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Comment: Re:Good ruling (Score 1) 133

I agree that zero tolerance is a bad idea, but what they've struck down is the "reasonable person" standard in any kind of criminal case. It has nothing to do with zero tolerance.

IANAL, but I suspect the issue is that to convict someone for a serious crime you generally have to show "mens rea" ("guilty mind") -- that the defendant had the intent of committing the crime in question. If so the ruling may be reasonable, but not for the reasons you suggest. If I'm right, what SCOTUS is saying is that the jury has to determine that the husband actually intended to threaten his wife.

As for the civil liberties implications, they appear to be more limited than most people seem to believe. Threatening someone is still a crime. It's just not a crime to say something someone would misconstrue as a threat, even if that person is being reasonable.

Comment: Re:Like the sailor that blow into his sail... (Score 1) 138

by hey! (#49819399) Attached to: Fuel Free Spacecrafts Using Graphene

Well, without actually reading the article itself I'll venture an opinion of course. If you carried the fuel and lasers yourself it wouldn't be like the sailor blowing on his own sail at all; it's be like the sailor facing the stern and blowing his ship forward. That's because the ship would still be powered by the rearward expulsion of electrons.

The advantage of the system with an external laser is (I presume) that even though it is no doubt very energy inefficient, since all you're expelling is electrons the specific impulse would be quite high. This allows you to apply small amount of thrust, but continuously for a long time without the bulk of your payload being fuel. If you are going to carry the fuel needed to power the thrusters you might as well go with compact ion thrusters.

Comment: Re:Open Source Windows (Score 1) 278

by Graymalkin (#49813151) Attached to: Windows 10 RTM In 6 Weeks

For the past twenty years Microsoft's two major sources of income were Windows and Office. One is an operating system to make the computer go and the other is software to let people do something with it.

Windows is mostly tied to the sales of x86 computers. PC sales peaked in about 2010 and aren't likely to get back to that high point. That doesn't mean Microsoft is doomed. They're doing the smart thing and porting their software to growing platforms.

This means the market for Office can explode. Not only do they keep their position on PCs but can expand it to iOS and Android devices of which there are billions.

Office on iOS and Android means there's a bridge between the Microsoft dominated world of the PC and the mobile world where they have an inferior position. This reinforces their desktop position because Office remains the de facto standard in business, even when their mobile devices don't run Windows.

Microsoft isn't alone here. Adobe, Autodesk, and plenty of other traditional software houses are looking to extend their reach to mobile platforms. Mobile isn't necessarily replacing the traditional desktop but is growing independently.

Comment: Re:Yes. (Score 1) 167

An author's copyrights can be assigned or transferred to a third party. This leaves the author with only the same rights as any member of the general public. (There are a few narrow exceptions, but nothing that would prevent the possibility of an author infringing on the copyright of a work he created)

It's also possible for a person who prepares a work to not be considered the author. This is the case for works made for hire.

And of course copyright isn't mandatory, though that just leads to works being in the public domain, so at least there's no danger of infringement there.

Comment: Re:Correct, but silly (Score 1) 167

However, bear in mind that copyright only applies to original material, not to pre-existing material. A review which includes a quote is copyrightable, but the new copyright for the review only covers the portion original to the reviewer; the material quoted is only covered by the copyright of the work the quotes are drawn from.

17 USC 103(b):

The copyright in a compilation or derivative work extends only to the material contributed by the author of such work, as distinguished from the preexisting material employed in the work, and does not imply any exclusive right in the preexisting material. The copyright in such work is independent of, and does not affect or enlarge the scope, duration, ownership, or subsistence of, any copyright protection in the preexisting material.

Comment: Re:I don't really buy it (Score 1) 421

by hey! (#49804893) Attached to: Mandriva CEO: Employee Lawsuits Put Us Out of Business

Well, bankruptcy ALWAYS is the result of somebody demanding something they think is owed them under the law. In fact that's pretty much what bankruptcy is: when you can't raise enough cash to pay people what they're legally owed. If your company can't pay the rent you don't go around saying, "We'd still be in business if the landlord hadn't sued us." People would laugh at you. But for some reason if you say "We'd still be in business of the employees hadn't sued us," then people somehow act as if that isn't equally ridiculous.

It's the same attitude where companies raid the employee pension fund to pay for current expenses: that somehow employees ought to pay for the mistakes of management.

Comment: Re:Play on words (Score 1) 25

by hey! (#49802133) Attached to: More About Dan Shapiro and the Glowforge CNC Laser Cutter (Video #2)

It's perfectly sound marketing logic.

Explaining things to people who aren't up to speed yet is difficult and tedious; and in any even people don't have the patience to sit through explanations. So the obvious thing to do is to describe your product in terms that confuse everyone, equally.

Comment: No. (Score 1) 124

The hospital didn't show that normal lagtime won't affect remote robotic surgeries. It looked for possible effects of that sort and didn't find any. That's a good result, but it's only the start of a process that might show that doing this is reasonably safe for patients.

The real world is much more demanding and uncontrollable than simulation. Remember the Therac-25 incident. Thorough functional testing apparently showed that the machine was perfectly safe; it didn't take into account the difference between testers and people who would actually be using the device every day. While you can never prove the non-existence of some unknown and unpredictable factor, that doesn't mean that a long and critical search for things you might have overlooked is useless.

Comment: Re:The Chinese are not the soviets (Score 1) 272

by hey! (#49793149) Attached to: Neil DeGrasse Tyson Urges America To Challenge China To a Space Race

The chinese and americans make too much money off each other to go to war with each other.

Which of course means we are no threat whatsoever to to each other, because on both sides of the relationship the leadership is and is guaranteed continued to be completely rational.

Comment: Re:next up: ban cars (Score 2) 127

by hey! (#49790609) Attached to: Thanks To the Montreal Protocol, We Avoided Severe Ozone Depletion

Well, driving cars in urban centers generally sucks between the traffic and finding parking. The problem is people are too stubborn to get their act together and provide abundant satellite parking and transit links. Sure, driving your car right up to a store is ideal when you're the only one doing it, but there's a reason malls are built with parking on the periphery and pedestrian access at the core. If parking was the most pleasant and convenient way to get a lot of people into a confined area you'd be able to drive right into Disney World and park your car at Space Mountain.

Comment: Re:nonsense (Score 4, Insightful) 127

by hey! (#49790515) Attached to: Thanks To the Montreal Protocol, We Avoided Severe Ozone Depletion

Anything that happens inflates someone's bank account. If governments ban CFCs then people with CFC substitutes get a windfall. If governments don't ban CFCs then makers of sunscreen and skin cancer treatments get a windfall.

This is how capitalism works -- how it's supposed to work. Problems attract capital, which generates profits. But it's also how market solutions fall short. It's better for the public if someone makes a killing replacing CFC than if someone else makes a killing treating skin cancer.

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