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Submission + - Judge: Stingrays are "simply too powerful" without adequate oversight (arstechnica.com)

managerialslime writes: A federal judge in Illinois has recently taken the unusual step of issuing three new stringent requirements for the government when it wants to deploy cell-site simulators. The move aims to protect the Fourth Amendment rights of innocent bystanders against unreasonable search and seizure.

Of course, for now, this order only applies to this one judge in the Northern District of Illinois.

Comment Schwartz's book is totally worth reading (Score 2) 358

The Paradox Of Choice is excellent. The most important point among a legion of somewhat unexpected findings is: people generally make choices either by optimizing and finding the best choice, or by setting a threshold and choosing the first option that exceeds that threshold. The people who generally use optimization strategies consistently make better choices than the people who set thresholds, but are consistently much less happy about both their choices and their lives. This appears to be because in the process of optimizing, they calculate the cost of all the choices they didn't make, in a sort of buyer's remorse, and that has a huge impact on their satisfaction with the choice they did make.
He spends a lot of time talking about how you can make good choices and be happy about them. One of the main ways of doing this is figuring out ways to reduce the number of apparent choices you have, so that the cost of the paths not taken is lower.

Comment Shopping cart solves all problems (Score 1) 278

It's amazing how drivers suddenly see you when you are pushing a shopping cart that'll badly damage their cars and quite possibly the drivers themselves.
Plus then you have a nice place to store stuff. Like pieces of foam painted to look like cinder blocks. Those come in useful for throwing at particularly jerky cars every now and then.

Comment Re:And your favorite, hobby laser cutter is... (Score 2) 28

Do a websearch on laser cutter engraver.
There are dozens for under $6K USD, and still a good handful down at $3K.
The proviso being that many of the inexpensive ones arrive in what is claimed to be ready to run but they're actually more like kits because of the poor quality of assembly: parts rattling around loose in the case (in one friend's experience) and various bits of hardware missing.
I have two friends who have purchased them and ripped out the control electronics, and replaced them with 3d printer brains, as those are better-understood than the custom hardware that's windows-only, proprietary-software-only shipped with the cheaper machines. That frees people up to use arbitrary modeling, cam, and post-processing programs.
Epilog lasers are very high quality (and their price reflects it, but it's way less than $100K, more like $10K.) They're made in the USA and are a mainstay of makerspaces because of their reliability and durability. I know a couple of people who work at Epilog and think highly of their work.

Comment Re:I foresee a sudden demand for raises (Score 1) 430

Baker claims the spreadsheet compelled more Google employees to ask and receive "equitable pay based on data in the sheet."

90% of drivers think they are better than the average driver, and I would bet 90%+ of workers think they are better than average, and would therefore expected to be paid above the median (note for the statistically challenged - 90% of a group cannot be above the median).

99% of humans have above the average number of eyes, that average number being 1.995.
You are presuming a gaussian distribution. Salary is almost certainly not a gaussian distribution.

Comment Depends on what you mean by technology (Score 1) 620

At work we use a Hewlett Packard 4145A semiconductor parameter analyzer that boots off a 5 1/2" floppy that uses custom hardware and physical modifications to the floppy. That's our oldest actual computer system. Stepping back, we have a Tektronix 576 curve tracer; we have no idea how old it is but it looks like 1965 or so. Virtually no safety stuff at all on something that can dump out 250V at 500mA (albeit briefly.) But the analog phone lines to our building are from the 1940's. I'm not sure where to draw the line here...

Comment Re:Something wrong there (Score 1) 549

Look, I'm not a perfect driver but to assume others will break the rules as you do is just asking for trouble.

George Carlin: "So I'm out driving with my friend and he just blows straight through a red light and I'm all "What the hell are you doing?" and he says "shut up, my brother taught me to drive and this is what he does." Come to another red light, same thing. Then we come to a green light, and he STOPS. I'm all "Now what are you doing?" and he says "My brother might be coming the other way." That's what's called looking out for your brother!"

Comment Re:11 rear enders (Score 1) 549

Rear-ending is something that always comes up in /. discussions about driving, especially by US drivers (the site is rather US centric). Everyone and their dog seem to have been in at least one such accident. I have never been in such an accident, nor have I heard of any European friends that had such an accident.

Add to that, statistics show that US drivers have far more accidents, injuries and deaths per distance (per km or per mile, whatever you like to use) than European drivers, especially those from western European countries. This while US streets are wider and straighter; quite some Americans are scared stiff by our narrow, winding roads - we're routinely doing things like driving 80 km/hr (the legal limit) on country roads, and not slowing down for oncoming traffic while the road is so narrow there's not even a line in the middle... because the road simply is plenty wide enough for two cars.

Much stricter driving training does help a lot.

Here's a picture of my (now dead) Subaru with an annotation of the previous four accidents, all of which involved being rear-ended, 75% of which involved being rear-ended while I was at a stop, at a stoplight, with cars in front of me. In two of the cases I was watching the person driving getting closer and closer, while honking my horn, which she couldn't hear (both times a she) because she was talking on her phone. I am pretty sure most of the people who hit me could have passed driving tests, because then they wouldn't've been talking on their phones, so I'm not sure that's a fix. (It's one I'd love, but it's not enough.) I don't have a picture of the time I nearly was killed in the same sort of accident: roadway at a stop, with big signs up saying "accident ahead: detour", and I came to a complete stop like everyone else, and the semi truck driver behind me never even slowed down, so he hit me at well over 100kph. (Yay subaru station wagons: extra crumple zones, in that case, two meters of crumple zone.) He was adjusting his radio when he hit me -- which, again, a driving test probably wouldn't catch.
Oh by the way that blue Subaru got rear-ended a fifth time by a pickup and that time it was totaled. I dunno what the pickup driver was doing to not notice me sitting at a red stoplight.

Submission + - Lessig's Equal Citizens: "Why we need technical people to take on corruption" (medium.com)

Funksaw writes: An article in "Equal Citizens," Lawrence Lessig's Medium-based blog dealing with issues of institutional corruption in democratic politics, explains why, specifically, the reform movement needs (more) people with technical minds and technical skills.

FTA: "What we need are more people willing to look at the laws of this country based on their function. And when I use the word “function,” I mean very specifically the same sense that a computer programmer means it. (Because lord knows, government isn’t functioning by any other definition.)...

It’s not just that big money politics is being injected [like a code injection] into the function of democracy. It’s also that the function of democracy can be warped by an injection. Stopping the injection of money into our democratic function still leaves the function vulnerable to the same—or similar—injection attack.... We need people who can solve the problems of politics like a programmer solves problems in computer code, because a democratic system with vulnerabilities is a democratic system that can fail or be made to fail.

The article was authored by the technical adviser to the New Hampshire Rebellion and Mayday.US, two of Lessig's major reform projects.

Submission + - Rich and American? Australia wants you

An anonymous reader writes: Following the success of a millionaire visa program to attract wealthy Chinese, Australia has launched an invite-only visa program that promises citizenship to rich American entrepreneurs. To meet the requirements of the Premium Investment Visa plan Americans must first invest around 15 million Australian dollars. Reuters reports: "Investment advisors who have been briefed on the plan by government officials expressed doubts about the wisdom of targeting Americans, with several telling Reuters the more obvious place to start was Australia's Asian neighbors. After all, why would a successful U.S. entrepreneur want to invest a large chunk of cash in Australia — a country very similar to the United States, just further away from everything — in exchange for a passport that carries few additional benefits to their own? 'The U.S. has some problems that Australia doesn't have. It's got a lot more racial crimes, it's got a lot more gun-related crimes, but I don't think that is going to drive a whole bunch of ultra-rich Americans out of their country,' said Bill Fuggle, a partner at law firm Baker & McKenzie who advises wealthy Chinese migrating to Australia."

Comment The exact opposite of what Niantic should do (Score 3, Insightful) 135

The entire point of portals is that they are located at physical locations that have historical or cultural significance. https://support.google.com/ing...
The list of the top ten most historically and culturally significant sites in the whole world would include the concentration camps.
This is political correctness at its worst, where in seeking sensitivity it in fact hides atrocity.

Comment Re:How about circuit boards? (Score 1) 266

OSH Park. Why even bother with the decades-old milling and/or toner transfer method? I get plated vias, soldermask and silkscreen.

Speed. I have an admittedly fairly nice dedicated pcb mill. I can make five revisions of circuit boards in a day, and then send the well-tested version out and wait a week to receive my beautiful soldermasked and silkscreened final revision pcb.

The best way to avoid responsibility is to say, "I've got responsibilities."