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Comment The minister for magic strikes again (Score 3, Informative) 71

Unfortunately (especially for those of us in the UK), Mr.Hunt has a number of views that appear to be at odds with reality. e.g. https://www.newscientist.com/a...

In the UK, if you speak to many doctors about the minister, prepare yourself for a very, *very* long stream of invective.

Comment Re:Censorship is out, but what about this? (Score 1) 499

I'm not sure filtering out or flagging up bullshit would make much of a difference.

People don't return to Facebook/twitter/etc. for a cognitive fix, they return for an emotional fix. "Trump is a conman!", "Clinton is a crook!" get the emotions going. As any reader here knows, making decisions when emotionally compromised is a bad thing. When we're all riled up, we'll eat up anything that panders to our pre-conceptions. Look at slashdot - the readership here should be skewed to a more analytical type of person, but the comment threads about say systemd are just as ghastly as Mail online threads about foreign benefit recipients.

Today, there's just no break from the emotional stimulus.

Back in the day (presumably when America *was* great), we'd get all hot and bothered by what we'd read in the morning headlines. We'd bang the breakfast table, let of steam by having a good swear and compose a letter to the editor in our heads (and sometimes put it to paper). But then, we'd get on with the rest of the day, never looking back at the paper because the headline and story were un-changing. We'd have time to come down, maybe fire up some deeper thoughts, maybe take a more sceptical view of things and generally come to a rounder decision. Now though, the headline keeps changing, we keep returning to it because it's in our pocket, pinging us with updates. Now, we can send off a comment and receive an emotional buzz with each like, share or reply. There's no escape and no point when we can step back and take a calmer look at things.

Personally, I don't really see a way out of it. Our brains are evolved to think quickly and efficiently, but not necessarily accurately. The constant emotional buzz just trains us to behave in the same way so it becomes self reinforcing. We're just not going to biologically evolve our way out of making poor decisions. Until a generation of people grow up who can limit their self-stimulation (phnarr!) and take time out to look at things dispassionately, then we're stuck - and that sort of change is a societal one.
 

Comment Re:Israel did not break the CTBT (Score 5, Informative) 441

*sigh* The article doesn't claim they violated the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, rather it says (in the first paragraph no less) it was a violation of the Limited Test Ban Treaty which Israel signed in 1963 and ratified in 1964.

Comment Re:But what created the law of gravity? (Score 1) 1328

One thing is sure, though: any strategy that involves opening a box is better than the strategy of not opening any of them because you can't decide.

Not if there is a god who values the quiet life, and prefers atheists over theists. This is quite reasonable because theists tend to bother god about all sorts of things (my crops have failed, I've stubbed my toe, computer won't boot, etc).

This god will happily send all theists to hell and take all atheists to heaven on the reasonable assumption that atheists won't keep coming round to his/her house to borrow a cup of sugar.

Comment Re:What this shows (Score 1) 652

These things should be going off all the time - according to their website, they'll detect amongst other things "...,Cannabis, Morphine, Ivory, Human research, Bank notes,..." (http://www.ade651.com/sustanciasin.html).

While I'm no expert in Iraq, I would have thought bank notes would be fairly common. As for the ability to detect "Human research", the mind boggles.

Comment Re:Illegal to Photograph Cops in Britain (Score 3, Interesting) 446

Actually, its not illegal to photograph the police - only if its provably of use to terrorists (or whatever is no longer flavour of the month for our esteemed Home Secretary). However, in typical British fashion, nobody is entirely sure of what is allowed/not-allowed, and that includes many officers on the beat.

The British Journal of Photography (http://www.bjp-online.com/ - just search for police on there) is littered with cases where overzealous officers have declared taking pictures of such-and-such an offence, even to the point of deleting the photos. Needless to say, lots of these cases have follow-ups from the police saying they were wrong.

The police can not stop you because you are taking a picture - they must have reasonable grounds for suspicion under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (http://police.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/operational-policing/pace-code-a-amended-jan-2009) or under the Terrorism Act 2000 (http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2000/ukpga_20000011_en_5#pt5-pb2-l1g44). If you are stopped at worst case they can confiscate your photography equipment, but they certainly can't get you to delete stuff (arguably, if they did, you could claim it was destruction of evidence).

Bear in mind IANAL, so the above is at best a summary. http://www.sirimo.co.uk/ukpr.php has a proper guide to UK photographers' rights written by someone with legal training.

This is all a classic case of poorly drafted legislation, large amounts of mis-information, the ocassional police officer on a power-kick and the Home Office repeatedly spouting "the terrorists are gonna getcha". Sadly, this is happening all too often in the UK now :(

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