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Comment Re: So much stupid (Score 1) 100 100

So you're saying that even with uber-militarized police nothing can be done about gangs?

Of course something can be done. But it's politically incorrect to do so. The most violent gangs are thick with illegal aliens from Central America. The leftier side of US politics really wants to be able to take legal Latino votes for granted. So they angle for policies that do everything possible to avoid ruffling feathers in that area ... including giving sanctuary to people who end up being enforcers for MS13, etc.

To deal with gangs like that, you have to actually arrest people and then once they're in prison, actually keep them there. We don't do nearly enough of that - the revolving door has those guys right back in action after short terms, and their habits of recruiting minors for a lot of their dirty work means little or no jail time for a big part of their operations. If they're deported, they just show right back up because we have a completely porous, unenforced border. That's only true because the federal government isn't bothering to do one of its main missions (controlling the border), and that is a 100% political problem. The existence and violent toxicity of powerful, organized, nation-wide gangs (like MS13) in the US is then left to local law enforcement to deal with.

So yes, when they move to deal with a place known to be protected by a bunch of MS13 soldiers, you better believe they want to show up with heavy equipment. Would you bring a nightstick to arrest a bunch of MS13 enforcers who consider killing police officers, cartel-style, to be a sport and a point of pride?

But none of that has to happen. Controlling the border and not tolerating tens of millions of illegals in a shadowy cash economy rife with internal, organized crime - it's a matter of political will. But because there are politicians who are too timid to talk plainly about it, and who would rather play identity politics in a craven hunt for votes, we have a system that perpetuates rather than addresses the problem. And the local cops get to risk their necks as a result. If I were in that line of work, yeah, I'd want an armored car when serving warrants, too.

Comment Re: So much stupid (Score 2) 100 100

In absolute numbers, more white people are shot by police than black people, but the former also make up a significantly larger chunk of the population (63% white vs 12% black).

But if you're going to make everyone look at it through the lens of skin pigment, then you also have to do what the producer of those statistics did: take into account the demographics surrounding high crime rates. Police shootings rarely, rarely occur outside the context of the cops interacting with someone in the middle of a violent or headed-towards-violent situation. Though the media is focused on things like that idiot campus cop who shot the guy trying to speed away from a traffic stop, that's NOT the sort of thing that makes up, in any meaningful way, the larger body of numbers. Take into account the wildly higher rates of violent domestic disputes, basic street crime, robberies, and (if nothing else) gang warfare, and the percentage of police shootings involving people of one skin tone relative to the percentage of that skin tone in the population takes a back seat to what that percentage is actually doing when it comes to the sorts of activities that bring wary cops rushing to the scene.

If one insists on comparing skin color percentages in the wider population, compare skin color percentages involved in violent crime before doing math about how often cops have violent encounters with a given group. Or, skip the whole skin color thing, and focus on geography. In places where cops have a hugely higher rate of violent criminals and behavior to deal with, they end up having to use force more often than in places where the population is much less routinely violent.

Comment Re:Amazon Prime (Score 1) 200 200

No, actually. I'm just describing something I pay for, and which I like. I know that's not fashionable, but it actually is possible to like a company and it's products/services. On balance, I think Amazon is a remarkable operation. Not shy about it. The more people who check them out and also use their services, the better it gets for me. I generally - though not always - like what Bezos is doing outside the context of Amazon directly.

Comment Amazon Prime (Score 0, Offtopic) 200 200

I have to say, I keep stumbling across new reasons that I like Prime. Had a gig this evening, and needed some spendy batteries. A couple of clicks this morning, and they were on my doorstep in the afternoon. It only takes a few events like that in a year to make Prime worth the modest cost. But so many other little goodies that Bezos keeps tossing in to remind me why it's good to stick around. I have enough parts and pieces shipped in that it pays for itself in time and shipping costs regardless. The rest is frosting on that cake. It will be interesting to see how much of a production budget Amazon gives these guys to make their particular form of entertainment. I anticipate lots of drone footage of cars doing entertaining things.

Comment Have We Lost the War to Quid Pro Quo Complacency? (Score 3) 345 345

Time and time again I see news articles that seem to herald the idea that users are willing to sacrifice something like privacy for the use of software. Take Facebook for an example. You get a robust and snappy storage and website for communication at the cost of control over your life and privacy. And as I try to explain to people the tradeoffs most of them seem to be complacent. Even I myself use GMail, there's just no better mail service. Even if there were, I'd have to run the server from my home to be sure that I'm in control in it and it's truly free (by your definition). So given that much of the populace isn't even prepared technologically to harness truly free software, don't you think they have slowly accepted the trade offs and that the pros of your arguments -- though sound -- are only possibly realized by those skilled enough to edit source code or host their own mail server from their home?

Comment Companies Selling Actually Free Software? (Score 5, Interesting) 345 345

I found your piece on selling free software to be pretty logical on paper. However, has it ever worked in the wild? Can you name companies or revenues that currently operate on this idea (and I'm not talking about services or support of the software)? I simply can't come up with a widely used monetized piece of software licensed under the GNU GPL whereby the original software was sold at a single price and shipped with the source code -- free for the original purchaser to distribute by the license's clauses. Can you list any revenue generation from that? I must admit I'm not exactly enamored with paying for free software (as in your definition of free) before it's written yet I cannot think of any other way this would fairly compensate the developer.

Comment Re:"...the same as trespassing." (Score 1) 1167 1167

Except, they guy said he shot it while it was hovering IN his back yard. Not high overhead, not even high. "IN" his back yard.

Hint: also illegal to operate in close proximity to people, especially people who are on their own property, and don't want it there...)

Actually no, no it's not. Toy model aircraft aren't subject to any such law, FAA-wise. Yet, at least. If anything, we're talking about good old fashioned reckless endangerment, which has nothing to do with model aircraft in particular, but could be a charge in such a case (just like it would be if they were throwing lawn darts over the fence, or hit somebody in the head with a stray baseball).

The FAA has guidance about such matters. But flying a toy around like that has absolutely zero FAA restrictions in and of itself, with regard to people on the ground. It's likely to be a different story when such a machine is used commercially, but again, zero relevance in this case.

Comment Re:Third Dimension (Score 1) 1167 1167

A good starting point would be to recognize the airspace above private property as part of the property, up to the level allowed to commercial aircraft. That would mean that drones could only fly above designated land surfaces.

Except there is ample precedent for that NOT being the case. Has nothing to do with neighbors flying toy copters around, or someone flying a Cessna at 500'.

Comment Re:"...the same as trespassing." (Score 1) 1167 1167

If a drone is hovering "in" your suburban back yard, then shooting it with a shotgun is wildly inappropriate, because you're shooting at an angle barely above the horizontal. We also have no idea if the guy's toy copter was hovering "over" his yard, or just near it. It's much more difficult than most people think to gauge a small quadcopter's actual position over objects on the ground. I've yet to meet anyone who hasn't personally operated a given machine for many, many hours who was ever correct about that sort of thing.

Comment Re:"...the same as trespassing." (Score 0) 1167 1167

Nonsense. I've been hit in the face by #8 birdshot used by a gunner over 200 yards away. If I didn't have field glasses on, I'd have lost an eye.

We'd have to see a lot more detail about where the copter actually was, the angle at which Dad shot it, etc. My observation, as someone who flies drones of several sizes and who has also shot many things out of the air using a variety of shotguns and loads, is that there's essentially no safe way to do what this idiot did.

Separately from that: the FAA is quite clear that shooting at ANY aircraft is a crime. Big time.

Comment Re:Wrong age (Score 1) 316 316

People getting married at 16 did so under the guidance of closely kept family - something that's far less common these days. When the culture was more agrarian and infant death rates were much higher, you started hatching out babies as early as possible while everyone involved is young and resilient. We now have a much, much lower rate of multi-generational households (when that was common, that 16 year old husband was very unlikely to be the one calling the shots about the family business, farm, finances, etc). We're also expecting young people today to be tuned into a LOT more information and complexity than their counterparts from a century ago.

Comment Re:Wrong age (Score 5, Insightful) 316 316

This. Nobody is an adult at 18. Not even close. Most people don't have their cognitive act together, and any sort of capacity for rational behavior (if they're ever going to get there) until, these days, they're the better part of 30.

But knowing to not shoot selfies of yourself being a total jackass is something that can make some sense a lot earlier than 18. If some 15 year old can know enough not to drop his pants in front of his grandmother or in front of his classroom at school, he already has what it takes to know not to do it online. He just has to be taught that. Which involves, you know, parents. Who give a damn about their kids' future.

Economists state their GNP growth projections to the nearest tenth of a percentage point to prove they have a sense of humor. -- Edgar R. Fiedler

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