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'Bankrupt' Australian Surgeon Sues Google For Auto-Complete

David Chappell Re:Well... (305 comments)

That's mind boggling to say "legally, it never happened". But that's what it does.

You are offended by the idea that a court can alter history. It can't. But it can decide that certain historical events have no legal consequences. For example, let's suppose that the law prohibits a person from receiving bankrupcy protection more than once every seven years. If someone declares bankrupcy today, a bankrupcy declaration made five years ago shouldn't count unless his creditors actually suffered losses. I imagine that annuling a bankrupcy means to cancel it because the debtor has found a way to pay off his debts after all.

about 2 years ago
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'Bankrupt' Australian Surgeon Sues Google For Auto-Complete

David Chappell Re:Well... (305 comments)

So you're saying that you *like* them taking away rights? How is not being able to publish e.g. that someone was arrested for a crime a good thing?

So you asking for an example of an argument for keeping this information confidential. Here is one:

Because there is a stigma attached to arrest even if the charges are dropt soon after. Imagine that you were arrested for bank robery due to mistaken identity but were cleared when the real robber was found the next day. How would you feel if web searches years later producing the article written on the day of your arrest which makes you look like a bank robber? One possible solution to this problem is to prohibit the release of the name and likeness of the accused until after conviction.

Of course, there are also valid arguments for making this information public. In the end society must strike a balance between competing rights and needs.

about 2 years ago
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Racism In Online Ad Targeting

David Chappell Re:Racism is a cause, (474 comments)

So how many people did they rape? You know, attack a woman, hold her down, beat the shit out of her, then forcefully have sex with her, kick her in the head and leave her for dead alone in an alleyway?

Why are you obsessed with the monetary amount of damage? It's just money. The biggest criminals and the people who destroy human life and dignity.

Because if you take money away from people, you take food, clothing, and shelter away from them. The experience is surely not as tramatic as the rape you describe and the effects will likely not be as long lasting, but that does not mean it is not a serious offense. It is not easy to compare a crime in which the criminal personally heaps humiliation and bodily injury on a single victim with a crime in which he heaps lesser humiliation and poverty on tens of thousands of victims, but society must if it is to mete out a fair punishment.

about 2 years ago
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Apple Orders Memory Game Developers To Stop Using 'Memory' In Names

David Chappell Re:And this is why I'll never live in a walled gar (409 comments)

You appeal to the courts if you think their claim is spurious and if you win you resubmit your app. The procedure for fighting the claim is no different than if you weren't selling through someone's store and you were threatened with a lawsuit over a trademark claim against your product.

Or you can just sit tight and let them appeal to the courts if they want to. You don't have that option here.

about 2 years ago
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Study Claims Human Intelligence Peaked Two To Six Millennia Ago

David Chappell Re:Actually (637 comments)

Well, no, he'd sound like somebody who spoke Ancient Greek, which I have not even the slightest passing familiarity with.

I'd almost be tempted to call him a barbarian.

Oddly enough, the original meaning of barbarian was "someone who does not speak Greek". So, he would be very puzzled.

about 2 years ago
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Buckyballs Throws In the Towel

David Chappell Re:State gone Mad (383 comments)

As for child neglect, if you were visiting someone with your small child and a teenager was playing with a bunch of magnets, would you immediately think "those are very dangerous, I must keep my child on my lap so that he doesn't pick one of those up"? Of course not. Since you have not seen the package, you have no way of knowing that these particular magnets are much more dangerous than those which you played with as a child.

No, I'd expect the person who owns the (adult) toys to recognize the risk and say, "One second, I have to put these away." Just the same as with a chainsaw or blowtorch.

And if he doesn't, a child is exposed to a risk which a reasonable parent would not recognize and guard against. That is presumably the argument for a ban. In law such an object is described as "unreasonably dangerous". This means that it is significatly more dangerous than other goods of similiar form and function. These magnets are significantly more dangerous than other magnets and other desk toys. They are significantly more dangerous than other objects which a young child might swallow.

Under the "unreasably dangerous" principle, guns are ok becuase they are _supposed_ to kill. Frying pans with handles that fall off and rocking horses covered with lead paint are not. The only difference here is that there is no way to make this toy anywhere near as safe as it looks. But the fact that it can't be fixed does not make it non-defective.

 

about 2 years ago
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Buckyballs Throws In the Towel

David Chappell Re:State gone Mad (383 comments)

Guns, knives, fireworks, blowtorches, and chainsaws are dangerous by the very nature of what they are intended to do. Even small children immediately understand their capacity to destroy things.

Apparently not, considering this 6 year old brought a LOADED GUN to kindergarten.

He thought he could handle it. I am sure he knew it was a gun and what it was for.

I think the CPSC is over the line, here -- the product is properly labeled & marketed to adults, and it is the adult's responsibility to keep it away from children. Same as kitchen knives, loaded guns, batteries, etc.

I know every time I'm with a young children (not even my own, which I don't have yet), I'm constantly watching to make sure what goes in their mouth isn't [too] dangerous. If other adults aren't doing the same, that's negligence.

I have mixed feelings about this. I understand the argument that they are not for children. I see no reason to prevent parts suppliers from selling powerful magnets. But I believe if they are sold as toys (even as toys for adults) many parents will through carelessness or ignorance give them to their children anyway. I am concerned that my child could find them on the floor at someone else's house and swallow them before I even saw them. Even the most vigilent parents are not able to entirely prevent their children from picking things up and putting them in their mouths.

about 2 years ago
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Buckyballs Throws In the Towel

David Chappell Re:State gone Mad (383 comments)

Children do not immediately understand the capacity of these things to destroy. There are plenty of unfortunate accidents involving children and firearms.

The accidents occur not because children do not know that guns kill, but because they incorrectly believe that they are capable of handling them safely.

The problem with rare earth magnets is some people fail to take heed to the hazard these can potentially cause despite multiple warnings on the packaging. If you can understand why a child shouldn't play with a firearm you should also be capable of understanding the warning label on that desk toy you just bought yourself.

You are right, the problem is that the warnings are not heeded. I do not agree with your assertion that the dangerousness of a firearm and small powerful magnets is equaly apparent. In one case if you recognize the object at all, you know that it is an engine of destruction. In another you know that it sticks to things.

The point that there are warnings on the package is interesting. In theory this ought to be enough. But the value of such warnings has been greatly reduced because so many products come with long lists of warnings on the package which speak of the obvious or at least well known dangers. This means that in cases like this where there is a need to warn of a non-obvious danger, the message does not get through.

about 2 years ago
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Buckyballs Throws In the Towel

David Chappell Re:Protecting the children. (383 comments)

This toy is very easy to lock up and building the cube they come in is a simple way to clean them up.

Interesting, didn't know that. I had incorrectly assumed that it was like with legos: you put them in a box when you are done with them.

about 2 years ago
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Buckyballs Throws In the Towel

David Chappell Re:Protecting the children. (383 comments)

magnets.. bad.

Guns, assault rifles, knives, mace spray, tazers, baseball bats, and realistic 3rd person shooters... good.

Glad you guys have got your retail priorities straight and are protecting your kids so well.

The difference is that most of the things you name are obviously dangerous. A coffee-table toy is not. They are also easy to lock up. A toy consisting of tens of tiny pieces (with any two sufficient to cause severe injury) is not.

about 2 years ago
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Buckyballs Throws In the Towel

David Chappell Re:State gone Mad (383 comments)

Actually, they do write this, and nobody cares. Unfortunately, rather than treating these injuries as the evidence of child neglect that they are, the feds have taken the approach of banning something that, when used appropriately, is perfectly safe.

The problem is that they are a harmless-looking toy, but the only safe way to use them is to make sure no small children are present, take them out and play with them, then count them to make sure none have been lost, and lock them up. If someone loses two of them, then children are in grave danger.

As for child neglect, if you were visiting someone with your small child and a teenager was playing with a bunch of magnets, would you immediately think "those are very dangerous, I must keep my child on my lap so that he doesn't pick one of those up"? Of course not. Since you have not seen the package, you have no way of knowing that these particular magnets are much more dangerous than those which you played with as a child.

This does not mean that everything sold has to be safe for children. Guns, knives, fireworks, blowtorches, and chainsaws are dangerous by the very nature of what they are intended to do. Even small children immediately understand their capacity to destroy things. The CPSC does not ban chainsaws because they cut or blowtorches because they burn. But it does ban toys when they tend to cause harm in totaly unexpected ways.

about 2 years ago
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Is It Time To Commit To Ongoing Payphone Availability?

David Chappell Re:Keep 'em but make them better! (267 comments)

And that payment processing would probably not work if you're without power and data and only have the POTS line. What then? One of the main points of the discussion is for emergency situations.

Magnetic card reading payphones which require only a phone line are commercially available. For example:

http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/387529358/Magnetic_Card_Payphone.html

So this isn't just a pipe dream. It is proven, widely deployed technology. I have just never seen it in the USA.

about 2 years ago
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Is It Time To Commit To Ongoing Payphone Availability?

David Chappell Re:Keep 'em but make them better! (267 comments)

What about keeping them but enhancing their usability? For instance, combine them with other forms of information services - city info, etc. Or perhaps some corporate partnerships like movie rentals. The phone part would be separate to keep that available if someone else was searching for the latest Star Wars flick...

I would use pay phones but for two things: 1) They require coins which I often don't have, and 2) they generally either refuse to take my coins or take them and then don't let me call. So the top usability improvement that I would like to see is for them to accept payment using a prepaid card like in many European countries.

about 2 years ago
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UK Court of Appeal Reprimands Apple Over Mandated Samsung Statement

David Chappell Re:Pissing off judges (241 comments)

I'm surprised the judges didn't throw the book at them when they tried this bit:

Apple tried to argue that it would take at least 14 days to put a corrective statement on the site

How on earth did the person who argued that get away with not being charged with perjury? To be perfectly frank, I'm absolutely amazed that they got away with a simple reprimand. I would imagine that if Apple pulls another stunt that they will face much more than a reprimand.

If you are talking about the technical aspects of altering the website, then you are right, 14 days is absurd. But put yourself in the position of Apple's lawyers. They have to take this order, study it, and write a new statement for the website. Their client will be very unhappy with this statement and ask for revisions. The lawyers will then have to explain to them why these revisions will get them in more trouble. They will go back and forth several times. Only when everyone has finally given in to the inevitable can the new text be given to the people who run the website. Then they will need time to reformat it, find something else to take off the homepage, put it in, push it out to the servers, and make sure that they do it soon enough that the old page will have expired in the judges' browser caches.

It is not pergury to ask for two weeks to do all this. It isn't even particularly unreasonable. On the other hand, I understand that the judges do not want to given them enough time to come out with another weaselly statement. By given them barely enough time to do it if they run, they may get the simple direct statement they demanded in the first case.

about 2 years ago
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FTC Offers $50,000 For Best Way To Stop Robocalls

David Chappell Re:Ok, how about this (614 comments)

When a car is caught by a speed trap and the owner of the car claims he wasn't driving it then he has to say who it was or receive the fine himself. Have that pass through the chain of connections and you'll track someone down. If they don't pay then disconnect them from all connections to the country. Allow each instance to tack a handling fee on if so desired.

What are you going to do when a really big telephone company says "go ahead, disconnect us, we dare you"? Sure, customers hate robo calls, but that is nothing to how they will hate you when you break the phone system.

more than 2 years ago
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FTC Offers $50,000 For Best Way To Stop Robocalls

David Chappell Re:Solution (614 comments)

Extend the fines to those aggregators and phone companies, to be paid if they don't want to be disconnected from the US grid? Get the EU to pass the same legislation and that's a large chunk of the world prepared to cut your wires if you don't cough up. Doesn't matter whether it's a phone company, an individual or whatever else people may come up with, if it has dumped robocalls into a compliant network it has to pay. Any network that can show who passed the call to it can make that source be billed for its own fine too.

Interesting idea. It would be tricky to get right though. It could have some pretty nasty unintended consequences. If the fines were small, the companies might just decide it is a cost of doing business and add it to our phone bills. If they were large, they could bankrupt small players caught in the middle. (Either the fines would bankrupt them or they would go bankrupt when they disconnected wholesale customers who were unwilling or unable to weed out their robo-calling customers.) I don't think disconnecting large telephone companies would go over well. It would anger millions of innocent customers who would find someone to punish.

The best suggestion I have seen is to require accurate caller ID. That would allow us to punish the guilty parties without getting a whole chain if innocent intermediaries involved.

more than 2 years ago
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FTC Offers $50,000 For Best Way To Stop Robocalls

David Chappell Re:Solution (614 comments)

What they should do then is ban aggregators, i.e. shut it off. The international calling system has fees for handoffs. There is no reason not to be using a legitimate SIP for international calls or staying off the PSTN entirely.

A legitimate SIP termination service is an aggregator. It buys minutes in bulk from one or more long-distance providers and offers them to its customers.

more than 2 years ago
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FTC Offers $50,000 For Best Way To Stop Robocalls

David Chappell Re:Ok, how about this (614 comments)

>If they are in another country, contact that government and have them arrest them. If they won't, sanctions. If that doesn't work threaten to cut their cable.

So you're telling me that I can be arrested in my country just because I broke a US law regarding phone calls in the US? You've got to be shitting me!

Yes, sometimes one can. As a general rule, a criminal offense it considered to be commited in the jurisdiction where it has its effect. For example, if a man stands in Canada and uses a gun to shoot someone on the US side of the border, he has commited an criminal offense in the US and should expect to stand trial there.

This is not one of those dubious cases where someone is prosecuted in the US for conduct commited entirely in his own country which has only indirect effects on the US. In this case he deliberately using technology to reach into US territory and commit an illegal act. He has most likely been hired to do it because both he and the person who is hiring him know that it is illegal.

Now I am not comparing a phone call to murder and I am not saying that it is necessarily reasonable to send someone to stand trial in a far-away country over a few phone calls, but it is a measure which could be used against large-scale offenders.

more than 2 years ago
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FTC Offers $50,000 For Best Way To Stop Robocalls

David Chappell Re:Ok, how about this (614 comments)

You know, the phone system is computerized now. They know who called who when. They claim they don't if you call and complain about a harassing call because they don't want to deal with you.

Not necessarily. They will have a "billing number", but in the case of calls that entered the system over VoIP, this number will generally just identify another phone company. Identifying the actual customer can require the cooperation of multiple phone companies.

It is a little like asking your ISP to identify an internet user behind a NAT router operated by a different ISP.

more than 2 years ago
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FTC Offers $50,000 For Best Way To Stop Robocalls

David Chappell Re:Solution (614 comments)

Large fines to the telephone company that passed on the robocall. That will be more than enough incentive for them to figure a solution that avoids the fines by stopping the robocalls.

I wonder if that would work. Presumably the telephone companies would have to watch calling patterns to find customers who were calling lots of differnet numbers and then listen in to see whether they were robo calls. More then likely the calls would be found to be coming through an agregator or an overseas telephone company with thousands if not millions of customers. What would they do then?

more than 2 years ago

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