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Submission + - SPAM: Trump GOP convention infringed copyright for at least seven songs 1

Paul Fernhout writes: According to Keith Girard, writing for The Improper Magazine, "Donald Trump, the self-pronounced "law and order" candidate, stole at least seven classic rock songs used by his campaign during the GOP convention, infuriating the artists who own the rights to them."

Obviously, "stole" is a loaded word when talking about copyright infringement... Might this indicate a Trump administration could by sympathetic to reducing the scope and duration of copyright?

Link to Original Source

Comment Rose-tinted glasses (Score 1) 73

And how many of their research subjects had been diagnosed with hypochondria? Searching for symptoms and eventual disease isn't unlikely pattern, whereas someone actually suffering from it would be more likely to only ask a doctor. Didn't bother to read the article, of course, but hopefully they did also check whether they did search indicating diagnosis also before, and possibly for other diseases.

I also have to join those questioning the "false positive" rate there. People are perhaps even more liable to search for other people's conditions than their own, and while showing them a banner like "Your searches indicate X" would work just as well, in the context of the study that should count as a false positive. One question on this is exactly how they're counting or reporting false positives. Approximately 5 in 100.000 will get pancreating cancer *in their lifetime*, which comes to neighborhood 1 to 1.000.000 million per year. If their algorithm actually tagges 1 in 10.000 users as having pancreatic cancer then it is next to useless. If 1 in 10.000 tagged didn't turn out to have pancreatic cancer, then it's unbelievable.

And indeed, assuming they were searching for identifiable symptoms, wouldn't they have discovered their cancer earlier? Is this a case of too slow medical system, or just a case of people who already know they have pancreatic cancer sometimes making searches looking like recent diagnosis... the example of "Why did I get pancreatic cancer?" in the summary for example is pretty telling, as that would seem quite likely search for a late-stage patient.

Comment Re:Yes. (Score 5, Insightful) 143

It's proof, but the problem is the measure of "largest math proof ever" is dumb. I could let a computer (or preferably a cluster) generate proof that every natural number below 200 trillion is followed by another, and there are no gaps, and it would easily trump that as the "largest math proof ever". What's that you say, it's not the simplest proof? True, but my algorithm just didn't hit on the simplest proof yet... Or if you prefer, I can generate proof of the exact number of primes below 200 trillion, it would beat that record by far and as far as currently known, have no simpler proof. For that matter, the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search is constantly generating proofs that, if written and dumped out sequentially, would beat the pants off this record. But I hope we're not (or shouldn't be) merely competing for "the largest waste of computing power ever" :)

Comment Deep learning about morality and post-scarcity? (Score 1) 128

An aside from the article: "Huang showed a demo from Facebook that used deep learning to train a neural network how to recognize a landscape painting. They then used the network to create its own landscape painting."

So long for such jobs... How about deep learning about post-scarcity economics?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

Also: ""Our strategy is to accelerate deep learning everywhere," Huang said."

How about some deep learning about morality? Imagine training children (or child-like AIs) in skills like weapons use without training them in morality, kindness, cooperation, and so on... How would that end?

See also:
http://www.child-soldiers.org/
"Child Soldiers International is an international human rights research and advocacy organisation. We seek to end the military recruitment and the use in hostilities, in any capacity, of any person under the age of 18 by state armed forces or non-state armed groups. We advocate for the release of unlawfully recruited children, promote their successful reintegration into civilian life, and call for accountability for those who unlawfully recruit or use them."

Maybe AIs should not be asked to replace humans until they have been around for at least eighteen years?
http://www.rfreitas.com/Astro/...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
http://www.amazon.com/The-Chro...

Comment Great news on MIT moving more to FLOSS; next steps (Score 1) 79

A couple months ago I was emailing with RMS about how sad it was that MIT still required copyright assignment by all students, faculty, and staff. So I'm glad to see some more progress. Related:
http://pdfernhout.net/pledge-t...
"The FSF could start a new campaign to get foundations and non-profits to pledge that all content and software they fund or develop for the public using charitable or public dollars will be released under free licenses."

Ultimately research funders are going to need to change their policies drive this, as I suggested about fifteen years ago:
http://pdfernhout.net/open-let...
"Foundations, other grantmaking agencies handling public tax-exempt dollars, and charitable donors need to consider the implications for their grantmaking or donation policies if they use a now obsolete charitable model of subsidizing proprietary publishing and proprietary research. In order to improve the effectiveness and collaborativeness of the non-profit sector overall, it is suggested these grantmaking organizations and donors move to requiring grantees to make any resulting copyrighted digital materials freely available on the internet, including free licenses granting the right for others to make and redistribute new derivative works without further permission. It is also suggested patents resulting from charitably subsidized research research also be made freely available for general use. The alternative of allowing charitable dollars to result in proprietary copyrights and proprietary patents is corrupting the non-profit sector as it results in a conflict of interest between a non-profit's primary mission of helping humanity through freely sharing knowledge (made possible at little cost by the internet) and a desire to maximize short term revenues through charging licensing fees for access to patents and copyrights. In essence, with the change of publishing and communication economics made possible by the wide spread use of the internet, tax-exempt non-profits have become, perhaps unwittingly, caught up in a new form of "self-dealing", and it is up to donors and grantmakers (and eventually lawmakers) to prevent this by requiring free licensing of results as a condition of their grants and donations."

Longer version of the above originally prepared for the Markle Foundation:
http://pdfernhout.net/on-fundi...

Comment The Art Of Driving by John Taylor Gatto (Score 1) 173

From: http://web.archive.org/web/201...
===
Now come back to the present while I demonstrate that the identical trust placed in ordinary people two hundred years ago still survives where it suits managers of our economy to allow it. Consider the art of driving, which I learned at the age of eleven. Without everybody behind the wheel, our sort of economy would be impossible, so everybody is there, IQ notwithstanding. With less than thirty hours of combined training and experience, a hundred million people are allowed access to vehicular weapons more lethal than pistols or rifles. Turned loose without a teacher, so to speak. Why does our government make such presumptions of competence, placing nearly unqualified trust in drivers, while it maintains such a tight grip on near-monopoly state schooling?

An analogy will illustrate just how radical this trust really is. What if I proposed that we hand three sticks of dynamite and a detonator to anyone who asked for them. All an applicant would need is money to pay for the explosives. You'd have to be an idiot to agree with my plan--at least based on the assumptions you picked up in school about human nature and human competence.

And yet gasoline, a spectacularly mischievous explosive, dangerously unstable and with the intriguing characteristic as an assault weapon that it can flow under locked doors and saturate bulletproof clothing, is available to anyone with a container. Five gallons of gasoline have the destructive power of a stick of dynamite.3 The average tank holds fifteen gallons, yet no background check is necessary for dispenser or dispensee. As long as gasoline is freely available, gun control is beside the point. Push on. Why do we allow access to a portable substance capable of incinerating houses, torching crowded theaters, or even turning skyscrapers into infernos? We haven't even considered the battering ram aspect of cars--why are novice operators allowed to command a ton of metal capable of hurtling through school crossings at up to two miles a minute? Why do we give the power of life and death this way to everyone?

It should strike you at once that our unstated official assumptions about human nature are dead wrong. Nearly all people are competent and responsible; universal motoring proves that. The efficiency of motor vehicles as terrorist instruments would have written a tragic record long ago if people were inclined to terrorism. But almost all auto mishaps are accidents, and while there are seemingly a lot of those, the actual fraction of mishaps, when held up against the stupendous number of possibilities for mishap, is quite small. I know it's difficult to accept this because the spectre of global terrorism is a favorite cover story of governments, but the truth is substantially different from the tale the public is sold. According to the U.S. State Department, 1995 was a near-record year for terrorist murders; it saw three hundred worldwide (two hundred at the hand of the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka) compared to four hundred thousand smoking-related deaths in the United States alone. When we consider our assumptions about human nature that keep children in a condition of confinement and limited options, we need to reflect on driving and things like almost nonexistent global terrorism.

Notice how quickly people learn to drive well. Early failure is efficiently corrected, usually self-corrected, because the terrific motivation of staying alive and in one piece steers driving improvement. If the grand theories of Comenius and Herbart about learning by incremental revelation, or those lifelong nanny rules of Owen, Maclure, Pestalozzi, and Beatrice Webb, or those calls for precision in human ranking of Thorndike and Hall, or those nuanced interventions of Yale, Stanford, and Columbia Teachers College were actually as essential as their proponents claimed, this libertarian miracle of motoring would be unfathomable.

Now consider the intellectual component of driving. It isn't all just hand-eye-foot coordination. First-time drivers make dozens, no, hundreds, of continuous hypotheses, plans, computations, and fine-tuned judgments every day they drive. They do this skillfully, without being graded, because if they don't, organic provision exists in the motoring universe to punish them. There isn't any court of appeal from your own stupidity on the road.4

I could go on: think of licensing, maintenance, storage, adapting machine and driver to seasons and daily conditions. Carefully analyzed, driving is as impressive a miracle as walking, talking, or reading, but this only shows the inherent weakness of analysis since we know almost everyone learns to drive well in a few hours. The way we used to be as Americans, learning everything, breaking down social class barriers, is the way we might be again without forced schooling. Driving proves that to me.

Comment Daily life without trust is very expensive (Score 1) 173

Mistrust is expensive. That's how I've heard it put elsewhere. And just look at unstable areas of the world to see that. More and more money goes into guarding (e.g. armed guards, steel walls and window shutters, armored cars, constant surveillance) and less and less into producing stuff worth guarding. In the same way that the natural ecology provide many vital services to the global economy (like air and water recycling), peace and general satisfaction saves us a lot of money (not just military expenses but day to day costs ranging from locks to insurance premiums).

Although, there are always some who see profit in causing unrest of all sorts -- thus "War is a Racket". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

See also "The Abolition of Work" by Bob Black:
http://www.whywork.org/rethink...
"I don't suggest that most work is salvageable in this way. But then most work isn't worth trying to save. Only a small and diminishing fraction of work serves any useful purpose independent of the defense and reproduction of the work-system and its political and legal appendages. Twenty years ago, Paul and Percival Goodman estimated that just five percent of the work then being done -- presumably the figure, if accurate, is lower now -- would satisfy our minimal needs for food, clothing and shelter. Theirs was only an educated guess but the main point is quite clear: directly or indirectly, most work serves the unproductive purposes of commerce or social control. Right off the bat we can liberate tens of millions of salesmen, soldiers, managers, cops, stockbrokers, clergymen, bankers, lawyers, teachers, landlords, security guards, ad-men and everyone who works for them. There is a snowball effect since every time you idle some bigshot you liberate his flunkies and underlings also. Thus the economy implodes."

And, for some humor on this, the "Bee Watcher Watcher" story by Dr. Seuss:
http://www.drseussart.com/illu...

In general, I agree the best way to prevent disasters is to have happier citizens (and healthier, more capable, and more optimistic ones). A basic income for the exchange economy may be one way towards happier citizens (and with a BI people on the edge have more to lose by criminal actions, too), but so could be an improved gift economy, improved subsistence technologies like 3D printing, and/or improved government planning through better democratic participation. I discuss those here and why they are a better answer to mass unemployment compared to other options:
http://www.pdfernhout.net/beyo...

Comment "That's also the bad news," (Score 1) 173

And thus my sig on the irony of technologies of abundance in the hands of those still thinking in terms of scarcity, and also this essay by me:
http://www.pdfernhout.net/reco...
"There is a fundamental mismatch between 21st century reality and 20th century security thinking. Those "security" agencies are using those tools of abundance, cooperation, and sharing mainly from a mindset of scarcity, competition, and secrecy. Given the power of 21st century technology as an amplifier (including as weapons of mass destruction), a scarcity-based approach to using such technology ultimately is just making us all insecure. Such powerful technologies of abundance, designed, organized, and used from a mindset of scarcity could well ironically doom us all whether through military robots, nukes, plagues, propaganda, or whatever else... Or alternatively, as Bucky Fuller and others have suggested, we could use such technologies to build a world that is abundant and secure for all.
    So, while in the past, we had "nothing to fear but fear itself", the thing to fear these days is ironcially ... irony. :-) "

Comment Re:Mozilla should support FOSS for messaging (Score 1) 191

AC, thanks for the additional feedback. That web page was not exactly what I sent Mozilla directly when I applied there (which was about a page or so long), although I said much the same thing as the summary, and as I put a link to it on the tb-planning list someone at Mozilla might have seen it. I could speculate they rejected my application so quickly (the next day) because they had rejected my previous application a couple years before about Thunderbird and probably just consulted a flag somewhere, but I'll probably never know.

That web page itself grew as I pasted additional emails I sent and various notes on the idea and progress at the bottom. I'd agree it is not a great web page and I should present the idea better. :-) And in fact, the whole project is about better peer-to-peer-ish tools to make sense of complex things and incrementally improve shared workspaces. But, so little time, so much to do, and now necessity and chance has me focusing on other things.

You're right to suggest speaking to the appropriate level of understanding of the audience. Of course, one might expect when corresponding with a place like Mozilla it would be technical people talking to technical people. :-) But, as much as Mozilla is no doubt full of very technical people doing great stuff, as the article and various posters point out, apparently there is a significant disconnect between the Mozilla staff and the Mozilla leadership and the organizational direction (especially now that Brendan Eich is gone).

Anyway, again, sincere thanks for taking the time to respond to my messages and for providing well-meant useful advice to always keep in mind. :-)

Comment Re:Mozilla should support FOSS for messaging (Score 1) 191

Thanks for the feedback. I can easily concede that anyone who did not watch "Thunderbirds" on TV as a kid would find confusing any references to stuff like "International Rescue" or "Thunderbirds are Go": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

In any case, this is what it starts out saying after providing a contextual quote: "To deal with Thunderbird's technical debt (which Andrew Sutherland described on the Mozilla Governance thread that Mitchell Baker started), I propose Mozilla fund a "skunkworks" team of about seven people for a year to create a new server version of Thunderbird (called "Thunderbird Server", or "ThunderbirdS" for short) that runs initially as a locally-installed Node.js app providing a single-page JavaScript/TypeScript/Mithril/D3 webapp for email handling and other peer-to-peer communications using the local file system. Thunderbird Server would use Firefox (desktop or mobile) as its primary client; Firefox would access Thunderbird Server just like any other (local) web server using web standards. The most significant Thunderbird Desktop plugins (based on downloads or other metrics) would be ported by the team to this new Thunderbird Server platform (ideally, aided by a custom tool for such porting). Some of the most popular plugins might be unneeded though for Thunderbird Server given they could run directly in Firefox (like translation tools and ad blockers). This Thunderbird Server platform would, through plugins, eventually become a social semantic desktop that could change the nature of the web as we know it, reducing the significance of the distinction between local copies shared with peers and centralized content shared with clients."

Lunacy maybe. :-) But hopefully less loony than what Mozilla is doing now like morphing into an IoT software vendor.

Insulting? Well, "technical debt" was (accurate) phrasing originally from a core Thunderbird maintainer...

Anyway, I'm now too busy and with other commitments to do it now myself. Mozilla missed their chance with me (for whatever reason). But, I still hope Mozilla still goes back to supporting messaging like Thunderbird (and conceptual successors like Matrix.org). There are thousands of good programmers out there who could do a wonderful job making great messaging tools. And many are already (like with Matrix.org, Mattermost, Kolab and more) -- including dozens still valiantly maintaining Thunderbird desktop in the face of constant upstream breakages in Firefox (as Thunderbird includes an entire copy of Firefox in it -- very problematical given Mozilla's plans to abandon Gecko maintenance and move to an entirely new rendering engine called Servo). It would be great if they all got more support though -- or if everyone got a basic income. :-)

Comment Mozilla should (Score 3, Informative) 191

Or a Thunderbird local server unified messaging platform using Firefox as the client (my proposal): http://pdfernhout.net/thunderb...

Mozilla rejected my application to do that project the very next day after I sent it. The rejected a related proposal by me a couple years earlier to improve Thunderbird desktop. From an earlier poster who works at Mozilla, I now understand that situation better. I had not realized how dysfunctional the organization had become.

That Thunderbird server project is currently on hiatus as I just started a new job, but I still hope I can do some bits and pieces of that idea of a FOSS messaging platform now and then that might someday add up to it.

Meanwhile, a proprietary Slack is eating the free/standard messaging sphere: http://pdfernhout.net/reasons-...

One year of Mozilla's revenues is about the same as all the VC money that has gone into Slack. Meanwhile the Mozilla CEO says essentially that FOSS messaging tools like Thunderbird do not matter any more and kisses off Thunderbird. To my mind, at this point, Thunderbird is the more viable concept compared to Firefox (let alone any of the other ill-considered projects) -- as the success of Slack shows.

I can be thankful for Mattermost and Matrix.org as free Slack alternatives.
http://www.mattermost.org/
http://matrix.org/

But imagine what such FOSS messaging software could be like with hundreds of millions of dollars a year behind it to fund a team of thousands of full-time developers.

Bottom line: Mozilla is pissing away hundreds of millions of dollars a year of money (and thousands of developer years) that should be earmarked for essential FOSS (like communications tools) on projects with near zero chance of success(a new mobile OS?) or that are unneeded (yet another programming language?) -- while paying huge executive salaries.

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