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Comment Watts' new post-- replying to a few rumors (Score 5, Informative) 1079

Peter Watts has put up a new post on the event. All emphasis mine:

"I'm at the point now where I can't talk a whole lot about ongoing proceedings. I am seeing a few common misrepresentations making the rounds, though, that I'd like to set straight:

  1. Some are concluding that, when I was "dumped across the border in shirtsleeves", I had to walk across the Blue Water Bridge in a snowstorm without my coat. No. The bridge is on the US side of the border, which they had to drive me across to dump me on the other side of; and Canadian Customs was on that other side. This was no Starlight Cruise; I was not exposed to the weather unprotected for an inordinately long time. Still. It's winter. And they have my coat.
  2. Others have warned me to delete my previous post, lest the bad guys seize upon it and twist it to their own dark purposes. Having had erroneous quotes attributed to me in the past, I know this is good advice (which is why I won't be commenting in too much detail upon some of the arcane blow-by-blows of the case in question). But my lawyer vetted that post before I put it up; I stand behind it.
  3. Thanks to whoever posted the link to the Times-Herald story. I have three comments about the allegations therein. Firstly, the story claims that I was entering the US, not leaving it: this is empirically false. Secondly, I find it interesting that these guys characterise "pulling away" as "aggressive" behavior; I myself would regard it as a retreat. And thirdly, I did not "choke" anyone. I state this categorically. And having been told that cameras were in fact on site, I look forward to seeing the footage they provide.

That's it for the technical items. I have only two more things to say. Firstly, I am absolutely flabbergasted by the online reaction to this story, and by the support (both moral and financial) that's inundated me over the past few hours. I don't have a hope in hell of answering even a fraction of the incoming traffic at this point, so for the moment let me just say I'm humbled and a little bit scared. I did not start this campaign; it actually started when I was still in jail, and had absolutely no idea what was going on. But to the catalytic folks who orchestrated it, know that I am looking into having my vasectomy reversed so that I can sire a firstborn son and sacrifice him to you.
Secondly, I'm going to bed.

Comment Just cringe harder next time: they have guns? (Score 1) 1079

I'm reminded of Digby's comments during the Gates incident back in July:

"I have discovered that my hackles automatically going up at such authoritarian behavior is not necessarily the common reaction among my fellow Americans, not even my fellow liberals. The arguments are usually something along the lines of "that guy was an idiot to argue with the cops, he should know better," ...

"Now, on a practical, day to day level, it's hard to argue that being argumentative with a cop is a dangerous thing. They have guns. They can arrest you and can cost you your freedom if they want to do it badly enough. They can often get away with doing violence on you and suffer no consequences. You are taking a risk if you provoke someone with that kind of power, no doubt about it.

"Indeed, it is very little different than exercising your right of free speech to tell a gang of armed thugs to go f*ck themselves. It's legal, but it's not very smart. But that's the problem isn't it? We shouldn't have to make the same calculations about how to behave with police as we would with armed criminals. The police are supposed to be the good guys who follow the rules and the law and don't expect innocent citizens to bow to their brute power the same way that a street gang would do. The police are not supposed wield what is essentially brute force on the entire population.

XBox (Games)

Modded Xbox Bans Prompt EFF Warning About Terms of Service 254

Last month we discussed news that Microsoft had banned hundreds of thousands of Xbox users for using modified consoles. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has now pointed to this round of bans as a prime example of the power given to providers of online services through 'Terms of Service' and other usage agreements. "No matter how much we rely on them to get on with our everyday lives, access to online services — like email, social networking sites, and (wait for it) online gaming — can never be guaranteed. ... he who writes the TOS makes the rules, and when it comes to enforcing them, the service provider often behaves as though it is also the judge, jury and executioner. ... While the mass ban provides a useful illustration of their danger, these terms can be found in nearly all TOS agreements for all kinds of services. There have been virtually no legal challenges to these kinds of arbitrary termination clauses, but we imagine this will be a growth area for lawyers."

Comment He has a source for the total cost number (Score 1) 394

He references the NHTSA's study, The Economic Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes for the cost being $230 Billion.

"...accidents cause more than death and injury. They also clog roads, damage vehicles and require extensive emergency response systems. The NHTSA has attempted to quantify the total cost of accidents, and while the numbers are subject to debate. In The Economic Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes, they cite $230 billion per year, or about 2.3% of the GDP. Other estimates range as high as 4% of the GDP.

"...calculations have also been done to work this figure out as a cost per mile driven, as we do for depreciation and fuel. Estimates I have seen range from 10 cents/mile (using above $230B number) to as high as 30 cents. Numbers for motorcycles go as high as 50 cents/mile. For those who accept higher numbers like 20 cents, this is more expensive than the gasoline (which is 17 cents/mile in a 25mpg car) and in most cases more than the depreciation, which is to say more than the cost of the car itself."

The article you give says the NHTSA thinks the number might be higher than $230B today. And even the AAA analysis has the total cost of accidents at $1050 per person--no small change--and the cost of traffic congestion at $430.

I spend about $.16 per mile for gasoline, so the cost of accidents is higher than gasoline or depreciation for me.

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