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Comment: Re:Fun fact (Score 1) 286

by alva_edison (#46605795) Attached to: One Person Successfully Removed From US No-Fly List

Speaking of name changing, what if you're on the no-fly list and then you go change your name? Does the no-fly list get updated with your new name? I can't imagine so.

Change your name with whom? If you change your name with a government that has your name on a no-fly list, then I would think they would keep it up-to-date.

Comment: Re:Perovskite is a mineral ... but this isn't it (Score 1) 79

by alva_edison (#46585055) Attached to: Scientists Develop Solar Cell That Can Also Emit Light

I'm actually curious where you got the information from. The linked articles from Wikipedia don't mention specific materials, with the exception of one. That material is specifically C.H3.N.H3.Pb.I.Cl2 (starting from C.H3.N.H3.I and Pb.Cl2), which falls within your broader categorization.

<offtopic>Why is Slashdot using a font where it is easy to confuse I and l?</offtopic>

Comment: Re:units please (Score 1) 476

by alva_edison (#46095515) Attached to: Tesla's Having Issues Charging In the Cold

If you're stranded 100 miles from the nearest charging station, it means you didn't pay attention to the fact that your car wasn't fully charged before you drove off AND you didn't pay attention to the dwindling charge as you drove. This isn't a Tesla failure.

We do not know if the car was fully charged or not.

Also, I could be mistaken, but I believe the Tesla only reports the expected range not the charge level.

Comment: Re:Bennett Haselton? (Score 2) 244

by alva_edison (#45950067) Attached to: Bennett Haselton: Google+ To Gmail Controversy Missing the Point

This is incorrect. The right against physical coercion is separate from the right to refuse to answer questions.

The right to refuse to answer questions also includes a right not to be physically coerced.

As I said in the original article, the proof of this is that if you are a third-party witness, you cannot refuse to answer questions about a crime about which you may have been a witness (but are not a suspect).

Unless you would incriminate yourself (key word) by answering. It doesn't even have to be for the same crime, you can refuse to answer any question as long as it would incriminate you.

But, obviously, you still can't be beaten up by the police. Because that right is separate from the Fifth Amendment.

You are assuming mutual exclusivity when there is none. Laws overlap. There are laws which prevent police from beating people, which apply to everyone; but, the Fifth Amendment also prevents physical coercion, which isn't necessarily redundant.

Comment: Re:Pay for Laundry jobs with it (Score 0) 691

by alva_edison (#45741407) Attached to: Why Charles Stross Wants Bitcoin To Die In a Fire

Cash isn't that anonymous either. Each has a serial number and, if someone was sufficiently motivated (as in, create laws for businesses to scan all bills), could track each bill from printing to removal from circulation. The thing is, governments don't really care enough about completely enforcing the law and eradicating criminal behavior because it provides a continual bogeyman.

Why they're picking on Bitcoin? Because it is not created by governments and, given a choice between government currency and private currency,

You're post seems anti-government up to this point, but you suddenly make a point against Bitcoins.

no rational person would ever select the one that can be created out of thin air at will by unaccountable sociopaths. Such will be the justification for laws banning it.

So, bitcoin will be banned because it is made out of thin air by unaccountable sociopaths; it's not terrible as justifications go. Not where I thought you were going at the start. Not the conclusion I would have drawn, since I think there are more mom & pop (non-sociopathic) miners than not out there.

Comment: Re:Ending tax evasion (Score 3, Informative) 691

by alva_edison (#45741093) Attached to: Why Charles Stross Wants Bitcoin To Die In a Fire

The US federal government is constitutionally restricted from anything that can't be interpreted as an income tax (so my VAT suggestion fails as well). The US constitution is fairly short, but mentions twice that any taxes collected by the federal government must be given to the states (proportion to population). Income taxes are specifically exempted from that requirement by the 16th amendment, but it remains for any other tax.

Only direct taxes must be apportioned. Indirect taxes (things like tariffs, income tax, VAT) are allowed under Article I, Section 8, Clause 1. The Fuller court did cause some complexity when they ruled that some income tax (specifically that derived from property) was a direct tax (previous understanding was that it was indirect). The 16th Amendment specifically patches the issue created by the Pollock case.

Comment: Re:Why we have a 5th Amendment (Score 1) 871

by alva_edison (#45084729) Attached to: Bennett Haselton's Response To That "Don't Talk to Cops" Video

Requiring someone to answer a question is not the same as requiring them to self-incriminate.

History disagrees with you. Answers are never taken on face value. Questions are rephrased and repeated so that you may think you are saying one thing, but the testimony is taken a completely different way. If you are compelled to answer once, you are compelled to answer an arbitrary number of times.

If I'm innocent, then requiring me to answer the question just requires me to say, "I'm innocent." Requiring me to self-incriminate would mean forcing me to say, "I'm guilty."

If the questions is "are you guilty or innocent", and nothing more material, the Fifth Amendment doesn't protect against this. Every trial begins with the question of "how do you plea". To this question you (or your representative) are compelled to answer.

Comment: Re:Why we have a 5th Amendment (Score 1) 871

by alva_edison (#45084591) Attached to: Bennett Haselton's Response To That "Don't Talk to Cops" Video

But that's what I'm saying -- you could, perfectly logically, have a middle ground between "You have the right to refuse to answer any question asked by the police" and "You have to answer any question asked by the police". You could just say, instead, "You have to answer any question about information you might have regarding the specific crime they're investigating, but you don't have to answer anything else that's irrelevant, and the burden of proof is on the police to show that something is relevant."

The standard would become "if the police ask the question it must be legitimate, otherwise why would they ask it", which is effectively the same as having no middle ground. Any challenge would necessarily have to happen post fact and would be difficult to prove.

In other words, make the rule the same as it is for third-party witnesses now: you can't be coerced into a giving a *particular* answer (and, obviously, can't be tortured or anything else like that), but you do have to answer questions about the actual crime. (And if the state thinks you're lying, they have to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt just like any other crime, of course.)

Third party witnesses can only be compelled to speak with a subpoena (in a court of law), otherwise retaining a right to remain silent. In court the attorneys and judge act as checks against each other so that improper questions can be dismissed (although it is not the person being questioned's decision on what is proper). So as for questioning by the police (as opposed to the courts), third-party witnesses have the same rights as a suspect.

As for why the dissimilarity, the Fifth Amendment was reactionary, and remains as a protection against a corrupt court (the most recent example being McCarthyism). Because third-party witnesses are generally not harmed by their testimony (unless they self-incriminate, and they can invoke the Fifth Amendment to prevent that), they were overlooked in protection.

Comment: Re:Why we have a 5th Amendment (Score 1) 871

by alva_edison (#45071087) Attached to: Bennett Haselton's Response To That "Don't Talk to Cops" Video

Obviously I'm not saying that the state ought to be able to "compel" a confession. I'm saying I don't see anything wrong with making you answer the question of whether or not you're guilty.

Every counter-answer to you that you seem to be rejecting is that this statement is contradictory. Requiring someone to self-incriminate is the same as saying that the state can compel a confession. This is historic fact, we don't actually have to work with hypotheticals because there are specific historical records which show this abuse.

Comment: Re:Why we have a 5th Amendment (Score 1) 871

by alva_edison (#45071025) Attached to: Bennett Haselton's Response To That "Don't Talk to Cops" Video

"As I explained in the first article: If you take away the "right to remain silent", a suspect can still say, "No, I didn't do it," and the police options for "coercing" them are the same as they were before."

You imagine, that the way it works without a Fifth Amendment is that there is a particular crime, and police are only allowed to ask if you committed that crime or not. However, without a Fifth Amendment, you must answer all questions the police ask you. There are no more choices. If you don't want it widely known you were in a specific location, you aren't allowed to withhold the information if directly asked.

I'm certain you looked it up already, but the existence of the Fifth Amendment owes to the religious persecution of the Star Court by using "ex officio" oaths. They would bring you in, arrest you, not inform you of charges, and make you swear to answer everything asked. At that point, they would start searching for crimes to charge you with.

Your answer to this always seems to be "there isn't anything preventing this scenario happening under the Fifth Amendment". However, the previously described scenario is legal without the Fifth Amendment, and illegal with it.

As for your second article, the Fifth Amendment should be strengthened. It was an oversight, because tactics up to that point had put a lower value on third party witnesses, and there was much less abuse.

Comment: Yes, the entire system is broken (Score 1) 871

by alva_edison (#45064305) Attached to: Bennett Haselton's Response To That "Don't Talk to Cops" Video

5. Finally, are the police really that corrupt and/or stupid? Go back up to Professor Duane's hypothetical in which a suspect protests his innocence, and Duane imagines that Officer Bruch -- Professor Duane's real-life co-presenter in this talk! -- takes five words out of context and testifies in court, "He confessed to me, 'I never liked the guy'."

The phrase "Anything you say or do can and will be used against you in a court of law." would not exists if this were not the case.

When the real Officer Bruch gave his 'rebuttal', he started out by started out by saying, "Everything he just said was true. And it was right, and it was correct." If I had been in the room at the time, I would have asked him, "Seriously? Were you listening when Professor Duane said that if a suspect protested his innocence in the way that he described, you would take that out-of-context quote and only tell the jury that he said 'I never liked the guy?'" Well, we already know that George Bruch didn't really agree with everything that Professor Duane said, since Bruch contradicted him on some points, such as Duane's claim that "talking to the police cannot possibly help you even if you're innocent". But I would have liked for Officer Bruch to say if he thinks the police are anywhere as stupid and corrupt as Professor Duane was implying that they are.

My favorite example is Verbal Judo , which is about how to lie (while conving yourself that you are not lying) in order to manipulate people. It was published by a former police officer, and is used in training courses for police departments around the country. Ostensibly the reason is for defusing domestic violence through words.

More to the point -- and I went into this in my first article about the Fifth Amendment -- if the police and the courts are even remotely that corrupt and incompetent, then that's a wide-ranging problem that applies to all types of evidence gathered in the case, not just statements from suspect. And if that's the case, then the Fifth Amendment is just a band-aid that only solves the stupid-cops-and-courts problem as it applies to suspect statements specifically. It doesn't solve the problem as it applies to circumstantial evidence, unreliable eyewitness testimony, false memories, evaluating the credibility of other witnesses, and other factors.


In other words, if you're arrested, suppose the cops really are so dumb and/or evil that they would quote your "I never liked the guy" out of context to try and get you convicted. So, taking Professor Duane's advice, you say nothing. Do you still trust those same police officers to handle the other aspects of your case fairly? To make sure any exculpatory evidence is brought to light? To interrogate other witnesses without leading them towards a pre-set conclusion?

No, that's why there's also a right to legal representation.

As I said in my first article, that doesn't mean that this is not a valid argument for the Fifth Amendment. But it means that if this is the primary argument in favor of the Fifth Amendment, then what the people making this argument are really saying, is that the whole system is broken.

The system was broken before the constitution was created, and the Bill of Rights serves as a patch over the corruptions of the legacy system.

Comment: Re:Big Oil is Dancing (Score 1, Insightful) 388

by alva_edison (#45028883) Attached to: Tesla Model S Catches Fire: Is This Tesla's 'Toyota' Moment?

To-Do list prior to Summer 2015:

  • Invent Mr. Fusion
  • Government Weather Service to control the Weather
  • Widespread neural Interfaces for games, such that a light gun seems like a "baby's toy"
  • Widespread use of hover-conversion vehicles
  • Volumetric 3D common enough to be used in advertisement, does not require special eyewear, unaffected by sunlight.
  • Release 14 more Jaws movies, and schedule Jaws 19 to be a summer blockbuster.
  • Invent a new type of soda(pop) container to replace cans/bottles. Also replaces restaurant soda(pop) fountains
  • Clothing comes with wearable computer which adjust sizes/ speaks/ air-dries.
  • Widespread cybernetics.
  • Books so uncommon, that knowledge of dust jackets is unusual. However, newspapers are still around
  • In-home fruit planter on motor from ceiling, common in upper-middle class homes.
  • Delivery food is now dehydrated. Hydrator replaces Microwave.
  • Fax machines make a large-scale comeback and are everywhere.
  • Google glass used for everyday tasks, multiple styles.

Comment: Re:Current programming tools suck, that's why. (Score 1) 207

by alva_edison (#44842251) Attached to: Time For a Hobbyist Smartphone?

That's true for current methods of developing software. Which is typing in code.

Note this response took too long to compose, so there have already been some good/better answers below, Prograph, LabView, and the comments about APL are all relevant and interesting

Random idea on how to get around it:

Starting point: utilize some esoteric language that use a limited symbol set and positional coding, i.e. funges. In this case, the screen would be a scrollable grid (say 3x4, for 12 tiles in view at one time), and you would press on grid locations to set their value, possibly through a sub-menu, possibly by just cycling through choices, or maybe a gesture system.
Going further, each grid position wouldn't necessarily be limited to a single symbol, it could be a symbol plus inputs selectable by sub-menu. This would allow you to use multiple registers, not just a single stack. Then, you could save sub-programs with defined inputs/outputs as functions to a library. You could possibly even start putting together classes.
Once you get to the object oriented side, the strict grid might be too limiting, at that level it might be better to view objects as packages, which you can draw connections between. Programming by flowchart/object model.

You won't excise typing completely, because you will need to put in strings at some point. However, class names/function names/variables could all be custom icons.