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Comment: Re:Too many outdated talking points and stereotype (Score 1) 325

by UtsuMaster (#46282323) Attached to: N. Korea Could Face Prosecution For 'Crimes Against Humanity'

Very interesting post, and I wholeheartedly agree with the China part, but I have to say the instability of the regime is significantly overplayed. The whole video thing is being used to construct a Western fairy tale.

Somehow it is being made as a sign of rebellion, of cracks in the system, imminent collapse. True, the 'army first' ideology is a very strong pillar of the DPRK regime, and of course it is uncommon to see people being uncooperative with army officials. But that is just ideology. Merely the means to keep the masses compliant with authority.

But authority has many forms. As in every corrupt regime the currency of North Korea is loyalty. Every North Korean has a pin on their chest; of Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il, or Kim Jong-un. Sometimes a combination of them. These pins have to be earned, they are passed within the family, and they are very clear signs of allegiance. Shiny new pins means a well-connected person enjoying political favour. Whoever this woman is she has a vehicle, whereas most people use bicycles or ox-carts (without oxen, unfortunately). She has fuel to run it. We take these trivial things for granted, but in North Korea this means a lot. She definitely has the right combination of pins on her chest.

The army uniform shows no pins, they are their own faction. Ordinarily the army uses no vehicles, of course, because they have no fuel to spare. The DPRK army is proud of their wood-fueled trucks. Its like a steam locomotive, but stupider. Party officials drive around the wide Pyongyang boulevards in Mercedes-Benz though. Their relatives can have trucks. And can impose the authority of the ruling elite on hapless schmucks like the soldier on the video.

So, nothing really new to see there, just the firm grasp of the ruling elite on the rest of North Korean society. There must be some fanatics, but regular people don't believe all that ideology crap anymore, if they ever did. There is too much information coming in from the South. Still, everyone knows they are expected to act as if they did believe it. And for the sake of their family and future prospects, they do. They remain under control, and things stay exactly the same as 5, 10, 50 years ago. A less attractive story, but truth usually is.

Comment: Re:I'm sure he's quivering in his boots... (Score 1) 325

by UtsuMaster (#46281867) Attached to: N. Korea Could Face Prosecution For 'Crimes Against Humanity'

The UN record is far from perfect, and yet once upon a time - in fact the only time the UN explicitly took sides in an interstate armed conflict - the UNC, a UN army, directly intervened against North Korea. And was beating up North Korea so much that China, and even Russia at some point, had to sneak in.

I think this sort of intervention is nigh impossible nowadays, but it would be foolish for anyone to disregard the UN as a joke. Gaddafi must have been very surprised when the UN let NATO have its fun in Libya, but Kim Jong-un would be especially dumb to let Korean history repeat itself.

Comment: Re:Why now? (Score 1) 325

by UtsuMaster (#46281489) Attached to: N. Korea Could Face Prosecution For 'Crimes Against Humanity'

Actually, the veto mechanism has been designed precisely to make the UN ineffective when everyone (that matters) does not agree.

Disagreements make the UN ineffective in pushing one-sided agendas. This is what made the UN largely a talk-shop during the Cold War. Anything of significance would be pro-US or pro-Soviet Union, but nothing would come out of it. This is what enabled the UN to survive. Making small progress, here and there.

On the other hand, the League of Nations was 'effective' in the sense that it was a puppet of the status quo powers. It passed all kinds of strongly worded condemnations. Revisionist states quickly learned to disregard it, and soon enough the whole institution was worse than useless. States with real power used their power (read: took to arms) instead of keeping politics to diplomacy, because the diplomacy was rigged against them. And then we had WW2. Veto power arguably ensures that states powerful enough to upset the international system will not be sidelined, because their disagreement can simply halt everything. And thus the UN remains valuable to them. And thus the UN will not be simply abandoned and become irrelevant as the League of Nations did. And hopefully we will not have WW3.

Because it persisted, for better or worse the UN has been increasingly active in imposing particular sets of values on the 'international community', whether it wants or not. And we are critical when it fails in this new role, because some of those values (like human rights) are very important to us. But it is also very important that the UN was set up as a point of peaceful friction between sovereign states who were not to be imposed on in any aspect, for a good reason.

So, beware of effectiveness. Not everyone has the same image of the future. The countries with power will use that power to shape the world the way they want. Do you want them to set the rules, or do you want them to break the rules? The purpose of the veto is to keep the UN rules acceptable. It is not pretty, but I think it is pretty clever, and we are all probably better off because of it.

Comment: Re:No Shit (Score 0) 442

It is often repeated that embassies are foreign territory. This is a mistake, and they are not.

By the concession of the host country embassies and consulates are under a foreign jurisdiction under international law. They are within the host territory, and their diplomatical status is given and can be taken away at will (though it is not very polite to go around revoking embassies).

They may be treated as foreign territory under the US legal domestic regime (like federal buildings are treated as having their own jurisdiction), but they are surely not a foreign dot in the map. So I imagine the Constitution should take precedence over whatever other domestic policy pretending embassies are not US soil for spying purposes. Though I guess spying on foreigners would be okay anywhere anyway.

Comment: Re:And so (Score 2) 157

by UtsuMaster (#44082605) Attached to: GCHQ Tapping UK Fiber-Optic Cables

Why would it be temporary? Didn't you get the memo about all of Europe going soft?

The UK is not only a member of EU and permanently on the UNSC, but also a member of NATO. I'm hard pressed to create a scenario where it has to defend something, anything, on it own.

It just needs enough military capabilities to maintain a culture of pride in the armed forces and to keep the US complaints of burden sharing at bay.

The purpose of the British submarine nuclear deterrence is a mystery to me.

Comment: Re:Can't they get him out (Score 1) 541

by UtsuMaster (#44055111) Attached to: One Year Since Assange Took Refuge in Ecuadorian Embassy

This has been said repeatedly elsewhere, but as everyone with any international law background knows, there is no such thing as diplomatic asylum anywhere, except as a local custom in South America. And not all of South America either.

There is no -law- in international law. It is entirely based on consent by each State. Even signed and ratified treaties are still open to interpretation sometimes. Sovereign governments do pretty much whatever they can get away with politically. The highest 'authority' of international law would be the ICJ, because everyone likes to pretend the UN Charter is important. Well, almost everyone. The US doesn't feel like recognising the authority of the ICJ is beneficial, so it doesn't, and then its not bound by it. Simple as that.

It's the same with the UK and Ecuador. The UK does not recognise asylum rights to free passage wherever. Assange is not a political refugee anywhere relevant to European courts. He has a pending arrest warrant. Whatever Ecuador says about their understanding of international law is completely irrelevant. Very simple too.

Comment: Re:Governments and banks should take care of it. (Score 1) 243

by UtsuMaster (#37019898) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Does SSL Validation Matter?

As is, SSL has no enforcement whatsoever, of course its exploited and abused, that's my point.

As for passports, they are faked, yes, but not all the time. In whatever country, you're totally and utterly screwed if caught with a fake passport. The real world isn't spy movies you know?

Comment: Re:Governments and banks should take care of it. (Score 1) 243

by UtsuMaster (#37011274) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Does SSL Validation Matter?

Governments aren't about trust, they are about compliance. You can be unhappy and distrustful all you want, but if you aren't posting from jail, odds are that you wouldn't fake SSL certificates just as you don't fake passports.

It doesn't need to be perfect, after all, just better than the meaningless system we have now.

Comment: Re:Hume and the Irony Universe (Score 1) 258

by UtsuMaster (#36981796) Attached to: First Observational Test of the "Multiverse"

founded in a mix of both direct empirical experience and consistent reason derived from other direct empirical experience

Oh, I see. Induction is solved because we can show, based on empirical evidence, that our empirical evidence is correct. Great.

The more charitable way to describe that is "bootstraping". People in the know sometimes shorten it to BS ;) But only when they don't want to say its circular reasoning.

Comment: Correct me if I'm wrong but... (Score 1) 47

by UtsuMaster (#36783738) Attached to: How Analytics Are Shaping Social Games

the Playmetrix software allows them to embed 'call backs' into their game code that trigger when players do something of interest. This is all visualised via graphics and charts so activities become infographics.

Is this novel, or complex, in any way? Aren't aspects and business intelligence covered in the first half of CS courses?

Why is 'call backs' in quotes? They probably are just callbacks, nothing arcane behind it.

I guess venture capital and headlines really are all about the buzzwords.

Comment: Re:They're right, y'know (Score 1) 250

by UtsuMaster (#36709642) Attached to: Idle: File-Sharing Is Not a Religion, Says Swedish Government

In fact, distinguishing knowledge from belief pretty much disqualifies it as a religion. Religions generally deny the value of knowledge, primarily by classifying knowledge as just another set of beliefs that's no better than anyone else's beliefs.

Actually, that's a bit of a misinterpretation of knowledge. And religion.

Assuming knowledge is a justified/rational/reliable/whatever true belief, there can be still religious knowledge. Now, most scientists wouldn't consider "mystical revelations" as a valid source of knowledge, being irrational/unreliable/whatever, but there's a lot of difference between a random belief and a supernatural-based belief, and religious scholars have made this distinction for centuries. There are lots of other non-empirical knowledge sources after all, math, logic, introspection, and so on, and faith could just be one of them.

What you're describing is a kind of relativism so extreme I don't think it has serious proponents. Not educated, anyway.


+ - Yahoo to scan emails users send and receive->

Submitted by kai_hiwatari
kai_hiwatari (1642285) writes "Yahoo! has updated its Additional Terms and Conditions and now they have got the right to scan user communications without any restriction. The change in the ATOS, noticed by Which?, is under Section c of Acceptance of Terms of Yahoo!’s Additional Terms of Services.
According to the ATOS, it is the responsibility of the Yahoo! user to warn his contacts that Yahoo! will scan their messages."

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"Anyone attempting to generate random numbers by deterministic means is, of course, living in a state of sin." -- John Von Neumann