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Comment know thy enemy (Score 1) 341

They are more interested in the connections between people than what they are saying to each other over open communications channels. Whether it is "right" or "wrong" to map and disrupt/dismantle these groups depends on what groups they are looking for (and what groups you belong to). Hoover did it in the 40's, McCarthy did it in the 50's, Nixon's "plumbers" did it in the 70's. No matter where and when you may live, the strategic imperative to "know thy enemy" has always been with us and always will be because "the whole constitution, legal framework, and morality" are imperfect representations of human nature.

Comment Re:Tech solution for a social problem (Score 1) 405

Then it's just a matter of a slippery slope, or scope creep

Yes, don't want those pesky citizens having freedom, they might abuse it or make wrong choices. Far better to have a rigid system of penalties, diligently enforced. While we're at it, let's ban dancing, who knows what it could lead to.

Comment Re:first (Score 1) 334

Exactly, the resources equation only makes sense if you consider your time as a resource. For example I use python to automate nightly builds, I don't care that it takes 4hrs to run instead of 2, I don't care where things are physically located I just assume it will page to disk if it needs to. However I do care how much time I spend polishing it vs how much time it saves doing manual builds.

Comment Re:Modern Jesus (Score 1) 860

No. The change in America following the Sep 11th attacks was only loosely related to previous Cold War policies. America was in many ways demilitarising and advancing throughout the pst Soviet Union 1990s.

Then Sep 11th came, and the USA went into a supercharged spiral of descent, economically, legally, politically and probably culturally. Like a traumatised patient inflicting self harm, the US continues to tear at the fabric of its own national identity in response to the attacks. I don't think it will stop until the patient is dead, or practically so. Madness does not follow reason.

Comment Re:Oh no... (Score 5, Interesting) 158

This sort of confusion is what psuedo-skeptics are are taking advantage of when they claim an ice age was predicted in the 70's. Coal gives off (among other things), SO2, CO2 and soot. Sulfur causes cooling, acid rain, and deadly "pea soup fog", Soot causes warming, lowers albedo, and accelerates ice melt. CO2 causes warming and ocean acidification. Some of the soot and sulfur was cleaned up by various clean air acts in the 60's & 70's after the death toll from "pea soupers" in London and other European cities started getting difficult to ignore. Sulfur emissions (and acid rain) were dramatically 20 odd years ago when Regan instituted a cap and trade treaty on sulfur emissions, similar to those being proposed for CO2 (ironic, huh?).

Having said all that, climate scientists don't really talk about cooling or warming, they talk about +ve and -ve forcing and feedback, two forcings with different signs can indeed cancel each other out. To confuse matters further CO2 can be both a forcing (humans, volcanoes) and a feedback (melting permafrost, increased bushfires). Feedbacks have far more uncertainty associated with them than forcings. When everything is taken into account you can work out a figure called "climate sensitivity" (CS). The CS in models compares very well with the CS derived from geology and really hasn't changed that much since the 70's.

All this is just a sample of the complexity that adds up to ripe pickings for people who have no problem deliberately misinforming the public for personal gain.

Comment Re:Because it's better (Score 1) 1215

While I generally agree with you on windows vs linux for desktop use about the strong advantage of the halo effect - i.e. the software that runs on it and 3rd parties that support their stuff on it, rather than a straight comparison of the OS - I find it hilarious that you used VISTA as the point to demonstrate it. The driver model changed completely, so so many vendors were hugely delayed bringing out vista drivers, and a lot took the opportunity to obsolete hardware that was only a year or two old. The scanner and printer makers in particular had a field day in 'gotta buy a new one' because of vista.

Also 'Strange IE-only sites not being a issue' is an issue I haven't seen in years now, I think they largely remain in Korean banking and some corporate intranets, but in the EU/western europe, it's transformed into 'webkit-only tested' websites. Long as it looks good on the ipad, who cares about the rest, seems to be the thinking sometimes.

Finally while security essentials doesn't entirely suck from a nagware side of things, it does suck pretty hard as an actual anti-virus

I run windows where I must (gaming, vmware console, active directory management) now and switched to OSX on the desktop and linux on the server as a direct result of metro. It really does suck as a desktop OS without hacking in a start menu replacement (simple example - no folders in metro, so you're forever scrolling if you don't want to have keep going to all apps all the time which is a bugger to get to quickly) and I really can't be bothered any more.

Microsoft have clearly bet the farm on touch-based tablets, they're desperately afraid of the ipad. And just like google betting the farm on social networking with google+, they kinda suck at it as it's not what they grew wealthy doing. They're both juggernauts with a lot of inertia behind them, but then, so was Big Blue.

Comment Re:Tech solution for a social problem (Score 1) 405

5 - 10 MPH: ticket, $200 fine

If you can't text and drive at 10MPH without having an accident (on a three lane highway has been my peak hour experience, no kids chasing balls onto the road) you shouldn't have a license and probably need to be strapped into your chair to have dinner.

Comment compelling confessions is very dangerous (Score 1) 768

The "benefit" can't be something that exists separately from the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. I've had it suggested to me that without the Fifth Amendment, the police would just beat people into confessing. But of course the right not to be beaten by the police is separate from the right to remain silent.

I call fail on this argument. Of course the right to not be beaten by the police exists as a separate right. Now how do you enforce it?

"Your honour, I was told I would be beaten until I testified against myself."
"Those are serious allegations. And yet, these 5 fine police officers all testify that you banged your own head against the wall repeatedly in an attempt to make it look like you were mistreated. Please continue with your testimony. And remember, you can be imprisoned for contempt if you fail to answer the questions of this court to its satisfaction."

The right to not be forced to testify against yourself helps protects the innocent from police looking for a quick conviction rather than the correct one, and using any means to get it. The power of the court to compel testimony is very powerful, and needs counterweights to help prevent its abuse.

It also protects society from having guilty men go free because an innocent person was convicted in their place. If you cannot be forced to testify against yourself in court, then it removes a lot of the incentive to compel false testimony against someone's will. They go to court, refuse to confess, and instead of going back to jail for contempt, they walk free as there is no other evidence against them - and are no longer at risk of torture, as they are no longer in custody.

If an inference of guilt can be drawn from silence, then the right to remain silent is pointless - refuse to confess to these trumped up charges? Then go to jail anyway because we've decided your silence makes you guilty. The state is a powerful actor, with many resources. Requiring them to provide evidence - literally, that which is seen - of guilt prevents the state from simply offering innocent people this choice:
a) confess to this crime and go to prison
b) refuse to confess to this crime and go to prison for refusing to confess.

The right to not be considered guilty merely because you stay silent is only part of the counterweight against the state imprisoning the innocent, but it's an important one. This is not a theoretical - there have been abuses in the absence of it.

Lilburne was arrested upon information by an informer acting for The Stationers' Company and brought before the Court of Star Chamber. Instead of being charged with an offence he was asked how he pleaded. In his examinations he refused to take the oath known as the 'ex-officio' oath (on the ground that he was not bound to incriminate himself), and thus called in question the court's usual procedure. As he persisted in his contumacy, he was sentenced (13 February 1638) to be fined £500, whipped, pilloried, and imprisoned till he obeyed.

On 18 April 1638 Lilburne was flogged with a three-thonged whip on his bare back, as he was dragged by his hands tied to the rear of an ox cart from Fleet Prison to the pillory at Westminster. He was then forced to stoop in the pillory where he still managed to campaign against his censors, while distributing more unlicensed literature to the crowds. He was then gagged. Finally he was thrown in prison. He was taken back to the court and again imprisoned. During his imprisonment in Fleet he was cruelly treated. While in prison he however managed to write and to get printed in 1638 an account of his own punishment styled The Work of the Beast and in 1639 an apology for separation from the church of England, entitled Come out of her, my people.

That was the first in a long series of trials that lasted throughout his life for what John Lilburne called his "freeborn rights". As a result of these trials a growing number of supporters began to call him "Freeborn John" and they even struck a medal in his honour to that effect. It is this trial that has been cited by constitutional jurists and scholars in the United States of America as being one of the historical foundations of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. It is also cited within the 1966 majority opinion of Miranda v. Arizona by the U.S. Supreme Court.

There are a number of other examples of the Star Chamber being used to convict and punish men who protested against the Church and State power of failing to confess to trumped up charges. It was a handy way to punish the inconvenient.

It's not hard to find current examples of innocent people imprisoned because of a browbeaten or tricked confession, then later freed by DNA evidence proving their innocence. Without the right to remain silent and not have it taken as evidence of guilt, that number would be far higher.

Here's another example. A case is based on circumstantial evidence against a wealthy man. He pays someone to testify that they committed the crime. If they can be convicted for staying silent, then once before the court, they either confess and go to jail, or stay silent and go to jail. They can testify that they were bribed, but may well not be believed and sent to jail anyway. If the guilty man is wealthy enough, he can buy a dozen people to testify of their guilt, and create doubt and confusion.

With the right to remain silent, the paid self-incriminator goes on the stand, stays silent, and goes home as there's no evidence against them, and keeps the money!

Now, we don't have to care about whether someone desperate or stupid enough to commit false testimony goes to jail - the important point is that with the right to remain silent, then it makes it impractical for the wealthy to buy their way out of jailtime as anyone they pay to testify of their guilt can keep their mouth shut and walk away with the money. So there goes the incentive for the wealthy to try and buy testimony.

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