* Posts by John H Woods

2483 posts • joined 14 Nov 2007

Wannabe Prime Minister Andrea Leadsom thinks all websites should be rated – just like movies

John H Woods
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Re: What a choice

"An unknown number couldn't be arsed either way"

Is it unknown? The number of eligible voters who didn't is approx 12.5m, which is approx 10x the size of the majority.

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Prominent Brit law firm instructed to block Brexit Article 50 trigger

John H Woods
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Re: What a horrible waste of time and money

"The UK constitution *IS* written and is contained in documents dating back to the 1297 Magna Carta, which is still on the books. What I think you mean to say is that it is *uncodified*. This is two very, very different things." --- AC

The UK constitution is referred to as "unwritten" by several current and historic authorities although you are correct that the term "uncodified" may make it clearer to lay people and is preferred by some authorities.. However, it is arguable that some of the constitution is *actually* unwritten i.e. in terms of parliamentary conventions, so if we are going to be absolute sticklers for accuracy it might be best to say "partially unwritten and fully uncodified" with the corollary that it is probably best not to shout down anyone referring to it as "unwritten" until they make it clear that they believe something silly like there isn't one or that none of it is written down.

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John H Woods
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Re: From another angle...

"It cannot be the case that a referendum which claims to determine the future of x, does not in fact have any actual power to do so" -- nuked

Sorry but that is absolutely the case due to UK Parliamentary Sovereignty, whether you or I think it is right or wrong.

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John H Woods
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Re: Bollocks

Yes, I heard that too, but Mishcon de Reya are a serious force and it is hard to dismiss them out of hand. Perhaps the point is that the Prime Minister absolutely can use Royal Prerogative but that it might also be unconstitutional of him or her to do so. More popcorn, please ...

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John H Woods
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Re: What a horrible waste of time and money

"I'd be interested to hear informed opinion counter to this position; as far as I can tell, existing legislation enables the government to trigger article 50 without a new authorisation from parliament." --- Tom7

This was my view too, and was the view of all three guest experts on BBC R4's Law in Action special on the Referendum result. However, the arguments presented by Mishcon de Reya do seem to suggest that it may not be that simple: as the UK constitution is unwritten, there seems to this non-expert a possibility that it could indeed be the case that one Act of Parliament can only be overturned by another.

* Mishcon website a bit slow at the moment, I think a lot more people are going to the horse's mouth to see for themselves.

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Fear and Brexit in Tech City: Digital 'elite' are having a nervous breakdown

John H Woods
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Re: Really its up to Boris to take the lead now

"That assumes a PM can unilaterally serve notice without getting Parliament to agree. Any UK residents know whether that's possible?" -- DougS

IANAL but according to these experts it absolutely is possible for the PM to serve this notice.

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John H Woods
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Legal Headaches

"The EU has primarily been a source of legal headaches"

Of course it has; within the EU it is the source of regulation. To me it makes sense that a single trading bloc will try to harmonize regulation. But, regardless of whether you agree with that or not, surely it is rather simplistic to expert that regulation will go away. You'll just get your legal headaches from trying to comply with UK regulation instead.

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Those Xbox Fitness vids you 'bought'? Look up the meaning of the word 'rent'

John H Woods
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Ts&Cs

"You know those Terms & Conditions you just click accept to without reading..." -- woleftone

You mean people who expect consumer law to protect them? Come on, Ts & Cs are so long and complex now that it would take a non-legal person a significant amount of time to give them a reasonable read and get anything approaching comprehension. IANAL but a legal friend of mine opined that if he counted his time at a any reasonable rate he'd have to charge at least fifty to a hundred quid to read the average set of Ts & Cs and then explain them fully to the end user.

Come on, you buy a physical box item whose functions can be turned off later by the vendor --- this fact has to be front and centre "on the packaging" before it can even be considered remotely valid.

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I want to learn about gamification but all I see is same-ification

John H Woods
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John 104 --- In a sense I agree. Perhaps this will resolve itself as more of today's female gamers grow up and some of them become game devs. At the moment gaming can be more than a bit female-unfriendly. Not because the girls are no good at it, but because of established culture.

Both my wife (who is a racing genius) and my daughter (FPS boss) have to play with gender-neutral IDs and with their mic's off because it just gets somewhat unpleasant, especially when they're winning (as usual). I don't believe in positive discrimination but I can't wait for it all to become a bit less sexist.

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Patriotic Brits rush into streets to celebrate… National Cream Tea Day

John H Woods
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Re: “tea before milk”.

Am I the only one who puts half the milk in before the tea and the other half after?

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PM resigns as Britain votes to leave EU

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Late night smartphone use makes women go blind

John H Woods
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Deliberate differential dark adaption...

This is why pirates wore eye-patches and soldiers are trained to close/cover one eye when flares are deployed. It is also why I cover one eye when switching off the yard lights in winter. Looks ridiculous, but less ridiculous than stumbling blindly around the car-park. Also a handy technique on nocturnal dog walks where you know you are going to trigger somebody's 50 billion watt searchlight when you walk past their house.

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Microsoft cancels Remain speech after death of Labour MP

John H Woods
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Re: "The increasingly tedious referendum"

"Reforming the EU, while a good intention, is likely to take many years and arguments" - Adrian 4

Absolutely true. How long do you think it will take to complete a review of the last four decades of UK legislation and negotiate scores of bilateral trade deals?

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John H Woods
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Interest ...

I note that many people automatically suspect specific interest in cases like these. What's in it for Microsoft? This is something any sensible person should look into. But the idea that you should reject a position simply because the person making it has a special interest is absolutely ridiculous.

Somebody told me the CIA were supportive of the setting up of the Union, so it was clearly a bad idea, if not a total US conspiracy. It did not seem to have occurred to them that, if the CIA thought it would be in US interests, they would support it. Maybe the CIA thought it might help prevent another European war. But just because the CIA are against it, doesn't mean that we should be for it!

Very little examination seems to have been made into why the few top-level pro-Leave business superstars have their position. Lord Bamford's famous email seems to have missed this paragraph ...

---

P.S. I was in favour of the common market in 1975 when I realised it would benefit my exports. But, when I tried to game the system, by trying to prevent customers from buying my goods at a lower price in other EU countries, I got caught out, lost the court case and we got fined forty million euros. It is clearly unfair that we cannot exploit the benefits of the common market whilst ignoring the silly little obligations that come with it. This is why I'm backing the leave campaign. Don't worry, I've got plenty of money, some of it probably in offshore tax havens (I've got so much I can't be expected to remember where it all is), so it isn't too much of a burden making big donations to the Brexit campaign.

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John H Woods
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Re: State of disappointment? @ Flatpackhamster

All the shit in the media? I think you'll find the Leave campaign have a very variable relationship with the truth, Remain less so, but perhaps only because they've said fewer specifics.

I can't see how a referendum result can even be valid until the campaigners on both sides retract all the false statements they have made and that's going to take time.

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Austrians are most likely to bare all on beaches

John H Woods
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Re: Where did Denmark come in the rankings?

"Memories of adolescent holidays in Jutland, make me think they gave the Austrians a run for their money." -- Colin Ritchie

Yes! I got a sunburned back because I couldn't turn over!

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John H Woods
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So's mine ... if you count being found at the low tide mark by the proverbial dog walker

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Buggy vote-counting software borks Australian election

John H Woods
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Re: Counting votes under STV can be laborious.

"Have they tried scanning the paper votes into the computer, "

Note that, as per my earlier comment, STV papers cannot all be identical: the order of the candidates has to be permuted.

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John H Woods
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Re: What, me, do math?

"No, its a hard problem, I mean 1 million peoples vote can barely fit in a home PC with 8GB of ram, and it takes many many nanoseconds to computer the full vote."

STV makes counting complicated --- it's not like FPP. And the order on the ballot paper has to be randomized, especially in locations where voting is mandatory, to avoid "donkey voting" so that the papers cannot all be identical.

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In obesity fight, UK’s heavy-handed soda tax beats US' watered-down warning

John H Woods
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Re: @ Vic re: parachute jumps

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10476298

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John H Woods
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Re: 'Other people are doing things I don't like'

oops missed a 0 - the NHS budget is 130bn, of course. 65bn/year on the over 65s. (I'm not saying they don't deserve it) just we need to get things in perspective. The acute alcohol cost to the NHS (before you count the savings in shorter lifespans and the extra income in duty) is under 5bn a year. The elderly cost that falling over.

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John H Woods
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Re: subside veggies = subsidize your grocer

"If the average customer is prepared to pay $3 and no more for a cauliflower, then $3 it will cost, no matter what the price/tax split." --- Maty

Yes, yes, yes. Adam Smith stomped all over this silliness 200 years ago. Now we have a resurrection of mercantilism (what else is all this Brexit nonsense?); swathes of people who profess to be small-government capitalists wanting to interfere constantly in the markets to modify behaviour (which is merely using money to achieve control over the population in the way the communists tried with mind control); and people who claim to be caring socialists wanting to restrict free healthcare to people who only behave in the current state approved manner.

With a nod to Churchill, minimally regulated free market capitalism is the worst system of economic management --- except for all the rest.

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John H Woods
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Re: 'Other people are doing things I don't like'

Obese people have a lower TCO to their society. Not an opinion, just a fact --- check any current set of mortality tables. And remember that the over 65s consume 150bn in pensions, and half of the 13bn of the NHS budget which alone comes to over 20% of total government spending.

There is one epidemic threatening both the NHS in particular and the UK economy in general. It is not immigration, poor lifestyle choices or antibiotic resistance. It is longevity.

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Forget Game of Thrones as Android ransomware infects TVs

John H Woods
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Good news for *big* screen fans though ...

... current affordable projectors are mainly dumb. If you want a TV big enough* to see Tyrion Lannister life size, you probably won't have to worry too much about malware for a while. Buy one before they muck it up!

* 108" or 275cm

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John H Woods
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Re: Killing TVs, a step too far

"In my case, sell me a TV that is a dumb output device. The lack of one available is why I don't currently own a 4K TV." -- h4rmony

Mine too, but we're in the minority. But surely a discrete toggle switch to bypass all the smart components might be possible? Or one special HDMI socket that, when used, puts the machine in "monitor mode" with no functionality but picture controls?

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Brexit threatens Cornish pasty's racial purity

John H Woods
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Re: Sarcasm

"... still undecided, six of one and half a dozen of the other)

Until decided, perhaps the less irreversible decision might be best? I've always thought it was up to the proposers of change to make the case.

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John H Woods
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"We can stay independent and remain close to Europe just as Norway and Switzerland do." -- AC

Perhaps, but it's not guaranteed... http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/06/10/three-reasons-a-post-brexit-uk-cant-copy-norway-or-switzerland/ (which, despite the URL, lists 4 reasons).

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John H Woods
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Re: Champagne Cider - what about Babycham?

"There must be other old-fart commentards who remember it." -- Scroticus Canis

HEY! I'll have a Babycham!

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Government regulation will clip coders' wings, says Bruce Schneier

John H Woods
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Don't we already have the legislation?

Negligence? Corporate manslaughter? I'm sure some more resources put into investigation, detection and enforcement might achieve better results than yet more qualifications and rules.

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Boffins send encrypted quantum messages to spaaaace – and back

John H Woods
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Re: @King Jack Curious question...

"Well if that's the case, then you've found a way to communicate faster than the speed of light."

IANAQP but I think ... No because although the entanglement can occur at infinite distance, you can't use it to send information. You can query the particle, and be sure that your distant correspondent will see the same state that you do: the state, if you like, "has been communicated FTL" (in fact, it is the same state). But what you can't do is any meaningful information encoding.

Alice can't say: "I'll measure this and get a 1, and therefore send a 1 to Bob" but she can say "I measured this and got a 1, therefore Bob got a 1"

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Surveillance forestalls more 'draconian' police powers – William Hague

John H Woods
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"Theresa ...

... there's a new technology that can actually see what people are thinking. But, that would be too far, wouldn't it?"

"Hell no! Some criminals might get away if we couldn't bulk read everybody's mind"

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So. Why don't people talk to invisible robots in public?

John H Woods
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I find it more useful than a dinky phone kb to enter longer comments on social media...

... or more detailed text massages. but nosier people in my vicinity always ask me who I'm talking to exclamation mark also comma I find that Google voice in particular sometimes spells out punctuation instead of insert a git exclamation mark does anybody else find this question mark finally i find that it is all 2 easy for it to keep listening after you think it has stopped and comma as a result comma send people messages such as sit sit for f*** sake sit and stay out of the pond full stop

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Universe's shock rapidly expanding waistline may squash Einstein flat

John H Woods
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Re: Not wrong, just not completely right

"At some stage we have to have a theory which will unite quantum mechanics and relativity." -- Len Goddard

This is my thinking but a tiny voice asks me "do we?" Is there any sense in which we could end up with incompatible but accurate theories and an undecidability problem? Sort of like choosing between ZF and ZFC? (The large set of people who know more maths than me may laugh and/or downvote according to their personal preference, but I'd be glad of some expert input!)

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Winston Churchill glowers from Blighty's plastic fiver

John H Woods
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Re: Legal tender?

"Legal tender simply defines what a creditor must accept as payment for an outstanding debt."

Does that include restaurant bills?

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UK.gov's promise to pour cash into SMEs was just hot air

John H Woods
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Re: "£1bn, is a drop in the ocean"

"One billion of anything is quite a number. " --- Pascal Monett

well, if you believe that, I've got just over 3¼ picograms of gold to sell you ...

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Brexit? Cutting the old-school ties would do more for Brit tech world

John H Woods
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Re: Another remainer...

Sorry, but that is silly. It *was* an election. It would have been perfectly possible for other candidates will to have been nominated. ,Cameron half* acknowledged this when he said there were other, perhaps more suitable, people.

* Only half because his "other suggestions" were names he alluded to but (as the records show) failed to put forward.

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John H Woods
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Re: Another remainer...

"Juncker wasn't elected as President of the EU Commission" --- Chris Miller.

He was elected in 2014 by MEPs with a majority of 442 out of 729 votes cast. (e.g. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-28299335)

"the EU has 5 (I think, I kinda lost count) presidents" --- Chris Miller

This is self defeating argument: after implying that The President of the European Commission is a Very Special Position so that you can say (incorrectly) that the person appointed to it wields a large amount of executive power (many people seem to think it's the European equivalent of POTUS), many Brexiters go on to say that there's loads of presidents. Well, you're right, there are. And there's probably a president of your local lawn tennis club as well. Juncker's job would be more accurately described as Prime Commissioner, as he is head of the European Commission. Which doesn't actually make any laws, they just create proposals. Much like many of our laws start out as the creations of *unelected* civil servants.

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John H Woods
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Divide

"That's more a north EU vs to south EU argument than a GB vs EU argument." --AC

Yes, I've often wondered if the real divide is beer vs wine

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Bank in the UK? Plans afoot to make YOU liable for bank fraud

John H Woods
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(de-)Training ...

(as Steve Foster said above)

... Banks and other institutions have spent nearly two decades phoning people up and asking them to 'go through security' --- so much so that if you answer the phone and say "err, only if you can prove who you are" they are usually gobsmacked.

One guy said, ok, let me give you a number and you can call it back. Err, hello? Was it or was it not your institution that told me not to click on links in emails purporting to be from you? So I shall not be ringing any number you give me.

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Sweden decides Julian Assange™ 'remains detained in absentia'

John H Woods
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Re: Is Julian even news-worthy anymore?

" ... under EU law ..." -- decayofsouls

Don't want to be pedantic, but with an EU referendum coming up in the UK perhaps we should note that it is actually the sixth protocol of the ECHR (I think) that covers this and that this is under the remit of the Council of Europe*, which has nothing** to do with the EU.

I don't think it prevents extradition where the death penalty does not apply (which could be because of the nature of the offence or, I think, a prior agreement that it will not be sought).

*same flag, same anthem, different members, different purpose. Although I don't think any country would be allowed to join the EU without being a member of the CofE.

**NTBCW the Council of the European Union, which is one of the two chambers in the EU legislature (the other being the European Parliament). Also not to be confused with the European Council :-)

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John H Woods
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Re: Time locked up

"the Swedish national sport is suicide" --- AC

They may need to up their game then.

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BBC post-Savile culture change means staff can 'speak truth to power'

John H Woods
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Re: staff won't be punished for "speaking truth to power"

Yes, again the onus is on the wrong people. Ensure the managers canvass, listen to and think about opinions from the sharp end, rather than exhorting those same people to risk it all to take a possibly unwelcome viewpoint to management.

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Hulk Hogan's sex tape, a Silicon Valley billionaire, and a $10m revenge plot to destroy Gawker

John H Woods
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"In the UK they shut down News of the World because they engaged in criminal activity ... Not all free speech is welcome, some of it is just shit, and can be safely ignored, yet when the line is crossed there can be clear punishment handed out. It has in these two instances. So far, so good. YMMV." -- dadmin

So detected and prosecuted criminal activity punished by the courts is on the same level as a private individual trying to shut down a media outlet with a vast personal fortune just because you like both results? To my mind, only one of these processes has legitimacy, even though I hate Gawker.

In principle I have no problem with Thiel funding the lawsuit if it makes no difference to the outcome. But it makes me somewhat uneasy.

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John H Woods
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Quick question before you go ...

... how do you suggest we differentiate between those media outlets which should enjoy press freedom and those which shouldn't?

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Seattle Suehawks: Smart meter hush-up launched because, er ... terrorism

John H Woods
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Sounds like some people need to be whacked over the head with one of Kerckhoff's weighty tomes

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