If I were Microsoft, I'd be making sure that when Office saves an ODF file it does so just badly enough that non-Office programs that follow the spec will produce interestingly mangled documents upon trying to read them. That way everyone else has to waste time trying to hack in support for MS's latest standards-lax bodgery, and it looks like their fault for being unable to open a file.
1538 posts • joined 20 Jun 2007
Re: Serious question: What's the difference between nudity and pornography?
The signature. If it's drawn/painted/protographed by a famous artist, it's tasteful nudity and classic art. If it's by someone you've not heard of, then it's porn. Many of the most respected artists in history liked to draw nude, erotically-posed, attractive (by their standards) women.
If Botticelli painted it, it's The Birth of Venus and gets hung up in a gallery. If you were to paint the same imaged, it'd be Hot Chick Gets Her Tits Out and be considered obscene.
Re: sensible laws
Already done. The UK has been systematically broadening the definition of child pornography for years, each time citing the need to 'close a loophole.' Ever since the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 prohibited posession of 'pseudo-photographs' - images that looked like child pornography, but were artificial in their production. Photoshop manipulation. Then in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 this was further extended to include artistic depictions and also redefined child for this purpose to not someone under-18, but someone who *looks* under eighteen - closing the 'loophole' of using young adult actors and dressing them up to play the part of a younger character. It also stated that the children don't even have to be human, they just have to have the characteristics of a human child - meaning someone in government is specifically thinking of either some of those hentai characters or furry porn.
Basically, I could draw a stick-figure couple having sex, declare one character to be underage, and go to jail for production of child pornography.
Re: More ports is still the wrong answer
You don't. Internet access is a natural monopoly, even without regulatory barriers: Once someone has laid the cables and owns said cables, it's no longer financially viable for someone new to lay their own cables and compete. The only real solution is to decouple cables from service, as we do here in the UK - but that type of heavy-handed regulation isn't going to fly in the US, where lobbyists are strong and any form of regulation is regarded as a violation of the sacred American principle of the free market.
Re: Er, timing?
Ten years trapped in one building with internet access is a whole lot better than prison, which has no internet access and is full of violent criminals.
I doubt the US would extradite. Too much diplomatic awkwardness, plus it just reenforces the martyrdom issue. No, they'd just lean harder on Sweden to do whatever it takes to get a conviction and a harsh sentence. Serving time as a rapist is a good way to get a reputation tainted.
Re: "perceived threat from foreign companies ripping the government's current regulations to shreds"
There's not much point tapping dark fiber. Dark fiber is fiber laid in excess to requirements for future use. If you're digging up roads to bury two strands, you may as well bury twenty - it won't cost significantly more, and you might need it or be able to rent it to someone else in future.
Re: There are so many problems.
We've plenty of most mineral resources left. The cheap reserves may be running out, but there are pricier ones left - and still a lot cheaper than space mining.
Maybe if you can find an asteroid of largely gold or another precious metal it might be halfway viable. But those are proper asteroids - as in 'belt.' Far, far away in delta-V terms, and very massive. The delta-M would be ridiculous. You're not bringing one of those to earth with conventional rocketry.
Re: There are so many problems.
Depends if you want to aim where it's coming down. It's a lump of rock, not an aerodynamic ship, and even if it does get down right it'll lost of of the mass to atmospheric burnup. Each 'delivery' would need to be hooked up to some equipment to carefully control reentry and fitted into a heat shield.
The alternative is in-space refining, but see the other points for that.
There are so many problems.
1. The asteroids are not near earth. Occasionally one ventures nearish, but at tremendious velocity.
2. The delta-m required to bring even a small asteroid into earth orbit is tremendous.
3. Any large, steerable body in orbit or above is potentially a hyperweapon. That is, the type of thing that makes regular WMDs look like toys. The last time a major body impacted, there were dinosaurs roaming the earth. There aren't any more. Do you want to see that in the hands of private industry?
4. No-one has the faintest idea how to do zero-G refining, with only energy as an input.
5. Most asteroids, and all comets, are crap-grade ore.
6. The only way it might be at all economical would be to keep the minerals in space, and use for space-based manufacturing of more ships - there's no point bringing most of them down, as only a few minerals (Platinum, gold) are expensive enough to justify the reentry cost. So you'd be mining minerals for an industry that doesn't exist.
It's a nice idea, but what we have here is the basic chicken and egg situation. For space industry like this to be practical requires great advances in very specific fields of technology that aren't going to advance without space industry, and a space economy to purchase the goods which can't take form until there is an established industry beyond geostationary orbit. Asteroid mining remains a pipe dream unless either someone makes a breakthrough in technology (perhaps a space elevator) or else many trillions (Yes, with a T) of dollars are thrown away on mega-projects in the hope of maybe setting up favorable economic conditions for someone else to profit from.
Re: Out of curiosity ...
1. Because no matter how much spying your government is doing, no matter how brutal your police or how corrupt your politicians, you can point to NK and claim 'See, we're not a police state like them!'
2. Everyone likes a villain they can oppose, and NK is practically a caricature of villainy.
3. Because they are constantly threatening war - they've declared war on the US twice this year. One day they might actually follow through, and then we all get an entertaining show.
No great surprise.
Modern crypto is near-unbeatable - but these are statistics for individual cases with warrants. That means in all of these, the investigators have a suspect, which means the crypto can be defeated through conventional policing methods: Get the suspects to hand over the keys for a promise of leniency, search the property for keys written down. If need be call in the forensics guys and do some mid-level-tech stuff like sneaking in and installing a keylogger. Half the time you'll break it because the user did something stupid, like using a weak passphrase.
Cryptography is still good against non-targeted dragnet monitoring though, of the type the NSA uses. It's not practical to actively modify internet traffic on a large scale - such a thing would be quickly noticed.
Re: Getting desperate?
I've no doubt they could get him for contributory infringement infringement with ease. I suspect the delay comes from a hunt for something a bit stronger to use. If he goes to jail for copyright infringement it may just create a martyr and stir up anti-US sentiment - but with a good search they might find something that would destroy his reputation too. Some real fraud would work - Dotcom has a history of involvement with dodgy businesses, there might be something there.
Re: Bitcoin to the rescue!
It does solve this particular problem. It has new problems. It's certainly an interesting idea with much potential, but of uncertain future.
The great advantage is also the great flaw. It escapes all the overhead, complication, corruption and manipulation that plagues the conventional financial system - but it also escapes the various guards against fraud and crime.
Bitcoin price is up a little.
This is the reason bitcoin was invented. Sure, it's unproven and has many serious fundamental flaws, but right now the financial industry is so hated and people are so desperate for an alternative they'll try anything that promises to escape the dependency.
I see where this is going.
I picture many lobbyists lined up at the FCC, all explaining how important it is for the government to buy their products to best benefit the children and hinting at cushy private sector jobs. I've no doubt a big chunk of the money will go to buying all those schools iPads to use with their new internet access.
Re: Er, I don't see anything wrong with it
It's not a problem for what it does directly, but for the consequences of what it does. It allows for increased international competition in the labor market. That's great for employers, and good for their customers too as some of the savings will be passed on to them. It's not good for employees, as it contributes to the 'race to the bottom' regulatory scenario. If country A (Say, the UK, or America) requires things like maternity/paternity leave, minimal annual leave days, sick pay, worker compensation for injury sustained at work, pension contributions and so on then employers will be able to simply not hire in A, and instead hire someone from country B where none of that is an issue and they are free to overwork their employees and toss them aside when finished with. This in turn means that country A has to lower their standards of worker protection to remain competative, because an exploited worker is still more productive than an unemployed non-worker.
There's always been a tension between employers and labor, but increasing globalisation tilts things a lot further towards the employer's favor. There are similar concerns about the secretive TPP treaty allowing businesses to be more internationally mobile, as it would make it much easier for them to shop around for the cheapest, most exploitable labor.
Re: A *very* small step on a very long road.
9/11 did a lot more damage to the national ego than it actually did to the country.
In terms of death toll, the 9/11 attack killed roughly as many people as die in road accidents every month in the US. Think about that: Every month, the US is hit by another 9/11 in the form of avoidable accidents. No-one cares. It's hard to see how terrorists could out-do 9/11 unless they managed to get their hands on a nuclear bomb somehow.
The TPP is about something-or-other. Hard to say what exactly that may be, as it's all secret!
The leaks reveal that it's largely about eliminating tarrifs and streamlining customs procedures between members to reduce the cost of international trade. There is also some meddling in domestic politics (It restricts the size of state-owned enterprises, part of the US's long battle against the evil commies). The contriversial parts are the intellectual property reforms. These involve shifting much of the burden of enforcement onto ISPs - requiring they block infringing websites without all that hassle of a court order, or else become liable for the infringement themselves. It appears to also broaden the scope that can be covered by patents (I'm not sure if it actually requires members recognise software patents, most of the concern is about drugs) and prohibits members from passing crisis-exemptions to allow manufacture of cheap generic drugs in the event of a public health crisis.
A lot of it is likely to duplicate the SOPA law that didn't pass in the US. Thus the secrecy. There was enough public outrage against SOPA to defeat it, so this time the backers have learned from the experience and will make sure the content of the treaty doesn't become publicly known until *after* it's been ratified. The public cannot be outraged about that they do not know about.
The Worker's Rights issue, I think - I'm not at all sure about this - relates to TPP making it a lot less risky and a lot cheaper to outsource internationally. It doesn't directly lower standards, but rather could trigger an international 'race to the bottom' to bring wages down. Good for the manufacturers and consumers, but not good for the employees, who will see even more of their jobs disappear and relocate to Vietnam where wages are even cheaper than China, unions are illegal and health-and-safely law is a distant dream. Currently outsourcing is limited by the expense of customs, tarrifs, shipping and regulation. TPP does away with a lot of that, and allows companies to very easily simply shift their operations to wherever the costs are lowest - which means whichever country has the least worker protection is going to attract industry to exploit that, and the only way to retain jobs is do do away with things like unions and workers' rights that make places like Vietnam look so attractive in comparison to employers.