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Comment Re:How stupid. (Score 1) 897

to find out what happened exactly, who dumped what where, if it was done on purpose by somebody to spoil your water?

A government has more resources than a single individual. As well as being able to pay for things like trained investigators (essential in pretty much any kind of criminal investigation, from road accidents to murders) and labs to do chemical analysis, they could levy special investigative and punitive rights. For example, a criminal court can award search warrants for police to execute in order to collect evidence, and then impose a custodial penalty upon successful conviction. By ensuring that amateurs are not involved in the investigation and prosecution, this branch of government (theoretically) adheres to standards high enough to warrant them being given the kind of rights that allow them to suspend the freedom of those who break laws.

The government would also be able to address these problems without requiring private individuals to drop everything they're doing and start acting as investigators and lawyers. Even small civil cases take a LONG time to litigate (never mind investigate), especially if you aren't a specialist. As a software engineer, do you really expect me to drop my day job while I poke around a neighbour's private property to collect evidence of mercury poisoning I had to pay an expensive lab to uncover? I regard that kind of act to be a crime against society (like murder or drunk driving) and thus deem the onus of investigation/prosecution to be on society's collective representative - the executive and judicial branches of government.

Comment Re:How stupid. (Score 1) 897

The waterways should all be private property, and anybody affected by the actions of dumping the mercury there would have to take those people to court to seek damages.

How would a private individual go about investigating who dumped the mercury? What if they didn't have the resources to even detect the cause of whatever damage they suffered? What if multiple private interconnected waterways were involved? What if another waterway owner was responsible for the dumping? The cost of resolving this privately in civil courts would be astronomical, and the difficulty in securing evidence would probably dissuade many from pursuing it. This lack of action would encourage those responsible to continue their actions and cause damage to others. The kind of system you propose gives an obvious advantage to powerful organisations. In a fair society I believe individuals deserve collective protection and representation from exactly these sorts of problems, especially when from a macroscopic perspective such protection serves society as a whole.

It seems to me like non-political, government-sponsored social agents (the police and criminal courts, for example) are a pretty good solution.

Comment Re:*could* charge .. (Score 1) 194

Where did you get "UN Human Rights" from?

The GP is talking about The European Convention on Human Rights. It has nothing to do with the UN. It is a treaty for the protection of fundamental rights within Europe. The UK is a signatory to the treaty.

Also, do you really think that codifying a law as coming from "God" makes it harder to change? I'd never thought about it before - it's an interesting concept, although I think a modern version would have to be secular. Perhaps a law of the universe? I think that one of the the main reasons the constitution is so hard to change is because the idea of its supremacy is socially entrenched in the US. We don't have a specific set of codified, core values with which the whole country can identify like that here in the UK, but I really like the idea. I would be very much in favour of drawing up a constitution of universal rights and freedoms that is strongly protected from change.

Comment Re:It is ethical (Score 1) 826

If my life is worth exactly the same as yours, I am still not ethically required to sacrifice mine in order to better yours.

Of course not. That's not what I said.

What I said was that it is no more unethical to give an American job to an Indian than it is to give an American job to another American.

Especially if you are in a country that has caused its own problems due to things like ridiculous population density.

By that logic, has America not created its own problems by over-valuing certain skills such that they can be cheaply outsourced?

Comment Re:It is ethical (Score 1) 826

The person or persons to whom the job is outsourced is likely to already have a job... in fact that is likely, give the recent unemployment rates in the United States.

GP assumes, you assume.

The overwhelming sense that such outsourcing is unethical on this thread boils down to one very simple assumption: American lives are more important than others.

Take away the borders and you're left with people. x people lose a job, y people gain one. Maybe the details are more complicated, but that's the point of capitalism. If every possible effect of every decision had to be analysed and debated for its ethical merits (a process that would be wildly subjective and fallible at best), everything would grind to a halt and no-one would have anything. Capitalism lets market forces (forces that inextricably link us all) make these kinds of decisions in a bid for a sort of impartial fairness. It is on the back of these same forces that the US thrives as the world's largest economy.

If there are jobs in which you no longer present adequate value for money, the foremost solution should be changing what you do and differentiating yourself from the competition. Trying to suspend the operation of commercial forces in a competitive global capitalist market simply makes no sense.

Don't get me wrong. It sucks that anyone has to lose their job. It sucks that the equilibrium we strive for is not perfect and people still have to suffer. But remember: most people, especially in the US and Europe, derive infinitely more benefit from this way of doing things than they do harm.

Comment Re:You're kidding, right? (Score 2, Interesting) 2058

I know - reading American responses to this kind of thing is really baffling, isn't it? They call it socialism, I call it basic human compassion.

There was an excellent article that delved into this mindset recently in Rolling Stone. I think it's especially enlightening when read from a European perspective, particularly in terms of how the working class perspectives on these issues differ so much (non-sensically, in fact) in the US.

Comment Re:Alberto Federico Ravell an Asshole Liar (Score 2, Insightful) 335

Im Venezuelan, linving in Venezuela. And the seizing of gaming consoles is a lie.

You're a Venezuelan living in Venezuela, and the only thing you have to say is that the government is not seizing consoles? How about some outrage at the absurdity of this law? How about some disgust at the fact that your government is passing laws that shift parental responsibility to the state?

This is a silly ploy to make it look like the government is tackling crime. In actual fact, they are just trying to get political points at the expense of their citizens' freedoms and on the back of their citizens' fears.

PC Games (Games)

Future Ubisoft Games To Require Constant Internet Access 497

Following up on our discussion yesterday of annoying game distribution platforms, Ubisoft has announced the details of their Online Services Platform, which they will use to distribute and administer future PC game releases. The platform will require internet access in order to play installed games, saved games will be stored remotely, and the game you're playing will even pause and try to reconnect if your connection is lost during play. Quoting Rock, Paper, Shotgun: "This seems like such a bizarre, bewildering backward step. Of course we haven't experienced it yet, but based on Ubi’s own description of the system so many concerns arise. Yes, certainly, most people have the internet all the time on their PCs. But not all people. So already a percentage of the audience is lost. Then comes those who own gaming laptops, who now will not be able to play games on trains, buses, in the park, or anywhere they may not be able to find a WiFi connection (something that’s rarely free in the UK, of course – fancy paying the £10/hour in the airport to play your Ubisoft game?). Then there's the day your internet is down, and the engineers can’t come out to fix it until tomorrow. No game for you. Or any of the dozens of other situations when the internet is not available to a player. But further, there are people who do not wish to let a publisher know their private gaming habits. People who do not wish to report in to a company they’ve no affiliation with, nor accountability to, whenever they play a game they’ve legally bought. People who don’t want their save data stored remotely. This new system renders all customers beholden to Ubisoft in perpetuity whenever they buy their games."

Comment Re:i've been on psilocybin (Score 1) 165

but i was not actually feeling, seeing, hearing, and thinking great things

The drugs won't just give you great things. You need to seed the experience. You need to participate in it, not just sit back and spectate.

"great thoughts" and drug use is an illusion

This may be true sometimes, but is certainly not always.

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