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Comment: OT: ":Fine money should be burned (Score 1) 311

by davidwr (#48194945) Attached to: Speed Cameras In Chicago Earn $50M Less Than Expected

Money collected as punishment for crimes should be destroyed either literally or as a bookkeeping entry, so nobody* benefits from its collection.

Ditto punitive damages from civil suits.

This would remove the financial incentive for governments to fine people and remove the financial incentive for plaintiffs to seek high punitive damages. The stated "justice/deterrence" purpose of fines and punitive damages would remain.

*I'm ignoring the theoretical, negligible gain in the value of everyone else's dollars as global supply of US dollars shrinks by the amount of the destroyed money and the not-necessarily-theoretical hit to the local or national economy if money that would otherwise be spent on goods and services by the person paying the fine and/or by the government collecting the fine is lost.

+ - Dr.Who to teach kids to code ->

Submitted by DCFC
DCFC (933633) writes "The BBC is releasing a game to help ten 8-11 year olds get into coding. Based on Dr.Who, it alternates between standard platform game and programming puzzles that introduce the ideas of sequence, loops, if..then, variables and a touch of event driven programming...and you get to program a Dalek to make him more powerful, apparently the BBC thinks upgrading psychopathic racist death machines is a good idea."
Link to Original Source

+ - Britain May "Go Medieval" On Terrorists And Charge Them With High Treason ->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The British government have been discussing charging Britons that swear allegiance and fight for ISIS with the crime of high treason under the medieval era Treason Act of 1351. It is estimated that between 500 — 1,500 Britons fought for ISIS. Civil rights activists consider the idea “ludicrous” although it is unclear if they think there is a free speech or conscience issue. Treason was punishable by death until 1998. The last person to be executed for treason by Britain was William Joyce who was hung for his role as the Nazi propagandist "Lord Haw-Haw.""
Link to Original Source

+ - Ebola Outbreak Could Make Nation Turn to Science

Submitted by (3830033) writes "Andy Borowitz writes at The New Yorker that there is a deep-seated fear among some Americans that an Ebola outbreak could make the country turn to science. According to Borowitz, writing tongue in cheek, leading anti-science activists expressed their concern that the American people, wracked with anxiety over the possible spread of the virus, might desperately look to science to save the day. “If you put them under enough stress, perfectly rational people will panic and start believing in science," says Harland Dorrinson, a prominent anti-science activist from Springfield, Missouri. Dorrinson adds that he worries about a “slippery slope” situation, “in which a belief in science leads to a belief in math, which in turn fosters a dangerous dependence on facts.”"

+ - Speech driven keyboard drivers, why do they only exist in Android/iOS? 1

Submitted by ntrcessor
ntrcessor (821638) writes "I have several clients who are visually disabled, or have other disabilities the make typing a difficulty for them. I noticed that they still prefer to have something with tactile feedback. I also noticed that they liked the fact that on Android and iOS devices they could speak commands, and even type by speaking. Great.

Sans expensive 3rd party add-ons, none of the OS's for desktops seem to integrate this ability directly into the OS. Even with accessibility turned on, my experience across the board, is that one must speak into a "dictation" application, and some how paste that content into the desired app. Experience has also show that if disabled people were all obscenely rich, they could afford the 3rd party add-ons to make this a less cumbersome task.

The least expensive route I found for this doesn't work well, and that was Nuance combined with an iPhone for input. Assuming the user is starting from scratch, we have the cost of a new computer, the Nuance Software, and the iPhone, which pushes the cost easily over $1000, and it's still involves lots of training for the user. The one that didn't involve so much user training isn't directly available in the US, and costs $3000 for the middleman piece that combines the Nuance and another piece of software called Jaws. Between Nuance, and Jaws, that's $1000. The easy part is apparently just adding enough speech recognition to be able to launch a few commands. I have accomplished this in all 3 with minimal effort. But on the typing front, still no joy.

Why is it then, that while it is demonstrably possible to have a keyboard level input done by voice recognition, that none of the major desktop OS's support this out of the box? (Linux,Windows, MacOS). I'm asking because I'm trying to solve this on an affordable basis for the truly disabled, who need it. Unfortunately my skills in programming, are currently not near the level they would need to be to supply keyboard drivers for any platform. Let alone one that involved a speech API."

Comment: Re:Why not? When you have kids.. (Score 2) 319

by Zak3056 (#48165663) Attached to: Court Rules Parents May Be Liable For What Their Kids Post On Facebook

Well, now that's just not true. None of the amendments in the Bill of Rights are absolute. Not one. They were not intended to be absolute, either, according to the Founders. Every single one has exceptions.

The constitution, as written, is a whitelist of things the government is allowed to do. The bill of rights is a list of examples of things it is not allowed to do. This suggestion that there are exceptions has no basis in the text of either one. I'll never understand how some people can read, "congress shall make no law," "shall not be infringed," "no person shall be deprived of life liberty or property without due process of law," and other similar statements and come up with "this isn't absolute."

Comment: Rewritten for thruthiness (Score 1) 314

National police are concerned that banknotes encourage criminal activity and should therefore be removed from circulation. The head of the your nation's Money Laundering Clearing House says criminals prefer cash because it is harder for police to track. In contrast, a record of electronic money transfers remains in the banking system, which makes the police's job considerably easier. He also says ordinary law-abiding citizens rarely use the banknotes anyway.

As we say on Slashdot, "There, fixed that for you."

Comment: Olberholzer's comment is borderline insulting (Score 1) 100

by davidwr (#48107739) Attached to: Scientists Coax Human Embryonic Stem Cells Into Making Insulin

says Jose Olberholzer, a professor of bioengineering at the University of Illinois. 'The discovery of insulin was important and certainly saved millions of people, but it just allowed patients to survive but not really to have a normal life. ...'

Sure, having to test yourself several times a day and shoot yourself at least daily isn't technically normal but people whose diabetes is under control with insulin and who are otherwise healthy can lead productive lives just like the rest of us.

If you want to talk about a medical treatment that " just allowed patients to survive but not really to have a normal life" talk about the iron lung or something along those lines.

Comment: ftp.insert-ftp-site-here.whatever? (Score 2) 294

by davidwr (#48104683) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: An Accurate Broadband Speed Test?

Seriously, find a handful of known-high-bandwidth places to download stuff from and download some large files from each of them and use your PC's network-monitoring tools to gauge your bandwidth.

As for as upstream, get some email account from various providers, compose a message, and attach a large-ish file.

Note - if your ISP gives you "burst speed" you will have to "burn through that" before you start getting "real" numbers.

Comment: Tapes or it didn't happen (Score 1) 742

by davidwr (#48084513) Attached to: Complain About Comcast, Get Fired From Your Job

Suppose, just suppose, that the tapes do show something like the ex-employee clearly violating work rules.

Now it becomes a question of free speech - are the work rules enforceable or not? If not, he's got a legitimate gripe with his employer.

On the other hand, if he didn't say anything in the conversation that violates work rules, he definitely has a legitimate gripe with his employer.

In either case, he probably has a case against Comcast and/or the specific Comcast employee for violating his privacy/tortuous interference, etc.

My guess is Comcast's lawyers will try to make the Comcast employee who called the customer's employer out to be a "rogue" and try to pass legal responsibility on to him.

Don't sweat it -- it's only ones and zeros. -- P. Skelly