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Comment: Re:Yes to Brexit (Score 1) 199

So you provide international development aid before you integrate, and you only allow the tighter integration when the weaker nations are ready for it. This story plays out on a global scale and with much wider gaps in current economic strength all the time, but the EU has spectacularly mismanaged it within Europe, unfortunately with all-too-predictable consequences.

Comment: Re:Overblown (Score 1) 199

Potentially, but the reports I've seen only disclosed the existence of a planning process, not the results, which don't seem to have been determined yet. Everyone who might be affected in the kind of way you described will have known or assumed that the relevant people would be making these kinds of plans anyway, so it seems no real harm has been done here.

Comment: Re:Yes to Brexit (Score 2) 199

Somebody has been attending UKP rallies, "...separate amicably..." that is has to be one of my favourite Nigel Farage quotes.

People have been talking about amicable separation from Europe since long before Farage had any significant influence in British politics.

In other words you want the UK to enjoy all the economic advantages of EU membership without any of the burdens and preferably outside the EU?

Yes. That's what we signed up for: economic and trade relations. Everything that has come after that has never been asked for or voted for here (or in many other EU member states, for that matter).

Why is this a problem? It worked fine for years, and good trade relations are mutually beneficial.

The Americans have a saying: "There is no such thing as free lunch".

So do a lot of other people. But the UK isn't asking for a free lunch. It's suggesting that if, say, Germany makes good bread and the UK farms good cows, they trade so everyone can enjoy a tasty burger-in-a-roll for lunch. Plenty of nations outside the EU have this kind of relationship with plenty of nations within the EU today. The UK has, and wants to develop, these kinds of relations with other global trading partners as well.

What motivation would the other EU nations have to give Britain all the economic advantages it used to enjoy once Britain leaves the EU without any of the perceived shortcomings such as political and economic integration?

The UK is a net importer with most of its major trading partners within the EU. Financially speaking, there is probably more benefit to those nations if they preserve good trade relations with the UK than the other way around, but both sides benefit greatly.

Comment: Re:Yes to Brexit (Score 1) 199

The whole point of the EU is that the stronger members bring up the poorer members so that they don't dissolve into financial chaos which tends to have other inconvenient outputs.

The trouble with that argument is that it relies on the stronger members having enough economic power to actually do that. It is far from clear that this is currently the case, with the expansion of the EU in recent years to include many far less economically advanced member states, not to mention a few of the longer-standing ones habitually cooking the books. The likes of Germany can't make up for shortfalls across so many of their fellow EU nations indefinitely; it isn't politically viable, and even if it were, it probably isn't economically viable in the long term either.

Comment: Re:Yes to Brexit (Score 1) 199

How this will turn out is anybody's guess.

Not really. I hear bookies are giving odds of 1/25 on "badly".

The trouble is, the Eurozone hasn't actually solved the underlying problems that caused or amplified most of the troubles in recent years. There is still wide disparity between the economic strengths of different EU member states, including those within the Eurozone. They still share a common currency but control their own taxation, government spending, and trade relations with partners outside the EU.

Measures like quantitative easing (as we seem to call "printing money" these days) might create some temporary breathing space that allows more time to address underlying problems. However, if the real problems aren't addressed then sooner or later they will just undermine the whole economy and cause everything to crash again. And next time, the rest of the world will be even less trusting of the Eurozone's future financial strength, making it even harder for its member states to recover.

Comment: The business situation isn't clear either way (Score 1) 199

And apparently your banks had it as well, they already warned that you exit EU, they move back to Hong Kong.

People keep posting this, but seem to be referring to only one bank, HSBC. It would be a loss economically if they went, but there is a lot of scare-mongering going on about what would happen to big business if we do/don't leave. No-one really knows how many, if any, of these big businesses would really follow through on their threats if they don't get the result they want.

There have also been leaders of big business arguing for leaving. The main argument is that it would make it easier for the UK to negotiate bilateral trade agreements with other rising economic powers around the world if it were not tied to the EU.

And there have certainly been plenty of small businesses criticising all the badly implemented rules from the EU recently on everything from VAT to consumer protection, which are creating an absurd burden particularly in the growing on-line sector. In theory we are supposed to benefit from more trade as a result, but some less charitable/more realistic commentators have pointed out that many nations in the EU are still in such a poor state financially that they generate almost no custom for things like new on-line businesses anyway.

The difficulty with all of these issues is that since no-one can see far into the future, none of us really know which agreements are more important to keep or develop and which are just getting in the way now. It's all just marginally-educated guesses.

Comment: Re:Yes to Brexit (Score 1) 199

The UK is part of Europe for precisely those strategic reasons and nothing else.

The UK is part of Europe because of geography.

The UK is part of the European Union because of history, and in particular because of trade agreements followed by dubious political manoeuvring to expand the resulting relationship far beyond their originally intended scope.

If you want a Europe of alliances, then the UK should be in. If you want a Europe of unity, then the UK can't be in.

That seems like a good summary of the current situation, yes.

Comment: Re:Yes to Brexit (Score 5, Interesting) 199

Most rational people recognize Britain should be part of the EU.

Why? I haven't made up my mind yet, but I'm erring on the side of leaving for entirely rational reasons.

In short, I think the UK and much of continental Europe have different long term goals. The Eurozone nations have opted for a degree of financial integration that the UK doesn't want or need. Obviously that hasn't worked out very well recently, at least for the economically stronger EU nations, so there is little reason for the UK to join in the foreseeable future. I think the wider EU is also heading for a more centralised, federalised system of legislation and broader government, which again the UK does not generally want to join. I suspect that in the long term these two fundamental types of integration will prove to be inseparable, and those who want to be part of the EU will increasingly lose sovereignty over things like taxation, weakening national governments in favour of ever-more-powerful central EU authorities. That's OK if it really is what they want, but I don't think it is what the UK is looking for in its relationship with its European neighbours.

On the other hand, the UK and many other EU nations are valuable trading partners for each other, so maintaining a liberal trading environment is in everyone's interests. This was what our previous generation actually signed up for by joining the predecessors of the current EU, of course. I think many in the UK also value things like the the European Convention on Human Rights (even if our current administration do not like it) and would be happy to remain a signatory, but that is a different European system, not part of the EU. Similarly I think those from the UK who often travel to Europe or vice versa would see merit in the UK joining the Schengen Area (even though again our current administration are probably strongly against it).

As things stand, it may be that the best way of everybody getting as close as possible to achieving their own goals is for the UK and EU to separate amicably, and then for the UK to establish alternative agreements for mutual benefit with the EU and/or individual member states in those areas where everyone's interests do align. It would no doubt be painful for everyone in the short term, but this might be a having to break eggs to make omelettes situation.

Comment: Re: Meh... (Score 3, Insightful) 194

by Rei (#49757847) Attached to: California Votes To Ban Microbeads

The problem is, sewage treatment systems have a lot of trouble (at present, let's just simply say "can't") filtering them out. They go into the sewage, they will go into the sea.

Setting up filters for particles as small as 1 micron for all sewage going out into the ocean is obviously going to be a massive expensive. Who wants to pay for that so that people can keep sticking bits of plastic in cosmetics?

Seriously, whose bright idea was it to make bits of plastic, bite-size for plankton, looking like fish eggs, whose very design intent is to wash out into the ocean? And no, while they're not harmful to us, they absolutely will be to plankton - if not immediately (how healthy do you think you'd be if you wolfed down an entire meal-sized chunk of plastic?), then with time. Plastics act as chelators for heavy metals and a number of organic poisons, to such a degree that they might even be economical to mine. There's simply no way that this isn't going to have an impact.

And it's so stupid when one can just use soluble crystals (salts, sugars, etc) instead of plastic.

Comment: Re:Overblown (Score 3, Insightful) 199

I bet they also had all sorts of contingency plans, and meetings if Scotland voted to leave the UK too.

They did. In fact, none of this is really a surprise to anyone involved, because this kind of contingency planning is part of the Bank's official responsibilities.

As far as I can see, the only problem here is the premature release of information that could be politically/diplomatically sensitive via an inappropriate channel and at an awkward time for the government. It doesn't look like this exposed any wrong-doing, and it's not like the other EU leaders our Prime Minister is starting to negotiate with wouldn't have expected it, even if it's not great PR given the delicacy of those negotiations.

Comment: Re:How could you protect against this? (Score 1) 167

The search results thing is not the right to be forgotten. Some stupid journalists got confused and called it that

Those "stupid journalists" appear to be in good company, starting with official press releases from both the European Commission and indeed the European Court of Justice itself about the 2010 Spanish newspaper case.

I would be the first to agree that moves towards a more powerful right to be forgotten such as you describe would be a good idea, but as of today, these are mostly just proposals. For example, while there is already a right under some limited circumstances to request deletion of personal data, the UK's data protection regulator has written guidance for data controllers that makes clear that the right is quite tightly constrained for the time being.

Comment: Re:Yes & the sheer amount of existing code/fra (Score 1) 404

In this case, "filter" means select only those items that match the criteria, i.e., where the given predicate is true.

This usage is about as consistent as anything you'll find in the programming world: languages using it this way include Python, PHP, JavaScript, Java, D, and many well-known functional programming languages including Haskell, several of the ML family, Erlang, Scala and Clojure. Some other well-known languages have related algorithms under other name, but I know of no counter-examples that use "filter" in the opposite sense.

Comment: Re:Machine learning? (Score 0) 175

by circletimessquare (#49754155) Attached to: DNA On Pizza Crust Leads To Quadruple Murder Suspect

I can't have a serious discussion with you if you believe racist things. No one intellectually honest and capable can have a serious discussion with a racist, because it is only possible to believe in racist things if you are of low intellect. Objectively true. To correlate skin color and intellect is gross prejudice composed of logical fallacies. It is ironic too (you need to be low iq to commit to the fallacies and believe this arbitrary link between skin color and intellect).

I can't have a serious discussion with a creationist or an antivaxxer or a ufo cultist either. Because to firmly believe these things is only possible if you are a person with a serious defect in intellect. I'm being 100% serious and sincere. You are a stupid person. Objectively true based on you having a racist belief. You are not worth the time of anyone serious, and you will never find the "fair" airing of your thoughts that you seek because everyone intelligent has discarded your entire domain. No one intellectually honest is interested in indulging and entertaining an idiot's idea. And that is exactly what racism is: the "thoughts" of the dumb people.

And if you want to improve the gene pool: don't have children. Again, I am completely sincere. You are a dumb person. To have a racist belief is only possible if you are.

Comment: Re:Machine learning? (Score 1) 175

by circletimessquare (#49754101) Attached to: DNA On Pizza Crust Leads To Quadruple Murder Suspect

You disrespect people based on the color of their skin. Therefore you deserve no respect. You withhold respect for ignorant reasons. You see a skin color, and make a baseless judgment on intellect and character from that. Which, ironically, is proof you are unintelligent and of low character. Because to believe racist thoughts is only possible if you lack cognitive capacity in certain areas of reasoning and social intelligence, and if you have bad intent on society and individuals in general.

You're a disrespectful asshole, so you get nothing but insults and disrespect in return. You get what you give you ignorant douchebag.

Want to improve the gene pool? Don't have children. I mean that sincerely. The quality of your words here belies low intellect and low character on your part, objectively speaking.

Comment: Re:Do people really take this risk seriously? (Score 5, Insightful) 219

by Rei (#49752865) Attached to: Asteroid Risk Greatly Overestimated By Almost Everyone

The article is also based on some terrible reasoning, like:

That means there will be no asteroids left in the Solar System, because they all will have struck Earth, in another few hundred million years. Think someone’s overestimated something there? Yeah, me too. Let’s take a look with the flaws in our fear-based reasoning.

Yeah, in a universe where our solar system is some sort of perfect steady state. Which, of course, it is not. Asteroids collide or - more commonly, come close to other bodies and gravitationally interact - and throw each other into different orbits. When that happens, non-Earth-crossing asteroids can become Earth-crossing ones. For example, one of the candidates for the K-Pg extinction event is a Batisma-family asteroid. This family came from an asteroid breakup 80 million years ago.

A person well versed in the field would be aware of the fact that asteroids are not in some sort of unchanging steady state. Which is why they're the ones paid to do the research on the subject.

And more to the point, we really don't have a good handle on what's out there. We have trouble making out dwarf planets in the outer solar system. We really have no bloody clue what could be on its way into the inner solar system, apart from studying how often major events happen.

And on that note, another flaw in his logic, given that until recently, the vast majority of Tunguska-style events would never even have been detected, having occurred over the oceans, remote deserts, the poles, etc. So by all means it's perfectly fair to say that the fact that an asteroid hitting earth is more likely to hit a remote uninhabited area is perfectly fair. But saying that while mentioning the rarity of inhabited areas having been hit in the past is double-counting. The historical record is evidence of how often they hit populated areas, not how often they hit Earth.

Lastly, his claim that only one person has ever been "hit by an asteroid" is ridiculous. 1500 people were injured by the Chelyabinsk one in 2013 badly enough to seek medical attention. Yes, they weren't "hit by rocks", but that's not what large asteroid impacts do; they mostly or completely vaporize by exploding in the atmosphere and/or on impact. And there's lots of reports throughout history of people getting struck by asteroids; just because they weren't documented by modern medical science doesn't mean it never happened. Seriously, what's the bloody odds that the only person to ever in historical times be hit by an asteroid would be in the 1950s in the middle of a first-world nation? Now what's the odds that someone being hit in the 1950s in the middle of a first-world nation would be well documented, publicized, and believed?

Just a lot of really bad arguments.

Where there's a will, there's an Inheritance Tax.