Posts in the ‘Politics’ Category

The influence of video games

Enough said.  Edit: Here’s another.  And another.

Someday I’ll write a longer post about this.

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ACTA part two

Ars Technica has an article with more information about the ACTA leak I mentioned a few days ago.  What actually leaked was merely a set of notes on a verbal meeting about a draft of the ACTA.  That doesn’t mean the notes are wrong, just that we need to keep them in perspective.

Ars’ conclusion is that the relevant portions of ACTA are merely the same as the DMCA, but on a global scale.  It could conceivably, in the future, morph into BoingBoing’s nightmare scenario, but not in the immediate future.

My interpretation?  This is based on existing law – what possible reason could there be to keep it secret?  I maintain my earlier call – write your Senators and House Representatives.  We need this treaty out in the open for the whole process.

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ACTA finally leaked

The ACTA is a treaty drafted in secret which is being negotiated between most of the world’s countries and which, among other things, proposes certain agreements between governments regarding the Internet.

I suggest you read this BoingBoing summary of the Internet section of ACTA.

Did you read it?  No?  Go ahead, click that link.  I’ll wait.

Alright, you’ve read it.  Surely you’ll agree, this is A Bad Thing(tm).  There is no possible scenario in which this treaty can have a good effect on the Internet.

Please everyone, write your House Reps and Senators and demand that this be examined by professionals who actually know what they’re doing.  That way it can be destroyed before it’s ever agreed on by governments.

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“Net neutrality” demystified

The term “net neutrality” has been defined and redefined and undefined and double-defined so many times that it doesn’t mean anything anymore.  Half the people using it mean one thing, and half the people using it mean exactly the opposite.  As a result, politicians are doing more harm than good by calling something “pro-net-neutrality” or “anti-net-neutrality”, because no matter which label is chosen people will interpret it the wrong way.

So, let me define what I mean when I say “net neutrality”, so there’s no confusion for the rest of this post:  “net neutrality” is the idea that the internet should be treated as an impartial communication medium, just like a telephone network.  ISPs should not be able to prioritize one type of traffic over another for any reason other than traffic management (which I’ll get back to in a moment).

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A few political observations

I just read a few articles, and thought I’d share them with you, and some brief thoughts.  Feel free to comment on one or all of them.  Some of them are fairly old, but that’s ok :)

  • Orson Scott Card finally came back from a hiatus writing his WorldWatch column.  I no longer agree with his political views.  He’s gone from “I don’t like Obama for his policies” to “I don’t like Obama because I’m accusing him of breaking every single promise he’s ever made, and some he hasn’t.”  OSC used to provide support for his arguments.  Now he makes unsubstantiated claims.  One quote that shows OSC’s viewpoint (which I disagree with):

Now [Obama has] shown us that he’s a radical leftist at heart and all his promises — every one of them – were lies. But he’s still relatively harmless domestically because he’s such an incompetent leader, unable to hold his course or persuade even his followers.

  • This opinion column in the Wall Street Journal compares global warming to a religion – and I agree completely.  Supporters of the idea of global warming don’t seem to care about the evidence; to them, any and all climate changes are evidence of global warming, even if that evidence is global cooling.  One choice quote:

And surely it is in keeping with this essentially religious outlook that the “solutions” chiefly offered to global warming involve radical changes to personal behavior, all of them with an ascetic, virtue-centric bent: drive less, buy less, walk lightly upon the earth and so on. A light carbon footprint has become the 21st-century equivalent of sexual abstinence.

  • A commentary in the LA Times on the continual Democratic accusations that the Bush administration lied about Iraq.  The summary?  Democrats conveniently forget that the word lie implies intentional deception; nobody has ever shown that to be true of the Bush administration (and in fact, in 2004 the Senate Intelligence Committee unanimously found the claim to be false, as did the bipartisan Robb-Silberman report a year later).  One choice quote:

Four years on from the first Senate Intelligence Committee report, war critics, old and newfangled, still don’t get that a lie is an act of deliberate, not unwitting, deception. If Democrats wish to contend they were “misled” into war, they should vent their spleen at the CIA.

  • A blog post about moral consequences.  Politicians of all colors seem to claim that if they were in charge, things would be better, but they all forget that the things they don’t do carry their own consequences.  Personally, I think (my) religion drives that into us fairly well.  This blog post is not inherently political in nature (that is, the poster does not claim any particular political viewpoint), but is instead simply an examination of moral consequences, and uses various real-world examples.  One choice quote:

If you adopt the notion of “doing no harm”, aren’t you then responsible for harm that comes because of what was left undone, or done some other way?

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