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Comment Re:Where is deniability? (Score 2) 391

If I were ever in that situation, there are three main reasons I might not want to report it:

1) I don't trust the police and prosecutors to do a competent job.

2) I fear that police and prosecutors may pressure me to be dishonest and threaten me if I'm honest.

3) I have philosophical objections to the idea that there can be information that it is illegal to merely possess.

Comment Re:So when will Decred be forked (Score 1) 122

See, the best thing Bitcoin has going for it is that it was the first to make it work.

How is that an advantage in any sense but "we did it before it was popular"?

Because anything that has a small number of properties (stability, scarcity, fungibility, and so on) can be used as a currency. Now that we have the technology, anyone who wants to can create a new currency that has the perfect combination of such properties to be used as a currency. So that means that currencies will have to compete based on the areas in which they differ. One of the major such factors is expected future demand, and one of the best predictors of future demand is current demand. This means the "market leader" has a defensible position unless a challenger is somehow significantly better.

Comment Re:There are US DHS at London Gatwick?? (Score 1) 704

They're both guilty of attempted murder, no question. They each took actions that they intended to cause Charlie's death and that could have caused his death but for factors beyond their control.

However, I think technically Charlie died of natural causes, thirst. Neither Alice nor Bob actually caused Charlie to die of thirst, it was caused by the coincidental combination of their two actions. So neither of them is actually guilty of murder.

Of course had they cooperated or had knowledge of each other it would be different.

Comment Re:There are US DHS at London Gatwick?? (Score 1) 704

I forgot to mention the best example of this ever:

Alice, Bob and Charlie are at a camp in the desert. The next day, they're all going to part ways. Alice and Bob each want to kill Charlie but do not know that the other does. Alice gets up in the middle of the night and poisons Charlie's canteen with a fast acting poison. Later, Bob gets up in the middle of the night and makes a whole in Charlie's canteen. The next day they go their separate ways. Charlie's canteen empties through the hole before he can drink any poison and he dies of thirst.

Alice can't be responsible for Charlie's death (though she did attempt to murder him). She put poison in his water, but he never drank it.

And, by the "better for everyone" rule, Bob can't be responsible for Charlie's death (though he did attempt to murder him). If not for the hole, he would have died even sooner. Surely you can't be responsible for someone's death if the consequences of your action is prolonging their life.

Comment Re:There are US DHS at London Gatwick?? (Score 1) 704

The airline can decide that it's better for everyone if they don't provide the service that they were paid to provide. But they can't decide that and still charge for the service that they decided not to provide.

Without this rule, you get Kafkaesque situations where nobody's responsible for anything. For example, suppose the US simply notified the airline that this group wouldn't be allowed to fly and the airline canceled their ticket on that basis with on refund. The airline will say the cancellation will be better for everyone and the US will say they never actually denied them.

Comment Re:It's not entirely a lie (Score 1) 397

I agree that there are significant aspects of computer programming that can be taught. But there is a certain capacity that makes the difference between people who could be very good programmers and people who never will. You can measure this capacity, and it's a good predictor of success as a programmer. Essentially, it's the ability to assimilate a set of arbitrary rules and then solve problems requiring the application of those rules. This skill is also important in many areas of mathematics and logic.

It's the same kind of skill that allows a person to reason out the answer to certain types of logic questions even if they haven't been exposed to those kinds of problems before. An example of a problem of this sort would showing a person four cards on a table, one face up showing a 10, one face up showing a 3, one face down showing a black back and one face down showing a red back. Then ask them "which cards do you need to turn over to make sure every black card has a 3 on the back?"

To someone lacking this skill, this will be a very challenging problem and they will likely get it wrong. To someone who has this skill, it will be no more difficult than an analogous problem that does have an internal logic, such as: In a bar, there are four people. One is drinking beer, one is drinking water, one is 15 years old, and one is 31 years old. Which people need to be checked to make sure nobody under 21 is consuming alcohol?

The difference between these two problems is that one follows rules that make sense and that we understand. The other follows rules that have no internal logic and are arbitrary. Manipulation of arbitrary rules is the soul of programming. And while you can teach people to solve these problems, the techniques they would use won't work in a the more complex situations programmers face. You can't make an exhaustive table for the HTTP specification. You can't really analogize the rules for iteration invalidation in C++ collections to anything in common experience.

Comment This won't work in the US (Score 1) 418

His license restriction won't work in the United States. He says "USA has already been excluded from using Treefinder in February 2015," but his exclusion is ineffective in the United States. You can download his work without agreeing to any license, and under United States law, once you lawfully possess a copy of a protected work, you need neither a license nor permission to use it. 17 USC 106 lists the things you do need a license or permission to do, such as preparing derivative works or distributing copies. Mere use is absolutely not covered.

And it would be somewhat silly if it worked any other way. Say you bought a book at the bookstore. Do you still need a license to read it? If so, where is that license? What are its terms?

Under United States law, one who lawfully possesses a protected work is entitled to the ordinary use of that work.

Comment Re:Leftists are insane (Score 1) 585

I'm not sure I'd draw the line at just speech that calls for action. Defamation, for example, doesn't call for action. While I think it's probably better to permit defamation than prohibit it, I'm not a First Amendment absolutist who believes that the First Amendment should prohibit laws against defamation.

My point was only that fraud is not "just speech". You cannot commit fraud just by speaking.

Comment Re:Leftists are insane (Score 1) 585

No, I'm pointing out that fraud is not "just speech". I am not arguing that there are no circumstances under which a government should criminalize actions that are just speech. As you pointed out, slander is at least arguably one such example.

It's not hard to imagine others. For example, if I say publicly "I'm willing to pay someone a million dollars if they kill my boss", that should probably be a crime if it's reasonably foreseeable that it could result in someone killing my boss.

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