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Comment: Re: I will never understand (Score 1) 99

by silentcoder (#49558229) Attached to: Vizio, Destroyer of Patent Trolls

Regarding the McDonald's coffee case. I'll tell you what wasn't reported in the media. You can find interviews with the lady online that back it up. The coffee machine at the store had a broken thermostat. They knew it and didn't fix it. What they handed her wasn't hot coffee. It was superheated liquid which when she moved it did what superheated liquids tend to do when shaken: exploded in a massive cloud of superheated steam that left her with third degree burns over large areas of her body. She had serious injuries and still have terrible scars from that. It was a highly legitimate injury with a perfectly reasonable outcome considering the degree of her injuries and the factors that their negligence caused those injuries. The whole "coffee may be hot" printed on cups thing was never a resolution of the case nor would it have had any impact on her. It was part of McDonald's PR stunts to paint her as a stupid person who filed a frivolous suit rather than be known to the public as the restaurant that burns people's faces off with exploding coffee.

Comment: Re: I will never understand (Score 1) 99

by silentcoder (#49558187) Attached to: Vizio, Destroyer of Patent Trolls

Yet another version that exists in some Dutch-Roman court systems: both parties always lose. Sort of. The way it works is the judge in a civil case assumes fault on both sides. But of varying degrees. The court determines amount of damages and degree of guilt of each party. They then each pay the other that percentage of the damages. If the judge finds they are equally guilty nobody gets any money. But say it's a million dollar damages and the judge finds one party 75% guilty and the other 25% guilty. The nett result is that the latter party gets 250k richer. It seriously cuts down on frivolous lawsuits because you may well find that the judge decides you are 99% guilty in your own case and make you pay 99% of the damages you claimed to the defendant (if it's a frivolous case there is very little responsibility you can prove for the defendant ). On the other hand if the case has merit you are likely to walk away with a solid profit. Costs are awarded but only in cases where the judge deems the suit particularly frivolous - when a plaintiff is found to have the vast majority of that shared responsibility pool the judge may well add costs on top of paying the bulk to the defendant.

Comment: Re: Chimp interview ... (Score 1) 335

by silentcoder (#49525781) Attached to: Update: No Personhood for Chimps Yet

Or for that matter executed. If we kill hundreds of people, we are killed in turn. A corporation on the other hand gets a slap on telephone wrist settlement or at worst a fine which they recoup from wage cuts, lay offs and customers. So a whole lot of people are punished - oddly the list doesn't include any of the people who actually had the power to stop it (shareholders).

Comment: Re:Chimp interview ... (Score 1) 335

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) 649

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) 327

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) 327

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) 327

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) 327

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) 245

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) 245

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.

When it is not necessary to make a decision, it is necessary not to make a decision.