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Comment: Re:Just like "free" housing solved poverty! (Score 1) 262

by NewYorkCountryLawyer (#48265833) Attached to: Power and Free Broadband To the People

You know that you don't have to just add useless and uninteresting words to something that already had substance, right? At least borrow some quotes from Socrates' Dialogues to spice things up: There is admirable truth in that. That is not to be denied. That appears to be true. All this seems to flow necessarily out of our previous admissions. I think that what you say is entirely true. That, replied Cebes, is quite my notion. To that we are quite agreed. By all means. I entirely agree and go along with you in that. I quite understand you. I shall still say that you are the Daedalus who sets arguments in motion; not I, certainly, but you make them move or go round, for they would never have stirred, as far as I am concerned. If you're going to say _nothing_, at least be interesting about it, post anonymously, or risk looking more clueless / foolish. This is why the moderation system is in place, and mods typically don't listen to inanities like "Well said" when deciding on what to spend their points.

1. I'm too busy to sit around thinking up additional words to throw in so I can score "mod" points

2. The people I like on Slashdot are too busy to read a bunch of additional words I only threw in so I can score "mod" points

3. It's not in my nature to waste words, or to waste time

Comment: Re:Great. (Score 1) 262

by NewYorkCountryLawyer (#48265487) Attached to: Power and Free Broadband To the People

If other posts here on Slashdot are any indication, "Mr. Councilman" is just as likely to lose political points by supporting the poor.

Actually this particular councilman represents an extremely high-rent district--Manhattan's upper east side. I doubt there are many wealthier neighborhoods in the world. He's not doing this to 'score points', he's doing it to do the right thing.

Comment: Re:Just like "free" housing solved poverty! (Score 3, Insightful) 262

by NewYorkCountryLawyer (#48264991) Attached to: Power and Free Broadband To the People

It is my opinion that poverty is partially systemic. Our economic system depends on there being a pool of available workers (unemployed and underemployed). So as long as there is capitalism and a functioning free market, there will always be poor people. That being the case, we have a responsibility to make sure the basic needs of everyone are met. Increasingly in order to succeed in school and in life, Internet access isn't really a luxury.

Well said

Comment: Re:Just like "free" housing solved poverty! (Score 1) 262

by NewYorkCountryLawyer (#48264925) Attached to: Power and Free Broadband To the People

shutup. just shut the fuck up. you neither know you are talking about, nor have any valid point to make. its not about solving the digital divide any more than the housing thing is about solving poverty. its been widely and clearly shown that there is an increase in opportunity and outcomes between homes with and home without internet access. you're essentially complaining about improving someones potential opportunities to enrich themselves and make their life better and maybe even get out of that housing you mock. but again, you have no valid point, so therefore theres little sense in talking sense, like pointing out to you that without subsidized housing many of these people would be on street, homeless, increasing both crime rates and homeless and deaths among the impoverished. Theoretically we are a civilized nation. But a civilized nation doesnt advocate intentionally making it harder if not impossible for those most disadvantaged to improve themselves, nor advocate for them to die quickly and get out of the way.

Well spoken, bro

Comment: Re:Just like "free" housing solved poverty! (Score 1) 262

by NewYorkCountryLawyer (#48264907) Attached to: Power and Free Broadband To the People
The "digital divide" is a real thing. It's the difference between spoiled people like yourself growing up with a computer in your home, and inner city kids who have no computer access at home and have to wait on line at the public library to get a 15 minute time slot.

If you don't recognize that in this society those without computer access are at a disadvantage, you are as stupid as you are uncaring.

+ - Power -- And by that I mean Free Broadband -- To the People

Submitted by NewYorkCountryLawyer
NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) writes "Slashdot member and open source developer Ben Kallos @KallosEsq — who is now a NYC Councilman — is pushing to make it a precondition to Comcast's merging with Time Warner that it agree to provide free broadband to all public housing residents in the City (and by free I mean free as in beer). Kallos, along with NY's Public Advocate, Letitia James, are leading a group of state and local politicians calling on Comcast to help bridge the digital divide in NY."

Comment: Re:lets pump the brakes here and analyze. (Score 1) 165

It's as stupid as suggesting that giving support to homeless people encourages more people to be homeless.

Poor comparison. Homelessness is mostly involuntary. While hostage taking may be an act of desperation, it is a choice with an expected outcome. If you consistently refuse to negotiate with hostage takers, then only the most desperate will take hostages. If you consistently negotiate with hostage takers, you are as much as saying that hostage taking is a viable strategy - you just have to find the right target, demand something not too outrageous etc.

Perhaps you can explain how this reasoning is 'stupid'.

Comment: Re:The only good thing (Score 1) 511

You're still not approaching it from the RISK MITIGATION angle, which is the only thing that matters in this discussion.

Really? The only thing? Well, I'm glad you're hear to hand down some more 'sensibleness' like that.

To continue to argue against this point is to say people should take drugs if the statistics say it's mostly harmless.

Where have I said that? This is the second time you have made that assertion of me and I state, again, that I am not making a recommendation either for or against. I am pointing out the fallacies that you cling to. If an activity of any sort is misunderstood, misrepresented or poorly researched then you cannot make an informed decision about it. You are poorly informed. Clearly you find me saying that offensive.

Let me be plain. I do not think people _should_ do anything. I think that it is reasonable to let people make their own decisions and to assist them in making the best decisions by making sure they have accurate information and are capable of informed consent. That includes driving in traffic, using caffeine, taking antibiotics or using recreational drugs.

They test the materials for their tolerances. Then they build as far away from the thresholds as is physically and financially and ethically/legally possible.

So you are saying that first they thoroughly understand the materials they are working with, research the matter and then decide whether something is too risky to proceed, or whether it is safe enough? That sounds sensible. Why do you object so much when I suggest that this might be a good model for assessing drug use?

In the case of recreational drugs, NOT DOING IT is a completely REASONABLE decision regardless of the statistics because it DOESN'T COST YOU ANYTHING.

Friend, you drink tea. Therefore you use a recreational drug (caffeine). It has very few side effects and most people can use it sensibly and without addiction. A few do not. Clearly you have made the cost/benefit and risk/reward analysis and decided that, for you, tea is an acceptable recreational drug. In fact, you probably don't even consider it a drug because it is so socially acceptable and you are clearly incapable of objectivity (on this matter at least).

Fearmongering is not reasonable, no matter how you capitalise it. You have seen some examples of people who have used drugs and who have had their lives 'ruined'. You have chosen to blame drugs, even though most evidence shows that people who do struggle with drug addiction do so because they have deeper problems in their lives. By blaming the drug and asserting that "NOT DOING IT" "DOESN"T COST YOU ANYTHING" you get to ignore whether they are struggling with mental illnesses, whether their lives are so bleak and hollow that the temporary respite of narcotics is worth the escape, regardless of the price. You get to sit in lofty judgement and continue to deliver your homilies on how easy choosing not to use is. You refuse to accept the possibility that you may be wrong on a topic that you continue to demonstrate you have next to no experience in or with, and yet cling to your ignorance as a defence against having to consider that life might not be so black and white as you'd like.

Fucking hell drug users have the most inane justifications for their failures.

And you have the most self-righteous justification for your success. I get that you worked hard to get where you are, and I truly am happy that your life is going well. Being the child of poor migrants cannot have been easy, and it is to your credit that you have succeeded as well as you have. But hard work alone is not enough. Whether you realise it or not, your success is also dependent on a large number of factors over which you had no control. I know many people who have worked hard and continue to work hard who have not had your success. Difficult as your life may have been, others face greater difficulties. Perhaps they aren't as smart as you, perhaps they didn't have access to the education that you had. It sounds like your parents encouraged and taught you the value of saving and working hard. Not everyone has parents that can or will do that. Some have parents that abused them. Some have worked hard and then had chance take that from them. An accident. An illness.
By seeing drug abuse (not drug use - you continue to conflate the two) as the _cause_ of the problem and not a symptom, you get to maintain your moral superiority and to assert that their problems would go away if they just didn't take drugs. How simple. Why don't they just do it? Other people have tried to tell you how smug, self-congratulatory and unsympathetic that sounds. I'll go further. Your position is childish, selfish and ill-educated. Grow up. Seriously.

Teaching kids to not do something that is ENTIRELY VOLUNTARY is not "incomplete" or "incorrect".

Teaching them that 10% of drug users ruin their lives is. That's a statistic you just made up. Go on, back it up. Educate yourself. Try and find some real statistics on drug use vs drug abuse.

You realise that alcohol is a drug, right? That in small doses it is pleasant and even has some positive health benefits. Too much, too often and it is harmful. Dependency is harmful and addiction is harmful. It is responsible to teach people the facts and then to assist them in making informed decisions. You have chosen not to drink alcohol. That's your decision - but it's not the only 'correct' decision. Banning alcohol didn't work in the US. In fact, it caused more problems than it solved. Countries like Portugal have legalised and decriminalised a number of drugs and have seen a drop in usage as well as the associated problems of creating a black market for drugs (like crime).

Prohibition, scare tactics, misinformation and teaching people to 'just say no' have been shown again and again not to work. Accurate information, support for people who are struggling with substance abuse and a destigmatisation including decriminalisation have been shown to be far more effective.

Most people can handle caffeine. Most people can handle alcohol. Most people can handle a wide range of substances because their lives are generally good. The people who struggle with dependence and addiction do so not (entirely) because of the substance but because of the other factors in their lives.

I do not advocate taking drugs. I advocate making an informed choice based on accurate information. In all things. Like whether I drink tea or not, whether I drive in heavy traffic or not, whether a cider or two at the end of the week is acceptable or not.

I've seen people ruin their lives with alcohol. I've seen people ruin their lives with gambling. I've seen people ruin their lives chasing sex. Addiction and addictive behaviours are destructive. Alcohol isn't. Gambling isn't. Sex isn't.

Driving is "ENTIRELY VOLUNTARY" and has a higher death rate, per year, than all illegal drugs combined, so clearly teaching kids to "NOT DO IT" is entirely "REASONABLE" and "DOESN'T COST YOU ANYTHING". I mean, that's "RISK MITIGATION" and teaching anything else is "BULLSHIT" reasoning. Or, perhaps, you have made the assessment that given your knowledge of yourself, the benefits of driving outweigh the risks and that you can take steps to minimise or manage the risks that do exist and so driving is a reasonable choice for you to make. Not, perhaps, for someone who doesn't know how to drive (like me), but reasonable for you. Recreational drugs range from those that enhance certain faculties (like focus and attention), mitigate negatives (pain for the opiates, sleep for amphetamines) or provide profound new insights (like hallucinogens). Some are toxic in high doses. Some will rapidly reduce in effect if taken too frequently. Some will impair functions. Some will cause dependence if used to frequently. These are all risks that can be managed and minimised by people who are well informed and acting reasonably. Clearly you have chosen that the benefits do not outweigh the risks. That's perfectly reasonable. What is not reasonable is to insist that there are no benefits to anyone else and to claim that any risk is too much. _Everything_ has a risk of harm associated with it. Standing up (you might fall down), eating food (it might be tainted), breathing (you might catch something). You have an exaggerated estimation of both the risk and the harm of drug use because you fail to distinguish between 'sensible' us and abuse. My attempts to highlight this have been met with hostility and now swearing. We are no longer having a meaningful or useful conversation.

Be well.

Comment: Re:The only good thing (Score 1) 511

Teachers have a responsibility to impart sensibleness to their students

Teachers have a responsibility to educate. Ideally that includes the ability to reason, which is what I really hope you mean when you say 'impart sensibleness'. To the extent that they are imparting incorrect (by way of being incomplete) information they are failing as educators.

It shouldn't even matter about the actual statistics

Are you seriously arguing that the facts don't matter, so long as the message gets through? I'm sorry but the actual statistics most certainly matter. You claim that drug use is bad because some people who use drugs have terrible lives. I am trying to show you that until you know the actual population of drug users, their usage patterns and a host of other 'statistics' then you can't possibly make reasoned and informed decisions about whether 'drugs' are 'bad', whether they are causative or co-symptomatic, or any of the other positions you so blindly assert.

As long a sizeable percentage of drug users ruin their lives

You don't know that it is a "sizeable percentage" (whatever that means). You have your opinions based on what you have seen/read/found-out and from what you are saying, I am becoming more and more convinced that for all you 'love' of science, you actually have a fairly poor understanding of the scientific method. What you have is anecdotal. At best it is horribly biased.

Yes, because there is a physical reality that is true regardless of the statistics. Driving involves small humans and huge metal machines. Anyone with a sensible ability to use logic and reason about physics should be able to make a safe decision.

The reality of road conditions? Of other drivers' abilities? Of traffic conditions? All of these (should) go into making decisions about driving. you know about these because they are reported on accurately and in depth. You can, therefore, make an informed decision about the risk of driving. I am learning to drive. Consequently, assessing my own abilities and the state of Parramatta Rd at peak hour, I choose not to drive there. That's an informed choice based on (reasonably) accurate information. Now assume that you don't know the state of the roads, that the only reports you have of traffic conditions are sensational reports of traffic accidents and the only information you have about other drivers is that a "sizeable percentage" ruin their lives by having traffic accidents. Regardless of my self-assessment, in the light of such poor information about "physical reality" I am not able to make an informed assessment of risk.

It shouldn't take statistics to reason that messing about with your brain chemistry is not a good thing to do

Woah there, that's a very different argument. You have gone from asserting that drugs are bad because "most", I mean "a sizeable percentage", I mean 'the statistics don't matter' people end up ruining their lives to now asserting that drugs are bad because they mess with your brain chemistry and that they are a waste of money.

Given your ... cavalier attitude towards the importance of fair sampling and statistics, I'm not certain that you're qualified to be talking about brain chemistry. Would you like to dignify your position with an argument, rather than an assertion? Many drugs have very well known and studied effects - it's hardly 'messing around' and while you assert that this is 'not a good thing to do', you don't say why.

Some people are moved by the music they listen to. They weep over tragic arias, beam with happiness over something upbeat and catchy. Their mood is altered by music, they are, therefore "messing ... with [their] brain chemistry". Is this "not a good thing to do"?

Some people seek out excitement - thrill seekers. Anything from extreme sports to simply going on a roller-coaster. The adrenaline from the thrill alters their brain chemistry, alters their mood, is literally mind-altering. Some people are addicted to thrill seeking. Some of these people die from seeking ever greater thrills. Is thrill seeking bad, or is the addiction bad?

Throughout the course of human history humans have used alcohol, sometimes for entirely recreational purposes. A very, very small percentage of these people end up addicted and with their lives ruined. Is this the fault of the alcohol, or the addiction?

As to your 'waste of money' - I'm sure that the hobbies and/or interests that you enjoy would seem a complete waste of money to me, if I were condescending and completely lacking in empathy. People value different things to you. They spend money differently to you.

Not all drug users end up with ruined lives. Not all ruined lives are caused by drugs. Not all drug users are addicts. Not all addicts use drugs. You keep conflating these and refusing to accept that you are doing so based on faulty reasoning.

Comment: Re:The only good thing (Score 1) 511

So you think I should take drugs if it doesn't present a danger to a statistically significant majority of people?

Not at all. I am challenging your assertion that teachers should demonise marijuana because "most" of those who use it do "nothing with their lives ...".

A "great many people" die in traffic accidents every year. Yet I dare say you still travel by road (whether you drive, cycle or use public transport). You have assessed the risk and take steps (I presume) to maximise your safety. Now imagine if driving were forbidden. Illegal. Unreported. If the newspapers only every reported on the sordid death of another person in a road fatality. Would you be as able to properly assess the personal risk of driving under such (ridiculous, I know, but I'm trying to make a point) circumstances?

I am not advocating for or against drug use. I'm pointing out that your position that the majority of drug use leads to "doing nothing with their lives" or other problems is drawn from a very biased set of data.

Your personal decision to use or not use drugs is entirely your own. Your assumptions about the use of others are flawed.

Comment: Re:The only good thing (Score 1) 511

I see people on marijuana who can't think coherently

Given your obvious opinion on the topic, the only people who don't keep their drug use hidden from you are those who are completely incoherent.

For someone who claims to 'love science' you certainly don't seem to understand the problem with things like confirmation bias and drawing conclusions from non-random sampling.

It's very difficult to properly estimate drug usage due to its illegality and the social stigma surrounding it. Without knowing how many people are using (and to what degree) then any conclusions you draw based on those who _are_ visible are going to be grossly inaccurate. You clearly have strong opinions on the matter and have made several assertions - can you cite reputable studies to back up those claims, or are you relying on (very fallible) personal experience?

Comment: Re:Key Point Missing (Score 2) 34

by NewYorkCountryLawyer (#47234405) Attached to: Appeals Court Finds Scanning To Be Fair Use

The summary misses a key point. Yes they scan and store the entire book, but they are _NOT_ making the entire book available to everyone. For the most part they are just making it searchable.

Agreed that it's not in the summary, but as you correctly note, it's just a "summary". Anyone who reads the underlying blog post will read this among the facts on which the court based its opinion: "The public was allowed to search by keyword. The search results showed only the page numbers for the search term and the number of times it appeared; none of the text was visible."

So those readers who RTFA will be in the know.

"I am, therefore I am." -- Akira