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Comment Re:Security is about what you're securing. (Score 5, Insightful) 189

Absolutely. There's no reason to have a conference be that secure. Spending an extra five-to-ten seconds per attendee checking badges would be a major disruption in crowd flow. The primary benefit of security at this event was to make the attendees feel special, and the secondary benefit was preventing overwhelming crowds. There's basically no reason to keep out any one person who's not supposed to be there; the panels are advertisements, and the information is as good as public. Security is in place to keep out crowds of people who aren't supposed to be there, and they seemed to do well enough at that.

Comment Re:same old same old (Score 3, Insightful) 792

2. "Many members feel that they have a moral imperative to attempt to push their moral agenda on people who have nothing to do with them" Democrats do this also with issues like affirmative action and gay marriage.

This is the example you chose? Prohibiting same-sex marriage is an attempt to push your own moral agenda onto someone else. Your grandmother's "Fw:Fw:Fw:B HUSSEIN Obama" email to the contrary, no one is going to force anyone to have a gay marriage. Allowing same-sex marriage won't affect heterosexuals in the slightest.

Comment Re:What's really going on here? (Score 1) 276

I remember hearing, back when Cata came out, that Blizzard was disappointed internally with the rate that content was coming out; either they were creating patches and hotfixes and general maintenance, and not making any progress on The Next Big Thing, or they were working on their expansion, and patch updates were suffering. Right around when Cata came out, Blizzard actually split the responsibility into two separate teams; one who was tasked, full time, on the next expansion, and another who was responsible for intermediate patch updates. This looks like the fruit of their labors.

Comment Re:Finally.. (Score 4, Insightful) 235

The "problem" is one of critical mass: there's no reason to use a social networking site unless your friends use the same social networking site. Hell, right now, my G+ pretty much acts as an RSS agregator, allowing me to read updates from nerd celebrities that they're also posting to their blogs, twitter, facebook, and probably two or three other places. My friends are on Facebook, so, if I want to talk to them, or organize an event, I have to be on facebook.

Comment Re:Mars might be the best place to put life, thoug (Score 1) 298

We're not looking to discover what early Earth life looked like; we have Earth for that. What we're looking for is life that evolved in a completely isolated environment. Life on earth pretty much all uses DNA and RNA - it was the "fittest" self-replicating pattern, and it's pretty much got a monopoly on Earth. But if we can find life out there that hasn't had to compete with any of the lifeforms on earth, and didn't evolve from any life forms on earth, that would be incredibly interesting. We'd get to see if our set of amino acids were just the solution that life on earth stumbled upon, or if they're so head-and-shoulders above the competition that they will form wherever they can form.

I can't figure out what you mean by "the conditions aren't right under the evolutionary paradigm." Honestly, the sentence parses as gibberish. The basic ideas behind evolution don't even require organic matter. As Dawkins points out in "The Blind Watchmaker," any pattern that is predisposed to create copies of itself will show up in an environment more often than a pattern which is not. If the copying process has the potential to introduce random transcription errors, the it has all it needs to perform a search of the local pattern-space for "best pattern at copying itself." And, with scarce resources, there is an external pressure for these self-replicating patterns to be best at self-replicating. Nothing in here demands a perfectly earth-like environment. Water certainly helps, because all sorts of interesting chemical reactions occur at an impressive rate in aqueous solutions, but if we're looking for life outside of Earth, we need to be prepared to look for life not-quite-as-we-know-it.

Feed Ars Technica: Italian Wikipedia replaces every page with free speech protest (

On Tuesday, Wikipedia took the drastic step of replacing every Italian-language page with a statement warning that a law now under consideration by the Italian parliament could force the shutdown of the Italian edition of Wikipedia. In the English version of its statement, Wikipedia says the law includes "a requirement to all websites to publish, within 48 hours of the request and without any comment, a correction of any content that the applicant deems detrimental to his/her image." Wikipedia says this requirement is "an unacceptable restriction of the freedom and independence of Wikipedia," and would paralyze Wikipedia's bottom-up editing process.

Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is currently on trial for corruption and having sex with an underage prostitute. His government is trying to restrict publication of police wiretapping transcripts after Berlusconi was embarrassed by leaked transcripts of his own phone calls.

One of those transcripts show him expressing contempt for his country and a desire to leave it. In another, he directed a "crude insult" at German leader Angela Merkel. In a third, he boasted, of "'doing eight girls" in a night and joked that with all his sexual activity, he was only prime minister 'in [his] spare time.'"

Berlusconi's government insists the law would safeguard the privacy of all Italians.

Section 29 of the proposed legislation would force websites to post any corrections submitted to them. There's no provision for verifying the accuracy of the corrections, nor is there a process of judicial review.

Italian Wikipedia editors argue that they "have always been available to reviewand modify, if neededany content deemed to be detrimental to anyone, without harm to the project's neutrality and independence." And they argue that existing defamation law already gives adequate protections for Italians who are unfairly maligned by a website.

Italian-language articles are now available again, but a banner opposing the legislation continues to appear on the Italian Wikipedia home page. The protest statement was viewed 16 million times in the two days it was up.

Wikipedia says the Italian site is its fourth-largest, with more than over 800,000 articles and over 600,000 registered users.

Read the comments on this post

Submission + - Any suggestion on good Electronic Whiteboard?

l0ll1 writes: As many of you do, I try to draw a lot during discussions, solving problems, note taking etc. Drawing software take lot of time and effort (mouse usage — my RSI injuries worsen). So, I'm thinking of buying an Electronic Whiteboard or a portable on. I need this to draw new images, edit existing images, and save and mail immediately. Any suggestions from Slashdot commnutity? (FYI: I tried Wacom Bamboo Pen Tablet, but I found it very hard to draw.)

Comment Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (Score 1) 107

What possible reason is there to fund things any other way?

Because, as my next sentence clearly states, you can fund a project based on benefit provided, rather than use. Certain individuals or corporations stand to lose much more if there is inadequate infrastructure, and stand to gain much more from the maintenance of said infrastructure. It is reasonable for them to pay a larger portion of the construction and maintenance of said infrastructure.

Duh. Businesses don't pay tax. 'Tax on business' ends up being paid either by the employees or the customers; so all the class warriors demanding that 'companies should pay more tax!' are really demanding that 'wages should be lower and prices should be higher!'

Well, since we've got corporate personhood, businesses can pay taxes. If you still insist that people are paying those taxes, I supposed it'd be the shareholders, not the employees or customers, directly paying those costs. I'm okay with that.

Comment Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (Score 1, Interesting) 107

I'm not concerned about me; I want to ensure that the millions of other Californians are paying their fare share, so that they're properly funding the government. Since it would be prohibitively expensive to audit each and every person who purchase anything off of the internet, it makes more sense to focus the responsibility in one place, much as we put the onus on brick-and-mortar stores to collect sales tax, instead of depending on each consumer to tally their own sales tax and submit it at the end of the year.

Comment Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (Score 1) 107

Which makes sense, if you think that everything should be funded by those who use it. If, on the other hand, you think that everything should be funded by those who benefit from it, it makes more sense to weigh the tax against the businesses who are able to pull in millions of dollars each year due to the public infrastructure provided for by tax dollars.

Submission + - Microsoft Killed The Start Menu Because No One Use

An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft recently killed the Start Menu and their explanation for it seems fairly straight forward. According to the company, no one used it. Though this maybe a bit of an exaggeration but Microsoft explains that use of the Start menu dipped by 11 percent between Windows Vista and Windows 7, with many specialized Start functions — such as exploring pictures — declining as much as 61 percent.

Comment Re:have fun protesting (Score 1) 961

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

People can peaceably assemble, and it is as unconstitutional as it gets to make a law saying that they can't.


Submission + - The Dead Sea Scrolls And Information Paranoia (

jfruhlinger writes: "Today Google and the Israel Museum have made the famed Dead Sea Scrolls available for online viewing. This is a great step forward for scholars and those curious about the oldest known copies of many biblical texts. But why has it taken nearly 50 years for the contents of this material to be made fully public? Blogger Kevin Fogarty thinks the saga of the scrolls since their discovery — along with the history of religious texts in general — is a good example of how people seek to gain power by hoarding information. In that regard, holds some important lessons for the many modern debates about information security and control."

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