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Comment The walled garden holds all the hostages (Score 1) 79

This is a red flag, Apple can and will control any and all business that occurs in their domain. The cut might make good business sense, but it can't be as important to revenue, as it is to confidence. The storefront operator, Apple, will do future renegotiations with the same 'I-have-the-gun' style. Software and data vendors can look forward to an arbitrary set of taxes and fees if they sell in the walled garden.

Comment Re:BS - This is thoughtcrime (Score 1) 227

How can you seriously, with a straight face, compare a RAT sold on hack forums ...

There was no 'hack forum', it was a site or sites in an online community which allowed sales of software. Functionally, it was free advertising and pretty-normal ecommerce.

One can CALL IT a 'hack forum', but that has no significance. Name-calling!

Don't talk about 'serious' if your main point is name-calling. You post on Slashdot, after all, and under an assumed identity.

Glass houses, stones... you know.

Comment Re:Help me out, am I supposed to be for or against (Score 1) 422

As for the bill itself, one issue is what is meant by "replicable". Is a study based on a particular disaster replicable? What about a study based on historical climate data? Or a long term health study? There is a lot of legitimate research that is difficult to reproduce.

Correct. That is why you shouldn't jump to conclusions based on such data.

Err... no, of course if you find a coelocanth alive, you needn't find a second one in order to conclude that they aren't yet extinct. Reproducing a result can be done for LABORATORY findings, but not for observations in nature.

There's no logical requirement to ignore what data we DO have, and it would be odd indeed to create a legal requirement.

The "jumping to conclusions" phrase is an attempt to introduce loaded language into the discussion. Disregard the phrase, that's NOT in the proposed law, and certainly doesn't describe any real event.

The basic function of the bill is that it makes it really tough for the EPA to cite research, and if the EPA can't cite research it has a much more difficult time justifying regulations.

That is indeed the basic function of the bill: the EPA should be forced to rely on reproducible public research...

The rub there, is not only the EPA work, but all the cited prior work, becomes subject to formal challenge. An objection without merit could waste years: courts would have no alternative but to hear it all out.

Comment Re:Class actions are scams (Score 1) 48

The lawyers get paid, the company gets indemnified from future lawsuits, the victims get some shitty coupons.

Well, the judge says this particular class action settlement is inadequate on basically those grounds (the victims are NOT getting coupons, or anything else).

The class action lawyers are asked to put in some up-to-date factfinding, and find a way to at least tell the victims what happened, in exchange for Google telling them that the worst is over. Well, technically it's over, the victims won't see any noticeable difference.

Comment Re: That's pretty smart (Score 3, Informative) 249

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't an ammeter need to be put directly in series in the wiring?

Yes. There are inductive ammeters that clamp onto the outside of the wire's insulation, which would be a safer option, but they aren't terribly accurate, and wouldn't be suitable for checking your smart meter's calibration.

One name for an inductive ammeter of that sort, is Rogowski coil (which, according to the article, is a suspect).

The whole problem here is that the bandpass of the Rogowski coil is very high, but maybe the voltmeter isn't. The digital data capture and calculation are flawed. Some electronic power uses (like all the LED lights, and microwave ovens) are as high frequency as the meters can handle, and some are higher.

The study's main point, is that 'smart' meters were inadequately tested, and have flaws that got past the weights and measures inspectors. Those inspectors need better test methods; fortunately, the researchers just published some of those.

Comment Re:Umm (Score 1) 402

They already had this. It's called citing your sources and peer review.

Having read countless research papers that fit your criteria, I can tell you that citing your sources and being peer reviewed are not nearly sufficient. They're necessary steps, to be sure, but I've read more than my fair share of papers from conferences or journals, some even associated with reputable organizations, that were nothing but complete bunk. What you need are citations to trustworthy sources and to be reviewed by trustworthy peers.

The point of citations and peer review is NOT that it is a one-step solution. It is, rather, a way to enable readers to do the second, third, and fourth steps which will lead to a better appreciation of value (or lack thereof) in the work at hand. It is also a way to identify small cliques who refer only to themselves, and to identify multiple mistakes based on a single lie/misconception/myth.

It is telling that the original article assures us that 'the intention is not to be political', because modern political speech rarely tracks back to citations that deserve trust. A case in point is the flawed 'weapons of mass destruction' claims made before the 2003 Iraq invasion: when sources of that information WERE finally examined, there were many embarassments. What benefits could a better information review have offered? Sadly, we cannot know.

Secrecy, and small cliques reasoning in circles were the way of alchemy; science is better. Citations and peer review is why. And, it can work in other fields of ideation.

As for 'trustworthy peers', there's a conundrum. In science, we needn't have trustworthy peers, because authority is not a person, it is an observation. Galileo was forced to recant, but his published observations of the moons of Jupiter were just as authoritative afterward. The authority of a person is an unsteady basis; the absence (or death) of such a 'king' is a cause of uncertainty, which science does not feel deeply, though politics does.

Comment Re:Electricity, Phone, Fiber (Score 2) 108

Keep in mind that a big reasons we managed to wire up the whole country with electric, phone, and cable is that we gave those companies local monopolies on delivery of power, telecom, and TV.

Oh no, that DIDN'T get us the results. Rural electrification was always a federal initiative. Local power companies never would have set up a nationwide grid for power, because that would mean opening their market.

Monopolies always came with regulatory requirements, and when those are enforced, utilities do good things. Monopoly, traditionally, was NEVER A GIFT.

Internet service in the US is DEVOID of regulatory requirements, despite being a virtual monopoly in most regions. So, the service is spotty and this utility is priced at 'all the market will bear'.

That's because 'the greater good' doesn't have a commercial competitive advantage over 'all the market will bear'.

Comment Re:Two different things (Score 1) 70

Yes, there's two different processes patented here. One cuts the gene, and is part of an elaboration that applies the genetic cut to a living cell. So, using CRISPR to make the cut is covered by the Berkeley patent, and using it in the way described by the MIT patent is also covered. To use the MIT procedure, you need a license for the Berkeley procedure as well. So, neither group has 'lost', in the sense that (as far as I can see) both have valid patent protection.

Comment Re:So an American hero might be jailed for life (Score 1) 294

Would Snowden have fared any better with the Obama administration?

That's irrelevant, of course. Only a court can decide.

Recall, historically Aaron Burr was thought to be a traitor by Thomas Jefferson; there was a trial, and a not guilty verdict under justice John Marshall.

Later, Jefferson Davis (President of the Confederate States of America...) was likewise in disfavor, but was never convicted (in fact, though apprehended, was never tried).

That's because the Constitution holds that a crime must be proved in court, in the place where the crime was committed. Jefferson Davis, on trial in Virginia, 1866? With a jury of his peers?

So, what difference does a sitting president make on an accusation of this sort? Our history suggests, 'none'.

Comment Re:what do these people expect (Score 0) 90

so they are sore at apple, for what??? being apple? when you buy apple products you better know that you are at their mercy.

No, they're sore at Apple for being... Sony. When the PS3 got 'updates' that disabled OtherOS (Linux,, usually) , the malfeasance was just TOO much, and owners sued. They won. Apple isn't entirely in charge. There's law on the subject, so courts will decide. That's what courts are for.

Comment Re: So... (Score 1) 157

Republicans respond by trying to make streaming illegal.

Actually, Republicans respond by adding a penalty to the existing rules against photos and videos from the floor. From TFS: Taking photo or video had already been prohibited on the floor, but was never enforced.

Oh, a 'rule' that has never been enforced? That means there has never been a test in court.

This 'rule', it imposes a fine? Was the 'rule' ever confirmed by the Senate? Ratified by a sitting president?

That's rather important, with language in our Constitution about 'No person shall ... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law'.

What's remarkable is that the video while the house was out of session was being done for purely political purposes, something that C-SPAN was created to avoid.

It's common for a politician (or anyone with a message, actually) to speak openly, to show his face to a camera, to write for public forums, even to make a video. C-SPAN certainly wasn't intended to stop that!

The only real issue here, is using the legislative chamber as a backdrop, which is being made a monopoly of ... not our legislators, but the Speaker of the House, using rules-of-order controls on other legislators outside his/her clique. This whole tempest in a teapot just means the Republican Speaker wants to be in control during hours when he isn't presiding over a session.

Phooey to that!

Comment Re:In other news, water is wet (Score 1) 185

Exactly correct. If a Russian 'intelligence official' knows that Snowden is in town, he'll drop by and get a selfie with the celebrity. Maybe, he'll even make some ambiguous comments about how important their meeting was.

Then, American 'intelligence officials' will take note, and feel duty-bound to suggest that there should be further investigation. Reporters, also taking notes, and Congressional investigators, ditto.

In other quasi-news, scientists say 'we need more research'. Details at eleven!

Comment Re:Read the first volume (Score 1) 381

It's also well worth the effort (and it is a lot of effort) to read the third volume, Sorting and Searching.

I've greatly enjoyed the first three books, and especially Sorting and Searching. The chapters are independent, so you can treat the volumes as a collection of nonfiction short stories. I recommend it as bedtime reading.

Except, these short stories open up possibilities, and contribute to my understanding of ways to handle tomorrow's problems. There are three kinds of computer books: ones that teach one tool (pretty useless ten years later, when the tool obsolesces), ones that teach from the bottom up (again, pretty useless when 6502 is replaced by 65816, and in turn 68000, 68040, PPC601, PPC603e, G3, G4, G5, core duo, Xeon...), and those that teach from the general principles (top-down style).

Algorithms knowledge at the mathematical-tool level really REALLY helps sometimes. And it remains helpful forever (like the Pythagorean theorem) rather than becoming quaint (like the art of making an '035 keypunch program card).

Comment Re: That's nice (Score 1) 142

What are they supposed to do, buy all the parts manufacturers including Samsung and Intel?

Well, no, but it would be nice if the batteries could be replaced, or the OS and other software updated to a more recent version. Third-party and counterfeit batteries for a favorite laptop are ... discomfitting. As is finding that my version of a Safari browser can't ever get an upgrade so my bank will talk to it.

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