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Comment: And what's the problem here? (Score 0) 120

levies high penalties against those offering "material support" to terrorists

Providing material support to terrorists should be illegal. That the concept can be abused by aggressive prosecutors is obviously a problem, but then any legal concept can be abused. I had a friend who is known as a kind and gentle soul, who was seen being attacked by a woman who rushed him and assaulted him and was prosecuted for assault and battery because he pushed her away from him. Pushed, not body slammed. So should we get rid of assault and battery or should we disbar the son of a bitch who brought charges which the facts on the ground collected at the time didn't support?

Comment: Free speech and trigger warnings, take a pick (Score 4, Insightful) 114

Were it not for the first amendment, there's no doubt in my mind that the people yelling "triggering!" at Christina Hoff Sommers at Oberlin would have sought her prosecution under a law like this. There is a not so fine line that many ignore between opposing cyberbullying and coddling pathetic little weaklings who simply cannot stomach the idea that there are people who hold different, maybe even offensive, views. My view as a free speech partisan is that "safe spaces" need to be smashed as aggressively as the concept of "free speech zones." If someone simply will not leave you alone, that's harassment and warrants a basic sanction under the law. However, no one has a right to not be annoyed or hear things upsetting to them. We as a society should be utterly intolerant of people who expect to be protected from such things. It should be a mark of scorn and shame to be that thin-skinned and publicly notorious for being so.

Ireland is risking a very serious mistake that will hollow out much of its claim to being an open and democratic society if this is passed.

Comment: State recognition of religion is constitutional (Score 1, Troll) 700

by MikeRT (#49478015) Attached to: 'We the People' Petition To Revoke Scientology's Tax Exempt Status

I'm a Christian as well. The state recognizing other religions is fine with me and most conservative Christians I know. Their existence and lawful activity is a fact of American life. I have no problem with the state recognizing other religions equally in this capacity because religion is a major part of public life and ignoring it is in fact giving favoritism to atheism, not neutrality.

I also think Scientology should not be recognized as a religion because there is a documentation trail showing that it was deliberately created as a fraud by Hubbard. To my knowledge, no other religion in the US can be accused of that. That is a legitimate basis for the state not granting it protection under the first amendment.

Comment: Odds are it would not be a global collapse (Score 4, Insightful) 365

by MikeRT (#49469387) Attached to: Can Civilization Reboot Without Fossil Fuels?

Advanced civilization of some sort exists in at least pieces on every continent now. Odds are very low that it would all collapse overnight short of an extreme nuclear conflict. Let's be honest. If most of global civilization collapse and one or two major states survived, battered and bloody from whatever chaos happened, they could reboot advanced civilization where it previously existed. From the American perspective at least, if most of the world went to Hell, the US could simply invade and conquer most of the petrol states and distribute their oil to the broken states in large enough quantities to reboot their economies and political systems.**

** If we truly faced a global collapse and the US military were mostly intact, it would be operating under totally different rules of engagement. Troops landing in Saudi Arabia, Sudan, etc. to start pumping the oil would not be "policing," they would likely have the latitude to annihilate entire population centers if the natives prevented them from jump starting the European and Asian economies.

Comment: Autonomous weapons are for politicians (Score 3, Insightful) 166

by MikeRT (#49453683) Attached to: UN To Debate Lethal Autonomous Weapons

Not the military. They let politicians wage war without having to put real skin in the game because sending a robot, from a rover to a terminator to fight an enemy is not even remotely the same commitment as sending real men with real family and friends to risk life and limb.

No sane officer wants to turn over battlefield control in any capacity to a machine. There are infinite ways that can go wrong from the machine turning on his people (misidenification; hacking, etc.) to the machine failing at a critical time and doing something that utterly destroys the mission.

With all of the stuff about AI in the geek press lately, consider that military tech is probably the AI most likely to turn on us as the machines say "fuck this shit" after doing some cost-benefit analysis on precisely why they're fighting one batch of humans instead of committing to self-preservation.

Comment: Let's stop the bullshit (Score 3, Interesting) 81

And admit that the Chinese will not even slow down until it's clear that the developed countries will be retaliate in kind. The feds need to take the kid gloves off and let American businesses do unto the Chinese as the Chinese do to them. Chinese DDoS? Let GitHub retaliate against Chinese assets involved. Chinese firms hacking and stealing assets? Authorize industrial espionage by American businesses against Chinese interests. Chinese intelligence actively attacking American business? Give the NSA a free hand to retaliate and screw with the Chinese government. They try to break into our classified networks? Set up an entire NSA team to infiltrate the Chinese military establishment and depants their national security secrets on a Wikileaks-By-Uncle-Sam level.

Comment: A lot of the waste is inherent to the rules (Score 3, Insightful) 370

by MikeRT (#49421071) Attached to: How the Pentagon Wasted $10 Billion On Military Projects

I saw on Fox News someone say there were millions of companies that could slap together healthcare.gov at a fraction of the cost, so what possible justification was there for CGI Federal? Well those "millions of companies" were not on the DHHS task order under which that contract was issued. Only about 40 some companies were, apparently. You're not a prime on the task order, then fuck you. You better cozy up to one of the primes on that task order so you can bid on it.

$10B on impractical stuff doesn't upset me. $10b is a drop in the bucket of the federal budget. The rules, by their very nature, probably waste 10x that by favoring incompetent incumbents especially in IT.

Comment: It's mostly not the cops' fault (Score 1) 246

by MikeRT (#49415053) Attached to: Watching a "Swatting" Slowly Unfold

If someone calls in an active shooter situation, the police don't have time to get a patrol car out there and check it out. They need to respond like yesterday. A hostage situation probably allows for a greater degree of surveillance, but depending on the wording of the threat the police may be mentally put into a situation where they can credibly, fairly say they thought it was "now or never." Remember with Columbine, the police waited and a lot more people died. The VA Tech shooting was much the same way. When there's a situation that calls for a SWAT unit to be deployed, it is supposed to be dealt with using overwhelming force.

We all can agree that SWAT units are frivolously deployed and most jurisdictions shouldn't have them. That's not relevant to this particular issue. Even if no SWAT units existed, the expected response to an active shooter situation would be the police rushing in with a presumption that the use of deadly force is authorized and to be applied without too many questions being asked.

SWATters should be charged with attempted murder in the first degree, be judged under strict liability and do hard time, even if they are only 13 years old.

Comment: So worried about Microsoft (Score 4, Insightful) 198

Despite the fact that every other big software company is doing the same or worse. If you take a whizbang feature from Java and use it in Python, you're more likely to be sued by Oracle than doing the equivalent getting you sued by Microsoft. Seriously people, the level of chickenshit that formed the foundation of the Oracle-Google lawsuit would make a chicken house unusable for 5 generations and you don't see the level of "ZOMG TEH JAVA IZ RADIOACTIVE" from the people criticizing Microsoft.

The Gates/Ballmer era is over. Get over it. The petty bullshit about Microsoft makes you sound like someone who is still fighting the PPC/x86 fight.

Comment: Vigilantism? (Score 1) 116

If it's vigilantism for GitHub to conduct a private retaliation against the Chinese government, then one could call what the Chinese did an act of war. Hey, if we're tossing around emotionally loaded terms without regard for the context, why stop with just calling that hypothetical action by GitHub an act of vigilantism.

Comment: Too bad the US is so legalistic (Score 3, Interesting) 116

If our country weren't run by lawyers, we'd do what Russia and China do which is allow victims like GitHub to retaliate. Would be hilarious if GitHub contracted a few black hats to penetrate China's academic/military networks and give them a taste of the Wikileaks treatment.

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan

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