Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! ×
User Journal

Journal Journal: The U.S. Should Retain Control of the Internet IP/Name Space

Numerous people outside the U.S. are demanding that control of the IP address space and name space on the Internet be turned over to some international body. The arguments are just being recycled ad-nauseum at this point and none of them stands up to scrutiny. Let's examine the most common ones with analogies for clarity:

1. 'The way that the U.S. doles out IP addresses and top-level-domains is unfair.'

It may be unfair, but that doesn't have anything to do with whether the U.S. has the legal and moral right to control TLDs and IP addresses.

Analogy: The Red Cross might feel that it's unfair that you give more money to Greenpeace than to them, but that doesn't mean that there should be some committee deciding how much of your money will go to each charity and how much you will get to keep. If the U.S. wants to reserve 10 IP addresses for each man, woman, and child in the U.S., that's their call.

2. 'Much of the modern Internet technology was developed in other countries, including HTTP (the World Wide Web).'

That's nice, but it doesn't mean that the country where it was developed automatically gets to assume shared control of the name space and IP addresses.

Analogy: If you were invited to stay at someone's home, the fact that you voluntarily planted a garden, furnished the living room, and hung paintings does not mean that you get to form a committee and decide who gets which bedroom.

3. 'This is like Britain trying to control the world's steel industry because Britain invented steel.'

Except that the U.S. is not trying to control your computer industry. The U.S. is just dictating the terms by which a computer can be attached to a network that was invented by Americans at American taxpayer expense. The U.S. is deciding how to apportion IP addresses and namespace.

4. 'It's vital to the infrastructure and financial security of many countries.'

Then it sounds like those countries made a mistake in relying on a U.S.-run network for something that important.

Analogy: That's like me demanding that I be given managerial powers at my cable modem provider because the service has become so important to me.

5. 'The Internet has grown massively through the addition of non-U.S. computers, networks, web sites, services, etc. Much of the growth has been through foreign investment.'

On the other hand, the Internet has fueled the growth of countless non-U.S. businesses. Does that mean that the U.S. should get a say in how those businesses are run? No? Then why should the countries in which those businesses are located get a say in how the Internet's IP addresses and TLDs are doled out?

Analogy: International airlines have been taking off and landing at London's Heathrow airport for decades, funding much of its operation, growth, and expansion. Given that, should the English support a U.N. takeover of Heathrow airport? Should the U.N., rather than England, decide whether a block of gates was assigned to Air France or British Airways? In time of war, would the English rather be able to deny their enemies access to Heathrow airport, or would they rather that the U.N. decided if the enemy planes could land there?

6. 'Then the U.S. should pay us for the invention of {insert one or more: steel, steam engines, the world wide web, computers, light bulbs, etc.).'

Why? The U.S. isn't charging you for the use of Internet protocols, hardware standards, or concepts. In fact, through our generousity, organizations all over the world have set up standalone networks based on U.S.-developed Internet standards. We're not even charging you royalties for the use of the Internet.

In conclusion, if it's important to you to have a U.N.-controlled version of the Internet, you are free to set one up. You can even base it on the same standards as the Internet without paying the U.S. any royalties or fees of any kind. That is a generous offer and more than fair.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Moderation as a Weapon

When I checked Slashdot today, I discovered that my five most recent postings had all been modded down by one point (overrated). These were postings in three separate threads on different subjects. Two of the postings had been modded up shortly after they were made.

It is pathetic when someone is so small-minded that they abuse the Slashdot moderation system just to "get even" with, or play a practical joke on, another user. If you're not bright enough to debate on Slashdot, then go back to your AOL chat rooms and leave Slashdot to the grown-ups.

User Journal

Journal Journal: The best post on politics I've seen on /.

The story is the interview with the Libertarian candidate, and the topic this guy is responding to is the American Presidential election, and who should be elected.

"... that the only people fit for office are those smart enough to know they don't want the job in the first place."

This is true of virtually all candidates - those career politicians are not to be trusted. It's the people who are fed up, and want to do something about the system, that make the best politicians. Remember, Washington didn't even want the job!

The problem is, nowadays they get treated like fringe nutjobs by other candidates, and the press just laps it up.

-- james

User Journal

Journal Journal: War over water

In what is being made look more and more insightful every day, my mum (of all people! :) has always said that in the future, there's going to be a big god damned fight over the world's water resources.

Wired are carrying an interesting article over the subject at the moment. Definitely worth a read; it's pretty terrifying that one of the things that I (and I imagine most people in the western world) take for granted as one of the most basic services is denied to (at the moment) around 20% of the world's population. They say that by 2050, it's going to effect between 2 and 7 billion people (talk about covering your bases though!).

Also of note, is that the Middle East is one of the worst affected areas. It may go from having plentiful supplies of one of the most precious natural resources in the world at the moment, to having not enough of the most precious resource in the future. I'm sure that would change the geopolitical dynamics of the region somewhat, to say the least.

User Journal

Journal Journal: MS quits OpenGL board

Here's the low down.

I'm not surprised, and not really disappointed because it's the kind of thing I'd expect.

I really hope somebody gets into a position where they could seriously bitch-slap MS, and soon. They damn well need it.

I'm just thankful Apple's still around, or the consumer marketplace would be dominated by technologies I shudder to even think about.

-- james

User Journal

Journal Journal: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed captured

Sounds like a real puritanical religious warrior by the sounds of him. One more intolerant zealot hiding behind a twisted, corrupt interpretation of his religion captured. Still a few more left to go, though.

And congratulations to the US Govt. for having the guts to stand up and tell Israel that killing innocent people is not acceptable. Take a long look into this mans eyes - he lost his pregnant wife in a "house demolition" raid.

Finally, I watched a very interesting piece on Foreign Correspondent (for the non-Ozzies, it's basically a weekly program put on by the ABC looking at things happening overseas) and the conclusion that I reached from the interviews - if it weren't for Israel, the US wouldn't be in the mess with terrorism that it presently is. Not to lay the blame on any one side though - they're (Israel/Palestine) both as culpable as eachother.

-- james

User Journal

Journal Journal: Poor old Dolly 2

Let's start up the media circus. Poor old Dolly the sheep has died.

Something in particular is irking me about all this, though. All the religious/moralistic nuts have come out of the woodwork to use her as an excuse to ban cloning. "She died because we don't understand what we're doing" - spot on, guys. That's exactly why I'd argue we need to continue on down the reasearch path. Understand what it is and how it works, not try to sweep it under the rug. Bury it, and we run the risk of something much, much worse - an outbreak of those crazy loons who claimed they cloned a few babies a few months back. You think bans will stop people like that?

It is human nature to explore, to understand. It is, however, also desirable to have an element of control of scientific research, to ensure that those tasked with discovering that which we don't understand don't push the boundaries in the wrong kind of way. To say that something should be ignored simply because we don't like what we might find, or don't like what we might be able to do, simply leaves the door wide open for the wrong kind of people to walk straight on through. If we ban it, we lose all potential for control, because the only people doing it are doing it illegally anyway.

I do, however, fully support a ban on human cloning until the technology is better understood. But once that's acheived - why keep it banned? I'm yet to hear somebody explain to me why, with the donor of the DNA willing, cloning should be banned. If somebody wants thirty copies of themselves running around, why not? Why on earth not? Assuming the science can be refined to the point where it's as safe (or safer) than traditional childbirth, why should a person not be given the choice to have a clone made?

Of course, as with everything, I think there would have to be some common sense controls. For example, protecting unwitting donors - you wouldn't want your stalker managing to snag a hair strand and then rocking up at the donor clinic to get a mini-me made up. And like I said, the science would need to proved to be safe - no Dolly lung diseases thanks. But other than that, lift the restrictions.

On a related note, if I'm annoyed at the anti-cloners, I'm seriously pissed at the anti-stem cell crowd. I can appreciate to some extent that the anti-cloners don't see the point, but when it comes to stem cell research... man. Their attitude really, really pisses me off. There exists the potential to do so much good... but for the fact you're "killing an unborn child" - it's ludicrous. Hey guys, guess what? Condoms kill unborn children as well.

This debate shouldn't be about death - it should be about giving somebody who *is* alive, their life back. I would sincerely love to see somebody stare into Christopher Reeve's eyes and say that stem cell research is evil. Or better yet, wait until one of those ethicists are sitting in a wheelchair as a result of a car accident. I'd like to see what their heart tells them then.

-- james

User Journal

Journal Journal: H-1B Visas and the Outsourcing of Tech Sector Jobs

If you are a U.S. citizen and a technical professional, it's time that you call your Congressional representatives and tell them to eliminate the H-1B visa program. According to the latest (as of 02/09/2003) U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics figures, there are about 94,000 unemployed U.S. computer scientists. Yet, at the same time, there are hundreds of thousands of H-1B visa workers holding tech jobs in the U.S. -- often the same jobs for which unemployed U.S. citizens are qualified and available.

At the same time, there are American firms who have outsourced everything from tech support to engineering. These firms pay individuals and companies in other parts of the world to perform tech work formerly done by American workers. When you come in contact with a firm that does this, let them know that you will actively avoid their products and will, instead, buy from firms that employ U.S. citizens.

It is unfair and unreasonable to drive unemployment up and wages down in the tech sector by importing cheap labor and exporting jobs. We should guarantee that our U.S. citizens are gainfully employed before foreign workers are allowed to fill positions.

I am not advocating hostility towards foreign citizens who are just trying to earn a good living. If I were in their position, I would probably do the same thing. What I am against is our government siding with big business by giving desirable jobs away to non-U.S. citizens.

The H-1B visa program and outsourcing are not necessary to remain competitive in a world market. They exist to line the pockets of wealthy CEOs and major stockholders by replacing fairly compensated American tech workers with undercompensated foreign workers.

User Journal

Journal Journal: US plans tariff-free world 2

BBC Link on "US plans tariff-free world".

I saw this, and I have to say that it's an admirable goal. Tariffs and artificial restrictions on movement on goods are so pointless (with perhaps the exception of quarantine). These restrictions are based on nothing more than arbitrary lines drawn on a map, left over from colonialism or religious conflicts so old their citizens have forgotten why they ever took place.

Technology is bringing the world closer together, and for the better IMO. Trade is just an extension of this. What logical reason should there be for taxing something just because it came from overseas? Products and services should compete on an equal footing - no propping up old and dying industries with tax dollars for short term votes.

There are, however, sensible arguments against free trade on the basis of humanitarian and environmental grounds. The environmental grounds are probably the most important, as I see it. Forests and animals and waterways don't vote, but they're all vital to the planet and our existence on it.

On the other hand, whilst in the short term free trade may lead to the (very regrettable) exploitation of people in less developed countries, by what other means are their standards of living going to increase? "Hand outs" may work in the short term, but start to do that long term and you build not only a corrupt state, but a social welfare state. You turn the country into a basket case (Africa, anyone?). Free trade enables countries to start at the bottom of the industrial tree, exploiting the only resource they have - cheap labour - and by gaining the benefits of , work their way up.

This is what I think the WTO protestors (the ones that are out there for moral reasons as opposed to the antiquated unions that are just trying to prop up dying industries) fail to realise. Whilst it may not appear to be so, free trade is in the interest of these countries. How else are they going to get on their feet?

That being said, there is one caveat, and an important one. From the article:

Poorer countries are also pressing for access to rich country markets for their agricultural products, but these are not included in the proposals.

The US, however, has already proposed the elimination of agricultural subsidies - a proposal certain to be opposed by the European Union and Japan.

This really pisses me off. Not only are efficient (and often, poorer) countries losing in trade because of the political clout of these agricultural industries being subsidised (I think it's fair to say that almost all of the ag industries in the US, EU and Japan receive more in subsidies than they actually make themselves), but the citizens within these countries pay more for food.

The way the EU in particular has dealt with this matter just goes to show what happens to their politically "angelic self-righteousness" when their own interests are threatened. Least the US is up front about such things - the EU's behaviour is, to me, sickeningly hypocritical.

This post has been a bit stream-of-consciousness, but I feel pretty strongly about the subject and wanted to put something down on it.

-- james

User Journal

Journal Journal: Ellen Feiss gets interviewed! 3

haha! I tried to submit a story on this to the editors, but they obviously believe that a standard framework for storing and managing digital image content on CDs/DVDs is more important. (Ha! What a joke... this is supposed to be "news for nerds... stuff that matters"! :)

Anyway, check it out! Ellen Feiss interviewed at the Brown University's paper. I find the girl a crackup - she speaks like she's on drugs (and I'm talking more powerful than heyfever medication...!)

some of the best bits:

What was the paper about?
It was about Chinatown, and the formation of Chinatowns in America. I lost like three pages of it; it was terrible. It was a really, really good paper. (emphasis mine)

Are you OK with all the Web sites, and people walking around wearing your face on their T-shirts?
Oh, whatever, I think it's kind of funny. These people don't have lives. I don't know, it was kind of bizarre at first. I went to my Web site but I decided not to read any of the comments because I thought it would be too weird. I heard about some of them, though, so I was like, "Weeell, I'm not going to read those." (emphasis mine)

haha! she talks like she's still doing the ad! and finally...

Do you feel any connection to the Dell dude?
No, none whatsoever. That guy's a doofus. I get a lot of "What if you guys had kids?" And I'm like, "What if we had kids?" Why would you ask that? What a weird question. They'd probably be blond. (emphasis mine)

the girl should try out as a stand-up comic... she takes herself seriously and yet is completely hilarious all at the same time :)

-- james

User Journal

Journal Journal: humour post

haha! I saw this and it cracked me up!


-- james

User Journal

Journal Journal: Perspective

Wow. First entry.

I have just started to discover some of the new features of /. - the friends/foes concept I have found particularly catching. Anyway, as I've been browsing, I've kept an eye out for comments that I found particularly funny, or insightful, with a a view to adding those people as friends and hence modding any future posts by the people up.

Pretty simple, really... find a funny/insightful comment, click on the user, and take a look at the last 20 odd posts they've made. If I like them (yeah, very subjective, I know), I add them as a friend.

Well, I found a comment by a guy called MAXOMENOS that gave me a good chuckle! So I took a look at his past comments, and came across this. It has to be the most brutally honest, and insightful thing I've read anywhere on /., anytime.

I'll copy it out in full. The comment pertains to an article called "Generation Wrecked".


Yes it's true: my career is getting chainsawed by the dot-com bust. I went from AI programming to mainframe programming (and took a $10,000 pay cut) and was told a little while ago that, barring a miaracle, my position is going to be eliminated in February. The good news is I have four months to find a new job before I start collecting unemployment; the bad news is that computer jobs are scarce and I may end up just packing groceries or something.

Are the best years of my life behind me? No.

For the first time in my life, I have more friends than I can count on both hands, a girlfriend who loves pizza and beer and horror movies, a positive reputation in the circles that matter to me, and all the comforts I've ever wanted. My biggest concern if I end up packing groceries is health insurance.

As for computers: I can still do computers for fun. Well-documented, professionally-designed free software builds resumes. I can still take courses toward a Masters' degree in CS. If the field ever recovers, I can get a job. If it doesn't, I have a fun hobby.

What about the future? I admit I didn't plan on being a security guard for the rest of my life. Ultimately, however, a career is two things: an opportunity to do what you love, and a tool for getting the things you want and need. I can do the one and I have the other. Let the career get chainsawed.

The best years of my life are here, and are still to come.

I was stunned by this - here's this guy, sharing something pretty deep with a group of total strangers.

Occasionally, you read stuff that really changes your way about thinking about the world, about life. And this comment did it for me. I'm not too sure about the cheesy hollywood-style one liner at the end, but the rest was so honest, so... I don't know, uplifting, I guess, that I felt compelled to make some note about it.

It really does just go to show how important your sense of perspective is in life.

-- james

Slashdot Top Deals

"Why should we subsidize intellectual curiosity?" -Ronald Reagan