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Comment: Re:Maybe (Score 1) 257

by JesseMcDonald (#47891437) Attached to: Using Wearable Tech To Track Gun Use

There's no legal basis for requiring an ankle bracelet for an armed robber and not for a drug dealer.

True, but that only goes to show that the law lacks any moral authority—and that enforcing it would be immoral. You may not see a problem with implementing disproportionate punishments so long as they're "legal", but I do.

Comment: Re:Maybe (Score 1) 257

by JesseMcDonald (#47873769) Attached to: Using Wearable Tech To Track Gun Use

They're on parole.... As long as the measures are temporary, I don't see the problem; nor do I see how "Liberty" is lost.

I agree, provided that they're on parole for committing a legitimate (i.e. non-victimless) crime for which the restrictions of their parole are a proportionate response. Unfortunately, that isn't something you can take for granted these days.

Comment: Re:Can someone clarify the state of BitCoin? (Score 1) 132

by JesseMcDonald (#47869315) Attached to: Paypal Jumps Into Bitcoin With Both Feet

In deflationary currency returns a risk free rate, which will drive out any investment not returning more.

Which is good, because that would have been a poor investment anyway. For the investor, and for society; any money poured into a venture paying less than the "risk-free" rate of deflation would take real resources away from other investments with higher returns. We're all better off if that money is "hoarded" instead until a better rate of return comes along.

Comment: Re:Contacting BBC, via VPN (Score 1) 362

by JesseMcDonald (#47866739) Attached to: BBC: ISPs Should Assume VPN Users Are Pirates

Look at all the companies that pay minimum wage; they do not like to pay a bit more so those less well off can have it better.

That's far too simplistic. It's not like they can just raise wages with no consequences. There is a trade-off between the amount they pay and the number they can afford to hire. Raising pay at the expense of the number of workers would have the effect of concentrating income, not spreading it around.

Assuming you don't want to cut down on jobs, where do you think the funds for the extra pay would come from? Perhaps you don't think the investors (read: ordinary people with 401ks or IRAs, saving for retirement) deserve a share for supplying the productivity-multiplying capital goods which allows those jobs to exist in the first place?

I think that when you talk about "most capitalists" you have a very select group of people in mind: the fabled "one-percenters". Even within that group I don't think you're giving enough credit—poverty in first-world countries pales in comparison to less developed areas, and that can be attributed largely to the 1% everyone loves to disparage—but in any case the 1% isn't "most capitalists". Anyone with investments is a capitalist. If you have a 401k or IRA, you are in effect playing the part of a capitalist whatever your political views. While that isn't everyone, it is a very large chunk of the population. And most of those capitalists are perfectly happy to donate to charities and help out their neighbors.

In my opinion there are two basic aspects to systematic poverty (not counting temporary conditions). One relates to the individuals themselves, whether it's a matter of priorities, habits, or plain mental illness. Mere habits can be changed, if the motivation exists, but if someone chooses their current lifestyle over getting out of poverty, or lacks the capacity for making the choice in the first place, there is little anyone can do short of an unjustifiable infringement of their right to self-determination. The other aspect comes down to people deliberately tearing down the very capital structures needed to avoid poverty in the name of making everyone equal—equally poor, that is.

Comment: Re:This is why piracy is just and will flourish (Score 1) 362

by JesseMcDonald (#47864229) Attached to: BBC: ISPs Should Assume VPN Users Are Pirates

Of course it's information. A description of a work, to any level of detail, is information about the work. It's also censorship and deprivation of free speech--the courts in the U.S. even explicitly recognized it as such. That's the reason we have "fair use"—in the end the court bowed to industry pressure and chose to compromise and overlook the blatant violation of the 1st Amendment, but in exchange insisted on a few token exceptions with minimal commercial impact to save face. The correct and honest ruling would have been that copyright is incompatible with freedom of speech and the 1st Amendment, and thus unconstitutional.

Comment: Re:Contacting BBC, via VPN (Score 1) 362

by JesseMcDonald (#47863817) Attached to: BBC: ISPs Should Assume VPN Users Are Pirates

I gladly pay a bit more so those less well off can have it better.

Oddly enough, so do most capitalists. The difference between socialism and capitalism (politically) lies not in whether you personally choose to "spread the wealth around", but in whether you advocate forcing others to do so.

Comment: Re:Contacting BBC, via VPN (Score 1) 362

by JesseMcDonald (#47863759) Attached to: BBC: ISPs Should Assume VPN Users Are Pirates

Tax some (UK population) and give benefits to others (rest of the world) is not socialism, generally the rule is everybody pays and everybody gets.

If everyone receives value in proportion to what they pay, then there is no point to the system. You might as well just leave everyone alone. If not, then you are taxing some to give benefits to others.

Comment: Re:Assignement in Python (Score 1) 724

Observe that one needs two operators, memory copy, and "point to".
What is wrong is to use only one symbol for the two, and change the meaning according to operator content.

No, the problem is in how you're thinking of the data. There is only one operation: "point to". When you execute "a = 2", you're making the variable "point to" the number two (which you can think of as an immutable object). Storing small, immutable objects directly inside pointers instead of allocating memory for each instance is an implementation detail, nothing more. So long as the data is immutable, it doesn't matter whether you're making a copy or a reference.

Note that larger integers (like 2**80) are actually allocated as regular objects on demand rather than stored inside the pointers. Python breaks referential transparency a bit here through the "is" keyword, since the program can observe that equal numbers are actually separate objects in memory ("2**8 is 2**8 ==> True"; "2**80 is 2**80 ==> False"). If it kept a cache and reused the objects the program wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

Comment: Re:For fuck's sake (Score 2) 67

In English, currencies are not normally capitalized. You don't capitalize "dollar", "euro", or "rupee", so you shouldn't capitalize "bitcoin" either.

You're correct when referring to the currency ("one bitcoin"). However, when referring to the software ("Bitcoin Core"), the network, or the protocol, the name is a proper noun and as such should be capitalized. The capitalization in the summary is thus correct; in the title, the word "bitcoin" refers to the currency but should be capitalized anyway, simply because it's part of a title.

Comment: Re:1. Read 2. Argue (Score 1) 528

by JesseMcDonald (#47769897) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

focus on academic and scientific knowledge rather than scientific processes

The "knowledge" is just a mass of facts, disconnected from how they were obtained. Some grounding in basic scientific knowledge is indeed essential, but that isn't the real point of a science class. The actual science—the main thing a science class is intended to teach—is the "scientific processes" by which those facts are theorized and either verified or disproved, which is precisely what this bill says not to focus on. It takes classes which are meant to give students the tools they need to investigate and understand the universe and replaces them with rote memorization backed by an appeal to authority.

Comment: Re:Never talk to US law enforcement (Score 1) 92

by JesseMcDonald (#47756827) Attached to: Early Bitcoin User Interviewed By Federal Officers

One presumes that while they may not be willing to commit outright perjury, they would have little problem with taking your words out of context. Subtle shifts in emphasis can make a huge difference sometimes, and there is nothing obligating them to write down the parts of your account which do not help their case. As unjust as it is, their notes from the meeting will be taken as fact, while your account would be considered mere hearsay.

There really should be a requirement to fully document (with audio & video) every single encounter between public officials and potential suspects or witnesses, or have it considered hearsay. Until then, don't give them any extra ammunition to use against you.

Comment: Re:The real crime here (Score 1) 465

by JesseMcDonald (#47732907) Attached to: 33 Months In Prison For Recording a Movie In a Theater

I don't think anyone here disagrees that what he did was wrong and he should be punished...

For what this person is accused of (distributing information contrary to censorship laws), even fines and community service would be disproportionately severe. Social responses are fine, up to and including complete ostracism—people have the right to do that anyway without any special justification. He can be barred from the theater, or even all theaters, if they so choose; if he agreed to a deposit or performance bond in exchange for his ticket then that would obviously be forfeit. However, as he has infringed on no one else's legitimate property rights, his own remain inviolate.

The proportional response for a deliberate violation of anothers' rights is that you lose any claim to those specific rights. The murderer forfeits his own right to life; the thief cannot complain when others take "his" property. The proportionate response to copyright infringement is merely that the offender can no longer claim copyright. But unlike self-ownership, and to a lesser extent property rights, copyright is asymmetric, favoring some and harming others. For most, giving up any claim to it is a reasonable price for not being subject to others' claims.

Comment: Re:Too much good content is deleted at Wikipedia. (Score 1) 239

by JesseMcDonald (#47730931) Attached to: Latest Wikipedia Uproar Over 'Superprotection'

I happen to think a notability test is a good idea, but not after one or more contributors have put significant effort into the page. The test should come when the page is first created; whoever thinks the page is notable should justify it (with references) subject to a general review. Once a topic has been accepted as notable, the contents and history of the page should remain online and open to the public indefinitely.

Comment: Re:That's it? (Score 1) 611

by JesseMcDonald (#47721707) Attached to: Study: Ad-Free Internet Would Cost Everyone $230-a-Year

While I agree that it's technically possible to prevent ad-blocking, it's not at all practical. With a few very rare exceptions, all the site stands to save by going to such lengths is the trivial cost of the network traffic. DRM isn't going to convert a significant number of ad-blocking casual visitors to paying customers, and the cost of implementing the system, not to mention loss of otherwise paying customers inconvenienced by the DRM, and even free word-of-mouth advertising from non-paying visitors, would be well in excess of any potential benefit.

Moreover, the users who block ads aren't really the ones you want to advertise to anyway. They're certainly not going to click on the ads and are less likely to be favorably influenced. I, for one, tend to keep track of the more obnoxious advertisers just so that I can be sure to avoid their products, so getting through the blocks will tend to hurt a brand more than it helps. Even if there was a foolproof way of ensuring that visitors see your ads, I suspect that over the long term it would only dilute the value of each ad rather than bringing in extra net income.

Going back to the article, they measured the cost of advertising by businesses in the U.K., but did they happen to check how much of that advertising was actually directed at U.K. residents?

Comment: Re:That is the law... (Score 1) 475

by JesseMcDonald (#47707479) Attached to: Google's Driverless Cars Capable of Exceeding Speed Limit

The point of that section is that you sometimes need to drive slower than the posted speed limit. There is no exception in the law for going faster to keep up with traffic. In any case, the Driver's Handbook is not authoritative; it's merely a guide, not the law itself. The law says that drivers shall not exceed the speed limits:

22348. (a) Notwithstanding subdivision (b) of Section 22351, a person shall not drive a vehicle upon a highway with a speed limit established pursuant to Section 22349 or 22356 at a speed greater than that speed limit.

Disclaimer: "These opinions are my own, though for a small fee they be yours too." -- Dave Haynie