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Comment: Re:Well guys if you were passed over for a positio (Score 1) 500

I don't think I dare look at your link right now, but your question has been answered. To quote from that Wikipedia article: "The lead plaintiff was Frank Ricci, who had been a firefighter at the New Haven station for 11 years. ... Because he has dyslexia, he paid an acquaintance $1,000 to read his textbooks onto audiotapes." (Emphasis mine.)

Make whatever noises you like: just because a person is part of the privileged class in the two most visible categories of discrimination (race & gender) doesn't exclude them from being a member of any other legally protected class.

Comment: Re:Libertarianism, the new face of the GOP? (Score 1) 440

by Catiline (#49471347) Attached to: Republicans Introduce a Bill To Overturn Net Neutrality

I'm sure you know about Westinghouse and Edison setting up parallel electricity networks in New York, but it was even more extreme for the telegraph. In 1850 there were 75 telegraph companies, ten of which served New York; in 1866 there was only one. ... The government mostly stepped in *after* these natural monopolies formed, to keep them from abusing their power,

False. Since you specifically mentioned New York, here's an article about how that technology developed. Specifically, it states that "To encourage growth in this new electricity infrastructure, New York, like all of the other states, protected the utilities’ investment by granting them an exclusive right to serve customers." (Emphasis mine.) Believe what you want about the importance of monopoly busting, but the sad truth is that for every common example people give of "natural" monopolies, the government had a hand in why the service in question is a monopoly market.

Comment: Re:Fire Rated Safe (Score 3, Interesting) 443

Better check the documentation on your safe. Many are not designed to resist heat. They provide an oxygen sparse environment such that paper won't burn. Thats why you have to let them cool off afterwards, if you open them too soon the oxygen from outside hits very hot paper and it lights on fire.


Underwriters' Laboratories (UL) certifications for fire are based on not exceeding a specified internal temperature (or humidity level) for a specified period of time. UL Class 350 safes, for instance, will maintain an internal temperature below 350 F, and humidity below 85%. This is fine for paper, but not for digital media. For those, you're looking for a safe (or safe + internal container) rated for Class 150 or Class 125 (150 F or 125 F), depending on your specific application.

An airtight safe that still got hot inside wouldn't protect paper. Pyrolysis still takes place in the absence of oxygen, carbonizing any organic matter--including paper. (Heating wood under oxygen-starved conditions is how charcoal is made.)

Comment: Re:Choice? (Score 3, Insightful) 222

by Idarubicin (#49354779) Attached to: Broadband ISP Betrayal Forces Homeowner To Sell New House

If he can't get broadband, he can't do his job. If he can't do his job, he (probably) can't make his mortgage payments. If he can't make his mortgage payments, he can't live in the house.

Except that he can get broadband; he just can't get it quite a cheap as he wanted. Either this story or yesterday's mentions that he was paying $5 a GB for cellular data (3G?), and running up about 30 GB a month in usage. So, $150 per month. The hookup he wanted would have probably cost, what, $40 or $50 a month? If he's living so close to the edge that an extra hundred a month puts him on the street, then he couldn't really afford to live in that house anyway. (Some of us are out of pocket more than a hundred a month for a bus pass to get to work. We suck it up; it's a cost of doing business and living where we choose.)

Of course, this guy also claims to have offered to pay "a good chunk of the cost" of installing the cable to his house, which would have run into the tens of thousands of dollars. If he was willing to splash out for that, then he could have afforded to pay even utterly ungodly cellular data rates for years. Bluntly, the only plausible explanation is that there's more going on here than meets the eye--the financial and technical case don't credibly add up to being "forced" to sell his house. Either he's got additional reasons that he wants/needs to move that he isn't sharing, or he just really craved some attention.

Comment: Because innocent people are always treated fairly (Score 1) 133

by Idarubicin (#49353115) Attached to: GAO Denied Access To Webb Telescope Workers By Northrop Grumman

Then again, if all was well why would they resist?

If you're innocent, why would you resist talking to investigators all by yourself?


Yes, I realize that this isn't a criminal investigation, but honestly. If I knew there were a chance that any offhand remark or misstatement I made could end up being quoted on C-SPAN by a Senator with an axe to grind...yeah, I'd be pretty damned reluctant to talk. Even if I weren't bright enough to figure that out for myself, I'm pretty sure I can see why my employer would have similar concerns.

Comment: Re:No one is forcing anyone to do anything (Score 2) 536

Currently he's burning 30GB/month on his Verizon service to stay employed, and if it's a big file transfer he drives into town to use the local StarBucks Coffee or McDonalds wifi.

So...meh. At the $5 per gigabyte we keep seeing tossed around, that's $150 a month to work from home, with occasional trips into town for supplies and groceries he probably needed to get anyway. Some of us are out of pocket that much for a transit pass to get to work.

Given that it probably costs north of ten thousand dollars in legal fees, commissions, and taxes to buy or sell even an inexpensive home (and the sky's the limit if the property is more valuable), moving out solely to save even a couple of grand a year in bandwidth fees is a pretty dubious move, financially speaking. Bluntly, there's more to this story than is being reported.

Comment: Re:How About (Score 1) 224

by Idarubicin (#49306321) Attached to: Chevy Malibu 'Teen Driver' Tech Will Snitch If You Speed

Not letting them on the road seems a little extreme but do they have to have a brand new car? What happened to having a beater to putt around in for the first few years?

Giving them an old beater doesn't really solve the problem from the standpoint of the rest of society. A jackass driving a car from 1996 can do just as much damage to pedestrians, cyclists, other cars, and other people as he could driving a car from 2016.

Heck, the 1996 vehicle may encourage more reckless behavior (because the jackass driving doesn't care about the car, and isn't afraid of a few scratches and dents). The 1996 vehicle may be more likely to be involved in a collision even if driven the same way as the late-model vehicle (since safety equipment and systems may be absent, outdated, worn, or broken). The 1996 vehicle may be more dangerous in a collision (predating modern standards for protecting both its occupants and other vehicles or pedestrians).

I'm also a bit surprised by the assumption that so many people here seem to be making that this car will be the teen's own car, or that the teen must be the principal driver. I would imagine that the much more likely scenario is that this will be Mom's or Dad's car (or just the lone family vehicle), and Junior is allowed to drive it from time to time. Mom and Dad also don't want to do all their own driving in a crappy car just to make sure that Junior suffers sufficiently; these systems add some more teeth to the "We'll let you drive the family car, but we have our eyes on you."

Besides, this year's brand new car is next decade's beater anyway. Might as well have a feature that adds value for the resale market.

Comment: Re:System worked, then? (Score 1) 163

by Idarubicin (#49227251) Attached to: On the Dangers and Potential Abuses of DNA Familial Searching

But they didn't suspect him at all. They found their suspect first, then constructed a circumstantial case (a, b and c) against him.

At the very beginning of any police investigation, police don't - or at least aren't supposed to - start out suspecting anybody at all. They are given (or they collect) information which leads to suspicions: testimony by victims or other witnesses, surveillance video, credit card and phone records, fingerprints, blood or semen at the crime scene.

In this case, the police found one line of evidence - DNA from semen - that strongly suggested the crime was committed by one member of a family. They then used a number of other, independent types of evidence to narrow down that original list, and eventually to get a warrant to test their single best suspect's DNA. What is your preferred outcome here, that the police ignore the DNA information that they did have? Or that a warrant to test DNA be denied unless the police have already specifically considered and ruled out all seven billion other people on the planet? Should police not be allowed to investigate cases when their first (or only remaining) lead is DNA evidence?

This is dangerous shit and the police should get slapped for it. And the public needs to step up and make it clear to judges that we won't tolerate them rubber stamping bullshit warrants. Just because there was a happy ending this time doesn't mean that we aren't playing with fire. This guy came one lab mistake away from from having his life ruined.

The police presented a plausible case - not an airtight, conclusive case, but enough to be probable cause - to suspect that the individual at hand was involved in the crime at hand. On the strength of that limited but suggestive evidence, a judge granted a warrant allowing the police to test a DNA sample (not search a house, not seize a vehicle, not throw a man in jail) to rule in or out a match with the DNA they had from their crime scene.

As I noted in my original comment, I can see the potential for a slippery slope type of argument, but the system actually seems to have worked properly in this particular instance. I agree that the situation is vulnerable to errors--but that's true of any criminal trial. A lot of cases have turned on eyewitness testimony that later turns out to be mistaken (often demonstrated by DNA analysis, ironically); does that mean that police should not use witness descriptions to identify suspects to investigate?

Comment: Re:System worked, then? (Score 4, Interesting) 163

by Idarubicin (#49223995) Attached to: On the Dangers and Potential Abuses of DNA Familial Searching

So here we have a guy where there is nothing at all to tie him to the events except DNA match that is actually exculpatory in that its clear he isn't a match for the sample the Police believe is that of the perps; however it does indicate he may be a family member however distant. The police want to confirm this. Is it reasonable to "search" his blood to confirm the match, and is that than cause to search everyone one of his relations, and their offspring?

Your summary may be a bit too brief for the nuances here. It appears that the police found a partial DNA match with the suspect's father (in, remarkably, a privately-maintained - not state-controlled - DNA database), which in turn suggested that a close relative would be match. The police then examined publicly-available genealogy information to identify candidate relatives. From the genealogy records the police narrowed their search to three candidate individuals. Using various other circumstantial information they finally sought a warrant to collect a DNA sample from just one individual.

While I agree that there are legitimate "slippery-slope" concerns, based on the (admittedly brief) description in the linked article, it seems that in this particular instance reasonable steps were taken to minimize the scope and inconvenience (to potentially-innocent individuals) of the investigation. It wasn't a scattershot "We must test the DNA of all your male relatives!", but rather "We want to test the DNA of your one male relative whom we also suspect for reasons (a), (b), and (c)."

Comment: Re:disclosure (Score 1) 448

by Idarubicin (#49105021) Attached to: How One Climate-Change Skeptic Has Profited From Corporate Interests

Yes, but they get millions to conduct research. I doubt he took that $1.2 million home.

Hard to say, actually. My understanding is that his appointment was a "soft money" position, which means that he would have been entirely dependent on outside grants for all of his funding--including the salaries for himself and any staff or trainees. I wouldn't be surprised if $120K per year, less administrative overhead, doesn't even fully cover his own salary.

It's not so hard to lift yourself by your bootstraps once you're off the ground. -- Daniel B. Luten