Posts by Michael Homer

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  • Hard News: Illegal Highs, in reply to BenWilson,

    If this was not against the law, they’d be out of jail sooner.

    Concurrent sentencing doesn't work that way. Two years for X plus one month for Y is two years in total.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 72 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Gower Speaks, in reply to Pete George,

    Even reporting the intervals isn't overly helpful in itself since (among other things) the proportions aren't actually independent - +1% to someone has to come from someone else, which has flow-on effects elsewhere. They have a pretty narrow range of application and the nuances are pretty subtle. It would be a nice area for an interactive visualisation though.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 72 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Poll Day 2: Queasy, in reply to BenWilson,

    It’s just the standard binomial proportion confidence interval p ± z * sqrt(1 / n * p(1 – p)). If you know p (the reported proportion) and n (the sample size) you can calculate the confidence interval for any z (“number of standard deviations” – 1.96 for a 95% interval) you like.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 72 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: The Big Guns: Truecrypt and Tails, in reply to Gareth Swain,

    Public-key encryption isn't generally useful for data at rest. Ordinary ("symmetric") encryption with a passphrase does just as well in that case. The practical benefit of encrypting your stored data then is mostly that it will be inaccessible if your machines are lost or stolen. Truecrypt is one way of doing that.

    It doesn't actually hurt to encrypt anything you're sending over a public network, but the tradeoff of effort probably isn't worthwhile most of the time. The most bang for your buck is using SSL connections wherever possible, particularly if you're using a public wifi access point or the like.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 72 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Real Threat, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    As Kirk observes, getting SSL hosting means getting a non-shared IP address, and that frequently costs. The bigger cost, though, is getting the SSL certificate.

    SNI lets you do SSL virtual hosting and works in most browsers now - basically only Internet Explorer on Windows XP is out. Lately certificate prices are down and IP address prices are up, too. It's getting fairly practical now.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 72 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: What Andrew Geddis Said, But…, in reply to Susannah Shepherd,

    It would be a very odd RIS that consisted entirely of legal advice (especially on something like the carer legislation). The cost-benefit aspects should be releasable

    Most of the statement isn't blacked out - just a couple of whole pages, several isolated paragraphs and parts of sentences, and an entire column of all the tables which is labelled "Contents of this column legally privileged" (including the headings).

    I would be really interested in what has been redacted from table 8. The number is clearly a zero, but the row label itself is secret.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 72 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Thatcher,

    Long Walk to Freedom discusses all that fairly candidly, and if anything you’d think it would downplay it.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 72 posts Report Reply

  • Field Theory: Time will tell,

    That last link is now broken, but the media release about it is here.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 72 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: Semi-Random election law thoughts,

    Being picky, I'm not sure what this is trying to say:

    I arrived at the proposal to have the matter referred to the Court of Appeal arose because of that Court’s powers in respect of election petitions respecting the allocation of list seats.

    It looks like two sentences mashed together there and I don't know which you meant. There is also a "candidate who’s nomination" that should be "whose".

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 72 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: #JohnDotBanks and all, in reply to BenWilson,

    ACT getting Epsom gives National an effective bonus seat, even if they got no further seats. Why? Because ACT’s seat does not count against the National total seats. If National won the seat, they would get one less list MP (so their numbers would be unaffected)

    Not really true. ACT only got the party vote total it did because it had a good chance of getting in through Epsom. If they hadn't thrown them the seat and only 2,000 people switched their vote to National instead of ACT they would have had their 18th list seat anyway.

    It's true that it's hard to pick that in advance, but given how Sainte-Laguë works they would be pretty likely to get it. More votes means more seats in general, and only in odd edge cases do you get more seats than you "should" by splitting votes across parties (and not more than one in any case). It's only if you assume that the party vote tallies are the same that National loses a seat.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 72 posts Report Reply

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