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Comment Re:Huh who knew? (Score 1) 609

It's more complicated than that. The judgement accepts that the so-called "royal prerogative" (which really means government power) includes making and unmaking treaties. But it argues that since the EU treaties (uniquely) can override UK legislation, they must be immune to the royal prerogative (else the royal prerogative can override UK legislation, which they think is a contradiction).

Personally I think that argument is fallacious (e.g. the government has repeatedly voted in the Council of Ministers to accept new EU members, which has overridden UK legislation too). But the judges are trying to choose which constitutional principles to uphold in the face of the European Communities Act 1972 which radically altered the UK constitution without specifying how to resolve such contradictions. So I think it's hard to predict whether the Supreme Court will overturn the judgement on appeal — but in any case, we shouldn't attack the judges, because the legislative situation is contradictory enough that there's no very clean way to rule on this.

Comment Democracy restored (Score 4, Informative) 1592

For the uninformed, the EU is undemocratic: no legislation can be passed without the say-so of unelected bureaucrats (the European Commission) which voters cannot feasibly remove from power (because the system for appointing them is highly indirect and opaque). Much opposition to the EU stems from this. UK democracy isn't perfect (e.g. voting isn't proportional, and the unelected House of Lords can delay legislation) but voters can and do change the government and change policy direction through the ballot box.

Comment Already = 65K characters (Score 4, Informative) 164

"...adds 7,716 new characters to the existing 21,499 – that's more than 35% growth!"

There were already 113K characters in Unicode version 7.0. Which is more than 2^16 characters, so remember:

Comment Anglocentric false premises (Score 1) 578

The article is based on three huge false premises: 1. That languages become simpler as they're spread by adult learners. This is false because the simplifications (say, loss of Old English case endings) trigger new complexities (in this instance, new word order rules). 2. That tonal languages are especially hard for learners. Actually, many features of English are equally hard if your language doesn't have them: consonant clusters, tenses, stress timing etc. 3. That Mandarin cannot dominate because Chinese characters are too hard. But Pinyin romanization (i.e. Latin letters) is simple, easy, and known by native speakers and learners alike. so it could be that Chinese written in Pinyin comes to dominate outside China.

Comment England != UK && England != Britain (Score 1) 649

UK = England + Scotland + Wales + Northern Ireland. The central government only controls education policy for England, not for the rest of the UK. State-funded schools in Scotland and Wales were never permitted to teach creationism. I don't know the situation in Northern Ireland but it may be different.

Comment TFA is confuses Hong Kong with Mainland China (Score 2) 75

A data centre in Hong Kong would have been a turnaround for Google, since it very publicly pulled out of the country after attacks on Gmail which it blamed on the Chinese government in 2010.

This is incorrect -- Google pulled out of Mainland China, not Hong Kong. The author seems unaware, but Hong Kong has different laws from the Mainland, including data privacy and free speech. In fact, since Google pulled out of mainland China, actually shows a redirect link to .

Comment Not Nazi, just German (Score 4, Interesting) 180

A central reason that Mosley won the original privacy case in the High Court in London is that the judge rejected News Group Newspapers' claim that it was a "Nazi" scenario because they were speaking German (see paragraph 72 of the judgment). The judge found that there was no reason to think the orgy was Nazi-themed, and therefore there was no public interest to justify the privacy violation.

Comment Unicode (Score 0) 598

should be more widely understood than it is. Even English-only programmers need to know enough to avoid security holes. You can't normally be sure you're writing safe software unless you know a little about Unicode. In this sense, it's like structured programming, and unlike most other things on the original list.

Comment This is literally idle speculation ... (Score 1) 1

... because the article gives no evidence or reasoning to explain how Watson could scale up to become a general search engine. Watson as seen on Jeopardy used Jeopardy-specific analysis rules and an info base of a few hundred gigabytes. It's just not the same thing as a general-purpose internet search engine.

Comment iOS does not support Cantonese! (Score 2, Informative) 327

Here's a big hint for Tim: on iOS, you can't write a custom keyboard. On Android you can. This is a really big deal in Hong Kong, because iOS has no support for Cantonese-based Chinese input. The best you can do is a kludgy app where you have to copy and paste the result (see

Therefore, the Cantonese user is hamstrung by Apple's lack of support for the Cantonese-speaking market, together with their locked-down approach which prevents third party developers from filling the hole.

Compare this with the situation on Android, where there are at least five Cantonese-based keyboard input methods, together with Cantonese voice recognition. Why is it surprising if Hong Kongers find iOS seriously deficient?

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