mfioretti: idiocy*

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  1. Beyond how vomit-inducing the video is generally, one wonders just how closely the message in the video overlaps with actual UK law. While UK law is more stringent on free speech when it comes to so-called "insulting" speech, it seems far too simple an explanation to state that any parody that is found insulting would be illegal. Let's say, for instance, that Ed Sheeran considers this parody depiction of him, complete with an anti-piracy message that comes off as the opposite of his own, is insulting. Is the UK's IPO really saying that its own video suddenly becomes illegal?

    Now, while the videos generally tread upon long-debunked ground...

    After the Meerkats found out that people were downloading their tracks from pirate sites and became outraged, their manager Big Joe explained that file-sharing is just the same as stealing a CD from a physical store.

    “In a way, all those people who downloaded free copies are doing the same thing as walking out of the shop with a CD and forgetting to go the till,” he says.

    “What these sites are doing is sometimes called piracy. It not only affects music but also videos, books, and movies.If someone owns the copyright to something, well, it is stealing. Simple as that,” Big Joe adds.

    ...there is also some almost hilarious over-statements on the importance of this messaging and intellectual property as a whole. For instance, were you aware that the reason it's so important to teach 7 year olds about copyright and trademark is because navigating intellectual property is a full-blown "life skill?"
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  2. Armstrong Zoom, a northeastern US ISP with about a million subscribers, has sent its customers warnings that they have been accused of copyright infringement, and that subsequent accusations would lead to having their network connections slowed to the point of uselessness, which could impair their ability to control their internet-connected thermostats.

    In the regions in which Armstrong Zoom operates, a malfunctioning thermostat in winter could result in frozen pipes, floods, and death of pets and even people.

    Note that the punishments Armstrong Zoom is threatening have no due process, and the customers are considered guilty without even the chance to prove themselves innocent.

    “Please be advised that this may affect other services which you may have connected to your internet service, such as the ability to control your thermostat remotely or video monitoring services.”

    Accused pirates who want their full service restored, and regain control over their thermostats, have to answer some copyright questions and read an educational piece about copyright infringement.

    When they sign an agreement acknowledging that they have done so, full Internet access is restored. However, if more complaints come in later, the consequences will be more severe.

    Piracy Notices Can Mess With Your Thermostat, ISP Warns Ernesto/Torrentfreak »
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  3. This precipitous collapse in trust in our political class and the vital institutions it oversees has arisen at an infelicitous time. Coupled with a global financial crisis that no one predicted, and amid the disorienting clamor of social media, it has surfaced an uncomfortable epiphany: the gathering realization that those who purport to be in control are, in fact, just powerless bystanders like the rest of us, beholden to their own personal knot of ignorance and bias.

    We have come to know, in some visceral way, that the complexity of the modern world is so intractable that everyone — no matter their status in society — is more or less playing at being sober adults, when in reality we all exist in a state of permanent bewilderment. Like the inner child in the poet Ted Hughes’ famous letter to his son, each one of us has been exposed as “the wretchedly isolated undeveloped little being” we truly are.
    Tags: , , , , by M. Fioretti (2017-12-14)
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  4. The trouble with ignorance is that it feels so much like expertise. A leading researcher on the psychology of human wrongness sets us straight.
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  5. Nobody needs a smartwatch. But for parents, they can be tempting. Loaded with GPS and a cellular data chip, they can both track a child and offer them a way to communicate in emergencies–without handing them the full dopamine drip that is the modern smartphone. In turn, the market research firm Gartner believes that by 2021, 30% of smartwatch sales may be for children.

    But according to a new report put out by the Norwegian Consumer Council (NCC) and the security firm Mnemonic, recently featured on BoingBoing, parents should think twice before purchasing kid-friendly smartwatches like the Gator or Xplora. Why? The watches and their connected apps tend to disregard fundamental opt-in agreements to sharing data–meaning there’s no legal pact between the user and the company holding their data. Crucially, none of the investigated watches allowed you to delete your child’s data or ensured that marketers couldn’t use that data to sell something to your child. Nor did they make it clear where all of this data was being stored. These practices aren’t just crude or careless; depending on a country’s privacy laws, they can actually be illegal.
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  6. Perhaps this student would have stressed about violating social norms in any era. But in bygone years, the social norms at her school would’ve been clear and static; whatever upset people there would’ve been easy to avoid doing. Today, so many people are declaring so many things problematic on college campuses that the next controversy is almost impossible to predict; it is increasingly common to have done something without any fear of giving offense (say, urging a sushi night in the dining hall) only to subsequently read that the thing you’re on record having done is the object of a huge controversy elsewhere. Does the faraway story portend a future where you’ll be the one in the hot seat?

    No wonder so many students are stressed out by this. And the risk-averse have it especially hard. “I probably hold back 90 percent of the things that I want to say due to fear of being called out,” another student wrote. “People won’t call you out because your opinion is wrong. People will call you out for literally anything.
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  7. ‘the people have voted to leave the EU’. This is an utterly unacceptable answer given these facts: that only 37% of the (knowingly restricted) electorate enfranchised for the 2016 referendum voted to leave the EU, and that in no mature and responsible constitutional order would such a vote be regarded as mandating a major change of national direction.

    Indeed, even had the 51.9% of votes actually cast for the Leave proposition on the day of the referendum been 51.9% of the total electorate, it would still not have been anywhere near enough to justify such a change. Such a percentage of the total electorate would have denoted a split country, and in a split country the known is the proper choice against the unknown.

    But the EU referendum did not deliver a split decision: it delivered a mere 37% in favour of Leave. It is unconscionable that the government should treat this as mandating a major historical change. It does no such thing. There is no authority, no mandate, for Brexit.

    What is the answer of government and MPs to this staring fact? How do you in government, and you MPs who have done nothing so far to stop this, answer this charge, that only 37% of a restricted electorate voted to leave the EU?

    I accordingly accuse both government and the majority of MPs of deceit and falsehood in claiming that ‘the country has decided’, that ‘Britain has voted to leave’, that ‘the people have spoken’. I accuse the government of acting in a politically illegitimate way, and thereby already bringing disastrous consequences upon our country and its future.
    Tags: , by M. Fioretti (2017-10-02)
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  8. With Facebook prioritizing video and rolling out Watch, the pivot to video trend reflects how many publishers depend on Facebook to reach users. The publishers making these changes will argue that traffic on owned and operated properties is irrelevant in the distributed platform world.

    But publishers are making a risky bet when they cast off their own websites and rely on platforms. Monetizing audiences on platforms is much harder than it is on owned and operated properties. Facebook is also notorious for randomly throttling traffic to publishers, and recent reports suggest it has declined as a source of referral traffic to publishers.

    Prohaska said he’s seen an uptick in publisher clients asking for help in weaning themselves off of Facebook.

    “People are becoming overly dependent on platforms, and it is becoming dangerous,” he said.
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  9. Last October, the Dr Seuss estate used legal threats to halt a wildly successful crowdfunded Seuss/Star Trek mashup called "Oh, The Places You'll Boldly Go," whose contributors included comics legend Ty Templeton and Tribbles creator David Gerrold.

    The Seuss estate argued that the book infringed its trademarks and copyrights. Now, the United States District Court for the Southern District of California court has ruled on the trademark question and found that there is no valid trademark claim thanks to "nominative fair use," and also indicated that it would be favorably disposed to fair use defenses on the copyright question.
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  10. I, as many other friends from the hacker community, have always been vehemently opposed to the use of electronic voting machines and for good reasons.

    Electronic voting attempts to solve a problem that just doesn't exist.
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