Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:How? (Score 1) 381

Unemployment too high? You lost your job? What are we going to do about it? Sir, were you aware that your 11yr could possibly be addicted to Tentacled midget porn?

Would you prefer that they answered honestly: "Finding you a job is not the government's responsibility. This is Britain, not the Soviet Union."? Given the choice between (a) antagonising a potential voter with a truthful response, (b) actually turning Britain into the Soviet Union in order to give a more pleasing response, or (c) changing the subject and moving on... I know what I'd pick.

Comment Re:Who are the fascists?? (Score 1) 500

If you believe anything Hitler said, because he said it, you're almost certainly wrong.

Hm. That's veering into Hitler Ate Sugar territory. Just because Hitler was a bad man doesn't mean every word out of his mouth was a lie. And in this case, I think tsotha is right - "National Socialism" is a pretty good technical description of "Fascism".

Bear in mind that the name "Fascism" comes from the symbol of the fasces - a bundle of sticks bound together. The message is: "Individually we are weak, but together we are strong." Fascism is, therefore, essentially a collectivist ideology - the nation becomes strong through joining together. And Hitler was very much all about suppressing the freedom of the individual in order to strengthen the nation.

The difference between National Socialism and conventional ("International"?) socialism is not the structure, it's the goals - fascists collectivise in order to be strong, socialists collectivise in order to help the weak. But to somebody who thinks about politics as essentially a question of the relationship between the individual and the state, there's very little difference between the two forms.

Comment Re:Who are the fascists?? (Score 4, Insightful) 500

The act of owning slaves, on the other hand, not so much.

I stand open to correction here, but my understanding was that Jefferson inherited the vast majority of the slaves that he owned, and his only known purchases of slaves were in order to reunite family members who had been separated by sales to different masters. It's true that he didn't free many of his slaves, but that was (apparently) because life for an ex-slave in Virginia in the 18th century was arguably nastier than being nominally "owned" by a caring owner. He also attempted to pass laws through the Virginia state legislature that would have abolished slavery (his bill was defeated), and included an anti-slavery diatribe in the original Declaration of Independence, which was cut by the committee before it was published.

When you get right down to it, there is not a lot one man - even a President of the United States - can do when the culture of the time is against him. But he seems to have done about as much as he could in the circumstances, so criticising him from a perspective more than two centuries later seems a bit unfair.

Comment Re:Who are the fascists?? (Score 1) 500

Wrong. Fascism does not require a bigger federal government, in fact a larger government is generally the opposite of fascism. Fascism requires more power in the hands of fewer people.

Ah, I see the source of the misunderstanding here; it's quite a common problem when conservatives talk to liberals: you use the same words, but to mean different things. When GP talks about a "big government", he means a government that is big in terms of the scope of its powers and responsibilities. It's not a matter of headcount, which is how you seem to be using the term. An absolute monarchy can be a "big" government if the monarch feels he is entitled to micro-manage the daily lives of his subjects. Or it can be a "small" government, if the monarch just lets people be. Likewise, a vast bureaucracy that does very little could be considered a "small" government, albeit a very inefficient one.

Sure, in practice, more power in the hands of government usually means more government employees required to deal with enforcement and administration, but the "size" of the government (to the right, who are usually the ones talking about it) is a philosophical point, not a practical one. So in those terms, a fascist government is by definition "big".

Incidentally, President Obama made the same mistake in his first inauguration address - he said something like "it's not about big government or small government, it's about a government that's the right size to help its citizens"; neatly missing the fact that big government v small government is about whether the government is there to "help" people, or just there to administer justice and provide national defence and basic public infrastructure.


Harvard To Close New England Primate Research Center 100

sciencehabit writes "Citing an increasingly bleak outlook for federal research funding, Harvard Medical School is shutting down its major primate center, which has recently experienced the departure of several key scientists and an investigation into its handling of animals. In the announcement, which surprised many primate researchers, the school said it will not seek to renew the New England Primate Research Center's (NEPRC's) 5-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and will 'wind down operations' at the center in Southborough, Massachusetts, over the next 2 years. The center, which has a nearly 50-year history, had done groundbreaking work on an AIDS vaccine and developed animal models for diseases such as Parkinson's, among other accomplishments."

Comment Re:Another reason not to fly via Heathrow (Score 1) 821

IANAL, but for my money the Fourth Amendment won't be any help to you Americans either. The authorities will argue that since the search is not mandatory (you have the alternative of not getting on the plane), and since you know at the time of purchasing your ticket that you may be scanned, your purchase of the ticket represents tacit consent to be searched, and the search is therefore not unreasonable.

Comment Re:Hang On (Score 1) 340

Council Directive 83/189/EEC was passed in March 1983.

Surely, though, an EEC Directive can only govern issues pertaining to trade between EU countries? I can see how under this directive other countries in the EU could be freed of the requirement to comply (or at least, protected from prosecution if they failed to comply), but I don't understand how non-notification would invalidate the law itself.

True or false: If I, a British Subject, today sold an 18-rated DVD to a 12-year old, I could not be prosecuted because some civil servant forgot to tell Brussels that they changed the law 25 years ago.

Basically, I'm asking: is this bad lawmaking or just bad reporting?

Comment Re:Hang On (Score 1) 340

If we were only talking about a requirement that made the law unenforceable when applied to importers from elsewhere in the UK without notification, you would be right. But in this situation, application of a law domestically becomes impossible without reference to an outside party. You don't think that limits sovereignty?

I'll admit it's a subtle difference, but I don't think a country can truly be considered sovereign when its internal laws can be invalidated by a failure to notify an external party.

Comment Re:Let's Not Get Ahead of Ourselves Here (Score 1) 705

Not to mention the fact that the aliens would not have landed in South fucking Africa.

Yes, because all aliens are of course extremely well-informed about the geo-political landscape of Earth, and would therefore naturally land their broken down spaceship in an affluent first-world country with a successful film industry rather than, say, the first place they found.

Comment Re:Really?? (Score 2, Informative) 572

Typical Alcohol Side Effects:

Most of yours...

  • Enhanced cancer risk
  • Diminished or extinguished sexual pleasure
  • Psychological dependence requiring more of the drug to get the same effect
  • Sleepiness
  • Difficulty keeping track of time, impaired or reduced short-term memory
  • Reduced ability to perform tasks requiring concentration and coordination, such as driving a car
  • Increased heart rate
  • Potential cardiac dangers for those with preexisting heart disease
  • Decreased social inhibitions
  • Paranoia, hallucinations
  • Impaired or reduced short-term memory
  • Impaired or reduced comprehension
  • Altered motivation and cognition, making the acquisition of new information difficult
  • Paranoia
  • Psychological dependence
  • Impairments in learning and memory, perception, and judgment - difficulty speaking, listening effectively, thinking, retaining knowledge, problem solving, and forming concepts
  • Intense anxiety or panic attacks


  • Risk of liver disease
  • Increased agression and irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Chemical dependence
  • Depressed immune system
  • Weight gain

According to the Lancet journal (simplified graph on the Wiki), alcohol is both more addictive and more dangerous than cannabis. If adults can be trusted with booze, they should be trusted with weed.

I'm sorry about your friend, I really am, but I can tell you a thousand stories of lives ruined by alcohol and tobacco, two products that are medically more dangerous but legally more available. If you want to learn from your friend's example and never smoke weed, good for you. But you don't have the right to make that decision for me, or for any other adult.

If a man is not free to chose wrongly and irresponsibly, he is not free at all.

A committee is a group that keeps the minutes and loses hours. -- Milton Berle