. It follows that it would be better to work an extra hour, and then pay ten people to do the hour of work that you would otherwise volunteer instead.

Comment Re:Charity Navigator (Score 1) 570

Charity Navigator doesn't actually address the OP's question. They rate charities based on *efficiency*, but not based on *impact*. You can do a lot of things that have little impact but high "efficiency", and a lot of things with huge impact but high overhead. Efficiency is simply the wrong quantity.

GiveWell ( measures impact and effectiveness directly, and just put out their new list of recommended charities.

Comment Re:No Denial Here But What Are the Reasons? (Score 1) 1255

There have been many reports of sexism recently; see for an attempt at listing some of them.

The most obvious example to me is the fact that death threats are being e-mailed to female FOSS contributors -- see

This isn't anything new; it's been happening since 2005. I hope you'll agree that it's totally horrifically unacceptable, and understandable that women would go and find somewhere less hostile to them to spend their time after receiving these. Yet, apparently you didn't know about it: please consider becoming more informed about these issues before having such a strong opinion of denial that there's a problem.

Comment Legal. Ethical? (Score 1) 782

As stated too many times to count, the GPL is fine with this. It is nonsense to say that something that the GPL text specifically allows, and something that the authors of the license have been doing since day one, could be against the spirit of the license.

So, that's not your question. Your question is, "if one of the authors of a piece of software chose an inappropriate license, and then after I'd done a bunch of development work based on their code, told me that they wished they'd chosen the 'you may not sell modifications based on this code' non-free license, what should I do?"

In my case, I think that the GPL is a more ethical license than the one he's describing, so I would point out how vastly different this no-selling license would be, and point out that it would not be considered a free software license by anyone (DFSG, FSF, OSI). It can hardly be unfair of you to have thought that, by using a free software license, he meant for you to enjoy the freedoms provided by free software!

In summary:

  • if you hadn't done any development yet, I think I would probably respect their wishes, and think poorly of them for choosing such an inappropriate license (without, apparaently, reading it first).
  • since you have, I don't think there can be anything unethical about using the license you have, given that you are following both its text and its spirit.

Submission + - Solving the Energy Crisis by Tripling Electricity ( 2

DeviceGuru writes: Sounds crazy, but as with all of University of Cambridge Prof. David J. C. MacKay's thinking, there's logic to back it up, along with a welcome dollop of British wit. His new book, "Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air" (available free online and in hard copy and released under a Creative Commons license), is a roadmap for kicking our fossil fuel habit. Along the way, MacKay demolishes "codswallop" arguments on both sides of the debate, and explains why tripling electricity demand is the solution. In MacKay's holistic approach, transportation and space heating move from fossil fuels to renewable electricity. The beauty of consuming very large amounts of extra electricity for transport and heating is that these two forms of demand are "easily-switch-off-and-on-able," MacKay says. A smart grid that controls vehicle charging and pumping into heat-stores matches demand to renewables' fluctuating supply, overcoming one of their biggest drawbacks. A recent review in Science magazine (PDF download) calls the book "a must-read analysis" and "found MacKay's book by turns exhilarating and terrifying."

Comment Re:OLPC becoming Big Brother? (Score 2, Insightful) 138

> If I can read and compile the O/S, who's to say I can't just remove the kill daemon from my build and then install it?

Nothing at all. The article is misleading -- if you want to remove the anti-theft daemon you can, by clicking a button to request a developer key that gives you full access to the machine and its BIOS. Then you can run whatever you like.

If your machine has been reported stolen, though, the developer key won't be issued. So, it's a sensible tradeoff between restricting people from experimenting on their machine (which they should be able to) and stopping laptop theft from being such a worry.

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