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Comment Re:It's not dead, it's fun! (Score 1) 405

Pavement is the material itself, such as asphalt, concrete, etc. The word "pave" means to cover a surface. Sidewalk, road, driveway, and such refer to the use of the paved area. You don't typically call your house "bricks" or "wood" or whatever it may be constructed from, so why call a sidewalk "pavement".

In British English, the terms "pavement" and "paved" also tend to have a strong sense of a surface being covered with "paving stones" as opposed to being covered by a continuously poured material such as tarmac, asphalt or concrete, a process known as "metalling". So the pavements are paved, and the roadway is metalled.

We adopted metalling for the roadway long before using it on the pavements, and it is still very common to find pavements that are flagged (i.e., covered with big flagstones) .

But we also use "footpath" and sometimes "causeway" (pronounced kz.i in some areas) for the bit reserved for pedestrians.


Comment Re:That is like suing Ford (Score 1) 365

Eh? Am I having a slow brain day, or what?

To look at the car example, it would be like saying that we are going to take cars away from everybody except those who do hit and runs. We'll let them keep their cars and give them more targets when people start walking in the road since nobody else has cars, so they don't expect to be hit. Oh, and we'll also remove all stoplights and speed limits. See how well it works out for society.


The idea that you take the [cars|guns] away from reasonable people and expressly allow the unreasonable people to keep their [cars|guns], and to furthermore remove all restrictions on the use of those [cars|guns] is just ridiculous, and not at all what understood from errandum's post.

You already have gun control, and have the legal mechanisms:

  • - for removing guns from those who should not possess them,
  • - for preventing those who should not possess them from obtaining them.

This is just like the mechanisms that you have in place to try to prevent people from driving cars when should not do so

  • - because they have not demonstrated competence (i.e., not passed a driving test),
  • - because they have demonstrated disregard for the safety of others (i.e., been caught too often drunk at the wheel, speeding, driving without insurance etc.).

But your legal system does not have the practical means to enforce the legal mechanisms.

Fix your gun control system first: take the guns out of the hands of the unreasonable people.


Comment Re:Celestia and Stellarium for classroom presentat (Score 1) 377

Not only that, but I find that using those programs is really useful for planning.

  • If you know which particular constellation you want to show the class, you can find out when it will be visible,
  • If you know that you have a particular time slot, you can find out which constellations will be over the horizon (and tree/building line) and whereabouts to look for them.

What you really don't want, when showing constellations to kids, is to spend ages looking around for something interesting in the sky. A few in the class might have the patience for it, but not the rest. And if you can'tshow them the Plough, Cassiopeia and Orion quickly enough, they'll start shouting to see Uranus.


Comment Re:Good test case (Score 1) 705

If anyone's interested, here's the text of the law she's charged under:


(c) The owner or lessee of a facility where a motion picture is being exhibited, the authorized agent or employee of that owner or lessee, or the licensor of the motion picture being exhibited or his or her agent or employee, who alerts law enforcement authorities of an alleged violation of this Section is not liable in any civil action arising out of measures taken by that owner, lessee, licensor, agent, or employee in the course of subsequently detaining a person that the owner, lessee, licensor, agent, or employee, in good faith believed to have violated this Section while awaiting the arrival of law enforcement authorities, unless the plaintiff in such an action shows by clear and convincing evidence that such measures were manifestly unreasonable or the period of detention was unreasonably long.

Not only does the law appear applicable to this case, but the theater management is immune from any resulting civil action. That's a really bad law.

I read section (c) as protecting, from civil suit, that particular employee who called the cops. I did not read that as protecting the owner of the cinema, who has instructed the employees to take those measures.

I am not a lawyer, and not a US citizen... I'm English, and in English law we have a thing known as "vicarious liability" which, unless I'm mistaken (and I may well be) means that an employee following a company policy is not held personally liable for the errors in that policy.
Rather, the law would hold responsible the employer who requires the employee to enforce unreasonable policies including, but not limited to, calling the cops if anybody sings "Happy Birthday" or so much as takes a photograph which may include a small portion of a copyrighted work.


Comment Re:Congressional mandate (Score 1) 224

"Congress has mandated that, by 2012, all containers bound for the US be inspected overseas."

Eh, what'll it matter. It'll only be in effect for a few months.

Oh great...

I'm sure it's easier to bribe officials or otherwise get around the inspections in somewhere like Namibia, Pakistan or the Philipines, rather than at the US port.


Comment Re:whats the crime in hate crime? (Score 1) 778

You make very good points, but fail to address the fact that the vast majority of people are not concerned with the long term effects, certainly not in the future.

Most of us are thinking about our own lives and futures, about those of our immediate family and of our direct offspring.

It is little comfort to somebody in a dead end job that "CEOs will see that racial hiring practises are detrimental to productivity".

To say "your great-great grandchildren will live in a more just society" butters no parsnips.

You get one shot at this life, that's it. Gone are the days (if they ever really existed) when you could say to the poor "be virtuous, you shall have treasure in heaven".

Everybody is playing a short term game, now.

My short term game involves doing my job, keeping my head above water and keeping my kids on the path to independence in both mind and body (i.e., intellectually curious and able to bring home the bacon). I'm on a 20-year programme.

The average politician is looking to prolong his trip on the gravy train beyond the next election. He's on a three-year programme.

What's your programme? K.

Comment Re:About That Letter .. (Score 1) 117

There are times when "popular opinion" needs to be overruled by "expert opinion".

After all, this is why we have judges in the first place, otherwise there would just be mob rule, lynchmobs... Judge Judy and American Idol rolled into one... Idiocracy.

In the US you have thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people who believe that the world is flat... doesn't make it true.

If "popular opinion" is at odds with a particular current law, then maybe that law needs to be changed.
On the other hand, it may be that this law is a just law, but that "popular opinion" has not yet been educated enough to understand the justice of the law.


Comment who is the usability expert, around here? (Score 1) 849

I had to explain ONCE and ONCE ONLY to my eight year old son and to my six year old daughter, that the password shows as black dots so that nobody can read the password off the screen. It is such a simple idea, that they both understood it straight away.

Add to this, the fact that almost EVERYBODY (all the people I've watched, plus myself) will watch where their fingers are on the keyboard when entering a password, and you reach the conclusions that displaying the password on the screen as it is being typed:

  1. does not help the person typing the password,
  2. increases the chance of over-the-shoulder password discovery.

Ergo, the status quo should be kept, until change is proven necessary. K.

Comment Re:Bollocks (Score 0, Troll) 339

I do not consider "" to be a good authority on the definition of English words, nor to give good exa,ples of English usage.

You may choose to have a different opinion; in which case you will be wrong.

Next time you wish to appear pedantic, put a little more effort into it, old chap.


Comment Re:I don't think that holds up (Score 5, Informative) 255

All he has done is put numbers into Wirth's law.

I remembered this as "software gets slower faster than hardware gets faster", but Wikipedia has a slightly different wording: "software is getting slower more rapidly than hardware becomes faster".

In fact, that article also cites a version called "Gates's Law", including the 50% reduction in speed every 18 months.


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