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Comment: Making the driver's case (Score 1) 699

by schwanerhill (#32418342) Attached to: Pedestrian Follows Google Map, Gets Run Over, Sues

What strikes me is that by naming Google as a defendant, she's making the case of the driver (the defendant against whom she may have a legitimate claim). By suing Google, she says, in court documents, "the highway was dangerous enough so that a pedestrian shouldn't have been there." Now the driver just has to point to her own court filings which claim that there wasn't a safe place for a pedestrian to walk along that highway.

Comment: Re:For serious? (Score 1) 699

by schwanerhill (#32417900) Attached to: Pedestrian Follows Google Map, Gets Run Over, Sues

It's irrelevant whether she wins. The defendant has already lost - legal fees will cost them double the damages claimed if they fight the case.

In this case, the legal expenses are probably much more onerous to the litigant (an individual) than to the defendant (Google). Assuming she does lose in court, Google will be fine, but she won't.

This isn't the kind of case that will involve days or weeks in court and huge teams of attorneys on both sides like, say, a patent case between two companies.

There are some cases in which the loser has to pay the winner's legal fees anyway; if ever that were appropriate, it would be this case. Any idea if that's true here?

Comment: Re:Interestate Commerce (Score 1) 510

by schwanerhill (#31978168) Attached to: Mass. Data Security Law Says "Thou Shalt Encrypt"

[Congress has power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes;

Yes, Congress has the power to regulate interstate commerce, but that doesn't prohibit states from writing their own laws which affect any business done in their state unless the state law contradicts a federal law.

Comment: Re:Volcanic ash is a poor input (Score 1) 673

by schwanerhill (#31975038) Attached to: Was Flight Ban Over Ash an Overreaction?

And is anyone still running any bare Aluminum? I certainly wouldn't, it leads to corrosion.

Yes, American Airlines has never painted their aircraft (in part to reduce weight). I don't think they've had any trouble with corrosion, and their MD-80s are going on 30 years old.

Boeing has a discussion of painting aircraft. They mention corrosion, and to a quick read, it looks like washing aircraft is more important than paint to reducing corrosion.

Comment: Re:Did you catch The Daily Show and Colbert Report (Score 3, Insightful) 902

by schwanerhill (#31611744) Attached to: Will Your Answers To the Census Stay Private?

I don't care how many times pundits from the Census Bureau muck it up with our lord Jon and savior Steven they aren't going to convince me to answer 10 questions on a census. There is only one question I will answer on that stupid form, and if that lumps me in with the "evil" conservatives, so be it.

Have you actually read the 10 questions?

Questions 1, 2, 5, and 10 are all simply checks to make sure that the respondent really did, indeed, list all residents of the household (which isn't straightforward in all cases -- think roommates at college, for example).

Questions 6, 7, and 9 have all been asked since either 1790 or 1800 and are basic profiling questions. Don't like it? Complain to the almighty Founding Fathers. Question 8 (are you Hispanic) is necessary to make question 7 (race) make sense in a modern world.

Question 3 (your phone number) is to allow easy follow-up; if you don't include it, I don't think the bureau will care unless there's something they can't understand with your report (illegible handwriting, most likely), in which case they'll have to knock on your door to fix it (which costs far, far more of your tax dollars than a phone call).

Question 4, which has been asked since 1890, is the only one that I agree isn't really necessary.

The ten minutes the Census Bureau says this form will take is a gross exaggeration. Two is more like it -- far more than it took me to write this response or you to complain about it.

Comment: Re:Suicide? (Score 1) 1343

by schwanerhill (#31439560) Attached to: Accidental Wii Suicide

Yup. I was preparing to nominate this occurrence for the Darwin award, when I noticed this detail. Male lions kill the offspring of a female lion before mating with her. This is apparently advantageous for their own genes. Ol' Dougie did the same.

The mother was standing 3 feet from the child when this happened. She could have taken care of the gun too, so I'm not sure her genes deserve to live on either.

Comment: Re:Suicide? (Score 1) 1343

by schwanerhill (#31439202) Attached to: Accidental Wii Suicide

Oh really? Where's that? Where I live (UK) and where most of this site's users reside (USA) the primary purpose of prison is to punish. Then there's the desire to keep criminals away from law-abiding society. Once all that's been addressed, the courts and gaolers may give a thought to rehabilitation.

But punishing is part of rehabilitation. In this case, as others have said, the mother and stepfather are getting ample punishment by having their daughter die. I think there's no chance that these people are any danger to society (absent other evidence); they won't make this mistake again.

Comment: Re:Suicide? (Score 1) 1343

by schwanerhill (#31438316) Attached to: Accidental Wii Suicide

What if he has more kids? What if it was an illegal gun? This guy needs some jail time.

Whether he feels bad about it or not there should be a severe punishment for this level of recklessness, negligence and stupidity. Just add a gun to that level of child care and it will never end well.

If it's an illegal gun, he probably does deserve jail time on that count. However, in nearly all cases, the purpose of putting someone in prison is to rehabilitate the convicted criminal so (s)he can become a productive member of society again and not do the same (or similar) bad thing again. I rather suspect that losing his child will be a far more effective method of ensuring that he is never again careless with a gun than prison ever could be. In fact, prison may well make him worse off mentally.

In any sane society, he would certainly lose his privilege to own a gun, but this country has a misguided Constitutional amendment and a Supreme Court which misinterprets said amendment, so I'm not optimistic about that.

The article notes that he had the gun out because there was a prowler he was worried about. Is having guns around for defense really more likely to do good than cause harm?

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 2, Informative) 236

by schwanerhill (#29616063) Attached to: Obama Bars Federal Workers From Texting and Driving

Learn how to use your damn voice mail because nothing is that important.

And if it is that damn important, pull over to the side of the road.

On a serious note, this order really does have some practical benefit because if a federal employee has something that is important enough that it has to be dealt with while driving, the employee can pull over, make the phone call, and the employee's boss will have no justification to complain about the employee being 5 minutes late for whatever appointment s/he was driving to. If the boss complains, the employee has a written policy to cite.

Comment: Re:'bout time (Score 2, Insightful) 236

by schwanerhill (#29615989) Attached to: Obama Bars Federal Workers From Texting and Driving

I don't know why a mobile is worse, perhaps it's a pavlov dog thing since when you have a phone to your ear you are normally trying to block out your surroundings.

I suspect a big part of it is that passengers are present and can see what's going on on the road.

When there's traffic that needs attention and I, as the driver, get distracted from the conversation I'm having with my passenger, the passenger understands why I'm distracted from the conversation without the need for me to explain why. When talking on the phone, it takes both more time and more mental effort on my part to explain what's going on to the person I'm talking to. ("Sorry, I'm concentrating on switching lanes now, so I'm not listening to what you're saying".) In practice, when on the phone, the driver is more likely to just keep full attention on the conversation.

That's not to say that having an involved conversation with a passenger can't be dangerous, just less so.

Comment: Re:Just federal employees? (Score 4, Informative) 236

by schwanerhill (#29615875) Attached to: Obama Bars Federal Workers From Texting and Driving

Re "Just federal employees": The president can ban federal employees from texting while driving for work (or having cream in their coffee while on the job, for that matter, if he so chose) by an executive order. Banning all drivers from texting would take an act of a legislature, and this sort of thing is typically done by state law, not federal law. Congress can effectively force states to enact highway laws like this by withholding federal highway funds.

Congress may get there soon, but it takes more time.

Comment: Re:free upgrades? (Score 3, Informative) 647

by schwanerhill (#29177279) Attached to: Apple To Ship Mac OS X Snow Leopard On August 28

We need some fucking laws. In other countries, you can't commercially use the word "free" to refer to any transaction which money changes hands for any reason whatsoever. Let's enact those here too.

I am sick and tired of having to hand over money for "free" merchandise. Why not call an air ticket "free" with a seating fee, a booking fee, a fuel fee, an oxygen fee, a plane maintenance fee, and a landing fee tacked on?

"Free" should mean precisely one fucking thing when you come across it in public: free .

I was deliberately not passing judgement.

However, reading what Apple actually says, I slightly misrepresented them. What they say is "If you've purchased a qualifying computer or Xserve on or after June 8, 2009 that does not include Mac OS X Snow Leopard, you can upgrade to Mac OS X Snow Leopard for $9.95.*", with the asterisk noting that that covers shipping and handling. I mistakenly used the word "free", but Apple never does.

Apple's upgrade page.

Did you know that for the price of a 280-Z you can buy two Z-80's? -- P.J. Plauger

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