Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Most commenters in this thread ... (Score 1) 591 591

Wrong, now that we have DNA sequencing techniques which are applied normally, we can be sure of guilt

That's true only for those cases where DNA evidence is relevant or even exists, and in those cases where irrelevant DNA evidence is not abused by the DA to fool the jurors. Perhaps now it's not a 20%, just a 17 % or even a 15%. My point stands, though.

If the fed, state or local government wants you dead they will kill you and don't need a trial

Sad, but probably true.

Comment Most commenters in this thread ... (Score 2) 591 591

... seem to have forgotten about that study in the nineties that applied the then recently developed DNA sequencing techniques to old cases. Said study proved conclusively that about a 20% of the executed were innocent. It can be logically inferred that nowadays the % of false convictions is close to that, excluding (most) cases where DNA evidence is used.

And the problem with the appeals is that every official involved in the case has an interest, a set of perverse incentives, in upholding the death sentences. No policeman, attorney or judge wants the public to know that they helped to sentence an innocent to death. The result: the appeals process is an uphill battle against the establishment, and most people lack the resources (money) to carry out a successful appeal.

Other studies prove that witnesses are far less reliable than generally assumed, that often the cops and district attorneys put too much pressure on witnesses and suspects, or directly manipulate or hide evidence that could set the suspect free.

Is the American legal system perfect and free of errors and corruption? Can you resurrect a wrongly executed person? If you can't answer affirmatively to at least one of these questions, death penalty is just another crime.

To further clarify my point, most of the convicts in the death row probably deserve to be executed, but the rest of the population doesn't deserve to live in a country that has that kind of power over its citizens, because that power will be -and has been- abused.

Let the downvotes begin... . Anyway this needed to be said.


Cable TV Prices Rising At Four Times the Inflation Rate 286 286

An anonymous reader writes "A new FCC report (PDF) has found that U.S. cable TV prices are rising at four times the rate of inflation over the past two decades. 'Basic cable service prices increased by 6.5 percent [to $22.63] for the 12 months ending January 1, 2013. Expanded basic cable prices increased by 5.1 percent [to $64.41] for those 12 months, and at a compound average annual rate of 6.1 percent over the 18-year period from 1995-2013. ... These price increases compare to a 1.6 percent increase in general inflation as measured by the CPI (All Items) for the same one-year period.' Equipment prices rose faster than inflation, too. The report also found that the price increases weren't helped by competition — in fact, the prices rose faster where there were competing providers than in areas where the main provider had no effective competition."

Comment Re:Well actually he's pretty solidly anti-gun too. (Score 1) 234 234

... and you end up with taxes on drugs to pay for some of the likely increase in health problems

If you remove the war on drugs, you also remove contamination -poisonings-, variations in drug's concentration -overdoses-, needle sharing - AIDS, hepatitis- and most of the reasons for violent drug related crimes. Your "likely increase in health problems" is quite unlikely, indeed.

Comment Oh, well (Score 5, Interesting) 296 296

You can build your own steam machine for peanuts, if you are technically inclined. If you aren't, you can request the help from a friend, and if you can't/don't want to do that, you can still buy a suitable PC an add SteamOS on top. If you're too lazy even for that and have money to expend, you can purchase one of these pretty Steam machines. At the very least you'll be free from the Windows tax and still you'll end up with a full fledged PC with a serious OS (Linux) that can run lots and lots of 'serious apps' + a growing number of games. I think Valve has hit the nail in the head with this one. Kudos to them.

Comment If I had to design a weapon to be 3Dprinted... (Score 1) 344 344

... it wouldn't be a 'classic' firearm.

You don't need receivers and metallic mechanical parts if you use electric ignition, just an electric trigger, a battery and some circuitry.

You don't need proper barrels if you can use thin standard tubing encased in a 3d printed plastic sleeve, both for reinforcing the barrel and for safety.

You don't need magazines if you can store several bullets in the barrel and make the barrels single use and swappable. Due to their flimsy construction, the barrels should be strictly one use only, having to swap barrels for a new burst.

A company called Metal Storm is already applying some of these concepts in the real world.

As for lack of precision due to the lack of rifling in the barrel... they'd still be great for urban guerrilla scenarios, and probably far more precise than UZI style weapons.

I don't think the ATF guys have thought this one thoroughly enough.


EU Citizens Warned Not To Use US Cloud Services Over Spying Fears 138 138

Diamonddavej writes "Leading privacy expert Caspar Bowden warned European citizens not to use cloud services hosted in the U.S. over spying fears. Bowden, former privacy adviser to Microsoft Europe, explained at a panel discussion hosted at the recent Computers, Privacy and Data Protection conference in Brussels, that a section in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act 2008 (FISAAA) permits U.S. intelligence agencies to access data owned by non-U.S. citizens on cloud storage hosed by U.S. companies, if their activity is deemed to affect U.S. foreign policy. Bowden claimed the Act allows for purely political spying of activists, protesters and political groups. Bowden also pointed out that amendments to the EU's data protection regulation proposal introduce specific loopholes that permit FISAAA surveillance. The president of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves (at a separate panel discussion) commented, 'If it is a U.S. company it's the FBI's jurisdiction and if you are not a U.S. citizen then they come and look at whatever you have if it is stored on a U.S. company server.' The European Data Protection Supervisor declined to comment but an insider indicated that the authority is looking into the matter."

Comment Re:Provoking (Score 1) 1130 1130

Reality states that at least it would make weapons more expensive for the criminals. Nowadays thousands of weapons are stolen from their rightful owners, or illegally sold by their rightful owners to criminals every year. As smuggling operations have to compete against these sources of weapons, they have to keep prices low. If you close the former sources, smuggled weapon prices will soar, just like with any other monopoly.

What is more, with the actual status quo, for many crims not having a weapon would be suicidal, as many of their prospective victims are probably armed and willing to shoot at them. It's like an arms race, with the added factor that most of these weapons are sold to both sides by the same companies.

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: A giant panda bear is really a member of the racoon family.