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Comment Re:Bullshit (Score 1) 386

Assault rifles, explosives, and ammunition are not against the law.

In most (sane) countries they're restricted, and even if they aren't they're pretty damning if combined with evidence of a conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism.

It's a bit like the "possession of burglary tools" charge that gets tacked on to a break and enter... having a crowbar isn't illegal. Having a crowbar while crawling through someone's backyard at 4am is an indication that you're not just really, really drunk.

Comment Re:Bullshit (Score 1) 386

Sure conspiracy is a crime, but it's not an easy one to prove.

Even when the conspirators are sitting on a stockpile of forged documents, assault rifles, ammunition and explosives?

Criminals (of any sort, not just terrorists) need tools and intelligence (of the targeting sort, not the brainpower sort), and the best opportunity to stop them is during the phase where they're gathering that stuff. Obviously, you're not going to do much if the attacker is basically walking out the door with a knife and stabbing the first person they see, but bigger targets need more tools and information gathering.

I'm not making an argument, by the way, for pervasive surveillance or anything like that; it's pretty darn obvious now that law enforcement goes to shit when you do it with a dragnet. But there's definitely a time and place for law enforcement doing proper undercover intelligence gathering and investigations. If they stopped dicking around with all the Orwellian stuff they might even have the time and money to do it right.

Comment Re:Of course they'd blame technology (Score 1) 259

Many of the 9/11 terrorists were well-off educated people. I recall at least one of them was an engineer, apparently assimilated.

Individually, sure. But they came from a restrictive, barbaric, extremist culture. It's about the environment, not the individuals.

I doubt we'll see western culture take the long view, anyway. We're too stuck on instant gratification, quick fixes, and reactionary thinking.

Comment Re:Yes, I absolutely do (Score 3, Interesting) 259

And money, documents, connections, etc. don't scale if your goal is to move 1,000 fighters into Europe, not a squad's worth of men.

If ISIS actually had 1000, or even 100, hardcore fighters who could be integrated into the refugee streams without the cat being let out of the bag somewhere along the way, then Europe is fucked no matter what.

Comment Re:Of course they'd blame technology (Score 3, Insightful) 259

Because that is easier than blaming Merkel and like-minded leaders for self-righteously taking a position that they knew, beyond any reasonable doubt, would give ISIS incredibly easy access to their streets.

ISIS would have access to their streets whether or not refugees were accepted; what, you think an ISIS terrorist is going to take his chances going across the Mediterranean in a swamped, sinking refugee boat? They've got the money, documents, and connections needed to take a plane and rent an apartment like any normal person. He'll be wearing a nice suit, carrying quality luggage, and probably show a student visa or EU passport or something.

The main problem with the refugees is that if, rather than integrating and educating them, they dump them into refugee ghettos and don't provide them with decent opportunities then in 30 years there will be a whole new crop of "home grown" converts to whatever extremist cult is popular at that time.

The only long-term solutions to extremism are integration, education and wealth. Period.

Comment Re:Odd choice (Score 1) 337

As a (surprisedly) happy Surface user, it seems strange that Apple aren't trying to regain initiative here.

It wouldn't surprise me if Apple is at the point where they truly believe that any initiative they lose can be easily regained should they decide to enter a particular market with an iDevice.

Recent history might even lend support for that kind of belief.

Comment Re: Real smart fella (sarcasm) (Score 1) 519

Saudi Arabia beheads people almost every month.


If you're trying to say that Saudi Arabia should be considered "batshit crazy evil" and that the US State Department and the UN are complicit shitbags, most rational westerners won't argue too hard against that position.

If you're trying to say something else... well, sorry, I missed your point.

Comment Re:Real smart fella (sarcasm) (Score 2) 519

Chopping people's heads off to make a point and to recruit more crazies is not necessarily evil... uh huh.

Well, ISIS doesn't consider it evil. The rest of us think it's batshit crazy evil.

Getting back on topic, it's one thing for a western politician to argue that ISIS doesn't see their actions as evil; knowing your enemy should always be an input into your engagement strategy, and showing awareness of your enemies twisted viewpoint demonstrates you're not a complete moron.

But to phrase it they way he did on Twitter of all places, leaving any suggestion that he might sympathize with their viewpoint, shows a abject lack of understanding of public relations and political debate tactics. Social media is not the medium on which to make academic arguments about moral relativism.

Comment Re:Do Canadian Scientists respect the public? (Score 1) 197

This first move was by far the easiest and is universally approved.

Implementation might be a whole other story. I've yet to see it pointed out anywhere that for the last decade, the people who have been enforcing this stupidity were by and large not Conservative politicians, but management within the government. Those people are still there. The people with morals and backbone are gone or got pushed into positions where they dislike for Conservative policies wouldn't be an issue (i.e. where they'd have no power).

It's a step in the right direction, but I'd still be treading carefully.

Comment Re:Who _else?_ (Score 1) 107

This will continue until the components shrink so much ... that the phones actually have to be made bigger than they need to be so that people can hold them.

There's an argument that this is already happening with phones... witness complaints like "you introduced a camera bulge rather than a smooth back and a bigger battery?!?" about the iPhone 6. Bendgate was a lot of nonsense, but one of the main points was that flat and thin isn't an optimal shape for something you stick in a pocket. There's physical room for connectors (and larger batteries) in recent generations of phones if designers get off the "thin at all costs" bandwagon. I'm less confident about room in the budget.

"If I do not want others to quote me, I do not speak." -- Phil Wayne