* Posts by Alan Carter

5 posts • joined 6 Sep 2007

New York's Freedom Tower to depend on RFID

Alan Carter

Would you like Freedom Fries with that?

Will Freedom Tower have a restaurant? If so, will Liberty Cabbage be served?


Sociologists: Studying engineering turns you into a terrorist

Alan Carter

Missing the point

Sorry to spoil the sociology-bashing fest, but it doesn't actually matter what definition of engineering they use,so long as they're consistent. The important question - and the Register summary largely ignores this - is whether the % of engineers (however you define them) amongst jihadis is higher than the % of engineers amongst graduates in general. So long as you use the same definition of engineer for each of those two figures, the comparison is perfectly fair. Okay, you might not like the definition they use, but so long as they used it consistently, their conclusions are valid for that particular definition.

Perhaps it's the case that architects are extremely prone to turning jihadi and their controversial inclusion has skewed the data, reflecting badly on the poor innocent little engineers. I rather doubt this. The group whose name they're tarnishing might be a bit arbitrary, but unless it's only the subgroups whose inclusion you disupute who are responsible for the higher rate of jihadist tendancies, then the core group of "real" engineers must also have a statistically significant difference from average in this respect.

As a software developer; I can say more about the validity of their statistical methods than about the sources themselves. If the data sources they've used are unreliable, then so are their conclusions. A quick look through the paper, though (did anyone else bother to do this?), suggests that their actual methods are fine. However, feel free to carry on with the knee-jerk "would you like fries with that comments" if that's more fun than debating the paper itself.

Blank media levy breaches should be criminal, say authors

Alan Carter

Liablity for payment of the levy

"It is also necessary to address the case of distance sales in order to avoid that liability for the payment of the private copying remuneration be extended to consumers."

After all, if the consumers were directly liable for paying the levy, they might become aware of its existence and realise how stupid it is. Better that they pay it indirectly, so they don't start trying to get it scrapped.

BitTorrent-busters busted by BitTorrent

Alan Carter

@ Anonymous

"The antagonism of P2P is simply a ticking time-bomb, it inevitably leads to more repressive and authoritarian laws where one day even using a P2P protocol will lead directly to jail. The more adversarial users are, the more the authorities will tighten the screw and eventually we'll all lose. The idea that P2P will emerge victorious is pure fantasy; all it will lead to is the encouragement of the authoritarian state in which all our freedoms will be more restricted."

Of course, nothing like that would happen if it weren't for those evil P2P pirates. If all piracy suddenly stopped, I'm sure the RIAA and MPAA would immediately stop lobbying for changes to the law at the expense of fair use, or trying to push consumers towards models based on renting content instead of buying it. As for authorianism, I really can't imagine any government ever trying to encroach on its citizens' freedom in the name of anti-piracy, if people stopped using P2P illegally. I am quite certain that the level of intrusiveness which those groups aim for is completely proportional to the real level of piracy, and would instantly drop to zero if all piracy suddenly ceased. It's not like such trustworthy institutions would ever consider exaggerating the scale of a problem in order to justify their own agendas...

Slave kids working UK cannabis farms

Alan Carter


Why are there quotation marks around 'slave' in this article? Surely if they're being forced to work, that *is* slave labour. If they are actual slaves (it sounds like they are), then drop the quote marks!

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