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Comment: Re:One word: Cloud (Score 1) 163

That's one anecdote. I'll give you another anecdote. When I went to Stony Brook U., a bunch of guys I knew were driving in a car and got busted for pot. One guy was a working-class guy from upstate New York, first in his family to go to college, working his way through school (that's why he was selling pot). The other guys in the car were rich kids from Long Island. The working-class guy got a public defender, who told him to plead guilty, and I think he served a short sentence in jail. The rich kids' lawyers fought the charges, contested the search, and got them off. Same offense, same car.

Another important issue is how much pressure the cop and district attorney have to get "results". In Baltimore, New York, and most other urban areas, the cops and DA are under a lot of pressure to get "results," i.e., mess up somebody's life. The cops live in the suburbs, they don't care about these people. In rural Virginia, where everybody knows everybody else, the cops may be more concerned about real policing where they just protect people from real crimes and don't concern themselves with the numbers.

But if you want to be scientific about it, there are lots of statistics that show that black people are more likely to be stopped by the cops, more likely to be (illegally) searched, more likely to be prosecuted, and more likely to be sent to jail for the same offense. That came out in the New York City lawsuit against stop and frisk. Don't forget, Freddie Gray was arrested illegally. The cops had no legal reason to suspect that he committed a crime, even after they (illegally) searched him. It's not illegal to look a cop in the eye (unless maybe you're black and it's in the south).

Some of it is race, and some of it is social class. I used to think that it wasn't race, and you could explain everything with social class. But when I looked at the data, I had to admit -- social class was a lot of it, but race was a lot of it too. America is just a racist country. The sooner we face it, the better off we'll be, although the way we're going I think we'll still be racist a generation from now.

Here's a lawyer who explained it better than I can:
OPINION: Justice for all? Why hasn’t Bishop Cook who struck bicyclist Palermo been charged?
A defense attorney says justice is being mocked by the failure of city prosecutors to charge Bishop Heather Cook
Todd H. Oppenheim
January 5, 2015

(Oppenheimer, an attorney in the Public Defender's Office for 10 years, compares the treatment by the State Attorney's Office and police of the upper class criminals such as Episcopal Bishop Heather Elizabeth Cook, who killed bicyclist Thomas Palermo in a drunken driving hit-and-run, with his own mostly African-American clients. Oppenheim's clients are immediately charged or jailed, while Cook was allowed to go home.)

Instead, she remains free and “lawyered up” with a veteran Towson attorney who has represented many high-profile clients for a substantial fee. My clients can’t afford an attorney of their choice, and they certainly never get the opportunity to preemptively hire an attorney.

The clients I represent never get such treatment. They are informed of their arrests – and not necessarily for what – with a bang at the front door and a swift take-down by an arrest team of officers.

My clients often sit in jail as the state’s attorney’s office sorts out the charges.

(Other examples of wealthy, connected clients who were given special privileges by the legal system.)

Comment: Re: Hahah (Score 1) 163

Perhaps prison wouldn't be appropriate for an adult either, here? There is evidence that harsher punishment is counterproductive, increasing the chance of repeat crimes.

Yes, the reason for that is that putting criminals together, and putting minor offenders together with major offenders, socializes them in the ways of crime. They teach each other how to commit crimes. They get sent away for small-time pot dealing and learn how to steal cars and burglarize buildings.

There used to be some well-run juvenile correction centers that actually did work. My friend's brother wound up in one of them. They taught him to read, they taught him a trade (carpentry).

Unfortunately most of those places have been replaced by what amounts to torture chambers run like prisons by sadistic guards. It's the fault of both Democratic and Republican conservatives. It's mostly Republicans, but I can't let Bill Clinton off the hook. Tax cuts have eliminated the budgets. Here's the umpteenth expose of the juvenile justice system, by the Chicago Tribune That's Rahm Emanuel's territory. At one group home, the staff was billing for "television therapy" when the kids watched movies on TV.

One of the problems is that the American people have turned mean-spirited without compassion or concern for those who are having problems, as demonstrated by some of the posts here. If these people take over, America isn't going to be a very good place to live.

Comment: Re:Hahah (Score 1) 163

He did the crime (actually several), he must do the time.

If he wants to play big boy games then he must accept big boy penalties. Fuck your PC "Oh but he's a kid with his whole life ahead of him!" bullshit, he's chosen his path, let him reap the consequences.

The former Soviet Union, China, and the US have the largest prison population in the world.

So rather than being PC you would rather that we follow the example of the former Communist countries. You have an unusual view of what makes a good society.

Comment: Re:No more "social justice" crap here, please. (Score 1) 291

Trying to prevent sexism or racism or other isms did not used to be considered an evil thing to do, at least not until the last couple of years.

It's that "progressivism" moving always forward, at some point advocates for certain groups start to look simply like opponents of others.

Comment: Inventions vs. Engineering (Score 1) 59

I heard the acute problem aptly summarized recently: "Patents are supposed to cover inventions, but what they're being issued for is mere engineering."

This is a better metric than the "obviousness test" - what is the essential and genius inspiration that led to a the idea of putting a delivery message in a SMS message? There is none - no patent.

I realize the entire system has evolved into one giant mechanism to enrich entrenched corporate interests, but it's still a good insight into how maybe the system could have been designed less-wrong from the beginning.

Comment: Re:39/100 is the new passing grade. (Score 1) 172

Is there a valid reason we accept studies that have not been reproduced at least one more time to truly vet them before the community?

The point of papers [in real science] is to say, "we did this, here's what we found". It's not to announce a beacon of new Revealed Truth. That's largely the fault of science "reporters" looking to sell advertising space.

The papers are themselves the invitations to replicate.

The problem is the government science-funding model is largely based on fame and popularity, and doing replication studies is felt to be beneath most researchers except for the most extraordinary of claims, or those that threaten the Orthodoxy.

None of these problems will go away until the incentives of the funding model change. To assume anything else would be economically ignorant.

Comment: Finance::Bank (Score 1) 72

by bill_mcgonigle (#49594417) Attached to: How an Open Standard API Could Revolutionize Banking

Other posters have already demolished the idea that banks will do this voluntarily or by edict.

The engineering approach is to not involve them. The Finance::Bank collection is the closest you're going to find to a workable solution.

Anybody who has money to spend on a government "solution" should send it to these developers instead.

Comment: Re:Try again... 4? (Score 1) 222

by bill_mcgonigle (#49594319) Attached to: Grooveshark Shuts Down

Think about it. You may love the open source movement, but how would you like it if you wrote software at your day job for a salary...and then one day the government said "Hey, we decided that all software is free now. So you can't charge for it, even if you worked hard to make it and invested tons of money in the software-making process."

That's a nonsense argument. Absent monopoly grants, software goes to the person who paid for it, and they have the choice of whether to release it or not.

It's when it's released to the public, do you have Men With Guns threaten the People for making copies of that software or not? That is the ethical question. Do predictions of purported benefit from social-engineering justify threats of murder?

You, or at least anyone reading this who fits this profile, should think carefully about the foundation of your own ethics.

*Yours* is based on threats of violence for duplication (not stealing) of information. It abolishes a portion of _real_ property rights for imaginary ones, when there is no demonstrable harm other than a postulate of diminution of earning potential.

The reduced argument is "murder for profit".

Comment: Re:Choice, not force. (Score 0) 313

by bill_mcgonigle (#49594205) Attached to: Mozilla Begins To Move Towards HTTPS-Only Web

I doubt it. Their vision for the future is sound, but they're not strongly connected to the reality of maintaining a good browser for the present at the same time. Mostly chest-beating rather than doing the hard work required.

Mozilla has gotten brazen lately about forcing questionable changes on users

Right. I have to manage $1200 PDU's that use SSLv3, so to use Firefox I had to re-enable SSLv3 for all sites. That's the only choice Mozilla felt like giving users. That's not bold, it's lazy and worsens overall security for the Internet.

If they think I'm going to get $30K to replace working gear "because Firefox" they're delusional.

Comment: Re:Show me the math on the Tesla. (Score 1) 278

by bill_mcgonigle (#49588731) Attached to: New Study Suggests Flying Is Greener Than Driving

and don't forget that most wealth is generated by engaging in activities with energy requirements.

That Tesla 80D Insane Edition that I want takes $115K worth of economic profit to acquire, which in most industries requires 5-20x as much revenue. So over a million dollars worth of economic activity on average to just get that Tesla before you can drive it. Is that greener than a Fiesta?

"But this one goes to eleven." -- Nigel Tufnel