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Comment: Re:Pay Settlments from Police Pension Funds (Score 5, Insightful) 201

by ShaunC (#49715575) Attached to: Baton Bob Receives $20,000 Settlement For Coerced Facebook Post

We do need to find some solution that holds the police themselves financially responsible for their misdeeds, otherwise the ones who behave recklessly have no incentive to stop doing so.

I suggest 50% from the officer responsible, and the other 50% from his collegues to help incentivise them to police themselves

I'm afraid that taking settlements out of the pension fund might have the opposite effect of what's intended. If you think it's hard getting cops to report or testify against one another now, imagine how bad it would be if their collective retirement benefits were at stake. The blue wall of silence would grow ten times as tall and ten times as thick. Officers would never speak ill of one another, knowing that if another officer is found guilty of a crime, their own pension fund takes a hit.

Perhaps it's time we require all police officers to take out insurance policies for this sort of thing. As an example, many states require real estate brokers to maintain an errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policy covering a minimum of $1M. To sell houses. Surely it's not unreasonable that a police officer, authorized to use deadly force under color of law during the course of their job duties, could be made to carry insurance against the mistakes they might make... Mistakes which often have far more severe consequences than messing up a real estate contract.

Comment: I'm oddly torn (Score 2) 649

by ShaunC (#49702181) Attached to: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Gets Death Penalty In Boston Marathon Bombing

I'm not sure how to feel, and I'm not sure how to feel about that.

On the one hand, I'm no fan of the death penalty, because I've read about far too many cases where such a sentence was handed down and the accused turned out to be innocent. We're freeing death row inmates on a regular basis now, paying them millions of taxpayer dollars for the period during which they were wrongly incarcerated. Worse, we've executed some who were convicted and later, posthumously, exonerated.

On the other hand, in this particular case, part of me wants to say "let him die, and if you can't figure it out, I'll drive up and do the deed." I don't know any of the victims. I wasn't on the jury. I don't know all of the facts. I presume him to be guilty (why?) and assuming he's guilty I want him executed (why?). It's not very often that I find myself contradicting my own strongly held principles.

This case raises an internal moral conflict that I'm neither used to feeling nor comfortable with. I'm very grateful that I wasn't on that jury. It isn't my place to hold another person's life in my hands.

Comment: Bob Sullivan's article (Score 1) 124

by ShaunC (#49691463) Attached to: Hackers Using Starbucks Gift Cards To Access Credit Cards

If you're going to quote Bob Sullivan's article in the summary, the least you could do is link to his article instead of a re-hash on IT World.

Oh, wait. Submitter jfruh sure has modded up a lot of firehose submissions by user itwbennett, and vice versa. No sense questioning what the "itw" stands for, as ~itwbennett's profile links straight to IT World. Thankfully it doesn't appear to be "our" Bennett, but come on. If you work for IT World, and you have a Slashdot account set up to promote IT world, submit the IT World article from your IT World account. Plenty of astroturfing makes the front page these days, there's no need for subterfuge.

Comment: Re:H. C. Andersen died more than 70 years ago (Score 1) 90

by ShaunC (#49665317) Attached to: How To Set Up a Pirate EBook Store In Google Play Books

Disney respected Andersen by giving him and his heirs the requisite 95 years to make money from his story.

That's an awfully nice way of framing the fact that Disney routinely poaches ideas from the public domain, while simultaneously lobbying to extend copyright terms so that no Disney work will ever fall into the public domain. Mickey Mouse is 87 years old now, but no one else will be allowed to use him when he's 95, or when he's 120. By then they'll have bribed enough lawmakers to codify the Constitution's "limited Times" as being "limited" to the existence of the company and its successors, assignees, and receivers in perpetuity.

Comment: Sold and sold again (Score 1) 190

by ShaunC (#49643619) Attached to: No Justice For Victims of Identity Theft

"And the truth is, once they have your Social Security number, they have an option on your life. It's purely their decision as to when they wish to use it. Your information could have been sold, and sold again."

So is this part of the article talking about identity thieves, or companies like Choicepoint-Elsevier-LexisNexis and Acxiom? I'm not sure I can tell the difference anymore...

Comment: Should have outsourced to Disney (Score 4, Insightful) 88

by ShaunC (#49586759) Attached to: White House Outsources K-12 CS Education To Infosys Charity

If this is such a pressing issue, they need to start turning some of the Disney stars into developers (whoops, sorry, I mean "coders," that's the trending buzz word).

All these people should have their own prime time shows about the exciting life of a software developer. The basics of CLIs and text editors on multiple operating systems. How to use version control. How to write unit tests and pass continuous integration. How to help QA your own dog food. How to diplomatically interface with folks in other departments. How to write documentation. How to triage trouble tickets. How to train your own replacement.

Oh, wait! None of that's sexy. Kids wouldn't tune in to shows like that because it isn't what most of them want to do, any more than most kids wanted to do in decades past. The ones who really are interested in development will pursue this path on their own, as many of us did. We don't and won't have any lack of competent workers, because some percentage of us will always be nerds who love this stuff. We do have a surplus of companies who want to save every last penny by farming jobs out to H-1Bs, and we do have a corresponding surplus of unemployed competent Americans.

We're at a point where entry-level tech support jobs are routinely requiring a bachelor's degree or foreign equivalent, junior analyst jobs are requiring an MBA or foreign equivalent, etc. Companies are quick to complain that there are no qualified local workers, because they can't find an American with a four-year degree who knows Linux + Solaris + J2EE + Servlets + IIS + SAP + Oracle + 10 years with Sharepoint, and is willing to work 70 hours a week for $35,000 per year. Meanwhile they have a guy from Bangalore whose resume claims he does precisely all of that, and maybe they won't check out all of his qualifications if he's willing to share a room at Extended Stay America with 5 of his peers for a year or two, wink wink nod nod.

The market is already saturated, and will be for some years to come. Where's the federal push to create more tradesmen (plumbers, electricians, mechanics, carpenters)? To create more lawyers, or accountants, or any other career path? I'm growing weary of this idea that every child in America must be a developer^Wcoder. It serves no purpose but to suppress salaries across the board and even further encourage the H-1B loophole.

Comment: Re: Why do they not have the paper as backup? (Score 1) 263

by ShaunC (#49577743) Attached to: Crashing iPad App Grounds Dozens of American Airline Flights

I don't buy this at all, it isn't like the airlines calculate fuel so well that they are taking into account the weight of a single or likely even the entire jar of olives.

It wasn't the weight of the olives, it was the scale and sheer cost. One olive seems like a pittance, inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. But when you fly many thousands of flights with several pax being served salads on each flight (this was the 80s after all) that one olive per salad turns into $100,000. In the 80s, that paid a captain for a year. Now it would probably pay two, but I digress.

Furthermore, the airline doesn't have any idea how much the plane is going to weight prior to boarding so I don't think you can say they are saving any amount of fuel by taking 35lbs of paper charts off the plane, what if everyone on the flight just had a big meal prior to boarding on a 747 flight that could be 500 - 1000 lbs of additional weight in undigested food.

You're intentionally distracting from the point. Passenger weight will fluctuate whether paper manuals are on board or not. The weight of the POH and other documents is a known quantity; the airline does know, at least in approximation, how much the dead-tree manuals and a big book of Jepp charts weigh. Eliminate that weight and you will see savings through the fleet. Passenger weight is going to vary whether you're going with paper manuals, AA's app, Foreflight, or some guy who thinks God is his F/O.

Comment: Re: Why do they not have the paper as backup? (Score 2) 263

by ShaunC (#49577227) Attached to: Crashing iPad App Grounds Dozens of American Airline Flights

You have to consider scale. In the 1980s, American saved $100,000 a year by removing one olive from each salad they served on their flights. One olive is no big deal, but across their entire operation, the savings added up.

American says they operate 6,700 flights per day or around 2.5 million per year. If they remove 40 lbs of dead tree manuals from each flight, that's 100 million pounds of cargo they aren't paying to carry around every year.

Comment: "Offenders" (Score 1) 234

by ShaunC (#49485651) Attached to: Can Online Reporting System Help Prevent Sexual Assaults On Campus?

Studies have shown that as many as 90 percent of campus rapes are committed by repeat offenders.

Do those studies take into account so-called victims who make multiple false reports of rape and sexual assault? Do those studies take into account imaginary offenders? Do those studies tally up "offenders" like "Haven Monahan" who exist only in the mind of their demented accusers?

But some argue that having the ability to report someone with just the click of a button may not be a good thing.

You're damned right. I understand that rapes and sexual assaults do take place, but we've seen a number of verified false reports over the past year. It's bad enough that a woman can file a false police report and ruin someone's reputation or even send him to jail; the ability to do it at the click of a button is simply absurd.

Comment: Re:A first: We should follow Germany's lead (Score 5, Informative) 700

by ShaunC (#49478875) Attached to: 'We the People' Petition To Revoke Scientology's Tax Exempt Status

Yes, pretty funny story.

A local church that has been hosting naked paint parties and slumber-party Sundays with the "sexiest ladies on the beach" will now have to pay taxes on the property as officers investigate the church's practices, authorities said Tuesday. [...] Sheriff Frank McKeithen said it is a "blatant slap in the face" to taxpayers and law enforcement. "They're trying to get around the laws, and they're using the church to get there," McKeithen said.

On the plus side, if that's enough justification to strip this church of its tax-exempt status, maybe it'll work on the scienos, too.

Comment: Re:Free advertising (Score 2) 218

by ShaunC (#49471495) Attached to: Legislation Would Force Radio Stations To Pay Royalties

It's much more efficient now. Everybody is owned by the same megacorps so there doesn't have to be any "corruption" to make sure only your artists get airtime.

Considering that they specifically mentioned IHeartRadio, which is what ClearChannel has become, I'm certain that you're correct to an extent. There's still corruption, but it's been redirected. These days instead of labels paying the stations, the labels are paying politicians. And ClearChannel's campaign contributions have apparently dwindled to the point where the music industry is outdoing them. I figure all this proposed legislation will do is cause ClearChannel, or IHeart, or whatever they call themselves these days (funny they change their name around, sort of like Gator/Claria or Blackwater/Xe/Academi) to send more sacks of cash. The politicians will benefit and everyone else will get fucked.

Comment: Free advertising (Score 5, Interesting) 218

by ShaunC (#49467863) Attached to: Legislation Would Force Radio Stations To Pay Royalties

For decades, AM/FM radio has used whatever music it wants without paying a cent to the musicians, vocalists, and labels that created it.

That's because radio is free advertising for the artists. Now they want the free advertising and to get paid for it, too? In decades past, the labels would bribe radio station PD's to get their music played; I wonder if they'd rather return to that model where it costs them money (and coke, and cars, and plane tickets) to get their artists some airtime?

Speaking of payola, it should come as no surprise that "TV/Movies/Music" are among the top 3 industries donating money to both Mr. Nadler and Ms. Blackburn.

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