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Comment Re:The DNC overlords always get their way (Score 1) 644

I find it quite interesting comparing the UK to the US in this respect - they are quite the opposite of eachother.

In the UK we have the Labour party (the mainstream left wing party) tearing itself apart over doctrinal and ideological disagreements (symbolised by its current leader who is fighting for his survival this evening, but running much deeper, and largely going back to the days of Tony Blair), whereas the Conservatives have had their leader, PM Cameron, resign and they have reasonably quietly and peacefully selected a new leader behind which the whole party has unified without much noticeable dissent.

Comment Re:old wisdom (Score 1) 387

In 1915 when he publish GR there was no QM. There was his explanation of the photoelectric effect, which suggested that light was absorbed in discreet quanta when being shone on a metal, and there were some early theories of wave-particle duality, but there was no proper theory that he could incorporate into his GR.

He published GR a year before Bohr publish his quantised model of the electron in the atom, and 10 years before Heisenberg and Shrodinger published their respective QM theories.

Comment Re: The Naked Truth (Score 1) 1592

I've been tracking the GBP EUR rate all day - and it is only a few percent down at the end of the day from where it was a couple of weeks ago. It was up most of this week compared to the past three month average (it pushed as high as £1 = €1.31 at one point, which is much higher than it has been all year).

It has been hovering around £1 = €1.27 for months, and today it was around £1 = €1.24. Hardly a collapse.

It is worse against the dollar, but again barely more than the sort of movement you see month to month.

Similarly, the FTSE 100 hardly collapsed as reported. It dropped around 600 points as trading opened, but by the end of the day it was only around 2-3% down, and was therefore back to the level it was at around 3 weeks ago.

Comment Re:Democracy restored (Score 1) 1592

The Lords can veto any act of Parliament, but them Parliament can just use the Parliament Act to force the legislation through anyway. both houses know this, and so the HoL really is just an advisory body.

In practice, their main purpose is really sending legislation back to the Commons for another reading, and causing PR trouble for the government in doing so (e.g. the Tax Credits issue, where is got through the Commons due to the Labour party's neutral position, but the Lords sent it back and causes such a press scandal that the Govt. dropped it).

Comment Re: expanded (Score 1) 660

Here's the thing I don't get about breaking the encryption on messages.... How do you recognise that you have done it?

Let's say that I take my message, which is written in English in ASCII. I then encrypt this. So to an observer it looks like random noise. I then encrypt this a second time.

Anyone breaking the second, exterior encryption, even if they do it perfectly, all they see is the random noise of the first, interior encryption.

How do they know they have successfully broken the encryption?

Comment Re: If they pay the license fee (Score 1) 230

But they ought to be careful about doing so.

If they force this to become abandonware, or remove the need from a license, then you are setting the company's old software up in direct competition to their new software. Many people who would otherwise have paid good money for their new software (presumably seeing that the benefit it gives them is greater than the purchase costs) might now choose to make do with the older software which they can now get for free.

It is not fair to force the company into this position, but more importantly it will cause some companies to reconsider their decision to invest time and money in creating such types of software at all, if the risk is that they end up forced into competition with themselves.

It might be that you are happy with this trade-off, but one should be aware of the costs of such a decision.

Comment Re:Rent Seeking (Score 1) 167

Thanks for the reply David. So that I understand correctly, is it also the case that you have a choice of providers to purchase your electricity from, at a range of service levels and prices?

The argument I was trying to make is that natural monopolies (such as internet provision) can be sometimes overcome by separating the infrastructure from the provision of service on that infrastructure. I'm not sure I am smart enough to see how this works for electricity provision.

Comment Re:If you keep voting for the same people... (Score 1) 88

I don't necessarily blame the politicians. Ultimately their job is to keep winning elections. I don't mean to be cynical by saying that, but fundamentally they can have all the ethics and principles they want but if they don't win elections they are out.

Voting against a bill like this leaves them very exposed to attack from the 'law and order' contingent. Voting for it does not leave them very exposed - in the UK and the USA the online freedoms argument does not poll highly in either raw numbers or intensity.

Fundamentally they know that voting against this is likely to lose them more votes than it wins. For most of them this isn't a matter of life or death or a matter of principle, so the electoral argument wins.

Comment Re:Um.. I don't know much about UK politics (Score 1) 88

I like the basic idea of having an independent house to scrutinise and approve/reject legislation from the commons. It is the same idea as he US senate, except the Senate to a certain extent has the same motives and incentives as the House.

I would largely opposed to an elected HoL. As far as I can imagine it would, after the first couple of elections, reform along party lines and become a copy of the Commons and thus lose all of its independence.

I find the appointment system to the Lords to be problematic, and I think a better system for entering the house should be thought up, but whatever that system it should be completely different from the party political electoral system used in the commons.

Comment Re:Rent Seeking (Score 1) 167

Sounds like a reasonable way to deal with the natural monopoly problem.

I worry though that US politics being what it is, it would be hard to fully regulate the Physical Network company. To overcome the monopoly issue, it really has to sell the bandwidth at an equal deal to all buyers. If they start doing high volume deals to larger buyers, for example, or tie-ins with other services that only large companies can finance, then the natural monopoly problem is not solved.

Forgive my ignorance of US politics - it feels to me like this would not be possible on the federal level, but how likely is it on the state level?

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