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Judge Declares Mistrial Because of Wikipedia

bwalling Re:Jurists with knowledge results in mistrial (558 comments)

That's fine for day to day life. Court is different. Do you want a jury convicting you based on "everyone knows that" facts that aren't actually correct?

more than 3 years ago
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Judge Declares Mistrial Because of Wikipedia

bwalling Re:Jurists with knowledge results in mistrial (558 comments)

The definition in the dictionary isn't what the law is. Juries are supposed to render verdicts on the facts and the law, not on Merriam-Webster, Oxford, Britannica, Wikipedia or anything else. If this was a matter of state law, then the jury was given the relevant portion of state law that the defendant was charged with. If 'rape trauma syndrome' is a technical term relevant to the case, then expert witnesses are brought in by one or both sides and are questioned by both sides. The ability to bring these witnesses in court is determined by the judge to ensure that the witnesses are qualified to speak on these subjects. If other literature defining this technical term was admitted into evidence, the judge ruled on its validity, most likely by considering its source. The point of all of this is to make sure that juries (not "jurists", FYI) are deciding cases based on accepted facts that come from expert sources, and that both sides are aware of and can act on the information the jury has. If there are significant questions about or concerns with the information in the Wikipedia article, both the defendant and the plaintiff/prosecution have a legal right to be aware that it has been given to the jury and to address it. To not allow them to address it is a significant breach of their rights.

Your suggestion that limiting sources of facts and information to those that can be verified encourages ignorance boggles my mind. The Internet is full of misinformation, and I wouldn't want a jury deciding my future based on what they found online. Even worse, I could be convicted based on some piece of evidence that I wasn't even allowed to refute.

more than 3 years ago
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Will Android Flavors Spoil the Platform?

bwalling Re:Choice is bad, obviously (405 comments)

I don't have a problem with choice - it's great. The problem really comes with exclusivity agreements whereby only Verizon customers can get feature X and only AT&T can get feature Y, such that you're screwed if you need both. Hopefully, Android doesn't wind up mired in this. It happens in all sorts of industries.

more than 3 years ago
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Will Android Flavors Spoil the Platform?

bwalling Re:pfft (405 comments)

Choice is all well and good when there is an option that gets you what you want. When things splinter and then I have to choose between Feature A that I really need and Feature B that I really need, but can't get both at the same time due to some BS exclusivity agreements or something like that, then choice sucks.

more than 3 years ago
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Boxee Box Pre-Orders Start At $229

bwalling Re:You already can (266 comments)

I have the following requirements: streaming Netflix, DVR capabilities, and playback of large-ish DVD rip collection (x264 encoded, stored in MKV container).

Then get a Tivo. It does that stuff (it does .mp4, .m4v and .mp4v; not sure about mkv).

more than 3 years ago
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Boxee Box Pre-Orders Start At $229

bwalling Re:Price point (266 comments)

I'm amazed that they came out at this price point given Roku's existence at $99 (and below) and the recently announced AppleTV at $99. At $299, this thing is dead in the water for all but the geeks that need a specific feature or format. When I saw the price, I immediately looked to see if it had a TV tuner, because that's the only thing that could justify the price.

more than 3 years ago
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Rackspace Shuts Down Quran-Burning Church's Sites

bwalling Re:solution (1695 comments)

This guy just published a book. He doesn't care about the mosque - he's driving attention to himself so he can sell his new book.

more than 3 years ago
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Rackspace Shuts Down Quran-Burning Church's Sites

bwalling Re:Good (1695 comments)

You do realize that in many places, there are oligopolies in control of the mechanisms of speech? There are only a few media companies that own TV channels. Same thing with radio and newspaper. If these places all start exerting editorial control over what their paying customers can say in advertisements, then they have effectively shut down free speech in favor of their own opinions.

more than 3 years ago
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To Ballmer, Grabbing iPad's Market Is 'Job One Urgency'

bwalling Re:D'oh. (764 comments)

My brother has a netbook, but it's not for me. The iPad is slimmer, wakes up faster, has better battery life, has touchscreen. The netbook is better for typing and has Flash. Make your choices, I guess.

more than 4 years ago
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To Ballmer, Grabbing iPad's Market Is 'Job One Urgency'

bwalling Re:D'oh. (764 comments)

Phone = too small
Laptop = too bulky
iPad = good compromise

What's not to understand?

more than 4 years ago
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Chevy Volt Not Green Enough For California

bwalling Re:Why should ANY of them get an HOV lane pass? (384 comments)

I love how slug lines show the lengths that middle class Americans will go not to ride a bus.

As someone who used to commute by bus, I can say that buses are terrible in most places I've lived. The last time I used the bus with any regularity, it was only a last resort. If I left my house on bicycle, I could be at work in 20 minutes. If I took the bus, it was 45 minutes from pick up to drop off, probably 52 minutes overall, counting the walk to/from the bus stop and being a few minutes early so as not to miss the bus. I only took the bus when it was raining or when it was summer (too hot to ride without too much sweat), but the bike was much better any other time.

more than 4 years ago
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X Prize To Offer Millions For Gulf Oil Cleanup Solution

bwalling Re:U.S. Cleanup Solution: Step 2 (171 comments)

There's little point in singling out BP. Every last one of the companies is being cheap in the wrong places and risking disaster while the US Govt fails to do anything about it. They're all responsible. Even more, we're responsible because we continue to demand oil and gasoline. BP just got unlucky, but they're all doing. Hate the industry and hate the demand that's creating the industry. Also, realize that that demand is us.

more than 4 years ago
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BP Caught Photoshopping Disaster Response Photos

bwalling Re:Who cares (560 comments)

It's called the court of Public Opinion and it's unforgiving.

The court of public opinion is downright foolish. We're all pissed about the oil spill after we chanted "drill, baby, drill" and keep driving around in our SUVs with no passengers.

more than 4 years ago
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The worst I've ever been in trouble w/ the law ...

bwalling Re:.04 DUI in Oregon (957 comments)

That was part of why I brought this up. I have no problem with alcohol related driving laws in general. At some point, they go too far. I understand the motivation - the idea that we want to be safe, especially when people are steering very heavy objects at high speed, but some people seem to want to take the alcohol laws to an unreasonable point. At that point (like the no drinks in 24 hours rule), you've more than surpassed a great number of other issues that will impair driving. No one is suggesting requiring enough sleep before driving, but it can be a huge impairment. I've had days when I was too sick to drive a car. Hell, most people probably drive themselves to the doctor to get treated for being that sick!

I assume we hammer on alcohol because it's an easy target and it's easy for the authorities to measure.

Related to this, I'd love to see bars or restaurants start having breathalyzers available to patrons. If I have a single beer with dinner, I'm pretty sure (but not 100%) that I'm under 0.08 just based on the approximations you see in various publications. What if the restaurant poured me a 22 ounce beer? What if it was a Tripel? Luckily, my wife rarely has a drink with dinner, so I don't really have to worry about it.

more than 4 years ago
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The worst I've ever been in trouble w/ the law ...

bwalling Re:.04 DUI in Oregon (957 comments)

A general rule I have adopted is this: no alcoholic drinks in 24h before driving. Easy to abide to.

I had a beer with dinner last night. Are you somehow suggesting that I should not have driven to work this morning (10-12h later)? Is there some scientific evidence to support this notion? How does this scientific evidence compare to a person that got less than (8/6/4/2) hours of sleep or has a cold or a caffeine addict that didn't have their coffee?

more than 4 years ago
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Mixed Reception To AT&T's New Data Pricing Scheme

bwalling Re:If by that you mean... (514 comments)

I'm actually happy with it. I don't use much data, and now my cost for a data plan has gone down from $30/month to $15/month. I'm not sure why I wouldn't be happy about that.

more than 4 years ago
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Lost Ends

bwalling Re:Religious Viewers= $ (955 comments)

John Locke, Jeremy Bentham, Dharma, etc. I assume that giant statue represents some mythology. That asian dude in the temple probably represents something as well. Jakob & his brother are probably Tao or something (I don't know much about that, just making something up). This show was all over the place, borrowing from everywhere.

more than 4 years ago
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Lost Ends

bwalling Re:Religious Viewers= $ (955 comments)

a group of strangers find themselves in purgatory, and they they must work through their past deeds together to find piece. That is different than what happened hear.That is what happened here. It's a mix of a number of mythologies and theologies, but that's basically what happened in this show.

Even if you accept everything that happened up until the final episode, it is a huge leap to "explain" it all with the supernatural as if it were the most natural explanation possible.

They're not saying it's the most logical explanation, only that it's the story they told.

more than 4 years ago
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Gulf Oil Spill Nearing Loop Current

bwalling Re:drill baby drill! (334 comments)

Go look up what happened at Three Mile Island. It was contained, just like it was supposed to be. Problem was, everyone panicked and we quit building nuclear plants for like 30 years. Now, we're behind on doing it because of the fear.

Currently, none of the major energy alternatives are clean. Nuclear has that nasty waste that we don't have a good solution for (though we should get on with reprocessing like other countries have been doing). Coal results in coal ash, which is possibly worse than nuclear waste. Oil is a total mess. Solar is nice, but expensive and still a bit inefficient. Wind is nice, but still a bit expensive and inefficient. Coal and solar both have geographic restrictions. Hydro is nice, but not everyone lives near sufficient geography. Conservation would be helpful, but the obesity epidemic suggests that Americans have little self control. To make conservation happen would likely require the introduction of taxes, which politicians are too scared to do.

more than 4 years ago
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Texas Schools Board Rewriting US History

bwalling Re:1984 (1238 comments)

Yes that was my point. However deliberately airbrushing Comrade Jefferson out of the picture, for instance, is going a little further than simply making a "value judgment."

How do you know Jefferson is important? You're probably basing this on the fact that he was in your history books when you went to school. For all you know, those history books were colored by someone who thought he was more important that others and your history books were void of some very important people that aren't favored in the current or recent climate.

Point being, how do you know that Jefferson is of any significance other than the fact that you were told that he was by people who used to be in the same position as the people now trying to determine who is or isn't important? You're making your judgment only by pointing to prior holders of these positions as being more authoritative than this current group. It's really scary how much we depend on other people for the information on which we base our thoughts and beliefs. While these folks prefer red to the blue color you learned in school, you and I will never really know what the color actually was. We just have to piece together shit from the different people who think they know something.

more than 4 years ago

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