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Comment Would this also apply if shared by word of mouth (Score 1) 86

I wonder if this ruling would equally apply if the same piece of information was shared by word of mouth through the 'grapevine'. That's technically also a 'thing of value' if it sets off a wildfire of gossip.

And what is the threshold for 'value'? If someone gives their old newspaper clipping to someone else and says, "please pass this on when you're finished". Is that also sufficiently 'of value'?

I'm not trying to be sarcastic here. It is a legitimate concern in how to measure 'campaign contributions', and where the threshold falls where the guarantee of freedom of speech for one person crosses over with the ability to 'pay' for additional 'speech'.

Comment Re:Most NTP clients I've seen... (Score 1) 132

In the short term they may seem all over the place, but the AC frequency is accurate when averaged over the entire day.

In the '60s, '70s, '80s the wall clocks in schools and other public places were simple AC motors. In the absence of a loss of power, those clocks were accurate to with a few seconds over a year. Even our old AC powered kitchen clock kept perfect time.

These days, you can't even trust a wall clock to be accurate to within a few minutes.

Comment Case signatures (Score 5, Interesting) 128

Remember the signatures of the designers that were molded onto the inside of the original Amiga 1000 enclosures? Well, I see an update on that kickstarter page that the new A1200 boxes will get a similar treatment with at least one signature.

I still fondly remember the day back in the mid '80s when I opened up my first Amiga and found those signatures. It showed the designers really cared about what they'd created.

Kind of like the 'easter egg' hidden in a later version of Workbench that after a magic disk/in/out/mouse/press/etc incantation, would put up the message "We made Amiga, they f*cked it up". Implying they == Commodore.

I must dust off my old hardware and check out this kickstarter page in more detail.

Comment Re:Academia is willing to protect total dicks (Score 1) 345

Also, importantly, it creates the opportunity to properly educate the 'harasser' that specifically they are doing is considered harassment. They may also be able to learn the appropriate behaviour. All with a legal hammer hanging over them if they ignore it. In many cases this is more than enough - and would be greatly beneficial to those that truly didn't understand they were crossing boundaries. Sometimes the underdog just needs a powerful ally to be on their side to overt a problem - and they don't need their ally to go nuclear on the problem.

Have you ever been to a class on harassment and had more than a few people (including women) present some hypothetical situation because they aren't sure if it is considered harassment? Even though the rest of room can clearly see it is (o isn't), there are people that really don't fully understand to complexities human interaction to know.

BTW, this applies to both sexual harassment and harassment in general.

Comment Re:Gun-free zone? (Score 1) 1165

Interestingly, one of the arguments against comparing gun-deaths between countries is that in the absence of guns people find other ways to do the killing and the overall homicide rates are otherwise equal.

The US obviously has an issue with homicides (gun or otherwise), and that is probably produced by a number of factors including fear mongering, drug laws, poverty differentials, etc. Problems which if eliminated would also dramatically reduce the overall homicide rate.

However, it's also true that guns are by a wide margin the method of choice in the USA; 70%+ of all homicides are by firearm in the US. So the statistics are otherwise quite comparable at the total homicides level, simply because the number of "deaths by gun" is so big in the US.

That's not to say that guns are the primary cause, but it definitely makes an otherwise non-fatal altercation far more likely to become fatal - which would show up as an increase in the total homicide rate.

A proper comparison would require a large number of variables to be isolated and properly studied (even regionally across the USA, across demographic boundaries, and against social-economic groupings). Dropping a single number like total deaths doesn't immediately implicate the gun as the cause, but it does leave one thinking what may be the proverbial or the literal 'smoking gun'.

Comment Re:"Right-of-Way" Misused. (Score 1) 278

What the law is really trying to say is "you can't intentionally or through negligence hit a pedestrian no matter what". Just because the light goes green doesn't mean you won't be liable if you accelerate over the top of a slow pedestrian that hasn't finished crossing. Same applies if the intersection is still full of slow cars, you can't just T-bone the cross traffic because "you had right of way".

However, by saying "the pedestrian always has right of way" without qualifiers gives the wrong message to pedestrians. It misses the important fact that there are many situations where a pedestrian can be killed/injured and it won't be the driver's fault.

I'm not talking about idiots racing each other to the crossings, or people playing chicken with motorists who can clearly see them. I'm talking about people coming out of nowhere where they are running way too fast from non visible areas, sudden unpredictable changes of direction/speed, popping out on a narrow street from behind obstacles, etc. The driver might even be going quite slowly, but if they don't see you, you don't get the benefit of any braking systems or driver reaction.

That's why this sort of thing isn't solved with a simple rule that appoints blame, but by a proper education targeted at both sides of the problem. It also helps if the city avoid otherwise dangerous intersection/crossing designs, or traffic controls that frustrate both (or either) motorists and/or pedestrians. Impatient drivers waiting at a 3 minute light phase that only lets 2 cars through in their direction become dangerous. Pedestrians that have to walk half a mile out of their way to find a crossing will take risks. It's simple psychology.

You can't eliminate everything, but I'm sure there're still a few things that can be done.

Comment Re:Not just a technical management problem. (Score 1) 152

But, you're only able to do this, because of your broad knowledge of the technology side of things. True, you may or may not be able to implement some low level detail, but your background tells you whether or not it's even possible and have an idea of the approximate level of difficulty, and if not, you know who to call. A completely non-technical guy that understands the business problem, probably has no clue as to what type of solutions may even exist or be possible that could solve their problem. And they'd have trouble trying to work out what resources they'd even need to get the job started.

Whereas, someone like yourself that is a domain 'expert' in some segment of technology (otherwise not directly related to a client's business) would be able to know if your domain is applicable to providing a solution, and most likely exactly what resources would be required to make it happen (possibly including yourself as an engineering resource).

A meeting where a bunch of non-technical (or semi-technical) guys sit there spouting off all sorts of buzzwords is as useful as an echo chamber. Sadly, I've seen this happen, and they bring their 'solution' to engineering and ask 'how long it will take to get this implemented'. Amidst heavy eye rolling from the technical people, everyone has to go into damage control mode and pray nothing has already been said to the customer.

"The most important thing in a man is not what he knows, but what he is." -- Narciso Yepes