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CHP Officers Steal, Forward Nude Pictures From Arrestee Smartphones

Etherwalk Charging Decisions (227 comments)

The problem is precedent. It has now been established in law that a cop can mow down a pedestrian while texting and not be charged for it (CA), and toss a hand grenade into a baby's crib during a wrong-address raid and not be charged for it (GA) . Small wonder that the right now hates cops just as much as the left ever did.

Legal precedent doesn't work that way. Precedent is only formed when a case goes to trial and the court issues a "reported" opinion, and has little effect until it starts getting up to the appeals level. Fewer than 2% of all cases go to trial and appeals tend to focus on one or two issues (mostly fourth amendment "Unreasonable Search and Seizure" law in criminal cases).

A DA or Grand Jury's charging decision to not charge a cop with something doesn't establish legal precedent.

7 hours ago
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CHP Officers Steal, Forward Nude Pictures From Arrestee Smartphones

Etherwalk Officer Rape (227 comments)

http://www.oklahomalegalgroup.com/news/ohp-trooper-formally-charged-in-rape-case ...

Rape and other crimes by police officers are quite common--which is not to say that most police officers engage in them. But in a large city, there tend to be at least a few cops who are committing major crimes on a regular basis, especially against marginalized populations who they know can't effectively do anything about it.

I am aware of someone reporting such crimes in Oakland, for example, and getting threatened by law enforcement for reporting it.

Relatedly, the NY Times did a report a few years back on making complaints to local police department. The vast majority of the departments tried not to give a complaint form and to have the person talk to them instead; in at least one case the cops went through their "Do you have psychological problems?" script and placed their hands on their guns.

7 hours ago
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CHP Officers Steal, Forward Nude Pictures From Arrestee Smartphones

Etherwalk Pension (227 comments)

Now. No other options. This shit has gotta stop.

I would feel comfortable with the following arrangement:

1st Offense, no evidence it was a regular practice: Ten Thousand dollar fine and four years off of pension benefits.
2nd Offense, or evidence of regular practice: Fired for cause and lose entire pension.
Any offense and images shared in a public space: Jail Time for 30-90 days, plus fired for cause and lose at least half of pension.

Note that *conspiracy* and the *Computer Fraud and Abuse Act* also may apply, so you could easily throw them in jail if you wanted to throw the book at them.

The reality is people are going to abuse their power. If you give someone who abuses power once a stern reprimand and they change, great--you've just saved a bundle of inefficiencies and you've got a cop who understands why it's important to be serious about this stuff. You also have a police culture which is less paranoid about getting officers caught, and which makes the corrupt less likely to get promoted.

7 hours ago
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Secretive Funding Fuels Ongoing Net Neutrality Astroturfing Controversy

Etherwalk ISPs v. Content Producers (54 comments)

This is just ISPs v. Content Producers, each fighting over who can bribe Congress more. (Siding with content producers is basically everyone else who cares about the issue and has time or money to spend on it, which is probably less than 0.01% of everybody.)

yesterday
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Microsoft Exec Opens Up About Research Lab Closure, Layoffs

Etherwalk Re:well of-course they are firing (54 comments)

State and ideology don't make research labs productive or unproductive. Work ethic, institutional design, budget, and recruiting practices do.

2 days ago
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GNU Emacs 24.4 Released Today

Etherwalk New Web Browser (155 comments)

Now if it only included a text editor.

You can run it in the new "built-in web browser." They must have refactored Firefox to Emacs Lisp. Firefox can run java when you bundle it with the jre, and there are lots of text editors in java. So you're golden.

5 days ago
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New Music Discovered In Donkey Kong For Arcade

Etherwalk Video Game Nostalgia (74 comments)

The more you bash video game nostalgia, the more Atari consoles will slip through your fingers...

about a week ago
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FBI Warns Industry of Chinese Cyber Campaign

Etherwalk Re:FBI Doesn't plant evidence (106 comments)

and they do a lot of entrapment of people who go along with whatever crime they set up (in most domestic terrorism cases you hear about the FBI is the one selling the arms to the "terrorists").

But at the end of the day, they're generally law enforcement guys interested in arresting people who violate the law, not in pretending innocent people have violated the law.

There is quite a bit of contradiction in those lines, and the former of them is the very reason the grandparent finds the FBI more threatening.

Not at all. They entrap people, yes, but they only arrest people who actually commit the crime. Sometimes it's a pretty terrible thing to do, sometimes it isn't, but either way, it's arresting people who committed the crime.

about a week ago
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As Prison Population Sinks, Jails Are a Steal

Etherwalk Honesty not the best policy (407 comments)

It is simple.
If you know you are guilty they will offer you a chance to take a deal, save the courts a lot of time and effort, and rewards the guilty party for choosing to be honest. Yes it is honest for a reward but still being honest.
If you are caught and you know that you are actually guilty of breaking the law but try to get out of it they will make you an example.

That's a nice theory, but the system is actually designed to hurt honest criminals.

If it weren't, you wouldn't be able to use apologies as evidence of the crime.

about a week ago
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FBI Warns Industry of Chinese Cyber Campaign

Etherwalk FBI Doesn't plant evidence (106 comments)

The chinese might break into your secure email server, but they won't plant child porn on it in an attempt to incriminate you. The FBI, on the other hand..

Citation needed. Most FBI & Justice types I've met would not do that kind of thing. People who are into law enforcement have political agendas, yes, but there's a big red line between acting on a political agenda and outright felony criminal behavior.

Sure, the FBI will sometimes publicly support things which hurt as a society because it makes it easier for them to do their jobs (e.g. fighting encryption), and they do a lot of entrapment of people who go along with whatever crime they set up (in most domestic terrorism cases you hear about the FBI is the one selling the arms to the "terrorists").

But at the end of the day, they're generally law enforcement guys interested in arresting people who violate the law, not in pretending innocent people have violated the law.

about two weeks ago
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Millions of Voiceprints Quietly Being Harvested

Etherwalk Signatures... (86 comments)

Using tech like this to improve voice recognition and speech synthesis is useful. Using it to verify identities is problematic and should be banned before it causes any serious problems, destroys lives and livelihoods, and wastes resources and time. This is quite possibly the worst, most easily abused application of technology I've ever heard of any government or institution being idiotic or corrupt enough to try.

Because signatures are such unique and uncopyable things...

about two weeks ago
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"Double Irish" Tax Loophole Used By US Companies To Be Closed

Etherwalk Re:Bad summary? Or horrible editorializing? (259 comments)

"Tax evasion" is a crime. "Tax avoidance" is what is being done here.

"Tax evasion" has one legal meaning and another colloquial one. Colloquially speaking, "tax evasion" includes tax avoidance of this character.

Source: talking to people who aren't tax lawyers.

about two weeks ago
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Too Much Privacy: Finnish Police Want Big Euro Notes Taken Out of Circulation

Etherwalk Shopping in Manhattan. (314 comments)

What advantage can you think of that a $1000 bill has over 10 x $100 bills?

I can dream up a few, like if I want to bribe my congressman maybe I don't need as many envelopes, or on those days where I need to shift $20,000,000 in cash it's a few pounds lighter so the shipping is cheaper.

But none of these would make me "strongly favor" bringing it back.

Moving an account from one bank to another and wanting it to be credited the same day. Er... without paying for a wire transfer.

Shopping in Manhattan. The last time I was in the Williams-Sonoma store they had a $1500 bread knife.

It doesn't affect me so I don't really care--I can count the number of times I've walked around with more than $1,000 in cash on me on the fingers of one hand--but there are certainly people whom it affects.

about two weeks ago
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Too Much Privacy: Finnish Police Want Big Euro Notes Taken Out of Circulation

Etherwalk Re:To their defense (314 comments)

Your ideas work well in theory, but suffer from problems in practice.

When commercial sex is legalized, demand increases and girls get trafficked in to increase supply. Yes, there are advantages--sex workers can more easily get access to appropriate medical attention or get help when they are attacked by customers, for example. But you also get kids being raped. Sometimes the benefit of an activity to society is substantially outweighed by its cost and you ban it.

Consumption-based tax makes a lot of sense (we have some form of it in sales tax), although it creates tracking and complexity problems, especially if you want to have a progressive tax or are a small business owner.

And then you have criminal usury, payday loans, and people who are gambling away money they don't have--people who get desperate enough or lack information or psychological ability in a way that means they can be easily taken advantage of. As much as I like libertarianism, there are just some places where the government should step in and say "it's really not okay to make money this way."

about two weeks ago
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How English Beat German As the Language of Science

Etherwalk It always changes. (323 comments)

Yes--It was Latin for a thousand years, then it started to be okay to write poetry and the like in modern languages. (Petrarch, in Italian). And to use it for scholarship after that, and we had the industrial revolution. I guess German was winning for a while, and now English is.

It may be Chinese in seventy years or so, but maybe not--I've heard Mandarin is rather difficult to learn, which may slow it down.

But then, Latin wasn't exactly a walk in the park.

about two weeks ago
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Wind Power Is Cheaper Than Coal, Leaked Report Shows

Etherwalk Re:Power Companies Don't Have Real Costs (610 comments)

So, you're telling me that you're persuaded by the summary of an article, never actually released (only leaked), utilizing these admittedly nebulous "externalized costs", in the face of undisputed evidence over decades that the power companies have never found wind energy to be cheaper.

Wonna buy a bridge?

No, I'm telling you that the summary of the article directly contradicts your statement about the article's position.

about two weeks ago
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Wind Power Is Cheaper Than Coal, Leaked Report Shows

Etherwalk Re:Power Companies Don't Have Real Costs (610 comments)

Your initial comment was that power companies were looking at costs carefully and would switch to the cheaper alternative. That comment was invalid insofar as it failed to take into account externalized costs.

The summary also directly contradicts your claim about what it says. It notes that "The report (PDF) demonstrates that if you were to take into account mining, pollution, and adverse health impacts of coal and gas, wind power would be the cheapest source of energy." It is explicitly talking about externalized costs.

about two weeks ago
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Wind Power Is Cheaper Than Coal, Leaked Report Shows

Etherwalk Power Companies Don't Have Real Costs (610 comments)

If this author were correct, the power companies would already be rushing to build wind-driven turbines. They already have people carefully weighing the costs and benefits of each power-generation method. When I see wind-driven turbines appearing on the windy parts of my horizon, then I'll believe that wind is cheaper than coal.

You are forgetting the major factor of externalized costs. Processes have costs that are internal so they have to be paid for by the owner, and external so they get paid by someone else. Pollution is a major source of externalized cost in conventional power generation.

The power company doesn't have to pay for those costs, but society as a whole does, for example in asthma treatments and deaths, or likely in certain kinds of cancers. So the power company will do the thing which is cheaper for *them* but more expensive as a *whole*.

about two weeks ago
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Experts Decry Randomized Ebola Treatment Trials As Unethical, Impractical

Etherwalk Mmm... (193 comments)

If they are serious they really need to get more big names, institutions, and ethicists on board. A lot more.

There has already been support for basically using time to create control groups, so this is much less of an issue than it could be.

about two weeks ago
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FBI Says It Will Hire No One Who Lies About Illegal Downloading

Etherwalk They may still hire you (580 comments)

Then they won't hire you.

They may hire you if you did something illegal and are honest about it. They will not hire you if you did something illegal and lied about it.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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China Criticizes US For Making Weapons Plans Stealable, Alleges Attacks.

Etherwalk Etherwalk writes  |  about a year ago

Etherwalk (681268) writes "Huang Chengqing, director of the National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team/Coordination Center of China, alleged that United States cyber-attacks on China have been as serious as those on the United States. In response to the recent hacks of United States military designs, he replied with an observation whose obviousness is worthy of Captain Hammer: "Even following the general principle of secret-keeping, it should not have been linked to the Internet.""
Link to Original Source
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Manhattan, 1984

Etherwalk Etherwalk writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Etherwalk writes "The New York Times (and the usual suspects) are reporting on developments in the quest to charge driving fees for all vehicles headed below 86th Street in Manhattan. Notably absent from any part of the discussion? A record is made of every car or truck that enters, together with the vehicle ownership information and the date and time of travel — either as part of EZ-Pass or in license-plate photos taken for subsequent billing."
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Etherwalk Etherwalk writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Etherwalk writes "NY's Mayor Bloomberg announced today a series of green initiatives to reduce pollution in New York City, notably planting 1 million new trees and adding an $8 fee for all cars and $21 for commercial trucks driving below 86th Street from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM on weekdays, the fee to be levied via EZ-Pass and license photos. The system's implementation effectively would make it a crime to enter lower Manhattan in your own vehicle without creating a record of your driving habits for the state."

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