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Comment In April 2003 (Score 2) 138

It took Microsoft a while to lose the battle as the on ramp to the internet.

The top post on Slashdot on 02 April 2003 was "Microsoft Wants to Take on Google"

"We do view Google more and more as a competitor. We believe that we can provide consumers with a better product and a better user experience. That's something that we're actively looking at doing,", says Bob Visse, director of marketing for Microsoft's MSN Internet services division, said.

Comment Tzar Bomba (Score 4, Informative) 1028

That is a big firecracker, but it is no Tsar Bomba. The Tsar Bomba was tested in 1961, so the technological capability for high yield bombs is old news. Best bit about the Tsar Bomba: "In theory, the bomb had a maximum yield of 100 megatons if it were to have included a U-238 tamper, but because only one bomb was built, this theory was never demonstrated."

Here is a short documentary film on the Tsar Bomba.

Comment Temporal Anomaly (Score 1) 44

wireless connectivity that's faster than our speediest home internet service, is years away.

global standard {is} expected in 2020.

Verizon said it will begin commercially deploying its service next year.

Either Verizon is managed by Time Lords or the company is going to deploy 5G technology before global standards are agreed.

Comment Re:too much fuss (Score 1) 209

Second, everyone - commenters included - seem to confuse AI with artificial consciousness.

It almost follows that if there is artificial intelligence then there must be artificial consciousness, but I doubt it. Either an entity is conscious or not. Since the ancients we have not invented a definitive test to determine when something is conscious, and yet this is not a moot point: Maybe the rocks and trees are conscious but no one can tell so terminating their existence does not matter; maybe you have a simulacrum of consciousness but no one can tell so ending your existence matters a lot, especially to you.

Unlawfully and definitively ending the productive capacity of an entity which is conscious is murder. I suspect there will be a long genocide of silicon life until the law catches up with that fact.

Comment First Ammendment (Score 3, Interesting) 156

Isn't a ban on encryption a ban on free speech?

It seems to me that encrypted communication is akin to two people having a conversation in Klingon. If a third party, a police officer, were to interrupt the conversation shouting, "Hey! Speak English! You must be understood!", then that would clearly be a violation of first amendment rights. I cannot imagine a judge would allow the police officer to use a defense of, "Well, they could have been planning terrorism." If the conversation is electronic, and the government does not know what is being said, then it still seems absurd to me for that to be illegal.

Banning encrypted communication is akin to banning all foreign languages, made-up languages, and baby talk. Speak English, little baby, you must be understood or the cops will get you! Absurd.

Comment Less Free Than Stated (Score 3, Insightful) 330

If the CNIL's proposed approach were to be embraced as the standard for Internet regulation, we would find ourselves in a race to the bottom. In the end, the Internet would only be as free as the world's least free place.

Correction: The Internet would only be as free as the intersection of all least free places. Anything that is forbidden anywhere would be forbidden everywhere.

Comment The Dead Who Do Not Vote (Score 1) 609

Here is an article from The Society Pages about dead people who won't vote:

Black people in the U.S. vote overwhelmingly Democratic. They also have, compared to Whites, much higher rates of infant mortality and lower life expectancy. Since dead people have lower rates of voting, that higher mortality rate might affect who gets elected. What would happen if Blacks and Whites had equal rates of staying alive?

These articles are interesting, but the conclusions are too simple: It is too simple to say that if things were different then people would act as if things were the same.

Submission + - Automakers to gearheads: Stop repairing cars (autoblog.com)

Mr_Blank writes: Automakers are supporting provisions in copyright law that could prohibit home mechanics and car enthusiasts from repairing and modifying their own vehicles. In comments filed with a federal agency that will determine whether tinkering with a car constitutes a copyright violation, OEMs and their main lobbying organization say cars have become too complex and dangerous for consumers and third parties to handle. The dispute arises from a section of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that no one thought could apply to vehicles when it was signed into law in 1998. But now, in an era where cars are rolling computing platforms, the U.S. Copyright Office is examining whether provisions of the law that protect intellectual property should prohibit people from modifying and tuning their cars.

Comment Re:The (in)justice system (Score 2) 291

It isn't about making money, it is about a case load that they could not possibly handle if they had to take every one to court. ... Besides, the court system couldn't deal with the volume either.

If there are more broken laws than there is money or capacity to adjudicate the cases of the alleged perpetrators... then maybe there are too many laws?

Why should justice hinge on the financial means of the alleged perpetrators or on court capacity? That scenario sounds ripe for the proliferation of injustice.

Submission + - Tesla Has To Sell 6 Million Electric Cars To Make History

cartechboy writes: Many entrepreneurs have tried to start car companies in the U.S. over the past century, but the last person to do so successfully from the ground up was Walter P. Chrysler in 1924. To say this feat is monumental would clearly be an understatement. That isn't to say many haven't tried. Those who have include Preston Tucker, Henrik Fisker, Malcolm Bricklin, and even John Delorean. Now it's Elon Musk's time with Tesla. But what will it take for Musk and Tesla to be successful? The answer is the sale of at least six million electric cars. That's what it'll take to make history. Henry J. Kaiser's car company Kaiser-Frazer (later Kaiser Motors) produced a staggering 750,000 vehicles in its nine year run. Times have changed, back in 1955 when Kaiser closed up shop, only 11 million vehicles were sold globally, where as last year 83 million vehicles were sold globally. To equal the scale of Kaiser's achievement Tesla will have to sell at least 6 million vehicles. While not impossible, it gives an idea of the challenge facing any automotive entrepreneur.

Comment Difficulty Spectrum (Score 4, Insightful) 294

Programming has a spectrum of difficulty. The tools can always be improved to make the easier parts easier and the harder parts more manageable, but in the end the hard parts are hard because of the nature of the work; not due to lack of tools.

In more mature fields the spectrum of difficulty is well understood and no one expects the hard parts to be easy. If a person can write a "hello world" program then it should not be expected they will have the wherewithal to roll out healthcare.gov. If a person can apply a bandage to a skinned knee then it should not be expected they will have the wherewithal to do brain surgery; regardless of how good the tools are.

Comment Common Carrier (Score 1) 170

The brave new world is sorting out what companies, services, and communication mediums are subject to Common Carrier regulations. If Facebook is a common carrier, then there should be some expectation of privacy. If not, then not.

Facebook (and many service providers) are currently and deliberately in a gray zone. If they are not common carriers then they can do whatever they please with the goods (electrons, bits) that they transport because it is their own private property once you hand it to them; per the terms of service. That is good for business because people are handing over "free" stuff that the companies can turn into profits.

However, if companies are not common carriers and they own whatever is handed to them then they are subject to intellectual property violations, libel suits, fourth amendment oddities, and other violation of the law. A telephone company is not criminally prosecuted when land lines are used to break laws; a common carrier is immune to prosecution for what is transmitted. The lawsuits resulting from not being a common carrier could be bad for business.

In the long run, the market could sort this out. If some companies clearly are common carriers and some are not then consumers can decide. Or, it can stay muddled long enough for the gray area to become its own class according to judicial precedent, law, and the public.

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