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Comment Re:What kind of environment did the founders have? (Score 1) 260

I think it simply boils down to that you can buy 10 ikea desks for $130 each, 10 macbook pros for $1500 each, ten surge protectors at $10 each, an ikea couch for $500 and suddenly you have your standard silicon valley startup office. Bonus points if there's a poster on the wall somewhere. Since that was good enough to boot strap a company with, why waste valuable seed money on things like walls? When the company is a million years old you can give all of upper management their own offices.

Comment Re:Interesting, but probably irrelevant (Score 1) 111

However, if you load up your torrent manager and say "download please!" you are making your own copy, which is then stored locally, just like pushing the button on a copy machine.

Only if you actually made a durable copy of the file, and they won't have any evidence of that from the network traffic. All they know is that someone else sent a copy of the file to you. That would support a case against the uploader, but not the downloader. It might be enough to get a warrant to examine the downloader's device for a stored copy of the file, but it's unlikely anyone would go to the effort of actually serving a warrant to recover, at most, a small multiple of the retail value of one copy of a single work, and until they do so there is nothing to support a charge of copyright infringement.

Of course the root of the problem is copyright. This is just one of the more notably absurd, and yet inevitable, consequences of trying to impose artificial scarcity on something that can be duplicated by anyone at effectively zero cost.

Comment Re:and if I shoplift a rack full of CD's it's just (Score 1) 111

Suppose I download a song to the same computer twice, as can easily happen. Technically because the thing I did wrong was copying, ...

No, you're making the same mistake as the judge in the article. The one who makes the copy and distributes it across the Internet is always the uploader, not the downloader. You didn't make a copy, the person who uploaded the file to you made a copy. The DMCA should not be considered applicable to "mere downloaders" because "mere downloaders" aren't doing anything which would infringe on copyright, namely making or distributing copies or publicly performing the work. That's all on the uploaders.

You do make a very good point, however, about the way the impact to the copyright holder for each copy is grossly overestimated when calculating "damages".

Comment Re:Paradox (Score 1) 113

Flying a drone is not considered as if you are holding the camera. If you could fly in such a way that you only film your property, it would be allowed.

This is what doesn't make sense. You are allowed to photograph public areas, and not just your own property (as long as you don't use a drone). They're putting hobbyist drones in the same category as CCTV cameras and other devices which are left in place to record continuously. Most of the drones affected by this law are not the expensive, semi-autonomous sort which can fly on their own using GPS waypoints, and even those only fly for a short time before the batteries are depleted. You can't just set them up to fly around and record for an extended time while the operator is not present. They require an active pilot. Most of them require line-of-sight, though some might be equipped for FPV. Either way, their presence is obvious from the noise, and the operator has to be fairly close by. To say that these drones would make lousy "surveillance" devices is a massive understatement. A person could accomplish much more effective and privacy-invading "surveillance" by hiding a cheap, disposable smartphone in the bushes. No hobbyist drone is going to be recording anyone surreptitiously.

Comment Paradox (Score 2) 113

The ruling of the Swedish administrative courts forbids anyone to fly a drone equipped with a camera as long as its not "... to document crime or prevent accidents...".

The Swedish administrative courts have created a legal paradox. If it is a crime to fly a drone with a camera, then by doing so one is automatically documenting a crime... which apparently makes the drone legal, ergo no crime exists to be documented, ergo flying the camera-drone is illegal. The drone thus exists in a superposition of legal and illegal states, threatening to tear the entire Swedish legal system to pieces. (One can only hope.)

Comment Re:It was a premises warrant. (Score 1) 430

Keys don't change. Fingerprints don't change. A biometric identifier is therefore not affirmative.

Which finger you use to unlock the device, however, can change and should be considered affirmative, just as if it were a (single-digit) PIN code. If they have the authority to collect fingerprint samples and to seize your device then I see no reason why they wouldn't have the authority to use your own device to collect the samples—but they have to decide which finger(s) to press against the sensor, not you, and the device will only allow so many errors before it disables fingerprint unlocking altogether.

Comment Re:Set up correct secondary DNS servers (Score 1) 347

It could be done right now using a similar blockchain to the one bitcoin uses. In fact, you could also tie in SSL into the platform, to prevent centralizing services like Verasign from being a weak point. The design is already in my head - just need to build it. Anyone have some free time?

It's been done. The project is called Namecoin.

Comment Re:Economics? (Score 1) 343

Not only that, but nuclear plants employ a large number of well paid, skilled, and educated people for that entire duration. They also pay huge amounts in local and state taxes. The contributions back to the tax base and the economy from that is worth billions more.

Billions of dollars are changing hands, but it would be incorrect to say that this brings billions of dollars' worth of benefit to the economy. There is an economic gain from voluntary trade, but it's a small fraction of what either party pays or receives in absolute terms. The gain comes from the differences between the values each party assigns to the items being exchanged (e.g. productivity vs. salary for the employer, or salary vs. time, effort, and "human capital" such as training for the worker). This difference will, of course, be considerably less than the values of the goods being exchanged. Since the trade is voluntary the exchange can be presumed to benefit both parties, but the size of this benefit is difficult to estimate. As a thought-experiment one could consider the range of prices that would be acceptable to both parties (which is, of course, unknowable in any particular instance); the net benefit to the buyer is the highest amount the buyer would have been willing to pay for the same good minus the amount actually paid; or for the seller, the amount actually received minus the least the seller would have been willing to settle for. The net economic benefit of the transaction to society as a whole is the sum of the benefits to the buyer and the seller.

The state and local taxes, on the other hand, are a straightforward involuntary transfer of existing property from one party to another and should not be counted as an economic benefit at all. If anything, the taxed party can reasonably be expected to lose more value than the government gains, for a net economic loss.

Comment Wow, did I just read that? (Score 1) 557


"We can't create a culture that says it cares about diversity and then excludes almost half the country because they back a political candidate," Zuckerberg wrote. "There are many reasons a person might support Trump that do not involve racism, sexism, xenophobia, or accepting sexual assault."

"We can't create a culture that says it cares about diversity and then excludes almost half the country because they back a political candidate," Zuckerberg wrote. "There are many reasons a person might support Trump, but those that do are racist, sexist, xenophobic, and accept sexual assault."

Comment Re:They lost me at Goldman Sachs (Score 1) 238

There's at least two reasons here why GS would be interested:
1. High frequency trading, if you control the software and make it as fast as possible, then all that is left is the networking between you and the exchange. Controlling the networking is the next step, this is total control, total integration
2. Limit backdoors; if you own the system totally and completely, you can nearly guarantee your system has no backdoors from state actors.
If you're as big as GS, you definitely don't want to own any american made networking hardware, and building it from the ground up is a cheap hedge against whatever lawsuits come down the line

Comment Re:small problem (Score 2) 228

The main problem is that the sun does not produce a whole lot of energy that can be captured on the night side of the earth, and we happen to consume a lot of energy when it's dark. If you overbuild capacity for daytime generation, nighttime generation is mostly solved, the big problem now is not cheap renewable energy, but rather, how to store it. Even if converting water and CO2 in to Ethanol is only 15% efficiency, you're still able to store 15% of your excess grid energy, whereas before you could only store 0% of excess grid energy. These guys are claiming 60% in the lab, which probably means 20-30% at industrial scale, perhaps 40% within our lifetime. It's not 85-90% hydro-electric efficient, but that's pretty dang good for a fuel which has so many uses, stores well for long periods of time and works with existing combustion engines.

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