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Comment Overconfidence: Employment Prerequisite (Score 1) 297

The post stated:

3- And, best of all: absolutely nothing seems to be able to diminish the confidence that experts feel. The last one is truly remarkable: even if experts try to honestly face evidence of their own past failures, even if they deeply understand this flaw in human cognition they will still feel a deep sense of confidence in the accuracy of their predictions.

A better way to put this is people who do not feel such overconfidence will not be recognized as "experts" by anyone. This is a social problem, not a personal one. Human beings more readily believe confidence than veracity. This why there are so many confident idiots around.

This should be obvious to anyone who has dealt substantially with other people at any time in his or her life. Confidence makes one an expert -- more than documents or proof or the ability to obtain, compile, and present convincing evidence.

Comment Wrong Question (Score 1) 737

The post read:

So here's the question, Slashdotters: Is Windows really doomed? And, if not, what can be done to turn things around?

But it should read:

So here's the question, Slashdotters: Is Windows really doomed? And, if not, what can be done to make sure ?

Comment Re:Translation: (Score 2) 236

All the personnel at JSTOR deserve to lose their jobs. They are the real pirates: They take a public resource, steal it from the public, and sell it back to the public. This is like someone stealing your car and charging to give it back to you. Or better yet, your neighbor charging you to walk the sidewalk in front of his and your house.

You would not tolerate this behavior from your neighbor. Why do you tolerate it from a website?

Should the employees and investors of JSTOR continue to get paid for theft?

Comment Re:Translation: (Score 2) 236

The reason the prosecution has been called "overzealous" is because when the DOJ found they had no evidence of criminal behavior, the rolled out the overly broad CFAA, under which most people's Google searches might be able to be prosecuted, to get him. It is a classic case of the "everyone is guilty" attitude of the police in the English cultural sphere. "If I can't prosecute you for this crime, I will use some other irrelevant thing to make sure you pay." We might as well have cops go gun him down like they do in the movies if we allow this.

This is just more evidence that the US is continuously returning to its feudal English roots where justice means the royal family is right and everyone else can go to hell.

It is good to keep in mind that:

  1. Aaron was downloading documents that he had legal and authorized access to,
  2. he had a right to be on the MIT campus,
  3. the documents he downloaded were Public Domain documents (which are free of all restrictions for anyone for any purpose -- essentially the property of the public at large),
  4. JSTOR is arguably committing a crime by artificially restricting a public resource.

Comment JSTOR didn't do it. Yeah Right. (Score 3, Interesting) 236

JSTOR didn't do it. They asked DoJ to stop.

That is the lie JSTOR wants everyone to believe. While they claimed to be dropping the case, they were pushing MIT to prosecute -- repeatedly. They must have learned from Adobe's treatment of Sklyarov. Like all corporations, they want to keep their reprehensible activities out of the spotlight. This is why they are pushing for anonymity. They can hide and claim it really was not their fault. In fact, they are the principal puppet master for this whole show. And in the end, they will be seen as having no guilt. This is both the worst possible and most probable outcome.

Comment Re:Translation: (Score 3, Interesting) 236

You have made some interesting arguments, but they are mostly wrong. Let's take them one by one...

In any case, it doesn't help anything when Anonymous and Lulzsec make threats.

Yes, it does. This response and the principal actors wanting to keep their identities secret is a testament to how much influence these threats have. These criminals with badges are scared. I am glad that there is at least fear to keep their abuse of power in check.

Personally I liked the Guy Fawkes image that V put out, but Anonymous doesn't fit it at all, in fact they ruin it if anything.

On the contrary, they are improving it. Guy Fawkes was nothing but a Catholic and a failure. He was caught in the attempt and hanged as a criminal. In addition, he had a cause that few today would identify as a righteous one. Anonymous, by contrast, has fought against government corruption, the Zetas, and even rapists. They are much more upstanding than Guy Fawkes ever imagined being.

Would V espouse silencing his opposition? That's what anonymous does when they DDoS.

IIRC, V was entirely intent upon revenge: "V for Vendetta". He silenced everybody that had any possibility of opposing his plan, but not with a DDoS. His opponents' silence was a bit more permanent.

It seemed to me that V wanted to bring justice and empower the oppressed, if not he would have killed or at least silenced those detectives who were actively working against him, yet he didn't do either.

The detectives were a tool he used. Viewing himself as evil, he wanted to remove himself from the new world he had created, so he used the detective as a tool to kill himself. The detective was no more in control of himself than Brad Pitt's character was in Seven. While V's revenge had the element of justice, it really was an act of revenge concocted by a brilliant, semi-sane, suicidal freak. Anonymous, on the other hand, has mostly been motivated by injustice or entertainment. Either one is less damnable than revenge or suicidal insanity.

Therefore, I must reject your arguments until you base them upon a more solid foundation.

Comment Re:It's MIT you should be angry with, not the DOJ (Score 4, Interesting) 326

An article I read said that MIT reacted to JSTOR complaints. It seems from what I have read that JSTOR wanted MIT to be the bad cop while they repeatedly made public statements about how they were willing to let him off. It appears that their PR people may have learned from the Adobe - Sklyarov incident.

In that case, Adobe initiated the case and actively pushed it until the public outcry hit. Then they quickly backed off and claimed they asked for his release. It is impossible to say what really goes on behind closed doors, but the fact that the DOJ refused to drop the case is telling. I have always believed that they backpedaled publicly but kept pushing for prosecution behind closed doors. That way, everything would be perfect: They would get to punish Sklyarov and also hoodwink the public into thinking they were good or at least not so bad.

JSTOR was probably afraid of weathering the ire of the internet but still wanted him punished as an example. Pushing MIT to be the bad cop would accomplish this goal perfectly. MIT could take the heat, and JSTOR would get its crucifiction. Perfect.

Comment Why Always Suicide? (Score 3, Insightful) 326

Why does the discussion always center around suicide and Aaron's courage or lack of it? It is now obvious that the Department of Injustice was actually out to get him. It is also now clear that they targeted him for his views and not his actions. Given these facts, how can we -- netizens, citizens of the USA, citizens of the world, humans... take your pick -- allow entities like JSTOR and PACER to continue to exist? And why are we not looking for the people who orchestrated this fiasco (as opposed to the lowly public servants who coldly executed their wishes in obvious contravention of their oaths of office and their duties to the Constitution and people of the US and the world)?

Where are the executives of JSTOR who clandestinely pulled strings to bring on this relentless and unmerited legal assault? Why was the mysterious JSTOR "contact" who complained repeatedly to MIT officials and asked them to take action not identified? Directly or indirectly, JSTOR is responsible for this tragic death. When are they going to apologize or try to make things right? When is the information Aaron sought going to be available to us all? When are we going to ban JSTOR and PACER's theft from the public? When are JSTOR and PACER going to return their ill gotten gains to the people whose documents they stole?

For those who will make the argument: Copying is not theft. Keeping people from accessing things they rightfully own or should have access to is. A car is stolen when the owner cannot use it anymore, not when the same model is produced again by the factory. The owners of these documents are all the members of the public. Denying access to anyone for any reason is theft.

Comment Re: "The prosecutors killed Swartz. That's it." (Score 1) 390

From when I first heard this news, I could not help thinking of the Dmitry Sklyarov case. In both cases, a corporation complained: Adobe and JSTOR. In both cases, when the the corporation found this action was not popular, they "officially" backed off: Adobe dropped the charges due to an internet outcry. JSTOR was "unwilling" to press charges. Finally, in both cases, the prosecutor was adamant that the trial continue.

I think the puppet show should be fairly obvious to anyone looking at the facts. JSTOR was obviously complaining a lot to MIT and pushing MIT to prosecute. JSTOR just did not want anyone to know publicly that they were doing that. Will MIT publish all of its communications with JSTOR related to this incident? While TFA names the individual at MIT that was receiving the complaints, it does not mention who at JSTOR was complaining. I find the secrecy around this a little telling.

In an assassination, who is the real murderer: the person who orders the assassination or the person who pulls the trigger? In my opinion, they are all guilty. JSTOR is playing innocent, and they should not be allowed to do so. Further, Aaron had a point, JSTOR's existence is an assault on the First Amendment and the very concepts of democracy and science.

I think that JSTOR should be dissolved as a result of this incident, and all documents under its control should lose their copyrights; publishers be damned.

Comment Capitalist Koolaid (Score 1) 527

eldavojohn's comment contained an attack that I have often heard, but that I think is never answered in the proper way. This question forces RMS to answer to a perceived inconsistency in his world view when, in fact, eldavojohn should be the one re-examining his world view and the assumptions it is based upon.

Growing up in the United States, I have been served the koolaid of Capitalism several times and I have been taught that the inherent competition and struggle for money in all aspects of our lives make us the greatest country ever. I've read a lot of your comments on intellectual property reform and I can't help but feel that it just isn't compatible with capitalism. Have you ever had problems rectifying your stance on intellectual property with capitalism?

I always find it very interesting every time I see this argument. What is it about the US education system that gives the impression that monopolies such as copyright and patent are inherent and necessary elements of "capitalism"? Is it just a "This is our system now, and our system now is capitalism" kind of thing?

Monopolies are the opposite of Laissez-faire capitalism or free trade. They restrict who can participate in money making enterprises. They are inherently prejudicial and usually prejudicial to wealthy parties. Further, government backed monopolies, as opposed to spontaneous wealth based monopolies, are an unfair abuse of government power to restrict the free market. Monopolies have a long history in Europe's feudal period, and copyright itself was born out of a long tradition of monarchical censorship in England in which the publishers were charged with monopolizing information to control the public.

The term "intellectual property" leads to even scarier territory. The term itself smacks of 1984's Thought Police. I am certain that is not your picture of "capitalism". The very concept that ideas can be "property" is offensive. While you are at it, why not package all the air in the world and charge people to breathe?

As such, whose view of capitalism is really flawed and in need of rectification: yours? or Mr. Stallman's? The way I see it, the onus is on you, eldavojohn, to justify your incorrect view of what capitalism is, your support of feudalism, and your support of censorship. Do you believe in capitalism, the free market, and liberal democracy? Or do you believe in communism, restricted trade, and monarchies?

Comment If Only... (Score 1) 1034

If only this guy were right!

Imagine going to 10 or 20 years with no babies. This would be the best thing that could ever happen to the world, and it would delay the inevitable resource failure that always occurs with massive population growth. There will soon be 7 Billion people on the planet (yes, that is with a BIG B). A generation without babies would relieve economic and resource pressure greatly without the intervention of disease or starvation or war. We can only hope that this author is right -- even though biology and nature observably prove him wrong.

The Slashdot crowd is a good audience for the math of this whole thing. Fact: A single bacterium with unlimited space to grow and an unlimited food supply can reproduce enough to equal the weight of the Earth in just 72 hours (cell division every 30 seconds). Try it yourself. Post the code in this thread. I will if I get time this afternoon.

Anyone who has done big "O" notation knows that exponential growth is second only to factorial growth and that the rate quickly exceeds whatever resources are allocated. However, no one applies these numbers to the world we live in. Sooner or later, the resources must be exhausted. So, a generation that does not have kids would be a welcome break from our bounding dash for the abyss.

Someone will inevitably argue about the problems this could cause. Yeah, old people might have to work, but the real effect will be that employers will have to hire experienced people instead of ignorant college kids. Employers and teachers have the most to lose. Employers because they exploit young people for cheap labor, and teachers because their jobs depend on children. But all of these considerations are miniscule when compared to global starvation or war or both.

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We all agree on the necessity of compromise. We just can't agree on when it's necessary to compromise. -- Larry Wall