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Comment: Re:Now using TOR after WH threats to invade homes (Score 1) 275

by causality (#48929977) Attached to: EFF Unveils Plan For Ending Mass Surveillance

And how does one find those targets in the first place if they have no connection with known targets? How does one find the group to infiltrate? The point is that there are many new cells that are popping up that have no connection what so ever with known terrorists. How do you find those new cells?

The idea is that limiting police powers in order to safeguard freedoms (and with them, the balance of power between the individual and the government) is acknowledged as making the job of police harder. The polices' job being harder does, in fact, mean that some number of criminals will go free some of the time, criminals who otherwise would have been caught and prosecuted. This is why absolute security is the antithesis of absolute freedom, so the question then is how to balance the two. When you safeguard liberty as your first priority and assign a lower priority to the effectiveness of law enforcement, you understand that you are taking a higher risk that you yourself will be harmed by a criminal that law enforcement could have stopped.

That's why freedom is not for cowards. The problems you worry about are well known to people who understand and value freedom. They choose freedom anyway. They also realize that the danger with which you're so concerned has been overstated. You're much more likely to be killed by a cop than a terrorist, and any factual inquiry into that based on facts would lead you to the same conclusion. Incidentally, you're also more likely to be injured by lightning. In the last 100 years, many, many more people were killed by their own governments than by any foreign enemy, so the credibility of this danger has been well established. Limited, transparent government is a time-tested manner of managing this danger.

As an aside, if terrorism is truly such a great problem and we want to reduce it in a real and effective manner, we should also stop giving excuses to the people who hate us. It's much easier for an enemy to justify their position, raise their troops' morale, and recruit new members into their brand of exteremism when they can point to concrete acts of ruthless domination the USA has actually committed. Law enforcement would certainly be more effective if its list of potential suspects could be reduced, facilitating a more focused approach on those that remain.

Anyway, the real spirit of freedom, the more value-based, individual, and courageous part that you and so many others keep failing to even recognize, let alone try to understand, is that those who understand freedom realize that a few more guilty men may go free. They consider that a small price to pay, an exchange of a finite quantity that numbers can describe in order go gain something priceless and worthwhile. It's yet another instance of failing to comprehend a viewpoint because you do not personally share it, therefore you get sidetracked by related but irrelevant issues because you have no idea how to articulate a meaningful response to it.

Comment: Re:Now using TOR after WH threats to invade homes (Score 1) 275

by causality (#48929619) Attached to: EFF Unveils Plan For Ending Mass Surveillance

Berating me is doing nothing to change my mind. I do not respond well to bullies.

Actually, the social shunning/shaming of those who advocate positions that are detrimental to society does serve a useful and positive function. Consider the way most people would respond to someone who openly advocates racism, for example. The response such a person receives would not be a pleasant one and really would discourage them. This is a good thing and it's a service to everyone else.

The only difference between racist views and pro-authoritarian views is the method by which they damage society for everyone else. Honestly the idea that your safety is in terrible danger from terrorism, and that giving up freedom and privacy is an acceptable solution, is a form of cowardice. It enables tyranny and those who advocate it are enablers. It's also inconsistent with reality: you're more likely to be injured by lightning than by terrorists, and you're very much more likely to be harmed by police or other members of your own government than any terrorist. If you were truly interested in your safety you would religiously monitor weather reports and you would advocate that the federal government be reduced in size and power.

Meanwhile, it's a fact of life that not all opinions are equally valid. Some, like yours, are rooted in ignorance and cowardice and have proven extremely dangerous each time they are put into practice, as an honest reading of history would reveal to you. Yes, the USA is not the first nation to use the idea of a foreign threat as an excuse to curtail civil liberties. The delusional among us seem to believe that it does happen to be the very first nation that will do this without causing a complete disaster (which has always taken the form of a totalitarian government under which human life is without value). Neither an understanding of history nor of human nature could possibly support this delusion.

I'd like to leave you with two quotations that this conversation reminds me of. You see, we (collectively) keep rehashing these same old debates not realizing that great effort has already been poured into thinking about what are not new issues. The first is from C. S. Lewis:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

The other is a dialog between Hermann Goring, a leading member of the Nazi Party, and a man named Gilbert, during an interview conduced in Goering's prison cell during the Nuremburg trials, on April 18, 1946:


Goring: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.


Something I hope you will consider.

Comment: Re:Martial law (Score 1) 299

In times of great danger, people band together and agree to be slaves in order to survive.

If you're comparing living under martial law to slavery, I think you do a disservice to slavery. It's bad if martial law lasted for a long time, but the goal of martial law should be to compensate for a failed/destroyed civil system. In which case you have martial law just long enough to rebuild the civilian structures.

It's more along the lines of 'things are bad right now, we all need to buckle down to survive'.

Comment: Re:Your situation isn't everybody's. (Score 1) 90

by Firethorn (#48925443) Attached to: Germany Plans Highway Test Track For Self-Driving Cars

And 10% savings with no changes to technology (apart from the platooning system of course) or driving is pretty good, isn't it?

Only on a closed track, and remember that my assertion isn't that the gas savings aren't there, it's that even with self-driving cars 8 meters isn't safe once you start trying to move it to production, especially when you'd have cars of different makes, and maintenance levels in the 'platoons'. It'd also be limited(mostly) to the highway systems, which doesn't do much for most commutes.

Comment: Re:Not just slashdot. (Score 1) 128

Just a nitpick, but most of the UTVs I'm talking about could easily be considered a "Mini Truck - (44)“Mini truck” means any four-wheeled, reduced-dimension truck that does not have a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration truck classification, with a top speed of 55 miles per hour, and which is equipped with headlamps, stop lamps, turn signal lamps, taillamps, reflex reflectors, parking brakes, rearview mirrors, windshields, and seat belts."

For example, one can point out that this does indeed have 4 wheels, isn't NTSA truck classified, I don't know about top speed, but with 22.8 hp it's probably NOT hitting 55, and it has lights & turn signals. All you'd need to do is mount mirrors.

You can get electric, as well.

For example, I can't think of any routes that you could safely use to get from downtown Tampa to downtown St. Petersburg.

That's kind of exceeding what I was targeting as well - the old farts in retirement communities moving around the neighborhood.

Comment: Re:Your situation isn't everybody's. (Score 1) 90

by Firethorn (#48918597) Attached to: Germany Plans Highway Test Track For Self-Driving Cars

15 meters is the max they measured, you really need to be within 9 meters to realize 10% fuel savings.

That close you're looking at an impact by following vehicles if something happens to make the lead vehicle abruptly stop or slow.

Also, I wasn't considering dedicated 'lead' vehicles like trucks, but other cars, and computer driven by lots of different companies.

IE I don't trust their communications.

Comment: Not just slashdot. (Score 1) 128

True, golf carts aren't great if you have to go across town, but apparently they're quite popular in the retirement areas down in Florida. If you don't walk so well anymore, the weather's nice(though full cab versions exist), and all you want to do is go to the local convenience store or local community center they're great.

You also have UTVs (Utility Task Vehicles), which are golf-car like, but generally more powerful. They're popular in many industrial areas for zipping around while taking up less space than full size vehicles would need. Quicker to get in and out of as well.

Summary: I wouldn't underestimate their ability to sell and be useful in niche categories.

Comment: Re:Your situation isn't everybody's. (Score 1) 90

by Firethorn (#48909649) Attached to: Germany Plans Highway Test Track For Self-Driving Cars

Research done has shown that for real mpg improvements you need to be closer than even a computer controlled car can compensate for, and you pay for it by needing to brake so often that you burn off any potential savings.

Computer controlled cars might be able to do it better, but do you trust the signals from the lead car?

Comment: Martial law (Score 2) 299

I think this is why it managed to say 'secret' for so long. When you were briefed into the program you realized that:
1. The plan was incredibly unlikely to ever go 'live'
2. If the plan DID have to go 'live' things were so FUBAR that it was the best remaining option.

We need continuity in government. So long as the military command(majority of surviving government due to being designed to survive attack) gives command back over to civilians in a reasonable timeframe*, we're good.

*2-4 years? Enough for a new election cycle, at least.

Comment: Re:Still sounds like early flight... (Score 1) 90

by Firethorn (#48909203) Attached to: Germany Plans Highway Test Track For Self-Driving Cars

I don't know, the world's 2 most ancient professions are still around... ;)

Actually, I'd imagine that truck drivers, especially long haul, would suffer before taxi drivers.

The taxi 'industry' would be fine, perhaps even invigorated by this. Fire all the nasty taxi drivers, have a computer do dispatch, etc...

Reduce costs enough and people will be less likely to buy a car rather than just renting one when they need it.

As you say - need a heavier vehicle, rent one, even over the phone. Heck, buy something and arrange for delivery. It'll drop the package wherever. Though delivery services at that short range are often cheap enough to be worth the human labor placing it in it's final location and hauling the old one away.

Comment: Re:No fuck off (Score 2) 453

by Firethorn (#48909075) Attached to: Police Organization Wants Cop-Spotting Dropped From Waze App

Sometimes they're sitting there between calls doing paperwork.

The problem with cutting their budget is that traffic enforcement(writing tickets) generates revenue, solving crimes doesn't. So you'd be forcing them to write even more tickets.

Even in areas where the police department doesn't get a cut of ticket revenues, generally the legislatures will alter funding - IE give the cops money to be able to afford to write tickets where the money from the tickets goes to the schools. If they don't write enough tickets, they'll be questioned by the budget committees.

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