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Comment: Echo chamber effect? (Score 3, Insightful) 910

by Nematode (#39771325) Attached to: In Nothing We Trust

I wonder how much of this is related to the decline of the old media as the "gatekeepers" of information and analysis.

When you're able to get all the information and opinion you want, pre-filtered for your ideological comfort, the echo chamber seems to foster a real information tribalism. Confirmation bias ends up adding to the idea that institutions are being run by the "others" -- whose motives are necessarily corrupt/selfish/based on ignorance. Just go to any political blog/aggregator and read the comments after a particularly big SCOTUS decision - those lousy conservative/liberal justices just serving their big business/labor masters, and we need an ideological clean sweep in the next election to ensure better outcomes next time around etc etc.

Space

+ - Earth to be Hit by Biggest Solar Flare in Years

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The sun emitted an unusual solar flare, a small radiation storm and a spectacular coronal mass ejection (CME) from a sunspot complex on the solar surface, on Tuesday. The flare peaked at 1:41 a.m. ET, according to NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). The US National Weather Service (NWS) said in a statement that the solar flare released radiation not witnessed since 2006, with the present one measured by NASA as M-2 or medium sized solar flare that carries "a substantial coronal mass ejection (CME) ... and is visually spectacular.""

Comment: Re:What TheDirt.com should do (Score 1) 323

by Nematode (#33457534) Attached to: Woman Wins Libel Suit By Suing Wrong Website

They were so incompetent as to file the suit against the wrong company. What makes you think they properly served the company that had the judgment made against it?

The fact that a default judgment was entered. You generally don't get those unless you prove that the defendant was properly served.

That is just an assumption, though, and if the defendant wasn't, in fact, served, but had a judgment entered against it for some reason, its motion to set aside the judgment and/or appeal should be even easier.

Comment: Re:What TheDirt.com should do (Score 2, Interesting) 323

by Nematode (#33450514) Attached to: Woman Wins Libel Suit By Suing Wrong Website

At this point, probably not.

The better, and more efficient solution, would have been not to ignore the original mistaken lawsuit. Either call the plaintiff's attorney and get him to voluntarily dismiss out, or if that doesn't work, file a quick motion to dismiss and ask for sanctions to be imposed, on the grounds that the plaintiff and/or her lawyer signed an improper pleading, because they didn't get this simple, basic fact right and could have easily done so.

The worst response is to ignore the suit and then squeal like a stuck pig after a default is entered.

Comment: Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (Score 1) 215

by Nematode (#33305596) Attached to: Court OKs Covert iPhone Audio Recording

So...you're saying that it is insane to make insanity a defense to a criminal charge?

Snark aside, there are problems with making the illegality of a recording depend on what you plan to do with the recording later on. Like, if you intend to blackmail the person when you make the recording, but later change your mind, that's illegal. But if you don't intend to blackmail when you make the recording, and then change your mind and actually do it, that's not illegal.

But the law draws repeated distinctions based on intention and state of mind. Intentional torts vs negligence. Fraud vs ....not fraud. Insanity vs sanity. Difficulties of proof don't always mean we should never consider intent or state of mind. In this case, though, I probably agree with you. It doesn't make sense for the wiretapping law.

Comment: Re:Flawed (Score 2, Informative) 564

by Nematode (#33032334) Attached to: Al Franken's Warning On Net Neutrality

What are you talking about? Net neutrality is basically about -preventing- content discrimination by ISPs. Comcast can't go throttling your traffic based on the content of the packets - whether that content is political or, as is more likely, based on how much the host server owner has paid Comcast.

How you go from that to "the govt [will] squash opposing viewpoints in the name of neutrality" is a mystery.

Comment: Re:My Support (Score 2, Informative) 378

by Nematode (#32591572) Attached to: Spamhaus Fine Reduced From $11.7M To $27K

I'm not underestimating it. If no answer is filed to a complaint, a default judgment takes about as few of the court resources as is possible. The clerk receives a complaint. The clerk enters a little data into the system, stamps the summons, and puts it back in the mail to the plaintiff. When the proof of service is received, that's put in the file. When the default judgment request comes in, the clerk stamps that, updates the system to reflect entry of the judgment, and then it's done.

In the unlikely event that the cumulative civil servant time involved in this case reached "a few tens of thousands of dollars" (and having read the procedural history, I'd guess it was more like a few hundred dollars), that would be....Spamhaus' doing, for having the case moved from the state court to the federal court, then showing up at a hearing to withdraw its answer.

I'm not at all sympathetic to the spammer here, but...this whole thing is a little ado about nothing. Random spammer gets an unenforceable default judgment. The amount of skin off of the backs of anyone reading this article is so negligible as to be effectively zero.

Comment: Re:It isn't a fine. (Score 1) 378

by Nematode (#32591428) Attached to: Spamhaus Fine Reduced From $11.7M To $27K

Before you can get a judgment against someone (at least in the US), the court has to have "personal jurisdiction" over them, and they have to be served with the summons and complaint.

The problem in this case is that Spamhaus was sued in some random Illinois state court. Apparently it was served with the complaint, because it then appeared, and had the case removed to federal court. It then filed an answer to the complaint, before withdrawing the answer and not responding any further.

Once Spamhaus was involved enough to remove the case to federal court, and file an answer, it had already submitted to the personal jurisdiction of the trial court, to justify entry of judgment. That's a very different scenario from what you're describing.

Comment: Re:1.5 Trillion?! (Score 4, Insightful) 510

by Nematode (#32498852) Attached to: RIAA Says LimeWire Owes $1.5 Trillion

There are some situations where the award of more than actual damages in a civil suit is a good idea. Or at the least, reasonably arguable as a good idea.

For example, in our state, the civil conversion law allows for treble damages. Conversion being the civil equivalent of theft. If I "convert" $5000 of your cash, or a widget of yours worth $5000, should I just be required to pay you $5000?
You can see the problems with that - it basically turns everyone into a merchant of all their possessions. If you won't voluntarily give or sell me something of yours that I want, I can force a sale just by taking it.
So the law allows for treble damages, not just as pure out-of-pocket compensation, but as an additional deterrent.

Punitive damages don't always work the same way, but in some contexts, the deterrent effect is one of the motivating principles. If people and corporations are going to engage in "efficient torts," the law will sometime put its thumb on the scale of the "cost" side of the cost/benefit analysis, to discourage the conduct in question.

As always, the devil is in the details - does such a rule make sense for the tort in question, and is the amount of the punitive damage reasonable?

Comment: Re:Yarrrr... (Score 2, Insightful) 572

by Nematode (#32434130) Attached to: Arrr ye a pirate, matey?

They want that to be a condition, but it's a legal fiction that shouldn't be bought into so easily. There's no actual or even presumed negotiation if I order a CD off of Amazon. I don't sign an agreement with the seller that I agree not to make my own mp3 copy of the disc, as a condition of the sale. And the first 5 CDs I just pulled off my shelf don't say anything to that extent on the outside of the disc (or even the inside liner), let alone have some shrinkwrap in bold letters, saying that by opening the package, I agree to those terms, and if I don't, I should return the product for an immediate refund.

In short, there's no actual contract created anywhere. If US law forbids the ripping of discs that have been purchased, that's another matter. But just because Sony says we have a contract, doesn't make it so.

Comment: Re:in other news, cementing the BP CEO has started (Score 1) 611

by Nematode (#32363662) Attached to: Gulf Oil Leak Plugged?

Depends what you mean by "limited liability." If you're talking about the protection from individual liability that the shareholders have, that's not particularly relevant to whether liability should be imposed against the company itself.

If you mean "limited liability" in the sense that, say, federal law caps a company's liability at $75 million for a particular mishap, regardless of what the company's actually responsible for - that's an artificial distortion of the market that socializes the costs and helps privatize the gains. It also encourages unduly risky behavior.

What your post seems to be describing is ordinary negligence law. "Some weird freak accident".....drilling with "all the proper safety nets in place" combined with acts of god, etc., versus cutting corners, violating safety regulations, etc. - well, that's basic negligence law. Limitations of liability are built in, and strict liability situations - while they do exist - are rare. The law, in theory, already places liability on the "cheapest cost avoider," i.e., the party that is in the best position to most efficiently avoid the accident.

Why we need additional artificial statutory caps on liability for the party that should be bearing the expense of the accident, when negligence is involved, is beyond me....

Comment: Re:boys drag girls down until they finally say NO (Score 1) 821

by Nematode (#32338716) Attached to: Decency Group Says "$#*!" Is Indecent

Oh, where are the mod points when you need them??

And while I agree with you, there's something...precious about a group like this still existing. In this day and age, someone can still be scandalized by the suggestion of a four-letter word?
It boggles the mind.

I mean, when reaction videos for 2 girls 1 cup are practically mainstream entertainment, there's still room in the world for these folks, somehow?

Now, as long as they don't actually influence anything, let alone government policy, we're all fine. Somebody's gotta keep the fainting couch manufacturers in business, anyway...

...there can be no public or private virtue unless the foundation of action is the practice of truth. - George Jacob Holyoake

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