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Comment: Re:150 years is a long time (Score 2) 545

by ethorad (#44542241) Attached to: Could Humanity Really Build 'Elysium'?

The pedant in me wants to point out that if they did use M-16s, it wouldn't have been in 1066 as they were only formed in 1099 - but given I wasn't alive in 1099 I don't have any proof of that either :/

Although I guess they could have used whatever time-travel machine they used to get a hold of M-16s to go back and fight in the Battle of Hastings.

Comment: Re:More Statist Bullsiht (Score 2) 476

by ethorad (#43470529) Attached to: Excel Error Contributes To Problems With Austerity Study

I agree with you, debt without evaluating the cost and a plan to manage it is bad news.

However you say "it would be better to buy with cash and avoid paying all the interest"

Sure buying with cash avoids paying interest, however it also avoids collecting interest on whatever else you would have invested in. Essentially buying a house with cash can be considered as investing in property at the mortgage rate of interest. If you can beat that in the market (with a suitable level of security/liquidity) then it's worth condiering a mortgage and investing.

Of course differential tax treatment, stamp duty on house purchase, duration you expect to hold the house/asset, etc all feed in to make it a more complex analysis. YMMV, this is not financial advice, etc

Comment: Re:Public list of VPNs? (Score 1) 91

by ethorad (#43176973) Attached to: Users Flock To Firewall-Busting Thesis Project

I would be surprised if a group of contractors funded and directed by American sources but who happen to live in Argentina would be classed as Argentinian, but then I'm not a lawyer and there's lots about the law that surprises me. One example would be Hezbollah - they are based in Lebanon but believed to be funded by Iran, and so what they do is often considered to be done by Iran not by Lebanon.

With the US v Nicaragua point, I've never really known much about what went on with Reagan and the Contras, but from having a look on Wikipedia it seems that:

- If you mean the US attack on Nicaragua, that was based on the US's unilateral opinion rather than an agreed international opinion. As such I wouldn't count that as a widely held agreement on what counts as an act of war
- If you mean the ICJ decision on the aftermath of the US attacks I would agree that it is at least a consensus decision on what acts are considered valid
- From the ICJ decision:
- Nicaragua supplying arms to El Salvador opposition does not constitute an armed attack (and thus I guess would not be an act of war). This seems in line with your suggestion that financing someone in a foreign country doesn't make them your army, the army belongs to the country in which they live not the country which supplies them.
- However it also suggests that the US arming, financing and training the contra groups intervened in the sovereignty of another state, and through various attacks the US was considered to have used force against another state. While not an act of war it seems in that direction which is the other way round to the findings in the Nicaragua v El Salvador point above - although the contras were based in Nicaragua since they were US funded, they are considered to be US?

I guess there are particular circumstances with each of the two above, ie perhaps the US attacks on Nicaragua were much more clearly linked to the US government. Also there's a lot of different actions ("act of war", "armed attack", "intervene in sovereignty", "used force" - what do they all mean?). I have some more reading to do it seems!

Comment: Re:Public list of VPNs? (Score 1) 91

by ethorad (#43170227) Attached to: Users Flock To Firewall-Busting Thesis Project

I assumed that essentially paying a group of mercenaries or contractors to invade someone without using your own formal government troops would still be considered an act of war. Otherwise why not rename the army to the "Army plc" and claim that although they do tend to do a lot of contract work for the government they are an independant company. So sorry that they decided to invade your country but it's not an act of war so feel free to try and sue them in the US courts - good luck.

Do you have a reference for your example? You imply that some case examples exist.

Comment: 88% accuracy worse than chance (Score 1) 473

by ethorad (#43147335) Attached to: Facebook Knows If You're Gay, Use Drugs, Or Are a Republican

The study claims they can predict homosexuality with an 88% accuracy?

You can do far better than that by chance. surveys suggest that around 3-7% say of the population is homosexual (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_sexual_orientation or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_demographics_of_the_United_States)

Therefore if you "predict" that everyone is straight, you will be correct around 95% of the time. Even randomly picking 1 out of 20 people as homosexual with no analysis of their likes would retain a 95% strike rate.

(I know, chances are they mean that they only get 12% false negatives on their homosexual predictions, compared to 100% or 95% on my systems)

Comment: Re:A true union built aircraft (Score 4, Informative) 237

by ethorad (#42559547) Attached to: FAA To Investigate 787 Dreamliner

I assume by "Elsewhere they tend to do rather more good" you're not including the UK. Over here in the UK they are also all about protecting lazyness and weird working practices such as holding back modernisation, reinstating bullies, etc

(I know this is a generalisation, and therefore I'm sure there are exceptions, however the biggies such as train staff in particular and public sector unions fall into this category)

Comment: Re:Looks like the AG actually read the law (Score 3, Interesting) 817

by ethorad (#41763123) Attached to: Texas Attorney General Warns International Election Observers

Now IANAL but I think you shot yourself in the foot there.

Your quote from the OSCE document clearly states that participating states [ie the US] invites observers to observe the election "to the extent permitted by law". If the law says they're allowed to observe, but from no closer than 100 feet, then how is that in disagreement with international agreements?

Admittedly you could argue about how much observation can be done from a distance, but it doesn't appear to be in disagreement to me.

Having said that it increasingly seems to me that right/wrong and legal/illegal are orthogonal axes

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