Human Rights

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Dotini

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Nothing to do with Human Rights but minerals and such, have you ever been to Inner Space Cavern in Georgetown? They were drilling the land to make Interstate 35 and broke through into an elaborate set of underground caves. Very cool place.
I've toured the Carlsbad Caverns in nearby New Mexico. Vast and deep spaces, with weird formations like stalacmites and stalactites.
 

BobK

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Yup, bogus @Dotini. My initial take on the situation is that land rights go straight to the middle of the planet and anything anybody wants to do under the surface should require a contractual agreement with the land owner. This would also solve the problem of drilling sideways through others' land. If you cross that imaginary plane to the center of the earth, you gotta pay up. Yes, this would be intensely complicated for oil companies and whatnot but if they really want full access to the land they should have to own it. Pretty simple concept it seems to me.
I'm pretty sure that conceptually, land rights go down to the center of the earth and extend indefinitely upwards unless contracts, bills of sale, etc, say otherwise. Nowadays, we don't have the right to prevent planes from flying over our property; I think it's considered an easement or something.

The "indefinitely upwards into space" was a factor in Heinlein's story The Man Who Sold the Moon.
 

Danoff

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I've worked in over 40 county courthouses in the State of Texas, researching mineral ownership in various oil and gas leases. This was back in 70's, and I made ton of money buying mineral rights and selling them to a driller, reserving a royalty on future production. In all these court houses, the title to land, and the minerals beneath, goes back to the Spanish Land Grant. Over time - especially after oil was discovered - sellers of land tended to sell only the surface rights, but retain mineral rights in hopes of a gusher, should an oilman be so motivated to drill his lease. My mission was to buy unleased mineral interests of a likely prospect. Anyway, mineral rights in Texas became progressively divorced from surface rights. A driller can enter onto the surface to dig his pits and produce his minerals, but of course he pays for any damages incurred. This is Texas law, but its similar elsewhere.

Yup, bogus @Dotini. My initial take on the situation is that land rights go straight to the middle of the planet and anything anybody wants to do under the surface should require a contractual agreement with the land owner. This would also solve the problem of drilling sideways through others' land. If you cross that imaginary plane to the center of the earth, you gotta pay up. Yes, this would be intensely complicated for oil companies and whatnot but if they really want full access to the land they should have to own it. Pretty simple concept it seems to me.

So someone privately owned their surface and mineral rights, and only sold the surface rights (with an easement for mineral rights), and now law upholds their claim to their mineral rights. Sounds completely correct.
 

Keef

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GTP Keef
I don't believe the two should be separable.

A person who owns land should have rights to it and anything underneath. The fact that he has rights to things underneath is based on the fact that he owns the land which is a surface commodity. His right to anything underneath would never be enforceable if he didn't own the surface land. But then eventually he sells his land and moves elsewhere.

And somebody else moves in. Now they own the surface land. Their right to what's underneath is also based on the fact that they own the surface land. But supposedly they don't own what's underneath because the guy prior sold it, forever screwing the next landowner out of it with nothing they can do about it.

I don't think such a sale of property rights should be enforceable because it unintentionally strips rights away from anybody who may move onto the land later.

It's like if a river flowed through your land. It's on the surface, right. So you divert it into your own farmland and you soak up every last drop of water irrigating your land. You can't do that because now you've screwed everybody else downriver. You've ruined their ability to use what their land could have given them which is a violation of property rights. You can't take or sell somebody's else's rights to do so which means you can't forfeit your own right to do so because it is a permanent decision which might affect others later.

A better system would be to do it by contractual agreement, like a lease. You lease what is underneath you to an energy company. But when you move that contract ends and is up for renegotiation with whoever is moving in. Now it's their turn to either lease to the company or to tell them to scram. You can let somebody conduct business with your land and your minerals but you shouldn't be able to separate or forfeit the rights to them.
 

nobuffalo

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@Keef So it seems you want to remove the rights of current land owners for the sake of future owners. Why not take it a step further and say you can't own land because you may never sell it, I get your reasoning but it just doesn't seem to work. A person should be able to sell a portion of their land if they want whether it's the dirt below the surface or the air above it, future buyers should be aware of this and if they want the mineral rights and it's not for sale too bad. Why force people to sell their land?

BTW I'm not referring to the river scenario.
 

Keef

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@Keef So it seems you want to remove the rights of current land owners for the sake of future owners.
No, I'm saying that the idea of mineral rights at all is a legal anomaly. Philosophically, I don't see how land rights and mineral rights (the stuff directly beneath the land) can be separable.

If a person wants to allow a company to use their minerals, they can go ahead and lease it like a person would lease land for a cell phone tower. But as Dotini has explained it, they don't lease it, they literally sell the rights to it which is a preposterous idea.
 

nobuffalo

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Gotcha, I'm just not seeing why they can't be separable. I guess I don't understand why land can only be bought or sold based on the surface.
 

Danoff

Who is John Galt?
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No, I'm saying that the idea of mineral rights at all is a legal anomaly. Philosophically, I don't see how land rights and mineral rights (the stuff directly beneath the land) can be separable.

If a person wants to allow a company to use their minerals, they can go ahead and lease it like a person would lease land for a cell phone tower. But as Dotini has explained it, they don't lease it, they literally sell the rights to it which is a preposterous idea.

Why is that preposterous?

You can separate any other element of your property into smaller pieces and sell the pieces. If you own a company, you can sell a portion of the company, some of the products, some of the factories, some of the brands... if you own a car you can sell the stereo, the rims, the engine...

If you own a large amount of land (100 acres) you can sell it acre by acre (presuming you didn't enter into a contract when you purchased it that prevents such a thing). Your issue is that you don't like the fact that all of the surface property has already been divorced from the subsurface property, and so if you wanted to acquire some property that went all the way down you'd have to purchase both the surface and subsurface rights. But that's just how it is, someone before you sold it in pieces.
 

Danoff

Who is John Galt?
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Does the first person to alter the surface with a combination of labor and unowned resources get any right to the subsurface?

No. But neither does anyone have the right to trespass to access the subsurface.
 
2,840
Australia
Australia
No. But neither does anyone have the right to trespass to access the subsurface.
How deep a hole would a surface owner need to dig to stake their subsurface claim? Say, they need to dig up some rocks to throw at potential trespassers.
 

Dotini

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No. But neither does anyone have the right to trespass to access the subsurface.
This is an issue.

Sometimes I was able to find one acre in a producing 600 acre section that wasn't leased up. My brother and I would get the mineral rights owner to sign a lease, then we would resell the lease to an oilman who spudded in his well on the one acre. Because the oilman had a good lawyer at the Texas Railroad Commission (which sets production limits and such) we could get a full allowable on the production rate of our well. I can tell you we made some people mad, but we made a ton of money. In a manner of speaking, we put our straw in their malt. Diagonal or horizontal drilling is another example of "horning in" on the other guy's minerals. Oh Gawd it was fun while it lasted. :lol:
 

Touring Mars

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Are you Mr. Burns?

Slant_drilling.jpg
 

Dotini

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Are you Mr. Burns?

Heh-heh, no. Slant drilling is accomplished without any such outward hints. But the cartoon is accurate in showing a drill rig located next door to a place like "Moe's". My small acreage leases have been drilled on developed land directly adjacent to farmhouses, barns or even in one case, a church. Once the drilling is done, only a small wellhead is left to show. Salt-water pits, easement roads, downed fences and such are mitigated over various time periods.
 

Danoff

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How deep a hole would a surface owner need to dig to stake their subsurface claim? Say, they need to dig up some rocks to throw at potential trespassers.

When it comes to unowned resources, your property rights extend to that with which you have tied to your labor. So putting a fence around something, for example, can stake a claim.

If you want a subsurface claim, you need to mix your labor with the subsurface as far as you want the claim. If someone comes in sideways underneath of you without disturbing your property, that's their prerogative.
 

nobuffalo

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When it comes to unowned resources, your property rights extend to that with which you have tied to your labor. So putting a fence around something, for example, can stake a claim.

But wouldn't that only stake a claim on the land your fence is on and not necessarily around? And how do you define labor? I have tons of questions but I guess I should just ask if you could point me to some literature on the subject.
 

Danoff

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But wouldn't that only stake a claim on the land your fence is on and not necessarily around?

Yes, it would be a problem if someone tunneled under your fence and popped up in the middle of the fenced-in area. That's a risk you could take, or you could plant some stuff (or alter things) inside the fenced-in area and then that's not a problem.
 

prisonermonkeys

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I'm posting in this thread because I am bothered by some recent developments in my country.

Now, I know that I like to harp on about the quality of my government and the stupid things they do and say on a seemingly daily basis. But I am going to put that aside for a moment because of an issue that completely disgusts me: our treatment of asylum seekers.

Australia has twin policies of mandatory detention and offshore processing for anyone who attempts to arrive illegally. Upon interception in Australian waters, any and every asylum seeker is taken to a "detention facility" on Manus Island, which is a part of Papua New Guinea. They remain in this compound until their applications for asylum can be processed. If they succeed, they are resettled on Manus Island. If they are rejected, they will be deported. The idea is to interrupt people-smuggling operations by denying anyone the ability to settle in Australia; if they are legitimate refugees, they will (supposedly) accept being resettled anywhere.

In the past few days, the Australian Human Rights Commission has handed down a review of the conditions under which people are detained, with a particular focus on children in detention. You read that right - children in detention. We are the only country in the world which detains children.

The ARHC review team was made up of a group of medical and clinical professionals, who investigated the detention conditions. They have found evidence of physical and sexual assaults in detention facilities, of substandard medical care, and of increasing mental health problems. There have been incidents of self-harm, and most shockingly of all, children under the age of ten who are on suicide watch. It recommends a Royal Commission - an open, impartial forum to investigate matters of public interest - into the status of children in detention.

My government's response has been to ignore this report. As it is more critical of them and less critical of the previous government (their opponents) than they would like, they have immediately branded it as a partisan attack on their "good government". Conservative supporters claim that our border security cannot be compromised, and that the AHRC did not address the increased numbers of detainees under the previous government. They further claim that asylum seekers have been telling "sob stories" to win over bleeding-heart liberals, and that if children are suffering, then they are doing so because their parents are pressuring them into it to emotionally blackmail the Australian population. The government has already ruled out a Royal Commission (despite having conducted two in the recent past aimed at destroying the reputation of their rivals) as it is a matter of national security - they have steadfastly refused to discuss any details of their operations, justifying it as vital to keeping details secret to prevent showing their hand to people smugglers.

But at the end of the day, the status quo is this: whatever the circumstances that led to them being there, there are people suffering as a result of a policy that amounts to institutionalised abuse. Our borders are secure, but the price that has been paid is the dignity of hundreds of people in detention. As a direct result of our policies, innocent children are suffering.

I am thoroughly ashamed to call myself Australian at the moment. This is the single most disgusting policy that we have ever had, and once upon a time, we had the White Australia Policy. It is a subversion and a corruption of our values, and a disturbing turn of events perpetrated by a self-declared "good government" for the purpose of staying in government.

Furthermore, I believe that the people responsible for this policy are criminals. Tony Abbott, our Prime Minister; Scott Morisson, former Immigration Minster; and Peter Dutton, the current Immigration Minister (although he's a weak man and probably just parrotting the party line). They need to be held responsible for their actions. They must be held responsible for their actions. The shame of their policies are ours to bear, but their actions amount to abuse. Our archives must be opened and details of this policy released, unredacted, to the public. Children in detention must be freed with immediate effect. And Abbott, Dutton and Morisson should be hauled before the International Criminal Court and made to answer for their crimes.
 

prisonermonkeys

Be Fearless
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A range of articles to supplement the above. First, a former Prime Minister condemns the current PM's response to the AHRC report:

http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2015-...ott-treatment-human-rights-commission/6098920

And accounts from people involved in the actual reporting process. Be aware - they're tough to read:

http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-13/talley-detention-of-children/6091678

http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2015-...-children-i-was-shocked-by-what-i-saw/6092912

This is an opinion piece on a rather questionable episode where asylum seekers were detained at sea:

http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-30/bradley-tamils-ruling-has-worrying-implications/6056744

And an account from a lawyer representing some asylum seekers (it does contain a rather unsettling image of a man with his lips sewn together):

http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-23/burnside-manus-island-what-will-it-take-to-shock-us/6031334
 
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2,840
Australia
Australia
Quoted from the God thread......

Rights extend to animals to the extent that they can observe rights. Most animals are incapable of the brain functions required to process and observe rights. However, if we determine that some animals are capable of this (say dolphins, elephants, or other primates), they would have rights to the extent that they can. The same principle applies to humans. To the extend that we demonstrate an inability to observe the rights of others we are incarcerated, executed, or institutionalized. The only difference is that we can scientifically know for certain that some animals are incapable of this, while humans we know for certain are capable (if they're healthy).

That's all scaled to a human level, and measured by human standards. Is there any animal that we know of that has a right to life by human standards?

The trouble with judging by our own scale, is that we can't argue others that might choose to judge by their own scale. If an alien life form with a capacity far greater than ours encounters us, and finds a differential between them and us, equal to the differential that we find between us and pigs - should they be completely entitled to do to us what we do to pigs?

Ultimately - when we say "This is objective", aren't we in the same moment, being subjective?
 
7,266
Exorcet
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The trouble with judging by our own scale, is that we can't argue others that might choose to judge by their own scale.
We're not judging by our own scale, we're using an absolute scale. Answering the question "can X observe rights" requires a yes or no. Measuring X against something else doesn't really come up.

We can make mistakes in recognizing intelligence and in logic so we can make subjective mistakes while trying to be objective, but I don't think that's what you meant.
 
2,840
Australia
Australia
We're not judging by our own scale, we're using an absolute scale. Answering the question "can X observe rights" requires a yes or no. Measuring X against something else doesn't really come up.

And if there's rights that we're not observing, but another life form is? Obviously by it's own nature, we can't know what those rights might be. Doesn't our treatment of those "beneath" us open us up to equivalent treatment by those "above" us, if there is such a thing?

Though maybe we'll be fine if the thing we're getting wrong with rights is that we should extend rights to the "lower" forms of life, since that would mean the "higher" life form would need to extend that grace to us.
 
7,266
Exorcet
OE Exorcet
And if there's rights that we're not observing, but another life form is?
That would the subjective mistakes I mentioned, so that actually is what you meant. If we're not smart enough to understand that right, we don't get it. If we are smart enough but for some reason it's not really practiced, it would be nice if the higher beings explained things.
 

Danoff

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And if there's rights that we're not observing,

We do that all the time. Many of the US laws are actually in direct violation of human rights, and we go on doing it. It only proves that the people who perpetrate those acts are in violation of human rights. Now, if there's some right that humanity is incapable of understanding... well then we don't get that right either.
 

GTsail

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Two scenarios for Self - Driving cars:

1) Four people are traveling at 50mph across a bridge over a deep ravine in a self-driving car. Up ahead, at the end of the bridge where there is an intersection, the light suddenly turns red and pedestrians begin to cross the street since they expect that the car will stop. The self-driving car tries to put on its brakes but finds out that the car's brakes have failed. Up ahead, there are now 22 pedestrians in the crosswalk (20 pedestrians directly ahead, and 2 pedestrians in the crosswalk on the other side of the road).

A) Should the self-driving car continue driving straight-ahead without any course corrections and run over the 20 pedestrians who are in the crosswalk (killing most of them), and then coast to a stop?

B) Should the self-driving car steer over to the other side of the road and run over the 2 pedestrians who are there (killing both of them), and then coast to a stop?

C) Should the self-driving car make a hard right turn (or a left-turn in some jurisdictions)(so the car doesn't hit any of the pedestrians) and drive off the bridge and into the ravine most likely killing all the passengers?

2) One person is traveling at 50mph across a bridge over a deep ravine in a self-driving car. Up ahead, at the end of the bridge where there is an intersection, the light suddenly turns red and pedestrians begin to cross the street since they expect that the car will stop. The self-driving car tries to put on its brakes but finds out that the car's brakes have failed. Up ahead, there are now 22 pedestrians in the crosswalk (20 pedestrians directly ahead, and 2 pedestrians in the crosswalk on the other side of the road).

A) Should the self-driving car continue driving straight-ahead without any course corrections and run over the 20 pedestrians who are in the crosswalk (killing most of them), and then coast to a stop?

B) Should the self-driving car steer over to the other side of the road and run over the 2 pedestrians who are there (killing both of them), and then coast to a stop?

C) Should the self-driving car make a hard right turn (or a left-turn in some jurisdictions)(so the car doesn't hit any of the pedestrians) and drive off the bridge and into the ravine most likely killing the one person in the car?

If you were driving the car in the above situations, would you steer the car in the same manner as you would expect the car's computer would?
 
20,678
TenEightyOne
TenEightyOne
Two scenarios for Self - Driving cars:

1) Four people are traveling at 50mph across a bridge over a deep ravine in a self-driving car. Up ahead, at the end of the bridge where there is an intersection, the light suddenly turns red and pedestrians begin to cross the street since they expect that the car will stop. The self-driving car tries to put on its brakes but finds out that the car's brakes have failed. Up ahead, there are now 22 pedestrians in the crosswalk (20 pedestrians directly ahead, and 2 pedestrians in the crosswalk on the other side of the road).

A) Should the self-driving car continue driving straight-ahead without any course corrections and run over the 20 pedestrians who are in the crosswalk (killing most of them), and then coast to a stop?

B) Should the self-driving car steer over to the other side of the road and run over the 2 pedestrians who are there (killing both of them), and then coast to a stop?

C) Should the self-driving car make a hard right turn (or a left-turn in some jurisdictions)(so the car doesn't hit any of the pedestrians) and drive off the bridge and into the ravine most likely killing all the passengers?

2) One person is traveling at 50mph across a bridge over a deep ravine in a self-driving car. Up ahead, at the end of the bridge where there is an intersection, the light suddenly turns red and pedestrians begin to cross the street since they expect that the car will stop. The self-driving car tries to put on its brakes but finds out that the car's brakes have failed. Up ahead, there are now 22 pedestrians in the crosswalk (20 pedestrians directly ahead, and 2 pedestrians in the crosswalk on the other side of the road).

A) Should the self-driving car continue driving straight-ahead without any course corrections and run over the 20 pedestrians who are in the crosswalk (killing most of them), and then coast to a stop?

B) Should the self-driving car steer over to the other side of the road and run over the 2 pedestrians who are there (killing both of them), and then coast to a stop?

C) Should the self-driving car make a hard right turn (or a left-turn in some jurisdictions)(so the car doesn't hit any of the pedestrians) and drive off the bridge and into the ravine most likely killing the one person in the car?

If you were driving the car in the above situations, would you steer the car in the same manner as you would expect the car's computer would?

I go for Scenario C where, once self-driving cars are prevalent, the traffic signal is able to communicate its intention to all local vehicles only to receive an emergency "all-red" broadcast from the failing car. The car reverses its motor and burns the bushes out in an "emergency stop".

What your examples demonstrate is not that there's a problem with the logic of the car but that there's an inadequacy in current systems - that scenario could happen to any of us today, providing that we live near an inappropriately intersected ravine.
 
10,456
United States
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WrecklessAbandon
A current car could downshift, apply parking brake, sound the horn, and flash the lights, assuming the not-driver can't/won't/doesn't.
The busy intersection at a ravine is hard to think past.