OpinionIt would be an improvement if the media were required to be socially responsible by law, e.g. not providing publicity for terrorists and not presenting non-specialists as equals to undermine scientific experts.
      – Lee J Haywood, 2008-12-16 at 20:07:19   (25 comments)

On 2008-12-16 at 20:09:55, Lee J Haywood wrote...
It seems that in the public mind all scientists have equal standing whilst separate from non-scientists. For example, a survey of genuine climate scientists (i.e. those neither sponsored nor employed by industry) will find no dissent, but if a non-climate scientist - be it a chemist, geologist, biologist, etc. - should make a pronouncement it is given equal weight. For example, in the case of Linus Pauling and his vitamin C fiasco.
On 2008-12-16 at 20:42:19, BorgClown wrote...
I disagree with the first half, and agree with the second. I agree with the overall spirit of the opinion. Selective censorship is a risky business, but media should be required to do reasonable fact-checking before publishing something.
On 2008-12-16 at 22:14:45, George wrote...
I think that the fewer laws that govern the media, the better, though I do agree with limited privacy and libel laws. The crassness that most of the media treat scientific issues with is matched by their consumers willingness to swallow dumbed down and inaccurate rubbish.
On 2008-12-16 at 23:35:14, Lee J Haywood wrote...
What usually happens in restrictive countries is that the government ends up controlling the media for propaganda purposes, and this is clearly a bad thing. In the US, it seems that the media is heavily biased towards the commercial interests of its owners (and also spends too much time on entertainment news). At the moment the media has to pay fines when sued by celebrities after making unverified allegations, so it'd be nice to have one or more watchdogs to check for misinformation - other those tabloids which are there for entertainment only, perhaps.
On 2008-12-17 at 16:35:03, Scarletxstarlet wrote...
Because of my strong belief in the necessity of a free press, I disagree. However, I feel that the same effect which Lee desires could be achieved by anti-trust laws that prevent a few companies from owning all the media. Net neutrality is very important, I agree, but why not expand that to radio neutrality? television neutrality? publishing neutrality? Freedom of the presses is only guaranteed to those who own one.
On 2008-12-17 at 18:18:03, BorgClown wrote...
Freedom of speech is a tricky business. Should it override all other human rights? What about invading someone's right to privacy in order to expose another's fraud?
On 2008-12-17 at 18:29:52, Lee J Haywood wrote...
An incite to riot should clearly be illegal - free speech is a right granted, not a freedom to act any way you want. There are also restrictions coming in on things like DNA data which can be used to assemble deadly viruses with readily available sequencers - free speech sometimes has to be curtailed because everyone agrees it's sensible to do so.
On 2008-12-17 at 18:33:06, BorgClown wrote...
Maybe when civilization finds the way to shed its self-destructive tendency, information would be truly free, as no one would use it for harm. While i'm at it, maybe Santa Claus really exists.
On 2008-12-17 at 21:23:43, Scarletxstarlet wrote...
There's also a distinction to be made between 'free speech' as it is constitutionally defined and 'free speech' as used in the vernacular. All it means is that no one cannot prevent you from expressing yourself, not that you can't be held responsible for what you say, not that you can't be fired from your job, not even that you can't be jailed after the fact. It DEFINITELY doesn't mean people can't be angry at you.
On 2008-12-17 at 21:25:01, Lee J Haywood wrote...
Right, well I don't live in the US so I don't know these details... thanks for the clarification.
On 2008-12-19 at 20:03:52, Lee J Haywood wrote...
Speaking of our distorted perceptions, here's a great video about our inability to evaluate probability in day-to-day life. http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/dan_gilbert_researches_happiness.html (33 min 38 sec)
On 2008-12-19 at 20:19:12, BorgClown wrote...
I'm kinda bandwidth angry today. Do you see how ISPs increase your bandwidth from time to time? Well, here in Mexico, my ISP innovated, it halved its customers's bandwidth. We pay less, sure, but in order to get more bandwidth we should buy a bigger bundle of telephony services. F-ing monopolies.
On 2008-12-19 at 20:22:24, Lee J Haywood wrote...
Heh, then you'll hate to hear that I have too much bandwidth - it's up to 10 mbit/s now, which is basically a megabyte a second. In reality, no server I connect to will give me that much data. Even using P2P, I might see over 800 K/s but how useful is it when I could just wait a bit longer? I'd actually like to pay less for their more basic service, but I cannot imagine them liking me switching.
On 2008-12-19 at 20:36:14, BorgClown wrote...
Actually, my bandwidth envy goes to Korinthian. The Sweden bastard has so much bandwidth that if he leaves his bittorrent client uncapped, his PC slows down. He told me that the usual speed is around 90 mbps, but he wouldn't bother to look up the theoretical maximum of his contract. Being the home of ThePirateBay and the Pirate Party, I suppose there's a strong demand for wider Intertubes.
On 2008-12-19 at 20:41:20, Lee J Haywood wrote...
Asian countries tend to have speeds in excess of 100 mbps, although it's tough to get accurate and up-to-date figures. Japan appears to have 133 mbps at present... http://www.speedtest.net/global.php
On 2008-12-19 at 20:42:47, BorgClown wrote...
For a reference, my basic plan includes 100 free minutes of national long distance, 100 local calls and a 512/128 connection. It costs $389 MXN, about 21 Euros. The next one "upgrades" your connection to 1024/128 and adds more unneeded telephony services for 32 euros, WTF.
On 2008-12-19 at 20:45:32, BorgClown wrote...
They call those bundles "Paquetes" (packages). Paquete is a Spanish pun for ParaQueTe (ForYouTo), so they have the PaqueteConectes (ForYouToConnect), PaqueteAcerques (ForYouToGetCloser), etc. Some people call the new packages PaqueteChingues (ForYouToF*ckyourself).
On 2008-12-19 at 20:45:45, Lee J Haywood wrote...
Here they're constantly trying to get me to pay extra for a telephone line and/or extra TV channels. But I've ditched a landline altogether in favour of my Internet 'phone, which lets me plug a normal handset in and get a regular telephone number yet only have to pay a tiny amount for the calls I make with no standing charge.
On 2008-12-19 at 20:45:53, BorgClown wrote...
LOOOOOL!
On 2008-12-19 at 20:46:55, BorgClown wrote...
My ISP (Telmex) is planning to offer Internet TV to compete with Cable TV, So I fear more "paquetes" in the near future.
On 2008-12-19 at 20:49:24, BorgClown wrote...
Internet TV and telephony are the inevitable trend, that's why telecoms are playing the triple-play (Phone+Internet+TV), hoping to sell you their own services and preemptively stifling the competition.
On 2008-12-19 at 20:58:18, Lee J Haywood wrote...
One problem with my ISP is that the moment any P2P software is launched - even if it's not actually fetching files yet - the connection is immediately throttled in some bizarre manner. Suddenly I'll find HTTP traffic is both very slow and broken, and persistent connections start breaking. It takes a while to recover, yet somehow the P2P downloads still work and actually go really quick at times.
On 2008-12-19 at 21:04:00, BorgClown wrote...
Boy, that's weird. Throttling the HTTP access and leaving P2P untouched. P2P makes lots of connections and frequently it doesn't close them appropriately. Maybe your ISP or your machine limit the number of simultaneous connections?
On 2008-12-19 at 21:07:10, Lee J Haywood wrote...
Well I'd like to blame the router for the problems, but since I don't even have to be downloading anything it's clear that it's the nature of the traffic that's doing it and I already know from this page that Virgin Media are very nasty... http://www.azureuswiki.com/index.php/Bad_ISPs#United_Kingdom
On 2008-12-19 at 21:12:27, BorgClown wrote...
ISPs are being nice to P2P in Mexico. It's no wonder though, with such slow speeds they must have lots of bandwidth to spare, which is sold mostly to businesses.