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Comment Re: So much stupid (Score 1) 106 106

10 million US ? You realize that's our entire military budhet ? And we have the biggest and best equipped military on the continent. Not everybody is as rich as America.
Yes our cops have partners but we basically don't even have beat cops anymore. Those cops we're mostly killed in their cars.
While knife killings happen its more common that they are shot though. A good shot can get turn one gun into three for the price of two bullets if he isn't afraid to kill cops.

That said things have gotten much better over the last few years. Crime rates are going down every year and that includes cop killing.
Last year the murder rate was about 15% of what it was 20 years ago. That's quite a drop even if its still too high.
And it's lower than in America (but not by much).

Comment Re: So much stupid (Score 1) 106 106

And how does it change your figures if I tell you that it's beeb more than 2 years since tge last time a cop killed a citizen in the UK? Gaps that long and longer are not uncommon at all. Cops without guns are not able to shoot people.

Oh and they disarmed the police decades before they instituted gun control. Turns out most criminals are reticent to shoot unarmed cops. Why risk life in prison for murder when you can try to avoid arrest risking only resisting charges ? But an armed cop invites gun fire just by being armed.

Comment Re: So much stupid (Score 1) 106 106

You are relying on your intuition. I stated facts. Science beats intuition. Reality is usually counterintuitive.
Giving cops guns increase the odds of them dying because of escalation.
He'll here in my country the number one reason criminals kill cops is not to avoid arrest: it's to steal the cop's guns. That's what happens when you disarm the people but arm the cops: they get their throats slit from behind to steal their guns for robbing banks with.
He'll we have actually had people robbing police stations to raid the armories !

Comment Re: So much stupid (Score 2) 106 106

Correlation does not imply causation.

As it happens there is a well documented pattern that police seems to have forgotten in the past few years and which almost certainly is at play here - and could turn your conclusion on it's head.
That pattern is called "escalation'. If the cops start carrying shotcuns, criminals start carrying machine guns.
If the cops start driving tanks, the criminals will get bazookas.

So it's quite possible that the causality was the other way around. Racist cops in black neighborhoods started carrying heavier arms - so the criminals there upped-their-game ... and a cycle of escalation ensued, which basically means that now, the vast majority of innocent people in those neighborhoods have no chance whatsoever since criminals and cops alike are going in with a shoot-first mindset and the tools to take that approach.

One interesting piece of corroboration is the the correlation between police arms and crime rates is an INVERSE correlation. In countries where most street cops mostly carry non-lethal ordinance (like nightsticks) only, and the guns only come out when you ALREADY CONFIRMED the suspect you're about to go after is likely to be armed - police hardly ever get shot, crime rates are low and hardly anybody gets shot by the cops either.
The UK averages less cop shootings in a decade than the US does in a year, and the vast majority of UK cops are not armed. They also don't GET shot.
Iceland has had only one person shot by police in their ENTIRE HISTORY !
The police in Iceland are unarmed in general, they can be issued weapons if needed for specific operations - but they don't carry them around.
Police getting shot in Iceland are unheard off.

You REALLY want to get rid of crime and make serving police officers safer than they've ever been ? All the evidence suggests your first step should be to disarm the street cops.
Let SWAT be the only ones who get to carry guns and while you're at it, make them need a warrant before they can carry those guns out of the station.

Comment Re: Looking more and more likely all the time... (Score 1) 511 511

Probably because they are confusing "fuel" for "energy". Nobody claims it doesn't need energy. It does. It just doesn't need liquid fuel. That means you can use energy sources that weigh a lot less. Solar panels for example. Converting electricity to thrust is not exactly new. Hell we have built solar cars on earth. This is just a way of doing the same thing without a road.
But out there it's a lot more valuable to do.

Comment Re: Looking more and more likely all the time... (Score 4, Informative) 511 511

Well NADA is an unlikely source for scams and it doesn't fit the pattern. The science behind it is openly shared without any secret sauce claims. The physics are uncontroversial.
The only thing there could be scam in is whether our engineering can really cash in on it.

At it's best its also not claimed to provide much thrust. You can't leave earth with it. But once you do even a tiny bit of thrust goes a long way. It's not even the only known way to get thrust without fuel - solar sails do that too.

I never got why so many people are so sceptical of this one. Engineering scams are nothing new but this breaks every pattern and the science is genuinely sound.

Comment Re: Web censorship (Score 4, Insightful) 188 188

It absolutely does and every free country on earth recognises this. That is exactly why all the disparate laws with so many differences you deceptively lump together as "intellectual property " do have one thing in common : they all have limitations that make them temporary. The mechanism of expiration vary widely but they all expire. No physical property rights expire. You can inherited land for unlimited generations. But copyright and patents have time limits, trademarks have to be renewed and are lost if they become generic. These expiration are exactly because they are, all, censorship and the trade off is only worth while if that censorship is temporary.

Comment Re: WTF? (Score 1) 321 321

Fair enough, but not really the point I was making. The point I was making was that scientific definitions are very important - and indeed do change over time. Once upon a time there was no scientific distinction between the concepts either.
We knew how to measure weight, but the only variable we could really change between measurements was the mass - so for a long time even early proto-scientists used them interchangeably (Archimedes's density idea with the king's crown didn't make the distinction and while it wasn't truly science yet [ideas weren't tested] it was certainly an early fore-runner).

But the question of what is, or is not, a planet is a scientific one - and this is a matter of definition. Newer knowledge led to the definition changing, and when it did - Pluto no longer met it. That's science. As it happens some of the discoveries from New Horizons suggest Pluto may have rather more mass than we previously believed - possibly even enough to once more meet the definition, so it could actually rejoin the list of planets again.

Having said that, it's not actually all that interesting. The amount of public interest in whether Pluto is a planet or not is ... well silly. It's ultimately like the mass and weight thing, outside of a science discussion - who CARES if you do call it a planet ? It matters in science, but not in common speech.

What we SHOULD be paying attention to is what New Horizons already sent back that we didn't expect to see - and can't explain. In just these first few pictures, a tiny subset of what's coming ... we saw giant mountains of ice, which shouldn't be there. The substances we thought Pluto was mostly made from can't form ice mountains that big, they aren't strong enough. So what ARE they ? We have no idea. The most likely possibility is water but we have no way of proving that, and if it IS water it means Pluto has a LOT more water than we thought.
And then there's the huge question coming out of what isn't where we expected: craters, there aren't any. Not having craters is an even bigger mystery. The only things we know off that can prevent an object in space from having impact craters is an atmosphere or tectonic activity - two things we were sure Pluto didn't have.
Now it seems it probably has at least one of them... and we can't explain EITHER. How could something with so little mass have an atmosphere ? But it's also so small and far from the sun... where could it possibly get enough energy to drive tectonic activity of the scale needed to resurface a world ?
One idea that's been suggested is that smaller tectonic activity could throw up plumes of dust and smoke creating atmospheres - these don't last long as Pluto lacks the gravity to hold onto them, but maybe last long enough to wear down any impact craters. It's attractive because it means we don't have to explain an atmosphere and it would need less energy than the kind of tectonics that resurfaces Venus regularly... but we didn't expect ANY tectonics, even this reduced energy version still requires way more energy than we thought Pluto could possibly have.

Whatever the real answers are, and they are likely to be surprizes we haven't come close to thinking about yet, they will be huge... they could massively alter our most fundamental theories about such questions as "how did the solar system form" and "how did Earth come to be".
In 500 years nobody will remember the debate about whether Pluto is a planet or not just as I'm sure there were a lot of things that happened in Galileo's time that seemed important and of which we don't even have records... but what we learn to answer these questions (and the others likely to be asked in the coming months)... that could be the Galileo moment of our generation... of our century.

The next big leap forward in astronomy could be happening right now... and the public is mostly interested in arguing about something that is important in the same way a good filing system is important and for the same reason - but definitely not very interesting and certainly not exciting.

Comment Re: The Anti-Stallman Brigade rears its head again (Score 1) 75 75

Strawman. He has never said that without adding: "seriously though, it's ok to use a proprietary program in that scenario provided you contribute in whatever way you can to projects that aim to create free alternatives to that software so that the situation isn't permanent but can ultimately be changed".

Comment Re: WTF? (Score 2) 321 321

For thousands of years mass and weight were considered the same thing. In common English they are still conflated... in fact weight is more commonly used to describe mass than mass is ! Think of weight loss programs... visiting orbit is the most effective weight loss program we have. But scientists have different definitions. The common English mistake originated because on earth weight and mass is directly correlated but that's only because we defined the early units of mass by measuring weight on earth.
In the end though mass is the amount of matter an object contains and weight is the gravitational force it exerts on the planet earth. The latter correlates with the former up close but because of the inverse square law that correlation dissappears very fast as you travel. At low earth orbit weight is as close to zero as makes no difference... but mass is unchanged.
The point is thst in science definition is actually extremely important. In fact science can be said to consist of nothing but changing definitions that get more acurate over time. We have a special process for doing so but definition is the end product of science because that's how we communicate knowledge most effectively. And if definitions cannot change then science would be not science.

Comment Re:The Anti-Stallman Brigade rears its head again (Score 4, Insightful) 75 75

Correct on both counts, and Stallman has publicly agreed with me when I stated that "A duel license is, to the user, no different than a non-copyleft license. The impact on freedom is exactly the same as using the BSD licenses. The user who gets it from you gets freedom, but the user who gets it from a third party may not".
So from his agreement in a public forum when I used that argument, I think we can surmise that he holds the same view. He would not try to stop a dual license anymore than he has tried to stop BSD licenses, he just thinks that copyleft is better.

The really funny thing is that people complain he isn't enough of a pragmatist... which really proves their ignorance. Stallman's ideal world is one where software cannot be copyrighted, and source code distribution is mandatory if you sell binaries. This is repeatedly said in his writings.
But it isn't what he is pushing for, he isn't arguing in courts for that, he isn't sending letters to congress for that. He did not try to pursue a, probably unreachable, ideal - instead he chose a pragmatic solution, the copyleft license, to create a self-perpetuating system that produces free software into the market, forcing non-free software to compete with it.
That will not give him his ideal, it will never eradicate non-free software, but it did make the world a lot better than it would have otherwise been. He also wrote the LGPL - which violates his own cherished ideals even further, because pragmatically - it was better to have it and let proprietory software run on GNU than to NOT have it and have people avoid GNU altogether because they can't replace a proprietory tool yet.

The man's history is not of an extremist or an idealist, quite the contrary - it's a history of tactical pragmatism. He does STATE his ideals, but he has never been so blinded by them as to let the perfect be the ENEMY of the good.

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