Tuesday, June 22, 2010

RANT: Presenting opinions as facts

The MPAA's "Copy Protection Awareness Ico...Image via Wikipedia
When presenting information, it is VERY important not to present opinions as facts. It ruins the presenter's credibility otherwise. Yet you see people everything failing to separate facts from opinion, and tries to prove an opinion with more opinions. Here is one example:
"No. A [no]CD crack is not illegal. It's just a simpler way to play your games if the game requires you to have the CD in the drive every time you play. If the disk is scratched and isn't working properly, then it would be highly unfair to need to purchase the game all over again. [no]CD cracks just bypass a ridiculous, unneeded, annoying process.

CD cracks are available LEGALLY at gamecopyworld.com"
-- larry.riverside, on Yahoo!Answers, in response to "Are no-CD cracks illegal?"
The problem here is out of the five sentences, there are no less than FOUR opinions, or hypothesis, when there should be only one, the hypothesis that the subsequent facts are supposed to prove or support. You can't prove an opinion with more opinions.

  • "CD cracks is not illegal" is the hypothesis and an opinion. That is what he's trying to prove.
  • "CD cracks makes your life simpler, so you don't have to insert the media every time" is a fact. 
  • "If you damage your CD media, you should not have to buy the media again" is an opinion. "Should" indicates an opinion.
  • "CD Crack just bypass an annoying process [copy protection]" is an opinion. If he had written "CD crack bypasses copy protection", that would be a fact.
  • "CD cracks are available legally at gamecopyworld.com" is an opinion. If he had written "CD cracks are available at gamecopyworld.com" that would be a fact.
The only fact presented, "CD crack makes your life simpler", does NOT support "CD cracks are not illegal". The two are not relevant. The fact does not prove the opinion. There is no "A, therefore B" causality.

In fact, if you rewrite the last two opinions as facts, by taking out the editorial adverbs, they do not support the hypothesis either.

"CD crack bypasses copy protection" does not prove "CD cracks are not illegal".

"CD cracks are available at gamecopyworld.com" does not prove "CD cracks are not illegal".

Thus, the entire argument is a big FAIL.

I have to make one thing clear: this is NOT about the morality of noCD cracks. This is about LEGALITY of noCD cracks. The fact are simple: noCD cracks are in fact illegal, as they violate the "anti-circumvention" provisions of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. I think there are some circumstances where noCD cracks are justified, but that is an opinion, not a fact.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

China's labor class: doom for the existing government?

The labor class is supposed to be the backbone of any communist society, such as China. Yet, it seems that the labor class has always been the one being exploited in China. According to communists, only those doing honest labor, such as farmers and laborers are "good", and any sort of owner (store owner, land owner) are "bad". Yet the only way the current government earn money is by selling things, and that is mainly done by selling the labor of all the laborers to foreign companies. Foxconn is a Taiwanese company, making products to HP, Apple, and so on, using Chinese labor.

The problem with the idea is when the labor class gets tired of being exploited, you have a revolution. Can the government manage the tight-rope walk between exploiting its labor force / citizens, and convincing the outside companies to continue to invest money?

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Stupid claims by Gaza activists

The Israeli raid of the so-called "freedom flotilla" trying to run the blockade was a PR disaster for Israel, but some of the accusations by the pro-Gaza activists are just way out of line. The activists have claimed everything from high-seas piracy to unprovoked attack and so on. When they use hyperbole like that, and press cover them, but does not reveal the truth, the media has succumbed to the "spin".

The truth is the flotilla had been warned multiple times they are sailing into an internationally announced blockade of a terrorist organization, Hamas. They were warned before they sailed, after they sailed, AND once again before they entered the blockade area. In fact, the Israelis offered to escort them to Israeli port where the goods can be transshipped to Gaza... after inspection.

The international law on blockade zones is actually pretty simple: if the ship knowingly sails into a blockade zone and/or suspected of carrying contraband, does NOT stop upon being challenged, and/or actively resists being stopped, the ship can be attacked. Frankly, the ship can be SUNK, legally. The Israeli commandos actually exercised considerably restraint as they beat back the the 60-100 metal bar wielding thugs without causing even MORE casualties, other than 9 of the thugs killed.

For what laws are in effect, read this:


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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Arizona's "Safe Streets" act, i.e. SB1070 -- safe from court challenges

Do you know why Arizon's SB1070 (and its revisions) are safe from any court challenges from ACLU and other organizations?

In order to challenge a law in court, one must demonstrate that the law in question is in conflict with an existing law, and the conflict must be resolved by the court, who then must rule. The resolution can be a full overturn, or explain that there is no conflict, or anything in between. 

The primary approach expected to challenge SB1070 is the preemption argument. American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and some constitution law scholars claim that Arizona law is preempted by Federal immigration laws. The US Constitution specified that only Federal government may enact and enforce immigration laws, not the states. Thus, Arizona law is preempted by the Federal laws on immigration.

The secondary approach is the rights argument, specifically 14th Amendment, in that States shall pass no law abridging any citizen or lawful resident of their Federally guaranteed rights. Their argument would be that the normal citizen or legal resident rights are violated by SB1070, and therefore SB1070 must be repealed.

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Do you know the terms KIRF and Shanzhai?

Let this article explain what is KIRF, shanzhai, and how they are affecting the Chinese economy.
China, with the recent Foxconn suicides, has garnered international attention and highlights it as a source of cheap labor to feed the world economy. However, China is also famous for being the clone factory of the world. People in China has no respect for "copyright", and this had lead to a ton of commercial friction between it and other companies and countries.

Microsoft recently is basically refusing to expand its operation in China, citing lack of intellectual property protection. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer stated recently that even though China has about 10-15% of global PC market, only 1% of Microsoft's revenue is coming from sales in China, when theoretically it should be proportional. Furthermore, Chinese government has recently announced a procurement policy that supposedly rewards "native innovation", which is interpreted as favoring "domestic clones" of foreign products. it was so alarming even US Secretary of Treasury Tim Geitner had to make a statement that he had talked to his counterpart in China and the policy will be modified and clarified.

Has China been turned into a country of cheap labor and clones? Let us check into the the phenomenon of KIRF, shanzhai, and the problem's roots.
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Friday, June 4, 2010

Chinese Joke about Osama Bin Laden... is it funny?

賓拉登說:中國是全球唯一絕對不能惹的國家! 阿拉伯半島電視臺對賓拉登的最新採訪。
Bin Laden said: China is the only country in the world should not be attacked! Arabian peninsula TV station interview revealed.

賓 拉登說:中國是全球唯一絕對不能惹的國家!
Bin Laden said: China is the only country in the world that should not be attacked!

This is the reason: Al Qaeda actually sent 8 terrorists to attack China. 

Result: one man tried to bomb the Beijing West Gate Bridge, but lost his way on the bridge.
(Cultural reference: the West Gate Bridge is actually a series of foot bridges. It is very easy to get lost if you don't have a map or read the signs)

One man tried to bring a bomb onboard a bus in Shanghai, but he wasn't able to get on a bus after two full hours. 

One man tried to bomb a supermarket in Wuhan, but when he tried to detonate, he found that a pickpocket had taken his detonator. 

一人在炸成都政府大樓時,在門口被保安當作疆獨份子逮捕、狂揍、逼 供。 
One man tried to bomb the government building in Chendu, but was immediately arrested by Public Security as a suspicious character from the outer Mongolian regions, and was beaten into a confession. 

一人成功地河北炸礦,死傷數百人,潛回蓋達基地後,半年沒見任何新 聞報導,遂被組織以謊報戰果罪"處決了; 
One man was able to successfully attack a coal mine in Hebei, and there were several hundred casualties. He made it back to Al Qaeda base, but after six months, there was absolutely no news coverage. He was then executed by Al Qaeda for lying. 

One man tried to bomb the market in Kwongzhou, but as soon as he made it out of the train station, a motorcycle bandit took his backpack bomb. 

One man disappeared right after he entered China. Later Al Qaeda agents found him in a Shanghai hospital. Turned out he ate contaminated food, and possibly fake liquor, and was poisoned into a coma. 

Bin laden was desperate and sent one of his few woman operatives to blow up Hainan island. Unfortunately, she was tricked by a human smuggler and sold as a sex slave. 

Bin laden finally declared, REMEMBER! China is the only country in the world not to be attacked!

I can't claim credit for this joke. I heard it months ago, but just remembered it now to translate it.

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