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Mass. Court Says Constitution Protects Filming On-Duty Police

praksys Re:Where's the fallout? (473 comments)

This case is a big deal because the court ruled that the right to record stuff like this was "well established" which in turn means that official immunity does not apply so the public officials involved can be sued for damages as individuals. That is about the best outcome possible.

more than 3 years ago
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Chinese Propaganda Accidentally Reveals Cyberwar

praksys Re:weird (286 comments)

Falun Gong has some significant similarities with the 19th Century movement that produced the Taiping Rebellion. That rebellion went on for 14 years and left as many as 30,000,000 dead, making it one of the most destructive wars in human history. Hence the Chinese are more nervous than we are about odd religious movements.

more than 3 years ago
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WikiLeaks Calls For Assange To Step Down

praksys Re:Price (565 comments)

"...we afford people the presumption of innocence until they are proven guilty in a court of law..."

That's a pretty widely misunderstood principle though. It defines an epistemic stance that the judge and jury are supposed to adopt. They are supposed to disregard, or screen off, any beliefs they had regarding the guilt or innocence of the accused prior to the trial and consider only the evidence given in the trial. Obviously this doesn't apply to the prosecution, witnesses, or complainant though because they are all expected to act according to their sincerely held beliefs either way.

As for the media and public at large, the legal principle of presumption of innocence just doesn't apply. You could argue that there should also be a general social norm requiring that people unconnected with the case presume innocence, but it's hard to see why that should be the case.

more than 4 years ago
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"Patent Markings" Lawsuits Could Run Into the Trillions

praksys Re:Silly editor (193 comments)

P.S. There is no such thing as retrospective law.

Why don't you just use google before saying things like that, and save yourself further embarrassment?

more than 4 years ago
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"Patent Markings" Lawsuits Could Run Into the Trillions

praksys Re:Silly editor (193 comments)

...it is not viewed as a "legal interpretation"...

I'm not sure what "it" is supposed to refer to here, but the post you were replying to was most definitely about legal interpretation. Legal interpretation is what judges do when they try to figure out how the law applies to the facts of the case at hand (i.e. what they do before they arrive at a finding of law).

YANAL, but I am.

I find that pretty hard to believe. Anyone who has studied any kind of law, in an English speaking country, would be familiar with the concept of legal interpretation.

Secondly, *everything* is covered by the law in the US. That is the foundational principle of the country.

I laughed pretty hard when I read that. So I'm 99% sure you are just trolling at this point, but just in case: The US constitution is structured around an enumeration of limited powers, and is followed up with a bill of rights that further constrains those powers. The underlying principle is that of limited government - which is the idea that there are many domains of civil life that the government should not be involved in.

Your argument would stand on firmer ground if you knew the correct terms of art.

No my argument would still be just as good even if I got some of the technical jargon wrong. However, your claim to be a lawyer would be on firmer ground if you were more familiar with some of these terms. The phrases 'ex post facto law', 'retroactive law', and 'retrospective law' all mean exactly the same thing and are all in widespread use in legal literature, which is something you would know if you had ever taken a law class.

more than 4 years ago
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"Patent Markings" Lawsuits Could Run Into the Trillions

praksys Re:Silly editor (193 comments)

That couldn't happen. Murder is killing with intent, manslaughter is killing without intent, so there isn't anything in between.

But in the abstract, yes bad stuff can happen that isn't covered by the law. And there is nothing that a system governed by laws can do about such cases, except to make a new law, and get it right next time. That might seem unfair, but it beats the hell out of living in a system where no one really knows what will get them thrown in jail until after the door clangs shut behind them.

more than 4 years ago
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"Patent Markings" Lawsuits Could Run Into the Trillions

praksys Re:Silly editor (193 comments)

Every possible circumstance is legal or illegal.

Only if you take legal and illegal to be logical opposites, but if you take 'legal' to mean explicitly allowed by law, and 'illegal' to mean explicitly forbidden, then there will be a wide and entertaining middle containing actions that are neither approved nor forbidden. People are creative and they shouldn't have restrict themselves to the list of officially approved actions or be subjected to an arbitrary and capricious legal system where the rules get made up after the fact.

Um, yeah, ASAP, if it comes before a court and a verdict hangs in the balance. If not immediately, then when? After waiting for someone to pass an ex post facto law?

No. If a case comes before the court, and the law doesn't cover the facts of the case, then the correct response is "case dismissed". If the law doesn't cover the facts then then there no way to deliver a judgement based in law. And if the judge decides to make up new rules for this case then he is *necessarily* making up rules after the fact (ex post facto) and applying those rules retrospectively.

Conversely if the public and the legislature don't like the outcome they can make a new law which will apply to future case like this one. That way you get two good things: (1) democratic government and (2) not retroactive laws.

And someone has to make up something...

No they really don't. Sometimes, even when clearly bad stuff happens, the correct response is that there is no good way to fix the problem through the legal system.

more than 4 years ago
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"Patent Markings" Lawsuits Could Run Into the Trillions

praksys Re:Silly editor (193 comments)

It's pretty sad that normal relatively non-crazy people have come to accept this view of legal interpretation, when it is so severely fucked up.

First, it's fucked up because it incorporates a totalitarian assumption is that every possible circumstance should be governed by law, and that whenever someting happens that isn't covered by law it must have been some sort of oversight that should immediately be rectified.

Second, it's fucked up because it implies an unthinking acceptance of retrospective law. When judges make up new rules and apply them to the case at hand they are *always* applying those rules retrospectively.

Under this sort of view it doesn't matter what you do, even if the law makes no mention of it now, when you get hauled off to court suitable rules will be made up to cover whatever it was you did.

more than 4 years ago
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Subversive Groups Must Now Register In South Carolina

praksys Re:So, do we get immunity? (849 comments)

Nope, not semantics, just the way the law works in the US. If the mere fact of registration could be used as evidence then there would be an automatic excuse for not doing it, and the law would be unenforceable.

more than 4 years ago
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Subversive Groups Must Now Register In South Carolina

praksys Re:So, do we get immunity? (849 comments)

It's not *volunteered* if it's required by law.

more than 4 years ago
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Subversive Groups Must Now Register In South Carolina

praksys Re:So, do we get immunity? (849 comments)

No, it's just like paying taxes on income from criminal activity. If you pay the taxes you can't be busted for tax evasion, but you can still be busted for the crimes that provided the income. Of course the fact that you paid those taxes also can't be used as evidence against you, because that would violate the 5th Amendment.

Likewise, under this new law, the fact of registration could not be used as evidence against you, but it wouldn't prevent prosecution for any crimes you commit.

more than 4 years ago
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Subversive Groups Must Now Register In South Carolina

praksys Re:That seems a bit Unconstitutional..... (849 comments)

All sorts of groups and organisations that engage in politics, within the bounds of the lawful democratic process, are required to provide all manner of information about their goals, membership, and financial resources. So it's a no-brainer that you can require similar information from people who participate in politics outside of those lawful bounds. As long as the registration process is easy enough, and doesn't cost too much, it will pass constitutional muster.

more than 4 years ago
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Pen Still Mightier Than the Laptop For Notetaking?

praksys Re:Notes? (569 comments)

The single most effective way to fix knowledge in your memory is to express it to someone else. The very best way to do this is to teach it to someone else, but writing it down in your own words is also pretty good, and much easier to do when you are sitting in class. So the point of writing notes is to fix knowledge in your memory, and the point of reading your own notes later is to reinforce the memories formed when when you wrote those notes. Notes prepared by someone else are almost entirely useless for this purpose; you might as well read the textbook.

Where many students go wrong is that they write notes like minutes for a meeting. They aim for a complete record of everything that was said and done. What they should do is listen, think about what is said, identify the key ideas that the teacher is trying to convey, and write those ideas down in their own words. Asking questions is also good, but you will probably ask better questions if you get the note taking part right because, as you try to express the ideas in your own words, the points that you don't understand will become obvious.

more than 4 years ago
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Gates Foundation Plans To Invest $10B Into Vaccines

praksys Re:Birth Control (477 comments)

It's also a lot easier to sell people on birth control if the long term survival prospects of their children are better.

Suppose each pair of parents wants at least a 95% chance that one of their children will survive to adulthood. If the mortality rate for children is 5% then many parents will settle for one child. On average there may be as few as 0.95 children surviving to adulthood per family, in which case the total population will decline rapidly. If the mortality rate is 50% then most parents will plan to have around 5 children (the probability of all five dying being 0.5^5 = 3%). On average half of all children will still survive to adulthood, so around 2.5 children will survive for each family and the population will grow steadily.

Obviously I've simplified a bit, but it is quite clear that the reduction of infant and child mortality rates is crucial to long term population control.

more than 4 years ago
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Sitting Down Too Long Is Bad Even If You Exercise

praksys Re:junk summary and blog, maybe study (376 comments)

I'm pretty sure the mortality risk is 'per year' rather than 'lifetime'. So, for example, if an average 40 year old has a 1% chance of dying in the next year, and one who watches 8 hours of TV a day has a 1.46% chance of dying, then that would be a 46% increase in risk of death from all causes.

more than 4 years ago
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Alternative 2009 Copyright Expirations

praksys Re:What did you expect? (427 comments)

The case was ELDRED V. ASHCROFT. Lawrence Lessig (and others) pointed out that the constitution only allows copyrights to be granted "for a limited time". SCOTUS responded that they couldn't give a shit what the constitution says. The decision was 7-2 so it's highly unlikely that the court will change it's mind anytime soon.

about 5 years ago
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Poorer Children More Likely To Get Antipsychotics

praksys Re:I hadn't realized... (334 comments)

Those who enjoy having more money should benefit from all the luxuries that their money can buy them. Yet, being healthy must not be a luxury.

So people should have to work for worthless trinkets but never for anything that has real value? You are a harsh master, but fair. However, I do wonder if people will still work as hard once they realise their wages can't buy anything of real value.

It should be an universal right, that each and every person should benefit equally, independent of income or liquidity.

Socialism hasn't worked with any other market, why should it work with healthcare?

about 5 years ago
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Poorer Children More Likely To Get Antipsychotics

praksys I hadn't realized... (334 comments)

I hadn't realized there were so many advantages to having money. Next they'll be telling us that rich people get all the best houses too.

about 5 years ago
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Modeling the Economy As a Physics Problem

praksys Re:Another implication... (452 comments)

Nothing lasts forever, which is why there is no way to live sustainably. It's an entirely useless concept.

Enjoy what you have while it lasts, and make sure you have something lined up to replace it when it's gone. Are you concerned that one day there won't be anything else to follow up with? Tough. That day is certain to come because nothing lasts forever, including the human species.

Future generations will look back at us with scorn and wonder why we chose to be less when we could have been more.

about 5 years ago
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Laser Weapon Shoots Down Airplanes In Test

praksys Re:*yawn* (627 comments)

They are also quite good at locking people up. If you want anything else done right you will have to do it yourself.

more than 5 years ago

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