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Comment: Speed is indeed important (Score 1) 6 6

Not everyone has a brand-new computer; The manuscript of the book I'm about to publish is in Open Office Word, about 400 pages and full of large images, and autosave is a real pain because it takes minutes to save the file.

Like another commenter said, I wouldn't make it the most important thing, overall efficiency is. But software speed is important to anyone with an older computer, especially a Windows computer, because the computer slows as the registry grows, and the registry never gets smaller, only bigger.

Comment: Re:Goodbye free speech (Score 1) 210 210

I suspect that the death penalty is different from incarceration however - in that I truly believe it doesn't have much deterrent effect at all.
In areas where you have gang violence and the like - why be scared of execution your chances of being killed is so high to begin with that if anything sitting on death row increases your life expectancy.
For the suburb case there are basically three common motives for murder.
Crimes of passion: by definition these cannot be deterred, a crime of passion is an emotional act done in the moment, it doesn't include any rational thought - if it had, it wouldn't be a crime of passion, so since there is no rational consideration, there is no deterrence for it.
Crimes of insanity: again, a crazy person isn't thinking rationally, since their acts are not rationally considered, no rational consideration can deter them.
Crimes of greed: the guy who murders out of greed did make a rational decision - but he also believes he will get away with it (nobody murders out of greed if he expects to get caught) - so the punishment isn't a deterrent as he strongly expects never to experience it.

It's unlikely the death penalty has any deterrent effect whatsoever. I'm still not sure incarceration does - though like I said in the original post, it obviously reduces your odds of committing the crime again if only by making it impossible for a while.
Comparing crime rates across countries is never a very useful comparison (just look at every gun control debate) as there are simply too many factors (socio-economic, environmental etc.) which influence crime rates but are not being factored in for, but a more useful comparison is to look at countries where the death penalty was banned - and see how crime rates before and after compared.
The answer in every country I know about is - immediately before and after they were the same, over the longer term crime rates declined, but only by the same rate they were declining before.
So the conclusion appears to be that banning the death penalty had no impact whatsoever on crime rates anywhere it's been done.

Interestingly - here in South Africa the death penalty was banned in 1994. At the time South Africa had the highest crime rate in the world (a murder every 17 seconds). It declined rapidly over the next few years, but this is likely because so much of that crime was political in nature and the politcal environment had changed. Since 2000 there has been a steady decline (while the crime rate is still unacceptably high we are nowhere near the top of the list anymore) - yet calls to reinstate the death penalty remain incredibly popular among the population, one of the few things South Africans of all races actually agree on.
Personally I'm opposed to it, but I find it interesting that it's such a popular concept despite the fact that it very obviously had no impact on crime rates at all - yet it's deterrent effect is the most commonly cited reason for bringing it back. Which proves, I suppose, that what we consider "common sense" will trump facts and evidence every time.

Comment: Re:Goodbye free speech (Score 1) 210 210

If that is the methodology then indeed it would be the lowest - since they have the longest sentences, and so the the biggest gap where you can't repeat the crime, also that long gap in it must reduce the risk of going back to it (if only because it breaks your networks).

I strongly suspect that if you count "number of times the crime was likely committed before you were caught the first time" that for rape it is near the top - the rate of rapes occurring versus the amount of actual rapists suggest this almost has to be the case.

Murder is interesting as it's usually a very high profile crime with a lot of media attention - so police tend to have a lot of motivation to get the guy, this may reduce the number of times you can get away with it before you are caught. But even then it varies by who the victim is.
The likelihood of getting away with killing a white girl is simply much lower than if you kill a black man - society just cares less in the latter case, and so the police does as well.

Comment: Re:Goodbye free speech (Score 1) 210 210

Actually that conclusion doesn't follow even if you accept the premise. Most severe crimes are committed by repeat offenders who commit them many times - over and over.

So even if you accept the premise that prison has no deterent effect (a premise not entirely without merit I guess) it still doesn't follow that without a justice system crime rates would be unchanged - simply because it doesn't account for the crimes not committed while serving your sentence.

User Journal

Journal: Number Five 2 2

I just sent off for the fifth and, I hope, last pre-publication copy of Yesterday's Tomorrows. I was sure it would be finished a month ago, but there were problems printing it due to some of the illustrations being too high of a resolution. It took a month to get the fourth printed.

Comment: Re:Projections based on what? (Score 1) 310 310

>Nobody has proved that the rate at which energy leaves the system has decreased
We proved that in the 19th century already. That's what "greenhouse gas" means.

>Examples of positive feedback loops in nature are exceedingly rare
Utterly false- all of evolution is nothing BUT positive feedback loops. Something evolves eggs - now egg-eaters can evolve, so the egglayers evolve better defences.
One of the biggest ones in the case of climate change is that methane is a worse greenhouse gas than CO2. Most methane in the world is trapped under ice. Ice melts, methane is released, heat increases, more ice melts. While all this means lowering the earth's albedo so even less heat is radiated... now you've got two mutually reinforcing feedback loops.

>You are a CO2 producing engine with every breath you take.
A half-truth at best. Animals and plants are CO2 neutral. You produce no more CO2 than the carbon you ate before. For every atom of carbon in your breath - you had to consume an atom of carbon first, which you got from plants that got it from CO2 taken from the atmosphere.

It is easier to write an incorrect program than understand a correct one.