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Comment Re:This one makes some sense (Score 1) 446

An insanity defense has nothing to do with whether it was pre-planned or not.

Insanity is about whether the defendant knew what he was doing was wrong. Not whether or not it was planned.

That may be true as a matter of legal theory (IANAL), but I think the sad reality is that juries are often swayed towards or away from an Insanity defense, based on the (perceived) issue of "pre-planning". I have seen many court transcripts where both sides focused heavily on "pre-planning". Why would they do that if it's legally irrelevant?

Maybe what we need is better jury instructions so that irrelevant factors will (hopefully) be ignored by juries when they perform their deliberations

Comment Re:This one makes some sense (Score 1) 446

OK, what's the difference between me believing that my father is possessed and so it's OK to kill him, and me believing that marijuana is wholesome and beneficial and so it's OK to smoke it? I mean besides the fact that the latter is true. From the standpoint of the law, aren't these equivalent?

Not equivalent.

  • Case #1: Legislature determines that murder is injurious to the population as a whole and makes it illegal. Subsequent case law allows for intentional homicide in self-defense. Person A believes that their father is possessed by some evil entity, which puts said person in imminent danger of their life. They act in (mistaken) self-defense, which, if the disputed fact (the possession) were actually true, would allow them to escape a murder prosecution. The "fact" turns out to be the product of a deranged mind, so Person B successfully pleads insanity.
  • Case #2: Legislature determines that certain substances are harmful, not "wholesome and beneficial", and prohibits their use. Person B believes that maijuana, one of the prohibited substances, is in fact "wholesome and beneficial" and uses it, thus breaking the law. There is no case law supporting the proposition that a prohibited substance can be legally used if said substance can be scientifically proven to be "wholesome and beneficial". Therefore the prosecution of that person for using marijuana still stands, regardless of whether Person B got their "fact" wrong or not. The truth or falsity of the "fact" has no bearing on the prosecutability of Person B for breaking the drug law.


Comment Re:What's the deal with the rush of TSA stories re (Score 1) 1135

>>>Flying isn't a right.

Yes it is. Read Amendment 9.

Wow, someone badly needs a refresher course in Con Law. Amendment 9 doesn't mean that anything you can dream up is your "right" automatically. It's typically only applied to certain areas of "privacy" (e.g. the original Roe v Wade decision was based largely on the 9th Amendment). Anything that falls within the "police power" of the states or the federal government, i.e. anything that touches on areas of public concern, such as safety, health, monetary policy, etc., is not covered by the 9th Amendment.

Plus it would be impossible for me to attend a Friday meeting in California if I had to travel by car or train (2500 miles is a frakking long distance).

Now you're just being even sillier. Where oh where in the U.S. Constitution do you find a "right" to attend a particular meeting at a particular time? This would only plausibly have a constitutional relevance if the "meeting" had some sort of public significance, like going to the ballot box to vote, attending a court hearing, presidential inauguration, etc. But even then, it's up to you to plan your trip accordingly so that you get there on time: you don't have the constitutional right to bypass a bunch of safety regulations just so you can make a timely arrival. "I'm late for my meeting, so everyone else has to suffer the probability that I might try to fly this plane into a building, or drop some sarin gas on a densely-populated urban area".

the government has no more right to block me from using a plane, than they do to stop me from drinking alcohol,

Are you sure about that? According to Wikipedia (was too lazy to research any farther than that), Minnesota state law allows local jurisdictions to "enact laws which are more strict than state liquor law, including completely prohibiting the sale, possession, and consumption of alcoholic beverages" (emphasis added). Whether any such Minnesotan jurisdictions have enacted such laws, or whether any such laws have been challenged on constitutional grounds, remains to be seen. Counties in many states, however, can and do go "dry", meaning no liquor can be sold. And the 21st Amendment clearly gives states the power to control "transportation or importation" of liquor. The constitutional "right to booze" isn't nearly as clear-cut as you imply.

or having sex with the same gender.

This was only recently recognized as being a right of "privacy", protected under the 9th Amendment and similar "privacy" Supreme Court precedents. But it has little or nothing to do with the safety regulations that apply to certain modes of travel. Other than, of course, your wishful thinking that 9th Amendment makes every individual's preference or desire automatically a "right" under the U.S. Constitution.

To be sure, the fine line between what is "public" and what is "private" is constantly under review and re-definition. But flying on airplanes is pretty far over the public/private line to the "public" side. If we had any doubts about that pre-9/11, I don't think those doubts exist any more, in the mind of anyone reasonable.

Comment Re:Failure isn't civil law it's criminal law (Score 1) 475

others have made the same comment - the only 'justice' these kids are getting is through the flawed but functional civil system . Why haven't any criminal cases been brought .

I guess RTFA isn't your strong suit?

The FBI investigated whether the district broke any criminal wiretap laws, but prosecutors declined to bring any charges.

Comment Re:WTF is wrong with you people? (Score 1) 606

Actually, I took a slightly different tack in my "never" response. The question was: " How Long Until We Commonly Use Flying Cars?" (emphasis added). But there was no explicit choice for "We will never commonly use flying cars" (again, emphasis added). I looked at the "We'll never have flying cars" option and asked myself "who is this mysterious, ambiguous 'we' in the question? human society as a whole? Some subset of human society?". I convinced myself that "we" (= human society as a whole) will some day produce flying cars, that will be used for special purposes (emergencies? search and rescue?), but that "we" (= the common folk, such as myself) won't be in flying cars as a matter of course, because of the energy inefficiency of flying objects through the air versus driverless cars on the ground, or (as one poster speculated) underground in some sort of artificial vaccuum. Never mind all the fanciful stuff about teleporters and such; I was only comparing "in the air" versus "in/under the ground".

In short, I "repurposed" the "never" option. Sure, we (human society, considered abstractly) will have flying-car technology, and some people will use it some of the time, but "we", you and me, the common folks, won't use it, due to more energy-efficient alternatives being available and preferable.

This is not about being narrow-minded, it's about understanding, finally, at this point in human history, that almost every technological advance has tradeoffs. Don't just implement technology for the sake of implementing it. Do so with a full understanding of both the benefits and the costs.


UK Teen Banned From US Over Obscene Obama Email 555

British teenager Luke Angel has been banned from the US for sending an email to the White House calling President Obama an obscenity. The 17-year-old says he was drunk when he sent the mail and doesn't understand what the big deal is. "I don't remember exactly what I wrote as I was drunk. But I think I called Barack Obama a p***k. It was silly -- the sort of thing you do when you're a teenager and have had a few," he said. The FBI contacted local police who in turn confronted Luke and let him know that the US Department of Homeland Security didn't think his email was funny. "The police came and took my picture and told me I was banned from America forever. I don't really care but my parents aren't very happy," Angel said.

Comment Re:well done (Score 1) 1695

Indeed. And the funny thing is, people like this pastor who provoke Muslims despite receiving death threats are called "Islamophobes." The real Islamophobes are the ones who are, you know, afraid of Muslims. Pretty ridiculous use of the word these days.

The combining forms "-phobia"/"-phobe" have undergone a transition over the years. Originally they meant "fear", but then came to be used in contexts where fear is not possible, e.g. hydrophobic, meaning to repel or be repelled by water, acquired the general sense of "repelled by" or "having an aversion to", and eventually became used for psychological states or belief systems characterized by a dislike or hatred of a particular grouping, attribute, or belief system. Hence, "homophobic" (fear or hatred of homosexuals or of being homosexual), {country}-phobic, e.g. "anglophobic", a fear or hatred of people of a particular country, or {religion}-phobic, e.g. Islamophobic, a fear or hatred of people belong to a particular religion.

Also, even if we take "-phobic" in its original "fearing" meaning, I think there's a valid distinction between fearing individual Islamic people, versus fearing Islamic ideas or concepts. This Bible Belt moron may not fear physical attacks from Muslims -- after all, there isn't a Muslim-dominated country within thousands of miles of Gainesville, Florida -- but he probably fears, with good reason, that the Islam religion, it's theology and practice, may overtake Christianity. After all, Islam has been gaining on Christianity for many generations now, even in modern, "western" countries.

Comment Re:most hated part of ipv6 (Score 1) 425

That's cute, you think DNS solves his problem. Hate to break it to ya but often in testing you don't want your host to have a name until it's ready for production. Then of course there are times when DNS breaks due to service lockup or someone misplacing an encryption key. It's adding complexity back to a system that is supposed to reduce complexity plain and simple.

Wait, let me see if I've got this right: IPv6 is going to be resisted by the legions of users

  1. who can't get their network admins to set up a reliable DNS infrastructure,
  2. on whose network no device ever needs to be re-addressed,
  3. who never use DNS-based load-balancing, round robins, MX records, SRV records, or any of the other features that only DNS provides, and therefore
  4. for whom it actually makes sense to access resources on the network by IP address rather than by name, and
  5. who can't deal with the extra digits of an IPv6 address, because such addresses are long and scary, and the users' fingers are -- if their complaints are to be believed -- so fragile that they will literally fall off their hands if subjected to even a modicum of extra typing.

Let's call this set "those who should be mocked and giggled at", or TWSBMGA for short.

Is the IPv6 transition truly imperiled by TWSBMGA? Stay tuned folks.

Comment What a Maroon (Score 1) 425

Who is this Steve Cassidy guy anyway, and how did he get a gig writing about network technologies for a magazine?

Distilled, what this nimrod's article amounts to is:

  • The fears of IPv4 runout have been somewhat exaggerated since at least 1998.
  • Home users generally don't need to worry about runout because their little SOHO router NATs their addresses
  • The default IPv6 address for a device includes its MAC address, which Mr. Cassidy finds quaint and old-fashioned
  • The IPv6 transition/co-existence mechanism are scary and confusing to Mr. Cassidy
  • Some IPv6 documentation seems (to Mr. Cassidy, possibly no-one else) to favor using literal IP addresses over DNS names

While I agree with Mr. Cassidy about the runout exaggerations, I'm willing to give the exaggerators some benefit of the doubt with respect to intent, since they're just trying to motivate people to move to IPv6, which is clearly superior from a technical perspective. NAT is evil, breaks many applications, and is not the long-term solution to our runout problem. Perhaps if Mr. Cassidy would actually educate himself on the horrors of NAT -- what he refers to as "hiding" -- he would understand why IPv6 is not just an academic pipedream being foisted on the rest of us. I would invite him to try to integrate two large enterprise networks (not over his arbitrary theshold of 100,000 "seats", but still large nonetheless) which are both extensively using 10.*.*.* addresses, with tons of overlapping address space. This is something I personally struggle with every day, so I don't exactly appreciate some ignoramus telling folks to ignore IPv6. Many enterprises need it yesterday. What's ironic is that one of the co-authors of RFC 1918 actually worked here at the time of its publication -- classic case of "be careful what you wish for".

As for Mr. Cassidy's whining about the format of default addresses and about documentation slant/quality, I really don't see those as particularly relevant to the core argument that NAT is evil and must die

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