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Comment Lets excommunicate the Inquisition (Score 5, Informative) 266

The Kings of Spain were threatened with excommunication on multiple occasions.

There was a huge tussle between the various catholic monarchs of Europe, including the English, French and Spanish Kings and the Holy Roman Emperor over who should decide things in the Catholic Church. There was a power grab at the time, and much of the particular viciousness of the Spanish Inquisition can be attributed to the pride, paranoia and desire for independence of the Spanish King.

Parallels can perhaps be drawn with the USA where the scale of slaughter of the native populations also increased rapidly with independence.
At one point, for example, even the Primate (head bishop) of Spain, the Archbishop of Toledo, fell out with Philip the II (King of Spain) and was arrested by the Spanish Inquisition in 1558. He was accused of heresy mainly on the basis of his book (Commentary on the Christian Catechism). However, this same book had been presented to and approved by the (counter-reformation / anti-Protestant) Council of Trent to which he had been the official Spanish envoy... The pope sent an ambassador ("nuncio extraordinary") with powers of excommunication for everyone involved and orders to physically extract the Archbishop. This didn't work. The king demanded a trial in Spain so the pope sent four bishops as the judges (each of whom later became popes themselves), but they were not accepted. The Spanish Inquisition were desperate for the bishop of Toledo to die, and he only survived because he was accompanied night and day by at least two members of his loyal staff (i.e different ones went at different times, on rotation).

After 7 years, the pope managed to extricate him following more threats, this time to excommunicate the whole of Spain. His trial was reconvened in Rome with the pope expecting a quick exoneration. However, important papers kept getting lost in Spain. Eventually Philip outlasted the trial, with the suspicious death of Pope Paul IV. There is no proof as such that the Spaniards killed the pope only conjecture: i.e. letters have been found in the historical archives in Valladolid, Spain explaining the great dishonour the pope had brought upon the Spanish Inquisition and how convenient it would be for the pope to die, etc...

Unfortunately for the Spanish Inquisition, the next pope lost patience and the Spanish Primate won his case.

Dubious justice but still better than Guantanamo...

Comment Re:It's all tied together (Score 1) 550

Even in Australia, it is not clear that this would be prosecutable offense under felony murder. The link between the felony and the suicide may not be strong enough. Though felony murder has been abolished by statute in the UK, the Mens rea in murder requires only intent to injure. Thus, in practice, the law has not diverged from other common law jurisdictions as much as you would have thought.

Comment Re:Well-researched piece in a mass market tabloid (Score 1) 171

Epoch times is dodgy but the original is from Apple Daily, the second highest circulation (300,000 in a city of 7 million) newspaper in Hong Kong. It is not particularly pro-Falun Gong. It has strongly pro-democracy (HK doesn't have much of that), pro-free market, pro working class, with the usual Hong Kong mix of high minded analysis, original poetry and literature, lurid celebrity coverage, and serialized softcore porn!

Comment Let the bosses taste their own medicine (Score 1) 555

We also had encryption rammed down our throats. For months, our computers would slow down or die and management just told us that we had no choice. It was bad enough that we were hiding our laptops from IT staff so that it would not be encrypted.

Then over one weekend and entirely by coincidence, the laptops of our three senior managers all died in separate incidents when they were giving public, high profile presentations.

They were horribly embarrassed and we had to pretend to be sympathetic. No "I told you so"s. At 10 a.m., on the Monday, after a hurried ultimatum to the IT department, all encryption efforts were suspended indefinitely "until further review"...

Encryption should be confined to the lowest level, at the hard disk, where it runs invisibly and seamlessly.

Comment Re:Pascal (Score 1) 407

Most people miss the point that python has strong (dynamic) typing.

As for c++, modern (i.e. good!) c++ code should look very much like python, except that it is statically typed, of course: Pointers should be avoided. No char*, definitely no manual memory management. No "delete"s. Only strings and vectors. Segmentation faults usual indicate that programming skills need to be updated...

Having said that, I would still recommend python: clean and elegant.

I started off with Pascal but it is a strait jacket of a language. Too old fashioned for this day and age. It is curious that Pascal has aged so much more badly than Lisp.


Scientists Say a Dirty Child Is a Healthy Child 331

Researchers from the School of Medicine at the University of California have shown that the more germs a child is exposed to, the better their immune system in later life. Their study found that keeping a child's skin too clean impaired the skin's ability to heal itself. From the article: "'These germs are actually good for us,' said Professor Richard Gallo, who led the research. Common bacterial species, known as staphylococci, which can cause inflammation when under the skin, are 'good bacteria' when on the surface, where they can reduce inflammation."

Comment No mistaking between "could" and "would" (Score 1) 466

The The MPAA is arguing that if they could directly turn those plugs on and off, they could offer more goods to consumers.

I agree with you that the "could" is not being used by mistake. "Would" (conditional tense) implies intent, a promise that they are going to offer more goods, if the ability to turn plugs on and off were provided first.

The use of "could" means that the MPAA are going to be in a position to offer more goods to consumers. If they decide not to offer more goods after all, should they gain the ability to turn plugs on and off, they would not have reneged on any implicit commitments.

In English, the MPAA phrasing also implies that one ("more goods to consumers") follows so naturally and logically from the premise ("give me the power to turn plugs on and off") that no explicit additional promise needs to be made. These sneaky subtleties are what make English fun and infuriating in equal measure.

Comment Re:I like the Ras Al Gul approach (Score 1) 218

It appears that there are registration date and update date fields in at least some whois records. I don't know who is actually responsible for these though, and if the block is from a major company that is just reassigning ips between servers then there is only a small possibility of the record being changed (some providers let you set part of the whois record yourself)

Comment Re:Well ... (Score 0) 200

Most of Mono (which is C# and the CLR implementation) is not vulnerable to Microsoft.

The C# language specification and Common Language Infrastructure are EMCA standards and are covered by the Microsoft Community Promise. Since Mono is a clean-room implementation of .NET and C# (both EMCA standards), they do not infringe on any of Microsoft's copyrights. And the Community Promise means that Microsoft guarantees that it won't use any of its patents against third-party implementations of .NET and C# like Mono.

Comment Re:And they couldn't afford a better domain name? (Score 4, Insightful) 118

sound low rent?
Look at their site, once you get past how "bling bling" it looks, its actually got very little content, and a hell of a lot of ads.

I also fail to picture why one would want to use an auction for this thing. You don't stay rich by squanding large sacks of money away on items you've not checked out.
Meeting in person would give you a far better idea of whats involved, as well as either talk the price down to something more resonable, or have it explained why its worth so much.


Length Overall (LOA): 85'0"/25.91 m

2000 MTU 12V 2000
Horse Power: 314
Fuel Type: Diesel

Engine Type: Inboard

Hull Material: Fiberglass
Hours: Contact Dealer

Stock #: 85 Azimut 2000
Status: In Stock

Thats the full description of a yacht with a minimum bid of 2.7 million dollars.
If that auction site was worth a damn, they'd actually either give pages of material about the product, or refuse to list it on such small infomation.
I'm done talking about the site, the fact that the site hit slashdot both gives credence to them, and lowers my perception of slashdot.
I just hope slashdot got a pile of cash for advertising it.

Comment Unfortunately, it will go nowhere (Score 1) 416

As the x86 architecture has already eloquently proven to us, (and Windows to a degree as well, given that the customer perception was that Windows was free, due to the CPU tax) competitive fitness in the marketplace is determined purely by price.

Technological/engineering quality does not enter into the equation at all; if it did, we'd all be using MIPS or ARM processors, and the x86 would be dead.

From the market point of view, it doesn't matter in the slightest that these disks might be more reliable, or last much longer than conventional DVDs. The cheapest solution always wins, and usually, the cheapest solution is also the worst technological solution, not the best.

I would love to own one of these burners, and also several of these DVDs, because I'm one of the few very rare individuals who values technical excellence more than superficiality. However, the economic problem is still a very practical one for me, sadly; I'm on a pension.

Hence, I might really want stone DVDs, but if I can only afford conventional ones, conventional are what I will buy.

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