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Comment Re:Heat? (Score 2) 102

Isn't AZ too hot? Do you really want a data center where the temperature quite often approaches 110 degrees?

Las Vegas isn't much cooler than Phoenix (maybe 10 degrees most of the time), yet Switch is doing booming business here with datacenters popping up all over town. The temperature outside hasn't been much of an impediment for them.

Movies

IMDb Ignores New Law Banning It From Publishing Actors' Ages Online, Cites Free Speech Violations (betanews.com) 218

Back in September, the state of California passed a new law that banned sites that offer paid subscriptions, and allow people to post resumes, from publishing individuals' ages. It's a law that has the potential to affect many sites, but it is the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) that hit the headlines. From a report: IMDb was told to remove actors' ages from the site by 1 January, 2017, but the site has failed to take any action. A full week into 2017, IMDb has not only chosen to ignore the new law, but has also filed a lawsuit in a bid to stop California from implementing Assembly Bill No. 1687. The reason? IMDb believes that the law is a violation of the First Amendment and it says the state has "chosen instead to chill free speech and to undermine access to factual information of public interest" rather than trying to tackle age-discrimination in a more meaningful way.

Comment Re: Who cares? (Score 1) 502

because its a giant scam you imbecile.

Duh? That's why everyone wants something done about it. Externalizing pollution to get an easy subsidy isn't merely a scam, it's an old and obvious scam.

The trouble is, everyone does it. If I tell you to stop scamming everyone, then you'll tell me to stop scamming everyone. It's all well and fine for me to try to stop paying for your subsidy, but you better keep on paying mine!

Comment Re:I still don't get it. (Score 1) 128

How was it NOT extortion before the law?

I haven't found the text of the law to read, but I can guess.

I used to work for a place where, in the late 1980s and early 1990s we would occasionally sell ransomware to clients who had iffy credit. Pay your bill every month, and we'd send you an update to our software. Stop paying or don't install your update, and a time bomb would go off: it fails to start. The software's data wasn't encrypted or anything, but it was in a proprietary undocumented form, so it was effectively unusable. (Unless you set back your machine's clock, which would have some annoying consequences for data entry speed.)

I think what we were doing would probably be considered ransomware to most people.

The reason I wouldn't call that extortion, is that the client would agree to it beforehand (and without any coercion or duress) and they would get something of value (our software) in exchange that they previously didn't have. Don't wanna do it? Don't sign the license agreement. (Yes, back in those days, a license was actually a real contract, and customers would sign it and we'd put it in a filing cabinet. No after-the-fact "surprise! you didn't really buy this in spite of having thought so at the time you parted with your money!")

I think what we were doing would probably not be considered extortion to most people. (But I'm still glad I don't do that anymore.)

Comment Re:Good luck getting contracts! (Score 1) 234

There are a ton of cultural differences. I remember reading a fascinating book called 'The Culture Code' by a Frenchman who moved to the US at a relatively young age.

He points out, for example, in the US, the kitchen is a central gathering place in the home, and nice, stainless steel appliances are a status symbol. In France, on the other hand, guests would never ever see the kitchen, so the appliances are chosen strictly for utility.

Comment Re: Good (Score 1) 445

You know, the western world already has a whole body of law on 'how to know what you wanted' after you die. It's incredibly complex, but very simple: write a damn will. You should have one anyway, and update it every few years.

Check your state/provincial laws, but you can probably write one yourself, pretty easy. In Ontario, a 'holographic,' or completely hand-written, will is perfectly legal and valid. You can also find 'write a will' kits and templates easily enough, and they'll include health care directives, living wills, and all that stuff. If your estate is too complex for a mad-lib style will, you should already have a lawyer on retainer to do that sort of thing.

Comment Re:Presumed consent (Score 1) 445

I agree. While I too think it's somewhat silly to be concerned about ownership of body parts after death, this effectively causes ownership of the corpse (or at least parts of it) to pass to the state, unless you opt out. So while your property, finances, etc. pass to your family members by default, your own body comes under control of the state by default (who cedes it to medical professionals, it seems).

So?

Death rituals are important to many people, especially loved ones who have to go through mourning. As the summary notes, many families DO object when it comes to this, even if they may be in favor of organ donations in the abstract. Does the state's interest in keeping other people alive outweigh the family's interest in their mourning ritual, particularly when it involves the actual physical parts of that loved one?

No, the state's interest doesn't, which is why the person has the first, last, and final say. The family's wishes, of course, should have no bearing whatsoever; if Johnny's family is all against organ donation, but Johnny is for it, then Johnny's organ's get donated.

I'm all in favor of increasing organ donations -- making it trivial to sign up at any opportunity, etc. But what this law is effectively doing is removing ownership of the deceased person from the family and passing it to the state. I'm generally skeptical of any "opt-in" policies, and this one seems a bit worrying in terms of what it's saying legally about what the state can do.

No, what it's doing is setting up a default action when no other instructions are specified. Just like everything else that happens when you die; if you haven't specifically declared what happens to your property, chattels, dependents, and so on, there are default rules that kick in and attempt to dispose of everything. Just, up till relatively recently, those default rules were 'buried in accordance with local majority religious views.'

Just to throw out some "slippery slope" possibilities -- could the government also decide that you are "opt-in" to a DNR order by default? If it would save on healthcare costs, perhaps speed up organ donation (and thus save lives), could that also be justified? If that seems extreme, how about if you're on life support in a coma? How about a persistent vegetative state? At what point can the state's interest in your organs outweigh the slim possibility you might ever wake up? Why let those organs deteriorate in that body for weeks, months, or years? What about those who don't have family members around to argue legally that organs should NOT be harvested yet?

They could, sure. Hell, the government could, in theory, simply designate you for organ donation for the high Party officials, enslave your children, and induct your beloved cat Mittens into their harems.

Some of these scenarios may seem more extreme than others, but it seems like this seemingly minor "change in default" could have other legal consequences in the future in terms of how many decisions family members have control of in determining what happens to a loved one who is potentially near death. How far can the state's interest go here in superseding the wishes of the family?

Well, this is why we've seen developments in things like living wills and treatment directives. You assume that 'family members' should have a large amount of say in what happens to a loved one. I question that assertion; have ever since that episode of The Practice when Rebecca was badly injured, needed a blood transfusion, and her Jehovah's Witness parents refused it on religious grounds, on her behalf, while her friends and coworkers all swore up and down that Rebecca was not an adherent, and would want the transfusion.

We in the west also have a lot of State control based on old religious strictures; I, for one, do believe that a person (not their family, or the State) should be allowed to choose to die.

Really, though, needing to tick a box saying 'Opt out of organ donation' is an incredibly low burden to place on people, especially when you just build it in to something like a driver's license application. Especially given that it places zero duty or burden upon you; it would be one thing if you were required to give up your organs, AND had to submit to regular health checks to make sure you were caring for those organs properly, for example. But once you're dead, you have zero need for your organs. So if you want to assert control over them, well, we have mechanisms for doing exactly that, and require people to do them already for such things, like directing that they do or don't want to be cremated, for example.

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