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Comment: Re:low impact (Score 3, Informative) 50

I would be surprised if real traffic light controllers did not have such a safety module.

They do. I worked for a company in 2005 that designed and manufactured traffic light controllers. We bought a standard module from a different company that just watched for conflicting signals, and switched the intersection to all flashing red if it ever saw one. Of course, it was a micro-computer, not an Electrical Engineering class project, but it wasn't connected to the internet and it didn't have any wireless communications ability, so it couldn't be hacked by anything short of physical presence and hand tools.

~Loyal

Comment: Re:What's the problem? (Score 1) 1198

First, why does the US still allow a death penalty?

Well, our judgement is that it provides a number of advantages. One advantage is the it prevents the convicted from committing further crimes. It's safer for the other prisoners, and it's safer for the guards. Another advantage is that it prevents others from committing particularly heinous crimes. I realise that there's evidence that such is not the case, but the evidence is not unequivocal; a reasonable person may still come to that conclusion. A third advantage is that it prevents people from declaring vendetta and taking vengeance. A fourth advantage is that it provides closure for the families and friends of the victim. Families don't have to keep track of parole hearings, and spend time and money testifying against parole.

We tend to argue how much a prisoner costs society, but rarely discuss the morality of executing people.

I disagree. We tend to discuss the morality of executing people ad nauseam. If there's anything left un-discussed, I think it's the effect on the executioners. Knowing that you've killed a human being is going to do something undesirable to your psyche. I worry what it does to them later in life.

Next, and relates to the first is that the Prison systems in the US have become a for profit business.

I don't have a problem with that, but then I think of profit as the price we pay for efficiency. I understand that there's something dissonant about imprisoning people efficiently, but it does have the advantage over imprisoning them inefficiently. Maybe it would be better to think of it as imprisoning people expensively versus not imprisoning them expensively.

The privatization of prisons has caused countless issues. Such as contracts requiring a specific capacity at all times in prisons and the exploitation of prisoners. Laws have been passed to help keep prisons at capacity...

I'm not aware of those events, but I'll take your word for it. That being said, and I'm trying not to be flippant here, I can't see how the one relates to the other. I mean--if one executes a prisoner then the prisoner is not maintaining the capacity of the prison, is he? How do prison businesses exploit a corpse? And aren't laws being passed to keep prisons at capacity a problem with the legislature rather than one with the business?

...nearly everyone in the US can commit several felonies every day without their knowledge.

Now that is a problem I worry about. We imprison more people per capita than any other country. We're not a particularly lawless people, are we? Why do we put so many in prison? Something is wrong. Now, it could be said that we aren't lawless because we imprison so many, but I think that's just plain wrong. I particularly decry the increasing lack of a mens rea in recently passed laws. What's the point of that!

We could discuss other issues, such as how rehabilitation in the US really does not exist and society lacks opportunity for people motivating people to illegal activities but can save that for later.

Well...okay.

We should address why the US has the highest percentage of people in prison in the world,...

Amen, brother!

...and why we still have executions first.

Been there; done that; the T-shirt's stained with blood.

~Loyal

Comment: Re:unlike- mutates in host quickly (Score 1) 203

by LoyalOpposition (#45482965) Attached to: HIV Tracking Technology Could Pinpoint Who's Infecting Who

If strain A differs from strain B at 50 sites, and strain B from strain C at a separate 50 sites, A and C can have anywhere from 0-100 differences.

Oh, well. You're welcome. I'm still confused, though. If strain A differs from strain B at 50 sites, and strain B from strain C at a separate 50 sites, then isn't it true that A and C have exactly 100 differences?

~Loyal

Comment: Re:And we'll all discover (Score 1) 203

by LoyalOpposition (#45482569) Attached to: HIV Tracking Technology Could Pinpoint Who's Infecting Who

it's still within the same order of magnitude.

You two are talking about different things. You're talking about certain types of intercourse given that exactly one subject is infected, and exactly one subject is uninfected. Anonymous Coward is talking about certain types of intercourse given that both subjects are members of the general population.

~Loyal

Comment: Re:unlike- mutates in host quickly (Score 1) 203

by LoyalOpposition (#45482515) Attached to: HIV Tracking Technology Could Pinpoint Who's Infecting Who

If strain A differs from strain B at 50 sites, and strain C from strain A at a separate 50 sites, A and C can have anywhere from 0-100 differences.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but if strain C differs from strain A at 50 sites, then isn't it true that A and C have exactly 50 differences? In other words, it's false that A and C can have anywhere from 0-100 differences?

~Loyal

Comment: Re:Secret Emails and they fire a tweeter? (Score 1) 208

by LoyalOpposition (#45211937) Attached to: White House Official Tracked Down and Fired Over Insulting Tweets

To be fair, any corporation would have done the same thing. If Pepsi (say) discovered a Twitter account that repeatedly says that Pepsi tastes horrible, and it turned out that the owner of the account was one of their employees, it wouldn't matter if that employee never used his or her real name--he or she would be canned faster than, well...

I think one difference might be that Pepsi can't use all the power of government to reveal who the tweeter was.

~Loyal

Comment: Re:Credible, unfortunately. (Score 4, Insightful) 294

Trying to create a better society is a very different thing from thinking you've invented one.

Can you explain how? I mean, it seems to me that they are inextricably linked. Suppose Mr. Legislator wants to try to create a better society. His necessary first step is to hypothesize how to do so. Once he has his hypothesis he has two choices--either evaluate whether the hypothetical society is better than current society or try it. You've forestalled the former, so he has to proceed with the latter. Once it's tried, he must evaluate the results. The possible evaluations are the hypothetical society is worse than ex ante, it's equal, or it's better. You've forestalled the latter. It seems to me that the only way you allow a person to try to create a better society is if he a priori is doomed to failure.

~Loyal

"Summit meetings tend to be like panda matings. The expectations are always high, and the results usually disappointing." -- Robert Orben

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