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Comment This isn't a victory for Behring-Breivik. (Score 3, Insightful) 491

Someone once pointed out that hoping a rapist gets raped in prison isn't a victory for his victim(s), because it somehow gives him what he had coming to him, but it's actually a victory for rape and violence. I wish I could remember who said that, because they are right. The score doesn't go Rapist: 1 World: 1. It goes Rape: 2.

What this man did is unspeakable, and he absolutely deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison. If he needs to be kept away from other prisoners as a safety issue, there are ways to do that without keeping him in solitary confinement, which has been shown conclusively to be profoundly cruel and harmful.

Putting him in solitary confinement, as a punitive measure, is not a victory for the good people in the world. It's a victory for inhumane treatment of human beings. This ruling is, in my opinion, very good and very strong for human rights, *precisely* because it was brought by such a despicable and horrible person. It affirms that all of us have basic human rights, even the absolute worst of us on this planet.

Comment Re:Philip K Dick called it (Score 3, Interesting) 127

So the "Empathy Box" from "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" is real? And now?

Ok, you just blew my mind.

I remember never quite getting the whole "empathy box" idea in the book. It seemed unlikely and quite foreign. But you're right: that's what Facebook is. People sharing their good and bad news in order to participate in some group emotion. And, just like Rick's wife was "addicted" to it, lots of people were addicted to checking Facebook (at least for a while, the interest in Facebook seems to have waned). So Philip K. Dick was prescient about that after all.

Comment Re:When you gag the enginers ... (Score 1) 373

Please explain how one gets from broken plastic clips on a vanity mirror to "rolling sarcophagus" in a way that wouldn't make any other engineer's (let along lawyer's) eyes roll

Quotes like this that make me miss the defunct Forum 2000. This sounds like a great quote from The Cube SOMAD.

I agree with the GP though. I recall a guy I used to work with who used hyperbole a lot. I recall that he once referred to a so-called "fiasco" which, upon deeper inspection, translated to him trying to schedule a conference call where he couldn't get the other people to agree on a time. Once I figured out his hyperbolic tendency, I could safely moderate the "disasters" he was warning of. I shudder to think what would happen if his emails are ever discovered for a lawsuit.

Comment Re:I wonder how soon people will realise (Score 1) 258

When the government provides everyone with a free internet connection and email address, then you can start talking about getting rid of snail mail

Plus, US mail offers greater protection than email. If you attempt to commit fraud via sending something by the US mail or intercept someone's mail, you're looking at a felony. With all the spam, I don't trust any of the email I receive from a bank, credit card, etc. So before email can completely replace regular postal mail, we'd have to see the same level of protections. Maybe the US postal service could have a service where they offer an optional digital signature that the sender can use and is legally protected from forgery.

Comment Re:employers (Score 1) 545

It would be easy for your employer, and for schools to simply adjust the time at which people are expected to arrive.

But, why leave it up to people's employers? There's no business benefit to "giving" people more daylight for their leisure activities, and there's no way it would be uniform since it would be subject to the whims of all the companies. Throw the schools on top, and you've got chaos. We're more than just employees; we're citizens. So it makes sense the citizens (a.k.a., "the government") to step in and declare that we're moving the clocks around. I admit I used to be more annoyed with daylight saving time when I was younger, but now that I have kids, it's great to have more daylight hours in summer evenings to enjoy things outside.

Comment Re:Pretty common support forums policies (Score 2) 326

Apple is really strict about not letting people give out certain kinds of technical advice or speculation on their support forums, on the not-unreasonable basis that things posted there have Apple's tacit approval.

No kidding. I don't think the submission helps by being vague about what was being posted:

Apple is now censoring posts in their "Apple Support Communities" forums where users suggest possible responses to their loss of WiFi capabilities

Possible response? I wasn't sure what that meant, so I read Lessig's blog to get an idea of sort of "possible responses" Apple was cruelly censoring. If his post is any indication of what he posted on his forum, no one should be surprised the Apple deleted it:

I skipped all the drastic steps others seem to have taken such as putting in freezer or the one where I guy heats his wifi chip up to 300degrees which by the way seem to have worked quite well.

Heating up the WiFi chip to 300 degrees? And it worked "quite well??" No surprise at all that Apple deleted this kind of "advice" from their official support forums. Reading a suggestion like that on Lessig's blog is one thing, but when it's posted on Apple's official support forum, someone is bound to assume wrongly that Apple is approving the suggestion. No wonder that Apple deleted it. I imagine Apple will also be deleting posts that suggest to users that they boil their iPhones or microwave them because the method seemed to "work quite well."

Comment Can't replicate (Score 4, Informative) 135

I can't replicate it either. The YouTube video claims I double-tap the home button but the second tap is slightly longer? By the end of the first tap it's already bringing me back to the lock screen, i.e. by the time I'm pressing down for the second tap, I'm already being taken back to the lock screen. iPhone 5, updated last night to 7.0 (11A465).

Submission + - Another Climate-Change Retraction (

jamie writes: It seems every time someone twists global-warming science into 'good news,' a retraction is soon to follow, and so it must be for Slashdot. Yesterday, the conservative Wall Street Journal published yet another apologetic claiming "the overall effect of climate change will be positive," by someone who (of course) is not a climate scientist. Today, Climate Progress debunks the piece, noting 'Ridley and the WSJ cite the University of Illinois paper to supposedly prove that warming this century will be under 2C — when the author has already explained to them that his research shows the exact opposite!' We went through this same process last year, with the same author and the same paper, so it's pretty embarrassing that he 'makes a nearly identical blunder' all over again.

Submission + - Gore Misquoted on Hexametric Hurricanes (

jamie writes: In a story on Thursday, Slashdot and its readers had a little fun at the expense of Al Gore, who was quoted as saying that the hurricane severity scale was going to go to 6. A correction was made the next day. The author of the piece that Slashdot linked now writes "I retract the balance of my criticism." Turns out Gore was misquoted.

Luckily for Gore, this is the first time he's been ridiculed for something he didn't actually say. Well, except for Love Story, Love Canal, farm chores, and everyone's favorite, inventing the internet.

(The original Slashdot story is at and its central link now includes the Washington Post's correction.)

Comment Motives (Score 2) 111

I think the author is missing the point about Vader's motives. The article said:

For reasons that never get explained — and can’t be justified militarily — Vader joins the Stormtrooper assault on the base. So much for his major weapon against the Rebels, and the primary reason for ordering the Walkers to invade and destroy the generator. Once Vader opts to bring down the shield and lead the invasion, he’s lost the battle.

The author assumes that Vader actually cared about winning whatever military objectives the Empire had. I don't think he did. In Episode V, Vader wanted only one thing: to get Luke Skywalker. I imagine that after the Death Star was destroyed and there was a big ceremony highlighting to everyone in the Rebel Alliance that Luke was the hero, word got to the Empire (and Vader) that someone named Skywalker was involved. Vader may have claimed that the name had no meaning for him, but it certainly did. So that's why he went down to the base. He didn't trust the stormtroopers to be able to capture Luke; he was going to do it himself.

In Episode IV, Vader seemed to be nominally to be a team player (at least he stopped choking that guy in the conference room) and willing to take orders. By the time Episode V rolled around, Vader was off the leash. All he wanted was to get Luke to turn him into his Sith Apprentice and everything else (stormtroopers, admirals, star destroyers, what have you) was just fodder. So although I enjoyed the article, I don't think Vader's tactics weren't because of poor planning or insight. If every Rebel escaped and every Imperial died, it wouldn't matter to him if he captured Luke.

It other words: it's not that I'm a bad driver. It's that I needed to get to the airport to make my flight and that now-dented car was a rental.

Comment BMW Apps (Score 3, Insightful) 171

It's a little more restricted than playing Angry Birds. BMW Apps supports a few functions:

- Reading tweets/Facebook posts (and with a flick of the iDrive, it will read the tweet out to you)

- Posting one of five/six canned tweets/Facebook status messages (e.g., "It's xx outside, and I'm driving my BMW!") - so you aren't trying to compose a message while you drive

- Web radio

- Looking at your calendar/address book

- News RSS feeds

So it has the capacity to be dangerously distracting, but BMW's implementation is limited enough that it's not. Of course, the driver could still be distracted if they're reading Facebook while they're driving, but if they're going to do that, they would do that anyway with their smartphone in their hand.


Submission + - One-line software patent expires (

trombonehero writes: Here's a particularly silly example of a software patent which has been holding real innovation back for 22 years: a patent on an if statement which is required to correctly implement the JBIG fax codec.

This silly patent, which held some open-source software back for 17 years, comes out of patent today, but it might be a little bit late for bold new innovations which interoperate with the fax network.

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