Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. ×

Comment No brainer (Score 1) 24

Hasn't this option been available on YouTube for ages? :-) Music usually has links to iTunes, Amazon, etc.
Gee, here's an radical idea -- make it EASY for the viewer the ability to buy what they are watching!
I only wish the REST of the entertainment industry would get with the program.

i.e.
A friend of mine noticed that "Hawaizaada" trailer was available in 1080p and used to be in Netflix. Yet if the viewer wants to purchase a legal copy they have to track down a crappy 480p DVD version off Amazon!? Why isn't a streaming option available??

https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

Comment Re:Using SHA-1 in this day and age is just lazy (Score 1) 195

Also, when a commit is signed it becomes bundled with it, which means its associated SHA-1 hash will change.

Yes, but the commit only includes the SHA-1 hash of the tree object, which in turn refers to other trees and files by their SHA-1 hashes. Given the possibility of SHA-1 collisions, the commit signature guarantees that you get the right commit, but not necessarily the right file contents. Of course, for this attack to work someone would have to get their obviously artificial collision-prone file included in the signed commit in the first place, so that they could later substitute the malicious version. This is not a practical means of attack for source code repositories where commits are subject to even cursory peer review. There might be some justification for extra precautions when it comes to opaque binary files, such as firmware, which could be as simple as including the SHA-2 of the binary file as part of the commit and verifying it during the build.

Comment Re:Using SHA-1 in this day and age is just lazy (Score 1) 195

If there is one thing the Wikipedia article makes perfectly clear, it is that there is considerable disagreement over the nature and limits of the "appeal to authority" logical fallacy. However, in the first and only "notable example" given in the article to illustrate "appeal to authority", the authority figure in question was an expert in the field, which leads me to seriously doubt your assertion that "[a]ppeal to authority is a logical fallacy when the person is NOT an expert in the field."

Quoting from the article, with emphasis added:

In the Western rationalistic tradition and in early modern philosophy, appealing to authority was generally considered a logical fallacy.

More recently, logic textbooks have shifted to a less blanket approach to these arguments, now often referring to the fallacy as the "Argument from Unqualified Authority" or the "Argument from Unreliable Authority".

However, these are still not the only recognized forms of appeal to authority. For example, a 2012 guidebook on philosophical logic describes appeals to authority not merely as arguments from unqualified or unreliable authority, but as arguments from authority in general. In addition to appeals lacking evidence of the authority's reliability, the book states that arguments from authority are fallacious if there is a lack of "good evidence" that the authorities appealed to possess "adequate justification for their views."

So on the whole, it would not be unreasonable to consider an argument of the form "X is true because Y said so, and Y is a recognized authority in the field of X" an example of the "appeal to authority" logical fallacy. That is not to say that X is thus untrue, or that Y's opinion should be disregarded—but there is a vast difference between the valued opinion of a qualified authority figure and a sound logical argument.

You would be perfectly correct to say that this is not an example of the "Argument from Unqualified Authority" fallacy described in the newer textbooks, but that fallacy is much more limited in scope than "appeal to authority".

Comment Re:Good (Score 1) 257

you can't infringe on their right of ownership by copying the DVDs

There is no such thing as a "right of ownership" over the content of the DVDs. The poorly named legal fiction of "copyright" is not a right at all, but merely a privilege; and like all other instances of legal privilege, it can only exist by infringing on the actual ownership rights of others.

The difference is obvious even to a cursory inspection. If copyright were about ownership then it wouldn't expire after a limited duration, or be subject to exceptions for fair use or (in some cases) compulsory licensing. More importantly, if copyright were treated as a right of ownership, then the liability for infringement would be determined by the extent to which the infringement diminished the copyright holder's ability to make use of the copyrighted content—which is, of course, impossible, since the creation of a new copy does not in any way diminish the utility of any existing copy. Copyright is not a right, it's an example of misguided social engineering run amok, a legal parasite intent on strangling its host.

Submission + - When ISP copyright infringement notifications go wrong

Andy Smith writes: Yesterday I received an email from my ISP telling me that I had illegally downloaded an animated film called Cubo and the Two Strings. I'd never heard of the film and hadn't downloaded it. The accusation came from a government-approved group called Get It Right From a Genuine Site. I contacted that group and was directed to their FAQ. Worryingly, there's no way to correct a false report. The entire FAQ is written from the position that either you, or someone on your network, definitely downloaded what you're accused of downloading. Their advice to avoid any problems with your ISP is simply to not download anything illegally again. But if they can get it wrong once, then surely they can get it wrong again. How widespread is this problem? What safeguards are in place to ensure that people aren't falsely accused? Why has the government allowed this scheme to operate without the accused having some right to defend themselves?

Comment Re:Not that expensive (Score 4, Insightful) 246

The thing is, unless you have seen everything you would possibly want to see in older movies available for $10, why would you pay $50 for the same home experience?

Yes, I have seen every decent older movie I care to see.

This may seem a bit obvious, but new movies turn into older movies at exactly the same rate that new movies are released. It's not as if "older movies" were a fixed set. If you make a policy of only watching movies that are at least X years old, you'll end up with the same amount of "new" (to you) content each year as if you watched every new blockbuster on opening night at several times the price.

Comment Re:As soon as you're invited to visit, I agree (na (Score 1) 193

Perhaps the government has no right to search X, for any X, but they DO have the right to say "no you can't come in", or impose any conditions they feel are proper before granting entry.

False equivalency. You have the right to exclude others from your home because you own your home. Your rights of ownership are founded, ultimately, in the homesteading of previously unowned land though the labor of an original owner, plus an unbroken chain of voluntary contracts passing the rights to that land from its original owner to you. The government, by contrast, has no such legitimate claim to ownership of the entire country, and consequently does not have the right to exclude anyone from entering.

On the other hand, it would be wrong for me to block your entry into your *own* house... Unlike people who wish to visit, peope have a right to enter their own home.

Anyone with the right to enter their own home also has the right to invite others to enter. It would be wrong for you to block the entry of my invited guests into my house.

Once you're in the US (and while your outside the US), your rights as a human being should be fully respected.

Inside, outside, or in transition, your rights as a human being should always be respected.

Comment Re:Why is income equality necessarily good? (Score 1) 514

Bill Gates is only going to buy so many TVs, cars, and houses. Doubling his wealth is not going to change his spending habits.

It won't change his personal consumption habits, no. Instead he would spend the extra wealth on capital investments, which improve the efficiency of production and allow vast numbers of other people to buy more TVs, cars, and houses at lower prices.

Consumption is important, of course, but all economic progress comes from the part of our income which we don't immediately spend on short-lived consumer goods.

You're also conflating wealth with money. They aren't the same thing. Bill Gates has a lot of wealth, but most of it isn't in the form of money. Instead, he owns shares in various investments. Even if it were, people would simply switch to an alternate form of currency long before the symptoms you're attributing to "wealth concentration" became apparent.

There is one factor which could have the effect you're referring to, but it only occurs in non-free markets. It is not always the case that more capital investment equals lower prices; over-investment can create a situation where the prices necessary to cover the cost of the capital are above the optimal point on the supply & demand curve. Imagine, for example, that you can sell 10,000 of a certain widget per year at an optimal price point of $10 each, and that your cost per widget is $8 (for $20k profit). If you rent a machine for $50,000/year you can lower production costs (excluding the rent) to $5 each. Under normal circumstances this would be an uneconomical investment, since the rent would raise the overall cost to $10 per widget, eliminating your profit. (Raising the price is not an option since that would reduce both the quality sold and overall revenues.) However, if a regulation were introduced requiring the use of this machine it would change the parameters: now the optimal price point (for widgets produced with this machine) is perhaps 8,000 units at $18, and you only make $14,000 in profit while 2,000 potential customers do without widgets. The same argument can be applied if the machine instead comes with a tax-funded subsidy rather than a mandate. With the subsidy included, the real cost per widget is still $18, but the buyer only sees $10 at the point of sale and the remaining $8 is spread among all the taxpayers—reducing the money they have left over to spend on widgets and other goods. Any market intervention (regulation, tax, subsidy, monetary policy, etc.) which either rewards or punishes capital investment, and thus shifts the allocation of resources away from the optimal balance, reduces the efficiency of the market and the purchasing power of the average citizen.

Comment Re:There are a few specific things they do (Score 1) 514

But earning 4 times the national average is clearly not equal.

You're leaving out half the story here. If two people given similar opportunities make different choices, and as a result one of them ends up earning four times as much as the other, that isn't inequality. They each had an equal chance at earning that income; one took advantage of that opportunity and the other did not. The thing we should be striving for is equal opportunity, not equality of outcome. It is only natural that someone who takes the long view and makes difficult choices should end up better off than someone else in the same circumstances who focuses only on the present.

On the subject of inherited wealth, this applies just as much to families as it does to individuals. True, the recipient of the inheritance has been granted an unearned opportunity which others lacked. (Unearned by the recipient, that is—the parent earned the right to make that gift.) Taking the larger view, however, any family with even a small amount of discretionary income has the option of saving and investing and passing those investments down to the next generation, following a long-term strategy which will eventually result in a sizeable inheritance. This demonstrates how different choices at the family level over the course of multiple generations can produce unequal outcomes from equal opportunities.

Our choices make all the difference, not just for ourselves but for our descendents as well, and that is exactly as it should be. The inequality we should be concerned about is inequality under the law, and especially the variety of legal inequality which results in property earned by one individual or family being unjustly seized and granted instead to some other individual or group. This is an attempt to force equal outcomes by perversely punishing those who make better choices.

Comment Re:Maybe people are oversaturated (Score 1) 129

> Fuck the marketers, they should all die in a fire.

Marketers and Lawyers would be a good start -- but sadly that wouldn't really change anything. :-/

I really wish we could ban all forms of commercial advertising.

Advertising pollutes our spaces -- both physical and virtual.
It disrespects our time.
All for the sake of profit.
Greed is the cancer that destroys everything good about the world.

Have we really become such a stupid species that we let blatant propaganda and hyper commercialization of product placement control our lives?

When does it end?

Slashdot Top Deals

Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.

Working...