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  • Oct 16th, 2017 @ 6:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Thumbs Up!

    A mixed economy with a strong social safety net will always be the best option for a healthy society.

    While this may be true... that idea itself would be an -ism, although I don't know whether it has a name yet, and so to state it as you have done would seem to contradict the principle from your preceding question.

  • Oct 13th, 2017 @ 9:25am


    Clearly, if you can't win when neither the facts nor the law are on your side, you're just not charlesing hard enough.

  • Oct 10th, 2017 @ 8:07am

    Re: Re: Partisan Politics


    There's no such thing as the/a "Democrat Party", at least not in the United States of America.

    It's called the "Democratic Party".

    This can be a legitimate confusion, arising from the fact that the adjective and noun for one major party are the same (both "Republican") but the adjective and noun for the other major party are different.

    In my experience, however, the usage of "Democrat" as an adjective has historically been a red-flag indicator that the speaker has a distinct right-wing bias. This seems to be becoming a less reliable sign in more recent times, but the past precedent is still there.

  • Oct 6th, 2017 @ 3:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Patents on AI

    > fail to give the necessary infomation for a software developer to solve the problem

    If they bought the patent from someone else, the trolls don't have the necessary information anyway.

    If the patent itself (as filed by and granted to the original inventor) includes the necessary information, then yes, they do.

    If the patent does not include that information, then (by the "should" standard given in the post you quoted) it should not be considered valid, and should not have been granted.

    As I've said here before at greater length: if a person skilled in the art can look at just the summary/outline of a patent application (with none of the implementation details) and produce something which would violate the patent, then the proposed patent fails the "obviousness" test and should be rejected.

    Similarly, if a person skilled in the art working from the full details of a patent application is unable to reproduce the claimed invention (assuming sufficient resources to actually build it), then the proposed patent does not sufficiently describe the claimed invention and must be rejected.

    Unfortunately, from what I read about these things, the patent office does not generally seem to apply either of these standards.

  • Oct 2nd, 2017 @ 5:15am

    Re: "FBI Misconstrued" is much too mild - To interpret or explain the meaning of something.

    (my local copy of gcide)/Construe - To put a construction upon; to explain the sense or intention of; to interpret; to understand.

    That is, by explaining what (they alleged that) Winner's statements meant, the FBI was construing those statements.

    And since it was doing so inaccurately, it was misconstruing them.

    IOW: the given definition for "misconstrue" appears to be overly narrow, or at least a little misleading, even by Wiktionary's own definition of "construe". (It can be correct if you parse "interpret" broadly enough, but I suspect that most people will parse that word more narrowly.)

  • Sep 25th, 2017 @ 5:59am

    Re: Re: Oh, there's LOTS on phrases to put a hook on. Let's look at "good faith":

    ...I'm... pretty sure statute *supersedes* common law, by definition...

  • Sep 22nd, 2017 @ 6:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Cheezus

    It is my understanding that the term was first used of the movement by its members, and that the pejorative use of it arose only when the media began pointing out (or people began pointing out to the media) that that word had an existing meaning. has a brief commentary on the subject, but not much detail. I haven't found a better source in shallow searching thus far.

    I do remember TV coverage of someone wearing a wide-brimmed hat with tea bags hanging from the rim, espousing something like the positions of what would later come to be called the Tea Party; it is my understanding that this was done on purpose by the people involved in the original gatherings, to invoke the historical memory of the Boston Tea Party, and that it is this practice that gave is the movement its name.

  • Sep 22nd, 2017 @ 6:45am

    Re: Re: Re: open and shut case

    Just to devil's-advocate a bit: what aspect of a system of religion (which is, generally speaking, a matter of choice) raises it to the same level as the ethnicity of a person (which, at least in all examples I can think of, cannot be changed)?

    And what is it about a system of religion (again, a matter of choice and belief) that distinguishes it from any other belief system in this regard? In philosophical and principle terms, I mean, not anything based in "because the people who wrote the rules said it should be that way".

  • Sep 21st, 2017 @ 9:12am


    Nit/peeve (applicable both to the above comment, and more importantly, to the main article): the word is "genericide", not "generecide". It's spelled correctly in the quotes from the court rulings, but all but one other usage in the article gets it wrong.

  • Sep 21st, 2017 @ 6:25am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Re your "one", there are at least two ways to be in the country illegally without having committed a crime: to come in legally and then overstay the visa, and to be brought in illegally against your will.

    Re your "three", would you rather the economies of the various relevant areas collapse, and the prices for the essential staples produced there go through the roof elsewhere? It may not be ideal, but it certainly seems like by *far* the least of the available evils.

    Also re your "three", what distinguishes this from slavery (let alone "racial slavery") is that no one is forcing these people to come here and work these jobs for this pay; in fact, these people are choosing to come here in the face of systems set up to make it hard for them to do that, specifically because they think this is *better* than the alternatives.

  • Sep 17th, 2017 @ 1:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Manning is not Snowden

    Not necessarily.

    Say you're helping someone do something that the local authorities don't like. The local authorities know you want to do that thing, but don't know the person you're helping also wants to do it.

    If the local authorities find out that you're working with that person, they will become suspicious that the person is also wanting to do that thing, and that person will have a harder time of doing that thing.

    No matter *why* you are trying to help that person, this is still equally true.

  • Sep 17th, 2017 @ 10:33am

    Re: Any time something is classified...

    That's not necessarily true.

    Details of how to make a nuclear bomb, for instance, could rightly have been classified for years after the conclusion of the Manhattan Project, until such time as the information entered the public sphere by other means.

    Your point is good in general, but there is room for legitimate classification that is not about current or recently-current operations.

  • Sep 17th, 2017 @ 5:52am

    Re: Re: Bye, partisan!

    Nit: Although "Republican" is both a noun and an adjective, "Democrat" is only a noun. The corresponding adjective is "Democratic".

    It's my experience that those who use "Democrat" as an adjective usually carry a distinct right-wing bias, but it looks like the usage may be spreading to the point that that may be becoming a less reliable indicator...

  • Sep 16th, 2017 @ 4:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    While pointing out hypocrisy may be worthwhile, the existence of other things which the speaker is not (or at least not currently) condemning does not automatically constitute hypocrisy.

    In the instant case, the poster was not saying "The viewpoint presented here is wrong", but "X other, similar thing is also wrong". To consider that "an opposing viewpoint" seems like a stretch, to me.

    >> Also, if Mike coined the word, that's news to me.
    >I never said he coined it.

    He responded to one person by saying "Doing X should be a crime." (albeit clearly in sarcasm mode), with the implication that the person being responded to had just done that.

    You responded to him by saying "So should doing Y", which - if only because of that juxtaposition - naturally carries the same implication.

    The "doing Y" in question was "making up silly nonsense words like "whataboutism"".

    Therefore, in the context, what you wrote you clearly implied that he had made up - or, in other words, coined - the word.

  • Sep 16th, 2017 @ 4:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Flag-Dripping

    I'm aware of "dripping with sarcasm", but I agree that that is a different usage; it is not the long-established convention I was thinking of. I was thinking specifically of "dripping with jewels" and its closely related expressions.

    I'm a little surprised you've never encountered those expressions, but just as with the many expressions I've managed to go my whole life without encountering (the idea that "whack-a-mole" might properly be spelled without the K, for instance), that doesn't make it any less real. (Though it certainly may make it significantly more irritating! I cringe every time I see a Techdirt article use "whac" as a verb.)

    Google finds plenty of results for "dripping with jewels" sans quotes, although most of them appear to be from "dripping in jewels" instead. There are also plenty of hits for things like "dripping with rubies", "dripping with pearls" (including a song lyric which I think I've run across before), "dripping with diamonds", et cetera, with the same minor caveat. It may not be as universally widespread as I'd thought, but it certainly does appear to be out there in the culture. refers to "dripping with jewels" in the question and some of the discussion, and one of the answers gives a quote from 1860 which includes "It hangs unclasped and heavy with jewelry, dripping with chain, filigrane, and aiglet" (reportedly taken from the OED), one of two non-liquid-based uses quoted there. So unless you're Keanu Reeves, the usage is probably older than either of us.

  • Sep 15th, 2017 @ 9:29am

    Re: Re: Re: you even understand what "whataboutism" means? Because my understanding of it is that it specifically is about pointing out that what the other person has said does not actually oppose the argument which was brought up; instead, it attempts to distract from that argument, by pointing out something else.

    (Also, if Mike coined the word, that's news to me. I imagine the Wikipedia article on the word, which I've seen linked several times but never actually visited, might clear up that question.)

  • Sep 15th, 2017 @ 6:33am

    Re: Flag-Dripping

    It's a long-established convention to refer to something with lots of X hanging all over it as "dripping with X"; for example, consider a person described as "dripping with jewels". It probably comes from jewelry, in fact, from the idea of someone having so much jewelry on that some of it is likely to fall off when they get up to move around.

    In this case, it evokes the image of the request document being adorned with so many flags that it's difficult to see the actual contents of the document.

  • Sep 14th, 2017 @ 8:07pm

    Re: What's Wrong With Scan Ballots?

    Back when the 2000 elections happened, and "hanging chads" became a household word, I looked at the paper ballots in use where I live (Maryland) and thought that they were clearly superior, having none of the lack-of-clarity problems of the ballots described as being in use in Florida. (Arrowhead at one side of the page, arrow fletching at the other side, IIRC one such for each candidate; you use a Sharpie to draw the black line connecting the halves of the arrow corresponding to the candidate you want, then feed the paper into a machine that scans for that long, thick, dark line.)

    And then of course in the next election - or the next one I remember noticing for, at least - they had replaced those with electronic voting machines. (From Diebold, IIRC.)

  • Sep 11th, 2017 @ 6:33am

    Re: What Law?

    I am given to understand that the phrase "freedom of the press" in that context would, at the time, have been understood to mean "freedom of access to the printing press", i.e., to the means of publication.

    A sense of "the press" meaning "the people who are in the profession of reporting on news" apparently did not come along until considerably later.

  • Sep 2nd, 2017 @ 10:26am

    Re: Stupid Patent of the Month

    Wait a moment. Are you saying that the law requires patent examiners to consider only prior patents (and patent applications) when looking for prior art - that it prohibits them from considering a broader scope, such as products in real-world use? Or even that the law requires them to follow procedures which themselves are not technically law, but which do include such a prohibition?

    If either of those things is true, that would certainly seem to excuse the patent examiners, but I'd want to see a citation for such a law or procedure.

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