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Comment Re:Great Precedent + a reason (Score 1) 129

Maybe we could gain better traction when backing this success for personal liberties by talking also about how it makes us safer from organized crime, foreign governments, etc. Not only can law enforcement use this data, but if there are any holes in security of such systems, so can the (evil) hackers and those that wish a nation harm.

Comment Re:Nice (Score 5, Informative) 428

First: What's more impressive than the lasers that fry* the mosquitoes is the targeting and detection system that drives this crazy thing. Many people are looking at this and wondering how you pick out your targets. The system first scans the surrounding space and *listens*. What it is listening for is quite interesting. See, Malaria is an interesting disease because only specific mosquitoes carry it, and only the females. Since there could be many side effects to zapping any insects within range, or even any mosquitoes (regardless of species or gender), the laser targeting system listens for the precise wingbeat frequency of the female Anopheles Stephensi mosquito and then zaps only those.

*Technically speaking, the mosquitoes will not be fried in the final product. In addition to potential danger to other occupants of this system's effective bubble, it is planned for deployment to very poor areas of the world where electricity will likely be at a premium. As a result, they are also experimenting with the minimum amount of energy a laser strike must possess to render the mosquito infertile, because that interrupts the cycle necessary for Malaria transmission between humans.


Comment Re:Justifying piracy (Score 1) 793

Just like speed limits, alcohol prohibition, and the current drug war, most people alter their preferred behavior to comply with the law only to the minimum level required, or to a degree that "aligns with the herd". If the RIAA and other copyright enforcement bodies could consistently enforce penalties like the one leveled against Jammie Thomas, it might alter the broad public's behavior, but that's essentially untenable. Like it or not, I think that's the pragmatic reality, however, widespread enforcement is NOT tenable because the broader public outcry would almost certainly result in Congressional scrutiny. I'm pretty sure the copyright cartels wouldn't like that. I think that most Americans would say that copyrights are too long if relevant examples were given to them (how many people realize that restaurants who sing "Happy Birthday" are breaking the law?).

Thanshin argues the "layman" argument pretty well: saying that the way to respond to unjust or corrupt laws is to patiently work your way through our representational legal system means implies that you should put aside your ethics in the face of Justice! While it's important to make sure that you're aware of and embrace the potential consequences, I wish I could fully endorse Thorough's argument to Civil Disobedience but the engine of our democracy is the blood of the just... And as much as I value our culture and entertainment, I value my personal freedom more. The end result is a gestalt of civil disobedience, ass-covering, and lobbying for change. What I endorse is the following:
massive and willful civil disobedience, active (if anonymous) involvement in any surveys/polling of the degree of compliance, and *finally*, communicating with your legislative representation.

Comment A flask? (Score 1) 457

Or like when we saw Wolverine over the weekend, 'an army of flasks'. Blurred some of the c2000 special effects. Generally, when you bring a flask, at least someone will buy a jug^B^B^B cup of Coke for chaser.

PS: Thanks to value added and SatanicPuppy for discussing the finer points of cutlery and cookware in a thread discussing the poll results of Movie-going preferences.

Comment Re:No speculation necessary (Score 1) 220

I hypothesize that the content providers (Fox/NBC) are caught between a rock and a hard place (of their own making...). One take in an op-ed piece at O'Reilly here. On the one hand, they have existing relationships through various cable and satellite companies that currently provide most of their revenue. On the other, they're seeing interest in on-demand viewing of their content via the web.

I think the pressure is coming from Comcast, Cox, et al. because they stand to lose their lucrative monthly CableTV fees. I'm running a Mac Mini with Boxee connected to my TV (after using an AppleTV quite successfully) and it caused me to cancel my TV service. Between my current DVD/music library, Netflix account, and studio-provided video streams, I have access to much more content than I could get for any price from the cable/sat company. Accessing the internet from my couch is a nice bonus.

Interesting aside: I occasionally miss being able to turn on the tv and let a channel pick content for me (including occasionally entertaining commercials). I can't decide if it's just nostalgia or if I enjoyed the random passivity of the experience. Or if I'll still feel the same in 6 months.

Comment Re:They were evil... (Score 1) 158

Mr. Beckerman, I frequently enjoy your coverage of legal battles around copyright and the RIAA, but please take care with your superlatives so that your important message remains strong. "creating a climate of *terror*" seems over-the-top. Maybe sticking with "fear" is more appropriate in this case. (Hope this is taken as the constructive criticism that it is intended. I want your message of sensibility to prevail!)

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