Uriel-238’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Jan 24th, 2017 @ 1:11pm

    Re: The correct symbol

    Well, as above, the Star of Life is now the go to universal symbol. It's pretty ubiquitous here in the States, and is getting commonplace in Europe.

  • Jan 23rd, 2017 @ 3:00pm

    "who's the tool here?"

    With Trump in office, we are all chumps to the last.

  • Jan 23rd, 2017 @ 2:58pm

    Killing FPTP

    If we reformed our election system so that it was no longer first-past-the-post, I cannot imagine how the electoral college as it stands could survive.

    With the EC's failure to stop the Trump election, I think we have an indictment that the college portion of it has already failed.

    And if we shifted to a pure popular vote system, then every vote would count regardless of the state it was in (every state really is kinda-purplish). Both California and Texas would cease to be the bulwark states that they currently are.

    We might want to weight some votes over others (say, make 1 rural vote = 1.1 urban votes) though I can't really imagine a logical reason we would want to...

    ...wait, yes I can. There are some arguments to be made for giving voters with underage or infirm dependents more weight. But I'd want to see some statistical models of how that would play out first.

  • Jan 23rd, 2017 @ 2:47pm

    The CIA rulebook vs. the US Constitution

    This is a problem that is normal with all espionage organizations: what they do is intrinsically criminal, and the state has to depend on a commitment by the organization's members to do criminal things to the benefit of the state.

    An organization that operates within the constrains of the US Constitution is no longer espionage, but simply Law Enforcement.

    And yes, this is why so many law enforcement agencies (we're looking at you, FBI) are re-branding themselves as national security minded espionage agencies. It allows them to break laws that they could never break before, but it also weakens their standing in the courts. And yes, many institutions want to have their cake and eat it too (have legal enforcement powers without legal enforcement constraints).

    Meanwhile back at CIA, its rulebook is meant to define what illegal activities (including unconstitutional activities) are allowable within the purview of state-endorsed criminal action.

    Ideally, we'd have a nifty secret court who made sure that our spies didn't get too sloppy or too greedy. A mole in the KGB, for instance, would get his KGB pay docked from his CIA pay. Other policies could get a whole lot more nuanced...

    For instance when it is right to retire someone by command of the President...

    ...or when it is right to retire the President.

  • Jan 23rd, 2017 @ 2:35pm

    The problem with passing a law to direct the executive...

    ...is that it implies the legislature has more power than the executive, which it does not.

    This is why, ever since the War Powers Act of 1973, the President has complied with it but only in consistency with the law, not in compliance. If the President were ever to challenge a law, and the legislature and courts insisted that he complied, the United States would suffer a constitutional crisis.

    ...which is probably going to happen very soon now, since Trump does what ever the fuck he wants. (Including fucking whoever he wants.)

  • Jan 23rd, 2017 @ 7:12am

    "Stop voting in tool bags like Obama, or Hillary, or Trump"

    Those are the options we're given.

    If we want better options we have to kill FPTP.

    And that will take a massive grassroots push for election reform.

    Though, now that we have a fast-talking salesman in office, a push for election reform might gain some traction.

  • Jan 21st, 2017 @ 5:00pm

    Re: That is a red plus sign.

    Any perpendicular intersection of two lines can be called a croix or cross. The specific lengths of segments are particular to proper characters, including the Protestant Cross (or Catholic Crucifix, which properly has a man nailed to it)

    When the Red Cross was considering its symbol, there were debates as to whether it should be associated with Christianity or not, and they decided on the red cross with arms of even length. So as to be related, but not too related.

    This is why there are other symbols such as the Red Crescent used in places where the croix is contraversial. The Red Losenge is used where crosses and crescents are both contraversial. (Though, before, they had a number of alternative symbols, including a red swastika.)

    In the meantime, a plus sign is still a cross, as are crosshairs. They're just not a proper religious cross.

  • Jan 20th, 2017 @ 5:54pm

    The Red Cross has become de-genericized. Use the Star of Life instead.

    I wrote a blog piece about this.

    TLDR: The Red Cross (and its sister symbols, including the Red Crescent and Red Losenge) was originally intended to become genericized as a universal symbol that could be posted anywhere to mean get your first aid here. In the mid 20th century, The Red Cross organization wanted more and more for the symbol to be identified with the organization, and less just as a generic symbol for first aid.

    At first The Red Cross started challenging use by toymakers and television studios, but even civilian medical services it didn't like started getting challenged. Early responses were to repaint crosses red-orange, or to put a white cross on a red field.

    Since then the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration created the Star of Life, a big blue asterisk, often adorned with a Rod of Asclepius. While the US NHTSA still holds the rights to the Star of Life, they're encouraging its use as a generic First Aid here symbol. Almost all first aid kits, ambulances and hospitals in the US have replaced Red Crosses and similar symbols with the Star of Life.

  • Jan 19th, 2017 @ 1:58pm

    Remember that this was the also the anniversary of...

    The Kim Dotcom raid. It was (for me at least) the first indicator that big corporations can hire the DoJ as a mercenary service to use the color of law as a weapon to take out disruptive businesses.

    Dotcom's case is still in process, where the United States is using a shotgun spread of ambiguous charges such as conspiracy to put him in jail.

    All is assets were seized as well, so as to prevent him from mounting a defense (that got partially overturned later).

    This started on the same day as the SOPA blackouts.

  • Jan 14th, 2017 @ 5:16pm

    Ten fathoms deep on the road to hell

    When the wind's fury drives your boat, the crew gets less a benefit of the breeze.

    And when you tax culture to fill your coffers, its esteem suffers in kind.

    Some of us cannot afford the inflated costs of content, especially when the gatesmen treat it as certificate or vellum as they like.

    And some of us wouldn't give coin to men who cheat their own by cooking the numbers, confounding talent and technician with letters and semantics.

    But for all that we buccaneers bedevil the seas, the content itself suffers more when we refuse to sail. Content thrives on eyes and ears, and avarice of the troupe will turn the house blind, deaf and dumb.

    And they lay there that took the plum / With sightless glare and their lips struck dumb / While we shared all by the rule of thumb,

    Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!

  • Jan 13th, 2017 @ 2:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Talk about fake news

    I thought fake news is rumor or counterfactual claims that are presented as genuine news.

    The Onion might qualify as fake news if it's not recognized as satire, though since The Onion does satire exclusively, and most readers recognize most Onion articles immediately as satire, it doesn't qualify as fake news.

    I'm not so sure about tabloid news. My impression is that many people who read it believe it.

    A more classic term for fake news would be false propaganda which is to say, news releases that are intended to sway minds towards an ideology, where the details are counterfactual.

    What seems important about fake news is not merely that it's false, but it's intended to sway minds how to vote and how to act. There's a term for that...

    Incitement? Instigation?

  • Jan 13th, 2017 @ 12:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: The US Two-party system hasn't worked for a while.

    Were there incidents in which Clinton offered to pay the legal fees of someone who committed assault at one of her rallies? Or something similar happened?

    I may not be a professional historian, but considering the magnitude of the tragedy in Germany, it's something certainly worth studying, if nothing else to understand how to prevent it from happening again.

    And we are seeing a number of comparable symptoms today.

  • Jan 13th, 2017 @ 12:36pm

    You didn't actually answer my question.

    The video lost me at How liberals really feel.... Neither liberals nor conservatives nor feminists nor gamers nor /b-tards can be expected to monolithically adhere to a given precept, even when it comes to those that should be axiomatic for them.

    Besides which, the Democratic party in the 1960s was significantly different (and divided) in comparison to what it is today. Contrast George Wallace and Jack Kennedy.

    Similarly, Nixon was an education president and gave zero fucks about abortion. The Republican party has been sorely corrupted by the Religious Right which came into power in the 80s. Ronald Reagan heralded the religious-affiliation era of the GOP and almost started a thermonuclear war over it, since he couldn't tolerate those godless Soviets being godless.

    But yeah, in the 50s and 60s Dixie was Democrats from one end to the other.

    Since you're confused, though, I call myself a liberal. I am probably more spooked by mean-looking black guys at a bus stop than I'm spooked by mean-looking white guys (mean-looking being the relevant factor there), but I'd give them both time and directions. What I feel about a given people -- including Trump supporters, mind you, at whom I remain livid -- is incidental to how they should be regarded, which is on the pretense that we are all created equal and should have equal regard.

    Get it?

  • Jan 13th, 2017 @ 12:16pm

    Re: Re: The US Two-party system hasn't worked for a while.

    Except that he played on the marginalization of huge swaths of Americans in order to appeal to the proles and endorsed violence against anyone who spoke against him. Trump rallies were markedly similar to National Socialist rallies in the 1930s.

    He is anti-establishment, but he's not reform anti-establishment, he's watch-the-world-burn anti-establishment, and I'm terrified we're going to soon be regretting the loss of those parts of establishment that we liked.

  • Jan 13th, 2017 @ 12:11pm

    Re: Re: The US Two-party system hasn't worked for a while.

    It pissed me off that Clinton was handled with kid gloves when she fell under fire of the CFAA and Espionage acts while we have activists and whistleblowers who languish in prison for doing no more than she did.

    But where Clinton was one of America's elite and immune to the common law that oppresses the rest of us Trump is, by comparison, a monster. He loves only himself, and was happy to marginalize (if not outlaw) large blocs of Americans to win the election.

    I worry that he is so addicted to winning and afraid of losing that he will scorch the earth, possibly literally, when his hour is done.

    I came to terms with my distaste for Clinton's position in the elite because it was a choice between a bandit and a demon from beyond the pale. At least the bandit could be negotiated with. At least she'd respond to activist pressure.

    To be fair, though, I've not been able to trust the Republican party since Bush. He, too, was voted in with a majority and campaigned as a slightly-right moderate, a compassionate conservative, but once in office he went far right, and that was even before 9/11.

    Since 2001, (more thanks to Tom Delay than bush) the GOP doesn't compromise. They don't negotiate across the line, and they prioritize partisanship over governance, so yeah, a Republican dominated regime has gone from inconvenient to outright hostile.

  • Jan 13th, 2017 @ 5:44am

    The US Two-party system hasn't worked for a while.

    At least not for we, the people. It works great for limiting our choices so we have to choose someone wholly corporate-owned.

    The problem is we made it too difficult to change.

  • Jan 12th, 2017 @ 10:35pm

    considering Trump always lies, what he says is useless anyway.

    More accurately: considering Trump's reality continuously changes, what he says is useless anyway.

    The press will need to start taking a more empirical approach to the presidency, ignoring what he telegraphs he'll do for what orders he's made, and what those orders mean (or could mean) on the context of prior, related orders.

    It might be a good era for career hackers as well if they can intercept intra-office communications.

    Considering the duplicitous nature of US national politics such a change may prove to be ultimately for the better. Pics or it didn't happen: we believe the intents of our officials only when we see results.

  • Jan 11th, 2017 @ 9:40pm

    Re: Re: Trump the Vampire?

    I take from your response you believe Trump's claim of millions of illegal votes in California, then?

    Voter suppression and gerrymandering aren't the same as election fraud, nor is a Russian state-supported hacking and propaganda campaign with willful intent to throw the election.

  • Jan 11th, 2017 @ 8:10pm

    Re: Unlocked phones

    Better yet, there are phones that never were locked in the first place.

  • Jan 11th, 2017 @ 12:50pm

    Infinite regression...

    These fees help cover increased cost to provide customers believable justifications for increasing their fees.

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