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Comment Re:So?! (Score 1) 344

It's widely believed he died a virgin. I'm not going to claim it as definitely true that he never had sex, it's one of those historical claims that's basically impossible to verify, but there you go. He did have issues with women, though. During a disagreement with John Locke, he sent a letter including the charge that Locke "endeavoured to embroil me with woemen".

Comment Re:4/5 in favor (Score 1) 755

That's true, but they can do what Ireland and many other EU countries do, which is have a requirement of habitual residency regardless of citizenship (for citizens of EU countries). The habitual residency requirement doesn't have to be a strict test, again here in Ireland it is a general set of considerations with no strict pass or fail criteria; Length and continuity of residence in Ireland, Length and purpose of any absence from Ireland, Nature and pattern of employment, Main centre of interest, Future intentions to live in Ireland as it appears from the evidence. Generally speaking, if one has immediate family in Ireland one is habitually resident (so children born in Ireland tend to qualify). However, an Irish citizen could fail the habitual residency requirement if they were employed in another state, owned property in another state, and had no immediate family in the state.

Comment Re:sibling fairness (Score 1) 167

I know one of the reasons you had the valuations be different is to show how the system works and produces differences, but am I the only one thinking that Damon is getting screwed on step 3? Brad and Caleb get something and three times as much money as Damon (Adam's position is unclear without the market value of the house*). I know the main reason for this is his evaluation for the house is really low compared to the other three, and a rational actor wouldn't value the house so lowly because they can always sell it, but I feel if Damon was just not very clever he could do just such a thing (he could also do such a thing if he really just didn't want any of the inheritance, but that seems a lot less unfair). If we were talking about goods of less obvious value, it seems weird to me that Damon should get less because he lacks insight into their market value, keep in mind we're talking about an inheritance. I also understand this could be ameliorated by dividing the remaining $59,280 equally among the brothers, but in the example given Damon seems to be really losing out because of this low evaluation of the house.

I guess my point is that if every actor is rationally evaluating the objects then the algorithm seems to produce fair results. It does a good job of punishing lying, if you artificially lower your evaluations your payout is less and if you artificially raise your evaluations then you have to pay more into the pool. But if you are just irrational then you equally get punished.

*One could argue that whichever evaluation won is the market value of the house, as that party has effectively bought the house for that evaluation.

Comment Re:You sir, are a fascist ! (Score 4, Insightful) 92

I don't think the rule of law is merely following the rules, whatever they may be. I think rather that the rule of law requires several features; equality, generality and certainty and the procedural features that facilitate these, as well as maybe a few others if you human believe rights are a necessary feature (I don't but whatever). I think there is an equivocation going on, similar to what happens with due process. I don't think you can say, "Sure my policy for the execution of American's without trial follows due process. I'm the President and I decide- that's the process." (well unfortunately you can, but that's another matter). Similarly I don't think you can say "Sure the power for NSA to get secret warrants from secret courts follows the rule of law; the law says they can."
While I agree that there are many laws which are unjust, I also think that there is a worrying departure from the rule of law in the US. Most obvious examples are Richard Nixon's "It's not a crime when the president does it.", secret courts, calls to have Julian Assange executed or arrested under the espionage act (despite the fact that as a non US citizen it doesn't apply to him), warrant-less wiretapping, the NSA's wholesale data collection policies... I would contrast these with for example, Drug Laws, which certainly cause much harm and unnecessary suffering and expenditure. These are unjust, but wholly within the remit of the rule of law.

Comment Re:Seems appropriate (Score 5, Informative) 353

I know what you want to say, and it is largely correct, but I won't let that get in the way of pedantry. The UK does have a constitution, which is often referred to as "unwritten". This is a bit of a misnomer, as most of the constitutional provisions in the UK are written down somewhere. For instance, most of what would be the equivalent of the US Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure are contained in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. The UK constitution is not codified, and there are no framework constitutional principles (well maybe Parliamentary Sovereignty ), but it does exist. There are rules and processes that govern what become laws. It's more that Parliament can decide to remove any rights by repealing any enabling legislation, PACE, HRA, whatever. In the US, rights are supposedly natural, and cannot easily be taken away by government. Certainly, in the UK Parliament has not granted the citizenry any general protection from self incrimination. While there are laws against torture and other practices that could lead to malignant self incrimination, even the police caution when being interviewed reminds you that "You do not have to answer any questions, but it may harm your defense if you do not now mention something which you later rely on in court." So you definitely do not enjoy the same broad protections from self incrimination in the UK as you do in the US.

Comment Re: Sounds like he was enjoying himself! (Score 1) 253

Personally I think instead of guaranteeing loans the government should guarantee education. How on earth is federally subsidizing loans a free market alternative to simply paying for education in the first place? The lending agencies (and the private universities) have cost of capital, the government (as sole issuer of a fiat currency) doesn't. Instead of paying X on education, we're paying 1.2X on loans, with .1X going to the owners of the Universities and lending organisations each. It's dumb.

Comment Re:Priorities (Score 1) 133

This is a pretty good point, but surely the reason why we disapprove of bank robbery isn't so much the financial loss (though that undoubtedly is an issue) but more the attendant violence associated with such a crime. That is we care about bank robberies because the people that commit them tend to commit assault and murder during the commission of said robberies. Whereas counterfeiting represents a purely financial loss; there is little sports memorabilia crime.

What is more this isn't a financial loss like destroying a productive asset, such as a factory. The reason why counterfeit goods have value at all is because there is an artificial scarcity created by only certain parties being licensed to create official goods. While the creation of these goods may represent a nominal loss of $20 million to the licensed manufacturers, it isn't even a nominal loss of $20 million to the NFL, who only have to suffer reduced prices of licence fees (due to brand dilution caused by counterfeit products). An argument could even be made that counterfeiting enhances the value of branding; people only counterfeit desirable commodities, after all who counterfeits Walmart products? The point, I think, is that although someone can say that the value of goods seized if they had been sold as legitimate products would have been $20 million, it is difficult to quantify how much real harm has been experienced by anybody. Now the same is true of bank robberies; after all the $30 million stolen won't have been destroyed, hell it will most likely have been spent on goods and services. The purely financial loss of bank robberies seems related to the opportunity costs associated with insurance pay outs, which will be much less than the nominal $30 million sum. However, we put so much attention to catching bank robbers because people get shot in bank robberies the whole time, not cause we're concerned about productive losses.

Comment Re:Smart guns are a silly idea. (Score 1, Flamebait) 814

I know man, shit like that happens the whole time. Why it was only last week that my friend was gunned down by hundreds of men. We were going to the shop to get milk, and this combat battalion, carrying assault rifles and wearing ski masks, bursts out of like nowhere! My friend is riddled with bullets, but luckily in his dying moments he managed to lob a 15 pound (7 kilo) handgun to me. Thanks to the power of Jesus and America, I was able to overcome these terrorists. But just think, if he had been stupid enough to have a smart gun, I would have been literally defenseless against this army. I bet they would have liked that.

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