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Deputy Who Fatally Struck Cyclist While Answering Email Will Face No Charges

stoploss Re:yet if we did it (370 comments)

Huh? I think you have it backwards.

As you said, "The problem [is] cops under investigation never being punished regardless of the severity of their actions". Unlike you, I don't advocate punishing those under investigation... just those found guilty.

Your suggestion punishes the innocent because even though they're still paid they can't use that income because of the shadow of a potential adverse finding.

That's not a real punishment under any sort of legal theory. I can imagine a variety of adverse scenarios and these are not considered "punishments". For example, I can imagine that I were wrongfully convicted and subsequently executed for a crime I didn't commit. Am I being punished right this moment by this threat? It's certainly not beyond the realm of possibility. Do I deserve protection codified in the legal system to somehow preclude my fears?

For another example, I can conceive that the IRS could decide through a miscarriage of justice to have me convicted of tax fraud and thereby seize all my assets and garnish my income. Am I being punished right now, even though I'm innocent? I'm facing the potential prospect of wrongful conviction; according to you I am therefore logically unable to spend a cent of my income. I'm living in the shadow of a potential adverse finding, you know.

As I said, nothing is protecting you from the specter of miscarriage of justice. It's a fact of life, and you and everyone else just has to deal with that however you can because the alternative (accommodating everyone's fears) is absurd.

2 hours ago
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Deputy Who Fatally Struck Cyclist While Answering Email Will Face No Charges

stoploss Re:yet if we did it (370 comments)

Wait. So, I'm the one thinking about this incorrectly when I propose punishing those found guilty, whereas you are proposing punishing those who are only under investigation?

And, yes, I'm fine with the scenario you proposed, insofar as the outcome is predicated upon a miscarriage of justice in the courts (which we should always strive to mitigate). What's protecting you, for example, from having all your assets seized if you are targeted by and subsequently lose a false civil lawsuit? Insurance? Nothing?

Welcome to life.

Better than rewarding malfeasant government agents with taxpayer dollars.

9 hours ago
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Deputy Who Fatally Struck Cyclist While Answering Email Will Face No Charges

stoploss Re:yet if we did it (370 comments)

Precisely because they are under investigation - to not pay them means the investigators and the employers have taken a particular stance, and also it would be extremely easy to harm someone by making a false accusation against them.

Okay, fine. Presumption of innocence and all. However, if they are found guilty then I want to see a clawback of the pay.

For example, Nadal Hasan, the Ft. Hood terrorist^W"workplace violence perpetrator" drew over $300,000 in salary while awaiting trial. That's swell. What makes it better is that his victims' families were being jerked around and not receiving death benefits, etc, from the government while this was transpiring.

yesterday
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Ask Slashdot: Best Phone Apps?

stoploss Xposed installer (161 comments)

Probably the most useful app I have installed is the Xposed installer.

This is Slashdot, so it's okay to be meta, right? Heh.

2 days ago
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Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

stoploss Re:Cut the Russians Off (827 comments)

Ukraine is well within its rights to do so now that Russia has breached the agreement.

I'm sure that in 1985, plutonium is available in every corner drugstore, but in 2014, it's a little hard to come by.

4 days ago
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Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

stoploss Re:Send in the drones! (827 comments)

I mean, how'd you feel if Russia took over Mexico?

About the same way we'd feel when they tried to put nukes in Cuba?

But at least that one went well...

Right. In that case they were simply reacting to our aggressive positioning of Jupiter missiles in Turkey. We offered to remove those if they pulled back from Cuba. Balance of MAD restored.

What's the quid pro quo play here?

4 days ago
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Air Force Requests Info For Replacement Atlas 5 Engine

stoploss Re:Raptor? (107 comments)

The Eastern part of the Empire was where the revenue was generated. It could tolerate more overhead.

The early Principate had a lot of income from annexation and plunder. However that essentially had its last hurrah with Trajan, and Hadrian is most famous for being the first to set a limit on the expansion of the empire (the eponymous wall).

After that, well, the Roman civilization came with a lot of overhead. The Western part was a net revenue drain, while the East was revenue surplus. This was quite literal in some ways, as the annona (grain tax) fleet from Egypt fed Rome, and any delay of the tax fleet would cause unrest due to hungry mobs.

Closing the loop on my point: bureaucracy is additional complexity/overhead, and it grows even when the underlying society is unable to afford it. This adds additional stress to an already taxed system.

I suggest Tainter's treatise "The Collapse of Complex Societies" for additional conceptual background.

5 days ago
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Chromium 37 Launches With Major Security Fixes, 64-bit Windows Support

stoploss This cued my rant. (113 comments)

God damn browsers and Web 2.0. They have undone the stability gains we have gotten over *decades* simply to have yet another AJAX-y Web 2.0 site with a 4 MB homepage.

What am I talking about? All this push to inject hardware acceleration into the browser comes at a cost: the damn browser is now moving out of the safe userland and more into game territory where they are communicating with the low-level APIs.

Fucking browsers are the only application I use that can hard lock my machine. I only got relief from Chrome by disabling hardware acceleration. I can perceive how such acceleration may be necessary on phones and tablets, but why the fuck, on a quad-core Haswell with 16 GB of RAM, should hardware acceleration even be necessary (or have noticeable effect) for surfing the goddamn internet?!

It's like it's fucking 1996 all over again where I have to initiate a hardware reset on my machine because the browser completely crashed it. Thanks, guys.

5 days ago
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California DMV Told Google Cars Still Need Steering Wheels

stoploss Re:Short term (505 comments)

That behavior does seem annoying. The implementation probably just wasn't ready for prime time.

Anyway, now with the beam carving on Mercedes/Volvo it's probably much less noticeable to the driver. Really, that's the best solution (at least in concept).

5 days ago
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Chromium 37 Launches With Major Security Fixes, 64-bit Windows Support

stoploss Re:all that? (113 comments)

How is google going to stop you from posting lies on Slashdot?

Haven't you heard the whispers about the Google kick squad, armed with Reason(tm) hypervelocity rail guns?

That's how.

5 days ago
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California DMV Told Google Cars Still Need Steering Wheels

stoploss Re:Short term (505 comments)

And I tell you now the FIRST thing you will do is turn the auto headlights off! I had an E class Mercedes that had the auto dim highbeam and it would get confused by street lights and reflections from signs. It is actually really really disconcerting.

Sorry your vehicle sucked. Any particular reason you were driving around with your highbeams on in the city?

I love the auto-dimming headlights on my Jeep Grand Cherokee; they are only engaged in highbeam mode. Between features like this and the radar-based adaptive cruise control, it feels like a semi-self driving vehicle. I can get on the interstate and cruise for hundreds of km only having to steer. No pedals. No flicking the highbeams.

Anyway, it seems like Mercedes is using beam carving adaptive headlights now as their high end option. Looks cool on paper.

5 days ago
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Would Scottish Independence Mean the End of UK's Nuclear Arsenal?

stoploss Re:No it will not. (375 comments)

The Scots should float their own currency. Backed by Whiskey

I see what you did there...

about a week ago
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Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?

stoploss Re:Most are ill-prepared (191 comments)

Why would you use lightbulbs in the 21st century?

Thanks, but I don't need education on the state of the art in personal lighting—I own plenty of digitally regulated LED flashlights already.

I will reiterate the main point of my previous post: "Perhaps that's less of a problem now, but I have other electronics that won't work with lithiums."

My anecdote was a specific example of why people need to understand that these Energizer disposable lithiums are not necessarily drop-in replacements that will work without a hitch. They need to be tested in gear before you simply throw it in a closet and expect it to work when you pull it out during an emergency.

about a week ago
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Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?

stoploss Re:Most are ill-prepared (191 comments)

These were standard AA maglites which (still, I believe) take two AA's. Our sample size was three of these flashlights, all had been used for years without incident. In fact, we were all commenting how with the lithiums the maglites weren't getting dim as quickly as they did on fresh alkalines. One lithium and one dead alkaline dropped the voltage and the bulbs shone at their normal, dimmer levels for hours without any bulb deaths.

Turns out, that additional power output we found remarkable pushed the bulbs past their tolerance. Probably not an issue with today's typical digitally-regulated LED flashlights, but then again there's that pulse ox of mine which is not exactly a low-tech, cheap gadget.

Don't get me wrong: I still use the lithiums. The shelf life, energy capacity, energy density, and lack of corrosive material to leak and kill gear, simply can't be beat. I just don't presume they will be compatible without testing, especially for gear that needs to work when it counts.

about a week ago
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Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?

stoploss Re:Most are ill-prepared (191 comments)

You're thinking of Lithium-Ion batteries which are nominally 3.6V.

Energizer Lithium batteries are 1.5V and are compatible with most electronics that take AA or AAA Alkaline batteries.

No. No, I'm not. I was backpacking at night with some friends in 2003 and we loaded Energizer lithium disposable AA's (they were branded as PhotoLithium at the time). Among us we experienced three bulb failures in under 20 minutes. We started wising up when the brand new replacement bulbs were getting killed too. Eventually we mated a lithium with a discharged alkaline in order to cut the power output. Our bulbs survived after that. If you've never had an incandescent maglite, suffice it to say that bulbs burning out was rare (on the order of years). It was the Energizer lithiums that were killing the bulbs.

In the past year I have found my pulse oximeter absolutely refuses to run on a fresh energizer disposable lithium AAA.

People should be aware that the disposable lithiums have a different discharge profile and initial voltage. Most electronics do well with them (albeit lithiums being expensive), but some don't tolerate these batteries.

It behooves people to test. And it behooves people not to jump to conclusions that other people's experiences are mere misunderstandings.

about a week ago
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Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?

stoploss Re:Most are ill-prepared (191 comments)

Depends on whether your flashlights are compatible with lithiums. For example, they will cook a maglight with incandescent bulbs. The bulbs burn out within 10 minutes. Perhaps that's less of a problem now, but I have other electronics that won't work with lithiums.

about a week ago
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Air Force Requests Info For Replacement Atlas 5 Engine

stoploss Re:Raptor? (107 comments)

You're almost speaking as if the rulers having a check on their power was a bad thing.

That may have been how it seemed, but that's not what I was trying to communicate. The real solution was to return to the Republic, which was stable, had separation of powers, strong checks and balances, and so on.

When I was talking about constraints, I meant things like how eventually new Caesars had to pay the Praetorian Guard multiple years worth of salary upon taking power because previous Caesars had done so. As for the bureaucracy, the ratchet clicked (and the layers and expense grew) because the emperors wanted to strip power from regional governors and generals who were ready to usurp. The Caesars had their hand forced in these regards. Yes, it's a check on their absolute power, but not really in a positive sense: bribery, centralization of administration that had previously been decentralized, etc.

Of course, all these perverse incentives were a nonissue in the Republic.

If you are interested in the decline and fall of Rome from a more academic perspective than Gibbon's classical work, I suggest "How Rome Fell" by Goldsworthy. It's very well-written and full of citations. The book doesn't promote any "favored theory" for collapse, unlike many of the other works on the subject.

about a week ago
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Air Force Requests Info For Replacement Atlas 5 Engine

stoploss Re:Raptor? (107 comments)

Totalitarianism was developed in the 20th century. Please don't conflate that with the autocracy of the emperors, and, for that matter, don't conflate bureaucracy and democracy.

That said, the real tragedy was the demise of the Roman Republic, which had separation of powers with strong checks and balances, designed specifically to prevent an autocracy. That's why Augustus' legal fictions that established the Principate were so deviously clever. In fact, that fiction was kept up until the fourth century (if memory serves) before any Caesar had the gall to claim a title that was monarchial.

However, to your point, the bureaucracy is a cancer because these are individuals who generally have no direct accountability to the public at large. In the republic, this power was decentralized and more local. This is somewhat like the principle of federalism the US was founded with but has been increasingly disavowing since the 19th century.

So, what I'm saying is that you proposed a false dichotomy. The choice should not be between autocracy and cancerous, centralized bureaucracy. It should have been whether or not to abolish the crazy emperors and return to the stable Republic that had brought Rome prosperity for centuries. No system is perfect, but centralizing power in a practically unaccountable bureaucracy is extremely deleterious.

about a week ago
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Air Force Requests Info For Replacement Atlas 5 Engine

stoploss Re:Raptor? (107 comments)

I'm not attributing it to a single cause anymore than one can attribute death by cancer to any specific individual cell.

The very establishment of the Principate held the seeds of its own demise, but that's like saying the ultimate cause of death is being born. The legal fictions chosen in order to establish the Augustan Principate allowed Augustus to have a fig leaf to cover his dictatorial powers while still styling himself "mere" Princeps ("First Citizen") had unintended consequences. He technically did NOT consolidate all the power into a single office; he technically didnt even abolish the traditional system of appointments. The legal fiction was that all these mechanisms were still in place, it's just that Augustus held all the top offices. Imagine if we had a President who was also Chief Justice, Speaker of the House, President of the Senate, etc, and everyone else in Congress and the Supreme Court was afraid to cross him.

You can see that executing responsibilities of all those offices is a lot of work. The last Caesar to bust his ass trying to discharge the responsibilities of all those offices was Marcus Aurelius. Commodus couldn't be fucking bothered, as he wanted to play games. However, instead of allowing that office to revert to the pre-principate form he started layering on bureaucracy. To revert to the Republican system would be to release power, and technically he was still in control of what the bureaucracy did.

Bureaucracies never die without killing their host as well. Bureaucrats love their sinecures, power, and income and will fight to keep them. Therefore, delegating power turned into a ratchet effect.

Over the centuries, the ratchet clicked many times and layers upon layers of bureaucracy formed. This is a heavy toll on an economy, and taxes rose to match. Of course, the Romans never really came up with a good taxation system (c.f. tax farming).

Reforms under Severus, Constantine, Diocletian, et al, were adjustments within a fixed range of trajectory. As the Western Empire got closer to the end, reforms could only adjust the trajectory in a small way... much like you can't cut out cancer that has metastasized to vital organs.

All this contributed massively to undermine the ability of the Empire to adapt as well as diminishing the value to the individual of being part of the Roman "Commonwealth". If you're a taxpayer who is funding this massive bureaucracy and you can't perceive all this expense is to your net benefit, how hard are you going to fight to keep the barbarians away?

If a patient with metastatic cancer dies of pneumonia, what killed him?

about two weeks ago
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Air Force Requests Info For Replacement Atlas 5 Engine

stoploss Re:Raptor? (107 comments)

You know that the bureaucrats eventually "won" in Rome, right?

Rome collapsed under the weight of its complacent, entrenched bureaucracy. After Marcus Aurelius, every subsequent Caesar had less ability to change the trajectory of the Empire thanks to the political realities imposed by the bureaucracy. They had to act within the constraints of the previously established bureaucracies. Did you know that eventually Roman bureaucrats granted themselves military ranks? Bureaucrats also chose the last of the Western Emperors.

Bureaucracy is a cancer.

about two weeks ago

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