Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Comment Re: Germany wants a lot... (Score 4, Interesting) 728

They're weeds. You need to cut them down and drive them out.

No, you need to expose them. You need to let them spew whatever drivel they want out in public, and then publicly refute them. If you make their words illegal, then you drive them underground to persuade others in private, giving them an excuse never to expose their lies to the sunlight of public refutation.

And people certainly do like banned things; it makes them feel that they're learning some secret information that the powers that be have ulterior motives for concealing.

Comment Re:About CVS Only! Not SVN! (Score 2) 245

(2) permanently delete those files that I know I will no longer need.

I'm confused. The entire purpose of an archive database is to KEEP things, forever, so you can go back to them when you need to. If you have files that you expect to delete, maybe they shouldn't be going into the database.

No you're not; you're being patronizing. I am a photographer. I take lots of photos. The negatives are over 30 MB each. A single day's shooting can be dozens of GB. And while I expect to delete many of them, I don't know which of those will be deleted until I've gone through and worked with them. But I want them in an archive immediately, so I can have them tracked, versioned (the XMP sidecars/DNG headers are plaintext), backed-up, remotely accessible, etc.

The funny thing is, despite pretentious boosters of one modern VCS after another arguing that their lack of a feature is a feature in and of itself, and that I'm stupid for having different needs than them, ancient CVS does *exactly* what I need it to do. (Proprietary Perforce is even better, though I'd prefer something open source). So until its competitors catch up with its state-of-the-art 1990's technology, I'm going to keep using CVS.

Comment Re:About CVS Only! Not SVN! (Score 3, Interesting) 245

CVS should die though, yes. Move to SVN or Git depending on your particular needs.

My particular needs are to (1) check out only a subset of files, because those files are binary and very large, and (2) permanently delete those files that I know I will no longer need. Unfortunately, neither SVN nor Git meets those needs, but CVS does. (And as much as I like SVN, rebuilding the entire repository doesn't count for (2)).

Comment Re:Some appointments are forever! (Score 1) 366

The burns were extremely severe. And they were her fault.

That lawsuit was premised on hot coffee being a "defective product," such that the McDonald's would be strictly liable. But most of us are aware -- and expect -- that coffee is routinely made with boiling water. Moreover she shouldn't have put it in her lap. When she did, and it spilled, her insurance should have been on the hook for the damages, not McD's.

I'm quite sorry for her -- I've stupidly spilled coffee in my lap, and it hurt like hell. But that was my fault, and no one else's.

Comment Re:history in motion, transiting from hooliganism (Score 1) 225

Seriously, your stuffed-full-of-mail strawman is still a strawman, and a rather absurd one at that. Do you think that the NYSE has a little mailslot out in the front door, so that if you send a letter, the postman just tosses it in, and if 9,999,999 others send a letter, they keep piling them in the little slot until they're piling up so much in the hallway that no one can push the front door open with all the mail? Is that really the image that you have in your head?

The basis of the criminal law is intent: they presumably intended to cause damage to Paypal, and had no legitimate reason for their action. Note that I say *presumably* -- their intent must still be proven to a jury, beyond a reasonable doubt. This bears no relation to sending a letter of complaint. And their intent -- and taking actions upon that intent -- is all that matters for the criminal law. For most crimes (homicide generally excepted) the attempt or conspiracy to commit a crime is subject to the same penalties as the completed offense.

Comment Re:Six months from now (Score 5, Informative) 494

There is a common myth that the high cost of health care is due to uncompensated obligatory emergency room care. Like many myths, it provides comfort to the general public, who are always looking for easy explanations for the complex problems of the world. But like all myths, it has the downside of being false.

In particular, the percentage of a hospital's expenses spent on uncompensated care is about 6% (in 2011, 5.9%)

The mandate to provide emergency care to all those that show up in the ER was part of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act of 1986.

Turning back to the first link: what was the percentage of uncompensated care in 1985, before the Act? 5.8% So as a result of the treatment mandate, the percentage of hospital's uncompensated care went up all of 0.1%. (From then to today; there was a spike up to 6.4% the year after the Act was passed).

Undoubtedly, uncompensated care is a problem. It's just a rather small problem. Far bigger is the lack of market forces that removes any incentives to inefficiency.

As a side matter; I'm very sorry to hear that about your wife -- there is definitely a significant need for improvement in the system for helping people with pre-existing conditions.

Comment Re:Ethanol is simply not good enough (Score 3, Informative) 330

True, but that doesn't mean that (certain) food isn't more expensive than it otherwise would be, but for so much corn going to ethanol production. For example, as to corn itself, while the commodity price has dropped dramatically over the last year, it's still twice as high as it was in the early 2000's.

Moreover, the cost of corn is the primary cattle feed in the U.S. As a result, the price of beef largely tracks that of corn, and has likewise more than doubled since 2000.

Comment Re:Why we have a 5th Amendment (Score 3, Informative) 871

The difference was that Zimmerman's statements were recorded. Federal Rule of Evidence 106 provides that: "If a party introduces all or part of a writing or recorded statement, an adverse party may require the introduction, at that time, of any other part — or any other writing or recorded statement — that in fairness ought to be considered at the same time." (I don't know the Florida rule, but most states' rules of evidence are similar to the FRE).

Generally, any statements made outside of court are inadmissible as hearsay when introduced for the purpose of proving the truth of the statement, unless a hearsay exception applies. Fed. R. Evid. 801 & 802. The largest exception is "statements of a party opponent," 801(d)(1)(2), by which a party can introduce any statements of the opposing side. Thus, Zimmerman's out-of-court statements, while hearsay, were nonetheless admissible pursuant to this exception. And because they were recorded, Fed. R. Evid. 106 allowed Zimmerman to demand the rest be introduced (presumably, I haven't actually seen what the basis for this was, or even if it was argued).

But on the other hand, whatever Zimmerman said unrecorded to officers at the scene would not be admissible if offered by himself, because no hearsay exception would apply.

Comment Re:More accurately: (Score 1) 248

I respect your point about not letting the big-ego psychopaths running the show. I have this gut revenge reaction against the big-ego jerk (I won't quite call him a psychopath) that fired me on the basis of a B.S. reason. I think I might have fantasized about having a law where I could sue him for being the gigantic jerk that he was. But it was enough satisfaction to see him run that business straight into the ground with his ego-driven approach -- they went bankrupt about a year and a half after I got the boot. And I found another job -- in fact, not only did they not hold the firing against me (which I was certainly concerned about at the time, especially when they asked why I left the previous job), but the interviewer laughed and thought it was a great story.

That's how it should work: easy to hire, easy to fire, and let the job market sort it all out. Good managers know that treating people like crap isn't good for business.

The worst would be a situation like in certain parts of Europe, where it is so difficult to fire people that companies are equally reluctant to hire, and it becomes very difficult to expand a business without fear that contraction will be impossible. Yes, in some European countries it actually works (the beautiful land in which I am currently vacationing, zum Beispiel). But that has a lot to do with cultural factors that cannot simply be dictated by act of law. There is a big difference in Europe between the German/Scandinavian countries on the one hand, and all the others. And I fear that America would be more like the latter. Just think of how inefficient our legal system can be -- the thought of potentially having to fight out a yearslong legal battle every time you let someone go would be a disaster for business, even if the business was vindicated every single time.

If it works in your country, great! I hope you're in one of the more successful ones, rather than one of those with 20% unemployment. And even if not, I respect the sovereign right of your country to choose its own labor laws, regardless of what I might choose for my own. But in the same vein, I think you could give America a little more credit -- at-will employment (the legal term for this) is not exactly "anarchy." If the CEO had beat the man to death with a baseball bat, Untouchables-style, you might have a better case.

Finally, don't get me wrong (as I feel obligated to underline, lest I be discounted as some heartless libertarian -- or worse, Republican!): there are situations in which the power balance is so uneven, or the conduct so egregious, that regulation is justified. But firing a Creative Director of a large corporation for taking pictures is simply not one of them, nor should it be.

"Trust me. I know what I'm doing." -- Sledge Hammer