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* Posts by Trevor_Pott

4453 posts • joined 31 May 2010

Snowden speaks: NSA spies create 'databases of ruin' on innocent folks

Trevor_Pott
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Re: @Trevor_Pot

@Skelband: can't disagree with anything you said, but the solution here isn't anarchy. It's controlled revolution.

All laws barring the absolute basics (don't rape, don't murder, don't otherwise deprive people of their fundamental human rights) need to have maximum time horizons. When they hit that horizon they should be brought up for review with severe prejudice towards trowing old laws out. Similarly, all quangos and government organizations should be completely dismantled on a regular basis and their design redone from the ground up with completely new staff and leadership.

Recommendations on which law to keep, which quangos/departments to keep and what the details and structure of both will be should be made by independent committees who will prepare reports based on evidence and science. Legislators who choose not to accept a committee recommendation regarding law/quango/departmental review should have to give a public rationale. If the rationale is inadequate then it should be within the power of the citizenry to get X signatures and trigger an election.

The solution to corruption is to change politicians and civil servants out regularly. Don't let power concentrate. Ensure the people have the ability to hold the elected and the unelected within their government to task.

We also need to get rid of this untenable situation where there are so many laws on the books that any given citizen is breaking several of them every single day no matter how hard they try to be decent folks. The law has become a club used to beat the innocent - and especially the poor - down.

Don't even get me started on the statistics of the US prison population, arrest ratios, conviction ratios the "war on drugs" or the sheer lunacy that is the privatization of prisons to form an "industry" around persecution and incarceration.

Governments are required...but like diapers, they need to be changed frequently and we always need to be on guard for that telltale smell.

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Trevor_Pott
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@Scott Holland

"But, in no small measure, because of his humility, belief in freedom, and dedication to the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, Americans still enjoy more freedom and more protection FROM the government than most in the world. But those protections have been steadily eroded over the decades. Snowden helped to reveal just how much."

And that's the bit that Titus Technophobe can't understand. That freedom is not "safety form terrorists." Freedom is the right to be free of government interference.

I was born a citizen of Canada. I never swore any oath of loyalty or pledged my fealty, industry or liberty to her government. I am forced to obey because if I don't obey men with guns with drag me away to prison. If I resist being dragged away, they'll kill me. Obey or die. Those are my choices.

I absolutely never pledged my loyalty, fealty, industry or liberty to the United States of America. I have said that I am not an enemy of her people or her government on forms when I cross the border, and I believe that to be an entirely truthful statement.

But neither am I a loyal servant or even an ally. I am, in fact, entirely disinterested in what happens to the USA or her people excepting where their self-immolation can and does affect my home.

I am not an anarchist, nor am I a right libertarian. I believe governments have a place - and important place - and that a social democracy is preferable to the street gangs of anarchy, feudalism, capitalism, socialism, communism, fascism, and most other forms of government.

But i also believe that the role of a government is to govern. Not to rule. That people should be free to pursue their own aims and desires so long as those aims and desires aren't deleterious to society as a whole.

We wouldn't give an atom bomb to a civilian. There is no purpose for such a device that is not deleterious to society as a whole and the risk is far too great that it would fall into the hands of someone who would actually use it - accidentally or otherwise.

Similarly, we cannot give a panopticon to a government. There is no purpose for such a device that is not deleterious to society as a whole and the the risk is far too great that it would be misused - accidentally or otherwise.

The founding fathers weren't the greatest people. In fact, in a lot of ways, it seems they were pretty awful people...but their lessons have been build upon. We've learned a few things - in blood - that reinforce what those founding fathers sought to teach...and more besides.

The purpose of freedom is to ensure that governments remain afraid of their people and never seek to rule them again. That's the bit that matters.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: @Trevor_Pot

Dragnet surveillance has indeed impacted my personal liberty. The fact that you, personally, "don't believe we've given up any liberty since 1960" doesn't mean a goddamned thing. I've seen abuses of power first hand. I've had some of those abuses directed at me, personally. Others that have affected the lives of people I care about.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I believe this is a fundamental truth of human nature.

You deny it.

Dragnet surveillance is too much power. No argument I might mount, no evidence I present would ever convince you of that, however, because no matter what evidence, no matter what history, no matter which incidents are ever brought to your attention you shrug them off by simply reasserting your personal belief.

You are like a door-to-door christian arguing their faith in God. "You can't prove that God doesn't exist so he exists." No matter how much evidence piles up against it, because the evidence isn't iron clad and absolute that person will believe steadfastly in God.

You alternate between claiming the ends justify the means and that nobody of import is affected. You are quite liberal with personal attacks in your haughty dismissive sarcasm but decry any attempt to call you on your own personal douchebaggery.

I believe in innocent unless proven guilty. I really do. But there are two issues I have with applying this precept to the NSA. The first is that corporations and government organizations are not people. They should not be granted "human rights" and they they must be held to a higher standard than individuals.

The second is that we don't need to let the western world become Nazi Germany before we act. We need to see that there is a risk of it occurring, see how it can occur, look for the first signs that power is being abused and then act to reign things in.

Abuses of power are occurring, and have been for quite some time. The the real problem is that the sheer scale and cope of what's possible today completely dwarfs anything that was possible in the 60s, 70s, 80s or 90s. ECHELON has got nothing on PRISM, and today's programs make PRISM look like a child's toy.

Our technology is racing ahead of our ethics. Our ability to cope with the social changes incurred by the accumulation and centralization of such power is far, far less than our ability to generate new technologies and new means of concentrating even more power.

I've been in the room with the overly bright lights a few too many times. I am not a man who has any plans or desires to harm others, to steal someone's job or even to do something so mundane as dodge taxes. Yet I have been to that room too often. I don't like that room, sir. I am not fond of my trips there.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and all that it takes for evil men to win is for good men to do nothing. We teach this to our children for a reason. It is a true shame these were lessons you've never learned.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: @Trevor_Pott - @Trevor_Pott

@RobHib thanks for restoring my faith in humanity. It's nice to know that someone else has learned from history. As for age...I'm 31. I've no idea what the rest of this lot are...but I grew up within a stone's throw of a military base. It played a role in shaping my beliefs. It still does.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: @Trevor_Pott

@dan1980 I believe that anyone who allows fear to rule their judgement is a coward.

To be clear: to feel fear is not to be a coward: fear is a good and necessary tool. But fear cannot be allowed to control us. It especially cannot be allowed to control the decisions we make at a societal level.

I've no interest in pussyfooting around here with conciliatory gestures and diplomacy. Straight to the heart of it!

The argument here is authoritarianism versus liberalism. It is control versus liberty. Religion versus science. It is huddling in a cave, terrified of every sound in the night versus exploration and adaptation. The argument is as old as mankind itself and just as fundamental.

Are we to be animals? Ruled by our fear and jumping at every bright light? Or are we to be men, building a better world for ourselves, our society and our descendants? That is the debate that we - as a society - are faced with today.

I don't believe that an overwhelming desire for safety is legitimate. I don't believe his "personal preference" is legitimate. I don't believe that his personal preference - or mine - matters a single bent damn.

We're not talking here about the choice of wearing blue jeans versus trousers. We're talking about the kinds of decisions that shape entire empires. We're talking about molding societies and building nations.

Authoritarian regimes based on control and "security" never work. The peasants get more than a little revolting and a whole bunch of lives are lost.

Maybe that's a lesson we need to keep relearning with each generation. Maybe humanity needs to fight this battle forever. That's deep metaphysics to which I will never have answers.

What I do know is that we have a choice. We can learn from the past or not. We can choose to overcome our animal fear or we can submit to it. Personally, I view submission to one's own fear as cowardice at a personal level and ruinously dangerous at a societal level.

It isn't, however, about what I think, or what Titus thinks. It is about the future of our nations, and whether or not we really need to relearn the lessons that our forebearers died to teach us. Every year we have Remembrance Day; even if some nations call it something else. The catchphrase is "lest we forget" and the lesson is "never again."

I have not forgotten, and I will work hard to ensure it doesn't happen again. Too many of my friends have died fighting for my liberty. I owe it to them, to myself and to my entire society to challenge any attempt by anyone - individual or government - to make their sacrifice meaningless.

If that nets me downvotes on The Register, sarcastic remarks and the hatred of some commenters...so be it.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: @Trevor_Pot

Cracking enigma was targeted, and it was spying against the military of a nation state. It was not dragnet surveillance of civilians. That's where you start getting into the SS of Nazi Germany and various other dictators throughout history.

Beyond that, your personal influence needn't extend beyond your ability to post. You influence others by voicing your opinion. An opinion so dangerous that it must be challenged. It must be challenged not only on the basis of logical arguments, but also making it perfectly clear that other members of western society absolutely do not find your beliefs socially acceptable.

The most effective defense against terrorism is to build a strong a society based on personal liberty and to never compromise your principles, no matter the actions of said terrorists. Show weakness and they will never - ever - stop until you are crushed. Giving up liberty in the vain hope of catching them is demonstrating weakness. You gain nothing and you lose everything.

To live in fear is to let the terrorists win. I'd rather die a man than live a coward.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: @Trevor_Pot

The argument has been made and made again thousands of times throughout human history. Every time people forget that liberty is too high a price to pay for the illusion of security really bad things happen. Fall of empires kind of bad.

You openly preach a doctrine of fear in full ignorance of our species history. I call that outright cowardice. I won't bother with attempting the logical back and forth because fear is by it's very nature irrational. You cannot convince someone who is motivated by fear of anything using logic. It's a basic tenet of human psychology and one of the foundational principles of group dynamics.

As for what you think of me, I do hope that you are capable of understanding this, but I could not care half a quantum fluctuation less about what you think of me. As far as I am concerned you are a coward and a traitor to our entire species. The value of your opinion to me is exactly equal the regard I have for the opinions of sociopaths: null.

What logical reason would I have to respect the opinion of someone would well sell my freedoms for the illusion of personal security? I cannot comprehend how that individual is any different than an individual who would blithely see me murdered or enslaved for $self_serving_reason. Life without liberty is no life at all. I will fight against people like you who would see me stripped of my liberty with every last ounce of strength, iota of influence, and every bent copper I have.

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. It is against those who would steal our liberties that we must be vigilant. Whether their rallying cry be the illusion of security or a deity that does not exist.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: @Trevor_Pot

"Says the guy behind a keyboard."

I use my real name, on a website where I publish articles. Go to http://www.trevorpott.com and you'll see a great big button for my LinkedIn. My address and phone number are public record and available through the local yellow pages. I own a company - http://www.egeek.ca - where the same sort of information is available through public records, and that company has been mentioned here in the comments, on my personal website and in The Register.

I hide behind neither pseudonym nor anonymous coward moniker. The individual in question is a coward not because he disagrees with me - I don't give a flaming fuck if you disagree with me, other than that I find arguing with people amusing - they are a coward because of the ideology of outright cowardice they openly espouse.

Also, for the record, I used voice recognition software to dictate that comment. So basically you're wrong about everything. Welcome to the internet. Your ignorance will be preserved forever.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: @Trevor_Pot

@ Titus Technophobe IT wouldn't matter if the level of terrorism were high or not, regardless of the ethnic provenance of the individuals doing the terrorizing. Liberty is too high a price to pay for the illusion of security..

Maybe I'll die today. Maybe it will be a heart attack from being so overwhelmingly fat. Maybe it will be a car, or lightning, a drug-crazed bum freaking out and trying to rob me or - far, far, far, far less likely - maybe I will be killed by a terrorist.

Maybe instead of me dying it will be my wife. Maybe my father or sister. Maybe we all die, or maybe we're just wounded and I have to pay large sums of money for the rest of my life to keep us going.

No matter what may come, fundamental human liberties are too high a price to pay for the illusion of security. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Even if that "one" is me. Or my wife. Or any of my loved ones.

I'm a human being god damn it. I have a choice. I am not an animal run on pure instinct and driven by fear. My ancestors died to build the society we live in today and as his noodly self is my witness, I will do my damnedest to leave it a better world than when I left.

That means - at a minimum - not giving up those rights that cost us so very much out of fear. It means - at a minimum - not allowing our society to become more like the society the terrorists are demanding we live in just because they use guerrilla tactics against civilians.

You, sir, are a coward. A dishonorable coward. One that would sell out not only your own self but the rest of your species out of abject fear. I despise you and all who are like you. I am repulsed and offended by your mewling weakness, your greed and your selfishness. I am distressed to know that we share a common genetic heritage. It sickens me..

If you live in fear of the unlikely, so much that you would betray your fellow man just to lessen the fear that little bit then perhaps you need to work on a little mental exercise.

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

The litany against fear is more effective than the rock in my left hand that keeps tigers away or the PRISM on my right that wards off terrorists. And it doesn't require selling all our souls because of your personal cowardice.

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Trevor_Pott
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I am okay with the needles going unfound. Liberty is too high a price to pay for the illusion of security.Indeed, it would be too high a price to pay even for actual security.

Leave the hay where it is, and give up the search for needles.

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French drug dealers regretfully announce 'temporary closure'

Trevor_Pott
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Re: And who says criminals don't have a ...

Legality and ethics rarely overlap.

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Thanks for suggesting eBay should flog PayPal. It's not happening, CEO tells Carl Icahn

Trevor_Pott
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Re: activist?

It must really bother you, AC, to know that there actually exist people in this world who care about more than just themselves. The real question is...why?

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: activist?

@JDX

Oh, aye, all activists are bad. The status quo is good! The rich need to get richer. The poor need to get poorer. Screw the environment, the future, children, old people, minorities, men, women, the infirm, the insane and any other group that isn't currently making out like a bandit.

Individuals need to have less control over their lives (unless they're part of the 1%) and governments need to keep pissing away money spying on their own citizens in preparation to put down the inevitable revolt.

I guess that all makes perfect sense...if you're part of the 1%. Me, I'm not. So I'll loudly disagree with you. Not all activists - or causes - are good...but a fair number are. Seems to me "activist" only has a bad name as a category amongst those who butter their bread at the expense of others.

Now lobbyist on the other hand, that leaves a sour taste. Probably because of the acidity of all that money wrecking the atmosphere...

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Verizon's transparency report shows more than 320,000 US data slurping orders

Trevor_Pott
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And how many non-customers (I.E. foreign civilians such as myself) were monitored? Hmm?

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Microsoft loses cash on each Surface slab – but core biz strong as ever

Trevor_Pott
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"Redmond's efforts to break into new areas such as hardware and the cloud, it still a company that's very much grounded in the traditional business software model. That could help it or hurt it as we enter calendar year 2014 and beyond – we'll just have to see."

Being grounded in the "traditional business software model" could indeed help Microsoft, were Microsoft willing to provide software that people want to buy at a price they can afford. Sadly, Microsoft is clinically obsessed with the concept of software rental and abjectly incapable of listening to it's customers. Thus, being grounded in the "traditional business software model"will hurt Microsoft as individuals and companies continue to invest in software and services that have nothing to do with the Beast of Redmond.

Not that Microsoft is doomed; it will take quite some time to die, thank you very much...but it has likely peaked. Maybe not in revenues - I expect those to be mostly flat for some time as it scrambles to diversify, thus doing an IBM-like job of hopping from one revenue stream to the next - but certainly in influence, mindshare and name-brand caché.

TL;DR: Microsoft have become has-beens, and they've aught but their own hubris to blame.

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WHEW! OpenBSD won't CloseBSD (for now) after $100,000 cash windfall

Trevor_Pott
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Re: RE: Volenteers != free

It's more likely that "free hosting" means "a few virtual private servers" which is nothing compared to the stacks of hardware they have now. More to the point, what they've got now probably falls apart if you blow on it gently. Moving to a hosting provider other than a colo that would let them simply dump their existing boxes directly would probably take months of trying to unsnarl the complex setups that tie the whole thing together.

If the thing is hosted in someone's garage - as was suggested above - perhaps the whole thing is tightly integrated with someone's personal network. I.E. some of the equipment in question is actually running on the dude's personal storage, or reliant on it for backups. Maybe he feels he needs LAN-class network access to move files around, or gods only know what else.

My point here is that what prevents folks from moving stuff in a situation like this is rarely outright financial cost. Nobody would begrudge the OpenBSD gang from paying a dude a salary if he needed one to keep the lights on. The "don't move the servers" think most likely has more to do with workflow disruptions and/or configuration nightmares involved in such a thing than it does anything else.

Don't assume malice when simpler explanations are more likely.

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VMware blows $1.5bn gobbling AirWatch to boost mobe wrangling

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Horizon Workspace...

I have been told that "all workforce mobility and endpoint stuff will be branded under the Horizon brand", however, that's not an official answer. There was rationale behind it, however, that sort of made sense...if you're a marketing wonk. :/

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Trevor_Pott
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My email to VMware on the topic: "VMware bought Airwatch. Does this mean we're finally getting a real mobile hypervisor? The one VMware's been sitting on forever?

Enquiring minds want to know…

--Trevor"

VMware's response: "Guess you will have to wait and see :-)"

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Not even 1.4m users can save 4Chan founder Chris Poole's startup

Trevor_Pott
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Re: I think I see the problem...

Sure. Google bought Youtube on the same basis. Several years later, Youtube is a profit center. Capturing users actually is the hard part. When you move to monitisation you follow the 80/20 rule: keep the 20% of your users that are willing to pay and cut the 80% of dead weight off. Oddly enough, it actually works.

A good example here is Dropbox. Would "most" Dropbox users pay for the service? Hell no. Most people would move on to the next cheap whatever. There are a lot, however, that if Dropbox said "tomorrow we are going to start charging $X/month" they would get out the credit card and just whack the mole.

About the only place this doesn't apply is social networks. Here you aren't offering a product to be consumed or used. You are offering a communications system, and that means that the value of the platform to anyone is directly proportional to how many people are on the system. (More accurately, how many people that individual user actually cares about are on the system.)

A phone network that only reached 1 in 10,000 people wouldn't exactly be worth a hell of a lot of money, unless those 1 in 10,000 people had something in common and a reason to establish a communications system that only encompassed their group.

So the fundamental model of "get a bunch of users, get venture capital, cash out and let a trained CEO take the venture to profitability" is not fundamentally broken. It is, however, something that only really applies to certain types of products and doesn't apply at all to social networks.

Instagram is another example here. The Instagram thing wasn't about the "social network" element. It was because it offered a platform for online imagery collection with a large userbase. Now the trick is to convince photo labs around the world to accept orders via Instagram and convince users to pay for photographic products.

Ultimately, Instagram will expand to allow professional photographers to mount galleries as online proofs with integrated ordering (Similar to ImageQuix.) This is where the real meat-and-potatoes will come from, as the "art"-class prints can run quite a bit of money. A 40"x30" mounted on canvas and properly sealed is something a professional photographer can sell for $3000 in the right market. Metal prints or backlit acrylic stuff can go for even more...and there is always some swank office tower somewhere looking for a nice picture of the skyline for their lobby.

So Instagram will take several years to follow a Youtube trajectory. Gradually offering more and more professional services. Advertising, lab integration, etc. Ultimately, they'll get click charges on orders or even % of total transaction setups. The name cache of "Instagram" will have value. The average punter knows what Instagram is. They haven't the foggiest clue in hell who ImageQuix let alone the lab-branded online galleries.

At least, that's the theory. Whether or not Facebook has the nous to pull it off is an entirely different story.

Startups, eh? *madness*

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Hey, G20. Please knock it off with the whole tax loophole thing - we're good guys, really

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Well of course they are

And what we're saying is that the SCOTUS decision is - to put it mildly - fucked up beyond all repair. Other countries get along just fine without corporations being persons. Other countries get along fine without corporations having the right to unlimited campaign contributions, or the right to a "religion" or any of the other bullshit that the USA has come up with in this regard.

You can create a legal category for "non-person entity" that means the entity can be sued for doing bad things without that entity having to be a person or having the protections of a person. Your arguments are simply flawed from the outset, Tim.

There is no rational reason to apply the human rights - such as free speech - to a corporation. A corporation is merely a means to shield entrepreneurs from certain legal consequences so as to reduce risk and better encourage entrepreneurship within a nation.

This legal shield - like patents - is a compromise. It is taking something away from society as a whole - the ability to hole to account those who run a corporation under various circumstances - in order to encourage a specific behavior. For a society to function properly, corporations themselves must not be viewed as "persons" unto themselves.

A patent grants a person a monopoly over an implementation of an idea for a fixed period of time in order to encourage people to invent. So long as the balance is carefully nurtured and maintained this ends up with a net benefit to a society. Similarly, a corporation grants an individual immunity from the debts accrued by a corporation from becoming their personal debts in order to encourage entrepreneurs to risk their personal capital and found a new business.

Both concepts can go horribly sideways and be misused. In the United States this has happened quite dramatically. Worse: the USA has started treating corporations more and more as though they have most of the rights of natural persons but none of the responsibilities.

What benefit to society is there in creating a separate class of "persons" with nearly all protections of society, a strong incentive to behave like complete sociopaths regarding the health and welfare of others, the influence brought about by concentrated capital, but meaningless levels of social responsibility and ineffectual enforcement of what little regulation exists?

The USA's approach to corporate personhood is both morally and ethically bankrupt. None of the extraneous crap that has become layered on top of corporate personhood needs to exist to accomplish the original goal of providing a firewall between debt collectors and entrepreneurs so as to encourage increased entrepreneurship.

A corporation must be viewed as an extension of the people who own and run it, not as a person in and of itself. It is an extension with limitations, but it is an extension nonetheless.

That the USA - via the SCOTUS, amongst other decision-making organs - has decided they want to take their society into an ever more polarized hell typified by increasing class strife and plutarchy does not make is right. That something is legal does make make it moral or ethical. Similarly, it can be - and increasingly is - entirely moral and ethical to do things that are illegal.

The USA has lost it's way and in no single instance is this more evident than the SCOTUS decision behind Citizens United. That is what people are discussing here, Tim. Our unease and outright hostility towards that decision. The fact that the society the USA is creating is emphatically not the society we want to leave to the next generation.

I don't expect you will ever be able to understand any of that...but maybe if you analyze the thread a little then in the future you'll be able to better separate a discussion about facts from one about morality and ethics. Nobody is here is debating the facts. We all agree on what has happened.

We simply don't agree with the rationale as to why those decisions were taken, nor do we see them as positive today, or for the future of our society. That's the bit you all to frequently miss, sir. The humanity of the situation.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: "Taxes need to be levied where the money is"

"You can also wait and tax inheritances." Which can be gotten around in a dozen different ways. Even I can think of methods to dodge inheritance taxes. I'm pretty sure a bunch of on-the-ball tax lawyers would know that one cold.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Well of course they are

"Given this would you prefer that corporations were not legal people?"

Yes. Corporations can't go to jail. They only very rarely see the corporate veil pierced and see directors or executives go to jail. Corporations have a long, rich history of committing crime after crime and getting away with it, or getting hit with little more than a slap on the wrist.

When I compare that nonsense to the damage they have been able to do to the US (and frankly, Canadian) political, social and economic landscape through unchecked (and uncapped!) political donations I find that the greatest good for the greatest number is in taking the powers and privileges of personhood away from corporations as it has been demonstrated repeatedly and disastrously that they absolutely cannot use them responsibly. (And now corporations are allowed to have a religion?!? The fuck, what?)

Corporations should not be legal persons. If they break the law beyond what would be considered a minor breach of protocol/paperwork or a very minor misdemeanor (I.E. things that are understandable to have screwed up because our legal system is incomprehensibly complex) then the corporation should simply be dissolved.

Those who run and own the company are to act with honour and the best of intentions or they lose the privilege of running a corporation. Period.

As part and parcel of this, corporations lose their ability to bribe politicians and quangos outright. Any attempt to donate goods or services to a political campaign by a corporation should result in the immediate dissolution of the corporation and locking away the brass hats that run the thing for a very long time.

One vote per natural person. Period. None among us should be allowed to purchase influence with money.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: an example....

"corporation tax is unfit for purpose and should be replaced"

Replaced with what? Seems to me the proletariat can't afford more of a tax burden than they suffer now, and there's no way on this earth you'll a G20 country is going to raise capital gains by a meaningful amount.

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Tax the proletariat, you mean. After all, it's only fair, right? Goods and services taxes are fair, no? Progressive taxation is bad. Evil! Why should we tax the rich more than the poor? That's discrimination!

Then you can get into the fallacy that the rich will pay more tax in a GST scenario. Though they rarely do. After all, the rich only eat so much, only have so many cars, only need so many clock-radios, etc. And the tax shortfall that occurs when you move to regressive taxation? Just up the rates! After all, it's fair, isn't it?

That person making $20,000 a year should be paying out a good 30% of that - at least! - in goods and services taxes. That person making $2,000,000 a year should only pay out a good 0.3% of that in goods and services taxes. It's only fair!

Businesses are where the money is concentrated. Unless you are willing to dramatically reform capital gains taxes as well as move to a proper progressive system, then saying "no business taxation" is the same as saying "tax the poor, not the rich."

Taxes need to be levied where the money is. No matter how hard you try you just can't tax the destitute enough to keep your roads and sewers and private-terminal-equipped airports running.

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Just as Google, Microsoft catch up with Amazon cloud prices, Bezos whips out the axe on S3 again

Trevor_Pott
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Premise: the cloud is ideal for small businesses.

I'm going to use my home storage as a template here. It is similar in size to many of the 25-seat SMBs I work with.

Home lab + media + house files = 16TB home storage

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Amazon costs:

$0.06 x 1024 x 16 = $983.04 /month

$983.04 x 12 = $11796.48 /year, not including bandwidth costs or Amazon Transit costs.

Synology Costs:

Synology DS1513+ 5-bay NAS $900 x 2 = $1800

4TB Western Digital RE 7200RPM SATA $453.50 x 10 = $4535

$1800 + $4535 = $6335 for 16 TB at RAID 5 + RAIN 1, shipping, power and setup costs not included.

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Backups are required in both scenarios, as neither setup protects against fumblefingers or "oops." You can make the Synology setup virtually indestructible by swapping out one of the 5 bay devices for a 5-bay IOsafe for a few hundred dollars more while preserving the RAIN capabilities.

Once set up, a Synology RAIN pair requires virtually no maintenance. The Disk Warranty is 5 years long. Let's do some maths.

Assuming the Amazon costs drop by 10% year on year we have $11796.48 + $10616.83 + $9555.15 + $8599.63 + $7739.67 = $48307.76 total Amazon cost for 16TB over 5 years, not counting the cost of bandwidth or transit.

Assuming we opt for an IOsafe/Synology pair (and that IOsafe commands the MSRP $800 premium) we have $6335 + $800 = $7135 total Synology cost for 16TB over 5 years. Shipping, power, and setup costs not included.

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Let's make things interesting and assume that we need as close to zero repair time as is practicably possible for our RAID + RAIN IOsafe/Synology setup. That means we need spares on the shelf.

So let's say we go for three IOsafe 1513s (3x $1700 = $5100) for the NASes and we buy two spare disk drives to cope with RMA lag, bringing out total disk cost up to $453.50 x 12 = $5442. That should see us through 5 years with room to spare. I have many such setups in the field and can say pretty confidently that they eat about $100 per year in power each; that's $200 per year for the pair or $1000 over 5 years.

That makes Amazon's $48307.76 versus the "IOsafe/Synology RAID 5 + RAIN 1 with cold spares on the shelf" approach which costs $11542. Over the course of five years Amazon costs $36765.76 more.*

The argument for the cloud is that it lowers your total cost of ownership by removing the onerous costs of paying nerds to know and fix things. This means that Amazon is adding $36765.76 worth of value above the $11542 cost of the raw hardware approach I described.

Could someone please explain to me how SMEs can afford to pay $36765.76 in "added value" to set up and run 16TB of storage? I'm quite obviously missing a very fundamental piece of economics.

Some of the top minds in our industry adamantly proclaim that all SMEs should be using public cloud services exclusively. The only conclusion I can draw from this is that I do not charge anywhere near enough money for my services.

*The cost of bandwidth and transit over those 5 years isn't part of this calculation, nor is shipping for the Synology set. The bandwidth will be expensive for most people - and could be disastrously costly, depending on your ISP and data caps - while the shipping will for most people be insignificant.

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LogMeIn: We're stopping our free offering from, errrm, NOW

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Shock, horror

Who is outraged that we are asked to pay? Nobody I know. There's outrage at the lack of time given. There are a lot of folks considering moving to alternatives because the premium offerings don't match up. I don't know of anyone saying "I deserve to have a free offering forever."

"24 hours notice is a dick move, guys" is a valid complaint for the free-tier users to level at the company.

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Trevor_Pott
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Gotta join the "happy Teamviewer customer" crowd on this one. Couldn't live without it.

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No one's likely to get rich selling disks in '14... but it won't stop 'em trying

Trevor_Pott
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I think the key thing to bear in mind is simply this: one size does not fit all. There has been enough technology developed around dynamic, programmatically configurable (software-defined) storage that now virtually any niche can have their needs met without tossing virgins into Mt Erebus.

This is terrible news for EMC, as it means that their stranglehold on the market will disintegrate...but it also means that vendors are now fighting both on fitness for purpose and price at the same time. Gone are the days of overpaying for storage or overpurchasing by 50%+ the amount you need. Whether your bottleneck is raw capacity, redundancy, replication, IOPS or some combination there is a vendor out there that has exactly the product you need for to get the right ratio of features for a price you can afford.

The wailing and gnashing of teeth taking place is the howling of the entrenched against commoditisation. The overwhelming applause is the rest of the world, cheering and hollering: "about frakking time!"

Compute is a commodity. Storage is a commodity. We need to get dynamic networking into the same state and then we can move off infrastructure and towards the commoditisation of industry-specific software applications. Silicon Valley is chalk full of wild-eyed bright young things, all looking to make their millions. They are doing so by ruthlessly and relentlessly decimating the monopolies and margins of their predecessors.

2013 saw the beginning of the end of the storage monopoly. Good riddance.

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Hacker breaks into ThrustVPS, launches phishing attack from firm's own servers

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Bravo!

Indeed. Companies that behave honorably but occasionally screw up are preferable to companies that are hostile towards honourable behavior but screw up ever so slightly less.

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HP sticks thumb in Microsoft's eye, extends Windows 7 option for new machines

Trevor_Pott
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Re: A Linux User Just MAY Buy a New HP PC To Get the Last of the Real Windows OSs.

Lenovo has heavily advertised Windows 7 support for some time. IMNSHO, this is the reason Lenovo has been kicking everyone else's ass during 2013.

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Trevor_Pott
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@Ken Hagan

I still can't say the same for Windows 8.1. Even with a Start Menu replacement, there's still hotcorners making remote support and/or remote access in a windowed client a flipping nightmare. Controls and settings are hidden, illogical and non-unified. Worse, they've replaced menu + toolbar with ribbon bars all over the OS. These are functionality and usability issues that make Windows 8 AND 8.1 a no-go for me.

That's before we get to the aesthetic issues of the Metro UI, especially as it applies to the desktop. Flat, featureless chrome just doesn't work for my brain. I need to see my click/touch targets. The inability to revert Windows 8 to classic mode is a real issue for me: my brain has trouble instinctively finding which button to push to make the necessary events occur, because it's all flat. I actually have to think about where to click and what to click on, something that slows down my day-to-day interaction with the PC.

In the end, there are a bunch of "minor" changes to the UI that cumulatively result in an OS in which common tasks that were so ingrained as to be autonomic take me longer to accomplish than in the previous incarnations of the same OS.

Why the would I pay money for that? 8.1's additional button or no?

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: I like it but I can sympathise.

"Quick POP QUIZ: List the way(s) in which Windows 7 differs from XP, visually without having to cite the Aero Interface. Which is just XP Task Bar with a Translucent Alpha Chanel and a gimmicky 3D Task Switcher? ...."

The poxy whoresons took away my up arrow. 5 years of use, and I still loathe "breadcrumbs". End up installing classic shell on all my long-term Win 7 systems just to get the up arrow back.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: I like it but I can sympathise.

Amorous Cowherder: I think I'm going to use that comment in an article. Your story is a great description of exactly how software transitions should be managed. Where the existence of choice creates options that lure individuals away from existing installs, not where users are forced without recourse. We may disagree about the utility and usability of Windows 8, but the concept of mobility between systems is important.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: @AC 101 06:51

"Hypocritically, these are generally the same people who boast about how many 3rd party GUIs there are for Linux"

"Linux" is a kernel. Technically, every GUI for Linux is a "third party GUI." I believe that Linux supports boast about the fact that the OS they use respects end-user choice...a concept towards which Microsoft is quite openly hostile.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Microsoft and movie sequels

Empire.

Blasphemy!

Empire had the better ending! I mean, Luke gets his hand cut off, finds out Vader's his father, Han gets frozen and taken away by Boba Fett. It ends on such a down note. I mean, that's what life is, a series of down endings. All Jedi had was a bunch of Muppets.

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FCC net neutrality blueprint TRASHED by US appeals court

Trevor_Pott
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Re: @Trevor_Pott: What have you been smoking?

Well, if that was indeed you and you were intending to communicate something different than I interpreted, I do apologize for that. I also recommend that you take remedial English as you suck at communicating. Regardless of your intent you really did come off as an anti-natural-person right-wing libertarian, at least to me. If it makes you all angsty that I have zero respect for individuals with that ethos, too bad.

Also: please go to Somalia simply on account of you being a huge douche, regardless of your personal belief systems. There now, can we haz be friends nao? Cheers.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: @Trevor_Pott: What have you been smoking?

It is always possible I misread something. The forum gives the fellow the ability to come in and correct me if I misread him. Rereading what he wrote, I still stand by my original interpretation of "status quo good, pro-citizen regulation bad." If that wasn't the view he intended to communicate then I have to say he sucks at communicating.

Subsequently there were no comments by the OP attempting to say "hey, you've misinterpreted me, I actually think regulations that prevent corporations from screwing over an entire nation are probably a good idea." Instead there was a truckload of right-libertarian crazy careening around drunkenly with it's brakes cut.

If I did misinterpret the OP, well shucks, sir, I'm sorry. I'd be interested to know what you intended to write in a better communicated and more detailed post. If, however, my assessment of the OP as defending the status quo is correct, then I don't apologize in the least and I hope he's the first to have his bill raised and his access restricted when ISPs realize they have carte blanche to wreck the market.

Wibble wobble wubble.

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Your squirty insecticides make bumblebees SHRINK, warn boffins

Trevor_Pott
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A significant chunk of the world's ecosystems will collapse without bees. That means not just a loss of things plants we eat, but a loss of plants that our prey eats. Worse, the ecosystem change may well be large enough to drive climatic shifts (via changing of hydrology due to alteration in ground cover) which could result in massive changes in "what is arable land."

Short version: humans may survive without bees...but if so, there will be a hell of a lot fewer of us, and I doubt our civilization would make it through the bottleneck. Long version: it would precipitate a mass-extinction event. An even bigger one than we as a species are already responsible for.

So here's a thought: let's just avoid running the experiment, and keep the bees, eh?

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Hmm...

"What is in no doubt is that with no bees, we are fucked and with no means to control pests we are as fucked anyway..."

Bullshit. Without bees we are royally, completely, hopelessly, eternally fucked. Without a means to control pests our crop yields will be lower and we will be less profitable.

Do not conflate the two, they are not remotely equivalent.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: OY You lot, over here.

That's because the idea of cell phones harming bees is utter bollocks. There is no scientific evidence for it. There isn't even a theoretical mechanism of action! Every hypothesis I've read on the subject is facile and easily debunked.

That's a ridiculous as "cell phones give you brain cancer." And frankly, if you believe cell phones give you brain cancer you know so little about science that I demand you isolate yourself on a lonely island north of Ireland and never interact with humanity again. The ignorance of such an individual is a far greater risk to our species than non-ionising radiation emissions ever will be.

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Ancient carving of 'first human-built holy place' = Primitive Vulture Central

Trevor_Pott
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Scorpion

The explanation of the scorpion is here.

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Smog-hit Beijing shows sunsets on a giant TV to remind people what the sun looks like

Trevor_Pott
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Environmental protections are for hippies. If you're rich enough you can afford a great excursion suit for those rare times you have to leave your hermetically sealed vehicle, office or house. The markets do solve the problem: you just don't like the solution.

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Google cleared to land in private terminal at Silicon Valley airport

Trevor_Pott
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That's a long bus ride for San Jose airport to the Googleplex. I hate that drive. I guess it's more palatable if someone else is doing the driving...

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China in MASSIVE rare earths industry consolidation

Trevor_Pott
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Re: A monopoly is all we need

"Which sounds like an excellent idea really. There's a limited amount of capital in the world, profit is the measure of how much value is being added by deploying that capital. Thus we *want* people to be deploying their capital where it makes the largest profits."

No. That's what sociopaths who only care about profits want.

Human beings capable of emotions like sympathy, compassion, curiosity and wonder want investment to be made where it makes the greatest benefit for the greatest number. Profit generation does not meant he greatest benefit for the greatest number. Profit generation usually means finding regulatory loopholes and dumping externalities onto citizens.

The tantalum mine thing is a great example. The fact that a tantalum mine exists which could extract tantalum doesn't make it equal to the next. There are all sorts of considerations beyond the mere availability of ore. What's in that ore? How does that affect the cost of refining it? Where are you getting your labour (both for extraction and refining) from? What is the environmental impact of extracting and refining the ore? What is the stability of the country, the labour force, the regulatory environment, etc?

These are all factors that have effects on both profit and the ethics of making that profit. Both things - profits and ethics - are very important to those of our species that aren't sociopaths.

Of interest to me also are the two mines you mentioned. Tanco and Sons of Gwalia.

Sons of Gwalia was both a gold mine and a Tantalum mine. The company operating it mad a bunch of really stupid hedges and stock market moves and gold volatility subsequently tanked the property. Demand for tantalum had nothing to do with it: greed and ineptness ensured the downfall of that property independent of any other considerations.

Currently, there are a lot of people trying to get the red tape resolved ASAP and willing to sink a fair amount of money into that mine to get it back up and running. The demand is there for the tantalum it produces. The dog and pony surrounding getting it back up is another story.

Tanco is a completely other issue. The tantalum that comes out of there isn't exactly top quality, nor is the mine set up to be a tantalum mine. Tantalum is an afterthought: the real goal is cesium. The tantalum there has a lot of radioactives and refining it is a bitch and a half. Every gram of refined tantalum coming out of that mine would end up costing about double what the blue river mine would be producing it for.

Tanco is still an operational concern. They just don't feel that hauling tantalite out of the ground at scale and then refining it is worthwhile, given the costs of doing so from that source. Which is - quite frankly - more than fair enough. As mines go, it's an expensive, messy proposition to mine that ore in a safe and environmentally acceptable fashion. To say nothing of the cost of refining. Put bluntly: Canada has a lot better properties for getting Tantalum.

If all we were concerned about was profits then we should just be raping and murdering our way across Africa and using Tantalum from there. It's cheaper than anything any western or eastern mine could produce. For that matter, why don't we just go back to slavery? It's economically efficient. We should jettison environmental regulations and consumer protections...the list goes on.

There's more to it than "the greatest profit." There's obtaining an ethical profit. Ensuring the long term stability of your revenue stream. There are environmental considerations. Labour considerations.

You say "get the most profit possible for your investment." I say "get profit from a stable source that does the least possible amount of damage, even if it isn't the highest profit you could obtain."

Now, admittedly, I'm not a billionaire industrialist so it's easy to argue that my opinion is completely invalid in the context of making money. On the other hand, I'm also not someone running mining/drilling/venture companies into the ground with stock market (or materials market) manipulation schemes...something that seems to be standard operating procedure for the overwhelming majority of companies in the mining industry, including the owners of one of the mines you mentioned. (Sure as as hell stock market scams and manipulations are a very prevalent part of the Canadian minerals scene.)

Thus I come back to my original statement: there's a perfectly good mining property here that could produce all the tantalum anyone could want. It can do it cheaper than any other except the African rape-and-murder mines. It would do far less environmental damage and occurs in a place where the regulatory and labour environment are stable. It just wouldn't produce enough profit, and so it isn't of interest to the very same people screaming loudly that "there isn't enough rare earths availability."

In other words: the greedy sons of bitches screaming about rare earths availability can shut the fuck up. They can have all the rare earths they want as soon as they decide to obtain them. They can even have them at decent prices. Their whinging isn't about availability or even source. It is about their constant desire to increase profits, no matter the human, economic or environmental costs.

I hold those people - and anyone who defends their way of thinking or behaving - in nothing but the absolutely highest of contempt.

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FCC boss: I get knocked down, but I get up again. You're never gonna keep net neutrality down

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Doesn't it depend what you mean *by* "net neutrality" ?

@Steve Knox A slippery slope is not always a logical fallacy. It is only a logical fallacy if the individual using the argument can demonstrate a clear means by which one could "tumble down the slope." I think the means - and the motives - are clear in this case, making the slippery slope argument valid.

Also: if you prioritize one packet then by definition you are deprioritizing all others. Inspecting the content in order to prioritize a packet A) is a massive privacy violation and B) doesn't remove the original dilemma that by prioritizing "the chosen 1%" you are forcing "the other 99%" to make do with fewer resources.

More to the point, the current trend is to encrypt everything (and that's a fantastic thing.) No method by which you can snoop on content. (Unless you're the NSA and have compromised everything.)

That means you can only reliably prioritize based on source/destination. Pray tell, why not prioritize packets from white neighbourhoods above those of black neighbourhoods? Or from political campaign contributors above those of political opponents.

Oh, you find that suggestion illogical? I feel the same way about saying we should prioritize packets from those with more money over those with less. That's what this all boils down to, at the end of it.

Are we to build an equal society - digitally as well as in the real world - or not? I believe we should. You don't seem to. Never the twain shall meet.

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'Toothless' environment protections in secretive global trade pact TPP leaked all over the web

Trevor_Pott
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Re: U.S. Citizens

My own country's economy would be severely shaken by this effort. The world would have to scramble to cope with any such major change.

It's a sacrifice worth making.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: U.S. Citizens

War is unnecessary. I do, however, advocate global abandonment of all free-trade treaties with the US and a series of economic blockades be established until they get their shit sorted. Plutocracy is no better than theocracy.

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NSA: It's TRUE, we grab 200 MILLION of your text messages A DAY globally

Trevor_Pott
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Pint

If you have nothing to hide you probably don't have enough beer. :)

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Boffins hampered by the ampere hanker for a quantum answer

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Nail that Electron

Reroute the EPS flow through secondary relays and cycle the pattern through the cargo pad buffers. Once there, you should be able to get a lock on the pattern in the cargo pad buffers by using a second annular confinement beam.

Just make sure you track both beams and re-integrate them, otherwise you'll clone whatever's in the buffer.

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