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Comment Re:I'm amazed... (Score 1) 1737

Warning shots exist for law enforcement at sea. The Coast Guard uses them routinely when interdicting speedboats suspected of carrying drugs, sending a few machine gun shots across the path to make it clear that they're prepared to use force. I don't know if police with maritime forces do the same thing.

But for civilians, the concept of a warning shot is iffy at best. You get leeway if you shoot through your intended target and hit someone on the other side; if you intentionally miss someone and hit someone else accidentally, you've just committed a felony. (And in more immediate terms, you now have one or more fewer bullets in case you actually do need to shoot to kill.)

Comment Re:I don't think I agree with this statement... (Score 1) 447

It's not remotely close to revoking citizenship. It's removing your permission to travel through other countries pursuant to treaties to recognize passports as official documents for specific purposes. It's used all the time when fugitives go abroad to trap them in a situation where they can be brought back for trial, usually after being detained for not having a valid passport. It does nothing on its own to remove your rights to vote, hold office, or anything else that citizens can do, and a nation can choose to ignore the lack of a passport if it so chooses. And in case you're thinking it limits the right to travel, nations have long held sovereignty over who crosses their border, whether entering or leaving, and that can include blocking its own citizens from leaving the country for any or no reason.

Comment Re:I don't think I agree with this statement... (Score 1) 447

Stateless means something very specific, and this isn't it. Passports are revoked for fugitives on a fairly regular basis, and have to be turned over to prevent people who have been indicted from leaving the country. Neither case revokes citizenship. Much as I agree with what Snowden did, he's playing up hist current circumstances. The US is simply narrowing his options, just as they would any other fugitive. Odds are that he's going to come back to face trial, because as much as Russia is enjoying tweaking the US, it's not going to do that forever as Snowden will become a sticking point in unrelated negotiations.

Comment Favorite Sid Meier Encounter (Score 4, Interesting) 208

Well, really my only Sid Meier encounter, if you don't count sitting in an audience.

So, I'm at . . . COMDEX? CES? One of those big-ass electronics trade shows. Might have been Chicago, might have been Las Vegas.

I got away from my booth for an hour, and I head for the area where computer games are being shown. I'm totally jazzed to see a dummy box and demo of Colonization. I look over the material about it, and to another totally jazzed gamer next to me say something like "Cool, it's like someone did a decent remake of Seven Cities of Gold!"

A voice at my shoulder says "Good, that's what I had in mind."


Comment Re:Meh. (Score 2) 251

Microsoft does a fairly good job at maintaining a generally usable driver set available through Windows Update. It's usually not the latest version (and often is a generic driver from a few years ago), but it works. They have an additional problem if it comes from their servers, they get blamed if something goes wrong. Hence the testing and stability requirements before it goes into the repository, because if they break a million systems with a bad driver update, it hits the news even if it is a comparatively rare impact.

I tend to agree with your other points, though if Linux actually reached a critical level of use, its security practices would start getting tested, too. Attackers love to see Linux systems because they're trusted to be secure, a trust which is often violated. You seem to know what you're doing, but the corporate Linux uses that I've seen have relied on poor understanding of how they should be maintained, often based on arrogant declarations from the sysadmins who do things like boast of not having rebooted the web server in two years.

Comment Re:From a citizen's standpoint (Score 1) 1073

On the contrary. Harm to society can trump freedom, and it does regularly. It's why people go to prison for rape, murder, etc. Their freedom is abridged because of the risk of them causing further harm to society both directly (raping and killing more people) and indirectly (causing people to shelter in place, lash out, start vigilante groups).

However, harm to society should not be the only factor involved in determining whether and to what degree a freedom should be abridged.

Comment Re:Not cooling, global waming! (Score 0) 158

I've seen some questions raised on how much pollution in the 20th century masked global warming. I think this study shows just how much a relatively small change to a regional temperature can cause comparatively large changes in the area's climate. It should help support the potential changes that could come from a change of only a couple of degrees over the next century.

Comment Re:Five minutes after Monsanto Protection Act sign (Score 1) 679

Every one of those cases that I've seen has involved someone who knew that they were using a Monsanto product and were fully aware of the patents at hand. I'm not fond of Monsanto's practice, but the farmers were on shaky legal ground to start with.

In this case, one of Monsanto's (presumably patented) development products got out. I wonder if there's a case for invalidation based on negligent behavior allowing it out into the wild. Some level of doubt can be applied to products brought to market, but for those that never should have left a controlled environment, there may be other legal issues at hand.

I also wonder if there's not a chance of this being a random mutation. Does Monsanto put markers in its products that could be used to determine this?

Comment Re:India ? (Score 1) 273

I agree that culture changes are necessary. Gawande has written in the past about how introducing a simple checklist to prevent line infections at Johns Hopkins--widely seen as one of the premier hospitals in the country, if not the world--and giving nurses the power to call doctors on a missed step while also having the administration back the nurses cut the infection rate from 11% to zero, likely saving at least eight patients and dozens of infections per year.

But Gawande also notes that doctors have egos, and easily bruised ones at that. This kind of thing doesn't go over well with a lot of them who see nurses as interfering or overstepping if they call out a missed step. Given the shortage of doctors, I expect that it will be a while before most hospital administrations are willing to back their nurses in mandating that every step be followed.

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