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Comment: Re:Not my findings (Score 1) 139

by IamTheRealMike (#48947635) Attached to: The NSA Is Viewed Favorably By Most Young People

So, now you have strong evidence that the people you talk to are not representative of America as a whole.

I would not put it that way. I'd say we have strong evidence that opinion polling can easily result in confusing or apparently contradictory results. The first sentence of the linked blog post has an air of mild surprise about it, and not surprisingly - when polled, 75% of Americans disagree that their government is trustworthy all or most of the time, yet they view most departments favourably? That makes little sense.

Something else doesn't make much sense. This result can easily be read as "people approve of what the NSA is doing". That must be what favourable means, right? Yet this very same polling agency has found a year ago that a majority of Americans oppose NSA practices. It's possible things have changed in the span of 2014, but other polls frequently return contradictory results too. This one by the Washington Post says, in the same set of questions, most people think monitoring all online activity to prevent terrorism isn't worth it, but monitoring all phone calls is. Why the difference?

At any rate, it's certainly true that the civil liberties wing of western societies has done a really appalling job of explaining to people why this sort of behaviour by governments is so risky, and Americans don't have recent local experience to fall back on. Unlike, say, people in former Soviet bloc countries, or Germans.

Comment: Re:In other news... (Score 1) 139

by IamTheRealMike (#48947567) Attached to: The NSA Is Viewed Favorably By Most Young People

TFA is actually covering opinion polls relating to several government agencies, but in typical Slashdot form, TFS only focuses on the NSA section, because that will be more inflammatory.

.... or maybe, just of more interest to a tech/geek focused site? I guess the NSA is a lot more relevant than the VA, especially to non-American slashdotters like me.

The poll isn't very surprising given its consistency with previous polls, but that doesn't change the fact that the attitudes of Americans don't seem to be very internally consistent or easily explainable. Either American people are just strangely illogical or there's some subtle issue with the polling method (or both?). The big question mark this survey leaves hanging is why trust in government is at an all time low (along with falling trust in most institutions), yet iterating specific parts of the government yields mostly favourable views. This is such an odd result that the very first sentence in the poll writeup says:

The public continues to express positive views of many agencies of the federal government, even though overall trust in government is near historic lows.

Yes, indeed. The public does A even though B. How strange.

The way the poll works means there's little information that can be used to explain this. Perhaps the 8 departments they chose to ask people about aren't the reason people distrust government. Perhaps their distrust falls exclusively on Congress, or on the judicial branch. We can't tell from this result alone.

Another possibility is that the wording of the poll - although superficially neutral - does trigger bias. The question was "do you trust the government in Washington always or most of the time?". People might be distinguishing between "the government in Washington" and "other bits of the government", e.g. the NSA is not actually in the city of Washington whereas Congress is. Ditto for various other departments and especially the military which does a great job of spreading itself around the country.

My final thought is that people might be more naturally inclined to take out their dissatisfaction on Congress than on the executive branch, because getting mad at Congress feels like it might achieve something due to voting, whereas getting mad at the NSA is about as useful as getting mad at a brick wall. They answer to no one and can't be controlled, so it's a lot more comfortable if you can convince yourself they're on your side rather than not.

Comment: Re:Telegraph poles mostly gone in UK (Score 1) 81

They'd have had to dig underground ducting in to everybody's garden. How did they do it without us noticing?

Presumably people did notice. The telephone connection to both of my last two houses comes in at the front, but there was a telegraph pole in the back of both with a wire going into the back (and then terminating). In both houses, the wire eventually fell off the back. I presume that the previous owners did notice when they re-did their telephone wiring...

Comment: Re:Telegraph poles mostly gone in UK (Score 1) 81

I have a house on a street lined with telegraph poles in the UK too. The poles run wires to everyone's house. The same was true of the place I lived before moving there. In both cases, the wire fell off my house while I was living there. It hadn't been connected to anything inside the house for a very long time - telephone service came in on the other side of the house, underground. They just never got around to removing the poles and the above-ground wires that didn't have a signal going through them.

Comment: Re:Free Market at Work (Score 1) 189

by drsmithy (#48945795) Attached to: Indian Woman Sues Uber In the US Over Alleged New Delhi Taxi Rape
Want to see real change and justice? Talk to the actual owners of Uber and see if you can convince them to make a better company.

Uber is run by libertarian psychopaths. Their thought process - though they would obviously never say it in public - is "nobody made you get into the taxi, tough luck".

Even the slightest voluntary attempt to try and ameliorate the risk involved would be an anathema - "nanny state regulation" or some such bullshit - to them.

Comment: Re:Uber does as well, or better (Score 0) 189

by drsmithy (#48945777) Attached to: Indian Woman Sues Uber In the US Over Alleged New Delhi Taxi Rape
Probably better because who can say how many cab drivers make it in via political favors?

Given the life and pay of a taxi driver, I'd go with "sweet fuck all".

People calling in "political favours" to be a *taxi driver* ? Did you even think about that before you wrote it ? Do you think garbage collectors get jobs through "political favours" as well ?

Comment: Re:It does fly, because it works better (Score 0) 189

by drsmithy (#48945763) Attached to: Indian Woman Sues Uber In the US Over Alleged New Delhi Taxi Rape
The problems in the taxi industries worldwide have nothing to do with regulations around safety, and everything to do with the regulations around taxi plates (or "medallions" I think they call them in the states).
Uber vehicles should be required to carry the same safety facilities as a taxi, including video/audio recording and driver duress buttons.
This sort of situation and the absurdly trivial solutions for reducing its risk (what's the cost of a few dash cams ?) were entirely predictable and the only reason Uber did not act proactively was because it's a company run by libertarian psychopaths who think rules shouldn't apply to them.

Comment: Re:Stop rape in India? (Score 1) 189

by Rei (#48945731) Attached to: Indian Woman Sues Uber In the US Over Alleged New Delhi Taxi Rape

Right, so women are supposed to walk around at all times with a gun in their hand, never setting it down for anything, and have a proximity radar to warn them if anyone is approaching them where they can't see so that she can pump them full of lead?

Why, I bet the gun will just shoot the rohipnol right out of drinks too!

The percent of rape cases in which having a gun could have helped is probably in in the single digits. And with it of course carries the risk of escalating the risk of getting you seriously injured or killed.

Garbage In -- Gospel Out.

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