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Comment Re:Least worst (Score 1) 835

Not really. Maybe, sometimes, if the popular vote mattered, but for the president it doesn't. Most states are pretty firmly in one camp or the other, and only in a handful of swing states will such thin margins even be considered.

Now, if we're talking local/state elections, especially in areas not gerrymandered out of democracy, then yes you're absolutely correct, and I'd love to see a credible third party concentrate on those instead of making a lot of mostly-pointless noise at the federal level.

Comment Re:Two candidates (Score 1) 835

Unfortunately, it's a built-in feature of first-past-the-post voting systems such as ours. There can, very occasionally, be upsets, but generally speaking if a third party candidate hasn't made a really impressive showing by this point, they're not going to have even a chance. Had Bernie decided to run independent or Green he might have had a credible shot at the presidency, but more likely he would have ended up splitting the vote with Hillary, and given Trump an easy win. That's an inherent problem with our voting system, and the reason things like instant runoff voting were invented.

Comment Re:Hmm (Score 1) 835

Oh please.

When has any bigwig ever been executed in the US, even for crimes far worse than seling contaminated milk? Heck, US banks did their best to crash the global economy while enriching the bigwigs, and got nice fat loans to keep them in business as punishment. Nobody even went to jail except for a whistle-blower or two.

Comment Re: Hmm (Score 1) 835

Don't kid yourself - even if global civilization were somehow bombed to pre-industrial technological levels, the only major resource there's a potential lack of is energy. Pretty much everything else is bountifully available in landfills in concentrations and purities far exceeding anything that was ever available naturally. And while destroying industrial capacity would be easy, destroying the technological knowledge needed to rebuild would be far, far more difficult.

Once the worst of the radioactive fallout had washed away, life would probably be quite comfortable relatively quickly. Even if we did have to deal with high infant mortality from mutations, and lifespans cut short by early-onset cancer for a few generations.

Comment Re:Hmm (Score 1) 835

Don't believe the propaganda. Chernobyl released about 400x the radiation of the bomb at Hiroshima, and aside from the epicenter itself, the exclusion zone is apparently doing quite well. Though the microbial life seems harder hit by the radiation, and it remains to be seen what the long-term consequences of that will be.

Even the "nuclear winter" fears were later admitted to being overblown, and had little to do with "nuclear" in the first place - it would have been the results of all the cities burning down due to infrastructure damage and the presumption that nobody would be willing to race into the radioactive epicenter to put out the fires.

Granted, if all the major cities and military bases in the world were taken out by Satan2 class missiles then the fallout would be more intense, but give it a year and most of the world would still be livable, you'd just have to accept much higher rates of cancer and mutation for a century or two.

Comment Re:Hmm (Score 1) 835

In fairness though, while it's been a while, the US was far more ruthless in conquering it's neighbors (the term "genocide" is often used in regards to the native peoples), and has ignored basically every treaty we ever made with them, right up to the current DAPL travesty where we're unilaterally appropriating sovereign lands to run an oil pipeline.

Not to mention that while we haven't engaged in open conquest in a long time, we have shown a rather disturbing fondness for installing puppet governments to deliver what we want while providing a nice buffer of (im)plausible deniability. Saddam Hussein and his atrocities? We put him in power, propped up his regime, and didn't displace him until he became uncooperative. By any reasonable accounting, we bear responsibility for his atrocities.

Comment Re:Interesting, but probably irrelevant (Score 1) 70

I was under the impression that downloading is illegal, but uploading is not, and that is why it is handled in civil, not criminal, court. Is that correct?

Nope, both are illegal, both criminally and civilly. Specifically, 15 USC 504 has civil remedies for copyright infringement, including both copying and distribution. 15 USC 506 has criminal punishments for copyright infringement, including both copying and distribution. The difference? The criminal penalties only attach when the infringement was committed "for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain"; "by the reproduction or distribution, including by electronic means, during any 180–day period, of 1 or more copies or phonorecords of 1 or more copyrighted works, which have a total retail value of more than $1,000"; or "by the distribution of a work being prepared for commercial distribution, by making it available on a computer network accessible to members of the public, if such person knew or should have known that the work was intended for commercial distribution."

For most casual sharing, it's not for private financial gain, so the first one is out. It's also not usually totaling over $1000... but watch out, because many people's upload or shared folder can frequently approach that. And it's rarely a leaked pre-release work, though that does happen too. So, generally, most people don't run into criminal copyright infringement (it tends to be more counterfeiters), but it could happen.

Comment Re:Thought. (Score 2) 70

Normally I don't respond to ACs, but this is a good question:

Find a torrent you want to investigate.

Join that torrent. Don't seed. Just advertise you have the whole thing.

Log any requests, but serve up bum content; fail checksums, or hit protocol errors, simply time out, seed bad data at 1B/s, whatever. You're not giving that tacit license, since you're not feeding proper data.

It's a good thought, but there's the problem - you're not serving up the copyrighted work, so therefore, you don't know that the accused recipients downloaded the copyrighted work... and in fact, you explicitly know that they didn't, because they got crap. Like, if I record myself farting into a microphone for five minutes and then upload it to a network with the label "Creed - new hot single!.mp3", even though you may not be able to tell the difference when you download it, I couldn't sue you for copyright infringement of Creed's new song, because I know for a fact that you didn't make a copy of Creed's new song.

So, yeah, by uploading bad content, you don't give an implied license to the good content, but you also can't be sure you're finding anyone who got the good content.

Comment Re:Interesting, but probably irrelevant (Score 2) 70

Is the recipient of a mix CD a copyright infringer? If not, it doesn't make any sense that a downloader would be either.

The one who started out in possession of the media, made and distributed a copy of it, is violating the right to control copying and distribution, i.e. copyright.

It's not about possession, it's about who's in control of the "make a copy" process. If I put something on a server, and you (via your computer) send a GET request, then you're initiating the copying. If you don't have a license to do that, then you're infringing copyright. I may also be infringing copyright by distributing it - it's not a you xor me requirement.
So, this becomes:

Someone who started out with nothing, and directed a system to make them a copy, distributed nothing, but ends up in possession of something that someone else illegally copied and distributed, has done what exactly that violates what law?

Directly infringed copyright, and the law is 15 USC 101 et seq.

Comment Interesting, but probably irrelevant (Score 5, Insightful) 70

Downloading music or movies without a license has always been copyright infringement, just like uploading or sharing them. However, the labels only go after uploaders for a few different reasons:
First, technically, it's difficult to identify a leecher or someone who only downloads - due to the nature of file transfers and how the various protocols work, you can easily discover uploaders and download complete copies from them (e.g. by finding Napster hosts, bittorrent seeders, etc., and then blocking transfers from everyone except your 'target'). To discover a leecher, however, you have to be a seeder or host and wait for them to download the file from you. And with so many other seeders out there for any file, that doesn't happen often.
Second, even if you did manage to get someone to download the file from you, if you're the copyright owner or acting on the copyright owner's behalf, you put the file online for public distribution! So the downloader can easily argue that they have at least an implied license from you, and they actually obtained a legal copy. Ooops.
Third, even if somehow you get over those two hurdles, a leecher actually can use the "a download only costs 99 cents, so the actual damages due to my infringement are tiny" argument to mitigate the label's giant statutory damage request. This doesn't work for uploaders who are distributing copies, as a distribution license typically costs tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the work (Michael Jackson paid about $45k each for the distribution licenses for several hundred Beatles songs back in the 1980s, for example). But a mere downloader isn't distributing to anyone.
And finally, though it would be illegal and unethical, if you were accused of downloading something, you could rush out and buy a copy of it with cash, and then claim you were just legally format shifting (albeit by proxy). Maybe your proxy that you got it from is liable for infringement due to their distribution, but if you can legally rip your own CDs for archival purposes, then simply using someone else's drive (and computer, and network connection) to do it shouldn't create liability for you.

So, yeah, could a label go after a mere downloader for infringement? Absolutely, and that's always been true. Are they going to do so, and potentially spend millions knowing they're going to run into those four potentially insurmountable barriers? Hell, no. Not when moviebuff6969 is seeding 50 films on bittorrent.

Disclaimer: I am an IP lawyer, but I'm not your IP lawyer. This is not legal advice, but is purely for (my own) entertainment purposes.

Comment Re:And project Ara was doomed to failure? (Score 1) 97

Back in The Old Days, every last somewhat-seedy mall kiosk carried a wide variety of 'shells' that were snap on replacements for the plastics of whatever Nokia was relevant at the time. As the number of phones that either have removable parts or are designed to survive without a case has declined, cases appear to have moved into filling a similar niche.

Comment Re:Unsure If Legal?!? (Score 1) 97

I suspect that the potential issue would be with replacement parts that are either copyright infringing knockoffs of iphone 7 components or provided with probably-not-trademark-approved logos and text designed to match the appearance of the iphone 7.

Any attempt to assert that fiddling with the hardware, in itself, is a crime would be overreaching bullshit of the highest order; but if the aim is to look as much like a different product as possible; it is pretty likely that some of the parts kits are on shaky ground in terms of copyright and trademark. Even then, though, it would be unusual for Apple to go after the end users for that; though a vendor offering cosmetic upgrades might well come under fire.

Comment Re:Renewables will never work (Score 1) 263

Where it accounts for under 2% of the total generation but responsible for 80% of the price increase in the last decade?

Yes peak pricing models SUCK and governments should have stopped that Enron shit being inflicted on people just so some speculators could get rich. There should be sensible caps related to generation costs instead of a fucking casino where a scarcity event leads to someone getting an enormous jackpot win.
It's not the generation method, it's the fake market game, since gas fired generators have hit that jackpot at times as well as windmill operators.

It's exactly the situation you'd get if every taxi was an Uber and half the ones needed are available once a day.

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