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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 NEOs...at 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 OpenOffice.org Writer.


Submission + - What is a Good Programming Font? 1

Jhyrryl writes: My new laptop needs a good font for programming. While I prefer small, I'll sacrifice some size to maximize readability. Obviously each character need to be unique to avoid mistaking O for 0, an l for 1, but it can't be too busy either. Oh, and free (as in beer) is a requirement.

Submission + - Microsoft tries to takeover Open Document Format (groklaw.net)

what about writes: If this is true, as it seems, it is makeing me angry !

Groaklaw writes if the takeover were to succeed, that SC 34 would get to maintain ODF as well as Microsoft's competing parody "standard," OOXML. How totally smooth and shark-like. Under the guise of "synchronised maintenance", without which they claim SC 34 can't fulfill its responsibilities, they get control of everything. So utterly Microsoft. Microsoft yearns for interoperability, it seems. More like yearning for ODF's air supply to be ... well, you know. Microsoft never seems to change, does it? Yoo hoo! EU Commission! Are you watching? You can read all the public resolutions of the ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34 Plenary Meeting, 2008-10-01, held in Jeju, Republic of Korea. It will either make you laugh or throw up. I did both. Sequentially.


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."
United States

Submission + - Orphan works bill passed by the Senate (blogspot.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Yesterday, the visual arts community was buzzing with news that the Senate was "hot lining" the Orphan Works Bill (S2913) for a vote that afternoon, and that the House was expected to follow suit. We've now learned that the Senate bill was passed. It is troubling indeed that this legislation was pushed through in this manner, the last day of the Congressional term, and a time when the Congress is embroiled in responding to an economic crisis. As our colleagues at the Advertising Photographers of America (APA) have declared, in their email alert posted at Friday midnite: "Passing controversial legislation by this process, i.e. under the radar, is deeply troubling to say the least and every Senator needs to be held accountable."

Submission + - Senate passes Orphan Works Act of 2008 on to House (deseretnews.com)

pope523 writes: The Orphan Works Act of 2008 (sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch R-Utah) has been looming over us for a while now, and has been passed by the US Senate on to the House of Representatives. If made law, it will allow anyone to take any copyrighted material they find, and after "a thorough and documented good-faith search, they are unable to locate the copyright owners" they can "exhibit" it. This means any company that wants to use material they've found on the Internet (like a photograph for instance) can make "a thorough and documented good-faith search" and then use it without paying the creator and copyright owner.

US citizens can e-mail their Representatives and let them know they're opposed to this.

The Courts

Submission + - Thomson Reuters (Endnote) Sues Open Source Zotero (courthousenews.com)

Noksagt writes: "Thomson Reuters, the owner of the Endnote reference management software, has filed a $10 million lawsuit and a request for injunction against the Commonwealth of Virginia. Virginia's George Mason University develops Zotero, a free and open source plugin to Mozilla Firefox that researchers may use to manage citations. Thomson alleges that GMU's Center for History and New Media reversed engineered Endnote and that the beta version of Zotero can convert (in violation of the Endnote EULA) the proprietary style files that are used by Endnote to format citations into the open CSL file format."

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