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Submission + - Ask Slashdot: How to build a better political system?

Sefert writes: Most people would agree that our current democratic system has flaws, and that certain interest groups can unduly influence decision making. Also, elected representatives are often woefully unqualified to lead or make decisions in certain fields. It is, however, the best system that 18th century Europe could come up with.

With the advent of technology though — could we perhaps come up with a more effective form of decision making? Programmers have been using collaborative tools for years to help them write better code. Could one adapt this to designing cities and societies? How would we ensure that special interest groups are not disproportionately represented?

Comment Re:Cause or effect? (Score 1) 360

What bugs me is that they seem to be trying to imply causation. If the depression rates are as high as they say they are (8%, as of a 2004 study), they can find a correlation between depression and virtually any activity involving enough people. Which makes any study that fails to prove causation pretty pointless, I suspect. Except maybe cheer-leading.

Comment Re:Cause or effect? (Score 1) 360

Just cause I was unclear, they said in the article "But it is not clear whether the internet causes depression or whether depressed people are drawn to it". In other words they learned nothing from the study, except that depressed people do stuff, including surf the internet.

Comment Re:Any systems depend on a pulse (Score 1) 465

Flight or fight mechanism comes to mind. It's not just about increasing blood flow in an emergency situation, but also about dumping massive amounts of adrenaline to other parts of the body. I would assume that there would be some dilation of the arteries to allow for the greater throughput. But maybe the adrenaline does that. What the hell do I know.

Comment errr.. yeahh.... (Score 3, Interesting) 166

"Twenty years ago.... they had to break into your house. Now they can just break into your ISP". They make it sound like that's easier, as though they're getting into your shed. I had someone break into my house last year, and trust me, these Mensa candidates wouldn't have 'just broken into my ISP' instead. They could barely put together a sentence. If you've got an organization powerful enough after you that they can break into your ISP (which is for 99% of us a major corporation with serious security) the locks on your house weren't exactly a challenge anyway. I'm surprised Schneier is comparing two such flagrantly uncomparable things.

Schneier On a Generation Gap In Privacy 166

goompaloompa writes "In the Japan Times, Bruce Schneier writes that a passing conversation online is not what it may seem and that maintaining your privacy is becoming even more difficult as social media and cloud computing become the norm. Furthermore, while users in Japan may think they are secure, their level of protection may vary when the computers that store their data are overseas. At the root of the problem is a new generation gap: old laws incapable of covering current-day scenarios. Quoting: 'Twenty years ago, if someone wanted to look through your correspondence, they had to break into your house. Now, they can just break into your ISP. Ten years ago, your voicemail was on an answering machine in your office; now it's on a computer owned by a telephone company. ... We need comprehensive data privacy laws, protecting our data and communications regardless of where it is stored or how it is processed. We need laws forcing companies to keep it private and delete it as soon as it is no longer needed, and laws giving us the right to delete our data from third-party sites. And we need international cooperation to ensure that companies cannot flaunt data privacy laws simply by moving themselves offshore."

Comment Why does microsoft care? (Score 1) 345

Except that inasmuch that it used to help sell Windows, which I doubt has little value any more as a marketing tool as pretty much every consumer knows every machine can get on the net, what's the value in MS dumping lots of cash into a browser war when they have to give the browser away for free? The only advantage I can think of is the value of the default home page for advertising dollars, which has never been their primary market anyway.

Submission + - Norton AntiVirus cripples thousands of PCs in Chin

An anonymous reader writes: A routine upgrade of anti-virus software has disabled tens of thousands of PCs in China, according to local media reports. The faulty upgrade caused Symantec's Norton AntiVirus software to remove critical Windows XP system files, the reports state. The system files moved or deleted by the software include netapi32.dll and lsasrv.dll, according to Sohu News (in Chinese). The software incorrectly identifies the files as being infected with the Backdoor.Haxdoor trojan. With these files removed, Windows XP will no longer start up, and even the system safe mode no longer functions. Only Chinese-language versions of Windows appear to be affected so far. The Norton AntiVirus application is part of Norton's 360 suite and it is pre-installed in many PCs sold in China, indicating that the problem could potentially affect millions of users. The problem appears to stem from an update Microsoft released in November 2006, which contained new versions of some system files, as PCs which have not applied this update are unaffected. Symantec has acknowledged the issue and is working on a solution, reports said — although there is no apparent mention of it on the company's Chinese website. PC owners affected by the issue may be able to restore the missing files from their Windows XP installation CDs. However, since piracy of Windows XP is common in China, some users may not have access to these.

Submission + - RIAA sues man for downloading five songs

Ten24 writes: "An Augusta, Maine man is in hot water with the music industry after downloading five songs. 23-year-old Scott Hinds has been sued by the Recording Industry of America for illegally downloading the songs through peer to peer networks and now faces a $750 civil penalty for each song...."

Could these guys get any more disgusting? Can the artists stop supporting these guys sometime soon, maybe take a moral stance?

http://www.tgdaily.com/2007/02/06/riaa_sues_august a_5_songs/

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