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Comment: Re:Chimp interview ... (Score 1) 315

by silentcoder (#49518993) Attached to: Update: No Personhood for Chimps Yet

>WTF is the definition of legal person at this point?

Considering that legal personhood is granted to corporations (literally a piece of paper with an official stamp on it - that's what a "corporation" in fact consists of), with no material existence, and "his" decisions made by a bunch of other people who all own a bit of "him", the word has been meaningless for decades.
I don't really see this as causing any major problems - at least, relatively speaking. If this is opening a can of worms, then granting personhood to corporations was a bucket of snakes, I think that remains a higher priority concern.

If a completely abstract entity with no mind at all can be a person, why not an actual living being with a mind that - in IQ tests have gotten scores comparable to young human children (which makes them rather smarter than the average CEO mind you) ?

In the end though - I see more interesting things from this, our days as the only truly sentient beings are numbered - sooner or later there will be others, whether it's highly advanced AI or extra-terestrial life, the day will come when we have to consider what does or does not get human rights like freedom of movement, what we can or cannot legally enslave.
We may as well get some prescedents set and test cases happening, it will be valuable in future.

While we're at it, maybe it's high time we challenge the assertion that a completely abstract legal fiction belongs on that list, or else take it to it's logical extreme. If corporations are persons - then share-holding is slavery and should be banned.

Comment: Re: You no longer own a car (Score 1) 614

by silentcoder (#49517619) Attached to: Automakers To Gearheads: Stop Repairing Cars

Audi wanted to charge me r4000 (about $600) to replace a broken key for my a3 (only the electronics we're damaged). I did a bit of shopping around and found a locksmith who could make and code a replacement electronic key circuit and install it in the key. Been working fine for about 2 years now. R250 including labour.

Comment: Re:EU vs America (Score 1) 192

by silentcoder (#49492187) Attached to: Microsoft's Role As Accuser In the Antitrust Suit Against Google

>In America, it does not make much progress

Oh really now ? You think so ? Forgot about SCO suing IBM ? Or Apple's case against Samsung because they BOTH made tablets that look exactly like PADDs from ST:TNG ?

The may prefer a different branch of bureaucrat (the courts), but the outcome isn't noticeably different.

Comment: Re:Thank goodness the NSA is looking our for us (Score 1) 324

by silentcoder (#49488685) Attached to: Gyro-Copter Lands On West Lawn of US Capitol, Pilot Arrested

Where did I say it does ? Where did I say civil disobedience makes it not a crime ? But it can in many cases make a crime justified, and it's often the only way to bring about social change.
Martin Luther King Junior's civil disobedience made him a national hero and got a holiday named after him. What about Rosa Parks ? Or the Boston Tea Party ? Or on an international scale Ghandi or Nelson Mandela ?
Civil disobedience on a just grounds tends to make you a hero - conviction for it, will usually make you a martyr and while that is not much fun - it is a powerful weapon, there is no greater thorn in the side of a bad government than a martyr.

Comment: Re:Balls of steel (Score 1) 324

by silentcoder (#49484411) Attached to: Gyro-Copter Lands On West Lawn of US Capitol, Pilot Arrested

It's also worth noting that corporations are not people, cannot vote and don't have human rights. You can't violate a corporation's rights, they don't HAVE any and even if you accept his ludicrous idea that money == speech so restricting spending on politics is censorship - you can STILL restrict corporate political spending WITHOUT intruding on ANYBODY'S freedom because corporations do not HAVE freedom to intrude upon.
They have whatever privileges society benefits from giving them.

And when it comes to campaign finance, it's about time somebody pulls a Picard: The line must be drawn here, no farther !
Actually, that time was probably about 60 years ago...

Comment: Re:Balls of steel (Score 2) 324

by silentcoder (#49484395) Attached to: Gyro-Copter Lands On West Lawn of US Capitol, Pilot Arrested

No. You fucking idiot.
His message is that how much attention government officials PAY to political speech should not depend on how rich the speaker is.

And that is why campaign finance reform is needed, because without it the ONLY people who get listened to AT ALL is the rich. Without it, you HAVE no freedoms unless the rich don't CARE that you have them - anything that bothers them can and will be revoked.

Without campaign finance reform you don't live in a democracy OR a republic - hell you don't even live in an oligarchy ! You are living in a thinly disguised aristocracy ! The whole point of creating your country was to ESCAPE aristocracy and monarchy as systems of political power - and you're insisting that those who bravely fight back against the forces turning the USA into the very thing it was created to escape from are somehow the enemies of freedom.

No my friend - the only enemy of freedom in this discussion is you, and the wealthy campaign donors you are defending.

Comment: Re:Just get rid of democracy instead (Score 1) 324

by silentcoder (#49484337) Attached to: Gyro-Copter Lands On West Lawn of US Capitol, Pilot Arrested

The differences really aren't always that clear-cut. Was the Roman Republic a democracy ? Well it was called a Republic and it had senators acting as representatives... but it also had a form of direct democracy where all citizens were participants in the law-making process.

What about hybrids found around the world today where a government of elected representatives govern while any citizen is empowered to propose new legislation, which the population then votes on whether to pass or not (direct democracy) - California has such a system, as does Switzerland and Sweden just of the top of my head ?

Are they republics or democracies ? They are actually both.

The original definition of democracy is actually a better description today of modern anarchist philosophy - which is all about direct democracy limited only in a few specific ways to prevent a tyranny of the majority (an example would be the PartPoly proposal from Harvard).
Democracy and Republic are almost synonyms now. Republican and Democratic have another entirely different set of meanings attached due to the political parties bearing those names and what's worse, prior to the passage of the civil rights act those meanings were basically the exact OPPOSITES of what they are now, all of today's red states were blue and all the blue states were red and the Dixiecrats were a real thing ! Lincoln's party may have been called the Republicans at the time but they were voted in by the populations who voted for Obama the last two times and the groups who voted for Bush in the 2000s were people who voted Democrat in Lincoln's day.

The problem with this is it makes it hard to acurately describe anything using simple terms since the meaning of those terms are so contextual and often downright lies (China and North Korea both claim to be Republics despite having absolutely no resemblance to a republic by any definition). A very large chunk of the people who vote Republican in the US today are actually Theocrats, and the politicians are an odd mixture of Fascists and Oligarchs (with perhaps the sole exception of Bernie Sanders, and maybe Ron Paul back in the day).

Comment: Re:Go get them, EU (Score 1) 244

by silentcoder (#49483943) Attached to: Google Responds To EU Antitrust Claims In Android Blog Post

Yes. Yes you CAN do that.
You may have to root the phone. In a worst case scenario you may have to install an alternative android ROM like cyanogenmod.

Oh you can't do THAT ? If so, that's not google's doing, they have never done anything at all to prevent this - on the contrary they actively encouraged it and considering they specifically prohibited Cyanogenmod from including the google apps you can't HAVE them on cyanogenmod unless you actively seek them out and manually add them yourself.
If you can't find a way to get google apps off your phone - and you've actually made any effort whatsoever, then that's a fuckup by your phone manufacturer, google has no control over THEM.

Comment: Re:This will be interesting, (Score 3, Interesting) 244

by silentcoder (#49483927) Attached to: Google Responds To EU Antitrust Claims In Android Blog Post

Companies have no rights at all. Only human beings have rights. Companies have such privileges as society deems fit to grant them for the benefit of society. Benefit to the companies is purely coincidental and only needed when that benefit happens to benefit society as well.
Those who feel otherwise (and think what they are saying is free-market thinking) REALLY need to go brush up on their Benjamin Franklin and Adam Smith.

Now, having said that, over-regulation is NOT to the benefit of society (but neither is under-regulation) the trick is to find the right balance, regulate against harmful behavior, regulate against the guy who would rather lock the fire escape than hire a security guard and ends up killing 103 people who otherwise almost certainly would have all survived the accidental fire (real case example).
In the case of anti-trust, take your cue from the greatest trust-buster of them all - President Rooseveldt, look at what the guy with the monpoly is actually DOING with that monopoly. Is he harming consumers ? Is he harming workers ? Is he jacking up prices ? Then destroy his monopoly with extreme prejudice. But if he isn't abusing that position, not actively trying to prevent competition from arising, not jacking prices up (but indeed his market shows a continous price-per-value drop over time), not harming consumers in a significant manner, treating workers well and fairly ? Then leave him alone in time the market will bring competitors - and we can AFFORD to wait when he isn't doing bad things.

I am always amazed when people call Obama a liberal president - his policies are center-right at best, Teddy Rooseveldt - now THAT was a Liberal. Probably the most liberal president America ever had. Conservationist, union-defender, workers-rights defender, opposed inequality and lack of social mobility (as he correctly realized: sufficient inequality can and always WILL lead to violent revolution, an outcome he believed ought ot be avoided by preventing that level of inequality from arising in the first place), the man behind some of the strictest anti-trust laws the US ever had - and willing to go to bat personally to get them enforced (as in - he personally had meetings with the CEO's of the companies he targetted - and when push came to shove showed up at the supreme court and took the stand himself).

So on balance ? There are areas where Google is due for some scrutiny, data protection and privacy laws are near the top of the list. They may have a monopoly in advertising and it may indeed be harmful (I'm not convinced but I recognize this as possible) - but android ? Nah, Android is an area where Google has been very well behaved, I don't care if their market share is monopoly level or not because even if they HAVE A monopoly what they've been DOING with it is not significantly harmful in any way.

Comment: Re:Antarctica (Score 1) 137

by silentcoder (#49477225) Attached to: Road To Mars: Solving the Isolation Problem

> It is so much closer, easier, and cheaper — and yet remains empty and unpopulated...

Under international law all nations have agreed not to lay claim to Antarctica or attempt to settle it. Only scientists doing research are allowed to live there and even then they aren't allowed to remain permanently.
Short of the UN suddenly being disbanded, world war 3 happening or some other equally massive disruption in the social fabric of the world Antarctica won't be settled. It's got nothing to do with practicality of doing so - we are more than capable of making it livable, it's a decision we made not to do so because it's the ONLY continent humans had not settled and leaving SOMEWHERE in it's without-humans-changing-everything state is a a pretty important piece of conservation.

As it stands there is constant pressure to alter the law, revoke it or create loopholes because Antarctica has valuable resources (for one thing there is evidence of large oil reservoirs existing below the ice) and there are those who desperately want to get their hands on those resources for profit.
So far they have not succeeded, I hope they never do. Regardless of all the known harms of fossil fuels which is NOT a matter of opinion or politics but of solid evidence based science versus pseudo-scientific decepticons, conservation is also important - and this is something that's been recognized even in the USA since Rooseveldt's days.
We don't NEED to settle antarctica, we don't need to disrupt the existing ecosystems there. Can we leave ONE continent on this planet alone ? Why do we have to take EVERYWHERE ? What makes you think we have that right ?
We're not that special - we are just another animal. A monkey whose delusions of grandeur has been something of a self-fullfilling prophecy. We have a whole universe to explore, and we NEED to do that because science tells us our time on this planet is limited. Sooner or later the universe will throw another giant rock at us, or another giant ball of ice, or something else - and human life on planet earth will end (probably along with just about every mammal and bird). It's happened to every species before us, it WILL happen to us as well - we can't stop EVERYTHING that could cause our extinction.
The question is - when it does - will that be the entire human population ? Or just the small percentage living on the homeworld ? Personally I would prefer the latter - and the first step is settling the moon and mars as the nearest, most easily reached and most readily teraformable bodies in our solar system.

The young lady had an unusual list, Linked in part to a structural weakness. She set no preconditions.