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Comment Re: What's wrong with hate symbols? (Score 1) 377

It's good to see someone understands this. It's unfortunate that many people will only apply this when it is in terms of liberals being able to disassociate from people on the right, but won't apply it to a baker or photographer who doesn't want to participate in a ceremony they believe to be sacrilegious.

I agree with the thrust of what you're saying, but I'm going to add two caveats.

First, companies are legal fictions, created through government regulation. They do not have the same rights that people do. In return for government benefits (e.g. limited liability), you agree to play by the government's rules.

Secondly, professionals are bound by professional ethics which may conflict with their personal rights to the point where the only solution may be to find a different job. So I have less of a problem with a sole trader photographer refusing to participate in a ceremony they disapprove of (which, I might add, could be as simple as saying "can't do it that day") than I do with a pharmacist refusing to dispense birth control.

And as always, freedom of speech and freedom of association does not imply freedom from consequences.

Comment Re: What's wrong with hate symbols? (Score 1) 377

Except your group [...]

Since you addressed that to me, a clarification is in order: What "group" have you assigned me to? Is this like those suburbs of Chicago where you're assigned to a gang at puberty entirely by virtue of which block you live on?

Comment Re:What's wrong with hate symbols? (Score 1) 377

I can't help but notice that "everything" doesn't encompass much.

I don't mean that hate symbols cause everything bad, merely that hate symbols have no redeeming features whatsoever. And by that I do not mean that people should be arrested for using them.

Comment Re: What's wrong with hate symbols? (Score 5, Insightful) 377

In another article on Slashdot, we have people boycotting a Silicon Valley business associated with a CEO who has dared to donate to Trump.

That's freedom of association and it's at least as fundamental a right as free speech. If that's how they choose to stand up for what they believe in, that's their business. You and I, in turn, may use this information to decide whom we want to associate with. I don't see the problem.

And we have a GOP office being firebombed just the other day.

That's a crime. That is a problem. I hope whoever did it is caught and does hard time.

Don't you dare pin this all on the right.

More to the point, don't pretend that "the right" or "the left" is a heterogeneous mass. In both cases, we're talking about a loose association of different individuals and groups with different agendas, some of whom are extremists.

To paraphrase a friend of mine:

It's okay to be a conservative; some values are worth preserving and defending. It's okay to be a progressive; the times they are a-changing. It's okay to be a radical; sometimes the joint needs to be shaken up. It's okay to be all three, perhaps on different issues. But it's never okay to be a fundamentalist.

Comment Re:clarification (Score 2) 208

Coalition Theory 101 states that in any coalition, the largest party gets the worst deal. This is rarely, if ever, incorrect.

It's a bit rich for them to bitch at us, and insist on being given more money in the context of something they already abused to their advantage, whilst I'm sitting here unable to go to a specialist because I'm poor and my country (unlike Denmark) spent all of its billions on military bases instead of medical subsidy.

Hold on there. The US spends a larger proportion of its GDP and more per capita on health care than Denmark does. It's not Denmark's fault that you as a nation mis-spend it.

Comment Re:Is Perl really that hard to learn? (Score 1) 370

Actually MS Basic and variants were used heavily in manufacturing, finance and almost any domain you care to look at.

I take your point, however in my defence:

1. PC-era Basic isn't really the same language as 8-bit micro Basic. Visual Basic certainly isn't.
2. I stand by my point that you had to learn something else when you did university (typically C, Fortran, or a Wirth language such as Pascal).
3. If you weren't deep in the Microsoft world, you didn't use Basic in industry.

From a ubiquity standpoint JS really could fill the roll of BASIC, python could also work since it runs almost anywhere and is a joy to program in.

I respectfully disagree with you about Python. It is one of the most limiting programming languages that it's ever been my displeasure to fight with.

It's easy to install and does run almost everywhere, I'll grant you that. And it's arguably better at gluing bits of Internet and third-party library together than Perl was.

Maybe I just work in weird fields, heavy on the numerics and algorithmics. Maybe I rely too much on my compiler to find bugs for me, compared to having to find them myself (my time is valuable). Maybe I'm just so used to modern programming languages where the source text of a program statically determines that program's semantics (a property that even JavaScript has, but Python does not; WTH Guido?). Maybe I've weaned myself off Simula's broken object model and never want to go back.

You know the weirdest thing? The thing that most Slashdotters complain about with Python is the lexical syntax, which is the least objectionable thing about it. Wadler's Law of Language Design is true.

Python feels like an extremely old legacy programming language that got a modern syntax upgrade. I guess there's a critical mass of people who want that, but life is too short to spend your days fighting with archaic broken semantics no matter how shiny they look.

Comment Re:I'm fine with it.. (Score 1) 369

[...] supporting free speech generally means advocating that people who want to voluntarily read a political opinion that has been published through a general purpose communication platform should be able to.

Here's the problem with this: This definition of free speech denies the right to free association. A privately-owned and privately-run communication channel should (again, not talking legally, just "should") be able to refuse to associate with anyone they want. And yes, that runs into the racism problem, too! This middle ground, where competing rights and competing responsibilities clash, are part of what makes moral philosophy interesting.

But actually, this is beside the point. The big social media businesses do not have a monopoly on public communication. Milo will always find an outlet where people who want to hear what he has to say can hear it, right up to the point where that particular schtick no longer serves his purposes.

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The trouble with computers is that they do what you tell them, not what you want. -- D. Cohen