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About mattnewport

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  1. mattnewport

    What nerd news do you trust?

    Specifically for programming and engineering Hacker News is my go to site these days. I still visit Ars Technica once a week or so as well. For general news I find it best not to rely on any one news source. In the Internet world with RSS feeds and Google Reader there's really no reason to restrict yourself to any one major news source. I get a lot of my news from various blogs which often link to a variety of traditional media sources. When I occasionally watch TV news I quite like BBC World and Bloomberg. Bloomberg is primarily business focused but they generally cover the big non-business news stories and perhaps because they are business focused they aren't as blatant with their ideological bias as Fox or MSNBC. They also seem to be slightly less braindead than CNN. [Edited by - mattnewport on July 30, 2010 5:17:35 PM]
  2. mattnewport

    Vancouver Olympics 2010

    Quote:Original post by LessBread Quote:Original post by jtagge75 So OP, I can protest your protest by coming to your house and busting all the windows and kicking in the doors right? I'm just exercising my civil liberties after all. If you think that would be an exercise of civil liberty than you have a warped sense of civil liberty. Wasn't that quite obviously his point?
  3. mattnewport

    Vancouver Olympics 2010

    Quote:Original post by djz Was every opinion in my post misguided? As a person I constantly try and challenge assumptions I make about myself, and I can't believe that I am that oblivious to truth. Can you find at least one opinion with merit so I might rebuild my worldview around that sole nugget of truth? ;) Not quite every opinion but at least the following: Quote:Public sentiment reflects this notion that property destruction is a thoroughly unacceptable method of protest. This is not the case ... ... a common sentiment expressed by virtually all protesters is that the unpaid athletes are being used as a commodity - perverted to serve a corporate purpose that is eroding our nation ... ... corporations responsible for the debacle of greed happening in front of all of our lives ... If production were kept in Canada, thousands of jobs that we desperately need would have been created, and that alone should be reason enough for every Canadian to head to their local Bay and start trashing away ... ... each Made-In-China trinket is an affront to our own struggle ... We are fighting for you, we are fighting for Canadians, we are fighting for workers ... When "violent" protest against this evil is debased, you are only hurting yourselves as you allow the corporations that enact such destructive policies of profit maximization to continue to monopolize and destroy our country by lining the pockets of the new Aristocracy and taking from working-class ... I somewhat agree that the Olympics have been a massive waste of tax dollars but then I think most uses of tax dollars are a massive waste. Quote:In any case, I assume you are in favour of the state having a monopoly on violence and if that is your position; we can agree to disagree. No, I'm a libertarian with anarcho-capitalist sympathies so I'm not in favour of the state having a monopoly on violence. I would generally support HBC's right to defend their property against attack with a proportionate response. Quote:I believe it is justifiable in Canada so that we do not become a truly repressive state. The draconian security and oppressive by-laws that have been enacted specifically because of the Olympics are disconcerting; I abhor seeing my civil liberties erode. I'm a big defender of civil liberties but that includes private property rights so smashing private property is an attack on civil liberties in my view. Quote:Out of curiosity, what is your opinion on hockey riots? We could be heading for one of those if Canada loses a major game, and I hope all who vilify the political protesters enact the same judgment if such a thing comes to pass. Hockey rioters are worse than political protesters. I don't believe violence is justified for political protests but the protesters at least have a cause they believe in. Sports rioters are just a violent mob. Property owners should be able to employ reasonable force to defend against rioters.
  4. mattnewport

    Vancouver Olympics 2010

    Quote:Original post by djz As someone who respects the GameDev.Net community, can someone perhaps elaborate on exactly how I was unhelpful or unfriendly? Basically this: I strongly disagree with pretty much every misguided opinion you presented in your post defending the protests at the weekend. Does this give me the right to come round your house and smash up your shit? It doesn't seem to have occurred to you that the protesters' viewpoints may not be getting the attention you think they deserve because people think they are wrong not because they are ignorant sheep who are blinded by the mainstream media and whose attention must be forcibly grabbed by engaging in property damage and other forms of violent protest. If you want to change minds about the issues then peaceful protest and debate are legitimate ways to go about it. In the Internet era it has never been easier or cheaper to disseminate non mainstream or dissenting opinions widely without resorting to violence. Violent protest might be justified in a truly repressive state like China where other forms of dissent are heavily restricted but it isn't justified in Canada. Destruction of property just looks like the actions of a bunch of spoiled kids who throw a tantrum because they aren't getting the attention they seek. I hope the protesters who engaged in such activities are prosecuted.
  5. mattnewport

    Vancouver Olympics 2010

    Quote:Original post by LessBread By the way, has it snowed there yet? The conditions on Cypress have been shockingly bad but most of the events that require snow are happening in Whistler which has had the most snowfall on record (10m to the end of January) and just got another 20cm yesterday so it's really only the freestyle skiing and snowboarding that are in trouble. Looks like they might be ok with some last minute snowfall though. Good things about the Olympics: it's much easier for me to get to the airport now thanks to the Canada line; the road up to Whistler has been greatly improved which means shorter journeys when I want to go snowboarding. Bad things about the Olympics: it seems to have been a hugely inefficient use of money (but that's pretty much what always happens when you give governments money); it's lead to some rather sensational news stories that don't sound like the city I've been living in for the last 6 years. I hear a lot of locals complain about the poverty/drug issue here but coming from the UK it just doesn't seem that bad. Unlike London, Manchester, Birmingham or other big cities in the UK it doesn't seem to spill over and make Vancouver feel like a dangerous place to live. I wouldn't particularly choose to walk through Hastings at night but I'd feel safer doing so than I would walking in a lot of parts of Manchester I've been to.
  6. mattnewport

    The People Speak

    Quote:Original post by Sneftel It sounds interesting, but I'm a little confused about the basic concept. Why have actors playing the people who are saying these things? Why can't they be said by, well, the people who said them? Uhh, presumably because most of them are dead. The book goes back to Columbus and about half of the chapters are from pre-20th Century history.
  7. mattnewport

    Legislating individual vs. corporate freedoms

    Quote:Original post by HostileExpanse If the robber is not guilty of any crime, then they were attacked in the absence of a criminal act. You're telling us that a person innocent of any crime can be shot? This legal system of yours gets even weirder.... The right of self defense is neither weird nor novel. In fact it has been enshrined in legal codes for about as long as there have been laws. There is no logical reason why a threat of an illegal act has to in itself be illegal in order to justify the use of reasonable force to defend against the threatened action. Quote:Quote:Original post by mattnewport Same principle applies in the hypothetical terrorist examples.It does not. My "biolabs" scenario involved people conducting their own affairs on property they had rights to without even necessarily being in the presence of any potential victims. So, my scenario is nothing like this robbery red herring that you addressed instead. The same principle applies. There would be nothing illegal about the biolabs existing but the police or anyone else could monitor the situation and intervene at the point when an imminent threat became apparent. It's really not that complicated.
  8. mattnewport

    Legislating individual vs. corporate freedoms

    Quote:Original post by HostileExpanse You've stated pretty plainly that merely threatening someone's safety is NOT legally actionable. Someone points a gun at you and says they will shoot you unless you hand over your wallet. You shoot them. That is legitimate self defense as you had good reason to believe that you were in immediate danger. If they survive they are not however guilty of any crime since the crime was prevented. Same principle applies in the hypothetical terrorist examples. The police (or anyone else) have the legal right to intervene to prevent harm if they have good reason to believe that harm is imminent (up to and including lethal force if necessary). That is an entirely separate issue from there being an actual crime of 'endangerment' in the absence of harm occurring. If you handed over your wallet in the first case then an actual crime would have occurred and the offender would have committed a criminal act.
  9. mattnewport

    Legislating individual vs. corporate freedoms

    Quote:Original post by HostileExpanse Are you citing statistics about a society that has no relevance to the one you're proposing?? You're the one claiming it has no relevance without any further justification. You seem to believe that there are thousands or millions of potential terrorists whose only reason for not running basement bioterrorism labs is the not-particularly-effective law enforcement bodies charged with keeping an eye on such things. I see no reason to believe that, in fact it seems patently ridiculous to me. Nothing you've said gives me any reason to think it at all likely. Quote:Original post by HostileExpanse Quite unlike a normal country with a legal system that is trusted to stop unreasonably dangerous people BEFORE they actually hurt someone, you propose a land where the law will not allow police to interfere with a malicious person's activities until after an attack has already passed, and there victims are who are dead/dying/wounded. Who said anything about the police being powerless to interfere? A lack of laws against endangerment does not mean that the police (or anyone else) cannot monitor potentially dangerous activities and it does not mean that they cannot interfere when a plan of attack is actually put into action. Laws allowing individual and collective self defense and defense of property as well as laws against unlawful trespass would provide ample legal means to disrupt the rare cases of an actual attempted terrorist attack. Quote:The real-world offers a few examples of countries with weak law enforcement which make it quite clear that capitalists who can make a business out of creating fear stand to reap huge monetary profits [billions per year]; you can continue to pretend that it is unimportant that these scoundrels get additional incentives (and protections) under your proposals. The only examples of creating fear to huge personal benefit that spring to mind are the from likes of the US government and military industrial complex. Weak law enforcement is not the primary enabler of such activity. It's also a mistake to equate a minimalist legal system with weak law enforcement. Indeed the elimination of all kinds of unnecessary and harmful laws and regulations on activities that are not a real problem is likely to free up law enforcement resources to focus on actual dangers rather than imagined ones.
  10. mattnewport

    Legislating individual vs. corporate freedoms

    Quote:Original post by HostileExpanse Everyone here likely knows that it is not so "far-fetched" for there to be bioweapon attacks, nor for wealthy masterminds to help encourage terrorism, because we've witnessed it for ourselves in pretty recent times. Everyone here might have heard of a few incidents of bioterrorism. I would hope that at least some of them are aware that the statistical likelihood of being killed by a terrorist act is miniscule. How about you provide some evidence to support your position that this is something that people should actually be worried about? And by evidence I don't mean senstationalist stories of incredibly rare attacks but actual statistics indicating the risks of dying due to one of these attacks compared to all the other myriad ways of meeting an untimely end that involve more mundane and far more likely causes. Once you've made some kind of case that this is a statistically significant risk and worthy of serious concern we can move on to debate what kinds of legal restrictions might increase or decrease the risks.
  11. mattnewport

    Legislating individual vs. corporate freedoms

    Quote:Original post by Binomine Here's a question, and I want a straight answer. Would you want to live in a world where it was common to maintained "Hit lists" like this one which shows where his kids go to school, where he works, etc. You mean a world where it was significantly more common than the actual world (where according to you it is already not uncommon)? Not particularly, but using this problem as an argument against the legal system I'm suggesting you'd need to explain why it would make this kind of thing a) significantly more likely, b) significantly more likely to result in actual harm and c) would not on balance be a net improvement due to preventing other kinds of abuses. Convince me. Quote:Would you prefer a world where if someone did that, you could arrest them before they killed your parents, significant other and kids? They system I'm suggesting would not prevent the police or anyone else protecting people who had received credible threats and it would not preclude interfering with direct plans to commit an actual crime. It's not necessary to make the threat itself illegal to provide protection against the threatened offense. In the current world police protection of witnesses is common for example because there needs to be no explicit threat for there to be a real danger. The illegality of making direct threats does not preclude implied threats from existing and protection is provided if the risks are deemed real.
  12. mattnewport

    Legislating individual vs. corporate freedoms

    Quote:Original post by Binomine Can I offer a real world scenario? A famous comedian opened an anonymous web email service, and advertised it by the phrase, "The perfect email account to make anonymous death threats to the president". The secret service came and talked to him, because he would be responsible if someone actually did that. I think he changed it to "The perfect anonymous email to invent flying cars", so he could be responsible for that. If someone took his advice, would this be illegal under your system(assuming death threats are still illegal)? What about if it wasn't an Internet comedian, but another comedian that crosses the line into reality, like Glen Bleck or John Steward? What about if it was done by the Chinese government, the KKK or a survivalist group claiming it was a comedic joke? Would your system judge based on who you are(comedian vs KKK), rather than what you did? Death threats would not be illegal, neither would talking about enabling people to make death threats. In general the nature of the crime would be the focus of judgments rather than the status of the perpetrator or victim. If someone actually committed a crime (murder, assault, property damage, theft, other actual harm) I would want to allow the courts some leeway in assigning partial culpability to a third party who clearly and deliberately incited the crime. My personal inclination would be to require a very narrow interpretation of incitement (it would have to be very clear and very deliberate) but I don't believe in trying to define overly strictly in law the boundary for such decisions but rather to leave reasonable discretion in the hands of judges and juries. Quote:Another one: What happens if an anti-abortion group posts a list of abortion doctors with their home addresses, and whenever one is killed, a red X goes through their pictures. No where on the web page does it claim to assassinate doctors and they are a pro-life group, all life including doctors. Are they responsible if people are using this list to kill abortion doctors, even if they maintain they do not support it? If they are not responsible, would you like to live in a society where large groups maintained "hit lists" that were actively used, as long as the groups maintained they do not support them? I don't believe there should ever be any penalty or law against providing information so no, it would not be illegal to post such a list and I would not generally consider merely making the information publicly available grounds for assigning criminal culpability in case of an actual crime. Again however I would support the courts having a fair amount of leeway to consider charges of conspiracy and incitement based on the specifics of the case.
  13. mattnewport

    Legislating individual vs. corporate freedoms

    Quote:Original post by HostileExpanse Actually, the major flaw I brought up was the dangerous idea of de-legitimizing endangerment. I've pointed that out quite clearly, though you seem to be distracting from that point. You've stated it repeatedly without any real justification. You've provided a bunch of far-fetched hypothetical examples as if imagining some outlandish scenario somehow irrefutably proves your point. I haven't seen you make an actual logical case for the necessity of endangerment laws or provide any kind of supporting evidence so I haven't seen anything worth addressing. I'm not distracting from your point, I just haven't seen you make it yet. Quote:...and I assume that you're knowingly deflecting from the point, which is that you are advocating a concept of society wherein EVERY JOE BLOW on the street will be able to advance these plots IN THE OPEN with ZERO security screening procedures. I'm waiting for you to provide a shred of evidence or a coherent argument for why this is actually a real problem rather than something from the plot of 24. Quote:Quote:Original post by mattnewport He killed a grand total of 5 people, about the number that died in traffic accidents in the time it took me to compose this reply.Real deaths? I guess that's not nearly the "paranoid fantasy" that you initially dismissed it as being. More people are killed by shark attacks every year than have been killed by terrorists using anthrax in the entire history of the world. The one case of an anthrax attack we have seen involved a 'terrorist' who was a government employee supposedly tasked with protecting us from these kind of threats. Even if as LessBread suggests he was not the real culprit the alternative theories seem to be that it was the US government or a foreign government that was behind the attacks. Quote:But, I wonder how many deaths it would be if guys like this were in a land where they can set-up these plots without police being able to touch them ('til it was too late)... How many of these guys would there be if the US government wasn't creating enemies all around the world with it's aggressive foreign policy? How many terrorist groups are there that do not have a government as their main stated enemy? Quote:I assume the scenarios will not receive a serious rebuttal [none exists?], but if these examples encourage one to take a closer look at the not-so-candy-coated "freedom is good" bits of ancap philosophy, then that'll do. So, unless you surprise and offer a serious rebuttal to the scenarios I described, I'll move on from this topic of "libertarians de-legitimizing endangerment." If you want a serious rebuttal provide a serious scenario and a serious argument for why it is a) more likely to be a problem without endangerment laws and b) likely to pose a meaningful threat.
  14. mattnewport

    Legislating individual vs. corporate freedoms

    Quote:Original post by LessBread It seems that way because you look at deregulation as the opposite or the inverse of regulation, but that isn't necessarily the case. What I proposed was a question. Are you resorting to Zen Koans now? If you are proposing new definitions for deregulation and regulation then spit them out rather than dodging the question. I've already proposed several possible measures of regulation, not particularly brilliant ones but at least something that might be amenable to objective measurement. I've also offered to get specific by discussing particular reforms and saying whether I think they would count as deregulation. If we can't even agree on what we mean by regulation and deregulation then there's really not much point discussing their relative merits. Quote:They have a legitimate interest in reducing harm to those harmed, including those not seeking assistance. They have no business judging that someone is being harmed if the 'victim' is not seeking assistance. There are many religious people in the world who would consider that I am being harmed (by condemning my soul to eternal damnation) by not following their beliefs. That gives them absolutely no right to intervene in my life without my consent. The same is true of those who see 'harm' in other people's use of drugs or alcohol, sexual proclivities, participation in dangerous sports or any other activity that doesn't meet some busybody's approval. Quote:It appears that you support legalization coupled with a you're on your own response to the consequences. I support legalization with a realization that the potential social damage that might follow will need amelioration. I have no problem with voluntary assistance provided to those who seek help due to problems relating to drug use. There are many commendable charities doing such work today. I absolutely reject anyone being forced to provide assistance to anyone else against their will. Quote:Original post by mattnewport If people died in the riot or were trampled in the theater would there be grounds for a criminal case? I think so. I think people should be held to account for what they say in public. No, I don't think there would be grounds for a criminal case. There may well be grounds for several civil suits. People can be held responsible for the consequences of their actions without needing to make everything into a case for the criminal courts. Quote:Original post by mattnewport That link doesn't support your claim. Mitchell is addressing standard of living, not regulation. I was referencing the first paragraph of the link: "Nations such as Denmark and Sweden have much to admire, particularly their open markets, low levels of regulation, sound money, and honest governments. Indeed, if fiscal policy is removed from the equation, both Denmark and Sweden are more laissez-faire than the United States according to Economic Freedom of the World". Quote:As I wrote above, I think the "Index of Freedom" is nothing more than a propaganda tool used by corporate special interests in their effort to shape regulations to their liking. It's bogus from the outset. So you fear the dark dystopian corporate future where the United States becomes a little more like Australia or Ireland? Quote:Meanwhile, you're sidestepping my challenge to your claim that high regulation correlates with high corruption. Easy enough to test with Excel, seems a pretty robust correlation: Quote:How do mega-corporations with revenues comparable to the GDP of nations manage to avoid top down regulation internally? Using as many different approaches as there are corporations. I suggest reading some management books or case studies of a few successful large corporations to get a feel for how they organize themselves without excessive top down regulation. Generally the more profitable corporations do not organize themselves like governments. Quote:It's right there in the definition you cited. A system can be called economically efficient if: (Economic efficiency). The government isn't the economic system. You're trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. So how would you like to define efficiency for governments then? If you want to argue with my definitions then how about proposing an alternative? It seems to me that any measure of efficiency for governments would have to bear more than a passing resemblance to the definition I gave. Quote:Original post by mattnewport Most is not equal to all. People can think their taxes are too high and still willingly pay them. You were the one that brought 'most' into it. I don't think taxes would be legitimate even if an absolute majority approved of them. As it happens I suspect that 'most' people would not pay taxes at anything like the current level if they didn't have to but I don't think it really matters what percentage would choose to pay. If you believe that most people willingly pay their taxes why not make them voluntary? I have absolutely no problem with voluntary taxes that anyone who wants to can pay. What I object to is forcing people who don't want to pay them to pay. Quote:That you can't see the logical connection attests to another of your ideological blind spots. Considering that in 1861 half the country expressed it's patriotism by rebelling, your question is moot. You seem to be confusing patriotism with nationalism and with blind devotion to the current government. Did you agree that people who opposed the Iraq war were unpatriotic for not supporting their government? Quote:There's nothing confusing about saying greed isn't rational. Rational people don't lose control of their appetites. If it's not clear to you that corporate greed suffers from pursuing narrow goals that act against their broader interest, then you must be impervious to the facts of what happened on Wall Street last year. It's far from clear to me that Wall Street acted against it's own broader interests. The Goldman Sachs employees earning an average of $700,000 this year from a $16.7 billion compensation pool probably feel that they have more or less met their goals. Quote:When you call the police you are calling the government. When you call the fire department you are calling the government. When you call the DMV or the courts and so on, you are calling the government. There is no mystery to that - unless of course you don't want people to make the connection between your extreme views regarding government and how it would impact them directly. It sounds like you want to have your cake and eat it to. You want to condemn the government as a mugger, but you want the government to provide you with service when you are mugged. Among other things, that betrays an attitude of privilege and even contempt. If I contact a government agency to provide a service it is because the government has a monopoly on that service and I have no other realistic option to obtain it. In many cases it is a service that I don't even want but that I am required to obtain because of other government regulations. What I want is to be able to obtain those services that I actually require privately in a competitive market place with no government involvement. Your argument is completely incoherent. Quote:If there was plenty of counter evidence, it would be easy for you to point to some of it, but instead of that you merely bluster. Any evidence I've linked to in this thread you've summarily dismissed as nothing but corporate funded lies without even bothering to address. It seems to me you are not interested in considering any evidence that doesn't fit with your world view. It seems to me that there are rapidly diminishing returns to continuing to engage in dialogue with you. Quote:Crack houses would be left to the local government to deal with, just like porn shops, gun shops and pot dispensaries. It would be a zoning issue. I'd prefer it were left to private ownership but devolving power to the most local level of government is certainly a better situation than what we have now.
  15. mattnewport

    Legislating individual vs. corporate freedoms

    Quote:Original post by HostileExpanse The abundance of these apparently unresolved absurdities is why most people don't find Rothbardian fantasies worth addressing. I don't believe that fears of neighbourhood terrorist biolabs is a common reason for people not accepting libertarian arguments. I think you are the first person I've encountered who seems to see that as a major flaw of libertarian thinking. I assume you are aware that the only known case of anthrax bioterrorism appears to have been perpetrated by a federal government biodefense researcher subject to some of the most 'thorough' security screening procedures the government is capable of applying? He killed a grand total of 5 people, about the number that died in traffic accidents in the time it took me to compose this reply.
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