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Comment Re:Microsoft announcement: "content youâ(TM)v (Score 1) 115

Stealing is something that people do to corporations, not the other way around. The fundamental right underlying all laws is the right of corporations to make money. If you do something that prevents them from making money, that's stealing. If they do something that hurts you, including taking away something you've paid for, that's just exercising their right to make money. It's not stealing, because no corporation is harmed by it.

Comment Re:Apples-Oranges (Score 1) 760

Doesn't that logic apply just as well to rich people as poor ones? Why don't we just require everyone to get drug tested before they can receive any government benefits of any sort? But of course, we don't do that. We only require it of poor people. And we come up with rationalizations for why that's a fair, just thing to do. Because it's more comfortable to rationalize than to admit our own biases.

Anyway, if you're ever in a position where you're required to take a drug test, see whether you find it a humiliating experience or not.

Comment Re:Apples-Oranges (Score 1) 760

I'm not sure what that has to do with drug testing. If you wanted to require net beneficiaries to have their finances audited, I suppose I could understand that. They're receiving more money than they pay back, so you want to make sure they're not hiding something. But what does drug testing have to do with it?

I assume it's clear to you that the proposed bill has zero chance of becoming law, and the congresswoman who proposed it didn't do so because she really wanted it to pass? She proposed it to draw attention to our hypocrisy in the different ways we treat rich and poor people. Because, as she said, she is "sick and tired of the criminalization of poverty." What we give to poor people is peanuts on the scale of the whole budget, but we make them beg and humiliate themselves to get it. So she suggested making rich people humiliate themselves in the same way, to make us all think a bit more about what we're doing and why.

I don't actually support drug testing of rich people. I doubt she does either. But as a way to illustrate what a bigoted society we have, I think her proposal is great.

Comment Re:Apples-Oranges (Score 1) 760

I could argue with your basic assumption, that whatever money someone happens to possess is rightfully theirs, and they owe society nothing. But I see lots of other people have already made that point, so I won't repeat all the things they've already said.

But you avoided my question. Even if we assume there's a difference between these two situations, why do you think it matters? What is it that makes it ok to require drug testing in one case, but not in the other? If instead of letting rich people claim a tax deduction we instead made it a credit, would you then support a drug test as a condition for getting it?

Comment Re:Apples-Oranges (Score 1) 760

True, there's a big difference between them. Sometimes millions of dollars of difference.

But aside from the amounts of money involved, I don't think the difference is all that clear. The government takes money from everyone (in sales tax if nothing else). The government gives money to everyone (if not cash then valuable services like education, road maintenance, law enforcement, etc.). You can't easily separate those. In practice, there often is no meaningful difference between giving someone cash and giving them a tax deduction. The effect is the same either way. They're just different names for the same thing.

More important, why do you think it matters? Even if we accept that the two situations are different, why is it ok to subject someone to demeaning treatment in one case, but not in the other?

Comment Re:Apples-Oranges (Score 1) 760

I wish I knew what it meant to "earn" money. Everyone uses that word as if it were obvious, but it sure isn't to me. I've done a lot of work in my life. I've been paid in exchange for doing that work. Does that mean I "earned" it? Do I now "deserve" to "own" that money? But a lot of people work just as hard as I do (or harder), but get paid a lot less. And being completely honest, I have to admit that if I had been paid less, I would still have worked just as hard. So in what sense did I "earn" more money than those other people who worked harder than me but were less lucky? And what about billionaires who get a million dollars a week from their investments without having to lift a finger for it? Do they really "earn" that money?

My gut feeling is that the whole concept was created by people with power as a way to maintain their own power. And now most people have come to accept that of course that's how things ought to be. But when you actually look for an objective justification, it's hard to find one.

Comment Clueless journalists (Score 1) 299

However, a number of tests conducted in Great Britain, Germany, China, and at NASA's Eagleworks at the Johnson Spaceflight Center have resulted in thrust that cannot, as yet, be explained by experimental error.

That's a distortion at best. In fact, experimental error is the only plausible explanation for the results, because they detected thrust whether or not the drive was turned on. Unfortunately, details like that are too subtle for many people who pass as science reporters. In the most recent experiments, they basically published a paper saying, "We've learned these experiments are really hard to do. We clearly still have some stray forces that we haven't managed to eliminate yet, since we register force even when the drive is turned off. Here's a description of our progress so far." But lots of clueless reporters just saw, "We detected a force," then wrote articles about how the experiments confirmed the drive actually worked.

Comment Yay corporate-speak! (Score 1) 37

Isn't it great how corporations have their own language? Apparently the correct English translation of, "to make it easier for people to discover a business they care about," is, "so we can sell more ads and make more money."

Will they ever figure out that no one is fooled by this BS? So you want to make money. Fine. I get that, and I don't have a problem with it. But please please please stop lying to us about everything you do! You don't have to pretend you're doing it for our good. Just say you're doing it to make more money and be done with it. I don't object to capitalism, but I do object to dishonest executives and marketers who couldn't say the truth to save their lives.

Comment Re: An easier sollution (Score 1) 1144

I've discovered that whenever someone starts a comment with, "Oh please," it means they're about to say something totally unrelated to the facts, that does nothing but exhibit their biases.

Please peruse https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/..., then tell me whether you still think "Christians haven't committed largescale acts of religious violence for a very long time."

Comment Re: An easier sollution (Score 1) 1144

Whatever society you live in, that biases your view of religion. You view the dominant religion as harmless, and people who believe in it as normal people. You view other religions as suspicious and people who believe in them as abnormal. In a Christian majority country, people see Christianity as normal and Islam as a threat. In a Muslim majority country, people see Islam as normal and Christianity as a threat.

Example: if a billion believers tell you, "This is a religion of peace and we reject violence," but you find a passage in their holy book endorsing violence, what do you conclude? Is it a religion of peace or of violence? Also assume their fellow believers have fought countless wars over the years, but most members of the religion just want to live their lives in peace.

In this case, most people apply completely different standards depending on the religion. In a Christian majority country, people will tend to say that Christianity is a religion of peace. They justify it by talking about all the great things Christians done, and how most of them are peaceful people, and quoting Bible passages that endorse peace. But they say Islam is a religion of violence, citing terrible crimes committed by Muslims and quoting passages from the Koran that endorse violence.

But you can just as easily reverse those. Countless terrible acts of violence have been committed by Christians. The Bible has lots of passages endorsing violence. Most Muslims are peaceful people, and describe their religion as one of peace. And in Muslim majority countries, people see the two religions in the exactly reversed roles, based on exactly the same evidence, justifying their conclusions with exactly the same logic.

Comment Re:Resistence is futile (Score 1) 52

Agreed, but local governments have very little power to do anything about it. All the "rebel cities" in the world can't prevent the various TLAs from reading your email, tracking your movements via your cell phone, monitoring what you buy, or planting malware on your computer so they can turn on the camera and microphone whenever they want.

What do you suggest we do that would actually be effective?

Comment There is no paradox (Score 1) 559

The "paradox" they're worrying about simply doesn't exist. If you assume the universe is full of intelligent life, you expect to see exactly what we've seen: nothing. The distances involved are just too huge. Barring some major new revelation about the laws of physics, humans are never going to be traveling throughout the galaxy. At best we might send small, unmanned probes to a few nearby stars. There could be thousands of advanced civilizations scattered through our galaxy right now, and we'd have no way of knowing about them. They'd be invisible in the ocean of 100 billion stars, with no way to talk to each other and not much reason to even try.

As Douglas Adams put it: "Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space."

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