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Comment Re:Isaac Asimov solved this decades ago (Score 1) 74

I've read the books. Maybe all of them, though probably not, considering how many he wrote. I don't know if your original post about the three laws was intended to be a joke, but if it was, it managed to be both rich and subtle. Be not offended by the angry nerds, our misguided fury is itself funny to those with the self awareness to recognize when we've been ... well you know

The three laws sound rational and his stories make the programming seem reliable, but then he proceeds to point out all the ways they can go wrong. Many of the books are essentially boiled down to the idea that sounding good isn't enough to ensure a plan will work. Imagine you believe AI is inevitable so you spend years studying the idea and getting cautionary tales into the public eye in a manner that not-for-nothing, makes you a living.

If I were writing science fiction, I'd make Asimov a time traveler.

Comment Re:How not surprising... (Score 1) 87

In other news today, the sole surviving music label has managed to wrestle the last penny from the last old granny in her hovel.

The music label lawyer was quoted as saying "I can't believe we aren't able to make any more money now, it's just criminal, and we're looking into ways to forcibly take body parts in the future."

Comment Re:Ob. xkcd (Score 1) 978

Side note: the cake maker was happy to provide the service until told the cake was for a lesbian couple.

Finding something offensive and refusing to participate in something offensive is your right only so far as the law recognizes that right. As an individual, having to pay taxes may be offensive, but the individual is required to pay taxes regardless of beliefs. As a business, refusing to offer a service the individual may find offensive is illegal if the service is refused based on the customer's protected class.

A cake maker may refuse to create a cake for anyone based on any personal preference, unless that preference is contrary to the law. In some states, it is illegal to refuse service to someone based on their sexual preference.

Personally, I find the compulsion to offer a service you believe is immoral to be objectionable, but I do understand the need lawmakers feel to protect certain classes from discrimination. With race and sex, the individual has no choice, and so discrimination against women, men, blacks or whites seems like something that the law should consider. However, with religion and sexual preference, the only way that someone can be a part of a protected class is by making a decision. One could argue that you are a part of a religion even by abstaining from participating any religious activity since "atheist" and "agnostic" are labels used to describe those belief systems. Even so, I have no personal objection if a Muslim refuses to create cakes for Christian celebrations. With sexual preference, the labels are far more fluid. In that particular class, the only way a person can be part of that protected class is to choose to participate in an activity they could abstain from.

The law, in some states, requires businesses to provide service to a protected class which is solely based on the choice made by members of that protected class to choose to be in that class.

Bluntly put, I can choose to abstain from sex but I can't choose to abstain from being black. I feel the law should protect me from people who would discriminate against me based on my skin color, but the fact that I'm a virgin with no intention of ever having sex shouldn't keep me from being given rights people who make a different choice are given.

Comment Re: Wow (Score 2) 1368

Said like a true better-than-though left wing social justice warrior... or a right-wing-religious nut. Whichever offends you more!

Wait, you said "over there" like you're not from round dees parts. Whar ya from stranger? Ya sound like a gol durned foreigner an we don't take kindly to gol durned foreigners telling us how to live our lives!

(On a more serious note, I'm amazed at how much people got twisted over this election. If there was ever a time to freely admit that you could understand why someone would oppose your own candidate, this was it!)

Comment Re:Typical (Score 1) 1368

The original colonies and states along with the writers of the Constitution probably intended that states would be so independent that there would be no point in succeeding. The problem is now, and always has been that we not only freedom to do what we want, but we also want to be able to force other people to act the way we think they should.

The original intent of the Declaration of Independence was to create a group of essentially independent nations with their own local self governments. The "united" part was intended to ensure that the small governments would have a framework to work together under an agreed set of minimum rights all the local governments would have to offer their citizens. The constitution even clearly sets out to state that the federal government is to have limits on it's own authority so that it can't give itself any additional power. That all ended when the united states went to war with itself.

Slavery was evil, I hope we all agree, but saying "no slaves in the US" doesn't work unless you also have the "and the southern states have to stay part of the US" clause. It's not even about equality. Lincoln was fighting to end slavery in all the US, and was willing to concede pretty much everything else to achieve that goal.

I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races — that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. - Abraham Lincoln

When Lincoln won a war to prevent states from having the right to separate from the union, the inescapable conclusion is that the federal government has taken, by immortal "might makes right," more authority than was intended by the writers of the formulative documents that created the united states. A lot of things changed at that point, but perhaps most relevant is that the US changed from being a group of nations bound together in mutual support to being one nation with all final authority bound into a single central government.

Much that is good has come from that change, and I think most of the citizens of the US have benefited from it. However, make no mistake, this is not the nation created by the Declaration of Independence and by the Constitution. This is a different thing. While those documents are of historical and interpretative import, they are not what make the United States what it is now as a nation.

Perhaps we need a new pledge. "We the people of the nation of America ('cause mentioning states is like mentioning city councils now and Mexico and Canada already have other names) have decided that we are one nation, no matter how divided in desires and opinions, independent of the authority of other countries, except the UN, for now, but completely at the mercy of one single federal government so that we can ensure our neighbors thousands of miles away have to do what we say, until such time as they can win an important election and then we'll throw tantrums and rise up to assert our independence. At least until the military style police organization we created to enforce our will on others comes to squash our own attempts at independence."

That seems a bit too long and complicated. How about something shorter that means the same thing. "The United States died a long time ago, and while fondly remembered, shall not be confused with our current nation. Long live 'Murica!"

The people of this nation are mostly good people. The government is mostly good. Being able to change our leadership without a war is good. I'm just having a tiny bit more difficulty stamping down my internal cynic this morning than usual.

Comment Re:Passing the buck? (Score 1) 140

You know, I think maybe our proxy at work caches website data. I know my browser on my computer does. If a computer is temporarily storing data in order to make responses faster, exactly where is the delineation that makes the cached data something illegal?

I know that my local browser cache isn't sharing publicly, and I know my proxy at work isn't sharing files with the rest of the world. I know it's different. Is that the line? Is that the demarcation? Does Cloudflare review the contents of what they are sharing by hand or do they automate the process of caching? If they're reviewing content by hand, well in my mind, that makes them complicit. On the other hand, if they treat everyone the same, using an automated process, well that's different. I know the law may not see it differently, but reality makes a person responsible for their choices. If you write an algorithm that treats all customers the same, well regardless of the law, that's morally different than actually deciding to help someone do something illegal.

Our court system is built on the idea that people make the decisions of what is morally right or wrong in application of the law. That's what I'm really getting at here. Not how the laws are written, but what is right and wrong.

I really don't know the answer to what is the legal demarcation. I don't know what Cloudflare does. I admit ignorance. Educate me. Please.

Comment Re:Republican fails econ 101, shock! (Score 1) 445

Uber has shown they're wiling to play rough. I wonder if they've considered giving all (not just MA) drivers a sticker that says "If you think our costs have gone up, you should know that MA Governer Charlie Baker created a law to increase the cost of every ride by $0.20 which we cannot add to your bill. Learn more at"

If they haven't thought of it, somebody should suggest it to them.

Comment Re:A non-issue, really (Score 1) 503

With so many people upset about the pressure from MS to upgrade, it's nice to see somebody talk about the business side of it. I don't hate Windows 10, actually I kinda like it and I've been using it at work since beta days. People are upset about all the phone home stuff, but what I've seen from experts about the data it's actually sending home doesn't include anything that would concern me. That may not be the case for everybody, so I just suggest you should do your research before jumping to conclusions.

There are some things that I really like about the year of free Windows 10 updates. The first thing that appeals to me is the benefit to Microsoft, by reducing the number of non-current OS systems, they cut their operation costs pretty dramatically. I don't particularly love Microsoft, but that's just a smart business decision that I can respect. The second thing that I like is the side effects. The first side effect of consumers getting a free upgrade is an appeal to a lot of people, but the second side effect that really appeals to me is the benefit to everyone. By having less unpatched systems spreading viruses and malware in the wild we all have a little less crap coming in from the internet to deal with. Finally the thing that appeals most to me is the pressure it has put on vendors to get their software compatible with the current version of Windows. That's a big deal for enterprise where vendors often don't update their software for years and years. Suddenly they are dealing with all their customers expecting them to get current at the same time or face the possibility of losing business.

The nightmare I've personally dealt with where we have several business critical applications which aren't compatible with the same operating systems. If Windows 10 upgrade pressure gets our vendors all on the same OS then my life gets easier and I can forgive MS a multiple of sins.

(I use Linux at home due to my personal preferences. At work there are too many business critical Windows only programs to make it an option or I might have a different outlook. Sure, I'd love to find a way to migrate to Linux at work, but it's not happening anytime soon.)

Comment Re:Since neither is getting elected (Score 2) 264

I often vote third party, but not because I expect it to make any difference in that election. My intent is to demonstrate that there are voters like myself who are willing to show up to the polls but with values and goals which aren't well represented by the two primary parties. My hope is that the policy and next election cycle might be a little more inclined to try to capture my vote.

Comment Re:So what is YOUR plan? (Score 4, Insightful) 406

My first reaction is to think "what an idiot!" My second reaction is to think "Wait, this got somebody (I didn't care to hear from in the first place) into the news... is he mimicking Trump's approach?!"

Listen up United States! This is what happens when you award crackpots and morons with press. You end up with those willing to say anything getting elected. You get the government you deserve and heaven help those of us who just haven't yet built up the necessary disillusionment to emigrate.

Comment Re: Remember when the US could point fingers? (Score 1) 109

I didn't grow up* the same way as you I guess. My parents and my friends had little love for the government, though they had and continue to have a love for the country.

Thus it doesn't surprise me much to see the government acting the way it is or other governments for that matter. However, I wouldn't say they're acting out of fear, rather I'd say they're capitalizing on the fear of the people to attempt to acquire power and control... pretty much as I've always expected.*

*Most people would call me a grown up, but I'm not done yet.

*Despite the current atmosphere, posting under my own name because I believe people should be willing to be accountable, and my real name, address and phone number aren't that hidden if you're determined to use my nick here to find them.

Comment Re:Clueless... (Score 2) 109

Yes they do, and it's pretty much possible, and just as stupid as you imply. What it means is that we can expect government keys and government certs and compromises by and of the government implementing stupid things like this.

We should be cheering for this. When people in power insist on something stupid, sometimes the best you can hope for is an example of bad things that happen when stupid people get their way. If we in the US are very, very, very lucky, maybe Santa will give us bad Russian consequences to point to in our attempts to keep our own government officials from being just as stupid.

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