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Comment Company? This involved a government agency, not a (Score 1) 287

The story and the many of the comments make mention of the 'company' that called the police on the kid that reported the vulnerability. It wasn't a company. I was the, as the article makes clear in it's first sentence:

"A teenager in Australia who thought he was doing a good deed by reporting a security vulnerability in a government website was reported to the police."

As much as the dominant culture of Slashdot is the sort that will take every opportunity to implicate private businesses in all manner of evil, distorting reality in this manner doesn't serve the anti-corporate cause. More to the point it demonstrates that whatever the drivers of the anti-business feelings of Slashdot editors and readers are, commitment to truth isn't amongst them.

Comment Re:Nothing to see here... move along.... (Score 1) 110

NASA, in building a spacecraft that could go beyond low earth orbit, would inevitably have test runs of those systems to low earth orbit. Especially given the risk tolerance at NASA today, with requirements for backup spacecraft and all (remember the second shuttle waiting on the launch pad just in case at the end of that program?) So while their stated goals are beyond low earth orbit... I don't believe they'll do better again, if they manage to pull even a low earth orbit test flight off.

Space travel takes time, money, engineering talent, a willingness to take risks and perseverance. On most counts, there is none of that in the U.S. anymore. You can still find good engineers I suspect, but all other factors trump that. Can you imagine a concerted space initiative crossing presidential administrations in this day and age... even of the same party let alone crossing party lines? Kennedy and Nixon both had cold war agendas that drove their programs; Apollo for Kennedy probably wasn't hurt by his assassination, ensuring that later administrations would carry forward in the name of a beloved president. Nixon was convinced that the space shuttle could pluck Soviet satellites out of orbit and so saw compelling reason to go for it.

Today, announcing a bold national commitment to a new manned space program and putting words into action would draw at least a thousand interest groups claiming that their need was greater.... feed the poor, house the unhoused, create art, etc. This sort of thing wouldn't survive the appropriations process in this day and age... way too many people that vote now are dependent on handouts from the same source of funds to make it practical or popular. Never mind an economy that is shambles, despite the opinion of certain political and economic interests, and simply can't afford such an endeavour.

Comment Nothing to see here... move along.... (Score 1) 110

I'm only giving better than even odds that we get NASA astronauts back into low Earth orbit again in a NASA spacecraft... forget about anything more dramatic than that. The culture, finances and governance of the United States would need to change significantly for anything more grand than that. A nation that, in its self-inflicted race to champion the lowest common denominator in any endeavour, consumes itself with re-defining its ability to succeed with phases like 'the new normal' is not the kind of nation that can seriously pursue spacefaring.

Science missions fair better if only because there is less public profile to capture both support and (more importantly) opposition.... in those cases the drive to get money to interested congressional districts outweigh the demands of contrary interests for other spending priorities.

Comment Re:I Dunno... Let's Ask John Galt What He Thinks.. (Score 1) 347

Hear, hear! He would correctly point out that to use force (government) to seize the intellectual property of others is, well, evil. That's what's at stake in something like this. There are technologies that are so popular, and the originators of same technologies so successful in getting market adoption, that those without the where-with-all to achieve similarly should be able to simply take what they couldn't produce.

Comment Re:They have to make money somehow.. (Score 1) 401

There were no protests then because the impact on the individuals of the day was small and since we had more capital to consume back then, our excesses of consumption could still be absorbed without apparent consequences. There is outrage today over 'unfair profits', largely because now there are impacts to day to day life as a result: there are no jobs in part because there is no capital.

And to be sure some are protesting against profit altogether, and some are not. This is where the movement itself has a muddled sense of principles that make it unpalatable to me. I find movements that know what to stand against, but not what to stand for, aimless and dangerous. One such experiment, Libya, should be interesting to watch.... now that they've beaten what they were against, it will be interesting to find out what they now strive for.

By the way, I do agree with being against acts that 'privatize profit, socialize losses'. Businesses that fail need to do so along with any consequences that may befall the owners and debtors of those businesses. I do not subscribe to the concept of 'too big to fail' and thing that clearing away the cruft as quick as possible allows resources to be deployed to more effective uses. But I do not believe in any limit on, or any theft of, a fortune of any size that was earned through free and voluntary trade. Based on some of the comments I hear from the protesters, they by and large don't distinguish between those that gain from their pull and those that gain from their production.

Comment Re:They have to make money somehow.. (Score 1) 401

Your points are valid. And yes... I was speaking strictly in the apparent context of the discussion, which I took to mean not that I have no right to trade my efforts, but rather that there was no right at all to profit from your work.... that to profit from your own work was a privilege granted to you by those with a prior claim to your life: something I clearly reject.

The only statement of yours I take issue with is your last. First, the law is not necessarily a reflection of rights as much as it is the declaration of rules that will be enforced by those with the physical power to enforce them. Under the best circumstances law do coincide with rights and that power to enforce the law becomes a force for good. Frequently, however, the law departs from protecting 'rights' to protecting actions that deny rights. What is a 'right' has not changed and is not subject to law, however you may be bludgeoned for exercising your rights. I also disagree with your idea that nobody but a few hard core commies would think that the right to try and earn a profit for your work is valid... much of the narrative from the street today (at least in my nation) is that having made the profit is wrong... regardless if that was done morally without force/fraud or immorally through force/fraud. I hear no distinction being made at all.

Comment Re:They have to make money somehow.. (Score 1) 401

Profit is not a right? The alternative is slavery. When I go to work, I get paid a wage and thus earn a profit. I can think of no more fundamental right than to profit from my productive output be that realized through my organizational skills, my creativity... even my brute force and to make as much profit as anyone is willing to voluntarily pay me for my efforts.

So tell me... what gives you the right to demand productive efforts without reward?

Comment OK... gotta ask... (Score 1) 48

This is not a subject I've tried to look at with any depth. But I have this nagging question: how is any of this materially different than NASA's soliciting contracts from the major aerospace industry? Ostensibly, this just appears to be about bringing smaller, untried companies into the same general stable as the larger 'usual suspects'. I did see a note about procurement differences (i.e not cost plus contracting), but if that all it is this 'commercial space flight' stuff seems more to be branding by the powers that be rather than anything genuinely unique.

I think a lot of people are thinking of this more along the lines of business entrepreneurs like Virgin & Scaled that are investing a product and service that they hope will be self-sustaining based on market demand as opposed to merely a different take on government contracting arcana . Again, I could be completely wrong, but every time I hear about NASA's commercial space initiatives, and its process, it sounds much more like the latter.

Comment Re:Monarchy is an abomination. (Score 1) 456

I'm not sure that I get your point. My comment was about hereditary monarchs and made no mention of what else may work in monarchy's stead. There are many flavors of parliamentary systems some better than others. I for one believe that our 'easy democracy' policies that continually creep towards a 'majority rule' system are deeply flawed. Democracy should be a check on authority, not the primary system of governance; and it should be reserved for those willing to put out a modest effort to participate. Otherwise you will end up with governments such as the Mexican where you in essence buy your votes with favors of public money or systems where the populous vote in the savior du jour... or their surrogates.

However there are implicit ideas in your comments that I find flawed. Some are related to an efficient king and the other about a necessarily powerful legislative organization.

Ultimately I believe that a government should only exist and have the power to prevent the violation of the innate rights of its citizens. This doesn't mean that government (or its people) can simply recast privileges as rights either as we are wont to do nowadays. The first right being that of self-owership; other rights that derive from that one axiomatic right. And don't forget that for you to have a 'right' there cannot be an obligation on any other person for you to exercise it, other than the obligation to not forcibly interfere with your exercise of your rights. A government limited to that single purpose would be as efficient as it needed to be... and moral to boot.

Second related to an efficient king. I would argue that there can be no such thing and that what you describe in little more than a tyrant. You say that there is, "no bitching". Why? Because there is no freedom to complain under such a system? I have found that in any group of over 100 people there are few that completely agree, so the only way that your point comes to fruition is if the king forcibly intervenes in his citizens' right to speak their minds. And even that can be messy: witness Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, etc. You say a fair policy will be obeyed, but fair to whom? I guess if you're suppressing speech that's much less of a worry, especially if you are suppressing only a minority which is producing the prosperity of which you speak. In truth though the only policy such a good king could maintain while increasing the genuine prosperity of his people is to rule very little: protect their rights and nothing more But then you run into that problem of the hereditary roll of the dice. A bad king may be the good king's son/daughter. Just how efficient are decades of good leadership followed by decades of bad? A limited democratic republic, wherein the politicians had the single job of upholding the enshrined rights of the people, seems to me to be far more efficient and durable. We may have been slowly losing sight of that in the US (for many decades now)... but that basic vision has sustained for over a century and the strength built during those decades has carried us for over a century more.

Comment Re:Monarchy is an abomination. (Score 1) 456

I appreciate your thoughtful comment and at one time I believed the same of constitutional monarchies a la the U.K. But I would submit that even in this form monarchy is more vestigial part of governance than a necessary one.

For many years in the United States we were able to criticize the President while maintaining our patriotic fervor by standing true to the enlightenment era ideals that were the justification for our becoming a nation. We could look to our Declaration of Independence, which set out the philosophical argument for a nation without monarchy, as our unifying focus. I do think that we've lost our way in this regard, however. Still, for many decades we were able to keep our allegiance to the founding ideals while still being critical of those temporary custodians of the government. Ironically, many of these ideals embodied in our founding came from UK... thinking of John Locke in particular.

I think the UK would be well served to do similar to us in this regard, perhaps reclaiming some of the ideas which originated with its people. While the sitting Queen may well be a person of whom the British may be proud, it is not inconceivable that you get a right ass on the throne (so to speak).... then you have the difficulty of the Head of State, a person born to the role, diminishing the Nation and the very difficulties that you wish to avoid with a separation of Heads of State and Government.

Comment Monarchy is an abomination. (Score 1) 456

"A hereditary monarch, observed Thomas Paine, is as absurd a proposition as a hereditary doctor or mathematician."

The most common use of such figureheads is to put the sheen of legitimacy on of those who take power in their names; there are times when this is the figurehead themselves and then there are those times when the figurehead is merely a puppet or even a religious symbol. In all cases that I'm aware of it's merely an excuse for man to dominate his fellow man... when no real reason to do so exists.

Comment Re:This is the world of greater democracy. (Score 1) 726

I don't believe in that at all... that's a bad assumption on your part.

Your mistake in reading my comment is that you presume I look to an empowered class, be it empowered through democracy or otherwise, for education, health, etc. My point actually was less about democracy and more about society coming to expect and rely upon these 'public services' that exist, not through individual choice, but rather through the edict of the empowered class that in turn use the coercive threat of force against those that wouldn't participate of their own free choice.

I do believe in a representative democracy with a government that is tightly constrained in what it is allowed to do and the services that it provides. I don't believe in a public education because it ultimately puts the education in the hands of politicians who, regardless of ideology, simply use it as another pillar of whatever agenda they have.

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