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Comment: Re:When the cat's absent, the mice rejoice (Score 1) 164

Well, I'd be with you if the government was poking around on the users' computers, but they weren't. The users were hosting the files on a public peer-to-peer network where you essentially advertise to the world you've downloaded the file and are making it available to the world. Since both those acts are illegal, you don't really have an expectation of privacy once you've told *everyone* you've done it. While the broadcasting of the file's availability doesn't prove you have criminal intent, it's certainly probable cause for further investigation.

These guys got off on a narrow technicality. Of course technicalities do matter; a government that isn't restrained by laws is inherently despotic. The agents simply misunderstood the law; they weren't violating anyone's privacy.

Comment: Re:Crude? (Score 2) 76

by hey! (#47904781) Attached to: Original 11' <em>Star Trek Enterprise</em> Model Being Restored Again

Compare that to some of the ST:TNG props that I've seen that look fine on screen, but when examined closely look like someone gave a 5-year old a couple of shots of vodka and turned them loose with a paintbrush.

There's a certain wonder to that too.

I had the same reaction when I saw the ST:TNG props in person. You wouldn't buy a toy that looked that cheesy. The wonder of it is that the prop makers knew this piece of crap would look great onscreen. That's professional skill at work. Amateurs lavish loving care on stuff and overbuild them. Pros make them good enough, and put the extra effort into stuff that matters more.

Comment: Re: Great one more fail (Score 1) 409

by hey! (#47904749) Attached to: High School Student Builds Gun That Unlocks With Your Fingerprint

These kinds of responses are conditioned on certain assumptions that may not hold for all users.

For example, let's assume that you have no need whatsoever to prevent other users from using your gun. Then any complication you add to the firearm will necessarily make it less suitable, no matter how reliable that addition is. An example of someone on this end of the spectrum might be a big game hunter who carries a backup handgun.

On the other hand suppose you have need of a firearm, but there is so much concern that someone else might use it without authorization that you reasonably decide to do without. In that opposite situation you might well tolerate quite a high failure rate in such a device because it makes it possible to carry a gun. An example of someone on this end of the spectrum might be a prison guard -- prison guards do not carry handguns because of precisely this concern.

This isn't rocket science. It's all subject to a straightforward probabilistic analysis *of a particular scenario*. People who say that guns *always* must have a such a device are only considering one set of scenarios. People who say that guns must *never* have such a device are only considering a different set of scenarios. It's entirely possible that for such a device there are some where it is useful and others where it is not.

Comment: Re:Great idea! (Score 1) 172

by HornWumpus (#47904079) Attached to: School Installs Biometric Fingerprint System For Cafeteria

Inexpensive liveness detectors can be defeated with a thin layer of sillyputty imprinted with the target print over your own finger.

Which is good. Teach kids to hack the system young. We had a legally blind checkout person in the cafeteria. So we didn't steal, it wasn't sporting. We continued eating fast in line and not paying.

Comment: Re:You have all been trained to accept this as nor (Score 1) 164

In this case, it is a violation of the Posse Comitatus Act (look up a few posts). That act is what keeps the military from doing civilian law enforcement. It ran afoul of it because an NCIS agent did a search on civilians.

The perp isn't terribly sympathetic in this case but the act is very important and calls for strict protection.

Comment: clean hands doctrine (Score 1) 207

by hawk (#47904007) Attached to: Turning the Tables On "Phone Tech Support" Scammers

I am a lawyer, but this is not legal advice. If you need legal advice, and try to get it on the internet, you need a shrink far more than a lawyer . . .

anyway, the clean hands doctrine is a rule from "equity," not "law". It only applies to equitable relief, such as injunctions, not to suits for money

hawk, esq.

Comment: Re:Pardon? (Score 1) 76

by HornWumpus (#47903927) Attached to: Original 11' <em>Star Trek Enterprise</em> Model Being Restored Again

Nonsense of course. ST was westerns and court dramas with science fictionish props and sets. Terrible show, no coherent backstory. No consistent postulated tech who implications are considered. Whenever they run out of ideas they take one word from column A and one from column B and end the story with a new revolutionary technology never previously (or again) mentioned.

Roddenberry should have been kicked square in the nuts for doing it. Harlen Ellison was right. Just terrible.

"Turn on, tune up, rock out." -- Billy Gibbons