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Comment Re:Where was this class for me? (Score 1) 1021

One book that has been on my to-read list for a while now is Forever War. I recently finished Starship Troopers again, and I thought that I'd go with a military novel on the opposite end of the spectrum. Regarding the class, I thought that it might make a good counterpoint to Starship Troopers (although like I said, I haven't read it yet) and could prompt some good class discussion and cross referencing. Another Heinlein book which deserves attention is The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Not sure if its the right length for your class, but it's a gripping read and I think Heinlein's best work. Also, I'll shout out perhaps my favorite book - Snow Crash. If I were looking for a reason to justify puting it in a class, I would say its an archetype of the distopian libertarian future, but the truth is its just a really fun read.

Comment Re:the blackout was a good idea (Score 1) 414

The broader problem with this model of thought is that it is very easy to go down a slipery slope to just blocking content because it's embarassing. A great example of this would be looking at the Wikipedia page for Jimmy Wales himself - The only controversy listed is regarding whether he was the co-founder or sole founder of wikipedia. This conveniently ignores the 2008 revalation that he had expensed tremendous amounts from the wikimedia project for things like bottles of wine and that he had improperly used his influence to improve his ex girlfriends wikipedia entry -

That being said, I don't think the first case regarding blocking information about a kidnapping is an example of abuse of power, rather an example of responsible journalists acticng to delay, not block, the release of information in order to protect a life. If anything, the only disturbing part of this is that newspapers etc. decided to go through Wales rather then one of the sysops, beaurocrats or anyone else in the chain of command, suggesting that perhaps Wales is overly entrenched in the project. That being said, the Wikimedia foundation is set up as a fairly democratic group, so the checks seem in place for the group to actually succeed at making decisions as a semi-representative democracy. If you have serious problems with this decision, you have several options: Run for a wikimedia board position, protest by not using wikipedia (or more to the point, not donating to the wikimedia foundation), set up your own site and put this news out into the public domain if you really think it needs to be there etc. Personally, I chose the second option - not because of this issue but because I think that Wales has too much influence and my charitable contributions could be better used elsewhere. Once Wales leaves (in 2010, I think) I might consider giving again. So I agree with the OP, sometimes there are very good reasons to lie; even or especially by ommision, and this was probably one of those times. What must be checked is who or what group has the power to make those decisions, and in this case, I think the power rests too heavily with Jimmy Wales.

Comment Re:WTF (Score 3, Informative) 836

IANAL, but actually I think that you would be correct. Most of you I'm sure recall from not too long back that it is illegal to violate a website's Terms of Service - I haven't checked, but it is a good bet that the Terms of Service for Myspace, Facebook, etc., forbid you from giving out your password to anybody. Additionally, were the city to recieve the username and password and then use those to log into your account, they would (within the spirit of the law even) be violating the same law.

This line of thought also raises the interesting possibility of using arbitrary terms of services to shield ones self from compulsory searches, such as drug screenings at work. You're asked to pee in a cup and reply "I'm sorry, but I just signed up for website X, and it forbids me from taking a drug screening when no probable use of illicit substances is shown. Violating the terms of service would be illegal."

"Sorry you're fired."

"oh really? You're firing me for refusing to break the law? I'm pretty sure that is grounds for a lawsuit, so the question is, do you want to pay my salary in exchange for me doing work for you, or after an expensive lawsuit?"

(Note, you wouldn't be able to agree to the terms of service if an existing employee agreement already requires you to submit to random drug tests, so don't be stupid. Also, again, IANAL, so don't blame me if you get fired/don't get a job.)

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