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Comment: Re:You could see this coming (Score 2) 328

by Kijori (#48179565) Attached to: Despite Patent Settlement, Apple Pulls Bose Merchandise From Its Stores

I'm a commercial litigator. While it's true that companies would prefer not to sue their key partners, in reality it's very common for companies that work together to be involved in litigation. I wouldn't go so far as to say that they like it, but if you work with a company for a long time it's inevitable that you will have some disputes that you can't settle amicably. To an extent it's just a cost of doing business.

Comment: Re:Ebola threat (Score 1) 478

by Kijori (#48119691) Attached to: The CDC Is Carefully Controlling How Scared You Are About Ebola

There is a reason people are wearing those suits, and it is not because they look cool.

I think you're reading too much into the suits.

They use the suits because they've done a risk analysis taking into account both ease of transmission and lethality. The precautions recommended by the CDC for people working with Ebola are stricter than for people working with influenza, even though influenza is much more easily transmissible. The precautions recommended for HIV are as strict as those recommended for influenza, even though it is much less easily transmissible.

Obviously I don't know exactly how they do the balancing exercise, but where a disease is highly lethal with no known cure I suspect that they would be wearing suits even if transmission was almost impossible.

Comment: Re:Jamming unlinced spectrum is illegal? (Score 1) 278

by Kijori (#48062071) Attached to: Marriott Fined $600,000 For Jamming Guest Hotspots

Just FYI - "malicious" has a specific legal meaning, rather than just being a subjective opinion. I don't know what the definition is in US federal law, but it's usually something along the lines of "intentional and without reasonable justification" (making "malicious and willful" somewhat tautologous, but that's not unusual in older legislation).

Comment: Re:Hope He Continues (Score 1) 651

by Kijori (#48041869) Attached to: The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

What irritates me about that particular talking point, besides how contrived and stupid it is, is that the people who espouse it are basically saying, "if you didn't get hurt or killed by a gun, fuck you because you don't matter."

I haven't heard anyone saying that, and I certainly don't think it's what the GP said. What a lot of gun control activists do say is that if more people are armed then more confrontations will end up with someone being injured, and if more people are armed with particularly effective weapons like guns, more confrontations will end with someone seriously injured or dead.

FYI, a number of those nations with lower gun death rates have exponentially higher rape and violent mugging rates. So "less guns" doesn't equate to the chocolate-rainbows-and-sexy-unicorns utopia that busybodies seem to think it would.

First, it's worth pointing out that rape and violent crime rates are much more difficult to compare than murder rates - in a Western democracy a murder is likely to get recorded as a murder, while reporting rates and definitions of rape and violent crime can vary.

Second, which are these countries? If you were thinking of Canada - the GP's example - the top two results on Google (I didn't check any further) agree that the rates of murder, rape, violent crime and overall crime are all lower.

I'm sure you can find some countries that do worse than the US on some measures. But if that's your argument - that if you're allowed to pick which country to compare the US to, and if you're allowed to pick what to compare them on, then you can find examples that are worse - then you don't have much of an argument.

Comment: Re:the solution: (Score 2) 651

by Kijori (#48041207) Attached to: The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

The problem with the US constitution is that it's a terrible piece of writing. Partly because it was the product of political compromise, so parts were kept deliberately vague, and partly because legal drafting at the time was, by modern standards, pretty poor.

A constitution should be incredibly precise about the rights that it protects and exactly how far it protects them. If it's not, then judges impose their views, or the views of the majority, and give them constitutional force. That's the opposite of what's desired! The whole point of the constitution is to set some fundamental decisions in stone - but instead they are being re-thought over time, and then those new decisions are elevated to have the power of the constitution!

The truth is that the second amendment adds very little to the gun control debate. You can point to half a dozen unclear points in only just over two dozen words. At the moment it means that you can restrict peoples' ownership of guns a bit, but not too much, because that's what some judges think is a reasonable position. According to Wikipedia, 100 years ago judges thought that more controls on gun ownership were reasonable, so the second amendment was less broad. In future maybe it will mean no restrictions are allowed at all, or maybe it will mean anything goes short of outright prohibition. None of these positions are any more right than any other, because the wording of the amendment is hopelessly vague.

Comment: Re:Rent a Tesla for $1 (Score 2, Insightful) 335

by Kijori (#48013377) Attached to: State of Iowa Tells Tesla To Cancel Its Scheduled Test Drives

I agree, claims of voter suppression and racism are bullshit. Is it suppression for all the other things that require ID in the modern world? I hope you never have to fly, buy alcohol, medicine, cash a check, or do anything else either.

I think that the point is that:
1. Black, hispanic and asian voters are significantly less likely to possess ID that is sufficient to meet the requirements of the laws. They are also less likely already to be registered to vote.
2. Election fraud is rare, and in-person fraud (the only type that could be prevented by these laws) is vanishingly rare.
3. These laws are being passed by Republican legislatures. Statistically, reducing the number of black, asian and hispanic voters is likely to improve their results in elections.

So what you have is a measure that claims to prevent a problem that doesn't exist, and, coincidentally, will make it harder for the party's opponents to vote.

I don't actually believe that that is a coincidence. I don't know whether it is racist or not, but I do think that elections should be fought by trying to convince the electorate that you are the best candidate, not by changing the procedure to make it harder for your opponents to vote.

Comment: Re:The headline is misleading. . . (Score 1) 385

by Kijori (#47991473) Attached to: Seattle Passes Laws To Keep Residents From Wasting Food

No, it isn't. Nobody, other than a few people on Slashdot, think that "food waste" means "food that is being discarded anyway but has been put in the general trash bin rather than the composting bin". If anything, that would be wasted compost, since the stuff in question is not going to be eaten anyway by the time it goes in the wrong bin.

Amazingly it turns out the EPA actually has a definition of food waste, which agrees with the GP. They say it is "uneaten food and food preparation waste [from various sources". By that definition food that goes into the compost can be "food waste" - so a rule to make you put it in a different bin doesn't change the amount of "food waste" at all.

Comment: Re:Fuck the people (Score 1) 385

by Kijori (#47991449) Attached to: Seattle Passes Laws To Keep Residents From Wasting Food

You can't have a public hearing about every regulation proposed by Government, it would be a huge waste of time and money. There has to be some sort of minimum threshold - and surely a $1 fine designed to raise awareness of sorting your garbage falls on the "not worth a consultation" side?

In other words, do you actually think the council should have run a public consultation about this, or did you just see an opportunity to spout a "Government is bad!" soundbite?

Comment: Re:Spurious Claim (Score 1) 231

by Kijori (#47907157) Attached to: School Installs Biometric Fingerprint System For Cafeteria

I'm not sure it's a spurious claim when you consider the circumstances that they're using it in.

The users are children, meaning that they are much more likely to lose or forget their money than adults. The system is (presumably) closed, so that the only thing you can do with the funds is buy school lunches (and maybe ask for a cheque payable to the kid's parents), so it's not a very tempting target for attack.

So while it's true that "merely moving from physical currency to electronic currency does not make it more secure", it's a bit silly to suggest that it never makes it more secure (or more reliable), and this sounds a perfect case for it being both.

Comment: Re:Yep. (Score 1) 150

by Kijori (#47833483) Attached to: Hackers Break Into HealthCare.gov

The difference is people voluntarily give data to these companies where as you are forced to give information to Healthcare.gov.

So?

Consumer choice makes a difference where the consumer could have avoided the problem if they had had a choice. But that's not the case here. How secure the back-office systems of a company are is almost completely opaque to a consumer, so they cannot make an informed choice, and the institutions being hacked are banks, credit checking agencies, health insurance companies, security companies - you can't realistically avoid doing business with them.

Comment: Re: Her work (Score 1) 1262

by Kijori (#47833143) Attached to: Anita Sarkeesian, Creator of "Tropes vs. Women," Driven From Home By Trolls

I see you've chosen not to engage with any actual argument, and chose instead to make a vague claim of superiority with no explanation. An excellent strategy for when you have no arguments to make but don't want to admit it, such as if you made up a disparaging claim, but got called on it.

Comment: Re: Her work (Score 1) 1262

by Kijori (#47814995) Attached to: Anita Sarkeesian, Creator of "Tropes vs. Women," Driven From Home By Trolls

I think that those are perfectly reasonable questions. It's not something that you think about a lot as a lawyer - at least not explicitly - because you get so used to this pattern.

Thinking about it, it might be easier to explain this by taking the two steps in the opposite order.

Reasonableness

I don't agree that reasonableness is the bane of all our laws. It's an important safeguard - the point is that we are dealing with subjective judgments or subjective feelings, but we want a safeguard so that someone can't be liable because someone completely overreacted to an innocent remark, or a police officer completely overreacted to very minor evidence.

The question that this is asking is "could a reasonable person, in the position of the victim, have been put in sustained fear" (or in your police example, could a reasonable police officer put in the position of the officer in question have suspected X). The reasonable person is assumed to be of reasonable firmness and resolve, to take sensible logical decisions etc. Note that the question is could a reasonable person, not would they - the person does not have to act in the way that the court thinks a reasonable person would probably act, they just have to act in a way that falls within the spectrum of actions that the reasonable person might take.

In practice, where the person is an expert the court will be slow to find that they have acted unreasonably, especially if they act within the bounds of normal practice in their profession. In principle I think that is sensible - the court is meant to check excesses, not ensure that every officer meets absolute best practice. However it does seem like the pendulum has swung too far at present, particularly in the United States, and I wonder if the fact that US judges are highly politicized means that you are likely to get judges who are more likely to side with the police (I don't mean that they are being swayed by thoughts of rewards for siding with the police, just that the executive is likely to appoint judges who they know take a more pro-executive view).

The subjective limb

This is a straightforward evidential point - straightforward conceptually, that is, not necessarily easy to prove. Subject to the applicable rules of evidence, anything that is relevant can be used to prove that the person was fearful - I'm not aware of CAT scans having been used, but expert evidence from psychiatrists, therapists, police support officers and so on are all used.

Proving that someone was fearful is obviously difficult since it requires the court to try to establish what was in their mind. There are three points though that I think tend to mitigate that problem:
1. This is not an isolated difficulty - the courts are frequently required to establish what was in someone's mind (did she intend to stab him?) and have a lot of practice at it.
2. The criminal standard of proof applies - so the prosecution has to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the person was fearful.
3. They aren't looking at this as an isolated question - they can look at all the circumstances. If, in answer to the other limb of the test, the court has concluded that the defendant's behaviour would have put a reasonable person in sustained fear, they are going to find it rather easier to conclude that this victim was, in fact, in sustained fear. For example, if you make repeated and plausible death threats that the court thinks would have terrorized a reasonable person, and the victim claims that he was left fearful by them, you are likely to find that the court is not very receptive to the argument that the victim is faking it.

As a final point, I don't think it can all be quantified objectively. That, however, is true of an awful lot of criminal laws, even the seemingly straightforward ones. My view is that it's an inevitable product of the fact that we live in a confusing and complicated world.

Things are not as simple as they seems at first. - Edward Thorp

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