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Comment just a note of clarification (Score 1) 620

because some people don't get the difference between decriminalization and illegality

portugal is very much invested in the war on hard drugs, but with far better tactics than the usa: treat it as a healthcare problem, not a jail problem

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drug_policy_of_Portugal

In July 2001 a new law maintained the status of illegality for using or possessing any drug for personal use without authorization. The offense was changed from a criminal one, with prison a possible punishment, to an administrative one if the amount possessed was no more than ten days' supply of that substance.[1] This was in line with the de facto Portuguese drug policy before the reform. Drug addicts were then to be aggressively targeted with therapy or community service rather than fines or waivers.[7] Even if there are no criminal penalties, these changes did not legalize drug use in Portugal. Possession has remained prohibited by Portuguese law, and criminal penalties are still applied to drug growers, dealers and traffickers.[8][9]

hard drug addicts represent a cost on society and civilization will always be at war with hard drug abuse, forever, in an attempt to minimize this cost

it is merely a maintenance function of society, this war. you need to take the trash out ever thursday: this is your "war on trash." because "the war on trash" never ends, is that an argument to let trash accumulate in your apartment?

no, taking out the trash is merely a maintenance function of your apartment. just like minimizing drug addicts is a maintenance function of society

portugal is still at war with hard drugs, as is every functional society on earth. forever

portugal just has much better tactics in this maintenance function

Comment Re:Well... (Score 1) 620

i am for better tactics in the war/ maintenance function: healthcare, not prisons, for example

however, we can't even control oxycodone distribution and abuse, and that's a completely artificial substance for healthcare

and you really think the market for meth will be controlled if we regulate it and tax it?

nevermind that this is a substance that does grave medical harm to people. you want us to freely sell such a substance?

no

we treat people for addiction rather than throwing them in prison, yes

but we also still crack down on the supply and demand. we don't regulate and tax a highly addictive and medically harmful substance: more people will simply be addicted and damaged, and society is not going to subsidize and tolerate this tragedy

we're going to do our best to make sure you don't get meth. and if you still get it, we'll treat you

we're not going to make it easier to get meth. that simply means easier medical harm and addiction

you say it is already easy to get meth? so this means we should make it even more easy?

Comment Re:Well... (Score 3, Insightful) 620

i'm attacking the notion that because the "war" goes on forever it is invalid. you also need to take the trash out every thursday. is that an argument to end "the war on trash"? no, some functions of society are just maintenance functions that never end

i'm not defending us drug policy, it's poor tactics. and some substances need to be legal. but i'm attacking the notion that just because there's demand and supply for something, therefore it needs to be accepted

example: something like meth has a lot of supply and demand. meth also creates horrible costs to individuals and society. such that attacking the meth supply and demand chain has direct costs, and secondary costs. but if meth use is minimized to some extent because of the "war", that pays dividends in the form of less overall costs for individuals and society in regards to the harm that meth does. such that fighting meth is worth it

it's a case-by-case basis. just because marijuana is legalized (and should be legalized) doesn't mean all drugs should be. each substance has to be evaluated individually

Comment Re:Tor compromised (Score 4, Interesting) 620

it seems that the Tor system is compromised by the snoops.

(facepalm)

tor was MADE BY the snoops, FOR the snoops

it started as a us naval research lab project to allow spies and dissidents in hostile countries to communicate with the us spy network without fear of being spied on by hostile governments

let me repeat: tor was made by the american government

of course it's been decentralized since then, but you're an idiot if you don't think they still don't have their hooks in it

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tor_(anonymity_network)#History

Submission + - Silk Road shut down, founder arrested (orlandosentinel.com)

u38cg writes: Ross William Ulbricht, known as "Dread Pirate Roberts," was arrested in San Francisco yesterday and has been charged with one count each of narcotics trafficking conspiracy, computer hacking conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy, according to a court filing. Silk Road has been shut down and some $3.6m in Bitcoin seized.

The question is — how?

Comment Re:Now, also make it understandable (Score 1) 199

Actually solving a Rubics cube can be done the way most problems are solved, a piece at a time, and selecting a starting point to work from there.
  1. Pick a side to start with and get all the squares of that side the same. (e.g. put all the blue sides on one face of the cube.)
  2. Check the corners of each side and move them around until each corner is correct. (e.g. the blue side is put back intact, but now the two blue/red corners have red on the same side, the two blue/green corners have green on the same side, the two blue/yellow are together, and the blue/orange are together.)
  3. Now move around the edge pieces of the starting face are with the corner pieces just set. (e.g. blue/greens are together, blue/orange, blue/yellow and blue/red.)
  4. Move the centers coresponding to the four 'sides' as needed. (not going to explain moving green to green, etc.)
  5. Start solving the next layer of the cube. There are patterns of moves that allow you to move, and flip, pieces around, and when the piece is in place, the starting side is back to 'complete', which you will have to learn.
  6. Do the same for the four corners of the side opposite of your starting side, Again there are patterns of movements that allow you to move, and rotate, corners.
  7. More patterns allow you to move around the edges of the final side.

Alternatively you can 'solve' for all 8 corners first, then start filling in edge pieces on opposing layers, leaving the 'middle' layer to solve last.

Both of these are the methods used in the 80's for people to solve a cube in under a minute. I was doing that then. The methods used to solve the cube in under 15 seconds require significantly more processing power, and while there are people who can do so, I'm not one of them.

Comment Re:They're paranoid about their wealth (Score 1) 245

No it wasn't. A lot of money in Swiss banks is money held by the owners illegally, we're not talking about tax avoidance here, we're talking about out and out tax evasion.

Are you American by any chance?

The US certainly feels that way, but that's because the US has a retarded tax system that is based on citizenship as well as residency. That is, anyone unlucky enough to be born American (or get a green card or a bunch of other factors) is expected to pay tax to the IRS no matter where they go and live. Giving up your citizenship isn't so easy either, beyond the fact that you'd need some other country to take you in, there's an "exit tax" to pay too.

No other country except some tin-pot African dictatorship uses such a scheme. Unsurprisingly then, as seen from Washington literally every country in the world holds "lots of money from tax evaders", even though that position is stupid. Hence FATCA.

Now, the Swiss could certainly argue a different viewpoint to the one you just espoused. The Swiss have been wealthy for a long time, but the idea that banks are supposed to be some shadow police force is a very recent one. It dates to the US passage of the Banking Secrecy Act in the 70s and the Money Laundering Control Act in the 80s. Actually the whole concept of money laundering was created quite recently by the USA. As a social policy it's younger than most people are. Despite many extremely serious costs and side effects, these policies were then forced onto the rest of the world, through threat of financial sanctions in some cases.

The Swiss have always until recently had strict policy of strong financial privacy. So guess what - Swiss reluctance to sign up for the new fad of turning bankers into policemen suddenly means they're the bad guys. By the way, banking privacy in Switzerland has applied to their own tax collectors too. Somehow they still manage to collect tax, have a strong government, low crime rates, low inflation and low tax rates. Apparently their approach is not incompatible with civilised society after all!

This idea that the Swiss are rich exclusively because of some evil rule breaking is exactly the kind of absurd rhetoric that could lead to some invasion scenario, which is why the military uses it to practice with. But it's just not matched by reality. If you look at a GDP breakdown by sector you can see that manufacturing and specialised services make up a huge fraction of the Swiss economy. The biggest Swiss company isn't even a bank, it's Nestle. A big chunk of Swiss wealth comes from precision machinery, pharmaceuticals, IT, tourism and specialised financial services which are NOT banking (think industrial insurance etc).

Comment Re:renewable resource (Score 5, Informative) 255

you are free associating and winding up at an incongruous thought

helium is associated only with old, deep natural gas deposits. it collects there because radioactive elements decay deep in the earth, releasing helium, and that helium has to go somewhere. if it doesn't percolate up and vent into the atmosphere, it collects with likewise entrapped methane gas deposits

meanwhile, natural gas from landfills would not have this helium, as it is a much more shallow and much more recent source of methane, it hasn't been around long enough to gather very slowly formed byproducts of radioactive decay

Comment Re:Balloons (Score 0) 255

that doesn't make any sense

it's a gas. it's an elemental gas. and a noble element at that. it can't even be chemically degraded

it's not like an old sweater whose threads have come loose. you can easily extract pure helium from mostly helium mixed with whatever: recycling

it's like you are saying "you can't recycle an aluminum can, you can only throw it out"

of course children's balloons are a waste of helium

Comment Re:Figured it out yet? (Score 4, Informative) 203

This crap is so old it's actually mentioned in the bitcoin FAQ:

http://bitcoin.org/en/faq#wont-bitcoin-fall-in-a-deflationary-spiral

There is lots of academic research that indicates the "deflationary spiral" doesn't happen like that.

Bitcoin having a fixed final size is just fine - it means when the economy grows, everyones money becomes worth a little bit more, i.e. prices fall a bit. Things get cheaper. That's sort of what you expect from progress, isn't it?

Comment Re:Expect competitors for all big IT US companies (Score 2) 166

That's because people are idiots. Not only would a European-based competitor NOT prevent the NSA and GCHQ from getting at your data, it's not going to prevent any other agency from getting at it either.

I think that's a bold claim. Remember that when GCHQ wanted to spy on phone calls from the Middle East, they didn't do it by serving Belgacom with some dubious order from a bogus court. No such courts exist in Europe, at least as far as I know. They did it by hacking Belgacom directly and then they got caught when the telco went looking for them (and presumably evicted).

The UK has some pretty crap laws when it comes to surveillance, largely a hangover from the IRA era (which was a way scarier terrorist group than al-Qaeda, so it's somewhat understandable). The "9 hours at the border" thing comes from that time, it predates 9/11 actually. However the rest of Europe, not so much.

With regards to the solutions, I guess some companies will do exactly as you suggest and in source, or at least partially in-source private data. But that's a giant pain in the ass. Expect to see some novel and innovative approaches to squaring this circle in the coming years - cryptographers have spent a lot of time finding ways to do computation in the cloud over encrypted data. Perhaps they will finally see some of it get used.

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