Tag Archives: interesting
The Register has an interesting article about the sheer absurdity of having to click “I Agree” to some legal document every time you install a piece of software, or sign up for a website. No one actually reads the document, and even if they did, they wouldn’t understand half of it — not unless they were lawyers, anyhow. Furthermore, it’s a giant drain on society: looking at the Adobe Flash license alone, and assuming it takes someone ten minutes to read it, the world has wasted over 50,000 working lifetimes of man-hours in just the past year. Clearly, this does not happen.
And yet, the farce continues. It’s reminiscent of other legal documents that most people just blindly initial in a few places and sign at the bottom: apartment leases, car rental agreements and credit card applications. The rationale being that some legal documents are boiler-plate: we know what a standard lease says and by signing it without reading it, all we’re saying is “we’ll play by the standard rules”. But while most leases are standard and the expectations widely known, the same doesn’t hold true for software. There’s no standard End-User License Agreement, or Terms and Conditions, and they could say anything.
For example, the Flash license doesn’t allow maintaining a copy of it, even in backups; since most backups are automatic, you’re violating the license without even knowing it. “That’s ok, Adobe isn’t gonna come after me for accidentally backing Flash up.” And that’s true — at least not until they have a reason to. But when they do, watch out: the whole point of the license agreement is to give the software maker leverage. If they for some reason do want to sue you, they can dig up so many infractions of their 3500-word license that you’ll have no choice but to capitulate. Because given enough rules, everyone will be guilty of breaking some of them, just due to sheer statistics.
From The Register
In the US, marriage licenses were introduced the late 1800s in most states as a way to stop interracial marriages. By the early 1900s, the legal age of sexual consent was raised from 12 (roughly the age when puberty starts) to 16 — though some states still allow marriage as early as 14 years old. The marriage license was then also used to prohibit marriages with people that were too young. Also in the late 19th century, polygamy became illegal throughout the country in response to the rise of the Mormons, and marriage licenses were used to stop it as well. Finally, as homosexuality came out of the shadows in the 1970s, the licenses were used to prevent gay marriage.
Since marriage is usually a religious rite, in a country with nearly unlimited religious freedom the government’s interest in marriage should only pertain to secondary issues of taxation and arbitration (inheritance, custody, distribution of assets, etc). Given that, the various prohibitions on marriage by government have never made any sense from the standpoint of civil rights. The issue first came to a head in the 1960s, when the Supreme Court invalidated miscegenation laws prohibiting interracial marriage. Almost fifty years later, the Court is now poised to invalidate the prohibition of gay marriage. If it does, marriage licenses will only have the power to prohibit polygamy and violations of age of consent.
A federal suit challenging Utah’s polygamy law was brought in 2011 by the cast members of the Sister Wives reality TV series, and a decision should come soon. Regardless of the outcome, an appeal will likely be made to the 10th Circuit, and then the Supreme Court. Which brings us back to the current gay marriage case: Justice Sotomayor, who will likely vote for legalization of gay marriage, asked attorney Ted Olson, who is arguing that gay marriage is a fundamental civil right, if any restrictions on marriage can exist. His answer was a “yes”: polygamy can be banned because it’s a law prohibiting conduct, whereas gay marriage bans are based on discrimination of a class of people based on their status as homosexuals. Given that both arguments can be applied to both gays and polygamists, it’s a very weak one.
Prohibition of interracial marriages was based on racism — the view that non-whites were lesser versions of humans, maybe even sub-human, and it would thus be almost as morally wrong for whites to marry them as it would be to marry animals. The prohibition of gay marriage and polygamy is based on religious beliefs. The concept of age of consent is based on a parental desire to prolong the chastity of childhood beyond its natural end at puberty. None of these legal prohibitions have anything to do with the government’s monetary and arbitrative interest in the private, and usually religious, institution of marriage. All four prohibitions are based on the moral fashions of certain periods in our history — fashions which are now changing. In fact, marriage itself is increasingly being seen as an outdated fashion, made pointless by the ease of divorce.
It’s also important to note that legal prohibitions of marriage have little bearing on reality. Whether or not they’re allowed to marry legally, interracial, gay, and polygamous couples/triples/etc still act like they are married for all purposes that matter: they live together, they have sex, they share expenses and have children. The only differences are legal, and therefore artificial: they have to jump through hoops to get certain rights like hospital visitations and power of attorney, and are denied certain benefits, like sharing insurance plans. It’s reminiscent of other toothless prohibitions, like those on alcohol and drugs. If 20th century legislation has taught us anything, it’s that it is almost impossible to legislate morality in a free country: as long as they have the right to privacy, the people will do what they want in their own homes.
Of course, our right to privacy is increasingly being threatened by technology, and it is now easier than ever for a fascist state to impose moral dictates on its population. Which in turn means that it is now more important than ever that our laws not curb the freedoms upon which America was founded.
- So You Want To Marry Your Gay 14-Year Old First Cousin
- Utah Polygamy Law To Be Challenged
- Why Privacy From Government Is Necessary For Everyone
Earlier this week, Dove released a video of a forensic artist drawing two pictures of a series of women. One picture was drawn according to how the woman described herself, and the other was drawn according to how another woman described her. It turned out that women were overly critical of themselves, and the descriptions from other women were much more flattering and realistic:
So of course, three days later, a parody with men was made. This time, the men described themselves to the forensic artist, and women also described them, for a second drawing:
Aside from The Lands of Fire and Ice book, the HBO Viewer’s Guide has the best map of the world from Game of Thrones. It’s been on their website since the first season, but it was very meager then. During the second season, it got a big update with a lot more detail, and the most complete map of the eastern continent, Essos, anywhere. This year, the update’s not as big, but it does have more detail and more cities that didn’t appear in the season 2 version. Beyond that, the viewer’s guide also added an appendix that has more history and background info.
The only weird thing is that when you click on some cities, it pops up with a “People of this region” dialog box, except that what it really means is “People that having been in this region”. For example, in the screenshot above, Robb Stark is most certainly not of the Twins. He just passed through there a couple of times. Robb Stark is of Winterfell.
You probably know South African director Neill Blomkamp from his first and only movie, District 9, which was about a ghetto full of aliens that look like giant shrimp. Well, it looks like he’s found his calling: after having tackled the especially South African issue of racial segregation in District 9, his next movie will look at the Western issue of immigration. It’s called Elysium, and it’s about a future in which a terrorist uses deadly force to illegally immigrate into
America Elysium, in order to steal medical technology and destroy The Great Satan.
King Joffrey may look like he’s 13, but he’s actually 20. The actor’s name is Jack Gleeson (no relation to Jackie Gleason) and back in 2005 — when he actually was 13 but looked like he was 8 — he had a small park in Batman Begins:
And then someone made this joke:
Given that the scene above isn’t in the video above it, it’s impossible to tell if the joke has any basis in reality… at least not without re-watching Batman Begins — and ain’t nobody got time fo’ that.
via George Takei
The marketing machine must be gearing up for May 17th opening of the second Star Trek 2, because we have two new trailers in less than two weeks. This one has less Millennium Falcon than the last one, and more Benedict Cumberbatch – who everyone is in love with all of a sudden.
- The New Star Trek 2 Has A Millennium Falcon In It
- New ‘Star Trek Into The Darkness’ Movie Teaser Trailer
Apple easily won the survey, for the ninth time in a row. Last year, them and HTC were the only ones above the industry average; this year, Apple was alone in that regard. Nokia improved a lot, thanks to their Windows phone, and it, Samsung, Motorola and HTC were virtually tied for second place. Way down at the bottom, LG and Blackberry.
The survey asks people who have had their smartphone for less than a year to rate it based on performance, physical design, features, and ease of operation.
- J.D. Power’s 2012 Smartphone Satisfaction Survey
- Apple Co-Founder Likes The New Windows Phone
- Apple iPhone Might Have By Far The Highest Retention Rate