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Journal Journal: Follow Slashdot on Google+ 7

Slashdot is finally back on Google+. Follow us if you're interested in keeping up with new posts via Google+. The old page was lost a couple of years ago by the previous ownership, but we are back and every post on Slashdot will appear on our Google+ page.

You can keep up with all our changes and improvements at the Slashdot blog.

User Journal

Journal Journal: /.'s home page ads. is annoying! I checked the box for "Ads Disabled", and it still showed up later. Argh! I am going to tell ad blocker filters to block! :(

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Journal Journal: yo

Censorship is obscene.
Patriotism is bigotry.
Slashdot is unusable without noscript.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Justice 1

Rioters in England cause millions of dollars worth of damage in 2011. 3000 arrested.

Bankers in England cause billions of dollars worth of damage in 2008. Zero arrested.

This is what passes for justice these days.

User Journal

Journal Journal: The Supreme Court is broken. 1

"God Hates Fags" -- Protected Speech
"Bong Hits for Jesus" -- Not Protected Speech

What the fuck is wrong with this country?

User Journal

Journal Journal: BP safety program, a roadmap to disaster

BP, the main company behind the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico had created a safety program that placed the emphasis on personal safety and not on process safety. This failure to recognize that it takes more than safety shoes, hard-hats and eyeglasses to function in a manner that minimizes the inherent dangers of the petrochemical industry was thoroughly documented in a previous disaster at the Texas City refinery in 2005.

Read the final investigation report at; (Page 19)

The company safety program placed the emphasis upon the employee and the minimization of lost-time injuries and drivers safety while at the same time, cutting spending on essential repairs to instrumentation and corroded equipment. From the executive levels of BP the company continued to cut spending on preventative maintenance to reduce the operating costs of it's refineries. Executive management would slash spending related to equipment repairs and maintenance to improve short term profitability to its US operations.

In many organizations safety is considered the responsibility of the work force and little emphasis is placed upon designing and maintaining for safe and reliable operations. In the calculus of money spent vs. lives lost or environmental catastrophes we should expect that more incidents like the gulf oil spill will happen in the future.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Drug Trials and Diseases that will kill or incapacitate you

This is something that I am passionate about. The "go it slow" approach to drug trials when millions of people are afflicted with a disease that will kill or cripple them.

My father had multiple sclerosis. Although he did not know it the military diagnosed the MS back in the late 50's and just referred to it as an unspecific condition. Later, in the early 70's he was involved in an accident at work (not caused by the MS or anything his fault) and the traumatic event caused the disease to become active again. It took a further five years for the doctors to identify that his ongoing medical problems were caused by MS and was verified when they finally got a hold of his military records that showed the diagnosis 20 years earlier.

As a teen and young adult I watched a healthy, active man gradually lose his ability to walk, participate in family activities and suffer terrible mental changes. I know that if he had been given any sort of opportunity for an experimental treatment, even if it had a chance of causing a premature death, he would have taken it. We, as his family would have stood behind him all the way.

The medical community wants to preserve this illusion of scientific principle by treating promising medical procedures as if they were in a laboratory setting. Double-blind testing, keeping folks in a study as you dispassionately watch them deteriorate and die and then compiling your report to show how 90% of the untreated folks died while only 85% of the treated folks died is a failure. I bet in that sample for those 5 out of 100 folks who "beat the odds" they did not consider the treatment a failure.

Medical advances are always made in small steps. 1-2% here or there off of the mortality of any condition and sooner or later you are talking about real lives.

There are many drugs that provided a positive benefit in treating an invariably fatal condition but had some much smaller incidence of causing a different type of fatal condition. To the folks who are facing a death sentence without treatment for something like MS, many would take what treatment they can get today.

This is not some acne medicine that may cause your liver to fail where the side effect is much worse than a bad looking school yearbook picture. Humans when put in extraordinary situations will to to extraordinary lengths to find a treatment. This is why folks to to Mexico or Thailand or the back-room doctor for an unapproved therapy. Do you really think they give a damn about the legality of it all?

Why in the hell do you need a control group for a study? You have 99.99% of the people who are not in the study as your control group. Doctors, hospitals, research centers, drug companies and regulatory agencies need to provide for whatever minimal beneficial effect to treating a condition once it is clear that the patient and patients family understands that there is no magic bullet for everything.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Robert Byrd

It is hard to find a great deal of sympathy for Robert Byrd (senator). He was a KKK member and tried to fillibuster against civil rights. If it was up to him we would still be living in the days of segregation.

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Journal Journal: Metamoderation, wtf? 2

It used to be that metamoderation was just that, moderation of moderation. I haven't metamoderated in a while, but something has gone horribly wrong. When I go to metamod today, none of the comments are moderated. All I see is "Score: 1". What use is it for me to judge whether a comment has been moderated appropriately , when there's no moderation applied?

Just another reason Slashdot 2.0 sucks.


Journal Journal: Legitimacy 5

A government exists to protect it's citizens. Any government that doesn't, doesn't deserve to exist. Let's look at the US government.

In 2004 crime in the US cost its victims almost 16 billion dollars. [cite(pdf, table 82)]

The criminals behind the current financial crisis have cost the US *trillions* of dollars. Clearly, theft, fraud, and all other property crimes are insignificant in the face of this disaster, and our government did nothing to stop it, and is holding no one accountable. They have utterly failed in their responsibility to protect us.

The WTC attacks on 9/11/01 killed nearly 3000 Americans and caused losses reaching 1.7 trillion dollars in the stock market. [cite]
In response, Bush went to war with Iraq. This war has killed over 4500 Americans and will cost over 3.5 trillion dollars. [cite(pdf, p.1)] Not only did the US government fail to protect us, they harmed us worse than Bin Laden did.

Let's keep going. In 2007, 775,138 people were arrested for marijuana possession. In contrast, 597,447 were arrested for *all violent crimes combined. [cite]. As you can see, the US government victimizes more of its citizens than it protects.

So what's left to justify the existence of this government? Majority rule perhaps? Well, Barack Obama got 62.98 million votes in 2008. The voting age population in 2008 was 230,117,876.[cite] That's 27% of our population that voted for this president. That can in no way be interpreted as a mandate to rule.

From all these facts and figures, one conclusion is clear. The US government has no claim to legitimacy whatsoever.

User Journal

Journal Journal: J.K.Rowling wins $6750, and pound of flesh 17

J.K. Rowling didn't make enough money on Harry Potter, so she had to make sure that the 'Harry Potter Lexicon' was shut down. After a trial in Manhattan in Warner Bros. v. RDR Books, she won, getting the judge to agree with her (and her friends at Warner Bros. Entertainment) that the 'Lexicon' did not qualify for fair use protection. In a 68-page decision (PDF) the judge concluded that the Lexicon did a little too much 'verbatim copying', competed with Ms. Rowling's planned encyclopedia, and might compete with her exploitation of songs and poems from the Harry Potter books, although she never made any such claim in presenting her evidence. The judge awarded her $6750, and granted her an injunction that would prevent the 'Lexicon' from seeing the light of day.
User Journal

Journal Journal: U. Mich. student calls for prosecution of Safenet

An anonymous University of Michigan student targeted by the RIAA as a 'John Doe', is asking for the RIAA's investigator, Safenet (formerly MediaSentry), to be prosecuted criminally for a pattern of felonies in Michigan. Known to Michigan's Department of Labor and Economic Growth -- the agency regulating private investigators in that state -- only as 'Case Number 162983070', the student has pointed out that the law has been clear in Michigan for years that computer forensics activities of the type practiced by Safenet require an investigator's license. This follows the submissions by other 'John Does' establishing that Safenet's changing and inconsistent excuses fail to justify its conduct, and that Michigan's legislature and governor have backed the agency's position that an investigator's license was required.
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Journal Journal: ABA Judges Get an Earful about RIAA Litigations 5

Well, I was afforded the opportunity to write for a slightly different audience -- the judges who belong to the Judicial Division of the American Bar Association. I was invited by the The Judges' Journal, their quarterly publication, to do a piece on the RIAA litigations for the ABA's Summer, 2008, 'Equal Access to Justice' issue. What I came up with was 'Large Recording Companies vs. The Defenseless : Some Common Sense Solutions to the Challenges of the RIAA Litigations', in which I describe the unfairness of these cases and make 15 suggestions as to how the courts could make it a more level playing field. I'm hoping the judges mod my article '+5 Insightful', but I'd settle for '+3 Informative'. For the actual article go here (PDF). (If anyone out there can send me a decent HTML version of it, I'll run that one up the flagpole as well.)
User Journal

Journal Journal: eBay beats Tiffany's in trademark case 2

Tiffany's has lost its bid to hold eBay liable for trademark infringement of Tiffany's brands taking place on eBay. After a lengthy bench trial (i.e. a trial where the judge, rather than the jury, decides the factual questions), Judge Richard J. Sullivan has issued a 66-page decision (PDF) carefully analyzing the facts and legal principles, ultimately concluding that 'it is the trademark owner's burden to police its mark, and companies like eBay cannot be held liable for trademark infringement based solely on their generalized knowledge that trademark infringement might be occurring on their websites'.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Dow Jones MarketWatch likens RIAA to the Mafia 11

According to commentator Therese Polletti at Dow Jones MarketWatch, "the RIAA's tactics are nearly as bad as the actions of mobsters, real or fictional. The analogy comes up easily and frequently in any discussion of the RIAA's maneuvers." Among other things she cites the extortionate nature of their 'settlement negotiations' pointed out by Prof. Bob Talbot of the University of San Francisco School of Law IP Law Clinic, whose student attorneys are helping private practitioners fight the RIAA, the illegality of the RIAA's use of unlicensed investigators, the flawed evidence it uses, and the fact that the RIAA thinks nothing of jeopardizing a student's college education in order to make their point, as support for the MAFIAA/Mafia analogy.

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