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Comment Everyone has a financial stake in this (Score 1) 446

There is a cost associated with labelling. I'm not interested in paying more for my groceries due to anti-GMO fear mongering.

GMO-free providers can choose to label their food (as some do now). This lets consumers purchase GMO-free foods if they place a greater value on those and keeps the cost of doing so on the product they value more.

Comment Gaining more visibility (Asteroid Day and B612) (Score 1) 88

This particular "existential threat" is gaining a lot more visibility and, slowly, more funding.

Tomorrow marks the first Asteroid Day and it seems to be bringing a great deal of public attention to least amongst members of the public interested in science and museums and who are in metropolitan areas to see some of the events.

The article was OK, and mentioned B612 but didn't really touch on how much of the NEO hunt is going to end up being done by NGOs, small observatories, and other organizations that aren't direct reports to the NEOO.

Comment Re:Bad Ruling (Score 1) 433

Does that map aid in your ability to safely drive your car?

It is a tool that can do this, yes. I am a safer driver because I have the right information in the right amount of time. It informs me in advance where I will have upcoming traffic lights, traffic, road hazards (such as stopped vehicles). It informs me of 1-way roads and advises me on which lane to be in.

And don't try to claim that not getting lost or missing a turn is unsafe and that your cellphone map is helping you to be safe.

Why not? If I can reasonably ignore street names and other bits of information that are not worth me knowing, doesn't that mean I'm able to pay attention to things that are more important? If I can spend less time driving because I get to my destination efficiently, doesn't that mean I'm driving less (and less likely to be involved in an auto accident from that alone)?

Even though IANAL, IMHO that was the intent of the law when it was passed

The congressional record doesn't agree with your reading and the judges that decided this case disagree as well too.

As for eating? If you have to look at your food? Yeah, it's a distraction. But most people don't need to look at their quarter pounder to eat it.

You are taking at least one hand off the wheel. Your concentration is divided between two tasks. And, yes, you will almost certainly glance at what you're eating.

Listening to music? I fail to see how that's a distraction.

Distractions are not only visual. As you point out, sound cues (such as sirens, horns, etc.) are useful too. Hearing sound over another is no different than a "heads up display". Yes, it's illegal to wear headphones in both ears while driving in California. Further, dividing your focus is what is distracting. It doesn't matter whether that is something you're looking at or hearing or tasting or smelling or just thinking about.

Comment Re:Bad Ruling (Score 2) 433

No. The judge isn't allowed to consider those other pieces of legislation and non-legislation that you provided.

Not only can he, but he did. See pages 5-6 of the ruling, where the judges state (among other things):

Section 23123 applies only to use of a “wireless telephone” while
driving. Section 23123.5 more broadly applies to use of an “electronic wireless communications device,” which would include a cellphone, but would also apply to other wireless devices used for communication.

The judge then goes on to use the example of a Blackberry when considering devices that "could
not accurately be identified as 'wireless telephones'". This is laughable! We have an anti-texting statute because things like smart phones aren't phones? Well then, my map app is on a "handheld computer" and not a "wireless telephone" so 23123's prohibition on use doesn't apply to me.

The text of the ruling shows a flagrant ignorance for technology.

Comment Bad Ruling (Score 5, Insightful) 433

If the judge's interpretation was the one the legislation intended, why would we have CVC 23123.5, that explicitly forbids texting. Why would the DMV note that it does "not prohibit reading, selecting or entering a phone number, or name" or the CHP advise safe ways to dial? The judge over-stepped in this case & is legislating from the bench.

In 2010, I was written a citation for using my phone when I had passed it to a passenger. I was (rightfully) found not guilty. Because merely "touching" your phone is not using it as a communications device. Nor is the cell phone magically more distracting than other objects in a car.

A stand-alone GPS or a paper map can be at least as distracting, so why is there no provision banning their use? Because, while distracted driving is a problem, navigation aids do more good than harm. It is easier to defend them than eating, applying makeup, listening to music, etc. that we permit.

Comment Yes, demonstrators ARE loony. But so is BART. (Score 1) 196

Why are people presenting the false dilemma of having either no cellular service or station/service interruptions?

"Protesters" have zero right to vandalize websites or physical property, steal personally identifying information, or cause service disruptions. They should expect to be caught when CCTV and cell records are subpoenaed & should look forward to felony conspiracy charges.

These demonstrators were doubly stupid because they alienated people who agreed with them. The transit union and mayor came out against the cell shutdown, as did many riders. Why infuriate those who agree with you? But just because the messengers are in the wrong does not mean their message is.

BART is not a private company that can do whatever they please. The California Public Utilities Commission regulates BART, and BART is partially funded by taxes. The public (and the transit union) have been supportive of cell phone coverage due to the safety benefits they bring (this was particularly true after people learned of the cell use during 9/11). I'm unconvinced that cell shutdowns disrupt protesters so much that it is worth losing this piece of mind. Any communications disruption has real financial costs & nobody has shown the math that shows those costs were lower than alternative actions that could have been taken.

BART receives $6.7M a year in telecommunications revenue ($2M from cell service). You take that away because you cut service & you have to make it up some how. That'd be a 2% fare hike (not including FCC-imposed penalties or fees for breaching the telecom contracts).

Comment Zotero Donations (Score 3, Insightful) 60

Trevor's blog also had this post:
which says that all tax-deductible donations made in June will be matched twice-over. This seems like a good opportunity to congratulate the team for making it through their legal hurdles & to support the development of great free/open source software.

Comment Sharing ENS Styles (Score 4, Insightful) 60

Now it seems they have corrected the license statement to allow such sharing.

Kind of. Their terms of use state:

EndNote includes customization options that licensed individual and institutional customers can use to create new and modify existing EndNote style (.ens), filter (.enf), and connection (.enz) files for their personal use and to share with other licensed EndNote users for use only in conjunction with EndNote.

(emphasis mine). In other words, they claim that you can't use the files that you create using their software in third-party software, such as Zotero. This would be like saying you can't open an MS Word Document in Writer.


An Open Source Legal Breakthrough 292

jammag writes "Open source advocate Bruce Perens writes in Datamation about a major court victory for open source: 'An appeals court has erased most of the doubt around Open Source licensing, permanently, in a decision that was extremely favorable toward projects like GNU, Creative Commons, Wikipedia, and Linux.' The case, Jacobsen v. Katzer, revolved around free software coded by Bob Jacobsen that Katzer used in a proprietary application and then patented. When Katzer started sending invoices to Jacobsen (for what was essentially Jacobsen's own work), Jacobsen took the case to court and scored a victory that — for the first time — lays down a legal foundation for the protection of open source developers. The case hasn't generated as many headlines as it should."

Submission + - SPAM: Free software tools for archivists

Roland Piquepaille writes: "University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) archivists have developed a free software kit named Archon to help other librarians to manage their collections. This software has been designed for archivists with limited access to technological resources. It's free and you can download it to manage your own music or book collection even if you're not a librarian. But all the materials in the collection need to be available with descriptions and tags. One interesting feature of the software is that it will build a searchable website for you. But read more for many additional details and references."

Submission + - Orrin Hatch - Software copyright violater ( 2

fudreporter writes: " has an article referring to comments Senator Orrin Hatch(R-Utah) made about downloading copyrighted material from the Internet... Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) suggested Tuesday that people who download copyright materials from the Internet should have their computers automatically destroyed. But Hatch himself is using unlicensed software on his official website, which presumably would qualify his computer to be smoked by the system he proposes. The senator's site makes extensive use of a JavaScript menu system developed by Milonic Solutions, a software company based in the United Kingdom. The copyright-protected code has not been licensed for use on Hatch's website. "It's an unlicensed copy," said Andy Woolley, who runs Milonic. "It's very unfortunate for him because of those comments he made.""
Operating Systems

Submission + - ReactOS - The Desktop Operating System Revolution ( 1

frik85 writes: "With yesterdays release, ReactOS got nearly 100% binary and API compatible with Win2003 (NT 5.2). And they are aiming for full Vista (NT 6) compatibility.
The ReactOS Win32 subsystem is in the beginning of a total overhaul to make it completely compatible with NT5 and it has had a positive impact on stability and compatibility with Win32 applications. As a generic result of these internal changes, the system feels a lot more stable in comparison to previous releases. ReactOS ships with a bunch of open source default drivers for various hardware devices and of course support for third party NT 5 drivers.
A download utility (unofficially called "ReactOS Package Manager") now contains a set of applications (opensource and shareware apps) which you can install right away in ReactOS with one click of a mouse. And those apps will actually work!
Fresh ReactOS screenshots say more than written words!"


Submission + - No gnu/linux love from ID software ( 1

gnarlin writes: "According to's article (in German) ID software will no longer be porting their games to gnu/linux starting with the new Rage game being developed. Another article at beyond3d has the details in english. Is this due to lack of sales? This seems to be a major blow to gnu/linux gamers everywhere, especially when gnu/linux users are finally getting good Free software drivers for AMD's/ATI's graphic chips."
Data Storage

Submission + - Why are tape drives not scaling with hard disks? 4

An anonymous reader writes: Every 3-6 months, we see an announcement about something adding to hard disk storage. However, tape drives don't seem to be improving on anywhere near the scale of hard disks.

Why is this? Both are magnetic media, and with a tape drive, a manufacturer has far more space to put data on than the platters of a hard disk, and still leave plenty of space for error correction data. Tape drives also don't spin nearly as fast as hard disks, so tolerances involved can be less.
The Courts

Submission + - RIAA Complaint Dismissed as "Boilerplate"

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "The decision many lawyers had been expecting — that the RIAA's "boilerplate" complaint fails to state a claim for relief under the Copyright Act — has indeed come down, but from an unlikely source. While the legal community has been looking towards a Manhattan case, Elektra v. Barker, for guidance, a case in which amicus briefs had been submitted by various industry groups and the US Department of Justice (see case file, and from Warner v. Cassin, a similar motion in the same Court's Westchester division, the decision instead came from Senior District Court Judge Rudi M. Brewster of the US District Court for the Southern District of California, in a decision denying a default judgment (i.e. the defendant had not even appeared in the action). Judge Brewster not only denied the default judgment motion but dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim. Echoing the words of Judge Karas at the oral argument in Barker , Judge Brewster held (pdf) that "Plaintiff here must present at least some facts to show the plausibility of their allegations of copyright infringement against the Defendant. However, other than the bare conclusory statement that on "information and belief" Defendant has downloaded, distributed and/or made available for distribution to the public copyrighted works, Plaintiffs have presented no facts that would indicate that this allegation is anything more than speculation. The complaint is simply a boilerplate listing of the elements of copyright infringement without any facts pertaining specifically to the instant Defendant. The Court therefore finds that the complaint fails to sufficiently state a claim upon which relief can be granted and entry of default judgment is not warranted.""

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