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Smart Phone Gets Driver Out of a Speeding Ticket

Mad-cat My judge throws these out automatically (254 comments)

If an officer testifying in my jurisdiction's traffic court can't say when they were trained in radar, when their radar was calibrated, and what model of radar they use, the citation is automatically dismissed. I have certifications for all three of those that I present in evidence immediately after giving general testimony. The smart phone is completely irrelevant to this case.

Essentially, lacking the predicate to introduce the radar into evidence, the officer was saying "he was speeding because I said so, and therefore I wrote him a ticket." Of course the judge threw it out.

more than 3 years ago

1948 Mayor To MIT: Use Flamethrowers To Melt Snow?

Mad-cat The actual letter is fairly reasonable (203 comments)

While it sounds funny, when I actually read it my thought was "he seems like a reasonable man."

He saw something happening, used his past observations to predict a likely outcome if no action was taken, realized this outcome would be dangerous to the people he was sworn to protect, and then asked people who are smarter than he is what he should do to prevent or reduce the bad outcome.

He gave them some ideas that he had come up with and asked if they were worth investigating. While they may have been silly ideas, at least he had the common sense to ask smarter people for help figuring out what to do instead of just pursuing whatever boneheaded idea he came up with. Does anyone remember the recent "possums released into NYC to deal with rats" story?

I think we could use more public officials like this guy.

more than 3 years ago

FBI and NYPD Officers Sent On Museum Field Trip

Mad-cat Excellent idea (70 comments)

Observation is a learned skill, and anything that makes police better observers is great in my book.
I train my fellow officers in some simple observation exercises. My favorite takes place during meal breaks.

When sitting down at a restaurant, I instruct them to maintain eye contact with me, but describe every article of clothing the person at the table next to us is wearing. By forcing them to use their peripheral vision to gather details, they slowly learn to better use their unfocused vision and not get easily distracted. It's also a lot of fun.

For the less-than-willing male officers, I tell them it means they can check out women without actually looking at them...

more than 4 years ago

Giant Lab Replicates Category 3 Hurricanes

Mad-cat Something is wrong with this picture (97 comments)

>"give the insurers the ability to carefully videotape"

If they're spending $100k per simulation, I would hope they could afford to upgrade to digital solutions.

more than 4 years ago

Fifty Meter Asteroid Might Hit Earth In 2098

Mad-cat If I'm alive... (295 comments)

If I'm still alive then, I'll head to the expected impact site. Best funeral pyre ever!

more than 4 years ago

ATMs That Dispense Gold Bars Coming To America

Mad-cat ATM thefts will rise (482 comments)

I've seen a lot of ATMs get stolen. It just takes a pickup truck, a crow bar, some chains and a couple of guys willing to take a risk.

If they'll do it for cash, anyone want to bet the percentage of gold ATMs that get stolen will be a lot higher than the percentage of regular ATMs?

more than 4 years ago

Top 10 Things Hollywood Thinks Computers Can Do

Mad-cat Better title (874 comments)

I think it's more a case of "Top 10 Things Hollywood thinks audiences think computers can do."

They aren't *that* stupid. But they think we are.

more than 4 years ago

Amazon Wants Patent For Inserting Ads Into Books

Mad-cat If it's actually tasteful, I wouldn't mind so much (219 comments)

I wouldn't mind a tasteful, text-only add in its own table that doesn't interrupt the flow of the text I'm reading. I would mind full-image or full-page ads.

I suggest doing it the way authors like Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams used footnotes. Put an asterisk, add a footnote advertisement, and make it funny and in context with the text. Then I might actually buy whatever crap they're hawking.

more than 5 years ago

Need a Favor? Talk To My Right Ear

Mad-cat Re:Advisers to the right, losers to the left (288 comments)

This is why successful leaders tend to prefer advice from their "right hand man". Who listens to their "left hand man"? No one - that's who!

I guess their left hand man is busy listening to them.

more than 5 years ago

Publishers Want a Slice of Used Game Market

Mad-cat Re:Gamestop -- pushing used games over new (664 comments)

Gamestop's prices when buying used games aren't that great. Personally, I go to Gamestop because my local Gamestop gave me some of the best customer service ever a few years back. I know the staff personally and am glad to give them my business.

I don't care much for the corporation, but the local guys are A-OK in my book.

more than 5 years ago

Breathalyzer Source Code Ruling Upheld

Mad-cat What I want to know (520 comments)

What I want to know is why CMI has been allowed to be in contempt of court for so long. There have been past court orders demanding the source code, which they have ignored without consequences. They should have been raided by Federal agents with search warrants empowering them to execute the earlier court orders.

about 6 years ago

Judge Rules Defense Can Get DUI Machine Source Code

Mad-cat Overdue ruling of common sense (270 comments)

I work in the State of Florida as a police officer, and I arrest and charge people with DUI on a regular basis.

In my opinion, this ruling was exactly on the money, and far too long in coming. If a company refuses to disclose evidence, the State should immediately stop using their product to obtain evidence.

As a certified expert witness, I am able to testify to the impairment of a subject without the need of a breath analysis to verify. About 20-30% of the cases I testify in have no breath results because the defendant refuses to provide a breath sample. We only forcefully obtain samples (of blood, not breath) when a traffic homicide is involved.

If the evidence is faulty, I *need* to know. I can only uphold my oath of office if I can testify in good faith that I am using proper methods of obtaining evidence. If this company is witholding vital information, they should not be allowed to sell their product to law enforcement.

more than 6 years ago


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