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Comment Re:Meh, I can't bring myself to care (Score 1) 271

What is the general principle? You're in favour of freedom? Great, so is everyone on both sides of the debate. You've established that you could be on one side, or the other side, or not on either side at all.

It's like an argument between two software developers. One says that the program should prevent the computer going to sleep, because the work it's doing is important enough to justify running the battery down. The other says it shouldn't; the user could need all that battery life, and the work the program is doing isn't important enough to justify running it down. "The Ickle Jones", they say, "what do you think"?
"Well, without a usable battery, a laptop is pointless. Programs should only prevent the computer going to sleep when they are doing something sufficiently important to justify it.".
Fantastic. Battery life is important, so you shouldn't reduce it without a good reason. You've managed to identify the point that they were discussing. But it tells us nothing about how to actually answer the question.

Comment Re:Meh, I can't bring myself to care (Score 1) 271

Right. Next time, I'll be sure to write multiple pages describing all the freedoms I believe are fundamental, just to please your pedantry.

I'm hardly asking for multiple pages. There's a difference between summarizing your opinion shortly, and simplifying it so far that it becomes meaningless.

When you say "Without freedom, we are nothing" you aren't taking a position in the debate at all. The debate isn't between people who think freedom is important and people who think it isn't. It's between different views as to what "freedom" actually means. Just saying that you think freedom is important, without saying what freedom means to you, is just standing on the sidelines.

What is a reasonable reduction in individual freedoms at one minute might be impermissible the next.

Depends on the freedom. Depends on the issue. Depends on what the constitution has to say about it.

Well, yes, exactly. But that's the entire debate.

If you don't want to engage with that debate, what are you in favour of when you're in favour of "freedom"? "Fundamental freedoms should never be abridged, and I'll know which ones are fundamental freedoms once these guys work it out"?

Comment Re:Meh, I can't bring myself to care (Score 1) 271

As I understand it, you're saying that based on the reasoning behind the fourth amendment, had the draftsman envisioned mass surveillance he would also have prohibited it? So in other words, the actual language of the amendment doesn't prohibit it?

A constitution sets hard limits on the power of the government, that cannot be changed without enormous popular support. It should be as unambiguous as humanly possible. The problem if it is not is that it gives policy decisions to judges rather than to the legislature, leading to a politicised judiciary.

Unfortunately the US constitution was written at a time when legal drafting was much less developed than it is now. It was also probably deliberately vague, since it was the result of parties coming together who didn't agree on everything.

Comment Re:Meh, I can't bring myself to care (Score 1) 271

In practice, it's mostly just people ignoring what it says/what it intended for convenience. Example: Authoritarians ignoring the spirit of the fourth amendment (among other things) so they can have their mass surveillance.

An interesting example when you're trying to show that the constitution is unambiguous. Where's the part in the fourth amendment that prohibits any form of surveillance? It doesn't even mention surveillance.

Comment Re:Meh, I can't bring myself to care (Score 1) 271

Without freedom, we are nothing, even if we had money. I don't care how 'prosperous' a certain country is; if it's not free, then it's worthless to me.

That's not an idea, it's a soundbite.

Freedom is not binary. A country is not either free or unfree. What is a reasonable reduction in individual freedoms at one minute might be impermissible the next.

Saying "if it's not free, then it's worthless" is just a way of refusing to confront the actual difficult choices regarding personal freedom.

Comment Re:Summary is hogwash (Score 1) 271

You are, by the 4th amendment, to be COMPLETELY free of unreasonable searches.

Right, agree so far (although technically the amendment only refers to "persons, houses, papers, and effects", so your summary maybe goes very slightly too far).

Any searches must be deemed reasonable through the issuance of a warrant for the search, by a judge.

Where does it say this? I don't see the part of the amendment where it says that only searches with a warrant are reasonable. Searches without a warrant are routinely carried out - searching with probable cause, searching arrestees for weapons etc - so I don't think the courts agree with you either.

Comment Re:There can be no defense of this. (Score 1) 184

This would help if the judiciary weren't part of the problem. They are, so it won't.

This is a pretty big statement to make with no explanation.

Since you are American, I would just like to point out that the English judiciary are not politically appointed, nor are they elected. They are not subject to any meaningful political pressure, since in practice it is impossible for the Government to remove a senior judge.

There is also a long, and vibrant, tradition among English judges of upholding personal freedoms. As just one example among many, take this quote from the House of Lords (formerly our highest court), when allowing an appeal against an indefinite prison sentence for terrorists:

The real threat to the life of the nation, in the sense of a people living in accordance with its traditional laws and political values, comes not from terrorism but from laws such as these. That is the true measure of what terrorism may achieve. It is for Parliament to decide whether to give the terrorists such a victory.

When Parliament passes laws, those laws must be upheld by the courts. That is the function of the courts if you want to retain separation of powers. It does not, however, follow that the judges are "part of the problem" if they uphold laws you don't like.

Comment Re:There can be no defense of this. (Score 1) 184

I haven't read the entire document, so maybe this is addressed elsewhere. However, I want to point out that the quotes used don't actually point to anything unreasonable.

The quote is "you may in principle target the communications of lawyers". That is surely unobjectionable. If I were plotting a terrorist attack, the police should not be unable to access my communications just because I am a lawyer.

The real question is whether they can target communications subject to legal professional privilege. That question is not answered by the quote. In fact, I would say that the phrase "in principle" suggests they are trying to avoid privileged communications - e.g. "in principle you may target them, subject to taking extra care to identify potentially privileged communications". If they didn't draw that distinction it would just say "you may target the communications of lawyers".

Finally, this is not a new thing. As a lawyer, my office can still be raided by the police or HMRC in the same way as any other. There is an added issue because I have a lot of privileged documents that they cannot take. However that does not stop them from raiding my office, it just requires that independent lawyers attend, to settle any dispute about whether a document is privileged.

Comment Re:Silly (Score 1) 764

I think the problem here might be that you don't know what oppression is. We think you're wrong; that's not oppression, it's disagreement. And given the number of people that think you're wrong, it might also be a good reason to consider whether maybe you are wrong.

Comment Re:Gay? (Score 1) 764

I'm proud of who I am, including many things that are more 'who I am' than choices I have made. I don't think that confers some form of superiority on me. You can be proud of yourself without thinking you're better than anyone else.

I don't go round telling people I'm proud of who I am, but then I'm not part of a culture that has been the victim of systematic prejudice. The point of Tim Cook saying he's proud to be gay is to tell other people - who don't have the status or the confidence of Tim Cook - that being gay is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Frankly that's a valuable message to get across at this point in time.

Comment Re:NEMA 4X is all you need? (Score 1) 202

Where are these water jets coming from and why is it not possible to move the data elsewhere for processing?

It doesn't have to be far - just far enough to get out of the water jets.

As the GP pointed out, with the constraints that you have set out the task may be impossible. The best thing you could do would be to explain what you're trying to achieve, since it's going to save you enormous effort if the constraints can be avoided.

Comment Probably asking the wrong question (Score 1) 202

I suspect that the problem here is that you're asking the wrong question. You are trying to solve a very hard problem - how do I run a high performance PC in a location where it will be blasted with water jets - but that's not actually what you want to do; you want to accomplish a task. You haven't posted the actual task, so all we know is that it takes place outside and there will be water jets. Even so, that's enough to make me sure that there will be a better way to solve this.

  • - What space requirements do you have? Why can the sensors not go on one embedded device, with 10 metres of cable to the larger analysis box, which sits somewhere where it won't get pressure washed?
  • - Have you considered a small, embedded PC that send the data back to your office? I know you've said this will be used outside, but this is the UK so you probably have some sort of wireless coverage. You may even have wired coverage, since you haven't given us any details of your setup.
  • - How real-time does the data processing need to be? If the answer is "not very" you might be best just storing the raw data on an SSD and, again, analysing it elsewhere.

Without more data we can't give you a good solution, but even without more data I can tell you that trying to waterproof a high-performance PC (and, presumably, a generator to run it from) is not going to be the right idea.

Comment Re:You could see this coming (Score 2) 328

I'm a commercial litigator. While it's true that companies would prefer not to sue their key partners, in reality it's very common for companies that work together to be involved in litigation. I wouldn't go so far as to say that they like it, but if you work with a company for a long time it's inevitable that you will have some disputes that you can't settle amicably. To an extent it's just a cost of doing business.

Comment Re:Ebola threat (Score 1) 478

There is a reason people are wearing those suits, and it is not because they look cool.

I think you're reading too much into the suits.

They use the suits because they've done a risk analysis taking into account both ease of transmission and lethality. The precautions recommended by the CDC for people working with Ebola are stricter than for people working with influenza, even though influenza is much more easily transmissible. The precautions recommended for HIV are as strict as those recommended for influenza, even though it is much less easily transmissible.

Obviously I don't know exactly how they do the balancing exercise, but where a disease is highly lethal with no known cure I suspect that they would be wearing suits even if transmission was almost impossible.

Comment Re:Jamming unlinced spectrum is illegal? (Score 1) 278

Just FYI - "malicious" has a specific legal meaning, rather than just being a subjective opinion. I don't know what the definition is in US federal law, but it's usually something along the lines of "intentional and without reasonable justification" (making "malicious and willful" somewhat tautologous, but that's not unusual in older legislation).

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