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Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

Rary Re:Flip Argument (1088 comments)

Thank you. That is helpful.

In the interest of sharing of information, and especially since so many here seem to think that the grand jury testimony is some sort of slam dunk, I'll mention some interesting points about it:

1) Grand juries almost always indict. They literally have a record of about 99.9% indictment. Many articles on the subject quote a NY judge who said that a grand jury would indict a ham sandwich if that's what the prosecutor wants. The strange (or maybe not so strange) flipside of that is when the defendant is a police officer. Grand juries almost never indict in those cases. Literally, about 99% end up without an indictment.

2) It is not up to grand juries to look at exculpatory evidence, or even hear testimony from the defendant. Typically they spend a few minutes looking at a small collection of evidence against the defendant, and then say "sure, sounds like he needs to be tried". In this case, however, boatloads of exculpatory evidence was introduced, and WIlson testified, contrary to normal grand jury procedures.

3) Although a ton of defense evidence was presented, the prosecutor did not cross examine Wilson. There are countless holes in his story that needed to be challenged (for example, why did he tell investigators Brown punched him ten times and then tell the grand jury it was only twice, or why did he tell investigators he didn't know what Brown handed to Johnson or make any connection to the robbery and then tell the grand jury that he pulled over because Brown and Johnson were suspects in the robbery and were carrying the stolen goods?). All of this, and more, went unchallenged.

4) There have been suggestions of other sneaky tactics that I'm not familiar enough with to comment on, but I'll provide this link as just one example.

yesterday
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Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

Rary Re:Flip Argument (1088 comments)

I made up my mind based on the facts that have been presented. I am open to having my opinion changed once presented with further compelling facts. Unfortunately, absent a trial, that's not likely to happen.

3 days ago
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Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

Rary Re:Flip Argument (1088 comments)

As I said, it may or may not have been justified to shoot at him in the car during the scuffle. But once Brown started running away, having not gotten hold of Wilson's gun, did Wilson still feel Brown was an imminent threat? Did he somehow think that Brown could shoot bullets from his back while fleeing? Or did he perhaps think that getting down on his knees and raising his hands was some sort of attack stance?

Wilson didn't kill Brown in the car during the scuffle. He killed him 150 feet away after chasing him.

3 days ago
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Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

Rary Re:The "Protesters" (1088 comments)

In 1995 I was in Dusseldorf, Germany, taking part in a large peaceful protest that occurs annually there. It's a march through the centre of the city, all mapped out in advance. Police in full riot gear were on hand, as they are every year. Thousands of them, brought in from all over the country. The previous year, some shitheads had started rioting, and some shops were looted. As we marched through the streets, I remember noticing bystanders gathered along the planned route, just watching the march. Nothing unusual there. Except that there just happened to be particularly large clusters of bystanders, mainly young man, watching the march from right in front of each liquor store and electronics store that we passed. I found that to be an interesting coincidence.

Unfortunately for the "bystanders", that year's march remained peaceful, so they didn't get the opportunity to cash in.

3 days ago
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Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

Rary Re:The "Protesters" (1088 comments)

That's right. All of them. Every last one. Not just a handful of opportunistic shitheads. Every person who has ever feigned outrage at this incident was merely plotting to steal themselves a new TV.

3 days ago
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Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

Rary Re:Flip Argument (1088 comments)

It would seem that the shooting was, in fact, justified.

Which shooting was justified? The one that occurred at close range during a scuffle? Maybe yes, maybe no. But the fatal one that occurred 150 feet away from the original scuffle, after Brown had surrendered? Not a fucking chance.

Running from a police officer is not an offense worthy of public execution without trial.

3 days ago
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Is "Scorpion" Really a Genius?

Rary Re:He's on TV & the Internet, of course he's r (391 comments)

Most things we do with computers, whether "hacking" or anything else, are really not that difficult to do. There are some challenges, but it's not rocket science. However, most people don't understand computers, so anyone who does is seen as a "genius". Sure, maybe one or two are, and a few others are maybe of particularly great intelligence. But most "nerds" are really not that smart, just dedicated, which is really all it takes to become proficient at any particular skill.

about 4 months ago
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Mass. Supreme Court Says Defendant Can Be Compelled To Decrypt Data

Rary Re:I lost the password (560 comments)

You do realize that encrypting your hard drive with a key you keep in your head really is just security through obscurity

No it's not. It involves an obscure key, sure. But that's not what is generally meant by the phrase "security through obscurity". What is meant by that phrase is a system that is secure only as long as the system's implementation is kept secret. In the case of password protection, the implementation is known, it's just the key that is secret. In security through obscurity, if somebody discovers the implementation of the system, they can get in.

An encryption system that relies on security through obscurity would be one that, if you got hold of the source code, you could decrypt anything encrypted with it, key or no key.

about 5 months ago
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Mass. Supreme Court Says Defendant Can Be Compelled To Decrypt Data

Rary Re:So whats the case law on keys (560 comments)

According to The Ruling the only reason the motion was filed and this issue came at all up was because the guy happened to have used a particularly effective encryption software that the State was unable to circumvent.

No, according to the ruling, this came up as an issue because the guy had already incriminated himself by saying "I did it, and the evidence is in these files".

You don't really get to willingly incriminate yourself, then suddenly start trying to hide behind the right not to incriminate yourself.

about 5 months ago
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Mass. Supreme Court Says Defendant Can Be Compelled To Decrypt Data

Rary Re:Ruling doesn't change much. (560 comments)

You may not agree, but it seems to be well established in law that once you admit to the crime and identify the existence and location of evidence, you've waived your 5th Amendment right.

about 5 months ago
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Mass. Supreme Court Says Defendant Can Be Compelled To Decrypt Data

Rary Re:Important Caveat (560 comments)

Just doing a little digging into the details of the 5th Amendment in practice, and found this interesting tidbit:

The Court acknowledged that it is well established that a witness, in a single proceeding, may not testify voluntarily about a subject and then invoke the Privilege against Self-Incrimination when questioned about the details.

That could very well apply in this case, so that even if there is additional evidence in the files beyond what he has admitted to, the moment he started admitting to some of it, he effectively waived his self-incrimination right.

about 5 months ago
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Mass. Supreme Court Says Defendant Can Be Compelled To Decrypt Data

Rary Important Caveat (560 comments)

Haven't read the entire ruling, only scanned it, but there is an important caveat in it:

We now conclude that the answer to the reported question is, "Yes, where the defendant's compelled decryption would not communicate facts of a testimonial nature to the Commonwealth beyond what the defendant already had admitted to investigators."

Seems like this guy has said "I did this, this, and this, and these files show that, but I don't want to let you see them", and the Court has ruled that he has to, because he's already admitted to those things, and therefore he would not be incriminating himself in doing so.

Of course, the reality may be that there's evidence of further illegal activities that he hasn't admitted to in the encrypted files. That might make the case for self-incrimination. I'd have to read the full ruling to see what, if anything, they said about that possibility.

about 5 months ago
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I think wearable computing will take off...

Rary 1980s (254 comments)

I had a calculator watch back in 1983. Doesn't that count?

Here's my bold prediction: Nobody other than hardcore nerds will ever really want to wear any device other than a watch (if anyone will still wear those) or a bluetooth headset. As the years go by we will carry even more powerful and versatile devices in our pockets than we do today. Google Glass and its ilk will never be more than a novelty item.

about a year ago
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No. of vehicle license types I hold:

Rary Worst Poll Options in a Loooong Time (312 comments)

I know we're not supposed to complain about poll options, but when they're this bad, I think it's mandatory. As hard as I try, I can't find a single option that even comes close to fitting. There isn't a "none of the above" or even a joke option that I could default to. There are two options that probably apply to about 80% of the population, with the remaining options applying to maybe 1% of the population combined, leaving the other 19% without anything to choose from.

At a minimum, the following options are necessary to make this poll even remotely usable:

  • None - I rely solely on walking/biking/public transit/other.
  • 2 or 3 - mixture of ground and air/water related

about a year ago
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Lawsuits Seek To Turn Chimpanzees Into Legal Persons

Rary Re:food (641 comments)

Lots of people claim that there are studies showing that plants "cry out in pain", though not surprisingly no one ever seems to have a link to a reputable study to go with that claim.

Here's a more thorough response than I'm willing to take the time to type.

about a year ago
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Lawsuits Seek To Turn Chimpanzees Into Legal Persons

Rary Re:food (641 comments)

so does that mean that when a mountain lion kills a deer then it should be tried for murder?

I don't recall any mountain lions claiming to be a civilized society. I also don't recall any mountain lions having the knowledge and ability to survive any other way, especially being that they're obligate carnivores.

about a year ago
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Lawsuits Seek To Turn Chimpanzees Into Legal Persons

Rary Re:food (641 comments)

Because it's unnecessary.

If survival's at stake, I'll do what I gotta do. But if the sole reason for killing another living creature is "mmm, tasty", then something's wrong. My definition of "civilized" would include "not killing for pleasure".

about a year ago
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Lawsuits Seek To Turn Chimpanzees Into Legal Persons

Rary Re:Only temporary (641 comments)

Is that a bad thing? Shouldn't an intelligent society always be questioning its beliefs, traditions, and prevailing wisdom?

about a year ago
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Lawsuits Seek To Turn Chimpanzees Into Legal Persons

Rary Re:food (641 comments)

I'm sorry but there's no difference between livestock (chicken, cows, horses, etc...) and experiment sujects (mice, chimps, dogs, etc...)

I agree. Free them all. There's no reason for an advanced, "civilized" human society to treat living, sentient* creatures as products to consume.

*For bob's sake, please look up the word before replying with the standard Slashdot anti-animal-sentience nerd rage.

about a year ago
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The Case of the Orca That Killed Its Trainer

Rary Re:Capturer, not trainer (395 comments)

Why one or the other? Most captors bring food to their captives.

about a year ago

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