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Comment: Re:FBI Doesn't plant evidence (Score 1) 106

by Etherwalk (#48174225) Attached to: FBI Warns Industry of Chinese Cyber Campaign

and they do a lot of entrapment of people who go along with whatever crime they set up (in most domestic terrorism cases you hear about the FBI is the one selling the arms to the "terrorists").

But at the end of the day, they're generally law enforcement guys interested in arresting people who violate the law, not in pretending innocent people have violated the law.

There is quite a bit of contradiction in those lines, and the former of them is the very reason the grandparent finds the FBI more threatening.

Not at all. They entrap people, yes, but they only arrest people who actually commit the crime. Sometimes it's a pretty terrible thing to do, sometimes it isn't, but either way, it's arresting people who committed the crime.

Comment: Honesty not the best policy (Score 1) 407

by Etherwalk (#48171785) Attached to: As Prison Population Sinks, Jails Are a Steal

It is simple.
If you know you are guilty they will offer you a chance to take a deal, save the courts a lot of time and effort, and rewards the guilty party for choosing to be honest. Yes it is honest for a reward but still being honest.
If you are caught and you know that you are actually guilty of breaking the law but try to get out of it they will make you an example.

That's a nice theory, but the system is actually designed to hurt honest criminals.

If it weren't, you wouldn't be able to use apologies as evidence of the crime.

Comment: FBI Doesn't plant evidence (Score 2) 106

by Etherwalk (#48165345) Attached to: FBI Warns Industry of Chinese Cyber Campaign

The chinese might break into your secure email server, but they won't plant child porn on it in an attempt to incriminate you. The FBI, on the other hand..

Citation needed. Most FBI & Justice types I've met would not do that kind of thing. People who are into law enforcement have political agendas, yes, but there's a big red line between acting on a political agenda and outright felony criminal behavior.

Sure, the FBI will sometimes publicly support things which hurt as a society because it makes it easier for them to do their jobs (e.g. fighting encryption), and they do a lot of entrapment of people who go along with whatever crime they set up (in most domestic terrorism cases you hear about the FBI is the one selling the arms to the "terrorists").

But at the end of the day, they're generally law enforcement guys interested in arresting people who violate the law, not in pretending innocent people have violated the law.

Comment: Signatures... (Score 1) 86

by Etherwalk (#48147753) Attached to: Millions of Voiceprints Quietly Being Harvested

Using tech like this to improve voice recognition and speech synthesis is useful. Using it to verify identities is problematic and should be banned before it causes any serious problems, destroys lives and livelihoods, and wastes resources and time. This is quite possibly the worst, most easily abused application of technology I've ever heard of any government or institution being idiotic or corrupt enough to try.

Because signatures are such unique and uncopyable things...

Comment: Re:Bad summary? Or horrible editorializing? (Score 4, Insightful) 259

by Etherwalk (#48146619) Attached to: "Double Irish" Tax Loophole Used By US Companies To Be Closed

"Tax evasion" is a crime. "Tax avoidance" is what is being done here.

"Tax evasion" has one legal meaning and another colloquial one. Colloquially speaking, "tax evasion" includes tax avoidance of this character.

Source: talking to people who aren't tax lawyers.

Comment: Shopping in Manhattan. (Score 1) 314

What advantage can you think of that a $1000 bill has over 10 x $100 bills?

I can dream up a few, like if I want to bribe my congressman maybe I don't need as many envelopes, or on those days where I need to shift $20,000,000 in cash it's a few pounds lighter so the shipping is cheaper.

But none of these would make me "strongly favor" bringing it back.

Moving an account from one bank to another and wanting it to be credited the same day. Er... without paying for a wire transfer.

Shopping in Manhattan. The last time I was in the Williams-Sonoma store they had a $1500 bread knife.

It doesn't affect me so I don't really care--I can count the number of times I've walked around with more than $1,000 in cash on me on the fingers of one hand--but there are certainly people whom it affects.

Comment: Re:To their defense (Score 1) 314

Your ideas work well in theory, but suffer from problems in practice.

When commercial sex is legalized, demand increases and girls get trafficked in to increase supply. Yes, there are advantages--sex workers can more easily get access to appropriate medical attention or get help when they are attacked by customers, for example. But you also get kids being raped. Sometimes the benefit of an activity to society is substantially outweighed by its cost and you ban it.

Consumption-based tax makes a lot of sense (we have some form of it in sales tax), although it creates tracking and complexity problems, especially if you want to have a progressive tax or are a small business owner.

And then you have criminal usury, payday loans, and people who are gambling away money they don't have--people who get desperate enough or lack information or psychological ability in a way that means they can be easily taken advantage of. As much as I like libertarianism, there are just some places where the government should step in and say "it's really not okay to make money this way."

Comment: It always changes. (Score 1) 323

by Etherwalk (#48143847) Attached to: How English Beat German As the Language of Science

Yes--It was Latin for a thousand years, then it started to be okay to write poetry and the like in modern languages. (Petrarch, in Italian). And to use it for scholarship after that, and we had the industrial revolution. I guess German was winning for a while, and now English is.

It may be Chinese in seventy years or so, but maybe not--I've heard Mandarin is rather difficult to learn, which may slow it down.

But then, Latin wasn't exactly a walk in the park.

Comment: Re:Power Companies Don't Have Real Costs (Score 1) 610

by Etherwalk (#48138355) Attached to: Wind Power Is Cheaper Than Coal, Leaked Report Shows

So, you're telling me that you're persuaded by the summary of an article, never actually released (only leaked), utilizing these admittedly nebulous "externalized costs", in the face of undisputed evidence over decades that the power companies have never found wind energy to be cheaper.

Wonna buy a bridge?

No, I'm telling you that the summary of the article directly contradicts your statement about the article's position.

Comment: Re:Power Companies Don't Have Real Costs (Score 1) 610

by Etherwalk (#48137195) Attached to: Wind Power Is Cheaper Than Coal, Leaked Report Shows

Your initial comment was that power companies were looking at costs carefully and would switch to the cheaper alternative. That comment was invalid insofar as it failed to take into account externalized costs.

The summary also directly contradicts your claim about what it says. It notes that "The report (PDF) demonstrates that if you were to take into account mining, pollution, and adverse health impacts of coal and gas, wind power would be the cheapest source of energy." It is explicitly talking about externalized costs.

Comment: Power Companies Don't Have Real Costs (Score 5, Insightful) 610

by Etherwalk (#48136505) Attached to: Wind Power Is Cheaper Than Coal, Leaked Report Shows

If this author were correct, the power companies would already be rushing to build wind-driven turbines. They already have people carefully weighing the costs and benefits of each power-generation method. When I see wind-driven turbines appearing on the windy parts of my horizon, then I'll believe that wind is cheaper than coal.

You are forgetting the major factor of externalized costs. Processes have costs that are internal so they have to be paid for by the owner, and external so they get paid by someone else. Pollution is a major source of externalized cost in conventional power generation.

The power company doesn't have to pay for those costs, but society as a whole does, for example in asthma treatments and deaths, or likely in certain kinds of cancers. So the power company will do the thing which is cheaper for *them* but more expensive as a *whole*.

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

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