Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Easy to Read, not sure easy to change (Score 1) 157

Right, but those who receive more basic screening have already been vetted. In order to qualify for PreCheck, one must agree to (and pay for) a federal background check. This perceived flaw in the system lets a traveller (who has presumably already been qualified for the PreCheck program) know when they are flagged for random additional screening. However, they have already been identified as a lower security priority. Also, given that many analysts believe that additional post 9/11/2001 security screening measures are no more than what they call security theater, and the PreCheck screening measures are nearly identical to pre 9/11/2001; is there really an additional threat? Magnetometers in the TSA PreCheck lines will find box-cutters, or any other items prohibited for travel. Finally, screening for drugs and microfilm is outside the scope of the TSA's enforcement. They are in place for safety, not to enforce state, federal, or customs laws. The article and much of the commentary is misleading, and the AC GPP is one of the few to add real information to the discussion. There is little or no vulnerability, and nothing to see here. Move along please.

Comment Re:USA Land of Crime (Score 1) 451

In the rest of the world, justice comes before anything else. No matter how evidence is obtained, it is still evidence, and will be used in court. In the US, if an unskilled policeman makes a small mistake, all evidence will be thrown down the sink, and the criminals who would be convicted on that evidence in every other country of the world, will walk free. I don't understand this protection of people where there is evidence that they are criminals.

The rest of the world also has due process of law. In America, we do tend to take parts of it more seriously than some other countries; so much so that we have constitutional protections form the government (e.g. forth amendment to the constitution banning illegal search and seizure). This is not unique to the US, but the way that it is implemented, it is a little bit unusual.

It sounds like what you may be talking about is known colloquially as 'fruit of the poisonous tree'. The linked wiki article has a really nice example:

For example, if a police officer conducted an unconstitutional (Fourth Amendment) search of a home and obtained a key to a train station locker, and evidence of a crime came from the locker, that evidence would most likely be excluded under the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine. The discovery of a witness is not evidence in itself because the witness is attenuated by separate interviews, in-court testimony and his or her own statements.

This is part of what is known as the exclusionary rule, and is largely how the fourth amendment to the US constitution is enforced, protecting citizens from the government, and helping to provide due process of law to citizens. It does not throw out all evidence - just evidence that was gathered as a result of illegally gathered evidence.

No system of justice is perfect, and America's is certainly no exception...but I do firmly believe in a certain level of protection from the government. When we talk about excluding evidence, often, it is not over a small mistake from the police (e.g. mishandling chain of evidence custody). Rather, it often involves flagrant violations of the civil rights that help define us as a people. As others have suggested, how else would we incentivize the government to follow the rules of the road (or disincentivize it from breaking its own laws)?

This case is a simple argument of what constitutes probable cause to issue a legal warrant for a search. When arguing constitutional law, interpretation is pretty important...otherwise, the Supreme Court would be pretty bored. Personally, I think that the question has merit. This video was made by a person who claims that his car was illegally searched without consent based on the behavior of a drug sniffing dog. It seems reasonable that the result may be a false positive, triggered by the searching officer. If drug dog behavior is used for probable cause for searches based upon subjective, abusive (or easily abused) results, why shouldn't these be scrutinized by our highest legal authority?


Star Wars Prequels

Submission + - Disney buying 'Star Wars' maker Lucasfilm for $4.05B (

j-turkey writes: Disney is paying $4.05 billion to buy Lucasfilm Ltd., the production company behind "Star Wars," from its chairman and founder, George Lucas. It's also making a seventh movie in the "Star Wars" series.

The Walt Disney Co. announced the agreement to make the purchase in cash and stock Tuesday. Disney added that "Star Wars Episode 7" is scheduled for release in 2015.

Comment Re:Get the semis off the road (Score 2) 717

Yes - take the safest, most experienced drivers off of the road. Great idea. Question: How does the freight get from the trains stations and river barge depots to its destination with trucks off of the road?

In any case, car crash standards aren't written to save cars from trucks. They're to save occupants who crash with other cars and stationary objects.

Comment Re:Here's a safety tip: (Score 1) 992

Of course it's the speed that kills! I don't know what "mostly safe" means, but all other things being equal, you will be safer at lower speeds (to a limit).

It's not speed that kills. It's rapid deceleration that kills. What is more appropriate for your argument would be the wrong speed at the wrong time that kills - and really, we're talking about poor judgment, not just speed.

In any case, NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) made this argument when the national 55 MPH speed limit was lifted by congress in 1988. NHTSA released a statement that said something along the lines of "history will never forgive congress for their disregard of the sanctity of human life" (I'm not making this up). Know what happened? Highway fatalities continued to fall by any measure: total fatalities, total per registered vehicle, and (this is the most important statistic, IMO) fatalities per million vehicle miles travelled. Speed limits are going up and fatalities are going down in the US. I wrote a research paper about this in college way back in the 90's (which this ./ post isn't), but I've been knee deep in the statistics on this. Raising speed limits does not increase highway fatalities.

It has been shown over and over again that people drive at the speed that they are comfortable at. Raising or lowering speed limits by 10 MPH has little effect on the average speeds travelled (we're talking 1-2 mph average speed, not really statistically significant). Of course, we're safer at zero MPH, but I still want to get to where I'm going. Get into a collision at 20 MPH - and the forces involved are quite serious. The solution is not to set a maximum speed of 19 MPH. Modern interstate highways were originally designed for speeds of 85 MPH. The highway speed limits were introduced in the early 70's as a fuel efficiency measure in response to the Arab oil embargo. There was a correlation of reduced highway deaths, so the speed limits remained until the late 80's. Again, when the federally mandated speed limit was lifted, fatalities continued to fall. This attitude is a relic of the 70's.

Comment Re:It's an Effing Toll Road (Score 1) 992

So how are unreasonably low speed limits going to resolve the issue of your grandmother driving when she shouldn't be? Why is it that countries with no speed limits on highways through unpopulated areas have significantly lower highway fatalities than the United States? The facts don't support the argument that lower speed limits equal lower highway fatalities by any measure.

Comment Re:It's an Effing Toll Road (Score 1) 992

Sure, in crowded cities when there's multiple routes, that's fine, but out in the countryside, there's often two ways to get there: interstate or dirt road. So "don't drive on it" amounts to "don't take that trip." That's not an option for everyone.

Now, if America had a rail system worth anything that provided a reasonable alternative, then you'd have more of a point. There might be a bus that runs that route, but chances are, it's not really a reasonable alternative--limited times, doesn't run on certain days, etc.

A massive rail system...great! Who pays for it?

Comment Re:Overcomplicated solution. (Score 2) 1184

Oil companies don't get tax breaks aside from normal ones that every other person and business gets.

We don't subsidize car industries. We subsidize+bailout corrupt and inefficient auto unions so they can continue to give 80% of their union dues to the politicians whom bail them out. I'm all in favor of ending this vicious cycle of corruption.

If road development was solely funded by state and local governments, the federal government would lose its stranglehold power over them over domestic policy issues e.g. drug legalization, minimum drinking age, education, medicare funding, etc. I'm all in favor of that too.

You dare us libertarians to have freedom as if you think its a bad thing. I dearly wish you would put your money where your mouth is.

Very good points that I hadn't considered. Certainly, highway funding is how the federal government is able to apply political pressure and force state's hands on creating certain laws outside the scope of what the federal government is allowed to do. However, our road infrastructure is vast. Isn't maintenance outside the scope of what state and local governments can afford at current tax rates? Would it not take a monumental effort to change the balance of taxation from federal to state to account for this?

Comment Re:Not Applicable to all. (Score 1) 523

I haven't had that experience at Vancouver, but Montreal is like the eighth circle of Hell. I'm polite, I speak French, I don't tell hoser jokes in the airport, and I get treated like shit every time. At first I thought it was my blue passport, but I've figured out that they hate everybody, including Canadians and Québécoise. OTOH, Edmonton is a piece of cake.

They were very polite in Vancouver, and even apologetic. They were just backed up, and horribly slow. I remember watching the officer x-ray my bag and scratch her head. She got someone else to come over and look at the screen as it was x-rayed again. Then, her supervisor came over (x-ray again). Finally, their shift manager (x-ray again), all were scratching their heads while looking at it. Each time, I suggested that they manually examine the bag. After the forth x-ray, they apologized again and suggested that they manually search the bag. To their credit, each piece of clothing that was removed was carefully folded better than I had originally done so.

I do quite a bit of domestic air travel in the US, and the TSA is usually impolite in large airports. I don't care much for the people who complain in line, and/or in front of TSA officers. It's not their policy. However, when they are impolite or unprofessional, it bothers me. I do not like having commands repeatedly yelled in my direction. One time, I actually did forget to remove my belt. A TSA officer gave me a stern look and said "remove the belt, now." It was a weak moment for me, I must have been having a really bad day. I returned his stern look with a similar dominance and suggested "I believe that you meant to add the words 'sir' and 'please' to that". He straightened up, apologized, and added the suggested words.

Comment Re:Not Applicable to all. (Score 1) 523

Then drive to Mexico or Canada. You will be amazed how easy it is to fly when the US is not involved.

Are you serious? In my experience, security in Canadian airports is even worse than in American airports, if the comparison metric is the time spent waiting in line to get screened. My carry-on was scanned four times, and then subject to a detailed manual search to identify an electric toothbrush. This all explained the 90 minute wait to get through Vancouver security.

Comment Re:Facebook is a public place (Score 1) 483

So, I repeat, do yourself a favor, and shut the fuck up before you really piss me off.

Internet tough guy says what? Seriously, lighten up, Francis. Threatening violence or using bold tends to have an effect inverse to your intention to be more right or earn additional credibility. Didn't they teach this in internet school before you received your license to post?

Slashdot Top Deals

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten