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Comment: Re:Just doing their job. (Score 1) 136 136

The job of the NSA is to spy and if they don't spy on everything spyable they aren't doing their job. Can't even figure out why this would worthy of a ./ headline.

The issue here is not so much that the NSA spied on the French president. The issue is that said spying has been revealed. That will always rate a mention.

I imagine the French, and anyone else, fully expect US (and every other nation's) intelligence services to try to spy on them. However, once the beans have been spilled the French President can hardly respond with a simple 'méh!'

What is interesting for the rest of us, and the reason it merits a /. headline, is that our prior suspicions are receiving documentary confirmation.

Comment: Re:Yes it matters (Score 1) 668 668

Hence why I specifically said that the mandatory label should clearly state that they have no medical efficacy. I doubt they'd sell many "remedies" that way, but if they want to try, I don't see why not.

The problem with that is that because the effect of homeopathy relies exclusively on the belief in its efficacy, requiring such labels runs the risk of lowering the rate of desirable placebo cures. If someone can drink a little vial of water and be cured of, say, electromagnetic hypersensitivity syndrome (and remember, modern medicine has no treatment for EHS ;), that is a good thing.

The real issue is how to stream patients who require something more substantial than water away from homeopathy and towards that suitable therapy.

Comment: Re:Open source language (Score 3, Insightful) 246 246

the critical question for a programming language is less whether it is itself open source and more whether it's feasible to make open source software with it.

I have to disagree - a language which only has one single implementation which is closed source means that the developers using it is locked in and completely at the mercy of the owners of this implementation. Just like with VB6.

The point that was being made was simply to raise the question: Will an open-sourced Swift have any realistic application other than writing software exclusively for iOS and OSX. If it can't, you should find yourself every bit as locked in and at the mercy of the owners of the ecosystem, as if you were locked in by the owners of a proprietary language.

Comment: Re:nonsense (Score 4, Funny) 141 141

You should apply some kinetic energy to a mixture of oil and water sometime, and see how it looks.

Better still use a mixture of vinegar and oil, (with a little added pepper, salt and dried herb), and then apply some kinetic energy. That way you can have your demonstration and eat it too.

Comment: Re:The UK Government Are Massively Out Of Touch (Score 2) 191 191

[The judges] do not want to give the impression of colluding with fugitives, since that could undermine the public confidence in the legal system.

You've just hit the nail on the head. Bear in mind they were not merely listening to Mr Assange, but were to appear along with him as fellow speakers.

But the judges instead give the impression of not understanding ... what is going on.

I was under the impression that they had, in effect, been ambushed. The inclusion of Mr Assange as a fellow speaker was, to quote the Judicial Office, "at short notice and without consultation." So they freely admit they did not know this was going to happen. (If this is what you meant by not understanding what is going on).

Now the judges seem biased in favor of the established powers, blind to the allegations of abuse of powers.

They should seem so only to those ignorant of the reason the judges felt compelled to withdraw. Since you have enunciated that reason so succinctly, you of all people ought not to succumb to that unfounded interpretation.

Comment: Re:The UK Government Are Massively Out Of Touch (Score 2) 191 191

Assange himself is a hypocrite and a coward, and I'd deport him in a second if I had any say in the matter.

Fortunately the UK has judges of the calibre of Lords Gill, Neuberger and Hodge who, on trusts, would require an actual criminal offence or some other lawful reason, and evidence sufficient to meet the requisite standard of proof, before deporting anyone.

Apart from your dislike for Assange (which is a personal opinon your welcome to of course, I simply don't share it), I think your comment is bang on the money.

Comment: Re:The UK Government Are Massively Out Of Touch (Score 5, Insightful) 191 191

Indeed, speaks volumes about our corrupted 'judges' doesn't it.

No it doesn't! Quite the opposite, the judges acted with the highest probity in this instance. Read the pertinent sentence in the summary again: "Mr Assange is, as a matter of law, currently a fugitive from justice, and it would therefore not be appropriate for judges to be addressed by him." Their participation would have been corrupt. [Emphasis added]

We cannot from this action determine if they have antipathy or sympathy for Assange and his cause. And that's just the point. On a purely personal basis they might support him as much as you or I. But they were there as judges and as such they are required to put aside their personal opinions and act as the ethics of their high office demands.

Comment: Re:An alternative to the death penalty (Score 1) 591 591

[T]here is a case for capital punishment inflating the death toll even when not counting the capital punishment itself. If you face a likely death penalty, there is no incentive for you to not kill others. Killing others, like witnesses, can then be rationalized by it reducing the risk of getting caught, and thus die.

This resembles the argument that were we to make rape, for example, a capital crime, we should only be aiding the rapist to reach the decision whether "merely" to rape his victim, or to kill her into the bargain. (The gendered language I here employ, if it be 'sexist,' is by no means casual.)

You may well be correct especially in the case of criminal organisations inclined towards rational, albeit ruthless, calculation. Generally however, arguments based upon deterrent and incentive, as they pertain to the ordinary felon one imagines inhabiting death row, need IMO, to be approached with some caution.

In the first place, there being little to prefer in a life-long custodial sentence, capital punishment per se may not add too great a store of incentive to deal mercilessly with those whose knowledge might betray the original crime. Instead this problem may be one born of draconian punishment generally. Where there exists no chance of redemption, one will not be motivated to redeem oneself.

Secondly, --and this applies more properly to those arguments which, in ignorance to the insight you provide, regard the threat execution as providing a greater disincentive, --I think it an error to imagine that ordinary felon as a rational maximiser of utility. Choosing between two situations, one in which murderers instinctively covers their tracks by the commission of further crimes; and one in which they calmly determine the scale of their offending in consideration the probable sentencing outcomes, I find the former by far the more likely.

After an instrument has been assembled, extra components will be found on the bench.