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Comment: Re:Gonna see a Net Neutrality Fee (Score 1) 617

by Trailer Trash (#49141139) Attached to: FCC Approves Net Neutrality Rules

Mod this guy up.

People love to talk about the free market as if it were a genie.

The law of capitalism means that it is IMPOSSIBLE for a regulation to raise the price of anything - all it can do is reduce the profit a corporation takes.

Wow. Look up the dairy market for a good counterexample. I'll stop there even though I don't need to.


Lawmakers Seek Information On Funding For Climate Change Critics 382

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-about-the-benjamins dept.
HughPickens.com writes: John Schwartz reports at the NY Times that prominent members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate are demanding information from universities, companies and trade groups about funding for scientists who publicly dispute widely held views on the causes and risks of climate change. In letters sent to seven universities, Representative Raúl M. Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat who is the ranking member of the House committee on natural resources, sent detailed requests to the academic employers of scientists who had testified before Congress about climate change. "My colleagues and I cannot perform our duties if research or testimony provided to us is influenced by undisclosed financial relationships." Grijalva asked for each university's policies on financial disclosure and the amount and sources of outside funding for each scholar, "communications regarding the funding" and "all drafts" of testimony. Meanwhile Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, Barbara Boxer of California and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. sent 100 letters to fossil fuel companies, trade groups and other organizations asking about their funding of climate research and advocacy asking for responses by April 3. "Corporate special interests shouldn't be able to secretly peddle the best junk science money can buy," said Senator Markey, denouncing what he called "denial-for-hire operations."

The letters come after evidence emerged over the weekend that Wei-Hock Soon, known as Willie, a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, had failed to disclose the industry funding for his academic work. The documents also included correspondence between Dr. Soon and the companies who funded his work in which he referred to his papers and testimony as "deliverables." Soon accepted more than $1.2 million in money from the fossil-fuel industry over the last decade while failing to disclose that conflict of interest in most of his scientific papers. At least 11 papers he has published since 2008 omitted such a disclosure, and in at least eight of those cases, he appears to have violated ethical guidelines of the journals that published his work. "What it shows is the continuation of a long-term campaign by specific fossil-fuel companies and interests to undermine the scientific consensus on climate change," says Kert Davies.

Comment: Re:I'll tell my insurance company to get right on (Score 2) 243

by Trailer Trash (#49132281) Attached to: The Peculiar Economics of Developing New Antibiotics

Congress might fund NIH, if they could agree on anything, including whether to have Coke or Pepsi in the Senate Dining Room.

the immediate beneficiaries would be medical insurance companies, but the short-term is all they think about. if they say NO! now, they don't have to say NO! a thousand times, ten thousand times, when somebody is rotting out from infection by the minute and a doctor tries to prescribe a new $10,000 antibiotic.

if we had single-payer insurance, and ponied up along with the other developed nations, all of which are single-payer, a share of the prize, we might get someplace. I like the idea, but not its chances.

So, um, quick question: Why are all of those other developed nations with single-payer not "getting someplace" on this? I mean, surely they're not (again) waiting for the US to do it, right?


Comment: Re:Dazzlers (Score 2) 318

You're missing something really obvious, but the issue is that a word is missing in the phrase to which you respond. "Blinding weapons" should be "Permanently blinding weapons". The Russians have now multiple times used lasers against American helicopter pilots with the intent to blind them permanently - that's what we want to outlaw. Weapons that temporarily blind people are very useful and I see no more ethical problems with those than we would with other weapons of war.


Comment: Re:Real forensics *science* (Score 1) 182

by Trailer Trash (#49111471) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Can Technology Improve the Judicial System?

Yep. The point is that "bad forensics" isn't the problem. The problem is that prosecutors (along with the rest of the criminal justice system) have no incentive to actually solve crimes - they have an incentive to put someone in jail for a crime. Bad forensics goes away on its own if we disincentivize locking up the wrong guy. Put another way - when the prosecutor has a little skin in the game he'll make damned sure he's prosecuting the criminal before he bothers to prosecute.

There was a great quora question about prosecution and a guy who prosecuted someone in a rather dubious manner responded with a well-written piece. Long story short the criminal had taken an airsoft gun into an arcade, cops were called, arrested him, and the prosecutor tried to prosecute under a law that had to do with carrying a deadly weapon there. But it wasn't a deadly weapon and there were no victims (he hadn't tried to rob or shoot anybody), so the statute clearly didn't apply. The prosecutor talked as if it were no big deal to try to apply that law to put the guy in prison. Ultimately the judge didn't buy it and the guy walked, but he had to shell out for an attorney, time off work, time in jail - it's a big deal for him.

It was fascinating to see how flippantly the prosecutor treated it - like, "oh well, didn't work, whatever".

Comment: Re:Real forensics *science* (Score 2) 182

by Trailer Trash (#49101661) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Can Technology Improve the Judicial System?

One other thing that I forgot is the biggy - if people are found to be factually innocent then the DA's office needs to be forced to pay for their defense. Yes - specifically the DA's office. And it wouldn't matter what the defense cost. If that means the DA is bankrupted then so be it. The point, again, is to make it expensive to prosecute some poor guy because he can't afford a lawyer. If he can prove innocence then a good lawyer would take the case on so he could later just make the government pay for it, anyway. Suddenly, poor people who are innocent have less to worry about.

Comment: Re:Real forensics *science* (Score 1) 182

by Trailer Trash (#49101627) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Can Technology Improve the Judicial System?

The main answer to this is multi-faceted:

1. Removed absolute immunity from civil and criminal liability from all players in the criminal justice system. Yes, that means you can sue the judge who screwed up your trial. Suddenly a lot of people who are judges now will find another line of work as the liability isn't worth it for them.

2. Hone qualified immunity back to such a tiny nub that nobody sees it as a reliable fallback. Right now, if a police officer arrests you for, say, photographing them (yes, this happens often) the judge will look and say "well, it's not well established that someone can photograph a cop, so the arrest is still legal because the cop might have no known. Hence, he gets qualified immunity" This needs to be turned on its head. The judge needs to say "it's not well-established that someone can be arrested for photographing a cop, so the arrest is illegal and qualified immunity therefore cannot apply". See the difference? Again, cops would think twice before doing something.

3. Statutorily define that when an actor in the justice system does something wrong that he/she personally is responsible for a certain percentage of any settlements or judgements with such debt being ineligible to be lessened or removed through bankruptcy.

4. Remove the statute of limitations for any crimes committed by any actor in the justice system. Right now, innocent people who have been in prison for years can't sue people who harmed them because of the statute of limitations which typically runs out during their sentence. See John Burge in Chicago for a prime example, or Louis Scarcella in New York. Malicious prosecutors love the whole statute of limitations because they get to play both sides: "Hey, we want to prosecute this criminal but, darn the luck, looks like it's too late".

5. Force actual scientific method on all forensic methodologies. If a drug dog alerts on a car, for instance, that car should be parked in a lot and a different officer should take a dog around the lot and see if the dog alerts on any of the cars. If the second officer can't figure out which car it is, then the alert was false and excluded. Take that to every kind of forensic test out there.

6. Forensics should have nothing to do with the prosecution and independent (not state owned) crime labs should work for the court itself. The idea is to remove all incentives to "find a match". Crime labs should have no idea about what crime a particular piece of evidence is from or anything like that.

7. If somebody is found to be factually innocent then everybody involved in the case who didn't initially object to that person's prosecution should be removed from the criminal justice system. I know that's harsh, but prosecutors need to be in a position where they say "I don't know if this guy did it or not so, for the sake of my family, house, car, etc. I'm going to decline prosecution".

8. Prosecution's files should be not just "open" but literally unhidable from the defense. Any evidence that shows up later should be an automatic felony charge for the DA with harsh minimum sentences.

The point is that we need to treat a false prosecution with the same seriousness as we treat a kidnapping, because that's what it is. Mike Nifong should not only be in a maximum security prison for the rest of his life, his possessions should have been sold and all proceeds given to his victims (the ones we know of). All his past cases should have been scrutinized with perhaps time given off his sentence if he confessed and helped bring true justice in those cases.

And he's just one guy.

Comment: Re:What are they doing to that truck!?! (Score 1) 129

by Trailer Trash (#49091347) Attached to: Delivery Drones: More Feasible If They Come By Truck

You could toss in the tranny (although it should be holding up for much more than a single year of stop and go). But even if they're only getting 1 year out of a tranny, and they drop $5k for a new tranny installed each year, that's still only 10 cents a mile.

Have you checked backpage or craigslist recently? I think you could get a better deal on a tranny if you looked around a bit.

Comment: Re:Eh commenting to cancel my "interesting" mod... (Score 1) 126

by Trailer Trash (#49079485) Attached to: Patent Troll Wins $15.7M From Samsung By Claiming To Own Bluetooth

...since I thought you were serious, but then I did read TFA which makes no mention (and apparently Morgan Fairchild is not even married right now and her real name seems to be the much less glamorous "Patsy Ann McClenny").



Comment: Re:Double Jeopardy! (Score 1) 227

ATT is acting like a monopoly that needs to be broken up by the courts.

What is "Double Jeopardy!"?

I thought AT&T was already broken up three decades ago for monopoly abuse.

They were, this is not the same AT&T. It basically died and Southwestern Bell bought the name. You can find more about it here:


It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead