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Comment Re:FTFY... (Score 1) 492

Given that there are clear cases of concerted harassment attacks against individuals and that these attacks generally come from extremists rather than average, middle-of-the-road moderates, no these aren't natural social consequences.

Even if you think they are natural, those acts harm society as a whole. Society needs a respectful engagement of ideas. The acts you endorse inhibit that. They do not persuade anymore than a gun to someones head. They divide and polarize. They inhibit the open contest of ideas.

Even if you don't value diversity of ideas, sending threatening messages to someone or getting them fired from their job are not boycotting or shunning (those would avoidance). They are harassment (they seek confrontation and actively giving them an emotional beat down). If you don't like what someone says, you are free to not read their Twitter. That is different than forcing the account to shut down so no one else can read it, or of depriving a person of the ability to earn a living.

Even if you think it is shunning and not harassing, shunning when aimed purely at harming an individual is an evil, harmful act. It benefits no one. Your target generally won't be converted because you were mean to them. All you've done is cultivate a culture of fear.

Even if you think shunning is okay at the small scale, the amplification of the modern world makes the consequences disproportionate.

Comment Re:Tax Tires (Score 2) 837

I like this idea, but on a 100k mile tire at $0.015/mile (the rate proposed in Oregon) that would be $1500 for a new set of tires (or $375 per tire if you have four tires and each tire gets charged at a fourth the rate). Given that a cheap new tire costs around $50, that would be a significant (perceived) price hike for new tires.

I think people would react badly to that even if technically they are saving just as much by not paying gas tax. Strange black markets, tax dodging, and market distortions would likely happen as a result.

I would be very interested to hear if there is a way to avoid those effects.

Comment Re:I can't change my fingerprint (Score 1) 383

Hashing may prevent Yahoo from breaking into your Google account, but it doesn't help if someone acquires the pre-hash data (e.g. by lifting your fingerprint). The problem noted by the GP still stands.

Granted, random websites are less likely to be able to lift your fingerprint, but coworkers, roommates, and cashiers could do that pretty easily. When Mythbusters tested fingerprint scanners, even though Grant was on alert that they would try to steal his fingerprint, Kari got them by asking him to copy a stack of CDs.

Comment Re:I know you're trying to be funny, but... (Score 1) 739

Yes, there will be some amplification effect, but I know plenty of well-known developers that do not have the abusive reputation that Linus has. For example, Larry Wall or Simon Peyton Jones. (I'd like to list more like Yukihiro Matsumoto or Guido van Rossum, but I don't hang out in those particular circles enough to really know.) Even accounting for the amplification effect, Linus is on the extreme end of the spectrum in this regard.

Comment Re:I know you're trying to be funny, but... (Score 1) 739

Yes, he uses harsh language at times, but who the fuck doesn't.

I don't, and most people in my professional circles don't. (At least not to the level and frequency that Linus is notorious for.) There are people who regularly do or who occasionally have a bad day, but those are the exceptions.

Comment Re:Thanks for pointing out the "briefly" part. (Score 1) 461

a combination of wind, gas, and nuclear is the most effective and practical approach to significantly reduce carbon emmissions

Wind and nuclear I understand, but how does gas significantly reduce carbon emmissions? Isn't it still burning stuff and thus producing CO2? How is gas better than coal in this respect?

Comment Re:So a bicyclist is safer..... (Score 1) 490

When you say the Uniform Traffic Code "has it in there", by "it" do you mean a prohibition or just addressing the question either way? It sounds like you mean a prohibition, but with the exception of Wisconsin, it is legal in every state you mention (though some prohibit it in "business districts" or allow municipalities to locally prohibit). (Though even in Wisconsin, it can be overridden locally.)

That makes 13 states that allow bicycles on sidewalks and 2 that prohibit it (at least by default).

I don't know about a Uniform Traffic Code, but the Uniform Vehicle Code permits bicycles on sidewalks. (Sec. 11-1103 exempts human powered vehicles such as bicycles from the prohibition on vehicles driving on sidewalks and 11-1209 presupposes the legality of bicycles on sidewalks.)

Comment Re:So a bicyclist is safer..... (Score 1) 490

Which five states? Do you have a citation on that?

A random googling of "[state name] bicycle on sidewalk" turned up seven states where there is no such side-wide ban (Florida, Oregon, Illinois, California, Utah, Washington, and Navada). Thus, I have to doubt your assertion without further evidence. I only found one state (Georgia) where it is illegal. I can't say about the other states (I was too lazy to do all 50), but my sample seems to contradict your claim.

(Disclaimer: I am talking about side-wide bans. Municipalities are another question. Also, many states regulate bicycles on the sidewalk (e.g., must yield to pedestrians, etc.), but I do not consider those bans.)

Comment Re:So a bicyclist is safer..... (Score 1) 490

they'll ... ride the sidewalks when convenient, etc.

In many (most?) parts of the country sidewalks are legal for bicycles. (Of course, this varies locale. Maybe it is legal where you are, but there is a broader point to be made.)

For some reason, drivers are surprisingly ignorant of bike laws. Half of them complain about bikes "illegally" using sidewalks instead of roads while the other half complain about them "illegally" using roads instead of sidewalks.

Comment Re:Terrible summary of an interesting paper (Score 1) 818

No, this is the very definition of oligarchy:

oligarchy, noun: a small group of people having control of a country, organization, or institution.

The GP describes a money-archy (monetarchy?). How they act and how counteract them are subtlety different. (E.g., grass roots can make a difference if they get money.)

Comment Re:Reply from the Nature Group (Score 1) 82

The “moral rights” language ... is there to ensure that the journal and its publisher are free to publish formal corrections or retractions of articles

In that case, the language should limit the waiver of moral rights to such cases. Something along the lines of "The Author grants NPG permission to publish corrections to or retractions of the Work". See, no broad waver of moral rights necessary.

Comment Re:I'm 40 and what is this? (Score 5, Informative) 112

Wave was marketed as a successor to e-mail, but (1) that just confused everyone (because what does "successor to e-mail" even mean) and (2) in my experience that was not a good way to view it.

A simpler way to view Wave was as a federated form of Google Docs with added support for threaded conversations in the style of e-mail threads or chat logs.

If we want to break it down, Wave is/was a federated, personal, realtime, wysiwyg wiki with strong support for threaded conversations, sharing, history, and privacy and access controls. This combination of features means that wave can be used for a wide variety of communications from chat to e-mail to blogging to collaborative document writing.

Wiki: I'm going to assume you are already familiar with the "Wiki Way". Basically a "wave" document is a wiki page that you create and can freely edit.

Threaded: While wave allowed multiple users to edit document as holistic entities, it also supported structuring documents as a mailing-list style tree structure of threaded replies. Private side conversations not visible to the entire group were also supported.

Realtime: Perhaps the most important feature of Wave was that your edits were instantly viewable. If you and a friend make successive edits, it can be used as a chat system. (Wave had support to make this easy and so each additional edit could be appended at the end.)

Personal: The wiki documents that you create exist in their own private namespace (e.g. just like documents on different webservers) and usually (always?) are just internal identifiers not intended for to directly manipulate. This avoids the problem that standard wikis have of dealing with contention for document names.

Sharing: You could send a "wave" document to another user and have it appear in their inbox. You could also invite others to participate in an existing wave. Your inbox would also be notified when a wave that you were watching was updated (e.g. like how you receive a reply to an e-mail).

Privacy: Wave documents are by default not publicly visible and have sophisticated and easy to use access controls.

WYSIWYG: User's edit their documents as they would in any modern word processor or e-mail client without having to know about any sort of wiki syntax.

History: Like any good wiki, wave supported viewing older versions of a document.

Federated: I can run a wave server and you can run a wave server and both of them can interoperate. This is similar to how different companies can run different e-mail servers and unlike private communication systems like Facebook messaging. For people who want to maintain a free internet, this is an important feature. However, unlike e-mail, the authoritative copy of the document stays on the creators host. Though there is support for caching, I never clearly understood where wave fell on the problem of hosts lying and trying to rewrite history.

In the end, Wave was a good product that was marketed poorly (the marketing explanations left people not knowing what it was). The efforts to make it federated required the creation of a public spec which also probably slowed down development.

I think Wave was an awesome idea and others should build on its concepts, but shouldn't tie themselves to how those ideas were implemented in wave. In particular, the rise of Facebook may have changed what people expect from their communication platforms so some of Wave's ideas may need to be updated to encompas that. (I don't use Facebook so I don't know what those changes would be.) But if the next social platform were to support Wave-like ideas, then it could be very nicely positioned as a Facebook-killer as it could represent a next-generation advance in social platforms.

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