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Comment: PROTECTED speech (Score 1) 144

Fundamentally, not all communications are speech, because some communications have explicit direct non-speech results.

According to the Supreme Court, not all communications are PROTECTED speech. (They're still speech. They just don't enjoy the First Amendment protections because they're ALSO parts of crimes for which one can be punished - and in some cases (such as threats or criminal conspiracy) the speech is all it takes to commit or be a participant in the crime.)

Because speech is explicitly mentioned as protected in the First Amendment (and anti-government speech is also specifically a necessary part of another protected right - petitioning the government for redress of grievances), the court sets a very high standard for laws making some kind of speech a crime: Such laws may be overturned just because they have "a chilling effect" on protected speech, by making people avoid such protected speech out of concern that it might be prosecuted.

Regardless, Congress doesn't get to pass laws that preemptively muzzle people or block publication. They just get to pass laws to punish them AFTER they speak (or print, ...) some explicitly illegal content.

Yelling "fire" in a crowded theater isn't speech.

Funny you should mention that. The phrase "FALSELY shouting fire in a crowded theatre" originated in a WWI Supreme Court decision declaring that distributing anti-draft leaflets to people of draft age was not protected speech.

My favorite approach to "Fire in a Crowded Theatre" was Abbie Hoffman's (when being interviewed in a crowded theatre):
    Interviewer: "But surely you don't advocate shouting fire in a crowded theatre?"
    Abbie: "FIRE!"

Comment: Not remarkable at all. (Score 1) 81

Anti-malware companies try to appear as experts.

Malware authors try to be anonymous, leaving minimal personal signature in the malware. Malware authors also share code and reverse-engineer each other's code and use the result, so even style may be misleading. So even experts would have difficulty attributing it to any particular person,

That means any attempt to identify the author - as a real person, an alias, or a label under which to group multiple products of the same author, will be very error prone. With law-enforcement and other security types attempting to defend against and/or apprehend the authors, and the authors trying to hamper the anti-malware people and companies some of these errors would come to light. This would reduce the reputation of the anti-malware workers and companies, without regard to their success at malware defence.

So it is no surprise to me that andi-malware people and companies don't publish the results of any attempts they may make to identify the authors in the course of their work. Why should they take a risk like that for no perceivable gain? The risk/benefit ratio says don't even speculate.

Comment: Re:Where does the Fed claim to get power to ban th (Score 4, Informative) 361

Yes it can. [Gonzales v. Raich]

The issue was not in dispute in that case:

Respondents in this case do not dispute that passage of the CSA, as part of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, was well within Congress' commerce power

In my opinion, by the way, Wickard v. Filburn, the New Deal era decision that says making something for yourself (i.e. growing wheat to feed your own chickens, or growing marijuana to use yourself) affects interstate commerce (because you otherwise might have bought it instead, affecting the price) and can thus be regulated, is a travesty that is long overdue for the Supremes to revisit and reverse, as they sometimes do when a previous court broke something substantial.

But even if you agree that feeding your own wheat to your own chickens is a suitable subject for federal regulation under the commerce clause, don't you think it's a stretch to say that affecting the price of a banned substance by NOT buying it on the illegal market is a legitimate reason for the Federal Government to ban your growing and consuming your own plants? Either way you don't buy in interstate commerce, so how can the difference in your behavior affect it? (Or was it Congress' intent for you to buy illegal drugs?)

Sometimes more than half the Supreme Court justices follow some argument to a point beyond sanity.

Comment: Re:Where does the Fed claim to get power to ban th (Score 3, Insightful) 361

The Commerce Clause?

Nope. (The powers it DOES confer were already alluded to in my posting.)

[The Congress shall have Power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

"Regulating" = making regular, setting standards, etc. It does NOT include banning whole classes of trade entirely.

If they want to PROMOTE drug and gun sales, that's fine. B-)

Comment: Where does the Fed claim to get power to ban that? (Score 5, Insightful) 361

Selling drugs and weapons are serious crimes and should be justly punished. Propz to GNAA

Let's devil's advocate a bit...

The Second Amendment clearly (to anyone who understands how English was used at the time) forbids the Federal Government from interfering, in any way, with obtaining and carrying weapons. (infringe ~ "even meddle with the fringes of") That includes gun trafficing, because stopping gun sales makes it harder to exercise the right.

The Tenth Amendment explicitly, and the Ninth Amendment implicitly, ban the Federal Government from use of any power not explicitly specified in the Constitution as amended. I don't see anything in there that explicitly gives the Federal Government to ban any drugs or traffic in them, or in any way regulate such traffic (beyond forbidding false advertising claims, setting standards for labeling, and the like). (Do YOU find any such power in there? If so, please point it out to us.)

So it could be argued that, by the Federal Government's own basic laws, these were NOT crimes and the "Dread Pirate" was a freedom fighter.

(I won't even get into the issue of the Anarchist claims that ANY government is necessarily illegitimate, coercively imposing its will on people who did not pre-approve this and are not attempting, themselves, to coerce others. The people who promulgated the Constitution were doing their best to get governments off people's backs.)

Comment: Re:Maybe this will end "extreme" couponing (Score 1) 88

by Ungrounded Lightning (#49801753) Attached to: Feds Bust a Dark-Web Counterfeit Coupon Kingpin

The store doesn't need these people. Why not just fix the policies to ban them without affecting regular coupon users?

Because the coupons are legitimate offers of a reduced price on a limited number of purchases of an item. An "extreme couponer" just happens to be accepting a larger number of them than a more typical shopper.

To reject a person who uses "too many" of them (while not rejecting ALL coupon use by ALL customers) may constitute consumer fraud on the store's part and get them into serious hot water.

Comment: Re:Even if you go DC, stay at 120V (Score 1) 582

Everything from your wall switches to your wires will cause you never ending problems.

Mechanical wall switches are still rated for DC. Houses USED to be wired for DC a lot. You only have to replace the stuff that was designed after AC was pervasive and wasn't engineered to handle DC.

(I forgot to mention that you'll also have to replace the light dimmers, too, along with most other electronic, rather than mechanical, switches. They usually use a current-zero-crossing turnoff device, and DC won't cross zero unless you force it to do so.)

Even if you replace your wall switches and outlets, your wires will degrade over time and develop holes and other blemishes that will cause a fire.

No they won't - unless they're wet (in which case you have bigger problems than galvanic corrosion). Electromigration at the current densities involved in house wiring is not an issue, nor is insulation breakdown. The wires and fittings will be just fine.

Comment: Re:Even if you go DC, stay at 120V (Score 1) 582

(DANG this stupid touchpad... )

An "inverter", by definition, actually has alternating voltage as a substantial output, or at least somewhere in the circuitry. A switching regulator has a cycling voltage, but it isn't an AC output, or even an AC intermediate.

But they're very similar.

(Also: I was going to mention, above, that the current supplied through the pull-down (or clamp-at-ground) switch is where the extra output current comes from, compensating for the lowered voltage with higher current for similar amounts of power. If the switches, inductors, capacitors, and wiring were all ideal, the driver and sensor circuitry didn't eat any power, and no energy was radiated away as radio noise, efficiency would be 100%.)

Comment: Re:Even if you go DC, stay at 120V (Score 1) 582

A down-stepping DC-DC converter is not an inverter?

Nope. But the pieces of the implementations are similar enough in function that it's close.

A typical DC/DC down converter involves two switches, an inductor, and both input and output filter capacitors, plus control circuitry to sense the output voltage and time the switches. (There may also be a VERY small resistor in series with the inductor to sample the output current if current regulation is necessary, but it's omitted for high efficiency if that's not an issue.) One end of the inductor is hooked to the output cap, the other through the switches to the input cap and to ground.

The pull-up switch is always active (typically a transistor). The control circuitry turns it on and the current in the inductor ramps up, charging the output capacitor at an increasing rate. After a while the pull-up switch is turned off and the pull down switch is turned on. The current through the inductor ramps down, but before it goes through a stop and reverses the pull-up switch is turned back on and the pull-down turned off. The pull-down switch may be a diode, which switches on as needed automatically, but for high efficiency it's usually another transistor, because it has a lower voltage drop and thus is more efficient.

The control circuitry varies the percent of pull-up versus pull-down time to keep the average output voltage at the desired level. The frequency may be controlled or may be allowed to vary somewhat.

So the waveform in the inductor is a sawtooth, and the current never reverses. An "inverter" by definition,

Comment: Re:Even if you go DC, stay at 120V (Score 4, Interesting) 582

(Continuing after brushing the touchpad posted it for me. B-b) ... equipment at that voltage. (Small systems are often 12V due to the availability of 12V appliances.)

But back to inverters:

Current inverter and switching regulator (they're pretty much the same stuff) technology is SO efficient that large PC boards in computing and networking equipment may run the power through as many as THREE DC-DC converters, because you lose less power to heat as losses in the inverters than you would to resistance running it a few inches through a printed circuit board power plane.

So the '"20-40% loss" number seems to me to be utterly bogus.

(Consider this: A Tesla automobile IS AC motors driven by inverters from batteries. A horsepower is almost exactly 750 watts. If they had 20-40% losses in the inverters, how do you keep the car from being on fire after a jackrabbit start? Let alone recover enough power on braking to reuse on acceleration to make a substantial difference?) If ANYBODY knows how to handle inverters it's Tesla. B-) )

Comment: Even if you go DC, stay at 120V (Score 4, Interesting) 582

This is strange. "20 to 40% power loss" seems to be an awfully poor inverter; existing inverters are 4-8 % loss.

Rather than rewire every house in America, wouldn't it make more sense to just design better inverters?

Or just run at 120V DC, as renewable energy systems did (and occasionally still do) before so many appliances were AC-only that it made sense to use an inverter.

Dropping voltage means you have to replace the copper wiring with MUCH HEAVIER wiring - by a square law - to carry a given amount of power with the same loss - and thus wiring heating inside the walls, where it can set the house of fire.

Switching to 120V just means using DC-capable appliances and replacing the breakers (DC is harder to interrupt) and must-be-GFCI outlets (normal GFCI devices use a transformer to sense unbalanced load).

The 48V standard was about having a voltage that was low enough that touching it was typically survivable, so working on or near it is (relatively) safe. The boundary between the hard part and the easy, "low-voltage", part of the electrical code is 50V (BECAUSE of phone companies B-) ). Medium power (>1KW) home Renewable Energy systems tend to be at 48V so much of the wiring falls under the easier part of the code, and because of the availability of

Comment: Not if they think they can get more work out of us (Score 1) 139

by Ungrounded Lightning (#49788985) Attached to: Scientists Reverse Aging In Human Cell Lines

If this works, the monied and in-power will make this as illegal as LSD and heroin.

Not necessarily.

If the anti-aging drug(s) make people healthier, reducing the drain on the government pensions and enabling the government to push the retirement age out over the horizon, so the people will be working and taxed, they might prefer to have the drugs put into use.

Heck, they'd probably add them to the water.

Comment: Re:Go for it (Score 1) 41

by mcgrew (#49784593) Attached to: Survey - George W. Bush more evil than Stalin, Mao, Lenin

I agree he doesn't belong on that list. I do think on the list of America's worst presidents, he'd be at the top of the list.

Ignored warnings from the previous administration, top FBI officials ignored field agents who were warning of something bad, and got our country attacked.

Then he started an incredibly stupid war in Iraq, which led to the rise of ISIS.

Presided over the building of mass surveillance of the American people.

Took office during a boom, left office under the worst economy since the great depression. It's my theory that what caused the ruined economy was fuel prices more than quadrupling during his reign. Buy gas to get to work, or pay the mortgage? Tough choice!

Took office with a balanced budget, left it with the largest deficit in American history. Meanwhile, infrastructure was crumbling and he did nothing.

Now, if the list was of people who did the most harm to our country, he should be on that list. Mao and Pol Pot were very evil men who killed millions of people, but they didn't harm America.

Repel them. Repel them. Induce them to relinquish the spheroid. - Indiana University fans' chant for their perennially bad football team

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