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Comment: Re:Benefits, but still misses the point... (Score 1) 698

by Spacelem (#48376665) Attached to: US School Installs 'Shooter Detection' System

I'm 32, and in my whole life I've only seen a few guns in the UK. There were some air rifles in my school rifle club, and a couple of guns when I was in the ATC as a teenager. I don't know anyone who admits to owning a gun. I visited the US for 5 weeks when I was 15, and saw loads of them (I found it incredibly intimidating).

A very cursory check suggests that there are around 1.8 million guns in the UK, mostly in rural areas. That's 1 for every 35 people. So yes, there may be some guns, but the UK is a different situation to the US.

Comment: Re:Benefits, but still misses the point... (Score 1) 698

by Spacelem (#48369369) Attached to: US School Installs 'Shooter Detection' System

At the risk of going against the general feeling, here in the UK we don't have any guns, and we have remarkably few school shootings. I honestly don't think that bringing more guns to the mix would make us safer. Yes, there are knife attacks, but it's considerably harder to kill people with a knife than with a gun, and running away is a realistic solution.

However the US has the problem that it already tolerates guns, so you need to find a different solution. Bringing more guns to the mix is going to make things safer. Stopping people having them in the first place would be a more sensible approach, but the 2nd amendment prevents that. This is not trolling or flamebait, but I personally find it very hard to justify that law: overthrowing a bad government would take more than just shooting a bunch of old men in the White House, you'd need to take on the military, and they have tanks, so you'll keep on having children dying as the years drag on for no appreciable benefit.

I really hope that the US can find a way to help troubled kids, to make it so they don't feel that the only option to get noticed is to kill the people around them, and the only solution at that point is to kill them before they kill to many others, but I don't think the system is set up that way.

Comment: Re:Why..... (Score 1) 259

by Spacelem (#48150597) Attached to: "Double Irish" Tax Loophole Used By US Companies To Be Closed

That would be awful. Your system would immediately hurt poor people, and benefit rich people, and since poor people vastly outnumber the rich, you'll end up harming the economy too, both through huge numbers of people buying less because they're worse off, and rich people paying less.

Taxing necessities the same as luxuries also hits poor people more, as they rely on the former. You need *progressive* taxation to account for people's ability to pay, since a flat tax for a poor person hurts much more than the same amount for a rich person.

Taxes are also there to penalise harmful activities. For example, there is a huge tax on tobacco that pays for treatment of cigarette smokers 5 times over (in the UK at least, I'm guessing you're from the US if you have hospital bills). Losing that would be a huge hit to medical care. Similarly, there are taxes on fuel and carbon usage to help prevent air pollution, since global warming is a huge problem that we face (okay, we'll ignore that state that decided to tax fuel efficient cars to make up for lost income, that was just stupid).

Government

California Governor Vetoes Bill Requiring Warrants For Drone Surveillance 115

Posted by Soulskill
from the quis-custodiet-ipsos-drones? dept.
schwit1 sends word that California governor Jerry Brown has vetoed legislation that would have required warrants for surveillance using unmanned drones. In his veto message (PDF), Brown said, "This bill prohibits law enforcement from using a drone without obtaining a search warrant, except in limited circumstances. There are undoubtedly circumstances where a warrant is appropriate. The bill's exceptions, however, appear to be too narrow and could impose requirements beyond what is required by either the 4th Amendment or the privacy provisions in the California Constitution."

The article notes that 10 other states already require a warrant for routine surveillance with a drone (Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin). Further, Brown's claims about the bill's exceptions are overstated — according to Slate, "California's drone bill is not draconian. It includes exceptions for emergency situations, search-and-rescue efforts, traffic first responders, and inspection of wildfires. It allows other public agencies to use drones for other purposes — just not law enforcement."

Comment: They were consumed by Cthulhu (Score 0) 209

by Spacelem (#48018831) Attached to: My toy collection is ...

No, really. I bought my younger sister (who was still living with our parents at the time) a plush Cthulhu for her birthday. 3 months later my parents called to let me know they'd had to throw out the entire toy basket, including my favourite Rocky the penguin, who my father brought back from his time in the Falkland's war, and who had travelled across Europe with me.

It turned out that clothes moths had got into the wicker basket where the toys were kept, and massacred the lot. With just one survivor... plush Cthulhu, who'd apparently remained untouched.

Comment: Re:Probably a bad idea, but... (Score 1) 192

by Spacelem (#47944067) Attached to: On Independence for Scotland:

That's not all correct. Scotland is definitely governed from Westminster, however there are certain issues (running of the NHS, education etc.) that are devolved to the Scottish parliament in Holyrood (since 1997). Westminster can revoke devolved powers, and can therefore overrule Holyrood. There have been many occasions when Scotland has been forced to comply with things it strongly disagreed with (e.g. recent foreign wars, the bedroom tax). Also, all tax raised in Scotland is sent to Westminster, and we are then given back an amount that includes money raised from borrowing. If Westminster decides to privatise the NHS, and decrease funding, then Scotland will also lose funding. If Westminster signs the TTIP, then it still affects the Scottish NHS, despite our control.

We do have an equal vote, however at 1/10th the population size, that means that as a country we get very little say in who governs us. We currently have a Conservative / Lib Dem coalition government, but only 1 single Conservative seat in Scotland. Basically, it doesn't matter how we vote, our government usually only reflects our wishes by coincidence. Whether or not this is fair (since this is general fact of life when groups aggregate, they get less control), is subjective.

Scotland has *always* had a different legal system to the one in England and Wales.

Comment: Re:Shetland and Orkney (Score 1) 192

by Spacelem (#47941445) Attached to: On Independence for Scotland:

It is slightly closer to Scotland (but you're right, they do tend to *feel* closer to Norway). I've got relatives on Shetland, and they don't seem that bothered by it all.

That said, I voted Yes for independence today, and I have no problem with Shetland leaving to join Norway if that's what they want. I don't really see how they'll be able to lay claim to all (or any) of the oil though, that really is just Scotland's.

Comment: Re:No. (Score 1) 502

When I use onboard sound, there's a slight crackly hissing noise that happens when I move the mouse, which I can hear whenever the speaker volume is more than about 50%. It was true for my old PC that I bought 6 years ago, and it's true for the one I bought last month.

From my sample size of 2, it's definitely a problem. Sure the sound quality is fine, but I think there's still a case for a discrete card.

Comment: Re:Windows 7 it is (Score 1) 611

by Spacelem (#47129713) Attached to: Which desktop environment do you like the best?

That is a subjective opinion. I find Cinnamon follows my workflow absolutely perfectly. I make heavy use of command prompts, focus follows mouse, keyboard shortcuts, multiple desktops etc., and the Windows alternative just feels so clunky in comparison.

Windows used to have X-mouse, a long time ago, not sure if that's still available now, but I couldn't find it for Windows 7, so that feels like a regression to me. And who needs a thick border when you can just press alt and grab *anywhere in the window*?

Comment: Re:Map projections (Score 1) 286

by Spacelem (#46378555) Attached to: Scottish Independence Campaign Battles Over BBC Weather Forecast

Oops, typo -- it's one of my favourite ales too. Don't worry, I've lived in Scotland most of my life, and I most certainly don't confuse England with the UK! However, the taste / temperature issue applies to Scottish beers too, and it was a general statement. I certainly don't discriminate when it comes to good beer!

Comment: Re:Map projections (Score 1) 286

by Spacelem (#46374923) Attached to: Scottish Independence Campaign Battles Over BBC Weather Forecast

England should let them go and concentrate their efforts instead, on making a beer that's worth a fuck.

Nothing wrong with English beers, there are a great many excellent ones, and many interesting regional ones to be found. The UK does good beer -- go and find a bottle of Norfolk Nog, and tell me it doesn't taste wonderful, or try a bottle of Fraioch heather ale, and note how refreshing it is.

It might be the case that you're too used to crap beer that needs to be chilled in order to taste okay. Good beer isn't supposed to be served warm, just cool, because you're meant to be able to taste it.

Comment: Re:Stay Home (Score 4, Insightful) 351

by Spacelem (#46035523) Attached to: Fighting the Flu May Hurt Those Around You

Socialism doesn't keep you at work, when you're sick, that's capitalism, with its "performance at the expense of everything else" approach. Or were you being sarcastic? (I can't tell).

Also, socialism provides free medical care to sick people, so they don't just put things off and get worse and worse until eventually they eventually either need an emergency room (at a much higher cost), or spread communicable but treatable diseases like TB. It also makes medicine cheaper because of collective bargaining, rather than allowing each person to try to bargain for something that they can't do without.

I am more bored than you could ever possibly be. Go back to work.

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