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Scotland Votes No To Independence

itsdapead Re:Free Willy! (474 comments)

Thank you for correcting me (rolling eyes) now go correct Wikipedia:

Now go read the bit of Wikipedia about the Parliament Acts which allow the Commons to pass legislation without the approval of the House of Lords (...you might also want to ask yourself how the heck and act like that ever got passed in a "theocratic monarchy").

You go on to say "the Queen must otherwise keep the fuck out of politics or else."

Right: "or else". She has real powers which, if she exercised them, might lead her to lose those powers.

No, she has theoretical powers that if she even tried to exercise would trigger the "or else". Even making an allegedly political comment causes a shitstorm.

if you have a monarch, you aren't a democracy;

Since you seem to regard Wikipedia as the fount of all knowledge: Constitutional monarchy is a form of democratic government in which a monarch acts as a non-party political head of state within the boundaries of a constitution, whether written or unwritten. (The article goes on to describe the UK as a Constitutional Monarchy).

if you have an official state church, you aren't secular.

...true, but if the state church is subordinate to an elected parliament, you don't have a theocracy, either. Your favourite source, again: Theocracy is distinguished from other, secular forms of government that have a state religion, or are influenced by theological or moral concepts, and monarchies held "By the Grace of God". In the most common usage of the term, some civil rulers are leaders of the dominant religion (e.g., the Byzantine emperor as patron and defender of the official Church); the government proclaims it rules on behalf of God* or a higher power, as specified by the local religion, and divine approval of government institutions and laws.

* ...you know, like "one nation under God"... :-)

3 days ago
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Consumer Reports: New iPhones Not As Bendy As Believed

itsdapead Re:This is a defense of iPhone 6? (302 comments)

LG and Samsung have solved it...

Also, when someone breaks their Galaxy Note, it doesn't make CNN and BBC.

I have a Galaxy Note 2 and, from the feel of it, I would fully expect it to break if I put it in my back pocket and sat on it. So I don't. If I'd wanted to do that I'd have bought a smaller phone.

What I don't get is why Apple decided to produce two phablets rather than update the 5 for people who want a phone and just have the 6+ for people who wanted a phablet. I'd consider the 6+ if it weren't quite so eye-wateringly expensive (esp. if you want decent storage), but I really don't see the point of the 6.

4 days ago
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Scotland Votes No To Independence

itsdapead Re:Free Willy! (Sorry, finish the sentence) (474 comments)

As I've already said several times, I'd personally like to see the state church and the monarchy go as a matter of principle, but not as a matter of principle, and not at the cost of

...an elected, party political "head of state" and the economy nearly running off a fiscal cliff because the two elected houses full of party animals were having a cockfight.

about two weeks ago
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Scotland Votes No To Independence

itsdapead Re:Free Willy! (474 comments)

Its political process is mostly run by an elected body, uh huh

No, its not "mostly" run by the elected body, the elected body has the ultimate power to pass laws. The monarch has no legislative power, she is bound by the constitution (which is not imaginary) to read out a speech written by the elected government once a year and otherwise keep the fuck out of politics or else. The House of Lords - which includes representatives of the church - can review and amend laws, but the elected house is at liberty to reject any such amendments and pass the law anyway. In practice, the amendments are usually worthwhile technical improvements.

That is not the way a "theocratic monarchy" works....

The problems with the UK system are the same as any other democracy: party-political dogma and all those super-rich plutocrats and multinational companies who aren't constitutionally barred from meddling in politics.

As I've already said several times, I'd personally like to see the state church and the monarchy go as a matter of principle, but not as a matter of principle, and not at the cost of

about two weeks ago
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Kickstarter Lays Down New Rules For When a Project Fails

itsdapead Re:Problem is, Kickstarter does not enforce the ru (203 comments)

After this experience, I will be much more reluctant to back a new project, knowing they can do basically anything they want with my money with minimal risk to them.

Sorry, but what exactly are people expecting out of crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding works because it is fairly informal and nobody (should) "invest" more than they can afford to lose or enough to be worth suing over. Otherwise, the whole thing would suffocate under the red tape, and the projects might as well go to a bank or VC, put their house up as collateral and risk having the funder foreclose at the slightest hiccup.

If you want to buy a product with warranties and legal rights, go to a shop (even in the USA retailers have some obligation to give you what you paid for). If you want to invest your money without risk, put it in a savings account in a major bank and enjoy the consequent 0.fuckall% interest.

about two weeks ago
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Why the iPhone 6 Has the Same Base Memory As the iPhone 5

itsdapead Re:Yes and yes... (262 comments)

Best selling means that most actual consumers think that 16 GB is enough. That means that while _you_ want more storage in a smartphone, most people don't. That doesn't make them wrong. :-)

Exactly. The base storage in many Android phones has been stuck at 16GB for a while - e.g. the Galaxy S5 (which admittedly has a SD slot) and the Nexus 5 (which doesn't).

If you're streaming your media and can cope with occasionally deleting apps you don't use (given that you can re-install them anytime, anywhere), 16GB is plenty. If you want to carry a decent media collection for offline use, you want 64GB+.

Now, whether Apple is gouging people on storage costs is another matter - but like all mass-produced electronics the production volume and logistics of multiple SKUs can be as important as the bill of material costs.

Personally, lack of a microSD slot has been a deal-breaker for me, which is why I've stuck with android, However, I know others (including techies) who are happy with 16MB.

about two weeks ago
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Scotland Votes No To Independence

itsdapead Re:Free Willy! (474 comments)

I'm just saying, that's a lot of words defending a system of theocratic monarchy over a system of secular democracy.

TLDNR: A Constitutional monarchy is a democracy, and the elected government and major political parties are effectively secular (OK, there's N. Ireland, but the sectarian nature of politics there reflects community divisions going back for centuries).

Maybe I'm biased but I'm for secular democracy.

So am I - but the UK comes closer in practice than many true "secular democracies" and our state religion verges on institutional agnosticism.

about two weeks ago
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Scotland Votes No To Independence

itsdapead Re:The over-65's swung it for No (474 comments)

One of the biggest revelations was that The over-65's swung it for No.

How unfair. Perhaps they should have reduced the voting age from the usual 18 to 16 to give the younger generation a better voice. Oh wait, they did...

about two weeks ago
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Scotland Votes No To Independence

itsdapead Re:Free Willy! (474 comments)

Theocracy is the most offensive aspect, in my opinion, but monarchy is almost as offensive. Well, gosh maybe monarchy is more offensive. It's hard to decide.

While I agree with you completely as a matter of principle, in practice the powers of the Monarch and Church in England are so tightly constrained by constitution and tradition that they are insignificant against other sources of oligarchy or theocracy. In theory, I'd like to see the Monarch abolished and the Church disestablished, but I'd want to be thoroughly convinced that any alternative wouldn't have unintended consequences.

The first thing that happens when the Queen opens each new session of parliament is that her representative, Black Rod, has the door of the parliament chamber ceremonially slammed in his face. The Queen then reads a speech written by the elected government. She is then obliged to rubber stamp whatever laws the elected government passes. Should she refuse, there would be a huge constitutional crisis that would probably end in the abolition of the monarchy unless her action had such massive public support that the government was embarrassed into backing off (in which case, what's not to like?) If any member of the Royal family makes any comment that could be construed as "political" there is a massive political and media row.

As for "theocracy" someone has already posted that the House of Lords (which is where the Bishops sit) only review and amend legislation, and any amendments be overruled by the elected government (at the cost of a certain amount of publicity). The Church of England (certainly the English branch) is about the most liberal non-fundamentailst bunch of god botherers you can find. There's some questionable, like the requirement for schools to have a "broadly Christian" assembly every week, but thats more honoured in the breach than the observance. Its not the UK that agonizes over teaching of evolution...

Of course, I know that the USA with its democracy and strict separation of church and state has no problems with wealthy, unelected individuals having undue influence, or with local government trying to (say) block the teaching of evolution in school...

I certainly know in which countries I'd be most reluctant to publicly declare myself an atheist or burn a flag (should I feel the urge)...

about two weeks ago
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Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

itsdapead Re:No True Scotsman (494 comments)

But, it smells like a nationalistic cry for independence above all other considerations.

There's also a big party-political divide: In UK general elections, Scotland generally returns a substantial majority of Labour MPs. At the last UK general election, Scotland elected 1 Conservative MP and 41 Labour MPs yet the UK still got an (effectively) Conservative government.

From the English perspective, it would be hard for Labour in their current form to get into power without votes from Scotland.

That's really a symptom of the problem of the disproportionate influence of London on UK politics. The departure of Scotland (or significant concessions on devolution in the event of a "no" vote) is likely to create pressure from Wales, NI, the north of England etc. for more local powers.

Shit. We're gonna turn into Westeros :-)

about two weeks ago
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Apple Edits iPhone 6's Protruding Camera Out of Official Photos

itsdapead Re:Parallax. (425 comments)

Generally agree with you. You missed out a few things like laptop computers: Apple didn't invent those, either, but the typical modern laptop design with a trackpad at the front and a set-back keyboard originates from the original Powerbooks. I think they've got a stronger claim with DTP - 3rd party page layout software alone wouldn't be "desktop publishing" without an affordable GUI computer and affordable workgroup laser printer with plug-and-play networking.

However, I still think its fair criticism to say that the iPhone6/6+ feels a bit like playing catch-up: "Phablets" have been around for several years now and are already a commercial success. There's no shame in designing something to meet customer demand, though...

about two weeks ago
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Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

itsdapead Re:Russell's Teapot, anybody? (937 comments)

You did not understand what i meant.

You were claiming that atheism is a religion (and that agnosticism is the logical scientific position) because the non-existence of god "outside our universe" was untestable. That's precisely the fallacy that the "Russell's teapot" argument addresses.

Contrary to the popular aphorism, Absence of evidence is evidence of absence. It may not be proof of absence, but unless its outweighed by evidence of presence, then it's a pretty strong hint as to what the "null hypothesis" should be.

If something is inside the universe we can interact with it. If we cant interact with something, then it is outside our space-time.

Now there's an untestable assertion! If there was something "inside the universe" that we could not interact with, how could you know that it was there? The only way out of that is to take "that which we can interact with" as the definition of "Universe" - so "branes" and any other hypothetical phenomenon that might have interacted with us by influencing the outcome of the big bang are all part of the Universe. If god was sitting somewhere rolling an infinite number of 12-dice to pick the values of the fundamental constants then he's part of the universe. Choose a different word for "Universe" if it makes you feel better.

By that definition, If something "outside the universe" can't interact with us at all - if we can't even deduce its existence indirectly or use it to make some other testable prediction using current or future science - then its existence isn't just non-testable, it doesn't exist (that's really just re-stating the definition of "universe").

about two weeks ago
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Technological Solution For Texting While Driving Struggles For Traction

itsdapead Re:Can we stop lying? (326 comments)

If you think you need super human skill to text and drive then you need to give up your license.

Sorry - I thought your original post might have been tongue-in-cheek and that if I called you out on that directly I'd get a ton of "Whoosh!" posts. Evidently not. Oh dear.

I just hope that when your luck runs out its just an embarrassing autocorrect incident caused by texting without looking at the screen, rather than a fatal accident caused by driving without looking at the road (unless you have the aforementioned third eye).

about two weeks ago
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Technological Solution For Texting While Driving Struggles For Traction

itsdapead Re:Be careful what you wish for... (326 comments)

What if a system like red light cameras were devised?

Why the high tech? Just erect a simple sign:

Win an iWatch!
Text your license plate number to 800-911-FUZZ now!
[smallprint]Texts charged at $300 + legal fees and immediate suspension of driving license. iWatch prize subject to availability. Entrants may be shot.[/smallprint]

...because that sort of thing seems to work well with obsessive texters. Heck, as well as making the roads safer it might train users not to respond to phishing texts, too!

about two weeks ago
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Technological Solution For Texting While Driving Struggles For Traction

itsdapead Re:Can we stop lying? (326 comments)

Yes people have died as a result of someone using a cell phone well driving, but in reality they died because the person behind the wheel was given a license when in fact they shouldn't of been.

So its simple! Add some new question to the drivers licence application form:

1. Do you think you are capable of safely using a cell phone while driving?
(A) Yes. (go to Question 2)
(B) No. (Automatic disqualification: doesn't meet Murdoch5's definition of a good driver)

2. Do you have 3 arms and a third, independently moving, eye?
(A) Yes (Automatic disqualification - licenses only available to Homo Sapiens)
(B) No (Automatic disqualification - has delusions of superhuman skills)

...that would cut down the number of idiots in cars.

about two weeks ago
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Technological Solution For Texting While Driving Struggles For Traction

itsdapead Re:Passenger using the phone? (326 comments)

Unless it can determine if the phone's in the driver's or passenger's hands, it's a very bad idea.

Yes, because if we couldn't use our phones in our cars then the seas would boil, the sky would fall and our world would shudder to a halt...

about two weeks ago
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Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

itsdapead Russell's Teapot, anybody? (937 comments)

the hypothesis that there is no god/higher force outside the universe is as untestable as the hypothesis that ther is any kind of god outside the universe.

Here is the fundamental difference: The obvious response to the statement "The universe was created by God/The Big Bang" is "OK, so who created God/what caused the Big Bang?" Religion forbids asking that question and insists that you accept the existence of one particular interpretation of God as an article of faith. Science*/atheism recognises it as an unanswered question, and accepts the possibility that it could be answered in the future.

To cut a long story short, go and read up on Russell's Teapot.

For me, atheism is not believing in any of the various gods on offer by the world's religions, which, falsifiable or not, are so blatantly anthropomorphic that the "null hypothesis" is obviously that they are products of the human imagination. The possibility of some non-anthropomorphic "higher force" lurking before the big bang is so ill-defined that its existence isn't even non-falsifiable (how can you prove that you can't disprove something that isn't defined?) and doesn't justify calling yourself "agnostic" - its just a variation on "God moves in mysterious ways".

(NB: Disclaimer: sufficiently bad science is indistinguishable from religion.)

about three weeks ago
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Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

itsdapead Re:Our Holy Trinity? (937 comments)

Damnit, Jim! I'm a Doctor, not an anthropomorphic personification!

about three weeks ago
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Under the Apple Hype Machine, Amazon Drops Fire Phone Price To 99 Cents

itsdapead Re:It's not 99 cents (134 comments)

Ok, so the USA phone market is even more screwed up that I thought. Can't say I'm surprised...

about three weeks ago
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Under the Apple Hype Machine, Amazon Drops Fire Phone Price To 99 Cents

itsdapead Re:It's not 99 cents (134 comments)

Until AT&T offers a plan where it is cheaper to either bring your own phone, or buy the phone outright at time of contract, the cost of the phone is $0.99

No. $0.99 + $x/month for 24 months is never equal to $0.99 (assuming x > 0). Even if the monthly fee is the same as the fee for a service-only contract (in which case the USA phone market is even more screwed up than I thought) - if you can't walk in to the shop, hand over 99 cents and take a phone away with no further obligation then the phone doesn't "cost" $0.99.

Here in the UK, when I did the maths a couple of years ago, "bring your own phone" wasn't necessarily cheaper, but if you looked into contingencies (what if I don't want to upgrade after 18 months, what if I want to cancel the contract, what if I want to change phones sooner) it was more attractive and more flexible. OTOH this is the UK and I can get a SIM-only plan with 300 minutes talk and unmetered data for £13/month on a 30-day notice contract (*and* I still get unmetered data & use the voice allowance to call home when I visit the USA).

NB: Amazon have just started plugging this phone in the UK for £0 "on selected contracts" - but it is exclusive to O2 so forget it.

about three weeks ago

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