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+ - Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting-> 3

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A grand jury in Missouri has decided there is no probable cause to charge police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown. "A grand jury of nine whites and three blacks had been meeting weekly since Aug. 20 to consider evidence. At least nine votes would have been required to indict Wilson. The Justice Department is conducting an investigation into possible civil rights violations that could result in federal charges." Government officials and Brown's family are urging calm in Ferguson after the contentious protests that followed Brown's death."
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Comment: My thoughts go out to all those directly affected (Score 1) 3

by Atrox Canis (#48454353) Attached to: Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

To the family of Michael Brown and Darren Wilson, my wish is that regardless of the situation, in the coming months and years, you are all able to reach some state of peace. My hope is that the members of the community, regardless of your position, can maintain enough discipline to restrain yourselves from introducing more violence and hate. My condolences.

Comment: Re:I bet Infosys and Tata are dancing in the stree (Score 1) 186

Thing is, while he might have done that before (I don't know and I'm not taking sides as I'm not an Elmer) why would he behave like that now? (Bouncing from one advisor to another, I mean.) The extent of his power can't be longer than 2 years because of the 2 terms rule and it's incredibly unlikely to be any less than 2 years, even if he sat on his ass and did absolutely nothing.

That's a good and reasoned question. I speculate that he knows no other way. He has for so long been in ballistic mode that it has now become natural and provides the path of least resistance. I watched his speech last night and I couldn't help but reach the conclusion that he was out of his depth. Although he fails at speaking extemporaneously, he is normally fairly good at delivering his messages when properly prepared. Last night was as controlled a situation as he is likely to find and his delivery, pacing, tonal quality and lack of any deference spoke to me about a man at the end of his limits.

I've always believed him to be a pretty darn good grifter but he let himself literally get carried away by the overwhelming and indomitable forces of Hollywood and Beltway exuberance.

Comment: Re:I bet Infosys and Tata are dancing in the stree (Score 1) 186

I think he ran for president for the same reason anyone interested in power and influence would, because he craves power and influence. What he does not seem willing to acknowledge is the responsibility part. He rebounds from adviser to adviser telling him what to think and say and because of his lack of experience and talent he just does what he's told because he believes it keeps him in power and grants him influence.

I would venture that the vast majority of his "policies" and ideas are simple gleanings from overheard conversations at Hollywood cocktail parties. He has the depth of character one would expect from excessive education paired with inadequate intelligence. When people say he is a stuffed suit, that's in part because of what they observe and in part what they hear him say. It doesn't have anything to do with the color of his skin but entirely with the content of his character; a character that is woefully lacking and ill suited to the task.

To dismiss reservations about him with a simple "various nutballs like yourself" is to reduce the weight of your own argument in opposition. When you disregard the opinion of others in such a way, you lower the threshold for your argument and make your job easier. So, make an effort.

+ - Senate Republicans are getting ready to declare war on patent trolls-> 1

Submitted by XxtraLarGe
XxtraLarGe (551297) writes "Regardless of party affiliation, I think this is probably one thing most of us on Slashdot can applaud:

Republicans are about to take control of the US Senate. And when they do, one of the big items on their agenda will be the fight against patent trolls.

In a Wednesday speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) outlined a proposal to stop abusive patent lawsuits. "Patent trolls – which are often shell companies that do not make or sell anything – are crippling innovation and growth across all sectors of our economy," Hatch said.

"

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+ - Halting Problem Proves That Lethal Robots Cannot Correctly Decide To Kill Humans 2

Submitted by KentuckyFC
KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "The halting problem is to determine whether an arbitrary computer program, once started, will ever finish running or whether it will continue forever. In 1936, Alan Turing famously showed that there is no general algorithm that can solve this problem. Now a group of computer scientists and ethicists have used the halting problem to tackle the question of how a weaponised robot could decide to kill a human. Their trick is to reformulate the problem in algorithmic terms by considering an evil computer programmer who writes a piece of software on which human lives depend. The question is whether the software is entirely benign or whether it can ever operate in a way that ends up killing people. In general, a robot could never decide the answer to this question. As a result, autonomous robots should never be designed to kill or harm humans, say the authors, even though various lethal autonomous robots are already available. One curious corollary is that if the human brain is a Turing machine, then humans can never decide this issue either, a point that the authors deliberately steer well clear of."

+ - Botting in games about to become easier/creepier->

Submitted by Atrox Canis
Atrox Canis (1266568) writes "Researchers have been working on Brain to Brain Interface (BBI) technologies for some time now. But a team out of UofW recently conducted an experiment on an extension of this tech. From the abstract...

"An upgraded brain-to-brain interface has allowed researchers to transmit signals from one person's brain over the internet and use those signals to control the hand motions of another person. Remarkably, the system allowed the participants to collaborate on a computer game."

I foresee this becoming a tool for remote management of gaming bots. Imagine a bot farmer in WoW spending his/her days remote controlling dozens of bots (read humans) for farming and selling in-game gold. Don't laugh! I've been convinced for years that bot farmers will try anything. /s"

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+ - Virginia Court: LEOs can force you to provide fingerprint to unlock your phone->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "A Circuit Court judge in Virginia has ruled that fingerprints are not protected by the Fifth Amendment, a decision that has clear privacy implications for fingerprint-protected devices like newer iPhones and iPads.

According to Judge Steven C. Fucci, while a criminal defendant can't be compelled to hand over a passcode to police officers for the purpose of unlocking a cellular device, law enforcement officials can compel a defendant to give up a fingerprint.

The Fifth Amendment states that "no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself," which protects memorized information like passwords and passcodes, but it does not extend to fingerprints in the eyes of the law, as speculated by Wired last year.

Judge Steven C. Frucci ruled this week that giving police a fingerprint is akin to providing a DNA or handwriting sample or an actual key, which the law permits. A pass code, though, requires the defendant to divulge knowledge, which the law protects against, according to Frucci's written opinion.

"

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Comment: Re:H1B applicants are people too (Score 1) 190

by Atrox Canis (#48268243) Attached to: Labor Department To Destroy H-1B Records

I agree. However, the same thing could be accomplished with a simple SQL script to null the fields containing personally identifying information in each record.

Not a conspiracy nut here but I do suspect there are additional motives for purging the data outside of a purely altruistic one.

Comment: Re:OK, that's counted people. And the other stats? (Score 1) 57

by Atrox Canis (#48249573) Attached to: Taking the Census, With Cellphones

I agree, but I think they may be taking this into account. For one, having a detailed mapping of somewhat technically engaged populace gives them just a little more information in regards to determining what segments of the population to randomly select for enhanced census. I know they are supposed to try to hit everyone but with just the right emphasis on how hard to try in certain areas, the results can be skewed enough to matter.

Comment: Re:Kickstarter! (Score 1) 215

by Atrox Canis (#48243257) Attached to: "Police Detector" Monitors Emergency Radio Transmissions

Take the extreme positions out of the argument and both of you start making sense.

No, not all speed zone decisions are made based entirely or even in part on revenue generation possibilities.

No, not all speed zone decisions are made based entirely or even in part on traffic safety considerations.

The problem then becomes, as a driver, which are which? How do I know? How can I find out?

So, I use a radar detector in my daily drive to and from work. Ordinarily, I drive the same speed as everyone else but if I'm the only one on the road, I drive the speed limit. I believe this type of behavior is both civil and safe. And if you don't like the way I drive, you are free to slow the fuck down or speed the fuck up.

+ - As Prison Population Sinks, Jails Are a Steal

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "After rising rapidly for decades, the number of people behind bars peaked at 1.62 Million in 2009, has been mostly falling ever since down, and many justice experts believe the incarceration rate will continue on a downward trajectory for many years. New York, for example, saw an 8.8% decline in federal and state inmates, and California, saw a 20.6% drop. Now the WSJ reports on an awkward byproduct of the declining U.S. inmate population: empty or under-utilized prisons and jails that must be cared for but can’t be easily sold or repurposed. New York state has closed 17 prisons and juvenile-justice facilities since 2011, following the rollback of the 1970s-era Rockefeller drug laws, which mandated lengthy sentences for low-level offenders. So far, the state has found buyers for 10 of them, at prices that range from less than $250,000 to about $8 million for a facility in Staten Island, often a fraction of what they cost to build. “There’s a prisoner shortage,” says Mike Arismendez, city manager for Littlefield, Texas, home of an empty five-building complex that sleeps 383 inmates and comes with a gym, maintenence shed, armory, and parking lot . “Everybody finds it hard to believe.”

The incarceration rate is declining largely because crime has fallen significantly in the past generation. In addition, many states have relaxed harsh sentencing laws passed during the tough-on-crime 1980s and 1990s, and have backed rehabilitation programs, resulting in fewer low-level offenders being locked up. States from Michigan to New Jersey have changed parole processes, leading more prisoners to leave earlier. On a federal level, the Justice Department under Attorney General Eric Holder has pushed to reduce sentences for nonviolent drug offenders. Before 2010, the U.S. prison population increased every year for 30 years, from 307,276 in 1978 to a high of 1,615,487 in 2009. “This is the beginning of the end of mass incarceration,” says Natasha Frost. "People don’t care so much about crime, and it’s less of a political focus.""

The key elements in human thinking are not numbers but labels of fuzzy sets. -- L. Zadeh

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