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Comment: Re:nonsense (Score 3, Funny) 118

by Capsaicin (#49788717) Attached to: Thanks To the Montreal Protocol, We Avoided Severe Ozone Depletion

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

by Capsaicin (#49516419) Attached to: Assange Talk Spurs UK Judges To Boycott Legal Conference

[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

by Capsaicin (#49509571) Attached to: Assange Talk Spurs UK Judges To Boycott Legal Conference

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

by Capsaicin (#49509529) Attached to: Assange Talk Spurs UK Judges To Boycott Legal Conference

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

[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.

Comment: Re:An alternative to the death penalty (Score 2) 591

Sealing people in dungeons is somehow nicer?

Well let's not seal them in dungeons then! Absolutely let's house them in secure facilities. But let's also give them whatever assistance we can reasonably afford, to allow them to live their lives in the most meaningful way possible, while still conforming to the imperative of keeping them locked safely away from the rest of us.

Some might even create some socially useful output to repay our kindness. Who knows, even Hans Reiser may still have some useful contribution left in him?

Strange that as opposition to the death penalty hardens, euthanasia is becoming accepted.

This is just rampant individualism isn't it? I mean imagine allowing people themselves the right to decide when (and when not) to die? Thank goodness I'll be able to sleep soundly at night know that you, at least, are left to argue for the rights of the state to make our life and death decisions for us!

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

If the only option to not killing a killer is to let them kill the innocent, then it's right to kill them.

And it's upon that basis, --i.e. that one ought to act to minimise the number of premature human deaths, --that a strong argument against capital punishment turns. For a prisoner already held safely in the custody of the state will not usually by their execution reduce the number of deaths. Quite the opposite: executing such prisoner generally acts to inflate the toll.

Now there may be a special case when a prisoner has confederates, out of custody, who would kidnap and murder in an attempt to free the prisoner. In that case putting the prisoner to death may well, by removing the motivation for these new crimes, reduce the total number of premature deaths. However, such a scenario must be rare, and how many of the people murdered* by the state actually fall into it?

*[Yes, I do appreciate that 'murder' implies an unlawful taking of human life.]

Comment: Re:An alternative to the death penalty (Score 2) 591

As an atheist, there is nothing wrong with killing.

Quite the opposite. As an atheist one ought to appreciate the permanence of death; that human life is brief enough already; and that each and every human consciousness provides a valuable, unique, never to be repeated perspective on the universe. It's different if one believes that this life is but nothing to the one that follows, but atheists especially have the opportunity of grasping the gravity of extinguishing a human consciousness prematurely. This is an opportunity, apparently, you have still to take.

There is no right, there is no wrong. Don't try to push your warped sense of morality on others.

If there were no right nor wrong, then executing a murderer (who in your view has done no wrong) must be the ultimate form of pushing one's morality on others! If there are no ethical concerns in your mind is there at least the flicker of logical consistency (such as would require you, upon the basis you have enunciated, to oppose capital punishment)?

"It is better to have tried and failed than to have failed to try, but the result's the same." - Mike Dennison