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Comment Re:Let's get real (Score 1) 255

I think the accumulation of power and loyalty required to make for a quick coup that doesn't spill over is the kind of thing that leads to executions (like what apparently just happened to Ri Yong Gil). If it's made clear that the elite are going to fall, they might take as much with them as they can. The orders may be internal, but it will almost certainly spill over, especially if someone decides that it's a South Korean/US plot to overthrow the government.

It could remain contained, but I'm not hopeful.

Comment Re:Let's get real (Score 2) 255

North Korea is more rational than most people tend to believe, but not rational to the level that, say, Iran is (and they're far more rational than people tend to believe). They do believe the world is out to get them, but they also know enough not to pull the trigger themselves unless there's no other choice--though that may include taking the nation down with them if someone tries a coup.

Absent an enlightened successor to Kim Jong-Un in about 30 years, any shift in that impoverished country is likely to be bloody, violent, and involve a lot of carnage outside its borders.

Comment Re:Weighed Response (Score 1) 286

The US doesn't have nuclear weapons there now, but did deploy them in South Korea in the 1950s. It even made a point of announcing it, which the North Koreans took rather badly. South Korea is reportedly nuclear-free and has been for decades, but at one point, yeah, there were nuclear weapons present.

Comment Re:Anything NK does is suspicious (Score 3, Interesting) 286

It's more that the US isn't willing to do anything about it because it guarantees thousands to hundreds of thousands of dead allies and unpredictable results for geopolitical balance in the region. By chiding them publicly, it sets up a history of warnings in case something does happen, but lets all those people keep living for now.

Also, South Korea doesn't want to fight over it, preferring to wait until the regime collapses on itself and then figuring out how to clean up that mess, which would be easier than cleaning up that mess plus the leftovers from a war.

Comment Re:Is this really new? (Score 1) 49

It's not a direct read, but the idea is the same. You're thinking of a letter, and your attention goes to the letter on the screen even if your eyes don't move at all (they mention this for use in locked-in syndrome, where there's no voluntary movement at all). The iris responds to a lesser degree than it would if it were to center on the letter, but it still responds to the brightness, an involuntary movement based on a thought.

It's not a direct brain interface, but it makes for an indirect one through. A reading of what the subject is thinking, even at so rudimentary a level as a binary choice like this, without relying on a conscious physical action can be seen as a form of brain interface.

Comment Re:Is this really new? (Score 4, Insightful) 49

Hawking still uses a system activated by a muscle in his cheek, one of the few over which he still has some level of control, which is then detected by an IR sensor in his glasses. Earlier versions used a small joystick while he still had some control over a few fingers (or maybe it was just one), but the system has been adapted as he's lost more and more control.

This system might allow him to continue working even if he loses the last vestiges of control over his facial muscles.

Comment Re:should be interesting (Score 2) 327

Activities after rape should not be used to determine if rape occurred. Some people sit in the corner and cry, some get on with their lives.

Nonconsensual sex is rape. Whether Assange is guilty of it isn't for me (or you) to determine. That's a matter for the courts. There's a lot of blame to go around for how this has been handled.

I respect Assange's determination; I really didn't think he'd last very long before giving up, but he's sticking this out far longer than most believed he would. I also am not opposed to his mission, though it's still pretty one-sided against the US government and some of the things he's claimed have been in cables aren't really what's being said. I'd like to see more from other countries, particularly those in Africa and Asia. Still, I think he's far too stuck on the idea that the Swedes would turn him over to the US government when the UK's extradition treaty is far easier to use, though I don't think he's done anything wrong under US law as he wasn't in the US when he received the information, he's not a US citizen or resident, and he holds no loyalties to the country. Maybe there's an argument for incitement, but that requires some pretty significant proof, and courts (with tons of amici filings by media organizations) may not be keen to agree on that abridgment of free speech. Arguments for damage to national security are similarly thin, especially given the claims of damage in the Pentagon Papers and other

I don't know enough about Swedish law to determine whether the prosecutor could travel to another country for the required interview; I've seen claims that they can or can't, that it's OK under some circumstances but not others. Perhaps it's a point of principle to not do it under circumstances where the accused has such a high degree of control; if he were questioned in the embassy and charges were filed, would he then give up, or would he continue his fugitive status?

Even if Sweden drops the charges (or he waits them out completely), he's not leaving the embassy without getting arrested for bail jumping. He's almost certain to get the maximum sentence (one year) for doing so, and to spend it incarcerated. Once that's finished, I expect he'll be deported to Australia (which I believe also has an easily-implemented extradition treaty with the US), and that relatively few countries will accept him in the future, assuming Australia doesn't revoke his passport. Ecuador might take him in (though the Australian government and those of the nations surrounding Ecuador could make this difficult even if Ecuador did issue travel papers), but that may change with the 2017 elections, since Rafael Correa is term-limited to two terms under the 2008 constitution (he was first elected under that constitution in 2009 and re-elected in 2013).

Whatever happens, it is unlikely that any court, in whatever country, is going to ever grant him bail in the future.

Comment Re: One word (Score 1) 171

That was essentially how the Constitution originally worked, albeit through electoral votes. However, it creates a great deal of uncertainty. An elected president gives people an idea of what to expect for the next four years, at least in terms of what will be attempted. The potentially complete change of policy should the vice president become president could undermine plans made based on those expectations.

Comment Re:One word (Score 2) 171

A pure democracy wouldn't work well in any case other than very small systems of government. Especially in a modern society, there are simply too many issues before the Congress overall, let alone all the states, for the people as a whole to understand what they'd be voting on. (I'm aware that members of Congress often have not actually read the bills involved, but theoretically, they're a group that has the time to understand what's before them. What we're talking about here is largely theoretical anyway.)

We see this in the regulatory environment. The reasons that the FCC, FAA, EPA, and others get authority to create regulatory law is because even Congress knows that it can't understand the nuances of these fields and so provides for agencies to handle the law themselves within certain boundaries. If they go beyond the boundaries, Congress can rein them in.

Other than representative democracy, I don't see means by which this situation could get better. Representative democracies are subject to manipulation, but every so often, enough people get upset at the status quo that changes happen. We saw this to a small extent in the US with the Tea Party, and the fragmtentation of the Republican Party for the 2016 presidential election suggests that it's ongoing or even expanding. Were a fragmentation like that to happen simultaneously in the Democratic Party, it might actually kick some major changes into happening.

Comment Re:Nobody is buying email software anymore (Score 1) 244

LaTeX forumulae? No.

Relying on Office365 working in a non-Microsoft browser? Absolutely.

It works fine in Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and Safari, with no substantial differences between those and IE (if anything, non-IE is faster). I haven't tried Konquerer, but it might work passably even there.

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"The fundamental principle of science, the definition almost, is this: the sole test of the validity of any idea is experiment." -- Richard P. Feynman