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Comment Re:Asking the wrong questions (Score 1) 465

The problem isn't corporate money in campaign finances, the problem is stupid, lazy voters who can't be bothered to find out what or what they're voting for, and just doing what the Magic Box in their living room tells them to.

Lessig persuasively rebuts this point in Republic, Lost by arguing that while campaign spending might not significantly influence the result of elections, THE PERCEPTION THAT IT DOES is enough to poison the whole democratic process.

Politicians fear that commercial interests will donate to their opponents, so they endorse policies favorable to those commercial interests. It almost doesn't matter whether dumb voters fall for a barrage of attack ads- the threat is scary enough that politicians feel like they need to be fundraising at all times.

Comment A painful transition, but worth it (barely) (Score 1) 140

I switched to Android Studio right after it came out, mostly because my Eclipse install needed to be updated- which usually means having to reinstall the Android SDK and re-import my projects (a chore).
It ended up being some serious work to import my projects to Android Studio. I wouldn't recommend it if Eclipse is still working smoothly for you.
The main thing I like about Android Studio is that I heavily use RubyMine for server-side work and the interface is nearly identical.
The other big advantage is that all the config files are a lot more transparent and repairable than those used by Eclipse.

Gradle is much more transparent and portable than Eclipse's build system, but it's still pretty frustrating how slow it is. I think moving to Android Studio/Gradle doubled my build times.
Finally, Android Studio is still pretty unstable and it usually takes an hour or two of surgery to get my project to run again after an upgrade.

Comment Re:Not a Nazi Plane (Score 3, Insightful) 353

...but the Nazis could have found it since they were occupying France at the time.
In order to find the parts of a cutting-edge racing plane, you just have to THINK like the parts of a cutting-edge racing plane.

All joking aside, I saw this plane at the EAA museum in Oshkosh a number of years ago and despite whatever complaints people may have about its utility as a combat plane, if nothing else it is an incredibly beautiful machine. It looks like something out of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, except more curvaceous and birdlike.

Comment Re:Is the settlement open for all ? (Score 5, Insightful) 89

As others have mentioned, there is no need for precedent because once the plaintiff actually started reading the laws, there wasn't much legal ambiguity- Liberation Music was wrong and Lessig was right. I think he got the upper hand here. From TFA:

In winning this tussle, Lessig was also able to score a larger victory for his cause. Liberation Music agreed to adopt new policies around issuing takedown notices. The label has promised to work with Lessig to improve its YouTube and copyright policies to make sure this doesn't happen again.

Being in the right is never enough to avoid being sued or legally threatened, but at least this settlement is an attempt to fix that problem in the context of YouTube. Oh- and all the settlement cash is going to the EFF.

Comment Innovation DOES Destroy Jobs (Score 1) 754

...but it also spurs further consumerism which creates jobs that should (in theory) replace those that were lost.

However, there are still two losers when this happens:

1. unskilled or moderately-skilled workers

        The new jobs created require more education and specialized skills than the ones that were eliminated. This is resulting in a wealth gap, which will further exacerbate things by reducing the size of the consumer class that creates those jobs in the first place.

2. the environment

        Oftentimes, efficiency gains come at the cost of increased energy requirements. Consumerism brought on by technological advances is almost always centered on goods rather than services, which increases overall demand for natural resources. Say what you will about the out-of-control health care spending in the U.S., but it is an exception to this trend in that it is service-centered consumerism.

Comment Other Examples (Score 1) 398

Dean Kamen is also know for wearing the same outfit every day.

This also kinda reminds me of how Buckminster Fuller defended his sterile architecture by suggesting that its mass-produced homogeny would encourage people to differentiate themselves by what they do rather than where they live.

It's a vaguely communist-sounding notion that bland equality can make us more free. Perhaps this is why most public schools in the U.S. don't require uniforms.

Comment Another Simple Solution (Score 1) 189

Just cap the number of patents issued each year (to say, 2000), and develop a much more thorough review process to ensure that only the most novel, useful and non-obvious applications are approved. Every patent we issue represents an increased burden on our legal system and a roadblock to other inventors who need to worry about infringing upon it, so it makes sense that the government shouldn't be making an open-ended offer to protect everything that can be protected.
This also means we wouldn't have to continue the futile search for a consistent set of guidelines of what constitutes "novel, useful and non-obvious". Instead we can just settle for deciding whether one invention is more novel, useful and non-obvious than another invention, which should be much easier.

Comment Re:Interesting idea: (Score 1) 318

I was thinking the same thing. I think the main problem with this would be the legal issues. Unlike a controlled burn or avalanche control work, it would be very hard to predict the duration, magnitude and scale of the quakes being released. Just releasing the earthquake in the first place would be hard, and if you finally score and manage to release a lot of tectonic pressure, you wouldn't want to be the one that everyone could point to as the source of the resulting damage.

Project Stormfury ran into the same issues: difficult to predict whether it works, but assuming it does work, you're an easy blame target for things that are most likely Mother Nature's mistakes rather than your own.

Comment Re:Fraud (Score 1) 249

Ok, I guess the postman (or anyone else) could just find a new package with the same destination zip code as his package in order to defeat my suggested system. Their are further measures that could be taken to prevent this, such as incorporating an account number that is associated with a specific sending address in the code and maintaining a database of all packages sent during the day to prevent a code from being used twice in the same day.

Also, what 91degrees said. Scamming the postal service is a lot of risk for little gain.

Comment Re:Fraud (Score 1) 249

This is avoidable with a well-engineered system. To make it difficult for a scammer to generate a viable code, they could require that the user supply some information specific to the package, such as the destination zip code and the date that it is being mailed. Then, the postal service could concatenate this info with a short randomly-generated package ID and sign it with a private key to generate a code.
The post office could then verify whether the code matches the characteristics of the package of itself. If there is ambiguity in the way the code is written on the package (say, a character that could not be completely discerned) the system could come up with multiple possibilities for syntactically valid codes and then attempt to verify each one and use the first one that matches.
If the generated codes are made of a limited alphanumeric charset instead of just digits, they should be able to carry enough information that the system can both be forgiving to human error and robust against attackers.
Also, with any system it would be possible to build a phone app that would let the user verify a newly-written code just by taking a picture of it with their phonecam.

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