Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Charities? (Score 1) 464

When life begins is a scientific matter, not moral or religious. The fact that egg and sperm comprise living cells means it's alive from day one. Hell, people argue viruses are alive and they lack many of the properties of living cells. However, you can definitely argue that in those early days while the genetic material is all there to form a human it's still a clump of cells. But the first few months in, when you've got a brain forming, a beating heart, a nervous system, limps and other identifiable organs we've absolutely crossed a threshold. We now have a living human.

You have a living creature that is solely dependent on another creature for it's existence, you have a parasite, not a human. Personally I like to use the line of when would it be able to be removed from the mother and survive. Saying that there is 'no question' is incorrect. There is always room for debate, even in your example you gave a gray line: "But the first few months in, when you've got a brain forming, a beating heart, a nervous system, limps and other identifiable organs we've absolutely crossed a threshold.. So what is the threshold? 3 months? A beating heart? Nervous system? Organs? All of the above? 1 of the above?

From Wikipedia:The earliest gestational age at which the infant has at least a 50% chance of survival is referred to as the limit of viability. As NICU care has improved over the last 40 years, viability has reduced to approximately 24 weeks,[5][6] although rare survivors have been documented as early as 21 weeks either one of those works for me.

Comment Re:Not not? (Score 1) 161

Ok let's not count the fact that that a cell phone could easily have hidden weapons/means of escape (http://www.google.com/search?q=cell+phone+gun)

Which would be a valid reason to search the body of a cell phone. I have no problem with that.

A cellphone gun is an extreme example of this, what about hidden drugs or lockpick kit behind the battery or even in the battery casing? Or what about components of the phone? Little bits of metal or chemicals that could be used to escape or injure other people arrested / officers.

Is the state supposed to pay for training to teach officers how to disassemble / reconstruct phones in order to properly search them?

or the previously mentioned fact about the crimes that could be committed while the person was in jail.

Better stop them from making any phone calls or speaking to a lawyer, then.

I was more thinking along the lines of a pissed off drunk calling 911/the police station all night using a prepaid phone. Or calls to facilitate escape "One of the cops is in the bathroom now!"

The people are charged with a crime and they get their rights/freedoms taken away unless they post bail. They don't get to leave, they don't get to have their phone, they don't get to tivo american idol. That's the point.

See, I've got you here arguing that the point is to punish them, and I've got the other guy arguing that it is, in fact, not punishment. Interesting.

What, exactly, gives the police the right to punish you because you've been charged with a crime. (Or, heck, just detained 24 hours without being charged?)

They certainly have the right to restrict someone's movement, I don't dispute that at all. That's the power of 'arrest'. I'm just having trouble seeing how they have the right to restrict the rights of people in custody that isn't towards that end.

Well maybe not punishment, perhaps I misspoke (err typed). That is exactly what arrest is: "An arrest is the act of depriving a person of his or her liberty usually in relation to the investigation and prevention of crime..." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrest). The person who is arrested gets most of their rights taken away. Liberty doesn't just mean 'go where you want'.

Granted, there are plenty of very dangerous people who, a case can be made, should not have access to the outside world at all, or destruction of evidence or even murder of witnesses will happen. And I'm fine for the police making that case when they get the arrest warrant.

How would they know to? Most arrests aren't made off of warrants, most are made on-view or just thru investigations. It would make investigations of criminals a lot more difficult (destruction of evidence, establishing alibi's, etc).

Likewise, where are plenty of things that are too dangerous to allow in jails, like weapons, and everything should be searched to make sure it does not contain those.

But taking away everything as a matter of policy for all the innocent people in jail is absurd and shouldn't be allowed. (And if the problem is they might pass stuff off to convicted people, who do have their right to possess random items restricted, the solution is to have separate areas for those two groups, not restrict everyone.)

Anything not made out of NERF can be used as a weapon. Pencils, pens, cellphones, belts, shoelaces, etc. What do you just hope that the crazy, meth-addict, guy doesn't stab you with a pencil while you sleep? The police are the ones responsible for you once your liberty is taken away, if you get hurt in there they will have to answer for it.

Let's say there are ways to fix everything I mentioned with absolute 100% certainty:
"Magic-Scan(r)" scans the item/phone for any item/component/chemical of a phone that could possibly be used in any sort of 'bad' way.

"Safe-Brain(r)" then scans the brain of the owner to make sure they don't intend to use the item(s) in a hazardous way or to contact anyone to do anything 'bad'.

What about all the social issues that having all those items will cause? Do you want to be stuck in a room with 10 guys who are all trying to talk over each other on their phones? What do you do when Bubba demands to borrow your phone? when he doesn't return it? when you wake up and your watch is gone? What about the people who don't have phones? Do they get loaners? What if you don't get a signal? Should you get another cell? Etc...

Let's say we have another magic device that fixes all those issues as well. To what end? So you can update your Facebook status, play Peggle or plan what movie to see next weekend?

Who cares? Having a cell-phone isn't a right. It's a few days at most until you get charged, released or post bail.

Comment Re:Persons, papers and effects... (Score 1) 161

If you have an address book, or day planner, you could use it to hold a gun or a knife. So an arresting officer has the right to open it and ensure that there is nothing that could jeopardize their safety in it.

Maybe, depending on where you live.

But for the most part, no. For example if you get arrested for DUI and you have a backpack, you get separated from your bag and thus it does not create any danger to the officers (well I suppose except for an armed bomb, but that doesn't seem reasonable). But there is a good reason to search it, to do an inventory of the container so the suspect doesn't say "I had $10,000 in my bag. The cops took it!".

Comment Re:Not not? (Score 1) 161

If neither of those are true, people should be allowed to keep their cell phones while in custody of the police. Or, at least, have access to their cell phones. (It's absurd how much calls from jail cost.)

I'm sorry... Seriously?

Ok let's not count the fact that that a cell phone could easily have hidden weapons/means of escape (http://www.google.com/search?q=cell+phone+gun) or the previously mentioned fact about the crimes that could be committed while the person was in jail.

The people are charged with a crime and they get their rights/freedoms taken away unless they post bail. They don't get to leave, they don't get to have their phone, they don't get to tivo american idol. That's the point.

If you have a problem with the whole bail/arrest system, that is a completely separate argument.

Comment Re:Let's not leap to conclusions. (Score 1) 1079

If you take it as a given that a large number of border patrol officers are gigantic dicks given excessive amounts of power with little oversight, with victims who are essentially powerless, with almost no access to legal representation, then it adds up just fine with no additional information.

Lets pretend that 99% of border patrol agents are evil assholes and are want to beat people for no reason 99% of the time and 99.99% of people crossing the boarder are completely innocent in every way possible.

Even in that scenario (which I propose that even the most anti-authority people would find a bit of a stretch) we still don't know what happened in this situation.

All we have is the victim/suspect's account of the events which is obviously going to be biased, just as if you had the boarder agent's report it would be biased towards their side. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

Comment Re:My head reels from the spin. (Score 1) 1079

The crack laws are essentially "Possession of Cocaine while Black" charges. Most of the others are set up as "Possession of a drug while too poor to afford a 'treatment program' which won't cure you but will get the charge suppressed".

Crack is worse than cocaine because it is cheaper. Cocaine is too expensive to be high all the time, whereas crack is dirt cheap enough that it is doable. The fact that it is so cheap allows people to get easily really addicted to it, and when someone is really addicted to crack they do stupid things. A HUGE percent of property crimes (theft, robbery, burg, etc) are done by people addicted to crack and meth.

When a rich person runs out of coke, they don't go robbing liquor stores at 2am, people addicted to crack do. Race has nothing to do with it.

Comment Re:Anonymous Coward (Score 1) 1127

It is hard to tell what happened without the court documents. I guarantee that their case is not 'he download 'college_girls_gone_wild.avi' but it turned out to be kiddy porn.' Just based on the previous 'link-sting' operation I would suspect that they used a multi-part rar file, with a descriptive file name.

I don't know of any prefetching that would download 6 MB .rar files, nor would AVG's predownload scan thing, nor would your browser prefetch items in limewire.

I think it is reasonable to assume that if you post two sentences above 5 links, at some point while in the course of downloading the 4 part rar file they will read it.

And even if he knew what it said, does he deserve to be jailed for a decade because of that?

I was discussing the methodology for the link-sting then the actual law. Personally? I think they need help, the type of person that gets off on 4 year old anal and oral needs help, maybe they will get it in prison (doubtfully though).

Remember the media is biased, without the court documents or police report we won't know what happened to WHITE. I suspect that he is guilty since he is pleading guilty. He will use the media's coverage of his 'accidental' downloading when asked about it later in life. But he is avoiding trial to keep the real evidence hidden.

There is noway in hell I would plead guilty to a crime like that, sell everything I own to pay for a legal defense, put myself in debt, read a book and defend myself. There must be some big reason why he is pleading guilty beyond a few less years in prison.

Comment Re:Anonymous Coward (Score 1) 1127

They don't. But they can show up when people click on bait links that the FBI themselves plant:


Did you read the link you posted? Re-read the scan of the first court document, specifically the description of the video file, it turned my stomach. Also note that the files are 4 parts to a .rar file. My guess is that is to further show 'intent', the person would have to download all 4 parts to have it work. If only one of the files was download, I'm sure the 'accidental' defense would work.

Comment Re:this is brave (Score 1) 466


because if you're within (margin of error of the speed gun) then they'll leave you alone because you may in fact not be over the limit. If you are over that then you are
*definitely* speeding. Just because they don't pull you over when they can't be certain you're over the limit does not make the limit higher.

The margin of error on laser guns (no one really uses radar anymore) is about 0.5 - 1 mph.

Keep in mind that the radar guns could be off in the other direction as well, measuring you as being slower than you really were, they're only right on average.

Again, this isn't really accurate. True laser guns can be 'off' but normally they are not, and it is very easy to check (check, not calibration, they do not require calibration), all the officer has to do if fire it at any fixed object and if it shows 0mph, then it is working correctly.

So if the margin of error is 10 mph and they clock you doing 75 in a 60 zone then you could potentially have really been doing anywhere between 66 and 84 so they ticket you for your most likely speed- what the gun said your speed was, 75.

now radar gun tolerances are different from above but I wanted to make a point.

Sometimes if the ticket is taken to court they will cut 1mph from it take the possible error into account. Just think about it logically, most places have some sort of criminal speeding law, there is no way any piece of tech could be the primary piece of evidence in a criminal trial if it had such a huge margin of error.

Most cops aren't going to give tickets for people in the 5-10 range because, that is what everyone does. They want to focus on the people who are really breaking the laws, not just the people who kinda do.

Comment Re:So he's a politician (Score 1) 670

2) It may surprise many, but steroids are quite legal also. Unethical, perhaps, but legal.

Umm in most places they are illegal*. For example in Hawaii (which is part of the 9th circuit, which is the same on as mentioned in this article.) steroids are considered a 'harmful drug' and possession of any amount is a misdemeanor.

*: Assuming you mean 'real' steroids and not those used for asthma and so forth. Also there is a huge cat-and-mouse game with law-makers and steroid-makers, law-makers ban substance X, steroid makers tweak it slightly so it does the same thing, but it has a slightly different chemical structure, so law markers ban that one, and so forth. But the law-markers bannings take a long time to do, so any one substance might be legal for a while.

Comment Re:So he's a politician (Score 1) 670

Please read the article.
First what you describe in 1 & 2 is perfectly legal, it is called 'plain view' (it's mentioned in the article). Basically anything that is in 'plain view' of a government worker while in doing their job is fair game. (Ex: Traffic stop, pot on dash. Warrant for drugs, child porn near bag of drugs, etc)

Secondly: They were searching for evidence of steroid use, they search the computer (which was allowed per warrant), they searched 1 file, and had to scroll to the left to see the column that shows the result of the steroid test. The act of scrolling is what this case is about... Seriously.

Lets think of ways this could have been avoided:
1) Set excel to default to 50% or 25% view.
2) Printed the file without viewing it.
3) Windows was set to a high resolution that showed all the cells.
4) Open it on a computer with a wide screen display.
5) Open it on a computer with more than one display.

Do you really think that scrolling an excel file to the right in considered an unreasonable action?

Comment Why the bias? (Score 1) 670

What's the point of the jab against the Obama (and Bush) administration(s). The point of the article was made in the first part of the summery it just seems like it was troll-bait. I know this is 'just a blog' and not a newspaper or something, but what is wrong with a least pretending to be impartial?

Slashdot Top Deals

Can anyone remember when the times were not hard, and money not scarce?