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Comment: Easy to fix (Score 3, Interesting) 173

Fixing this is simple. Just make misprosecution punishable on parity with the charges being prosecuted.

Willfully hide exculpatory evidence in a capital murder trial? Death penalty.

Lie about evidence in a life imprisonment case? Life in prison.

Etc.

For that matter, this works on false rape charges too, but there you need more filtering. Honest false charges (disagreements, mistakes, etc) should be safe, so much so that no victim should even remotely fear coming forward. And amusingly, the prosecutor thing would guard against abuse of that too...

Comment: a safe (Score 1) 446

You need a safe.

To be more specific, you need a water-resistant fire safe rated for digital media. Check the certifications and endorsements.

Talk to your local fire department. The temperature and duration ratings differ by safe, and you'll want to make sure that your house fire scenario matches the safe you are getting.

Also pay attention to water. Your safe may end up in the basement, and the basement may be full of water. You may decide to place the safe in the basement now, so that it doesn't experience a few hundred Gs getting there on its own.

Expect to pay $300 minimum for one. You'll be astonished by how big and heavy it is, and yet so small on the inside.

Oh, and from then on, you will have operational issues. You need to air it out from time to time, but you can't leave it open. Oh, and you can open it with a butter knife, or a stern glance, so don't put anything valuable in it.

Comment: Re:Here's MY test (Score 4, Interesting) 522

by Orgasmatron (#49329159) Attached to: A Bechdel Test For Programmers?

Sigh.

It is sad how many people don't get your point. It isn't that anyone is expecting much software to fail your test, it is that the test itself is foul. The original test.

Perhaps subtlety is no longer called for. Run the whole article through the translator.

I'm about fucking done with the SJW invasion of slashdot. Is it possible to take the site back?

Comment: two branches (Score 4, Insightful) 667

by Orgasmatron (#49265093) Attached to: Why There Is No Such Thing as 'Proper English'

Linguistics has two branches. One branch is descriptive linguistics which studies how language is used. The other is proscriptive, who describes how a language should be used. This divide is covered pretty often by language log (worth reading pretty often).

This article is just someone discovering descriptive linguistics for the first time and ecstatic that their prejudgments are backed up by a branch of something that sounds like a science. Congratulations. "Science" has "proved" that there are no standards for language and all those teachers that marked up your papers with red pens were just being mean.

There is no One True English, but there sure as hell is a Don't Sound Like a Moron English. Like it or not, people hear more than just what you say. They also hear how you say it, and they tend to figure out who you are, or at least, who you are similar to.

Same goes with clothes. People know who you are just by looking at you. They may be wrong occasionally, and you can feel smug for subverting their expectations, but it is a tool that is right most of the time, and it seems to be wired very deeply into us, so no one is going to stop doing it.

You can whine all you want about how unfair it is, but if you want your ideas heard, your best bet is to sound (and look) like someone worth listening to.

Comment: Re:HOWTO (Score 0) 1081

by Orgasmatron (#49259517) Attached to: How To Execute People In the 21st Century

Satire?

1. Murderers, by definition, disregard the rules of society. Executing a murder prevents (or "deters", if you prefer) their future crimes. Note that crimes in prison are crimes.

2. 4 rounds of .308 and a blank are cheaper than even a single day of prison.

3. No justice system is perfect, but I agree that it could be improved. Make prosecutorial misconduct a serious matter, with punishments similar to the punishment under consideration. We aren't exactly swimming in false convictions, but there are still way too many. With real consequences (prison, death, etc) for prosecutors (and maybe extend to official witnesses, aka police) sketchy convictions would diminish.

4. Most of us consider the time, place and method of death to be important. If we didn't, why would we consider murder to be a crime?

5 and 6. You must be the hippest atheist in the coffee shop.

7. Begging the question.

8. So?

9. Murder is not a synonym for killing. Please consult a legal dictionary, or a 10 year old child, if you need the difference explained.

10. Nice of you to expand on #4. Still rubbish, but overly wordy this time.

11. Gun owners tend to be responsible and have a keen understanding of the mechanics of civilization. We'd be happy to be judges, if you'd really like to exclude the gunless from consideration for judging capital crimes.

12. Restitution is rarely possible even under the best of circumstances. For capital crimes, it isn't possible even in theory.

Comment: Re:System worked, then? (Score 1) 163

by Orgasmatron (#49231375) Attached to: On the Dangers and Potential Abuses of DNA Familial Searching

It is a question of false positives. Fuzzy queries against huge databases give results. They are almost always false.

Given a large database and the ability to do inexact queries, the conditional probability that you are looking at the guilty party, given a hit, is damn near zero. Statistically speaking, a hit is indistinguishable from a miss. And in this case, no one in the database committed the rape, no one related to anyone in the database committed the rape, and yet, the query returned a hit.

If you start your investigation by throwing a dart at the phone book, you WILL find someone connected to the lucky name who also has some coincidental connection to the case. That guy didn't do it, and he should not have to surrender part of his body for you to figure that out. Dressing up the phone book and calling the dart a DNA test doesn't change anything.

My preferred outcome is not for the police to ignore evidence. To the contrary, I expect them to make full use of every last bit of it. But they also need to recognize that some things aren't evidence. The stakes are very fucking high for the public, so the police should make distinguishing between the two a very high priority.

(If anyone is interested in working it out for themselves, imagine a medical test for a rare condition. Say the test is 99.9% accurate, and the condition is one in a million. Given a positive test result, what is the probability that you have the condition? Surprised?)

Comment: Re:System worked, then? (Score 4, Insightful) 163

by Orgasmatron (#49224547) Attached to: On the Dangers and Potential Abuses of DNA Familial Searching

But they didn't suspect him at all. They found their suspect first, then constructed a circumstantial case (a, b and c) against him.

This is dangerous shit and the police should get slapped for it. And the public needs to step up and make it clear to judges that we won't tolerate them rubber stamping bullshit warrants. Just because there was a happy ending this time doesn't mean that we aren't playing with fire. This guy came one lab mistake away from from having his life ruined.

There was a time when most of us understood the dangers of working from desired conclusion to supporting facts. But now we celebrate people that work backwards, from cop shows on TV to "scientists" paid to push a political agenda.

Comment: Re:Overblown (Score 0) 366

I'm not sure if you understand this, but we are talking about people paid by the public. That's a euphemism for "with money taken from people against their will by threats of violence".

Surely the least they can do is limit themselves to saying only true things when they are speaking for the state (official reports). Seems like something that should be assumed, out of gratitude to the taxpayers.

That it has to be said suggests that a lot of people have forgotten that government is the servant of the people, not the master.

Hyperbole, like comparing it to book burning, is laughable. You should be ashamed of yourself.

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