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Comment Re:A fish rots from the head, down... (Score 1) 398

Computer programming, for example, will one day be done by just anybody, i.e., with the use of simple gestures to build beautiful 3-D structures from a collection of available components.

That's what they said in the 1990's, when tools like HyperCard came out... "Everybody will be able to program!"

I don't believe it'll ever get there -- you need to apply a certain amount of logical thinking to combine components into programs, and that thinking requires either talent or training, and can't be eliminated by clever user interfaces.

Still, we could improve user interfaces to the point where almost everyone is able to automate simple, linear tasks.

Comment Re:State of the question (Score 1) 130

I guess I was a bit vague -- I was thinking of things that were discovered decades ago and considered standard tools by now. For example, when you write a physics paper, you don't need to explain where you get the laws of motion and mechanics from. Or when you write a paper on molecular biology, you don't need to mention who discovered the structure of DNA.

Anyway, I get your point.

Comment Re:Oh who gives a fuck? (Score 1) 130

The best ideas I have yet heard from our pirate friends is that musicians would be doomed to a lifetime of concert touring, writers to charging for access to book readings, filmmakers to deriving revenues from movie theaters and nobody has yet adequately explained to me how software developers are supposed to make money in a world where they can't charge people for software licenses.

But that's exactly how most musicians, writers and programmers earn their living today.

Most musicians derive the majority of their income from concerts and merchandise. It's only the stars that get significant income from album sales.

The vast majority of writers derive the majority of their income from writing-related jobs, such s teaching, workshops and journalism -- if they don't just have a day job.

The vast majority of programmers work with writing custom software for a specific customer, and get paid directly by that customer -- not by writing general-purpose software that's sold off-the-shelf.

Comment Re:Oh who gives a fuck? (Score 1) 130

The problem being that the creators sustain them selves by the same economic rights the pirates want to abolish.

That's another discussion, but here goes: Creators can earn money without copyright.

For example, a lot of music artists have discovered that they earn roughly the same amount of money by putting up their music on the Internet for free, and selling signed copies, merchandise, extra material, and so on. A lot of people are prepared to pay because they want to support the band, they have the cash and can't be bothered to find the material on a filesharing network, or they want to be sure they get the best quality as fast as possible. Plus, the added exposure draws more people to their concerts.

In fact, the only music artists I've seen complain about piracy, are the ones that are already established and have a steady, safe income ("rent") from albums they've already released. But that's a small, small minority of all artists.

People are also prepared to pay to see films at the theatre, and to see them shortly after the release date. A lot of people download the film to see if it's worth watching, then pay to see it at the theatre a second time.

Usually, there are only low-quality copies filmed with hand-held cams available the first few weeks -- but even when high-quality copies are leaked before the premiere, as with the first Spider-Man film, the film still does well if it's any good.

When it comes to writing, there are (and have always been) precious few authors that have been able to support themselves on writing alone. The vast majority need to have a day job, or supplement their income with writing-related jobs, such as journalism, teaching, holding lectures and workshops, and so on. And yet, people keep writing, even when they'd earn more money washing dishes. As an amateur writer, I know.

Also, I accidentally lied in the GP -- the Pirate Party doesn't want to abolish all the creator's economic rights. They only want to legalise private copying. The artist will still have an exclusive right to commercial use.

Comment Re:Gerrymandering (Score 1) 215

"Left office with a surplus" means that he reduced the debt during his term, not that it was zero when he left. The US national debt has been trillions of dollars since the 1940's. See graph to the right on this page:

But point taken. Clinton was very competent on the issues, despite his embarassing extramarital affairs.

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