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Comment Re:Why not Congress? (Score 1) 135

Oh well, at least they know there's a Constitution, and that it governs a Republic (not a democracy) unlike Republicans and Democrats.

What do you think that means, and what do you think isn't being respected about that right now?

I'm always curious when people trot out that whole "Republic v. Democracy" bit, because it seems to be one of those commonly said phrases that means something completely different to most everyone who utters it.

Comment Re:Look to the 4th & end the State Secrets Doc (Score 1) 187

What needs to happen is that there needs to be an in-depth and independent review of the effectiveness of the information gathering activity after the fact by a party other than the FISA court and security establishment.

What schema would you propose that differs from my own? You'd need someone with an understanding of probable cause (i.e. a court of some sort). You'd need someone with a reason to challenge it, so that an adversarial process is kept up, and it's not some sort of intra-government drum circle. You'd need some kind of security clearance to prevent data from leaking to the public if it turns out that it *is* good and useful (or that revealing it would put agents in harms way or undermine other good programs).

Comment Re:How do you figure out who a good guy is? (Score 1) 1431

We should create a society of people who can handle responsibility and understand there are consequences to their actions.

So, in essence, your proposed society only works if we fundamentally change humanity. Congratulations. You've also proposed the fix that makes communism, libertarianism, anarchy and Star Trek-like utopias work. If humans were rational, moral, and responsible, then any social structure would work.

But we don't live in that world. Ours is far more imperfect. Most violent crimes, just like this one, are crimes of passion not reason. This was a retired cop. Someone whose job had been to uphold laws and deal out the consequences to those who did not uphold their responsibilities. And yet, in a fit of anger, he forgot all of that.

This is why, for example, the death penalty has little deterrence compared to life in prison. Most people committing violent crimes are not thinking about the consequences, weighing the risks, and then rationally deciding to go through with the crime. Most people are just acting on impulse. Stupid, angry impulse. You can't fix that by just getting on a high horse and demanding that people be better, and the law should not be based on that pipe dream.

The only thing you gain is the illusion that by making a bunch of stuff illegal you have somehow made the world safer.

The whole point of a weapon is to make the wielder more dangerous to their opponents. Guns make violence easier and more effective; it's what they are designed to do, after all. Removing concealable weapons from the general populace means that only cops and hardened criminals will have them. No amount of legislation will prevent the truly dedicated from using violence to achieve their aims, but it would at least prevent one stupid mistake, one fit of short temper from depriving a child of a father.

There is no evidence that the presence of a gun during a moment like this decreases risk of harm instead of increasing it. No amount of other people in the audience with guns would have stopped this. They would have, at best, added to the body count.

Comment Re:MOS? (Score 1) 37

You could do this using FRS walkie talkies, as long as they have microphone and earphone connections. Or analog telephones. It's been tested multiple times on ham FM walkie talkies. Anything that carries voice should work. The bandwidth is only 1.25 kHz and I think the low end starts at about 700 Hz.

Comment Re:MOS? (Score 1) 37

There is a video of the codec vs. SSB on the same radio link here. You can also take any radio links you have at hand and run the FreeDV program. This is an evening project to set up without a business case, and at least some companies appreciate people who take the initiative to do this sort of thing.

Comment Re:1200 bits/s, not bauds. (Score 1) 37

Sorry. When I say "1200 Baud", I am in general thinking of the TAPR TNC 2, which was never built for voice but can do it, to a degree, with this codec. It's sort of a Bell 212 modem on half-duplex radio. There were many commercial products based on the TNC 2 design and many hams have them on hand. It's a good demo to put speech through a pair of them, not really practical because the latency is high.

Comment Re:MOS? (Score 1) 37

MOS is only for people who want to pay a lot of money. Of the automated processes, the one available to us isn't validated for less than 4K bps codecs.

It would be a great improvement to MOS if there was an open version of POQLA. But the actual customer base for the codec have never even heard of MOS and thus we aren't volunteering to write that. The folks who want to put it in expensive government support systems yet aren't willing to help with testing don't get our sympathy.

Comment Re:Code2 voice sample @4:50 (Score 1) 37

We avoid some techniques that would make the noise performance worse. The HF version of the codec doesn't vector quantitize, and doesn't do any delta coding between frames. The current FEC is Golay and we are investigating low-density parity codes.

There is a lot yet unheard about the Ratheon codec, regarding its actual noise performance and how well the listener can distinguish different speakers.

Comment Look to the 4th & end the State Secrets Doctri (Score 1) 187

You have the wrong amendments. The Fifth Amendment doesn't apply here because the surveyed targets are not yet being held to answer for any crime and are not being deprived of "liberty" in the sense that the amendment means (i.e. put in jail). The Sixth similarly doesn't apply because there is no prosecution here yet.

The Fourth is more relevant because it governs searches, which is what FISA is all about. The Fourth requires warrants for searches and requires that they be (a) supported by probably cause and (b) judicially sanctioned. There naturally is no adversarial process because the very nature of investigating a crime prevents notifying the accused to prevent destruction of evidence, and the typical remedy is the exclusion of ill-gotten evidence from trial.

While my knee-jerk response is to dislike the FISA court's arguments here, they make sense. FISA doesn't need an advocate for the surveyed, because that advocate cannot effectively do their job without tipping off the suspect. All they can do, essentially, is complain and put up red tape roadblocks.

What FISA needs instead is a court of review and some means for defendants who are prosecuted with evidence found by searches that had the FISA court's sanction to object to and review their decisions to exclude any unconstitutionally obtained evidence from trial. Just like we do for improper warrants in normal criminal trials. Currently, most attempts at that are effectively barred by the state secrets doctrine which is the real Constitutional abomination here. The blanket denial of access to supposed state secrets to parties suing the government or appealing a conviction frequently blocks standing, which prevents a case from going forward on its actual merits.

That is what needs to change. The state secrets doctrine must be revoked or reformed to allow a truly adversarial process. The most logical way of doing this is to grant attorneys for the defense limited clearance to cover all evidence at issue in the trial and to balance it with heavy sanctions for leaking this evidence outside of the court -- including if necessary to his own client. This exception would naturally also extend to any plaintiffs attorneys involved in ethics complaints against a defense attorney who had access to state secrets but is accused of malpractice. Basically, "need to know" is extended to attorneys in a dispute over the issue. We would probably still need to limit access to attorneys with a security clearance instead of just anybody, and we would probably need to bar self-representation when the person in question doesn't have a security clearance.

Comment Re:That's not the problem. (Score 1) 312

Up until the past 50 or so years, people who learned about Standard Deviation would do so in environments with far less stimulation and distraction.

They also did so in an environment where they had to do all the math by hand (or with a slide rule).

The math is not difficult. But it is repetetive in the extreme. So unless you were a savant you learned to pay very close attention to the numbers and what they represented. For those of you who didn't take statistics, here's a link to show you how standard deviation is calculated. With only 6 items:

Imagine doing that, by hand, with a hundred items. And that is just finding the standard deviation.

Now you can get the "answer" with nothing more than copy-paste. And if that "answer" doesn't suit you then you tweak the input and get another "answer" a second later.

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