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Comment: Re:Really? (Score 5, Insightful) 236

by ATMAvatar (#48228919) Attached to: CHP Officers Steal, Forward Nude Pictures From Arrestee Smartphones

What the hell is wrong with these cops?

Some people become cops because of the power trip it gives. This is perfectly in-line with that personality type. The real tragedy is that it's likely very little (if anything) will be done to the officers perpetrating the acts, which will only feed into the power trip.

Comment: Re:Not a feminist issue. (Score 1) 546

by fyngyrz (#48220927) Attached to: The Inevitable Death of the Internet Troll

Being able to be offended is free speech

Troll. All you did here was invert my argument and then complain about it. I agree that the argument you made up is invalid.

That is not the equality which feminism is about.

Your entire sally was a troll, which is why I only gave it a one-line answer.

none of that is relevant to anything

What I said was relevant. What you said definitely was not.

Comment: Re:Not so easy (Score 1) 213

by fyngyrz (#48219045) Attached to: Mark Zuckerberg Speaks Mandarin At Tsinghua University In Beijing

I didn't say you had to learn them. I said they were there. The implication -- true -- that there are many more to learn to get to higher levels of literacy. I also pointed out that 2000 was a specific level of literacy.

Try not to get too carried away with your imagination. Just read what I said. Not what you think I said.

As for a simplified character vocabulary, take a trip to Taiwan, why don't you. See how that works out for you.

Your experience is only your experience.

Anyway, whatever.

Comment: Not so easy (Score 1) 213

by fyngyrz (#48217985) Attached to: Mark Zuckerberg Speaks Mandarin At Tsinghua University In Beijing

If the Chinese language is really such a notoriously difficult language to learn (and to speak) there ought to be no one using it anymore, right?


When we're young, we benefit from massive plasticity in our language learning skills, and of course any child who learns Mandarin (and sometimes Cantonese as well) is going to make a much better native speaker than I am ever going to make, despite the fact that I've devoted years to it and am highly motivated.

It's not just learning words. It is how things are said, references to metaphors and myths and such, and the fact that it is not a "spelled" language; the characters you're familiar with each represent a word part or a word that means one thing on its own, often something else in combination, and very few of them are used the way we use them in western speech. About 2000 of them constitute (approximately) high school literacy. But there are about 50 thousand of them. Bad enough? Oh no. A while back, Those In Power decided they were to o hard, so they "simplified" a bunch of them. Great, right? So you only have to learn the simplified ones, right? Wrong. The traditional ones are everywhere, and plus, some places in asia use the old ones, not the new ones. And then...

(Very) simple example. In English, I I ask you if you want soup, you might say "No." Easy, right? So you how to say no, (Bu Shi) Now you know what to say if I ask you about the soup and you don't want it, right? Wrong. In Mandarin, the question of if you want it is composed, literally, "want not want", (yao bu yao) to which you are expected to answer either "not want" or "want." (Bu yao) or (yao). And down the rabbit hole we go. :)

Trust me. As an adult English speaker, you go into learning Mandarin thinking it's easy, you're in for a serious encounter with your limitations.

Comment: To the face-in-phone generation(s): (Score 1, Insightful) 258

by fyngyrz (#48216325) Attached to: We Need Distributed Social Networks More Than Ello

You old people crack me up.

No, honestly, you arrived pre-cracked.

It may well, somehow, be our fault that you are cracked, but it an absolute certainty that our habits of actually talking to people are superior to yours of sitting at a table or walking down the street with your friends, looking only at your phones, as you busily talk to anyone but the people you're actually with.

Comment: Not a feminist issue. (Score 2) 546

by fyngyrz (#48216257) Attached to: The Inevitable Death of the Internet Troll

Among the healthy and mature, there's no right "not to be offended"; not for men, and not for women. There is 100% equality here.

Such offense is subjective; every possible attempt to minimize it by law boils down to an unworthy suppression of freedom, something that is unhealthy for society no matter how you go about it.

Even when a particular mode of speech, or some consensual/personal action, is pretty much uniformly despised, it's far better to know who says, and therefore has motivation to say, or does, these terribly offensive things, than it is for society to repress these people and then jump up in stark surprise when they move from unseen and unheard to resentful action as a means of kicking back against said repression.

Speech, in many cases, serves as a moderately effective safety valve. You never want to close such a valve and walk away. Because you get this.

If something you look at offends you, look away. If something you hear offends you, stop listening. If something people do offends you, don't participate. Your subjective feelings of offense can never rise to the relevance required to legitimately regulate the behavior of others.

Until something breaks your bones, damages your property/finances, or impugns your reputation, or these things similarly directly affect those for whom you perform the role of parent or guardian, the correct action is to turn to managing your own sensibilities -- rather than trying to control other people's actions.

Now, as to the immature and incompetent, in particular, children: Parents and guardians have a dual responsibility here. In order to be able to execute that responsibility, your home should be a safe haven in the sense of you being able to completely control who, and what information, gets in, and when they get in, and when they must leave. Society owes it to you to see to it that this capacity is readily available to you. Your home should indeed be your castle. To the extent it isn't, society has either failed you, or you have failed your charges. Schools and/or any other situation requiring attendence must likewise be supportive and safe, or society has lost its legitimate right to force your children to attend.


On the one hand, it is your responsibility to see to it that your charges are not bullying, generally or specifically being an asshole to others. You are responsible for inculcating the understanding that immature and/or insufficiently abled minds can be taken to, and beyond, the brink by bullying, and then you must see to it that this understanding translates into reasonable behavior by your charges (which, by the way, will work to reduce many types of essentially pointless trolling later on.)

On the other, it is also your responsibility to see to it that your charges are not being bullied. You should know where your charges hang out, who they hang with, what the environment is like, and you should step in when that environment, in your estimation, becomes unhealthy. Stepping in may involve a note to someone else's parent or guardian, removing your charge from the harmful environment, or simply providing sufficient perspective so that the behavior is seen in the light of failure of the perpetrator, rather than any kind of lessening of the value or self-image of the target.


If your charge cannot be taught to healthily handle the speech, displays, or consensual actions of others, then it is your job to see to it that they are not exposed to those things. It is not society's responsibility to turn the entire planet into a padded room for your charge. If you need a padded room, you should build one of your own.

For every story I have heard so far of horrible consequences to bullying, my reaction has been "Where were the parents during all this?"

And I have to ask: If your charges are not being raised with healthy self-images and a strong sense of self, what the fuck are you doing? And why are you doing it? Why are you such a totally shitty parent or guardian? And why do you expect the rest of us to compensate for your failures?

Again, these people's abject failure at parenting does not rise to the level of telling everyone else they can't call someone something when, in fact, it is pretty apparent that something is called for.

Having said that, most online forums and comment sections are not public operations. They're private. And in that role, they have both the power and the right to monitor and control the content and activity on that forum. If you invite people to spend time in what pretty much amounts to an environment you created, then you'd better tell them up front what the limits, if any, are for that environment, and see to it that you are accurate about it. If (points at facebook) you allow your operation to get too large or otherwise out of your effective control, I really don't see how that absolves you in any way from being absolutely clear to all participants that you are not, in fact, able to guarantee any particular kind of environment or control what is going on. And no, burying such things in a veritable tar pit of legalese doesn't suffice. Be plain; be clear; let no user into your "thing" without a road sign that says "alligators!" or whatever else it needs to say. Because it does need to be said.

The very idea of freedom requires a concomitant effort to ensure a competent citizenry. If you create a nation of pearl-clutchers, you will have created an environment where repression is the always go-to of the regulators. To some extent, this is already happening, particularly in nations like England, which has pretty much fallen off the wagon of sanity and is busily engaged in chewing its own tail off. It would be lovely if the USA didn't follow them any (or at least much) further down that road.

Comment: Pre-mapped environments are a dead end (Score 4, Insightful) 286

by fyngyrz (#48209057) Attached to: Will the Google Car Turn Out To Be the Apple Newton of Automobiles?

The only way a car can be designed to safely self-drive is doing it just the way we do: by creating a local, up-to-date mapping of the surrounding area in real time and working within that representation with sufficient skill to respond to anything that might appear.

Pre-existing environmental mapping simply cannot keep up. Construction, pets crossing the road, wild animals, falling rocks, pedestrians, vandalism of road signs and traffic indicators and lane painting, washouts, drunks, heart attacks, stinging insects, oversize loads swinging around traffic lights and signs, special transports, some guy at the side of the road madly waving a hand-printed sign that says "BRIDGE IS OUT!"... the list of unpredictable effects upon the local driving environment seems almost endless -- and keep in mind these things can occur in combinations of more than one type and more than one incident. Often suddenly.

Further, if the car is smart enough to be capable of updating the environmental map in real time and deal with any combination of changes, then it's already smart enough to maintain a completely dynamic local mapping and doesn't need a pre-existing mapping for anything but gross navigational purposes (route planning) and even that can require the vehicle to adapt.

Contrariwise, if it isn't smart enough to maintain a full local environmental mapping, then it is inherently unsafe.

Someone(s) at Google didn't think this one through.

Comment: Re:Puffery (Score 1) 91

by ATMAvatar (#48208767) Attached to: Judge Says EA Battlefield 4 Execs Engaged In "Puffery," Not Fraud

For the courts to reward the customers who believe the claims and not those who didn't would be to reward the people who are gullible--or at least those who claim to be gullible.

While I hate rewarding people for being gullible (perhaps deliberately so), it would be a good way to end all the exaggeration and misrepresentation done to sell goods. The world would be a better place if corporations had to be objective and stick to the facts when advertising their goods.

Comment: Re:No one is saying that (Score 1) 472

by fyngyrz (#48201731) Attached to: Manga Images Depicting Children Lead to Conviction in UK

No one should have a "right to not be offended." Being offended is subjective. It has everything to do with you as an individual, or as part of a collective, or a group, or a society, or a community; it varies due to your moral conditioning, your religious beliefs, your upbringing, your education; what offends one person or group (collective, society, community) may not offend another; and in the final analysis, it requires one person to attempt to read the mind of other persons in order to anticipate whether a specific expression or perception will cause offense in the mind of another. And no, codifying an action in law is not in any way sufficient... it is well established that not even lawyers can know the law well enough to anticipate what is legal, and what is not. Sane law relies on the basic idea that we try not to risk or cause harm to the bodies, finances and reputations of others without them consenting and being aware of the risks. Law that bans something based upon the idea that some group simply finds expression objectionable is the very worst kind of law, utterly devoid of consideration or others, while absolutely permeated in self-indulgence. It is, in the end, something that encourages weak-mindedness.

Conversely, when people are truly harmed (not just offended) without their informed consent (and legitimate defense is not the cause), then the matter is one that should arguably be considered for law. Otherwise, no.

Your story depicts consequences of concerted psychological warfare upon an incompetent individual. Harm is possible. informed consent is not. Special care that does not apply in general society is called for. This is why your example completely fails to make your point. What applies to competent individuals is not particularly relevant to what applies to those not competent, whether that be because they are biologically deficient, or simply too immature to attain that level of sophistication.

What you want, in the end, is that no one can be offended by expression or perception within the context of normal society. If you allow society to pursue this course, you will end up being unable to express yourself, for I guarantee you that almost anything you can say or do will offend someone, and likely grievously so.

Either you take the attitude that others must deal with the ideas expressed to them or within their ken, or you begin to muzzle yourself -- and everyone else. Benefits would definitely accrue to those who wish to be coddled, but everyone else will suffer. Free expression is important. It is definitely more important than the possibility that someone, or many someones, might be offended. If that's not how you see it, then we have no common ground where a meeting of minds could take place on this issue.

Comment: Re: Moral Imperialism (Score 1) 472

by fyngyrz (#48193225) Attached to: Manga Images Depicting Children Lead to Conviction in UK

You might as well say the constitution is based on words, so we can do whatever we want.

Here's the legit deal: The judges get judicial power. Guilty or innocent, sentencing.

The feds, congress get enumerated powers.

The states get anything else that isn't outright forbidden to them (ex post facto laws, for instance.)

Anything left after that goes to the people.

See how those powers slide in a very particular direction? See why it's downright silly to claim that they magically slide UPHILL to the judiciary, when there's no such indication, anywhere, that such is the case? AND, to hammer it home, the thing explicitly says that if it's not in here, it belongs to the states or the people. There is NO authority for SCOTUS to do most of what it does. None whatsoever. And hell, even if there were, there they go rubber stamping the inversion of the commerce clause, ex post facto laws, rights violations left, right and sideways... you're looking right at them, and you don't see what they've done to you, and the rest of us. Pity.

This is all about direct usurpation of power that belonged to the people, frankly. Although we still have just the barest sliver of it left, which we can apply via jury nullification. Although, as you probably know, we're not even allowed to talk about that in court because judges(!) don't like it. Funny thing, that. Judges. They seem to be doing a lot of unauthorized things, don't they?

Comment: That dysfunctional line in the sand (Score 1) 472

by fyngyrz (#48193185) Attached to: Manga Images Depicting Children Lead to Conviction in UK

There's no such thing as a "well designed lawful age metric." Though I'm not sure you were even implying there was. But in any case:

It's about comprehension, consent, and physical development. Age cannot serve to draw such a multidimensional line effectively. There are obvious cases of young teens who know exactly what they are doing, are doing it carefully, and not in any way coming to harm. There are obvious cases of "adults" who are so unready for sex by the "comprehension" and "informed" metrics that it is painful to even consider it. And everything you can think of in between.

Comment: lol verizon (Score 1) 472

by fyngyrz (#48193149) Attached to: Manga Images Depicting Children Lead to Conviction in UK

Verizon, as a telephone company, doesn't censor "illegal" voice traffic, does it? They do not, last I checked. That's because Verizon is a common-carrier and is not held liable for telephone content over its wires.

No, it's because they make sure every word you say is parsed by the government. The government decides if it doesn't like what you said if and when it becomes convenient for them to do so. Not only is your speech free, it's on deposit in special government accounts with your name right on them. You had just better hope it doesn't start earning "interest."

Comment: No one is saying that (Score 1) 472

by fyngyrz (#48193133) Attached to: Manga Images Depicting Children Lead to Conviction in UK

You're being disingenuous here.

We know loud sound and loss of sleep can cause direct physical harm. That's the basis for not yelling, bullhorns, and so on.

There is no sane basis for banning words, drawings, sculptures, renderings, woodcarvings and so on. None whatsoever.

The only sane basis for banning *anything* is it either causes such immediate harm to purse or person, or it is so likely to do so (ex, massively drunk driving) that the activity must be interfered with to lessen the odds of that potential becoming reality.

When speech gets loud or amplified, the legit question is not what was said. Ever. The question is what were you thinking putting people's hearing and/or sleep cycles at risk?

There is no reasonable argument that can justify a "right not to be offended", and there never, ever should be such a thing encoded in law. It should be painfully obvious as to why. If it isn't... oy.

One man's constant is another man's variable. -- A.J. Perlis