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Comment: Re: Good (Score 1, Interesting) 320 320

Obviously the austerity measures that have already been implemented had a negative impact, making it impossible for the country to grow economically

At the time Syriza came to power the Greek economy had started growing again, albeit slowly, and the government had a primary budget surplus. This was despite that many of the obvious reforms Europe wanted hadn't been done.

Yes, the economy had shrunk a lot. No surprise - a big chunk of the Greek economy was simply jobs programs created by the state in order to buy votes. No way to fix Greece without jettisoning that part. But the reforms are mostly common sense and if Greece had stuck with them, the turnaround that was underway could probably have continued. But - they voted for Syriza instead. Syriza immediately started undoing the reforms of the previous government and, guess what, pushed Greece further under water.

Comment: Re:Good deal! (Score 1) 320 320

We'll soon see how well they do without either.

Very badly, without a doubt. A humanitarian crisis is now looking not just thinkable but downright likely. The EU will pay vastly greater sums before the Greek crisis is over, if only because a failed state within the Schengen zone would make the current EU migrant problems look like a Sunday picnic in comparison.

Waves of starving Greek refugees who cannot afford food fleeing a country beset by blackouts and riots is something that Europe cannot afford, and thus, there is really no option but to continue massive wealth transfers into Greece. The only question is how the EU will ensure the Greek government is replaced with a proxy government, without triggering even greater problems.

One thing is for sure. All the people who voted OXI in the referendum thinking they would be taking control of their own destiny are deluded. Greece is about to fall apart. They will end up grabbing any lifelines the EU gives them regardless of how they voted.

Comment: Re:Good for greece (Score 3, Interesting) 320 320

They have demonstrated perfectly why democracy is a failure, even while being a shining beacon of it.

Democracy is not a failure, don't be silly. There are lots of democratic countries that have managed to get a grip on public spending. Most obviously, Germany. Less obviously, the UK just went through an election where the party promising more austerity won a clear victory. California went through a massive crisis where they took their state to the brink due to referendums allowing the creation of unfunded mandates, but last I heard they had learned their lesson and got that problem under control. And so on, and so on.

What's more, it's not like dictatorships are all paragons of budgetary discipline. Far from it.

So whilst undoubtably there will be many further spending crises in advanced nations, democracy is not the problem - it just means a society has to learn to control their borrowing impulses as a group.

Comment: Re: Drop the hammer on them. (Score 3, Informative) 320 320

Second, in Greece there have been traffic budget cuts, and everything was fine according to what was asked, it's just that the European plan was futile

The European plan wasn't actually implemented. Basic things like, hey guyz, why don't you put together a land registry so people know who owns what? Yeah, that didn't happen. Ever. Been talked about since the 90s. Every other modern economy has one, Greece doesn't.

What about relaxing the labour rules? In most parts of the world it's possible to fire people for incompetence. In Greece, it's so hard to fire a civil servant that there is a case of a man who literally murdered the town mayor with an Uzi, went to prison ....... and wasn't fired, in fact, he continued to draw a salary whilst locked up! This is so absurd it's unreal yet, this is Greece.

There are tons of reforms that would actually be good for Greece in the long run, but Syriza seems to think every single reform is a bargaining chip.

Comment: Re:You know it's not going to work (Score 1) 256 256

Take SSL/TLS. Are they going to demand both parties stash the session key, or do their handshaking through a proxy logging each packet?

Probably not. You're thinking like a geek instead of a politician. Politicians don't get their way by understanding technology. They get their way by finding people who do and forcing them to obey their will.

In this case, what Cameron means by banning encryption is passing laws that say something like, "If your website is used by people in the UK, you must always be able to comply with a warrant demanding data and you must provide all data, even if it is encrypted". The exact details of how that works is neither here nor there to them.

Now of course the interesting thing is how this interacts with jurisdictions, and whether it would be enough to make GCHQ shut up (probably not). The UK may or may not be able to force the hands of Facebook/Google/etc because the UK is such a huge market and they all have offices there, but China was a huge market too and Google walked away from that anyway. So it's hard to know how things would play out. For companies that have no UK exposure it's not clear what they'd do - probably use ad-hoc blocking of any website they suspect might be used by The Evil Terrorists if it doesn't comply. Could be a mess depending on how heavily they enforce it.

Comment: Re:Nevermind the bollocks, here's David Cameron (Score 1) 256 256

All those figures say is that birds of a feather flock together. Tory voters tend to live near each other and because the UK has a political system designed a long time ago for resolving local issues, not surprisingly it doesn't translate votes to seats directly at the national level. As local politics becomes less and less relevant, of course, people feel this system no longer works well for them.

However, as you note, it would not have mattered if Labour had won, or any other party. There are NO parties in the UK that believe people should be able to keep secrets from the government. It's just not something that fits into the political worldview. And because the voting system collapses thousands of decisions down to just one every so many years, surveillance and encryption is simply not democratically decided at all. Basically the wheel of power is decided by the economy, and that's about it.

Unfortunately this is not specific to the UK and is true nearly everywhere, France is even worse for example, and the USA pretends to care but realistically lots of Congressmen would very much like total surveillance of Americans .... and only feel they can't demand it openly because of that darned constitution. That won't stop them doing it in secret though!

Comment: Re:At least he included warrants (Score 1) 256 256

Ha ha, did you think he meant warrants?

He meant warrant. Unfortunately as is often the case with the Tories, they use words differently to how ordinary people do. By warrant he means a ministerial rubber-stamp. For instance Theresa May last year alone "signed" nearly 2,800 warrants, a number that clearly shows zero attempt to investigate their legitimacy and indeed almost certainly means some anonymous flunky is signing them on her behalf.

Comment: Re:Kaspersky (Score 1) 33 33

I'd imagine it's also because the Kaspersky guys spend much less time than Krebs trying to dox various malware authors and so on. The real life identities of those people are just much less relevant. So if a journalist comes and starts asking questions about various people who "anyone in the business should know" etc, and if your job is just analyzing malware all day but you don't much care about the real names of the people who make it, then you might come across as evasive when really they're just thinking, "that accusation might be kind of weak, but I don't know for sure either way, best to stay out of it". Especially if you'd rather not appear in print with your name next to the real name of a bad guy.

The Kaspersky question was kind of dumb anyway. Let's imagine that they have some sort of shadowy deal with Russian intelligence to avoid flagging their IC malware. I doubt it, but let's pretend they do.

What are you gonna do about it? Kaspersky is the best at what they do, and they've blown the covers of way more government malware than any other company out there, period. If you say, gosh, I don't trust those awful Ruskies, what if I get hacked by the Kremlin, I'm gonna go with a True Blue American Patriot AV company ..... then all you're doing is siding with a team that not only hasn't revealed NSA malware, but generally, hasn't revealed any government operations at all. Does not seem like a win. Especially because the Russian government is about 1% as scary as the ridiculous Western propaganda would have us believe.

Comment: Re:What an opportunity! (Score 2) 358 358

Bitcoin is not actually deflationary. Its supply grows constantly until it eventually stabilises. The fact that Bitcoin prices have fallen a lot is more because lots of new people have discovered the project and decided they want some, but that effect will eventually peter out as Bitcoin becomes boring and everyone finalises their opinions of it.

Greece doesn't need fiat currency. What Greece needs is hard money – like the Euro (which is hard-ish, though not as hard as Bitcoin). This is because the Greek government is notoriously corrupt and the fact that they couldn't just print the pensions of their civil servants was one of the few things creating pressure to reform, and preventing outright pillaging of the savings of Greeks who do actually work in the private sector. Seeing Greece as one monolithic entity isn't right: there are different factions, not all of whom want the government to suddenly be able to spend whatever it wants. Hence the Greek people apparently voting for both keeping the Euro and not enacting any spending cutbacks, a contradictory position.

Ultimately Greece is going to get a lot poorer, no matter what. In many ways it's practically a third world country, one that was simply kept afloat by huge injections of foreign cash. But it never really stopped being third world in the way that it was run.

Bitcoin could, theoretically, benefit some Greek people now in the heat of the crisis because the Greek government wouldn't be able to impose capital controls on it. Thus preventing the outright theft of whatever little cash Greek's have left in the bank (sorry, I mean, solidarity tax/haircut/pick euphemism of choice). It is no magical cure for Greece's problems but it could tip the balance away from a government that discovered it was paying salaries and pensions for entirely non-existent departments, and towards people who are just trying to make a living.

Comment: Re:Ok Google, time to ditch Java (Score 1) 181 181

Lots of things can be considered an API. For instance, who owns the copyright on OpenGL? Does anyone even know? What about HTTP? After all, a protocol is basically an API that runs over wires instead of call stacks. And HTTP/2.0 is a derivative work of SPDY which is .... developed by Google. And is now being added back into Java. What about SQL? It's managed by ISO these days so probably Oracle would avoid slicing their own throats like this.

Following this US ruling all sorts of people and companies are now finding that they own IP they never even knew they had. This is already making lawyers the world over start licking their lips. It's going to be a shitstorm.

Comment: Re:Bullshit narrative ... (Score 1) 227 227

It's systematically ignoring laws and regulations while going "wah wah, we're teh underdogs".

Uber is not unregulated and they do not stand in opposition to regulations in general, contrary to what many seem to believe.

What we're witnessing here is not State Vs Anarchy Round One. What we're witnessing is quite simply State Regulation vs Corporate Regulation. The existential question Uber faces is, can they convince society and government (not the same thing) that they're better at regulating taxi drivers via their technology than local taxi commissions are via paperwork? Even if Uber triumphs, this will not mean widespread usage of unregulated taxis, it just means that taxi drivers will live in fear of getting low star ratings instead of having their local medallion revoked.

Comment: Re: AirBNB is hurting Barcelona, badly. (Score 1) 104 104

Getting drunk and running amok is something you do when not home--at home you might exercise some moderation, or there'd be people who'd call you out on it whose authority you'd feel obligated to respect

I hate to say it, given that I'm British, but unfortunately the problem of a subset of Brits getting completely wasted and engaging in shitty, boorish behaviour isn't something restricted to holiday times. For some reason the UK just has a far more serious problem with drinking than other cultures and it happens at home as well. I normally don't go to the sort of European resort towns that the hooligan set like to frequent but on the occasions that I have done, it's always embarrassing as fuck to be a young male British tourist because you can sense the suspicion locals have that you might be about to do something stupid. The worst was when I visited Bratislava. Lovely city (well, town, by UK standards). The pub in the city centre had the phone number of the British embassy on the beer mats, for people to call in an emergency. The men's toilets had a poster warning Brits specifically not to hit on the local girls. When I was there, a group of Brits came in with some unbelievably grotesque, obese men being led by some extremely hot local girl. Very obviously a stag do. As one of the fattest guys walked past the table where me and my friend were sitting he said (very loudly) "I want to see some TITS".

I pretended to be Canadian. Luckily I don't have a strong British accent at all and I was travelling with an American, so it was somewhat plausible.

I think you're completely right that this behaviour is partly learned and transmitted, like some sort of mind virus. For some reason Brits seem far more likely than other people to feel they can't have fun or be socially relaxed until they've got drunk, and will happily admit it. It's not seen as something shameful, people just blurt it out, like saying it somehow makes them one of the group. Combine it with a culture that practically celebrates "laddishness" as being fundamental to being a man, and you've got a recipe for trouble.

Comment: Singularity OS (Score 1) 383 383

Did you ever check out Microsoft Research's Singularity OS, which implemented a new OS kernel from scratch in a dialect of C#. It has no traditional processes and relies on software/compiler enforced isolation instead of VMM/page tables. It has some other rather interesting ideas in it too, like contract based IPC channels. Relatedly, there was some work done a while ago to allow better integration between garbage collected heaps and the kernel swap system (bookmarking collectors), but the patches were never merged. Do you have any thoughts on how Linux could better support non-C/C++ based software in this way?

The computer is to the information industry roughly what the central power station is to the electrical industry. -- Peter Drucker