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Comment: So far so good (Score 1) 413

by Bruce66423 (#48482359) Attached to: Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering On 2012 Election
The Scandinavians have very homogeneous societies where the issues are relatively one dimensional, allowing the formation of coalitions without great difficulty. This was the experience in Germany, but is now breaking down because the far left 'Left' and Greens are splitting the left, whilst 'The Alternative' is offering a serious right wing challenge that splits the right, and is very problematic, whilst the collapse of the FDP has removed the traditional third party. The result has been a CDU/SPD coalition that is working well, but at the cost of alienating those who are not impressed to the point of their voting for those more extreme parties; I anticipate growing problems in Germany over the next few years.

Comment: Extremists have nowhere to go (Score 3, Interesting) 413

by Bruce66423 (#48479383) Attached to: Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering On 2012 Election
"This is why you get, effectively, extremists on both sides." They always exist, but in a FPTP system must vote for 'their' party come what may. The effect is to weaken the power of those extremists unless they represent a large enough group as to endanger one of the main party's chance of winning specific constituencies. This is what is happening atm with UKIP; they are perceived as endangering the Tories, so Cameron is being forced to play to their tune; the same is true of the National Front in France. By contrast Muslim voters in the UK have largely been forced to remain voting for the major parties, which is helpful in encouraging integration.

The pathological case of PR taken to its logical extent is Switzerland where the same parties have formed the government in the same proportions since forever. The voters have almost no impact on government policy, except via referendums which often go against government policy, which is not a healthy way to run a country because it means your representatives are not being representative.

Comment: PR works well? Where? (Score 3, Interesting) 413

by Bruce66423 (#48478583) Attached to: Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering On 2012 Election
Whilst it is possible to see Germany as having had a stable governmental system despite PR, in most other countries it has caused substantial instability, to the extent that in many countries PR is tweeked to reduce its impact, e.g. Greece where the party with the most votes gets an extra tranche of MPs. By contrast Belgium's record of 18 months without a government as a result of PR should be a warning to us all.

The great virtue of 'first past the post' is that it forces parties to appeal to a wider group than their obvious supporters; know nothing tea partiers mashed up with business advocates are lined up against a mixture of union placemen and minority activists. The process of coalesce has got to occur somewhere; the belief that it is best done in the spotlight of publicity of the floor of the legislature is somewhat unproven, at best. Certainly the collapse of both the Weimar Republic and the French 4th Republic are usually blamed on their use of PR; I remain to be convinced its the optimal solution.

Comment: Don't hear that it's just the Republicans at this (Score 5, Insightful) 413

by Bruce66423 (#48478537) Attached to: Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering On 2012 Election
Whilst the Republicans have played this game well in recent years, it's not that long ago that the Democrats were at it equally successfully, and in many states they still do it. Which is not to suggest that it's a good thing - but let's not get partisan about it.

+ - Facebook used by high school students to organise prostitutions by their peers

Submitted by Bruce66423
Bruce66423 (1678196) writes "
A 17 year old girl and 15yo boy have been charged in connection with this enterprise that raises complex issues about age of consent, free assembly and legitimate prostitution, although it is the alleged rape of one of the workers by a client that brought it into the open."

Comment: Auditors, auditors (Score 4, Interesting) 208

by Bruce66423 (#48324825) Attached to: PC Cooling Specialist Zalman Goes Bankrupt Due To Fraud
The occurence of this sort of fraud in the 19th century led to the emergence of the role of auditors, whose responsibility is to ensure that the accounts are telling the truth; as a result this sort of fraud is rare in Western countries. The question now becomes one of who the auditors were - were they ones who should have done the job, or were the banks fooled into accepting a poor audit. In either case however the auditors will be on the hook unless they can prove that the CEO was doing a VERY good job of hiding the facts.

+ - Camera wearing police being charged with an unlawful arrest in London riot

Submitted by Bruce66423
Bruce66423 (1678196) writes "
reports that an officer wearing a camera that recorded his actions has been charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice in part as a result of his wearing a camera at a riot. The case is a reminder that sometimes such cameras can help demonstrate police misbehaviour — though we await the outcome of the case to see whether the charge actually sticks."

Comment: Make the cost explicit in the bills (Score 1) 43

by Bruce66423 (#48277149) Attached to: Swedish Regulator Orders Last "Hold-Out" ISP To Retain Customer Data
The ISPs should charge an extra amount explicitly on their bills to account for the cost of storage and administering all data requests under it. The data should of course be stored off line - a write only tape store would appear to be the obvious solution. Locating the store in another country with strict regulations about privacy would force any requests for information to go to the courts of THAT country... Here's hoping!

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