Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Sometimes it's the citizens insisting government be more pro-active
But that's how it works. If one group cares enough to push for legislation and others don't care enough to bother, the activists get their way.
Not disputing that, just pointing out that it's almost always a minority opinion that causes these things, which ensures that a great proportion of such warnings will be pointless to the majority of the population, many will be counter-productive to the intended effect and a good number, maybe even most, are likely to be wrong.
pointing out that we're talking about an info delivery system, which could be refined,
Except we've had an "info delivery system" capable of this kind of refinement for years now and exactly ZERO attempt to refine anything along these lines, just more and more and more "warnings" that 99% of the population don't care about.
The problem is not the technology, it's groups of people thinking they know better than anyone else what everyone needs to know and seeing it as their duty to "do something about it". Whoever initiates this, the instument by which the mandated "warning" is delivered is usually governmental at some level and people do not make the distiction - it's a "government issued warning" and gets lumped in the brain with all the other pointless "warnings" and nannying that comes from such sources.
ANYTHING WITH NUTS in it,, yes, that includes NUTS, HAS to have that warning.
So if you have a nut allergy the label saying "salted peanuts" isn't enough of a clue? Aren't you in some way responsible for your own condition to at least some basic level? And if not, what about all the other things that can cause a similar reaction to nuts... up to and including death... shellfish, milk, eggs, latex and others? Yeah, they are usually there on the ingredients list somewhere but I've not noticed a rash of big "WARNING: MAY CONTAIN TRACE EGGS" labels...
Re: Re: Re: Sometimes it's the citizens insisting government be more pro-active
But let's look at GMOs. The anti-folks GMO folks (and there are many in my community) want food products labelled if they are made with GMO products so they know what to avoid. They would prefer not to have them at all, but labeling is better than nothing.
Which kinda proves my point. Firstly, I don't doubt that there are "many in [your] community", but I would also guess that, unless you're talking about a very small community, the "many" who really care are actually a small percentage of the total community.
Normally in any reasonable sized group, there'll be a somewhat larger percentage that, if asked, would say "yeah that sounds about right.. GM is probably bad" and a smaller percentage who think GM is a good idea.
I would wager that those 3 groups added together are less than 1/2 the percentage that really don't give a monkeys' one way or the other.
Assuming the above is anywhere close, it means firstly that the labelling "law" in question is actually wanted or cared about by less than 1/3 of the affected people and for the rest it's just another thing to get in the way on a packet.
And for "labelling better than nothing", if that's true it's only a tiny sliver better than nothing. For a start it's local, so inevitably some "imported" products (i.e. probably most products sold are not made within the jurisdiction of the labelling) are going to slip through the labelling, meaning that even if you care avoiding GM is next to impossible. Is there such a thing as an "acceptable" level of GM in your diet if you believe it's bad? Secondly, before much longer if not already, the way the food chain works means the only difference between GM and "non-GM" is whether it's deliberate or not.
So labeling at least allows people to make their own decisions.
True as far as it goes, but there are 2 threshold problems with that statement:
The first is, as above, how many people care? Yes, if it's a bottle of drain cleaner or something definitely directly harmful, enough people care that it's probably worth labelling. For more nebulous stuff like GM, do enough people care to make it worthwhile? Maybe, maybe not. You clearly do and that's great but society as a whole? Even for something as contentious as GM foods? Not so sure. You could be right, you could be wrong and history will tell, but where's the threshold for such nebulous threats? How many people need to be concerned about it to stick labels on anything? And the point the article makes is that the more warnings you put on things the less attention people are likely to pay to the more imminent ones.
This leads me to the second, related threshold problem - packaging. You can only make it so big. The more warnings you shove onto packaging, the harder it is to read any of them and that just adds to the "which one(s) do I care about?" problem.
What happens if your bottle of drain cleaner as well as having the "this'll eat through enigine blocks and definitely won't do your stomach any good" label, also has a carcenogenic label, a GM label, a "may contain nuts" label, a "not safe to use while driving" label a "mandatory eye protection needed" label, and a dozen others that someone somewhere has decided we need to care about? How the hell do you even notice, never mind find and read at 2point font size, the "what to do when injested bit" after your kid swallows the stuff? Or do you make a point to read and memorize every single label of cleaning products you buy?
As an example the other way, I have a fish allergy and have endless fun at buffet lunches (common because seminars, conferences and briefings and such like are part of my work) trying to spot the stuff with fish in so I don't scare the other delegates by going funny colours. It's rarely labelled. Now I don't think it should be - it's my problem to deal with and I have a tongue and common sense - but shellfish allergies can be as deadly as nut allergies. This brings me to wonder why, when every single cake or pastry in the shops has a "may contain nuts" label, not one has a "may contain shellfish". Hell, there are plenty of potentially deadly allergies, why not add them all?
Re: Sometimes it's the citizens insisting government be more pro-active
So it isn't always government imposing its will on the community. Sometimes it's the community telling the politicians that if they don't support environmentally friendly policies, they will be voted out of office.
That I would think almost inevitably be true since environmentally friendly policies are usually unpopular with the people paying the politician's bills.
However that would seem to have little to do with labelling, which is a good political way of being seen to "do something about a problem" without having to know too much about it or piss off too many people who count (i.e. not the public).
It would seem to me to be incredibly rare for a label to be called for by any community and where it is, as far as I can see it's most often a knee-jerk reaction to some tragic event lobbied for by a vocal minority until some politician either thinks they can score cheap points.
Given that voter turnout means that the people making the laws are generally elected by about 20-30% of the target population I feel faily confident in saying that political response to this kind of "community will" is not necessarily representative of most of the people in the community.
You would think those people with nut allergies would know their enemy.
You'd think so, but this is one of the UK's worse imports from the US - this kind of Cover-Your-Legal-Ass-Because-People-Aren't-Responsible-For-Themselves bollocks.
Not only are you suddenly liable for whatever moron didn't recognise a peanut they are allergic to when it comes without a "warning" in a packet labelled "Peanuts", but because pretty much anything in a food factory that deals with nuts may contain nut traces everything has a warning so it's useless to tell what you can actually eat.
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Think in terms of info, then
Imagine a system like Wikipedia where every item, person, place can be tagged with info and it can come from a variety of sources.
The bit you're missing is the divide between "useful information I'm interested in" and "Pointless stuff that sounds scary but isn't that I'm not going to bother to read".
The difference is that if in your vision of the future the "total information about a product" is available at the glance of an eye when you want to call it up then it falls into the useful and interesting category, because you have the choice to call it up and read it all or selected bits of it that you want to.
On the other hand, what happens in this utopian future if the government madates that all that information must appear in your glasses every time you look at something "for your own good". Suddenly your Google Glasses become useless because your vision is constantly obscured by a wall of text.
Bottom line - information available good, information rammed down your throat when you don't want it, counterproductive.
Coca-cola for example, sues Icann for trademark infringement if it sells "coke.[whatever]"
What? Even if they sell it to a columbian drug dealer?
Either way, despicable though ICANN's (government aided) practices are, the idea of them being responsible for protecting someone else's trademarks is about as sensible as holding an ISP or phone company responsible for data customers put over their infrastructure. Or holding an electricity supplier liable for the drug lab their supply powers...
I'd say it's a worldwide need.Indeed... democractic governments make much of "freedom" and the US even has freedom of speech and expression as a foundation of theirs... but increasingly what they mean all is "freedom of speech as long as we like what you say" - a massively dangerous trend.
What we have here is a yet another example of the fact that DRM does nothing but punish the paying customer.
Well that's not entirely true... after all:
things went downhill quickly thanks to pricing issues [SNIP] and a failure to capitalize on a rapidly growing smartphone market.
Perhaps if they hadn't paid for the pointless DRM technology the prices could have been a little lower and certainly more people would have bought even at the higher price for unencumbered content. More to the point, any barrier to "capitalizing on a rapidly growing smartphone market" would have instantly vanished with a product unencumbered by DRM. So it turns out that DRM is also useful for screwing up your niche company.
Being a career politician can be a very nice living even if you lose.
And therein lies one of the major problems with so-called democracies. We've managed to create effectively a ruling class of politicians whos livelihood relies on "being a politician" rather than actually serving the population they are ostensibly elected to serve. Add in the mandatory money requirement and you pretty much guarantee that 90%+ of politicians are more interested in serving anyone that'll pay them enough than the public.
Even with 4th amendment rules applying, presenting yourself at the border, as a member or contributor to something like Wikileaks, with encrypted files on your laptop will still be enough to qualify for a full search.
Well I'm not an american, but if the 4th amendment applies at the border, doesn't the 1st too? I seem to remember there's something in there about "freedom of association".... wouldn't that make "being associated with a completely non-criminal organistion" a little bit problematical as the basis for a search?
I recall a spoof Not The Nine-O-Clock News sketch from my youth where "Constable Savage" detained a suspect for "Possession of thick rubbery lips and wiry black hair" and "looking at me in a funny manner". You appear to be suggesting a similar standard of suspicion.