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Comment They were doing it wrong :) (Score 1) 470

They are supposed to "Ask Slashdot"

How can I build my own industrial-strength truck-mounted x-ray machine

then wade through the 90% of responses that amount to "do your own homework" and 9% of slightly-but-lethally-wrong answers in hopes of finding the 1% of answers that are close to correct and not lethally broken.

Comment How about a "non-service" "just the box" price? (Score 1) 178

I don't need TV guide-type service. I just need a DVR with an OTA cable and some way to receive all available cable- or satellite channels that I'm paying for.

It would be NICE to subscribe and un-subscribe to services like Tivo's tv-guide, NetFlix, etc. later without making the box into e-waste.

I have - and still use - an analog DVR that used the old analog "cable tv over your PBS station" system but it lets you set things up manually if you want.

Comment Analog tuner requirement needs to go - but not yet (Score 1) 178

There are still a significant number of analog TVs, VCRs, etc. out there.

For the next few years, the FCC needs to encourage or require that manufacturers slow down the race to "planned obsolescence."

FOR THE TIME BEING, if I were the FCC I would require that manufacturers who provided any tuning capability at all and which market their devices as being able to receive OTA HD signals provide either analog-channel-3-in or offer a free adapter to any customer who asks if they do so within a reasonable time (a year, or the warranty period if less, for most products).

I would also require FOR THE TIME BEING that any device that is marketed as being able to "play to your TV" and which produces analog output (RGB, Svideo, component video, etc.) either provide channel-3 out or provide a free adapter as above.

Within 5-10 years these requirements should be lifted completely, and the "free adapter" requirement should be replaced with "make an adapter available at a reasonable cost, unless such adapters are already widely available at a reasonable cost" much, much sooner than 5 years.

As an example, if "channel 3 to component video" and "component video to channel 3" adapters are widely available for under $10-$15 each by the time the "free" requirement is lifted, this regulatory burden on manufacturers that provide component-video-in and -out will be pretty much nil beyond filling out some paperwork.

Comment This makes sense, in a way (Score 1) 239

As soon as the "virtual" currency is traded for something in the real world, I would call that a "taxable event."

If it's traded "in-world" then I would hope the IRS would leave you alone until you incurred a "taxable event" unless perhaps the "in-world" things were proxies for real-world things. For example, if there was an "in-world bank" that let you make "e-coin-of-the-realm" deposits and there was a real-world "liquid" market for "e-coin-of-the-realm" money AND the predominant use of "e-coin-of-the-realm" deposits were to hold "money" until it was cashed out "in the real world" vs. to "hold money" until it was later spent "in-world," the IRS would be right to consider treating such deposits as if they were a "cash-out" into the real world. However, they should (but likely won't) give people a break until they issue specific guidance saying "From [some future date forward] deposits into this bank in this virtual world will be considered the same as a cash-out for tax purposes, and here is why" and issues similar guidance for any other "online banks" whose transactions meet the same criteria (fair is fair).

Now, don't forget, you only have to pay for your profit. If you mine bitcoins for business, all direct business costs are generally deductible. Electricity, the costs of hardware that are dedicated to mining, etc. For in-game entrepreneurship that you later cash in on, any "real-world" expenses might be deductible if you could demonstrate that the expense really was a business expense not an entertainment expense ("good luck with that" for online games, but for non-entertainment virtual-goods/currency entrepreneurship I would expect you to have a fighting chance).

This can even provide a small tax-write-off against your personal taxes as long as it doesn't trigger "hobby disguised as a business" rules. If you are doing it as a hobby you can generally deduct up to your gross profit, leaving you with a "net profit" of no lower than zero. This means there's no write-off against your other income but at least you won't pay taxes on your "gross" gains from mining.

Comment One "rough" way to define porn (Score 1) 306

If more than a few minutes of screen-time of a feature film were similar to a given image or video clip, would that film receive an NC-17 (United States) or equivalent (non-US) rating based on sexual content or sexual content in combination with other content (e.g. sexual violence, etc.).

For a video longer than about an hour, would the video as a whole receive an NC-17 or equivalent rating based on sexual content or sexual content in combination with other content (e.g. sexual violence, etc.)?

If the answer is "yes" then it's almost certainly porn in the legal sense of the word.

If the answer is "no" then it may or may not be "porn" in the legal sense of the word but IMHO it is deserving of "free speech" protection in countries with "free speech" protections as strong as those in the United States.

One modification that would apply in "non porn" sexually suggestive images of minors or which appeared to be minors:

If the actors or characters in the film are believed by the rating agency to be underage (18 in the US) or they appeared to be underage (or the ages were ambiguous), then modify the above to be "if the movie was re-shot so the actors and characters were believed to be of legal age and they appeared to be of legal age" to remove the situation where a given scene would be "rated R" if it had adult actors and characters but "NC-17" if the actors or characters were either minors or their status as adults was not clear.

All of the above applies to live-action shots. It's my understanding that in the United States at least, the Supreme Court has ruled that non-obscene hand-drawn and computer-drawn imagery which does not rely on an actual child being filmed is outside the scope of "child pornography" laws because it is protected as "free speech."

Comment Re:Impossible (Score 1) 306

Judges have already declared that porn is basically undefinable,

I've heard this was true of obscenity, but I've never heard that statement from a judicial source regarding porn.

I'm not saying it isn't a true statement, and I'm not saying judges haven't said it. I'm only saying I haven't heard of a judge saying it.

Comment Re:YOU FAIL IT (Score 1) 306

I didn't click on the link, but based on the domain-name this actually might be marginally on-topic.

+1 on-topic
-infinity flamebait

The question nobody will dare answer here and really nobody here wants to know is does the person who took the photograph get "+5 years - jailbait" or "+ 50 years - much too young to qualify as jailbait". I'm just going to assume "neither" so I can sleep at night.

Comment Re:Exactly - and how do you define underage? (Score 1) 306

The age of consent for porn is 18 throughout the entire United States

You are correct insofar as Federal law is applicable.

A person using a camera which is entirely made in the state they are using it in (and, if it's film, the film is made and developed "in-state" using "made in the state" equipment) then the 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution kicks in and the Feds will generally have no criminal jurisdiction.

I say "generally" - if the image is transmitted over wireless means, over "the Internet," or over the telephone the presumption is that the feds have jurisdiction over the transmission, reception, and any copies received by the recipient. But if by some coincidence I lived in the state where Polaroid cameras and film used to be made and I obtained my camera and film from an in-state source, and shot a Polaroid, and gave it to someone else in the same state, and we never used a computer or phone to plan the exchange, it would be purely a matter for state and local prosecution.

Comment Re:What is the point of this? (Score 1) 306

If you'd been abused when you were ten, would you want those pictures online?

That's an interesting question.

If I were molested and photographed at age 10 and I came into possession of the photographs when I was 20 or 30, would I want the right to publish them online? Would I want the right to license the publication rights to others in exchange for mega-bucks? Or would I want to live in a society that says "no, you don't have that right, and the reason why is if we give you and others in your situation that right, it will lead to more child abuse?"

Me, personally, I hope to God that I would be in the last group. But what can I, as a person who generally believes in free speech and (within some limits) American-style capitalism tell those victims of child abuse who, by some means or another, came into possession of previously-unpublished photographs of their own abuse when they were a child and they want to market those images legally without being a hypocrite?

Comment The United States virtually wiped out CP traffic (Score 2) 306

In the early 1980s there were only two practical ways to transfer child porn: "Locally," which meant in person, by local courier, or by a "drop" or similar means, or "non-local" by courier, shipper, or the Post office.

Finding other people to trade the stuff with in a way that the cops wouldn't easily find you was also very difficult.

The US Postal Service inspectors and other police agencies were so effective that by the early 1980s it was said that child porn trading through the mail was virtually wiped out, AND that police were finding virtually zero "new" images.

The advent of the computer scanner, particularly the color scanner, changed all of that. Now people could use computers to send images to each other 1-on-1 or via invite-only bulletin boards and, well, I don't need to go on from there.

I remember the "bulletin board lists" of the 1980s. The "adult" boards were typically marked or in a separate list. I can't help but wonder how many of those had "secret, invite only" areas that held illegal images. If you know, please don't tell me. Unless the answer is "0" I don't want to know.

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