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Comment: Re:Free Willy! (Sorry, finish the sentence) (Score 1) 471

by itsdapead (#47966057) Attached to: Scotland Votes No To Independence

As I've already said several times, I'd personally like to see the state church and the monarchy go as a matter of principle, but not as a matter of principle, and not at the cost of

...an elected, party political "head of state" and the economy nearly running off a fiscal cliff because the two elected houses full of party animals were having a cockfight.

Comment: Re:Free Willy! (Score 1) 471

by itsdapead (#47966027) Attached to: Scotland Votes No To Independence

Its political process is mostly run by an elected body, uh huh

No, its not "mostly" run by the elected body, the elected body has the ultimate power to pass laws. The monarch has no legislative power, she is bound by the constitution (which is not imaginary) to read out a speech written by the elected government once a year and otherwise keep the fuck out of politics or else. The House of Lords - which includes representatives of the church - can review and amend laws, but the elected house is at liberty to reject any such amendments and pass the law anyway. In practice, the amendments are usually worthwhile technical improvements.

That is not the way a "theocratic monarchy" works....

The problems with the UK system are the same as any other democracy: party-political dogma and all those super-rich plutocrats and multinational companies who aren't constitutionally barred from meddling in politics.

As I've already said several times, I'd personally like to see the state church and the monarchy go as a matter of principle, but not as a matter of principle, and not at the cost of

Comment: Re:Problem is, Kickstarter does not enforce the ru (Score 1) 180

by itsdapead (#47964511) Attached to: Kickstarter Lays Down New Rules For When a Project Fails

After this experience, I will be much more reluctant to back a new project, knowing they can do basically anything they want with my money with minimal risk to them.

Sorry, but what exactly are people expecting out of crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding works because it is fairly informal and nobody (should) "invest" more than they can afford to lose or enough to be worth suing over. Otherwise, the whole thing would suffocate under the red tape, and the projects might as well go to a bank or VC, put their house up as collateral and risk having the funder foreclose at the slightest hiccup.

If you want to buy a product with warranties and legal rights, go to a shop (even in the USA retailers have some obligation to give you what you paid for). If you want to invest your money without risk, put it in a savings account in a major bank and enjoy the consequent 0.fuckall% interest.

Comment: Re:Yes and yes... (Score 1) 251

by itsdapead (#47955479) Attached to: Why the iPhone 6 Has the Same Base Memory As the iPhone 5

Best selling means that most actual consumers think that 16 GB is enough. That means that while _you_ want more storage in a smartphone, most people don't. That doesn't make them wrong. :-)

Exactly. The base storage in many Android phones has been stuck at 16GB for a while - e.g. the Galaxy S5 (which admittedly has a SD slot) and the Nexus 5 (which doesn't).

If you're streaming your media and can cope with occasionally deleting apps you don't use (given that you can re-install them anytime, anywhere), 16GB is plenty. If you want to carry a decent media collection for offline use, you want 64GB+.

Now, whether Apple is gouging people on storage costs is another matter - but like all mass-produced electronics the production volume and logistics of multiple SKUs can be as important as the bill of material costs.

Personally, lack of a microSD slot has been a deal-breaker for me, which is why I've stuck with android, However, I know others (including techies) who are happy with 16MB.

Comment: Re:Free Willy! (Score 1) 471

by itsdapead (#47952645) Attached to: Scotland Votes No To Independence

I'm just saying, that's a lot of words defending a system of theocratic monarchy over a system of secular democracy.

TLDNR: A Constitutional monarchy is a democracy, and the elected government and major political parties are effectively secular (OK, there's N. Ireland, but the sectarian nature of politics there reflects community divisions going back for centuries).

Maybe I'm biased but I'm for secular democracy.

So am I - but the UK comes closer in practice than many true "secular democracies" and our state religion verges on institutional agnosticism.

Comment: Re:Free Willy! (Score 1) 471

by itsdapead (#47950103) Attached to: Scotland Votes No To Independence

Theocracy is the most offensive aspect, in my opinion, but monarchy is almost as offensive. Well, gosh maybe monarchy is more offensive. It's hard to decide.

While I agree with you completely as a matter of principle, in practice the powers of the Monarch and Church in England are so tightly constrained by constitution and tradition that they are insignificant against other sources of oligarchy or theocracy. In theory, I'd like to see the Monarch abolished and the Church disestablished, but I'd want to be thoroughly convinced that any alternative wouldn't have unintended consequences.

The first thing that happens when the Queen opens each new session of parliament is that her representative, Black Rod, has the door of the parliament chamber ceremonially slammed in his face. The Queen then reads a speech written by the elected government. She is then obliged to rubber stamp whatever laws the elected government passes. Should she refuse, there would be a huge constitutional crisis that would probably end in the abolition of the monarchy unless her action had such massive public support that the government was embarrassed into backing off (in which case, what's not to like?) If any member of the Royal family makes any comment that could be construed as "political" there is a massive political and media row.

As for "theocracy" someone has already posted that the House of Lords (which is where the Bishops sit) only review and amend legislation, and any amendments be overruled by the elected government (at the cost of a certain amount of publicity). The Church of England (certainly the English branch) is about the most liberal non-fundamentailst bunch of god botherers you can find. There's some questionable, like the requirement for schools to have a "broadly Christian" assembly every week, but thats more honoured in the breach than the observance. Its not the UK that agonizes over teaching of evolution...

Of course, I know that the USA with its democracy and strict separation of church and state has no problems with wealthy, unelected individuals having undue influence, or with local government trying to (say) block the teaching of evolution in school...

I certainly know in which countries I'd be most reluctant to publicly declare myself an atheist or burn a flag (should I feel the urge)...

Comment: Re:No True Scotsman (Score 1) 491

by itsdapead (#47926537) Attached to: Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

But, it smells like a nationalistic cry for independence above all other considerations.

There's also a big party-political divide: In UK general elections, Scotland generally returns a substantial majority of Labour MPs. At the last UK general election, Scotland elected 1 Conservative MP and 41 Labour MPs yet the UK still got an (effectively) Conservative government.

From the English perspective, it would be hard for Labour in their current form to get into power without votes from Scotland.

That's really a symptom of the problem of the disproportionate influence of London on UK politics. The departure of Scotland (or significant concessions on devolution in the event of a "no" vote) is likely to create pressure from Wales, NI, the north of England etc. for more local powers.

Shit. We're gonna turn into Westeros :-)

Comment: Re:Parallax. (Score 1) 424

by itsdapead (#47925833) Attached to: Apple Edits iPhone 6's Protruding Camera Out of Official Photos

Generally agree with you. You missed out a few things like laptop computers: Apple didn't invent those, either, but the typical modern laptop design with a trackpad at the front and a set-back keyboard originates from the original Powerbooks. I think they've got a stronger claim with DTP - 3rd party page layout software alone wouldn't be "desktop publishing" without an affordable GUI computer and affordable workgroup laser printer with plug-and-play networking.

However, I still think its fair criticism to say that the iPhone6/6+ feels a bit like playing catch-up: "Phablets" have been around for several years now and are already a commercial success. There's no shame in designing something to meet customer demand, though...

Comment: Re:Russell's Teapot, anybody? (Score 1) 917

by itsdapead (#47904741) Attached to: Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

You did not understand what i meant.

You were claiming that atheism is a religion (and that agnosticism is the logical scientific position) because the non-existence of god "outside our universe" was untestable. That's precisely the fallacy that the "Russell's teapot" argument addresses.

Contrary to the popular aphorism, Absence of evidence is evidence of absence. It may not be proof of absence, but unless its outweighed by evidence of presence, then it's a pretty strong hint as to what the "null hypothesis" should be.

If something is inside the universe we can interact with it. If we cant interact with something, then it is outside our space-time.

Now there's an untestable assertion! If there was something "inside the universe" that we could not interact with, how could you know that it was there? The only way out of that is to take "that which we can interact with" as the definition of "Universe" - so "branes" and any other hypothetical phenomenon that might have interacted with us by influencing the outcome of the big bang are all part of the Universe. If god was sitting somewhere rolling an infinite number of 12-dice to pick the values of the fundamental constants then he's part of the universe. Choose a different word for "Universe" if it makes you feel better.

By that definition, If something "outside the universe" can't interact with us at all - if we can't even deduce its existence indirectly or use it to make some other testable prediction using current or future science - then its existence isn't just non-testable, it doesn't exist (that's really just re-stating the definition of "universe").

Comment: Re:Can we stop lying? (Score 1) 326

by itsdapead (#47903619) Attached to: Technological Solution For Texting While Driving Struggles For Traction

If you think you need super human skill to text and drive then you need to give up your license.

Sorry - I thought your original post might have been tongue-in-cheek and that if I called you out on that directly I'd get a ton of "Whoosh!" posts. Evidently not. Oh dear.

I just hope that when your luck runs out its just an embarrassing autocorrect incident caused by texting without looking at the screen, rather than a fatal accident caused by driving without looking at the road (unless you have the aforementioned third eye).

Comment: Re:Be careful what you wish for... (Score 1) 326

by itsdapead (#47902777) Attached to: Technological Solution For Texting While Driving Struggles For Traction

What if a system like red light cameras were devised?

Why the high tech? Just erect a simple sign:

Win an iWatch!
Text your license plate number to 800-911-FUZZ now!
[smallprint]Texts charged at $300 + legal fees and immediate suspension of driving license. iWatch prize subject to availability. Entrants may be shot.[/smallprint]

...because that sort of thing seems to work well with obsessive texters. Heck, as well as making the roads safer it might train users not to respond to phishing texts, too!

Comment: Re:Can we stop lying? (Score 1) 326

by itsdapead (#47902677) Attached to: Technological Solution For Texting While Driving Struggles For Traction

Yes people have died as a result of someone using a cell phone well driving, but in reality they died because the person behind the wheel was given a license when in fact they shouldn't of been.

So its simple! Add some new question to the drivers licence application form:

1. Do you think you are capable of safely using a cell phone while driving?
(A) Yes. (go to Question 2)
(B) No. (Automatic disqualification: doesn't meet Murdoch5's definition of a good driver)

2. Do you have 3 arms and a third, independently moving, eye?
(A) Yes (Automatic disqualification - licenses only available to Homo Sapiens)
(B) No (Automatic disqualification - has delusions of superhuman skills)

...that would cut down the number of idiots in cars.

Comment: Russell's Teapot, anybody? (Score 1) 917

by itsdapead (#47901667) Attached to: Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

the hypothesis that there is no god/higher force outside the universe is as untestable as the hypothesis that ther is any kind of god outside the universe.

Here is the fundamental difference: The obvious response to the statement "The universe was created by God/The Big Bang" is "OK, so who created God/what caused the Big Bang?" Religion forbids asking that question and insists that you accept the existence of one particular interpretation of God as an article of faith. Science*/atheism recognises it as an unanswered question, and accepts the possibility that it could be answered in the future.

To cut a long story short, go and read up on Russell's Teapot.

For me, atheism is not believing in any of the various gods on offer by the world's religions, which, falsifiable or not, are so blatantly anthropomorphic that the "null hypothesis" is obviously that they are products of the human imagination. The possibility of some non-anthropomorphic "higher force" lurking before the big bang is so ill-defined that its existence isn't even non-falsifiable (how can you prove that you can't disprove something that isn't defined?) and doesn't justify calling yourself "agnostic" - its just a variation on "God moves in mysterious ways".

(NB: Disclaimer: sufficiently bad science is indistinguishable from religion.)

"I'm a mean green mother from outer space" -- Audrey II, The Little Shop of Horrors

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