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Comment Whatever they can get away with (Score 1) 205

$100,000,000 sounds like a decent amount of money, but how does that compare to their monthly revenue or profit?

Companies - especially large ones - have patience and the means to outlast individual activists, current public awareness or opinions. They will try and try again, they will slowly work on removing laws and regulations they dislike, until they finally manage to get away with it.

Comment Don't confuse Agile with Scrum (Score 1) 507

Agile works for many teams or projects, but Scrum only works for some.

Agile has received a bad name due to real-world implementations: The real-world implementation of an agile project philosophy is often done via Scrum, which is a very strict and prescriptive process. There are others, but Scrum is the most popular one. Scrum doesn't work for all organizations and projects, though! Shoe-horning unsuitable teams and projects into the Scrum process can lead to lots of problems and disillusionment with Agile, even though it wasn't really Agile's fault in that case.

It's a bit like how Socialism gets a bad name from the (totally failed) real-world 'implementations', such as what we've seen in the Soviet Union or East Germany, even though the theoretical ideas of Socialism may actually offer some good points. The "agile" (lower case) aspects of "Agile" (upper case) are quite good, so it's worth to see if you may be able to adopt some of them.

If you are interested in a less prescriptive and much more flexible approach to Agile, may I recommend you have a look at Kanban? It starts by just watching how you do things now and then can be used to slowly add a few processes here and there to strengthen the good things and reduce the bad things in your process. Especially large, established organizations can benefit greatly from that.

Comment Re:from gallup (Score 1) 866

What this means is that it's actually getting worse!

The moderates who don't care one way or the other didn't matter, anyway. The moderates (so-called mainline) are in decline. But the extremists (mostly in the "evangelical / born-again" group) stayed the same as percentage of overall population. A whopping, frightening 40%. This means that percentage of extremists amongst religious people have increased. This also means that in religious circles extremist views are becoming more mainstream. It means that the moderating influence of formerly mainstream groups is declining.

For example, consider that the Catholic church for a long time already is very open and ok with science. Catholic schools don't teach any creationism nonsense. However, the number of Catholics is in decline (and would be even more so if it weren't for immigration). Now with the decline of the number of Catholics, the voices of the extremists are getting relatively (!) louder in any discussion that involves religion: State lawmakers, local school boards deciding what goes into biology text books, etc. Their voices are heard, their views considered.

Overall, the poll is very disturbing: It shows that the number of dangerous extremists (people identifying as "evangelical or born-again") has remained the same and is growing in importance within religious circles. This is a dangerous development.

Rationalists and atheists should stop focusing on the mainline religions, since they are "mostly harmless" these days and could possibly provide an outlet for those people who seek a spiritual component in their lives. Instead, with the decline of mainline religions, people are sucked in by the extremists. The extremists, however, are the dangerous ones that we should focus on.

Comment Let's get rid of the jury system and its abuse (Score 1) 303

It seems to me that juries are the cause of more problems than good and is a system that's systematically abused by crafty procecutors or defenders:

* There are "jury consultants", whose job it is to make sure that only jury members are selected, which they feel are easiest influenced to pass the 'desired' judgement.
* Dog and pony shows in the courtroom, designed to influence jury members on an emotional level.
* Endless time wasted explaining technical concepts to clueless people (no offense here, most of us are clueless about most things), while in reality experts should be needed.

When the coverage of some high-profile trial focuses only on about how this or that event or statement ("the glove doesn't fit!") might influence the jury then we know something went wrong: It's not about truth or lie, about guilt or innocence anymore. It's all just about fomralities, proceedings, and how to mess with people's (the jurors) minds.

This is what the justice system has degenerated to and "justice" has been left behind long ago in favor of just "winning" by whatever means necessary, completely independent of guilt or innocence. The courtoom becomes a showroom, ruthless lawyers (on both sides) climb the ranks based on how good they are in influencing the jury.

Doesn't that seem very wrong?

I say: Get rid of the jury system! It's more trouble than it's worth. There are other countries which do just fine withou juries. Germany comes to mind. Their justice system generally has a pretty good reputation.

Comment Re:not complicated...monopology (Score 1) 346

It's not the size or the number of people, but the population density that's important: This tells you how many people are there to financially support the build out of the network for a given area.

Turns out that Sweden has a lower population density than the United States! ( ).

Therefore, they managed to accomplish more with less.

The fact that they opted for municipal broadband (and it worked), while in the US you find concerted efforts of the large telcos to prevent municipal build-out, you can pretty much figure out the culprit.

Comment Re:What's the problem? (Score 1) 52

Patent trolls aren't really a threat unless you are a public company or are trying to become one (especially IPO).

I don't know about that.

Especially smaller companies (even private ones) are at risks, since they are perceived as less willing to fight back: They don't have the deep pockets or well-staffed legal departments that larger companies have. Even small mom and pop shops have been the recipient of shake-down letters from patent trolls, offering some 'license fees' that are just low enough to be cheaper than an all out lawsuit.

Comment Re:What's the problem? (Score 1) 52

Patent TROLLS are the aggressors, do you blame these companies
for planning ahead and preparing to defend themselves from bullies?

That misses the point!

Patents can be used only to stop someone else from producing a widget that violates your patent. However, patent TROLLS (almost by definition) don't produce anything, they just sue companies that DO produce stuff. Therefore, your own patents can never be used defensively against a patent troll: As non-producing companies they are definitely not violating your patents.

You can only use your own patents to defend yourself against a company that actually produces something. Maybe some of their products violate some of your patents. You can then cross license, or at least tell them to go away before you start a counter suit.

However, trolls don't have products and therefore don't offer any surface against which to launch a counter attack.

Comment Re:Consider this... (Score 2) 134

So you want to keep having the privilege of maintaining the ability to come and go to the US, and do not wish to pay for that privilege?

Only crazy, totalitarian states would make you PAY "for the privilege" to return to your home country to which you still hold a passport. What world do you live in?

A free (!) country lets its citizens go and does not give them a hard time about it.

Freedom? Have you heard of it?

Comment Re:Consider this... (Score 1) 134

Are you dense on purpose?

As many other posters already pointed out: It has nothing to do with paying more or less taxes. It has to do with (a) having complex and complictaded filing requirements, (b) risking heavy criminal fines for even the smallest mistakes, (c) being treated like a criminal even with no wrong doing, (d) suffering disadvantage for employement, banking, business opportunities because of this, (d) the US again appearing like an arrogant bully on the international stage.

You seem to think that people have to PAY for the right to return to their home country? Are you insane? What world do you live in? No normal, civilized country in the world does that, the US is the only one. It's the land of the free, right? Freedom should include the ability to come and go. Only totalitarian states will prevent their citizens from leaving, or - like in this case - give them a hard time because they chose to do so.

Comment Re:Tax Dodgers? (Score 1) 134

Are you implying that people living overseas are tax dodgers? How ignorant! They may be married to someone from that country, may have found work there, or may just like it more there than in the US. There are tons of reasons to be a resident of another country, which have nothing to do with dodging taxes.

Besides: In many cases, the taxes in other countries are higher than in the US. No dodging there.

Comment Re:Consider this... (Score 2) 134

This treaty is for people who want to have their cake and eat it.

This has NOTHING to do with "having the cake and eating it", as you said in in your boundless ignorance.

Ordinary US citizens who happen to be living in other countries, like NZ. They don't ask anything of the US, they don't have accounts there, they earn an honest living in their adopted country. No "Fat Cats", no tax cheats, nothing sinister going on. Yet, contrary to almost all civilized countries in the world, the US demands those people to continue to report and file their taxes in the US, forces them to fill out very complex tax forms (much more complex than what you get to fill out when living in the US), slaps them with hefty fines for even the slightest errors in filling out those forms, strong-arms other countries in spying on those US citizens...

Educate yourself on the matter before declaring your cluelessness to the world.

Comment There are no "good guy" countries here (Score 5, Insightful) 169

I think what we have learned is that given the opportunity, no country's intelligence/police/security apparatus is truly more ethical than that of other countries. There's a huge difference between cheap, public words spoken by politicians and what's really going on behind the scenes. If they have the technical option, they will collect and spy and monitor whatever they can.

The NSA gets a bad rap, since (a) it has access to most information and thus is most scary and (b) in the US there is the constitution, which at least in principle should curtail certain government activities, giving critics something to use in their fight. In other countries there often aren't the constitutional documents, which aim to codify personal freedoms and liberties in the same way. Therefore, in the US the surveillance opponents at least have a document in their support that they can point at, while the same people in other countries often have no such thing. In that respect, the surveillance debate in the US could be more forceful with at least some ammunition for the opponents. In this regard, other countries aren't that lucky.

However, in the end it's all academic: Surveillance/intelligence agencies will do whatever they damn well feel like doing. Whatever local laws they have will matter little. These are agencies that have secrecy baked into their DNA. They know - for the most part - to keep their activities away from the public and also the politicians for that matter.

Pass whatever laws you want, it won't matter anymore.

Comment Re:The Whole Issue (Score 1) 453

The constitution surely doesn't protect foreigners in a foreign country, it doesn't even even protect Americans at home. But US law will affect you no matter where you think you are safe.

What makes you think that it is law (US or otherwise), which is the driving force here? What makes you think it has to do anything with law or that those who apply such pressure or are willfully infringing on peoples' privacy care about something called 'the law'?

If the last few months have shown us anything, it is that the surveillance apparatus is entirely above the law or at least unconcerned about it. You can pass whatever law you want to 'reform the NSA' or whatever agency in whatever country you wish to insert here. It doesn't matter, since they will do whatever the heck they want anyway.

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