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Comment: Re:Felonies even if the FBI did'em (Score 1) 168

by sdw (#43407915) Attached to: FBI's Smartphone Surveillance Tool Explained In Court Battle

Based on the statements related above about the judge insisting that the order did not authorize this, this does seem like Verizon and the FBI committed offenses here, probably felony unauthorized access to a computing system and others. Regardless of the outcome of this case, if it were me I would file civil and criminal charges.

Comment: Re:Google Apps (Score 1) 210

by sdw (#42144425) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best File System For Web Hosting?

Yes, I have been running my own mail / web server since 1992. As soon as something is more reliable than that, I might consider switching to it. ;-)

My email archive is about 30GB last I checked. Fully backed up. Very fast to search.

Maildirs are dumb. Imap to mbox folders are the way to go. I roll them over at 200MB. With Thunderbird caching and a good Imap server indexing, it is faster than any available email service.

Of course Thunderbird is great with Gmail, AOL, and too.

Comment: Re:Whoever is responsible for this article (Score 1) 1258

by sdw (#39841253) Attached to: Analytic Thinking Can Decrease Religious Belief

"Logic is a system whereby one may go wrong with confidence."
While less intelligent (or often just less applied) people might decide to believe anything, it is the intelligent, applied types that can, if they make a few mistakes, really hit the slippery slopes of irrationality with a vengeance. If you're good at argument and rationalizing and have a good imagination, but are weak in the scientific principle or critical thinking, you might be a religious lunatic soon.

However, for those properly educated and lacking those mistakes or equivalent childhood inculcation that sticks too much, more education, especially about critical thinking, science, and religion itself, seems to strongly push towards rationality.

Comment: Pro-se competency should be the rule (Score 5, Interesting) 897

by sdw (#39334277) Attached to: How To Crash the US Justice System: Demand a Trial

I let many companies and people abuse me because I couldn't afford time or attorneys to take them to court. Then I turned my attention to learning enough to be competent enough to put a stop to that. Way overdue.

People should be comfortable representing themselves more. Perhaps not for a crucial criminal trial, but for everything else it should be considered. Basics of the legal system and navigating it should be taught in high school. The fact is that you can combat many opponents well if it costs you next to nothing and they feel they have to pay a lot for attorneys. True to some extent even for well-funded opponents in some circumstances. A major problem is that a lot of information, like process / procedures / formats, is hidden, but you can get it eventually.

I've successfully run a couple civil actions and successfully contested a couple low-level parking / traffic tickets. I just appealed one in California Appellate court, raising some interesting (to me) constitutional issues. (Waiting for my loss letter...) Good to do A) to work out the details of the process, B) to learn the law better, and C) protest annoying and not-helping-safety/society abuse of laws to meet a quota. I even recently figured out the details of filing citizen's arrest requests to maximally complain about a very dangerous, and illegal, maneuver of a CHP to give someone a speeding ticket. The officer was the only unsafe driver I saw between SF and SJ. (Next time, I'll get positive ID.)

In California, additional "fees" were added to traffic tickets that make a typical speeding ticket >$500 and really minor infractions start at $240. That's enough to be worth contesting at every point. In fact, it may be enough to change the rules of evidence in some cases.

I need to populate my pro-se site soon with some of these as examples, if people are interested.
And yes, I want to attack the overbroad "unlicensed practice of law" statutes that exist in 49 states. Of course you can't fraudulently hold yourself out as a bar-certified lawyer, and you shouldn't (can't, according to those laws) give people advice about what they should do. (The latter makes sense in a narrow sense: Besides what the law means, and what past cases have found, to actually advise people, you should know what the local custom, practices, probabilities, leanings, etc. the local judges and prosecutors have. That is separate from talking about the law or your own experience or analysis / opinions. First amendment rules there. That's the best I can understand the real legal line for conduct.) People aren't confused about who is a doctor just because they suggest that you eat better, get exercise, and take Ritalin or whatever. It is a ridiculous abuse of the public to enact laws so clearly designed to prevent sharing of information to protect blessed professionals.

Comment: Widespread interest (Score 5, Informative) 187

by sdw (#39165437) Attached to: Google+ Unblocked In China; President Obama's Page Flooded With Comments

Interesting how much of the world is interested in our politics.
Several years ago, I was walking around Porvoo, Finland, taking pictures. I talked to a few teenagers doing skateboard tricks. In their perfect English, they were very curious how we could have elected Bush II twice. It's all they wanted to talk about.

Comment: Re:Not exactly (Score 1) 496

by sdw (#34217442) Attached to: Facebook Postings Lead To Arrest for Heresy In the West Bank

1st amendment to the US Constitution:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

The constitution restricts the government. Hamas is acting as a government, not a corporation.
Conflating corporations with government would be bad: Corporations are people. Your suggestion that "all corporations and individuals would be also bound to respect it" implies that people would be restricted in their religious choices. In a broad sense, this conflicts with the 1st amendment.


Immaculate Conception In a Boa Constrictor 478

Posted by samzenpus
from the gold-frankincense-and-mice dept.
crudmonkey writes "Researchers have discovered a biological shocker: female boa constrictors are capable of giving birth asexually. But the surprise doesn't end there. The study in Biology Letters found that boa babies produced through this asexual reproduction — also known as parthenogenesis — sport a chromosomal oddity that researchers thought was impossible in reptiles. While researchers admit that the female in the study may have been a genetic freak, they say the findings should press researchers to re-think reptile reproduction. Virgin birth among reptiles, especially primitive ones like boas, they argue may be far commoner than ever expected."

Comment: Working on it, with many new ideas (Score 1) 122

by sdw (#31104894) Attached to: Document Management For Research With Annotation?

This is exactly the area I've been feeling pain for years, and recently have been working to address. My key innovations are around interface / visualization methods, automation, and collaboration. Please email me at if you have a wish / idea list, pointers to interesting related ideas / technology, or want to be a beta tester.


How Earth Avoided a Fiery Premature Death 114

Posted by kdawson
from the flood-next-time dept.
Hugh Pickens writes " has a piece about changing theories of planet migration. The classic picture suggests that planets like Earth should have plummeted into the sun while they were still planetesimals, asteroid-sized building blocks that eventually collide to form full-fledged planets. 'Well, this contradicts basic observational evidence, like We. Are. Here,' says astronomer Moredecai-Mark Mac Low. Researchers investigating this discrepancy came up with a new model that explains how planets can migrate as they're forming and still avoid a fiery premature death. One problem with the classic view of planet formation and migration is that it assumes that the temperature of the protoplanetary disk around a star is constant across its whole span. It turns out that portions of the disk are opaque and so cannot cool quickly by radiating heat out to space. So in the new model, temperature differences in the space around the sun, 4.6 billion years ago, caused Earth to migrate outward as much as gravity was trying to pull it inward, and so the fledgling world found equilibrium in its current, habitable, orbit. 'We are trying to understand how planets interact with the gas disks from which they form as the disk evolves over its lifetime,' adds Mac Low. 'We show that the planetoids from which the Earth formed can survive their immersion in the gas disk without falling into the Sun.'"

Malicious App In Android Market 340

Posted by kdawson
from the can't-take-it-to-the-bank dept.
dumbnose writes to let us know that a fraudulent app that attempts to steal bank information has made it to the Android app store. From the alert: "NOTICE: Users of mobile devices with Android software may have noticed several applications available for download in the Android Marketplace. If you see any applications provided by the user Droid09, please do not download these applications. Android applications provided by Droid09 are fraudulent. Please remove any applications by Droid09 from your mobile device and contact your mobile provider to evaluate whether any other applications or information stored on your mobile device have been compromised." Multiple marketplaces are possible in the open Android ecosystem. Might we see the emergence of a marketplace distinguished by an iPhone-like app vetting process?

A meeting is an event at which the minutes are kept and the hours are lost.