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Comment Re:Well, there goes the 4th Amendment again... (Score 1) 204

Go read that opinion again. (It's another Scalia one.)

In that case, the officer was (a) in a home and (b) did not have the homeowner's permission to take hold of anything. The home is what ramped the protections up to the max; the fact the homeowner did not consent to anything kept those protections in force.

It's much different from the driver of a car giving evidence directly to a cop. The protections were lesser, and the driver waived them.

Comment Re:Well, there goes the 4th Amendment again... (Score 1) 204

Please, go read the opinion again. Particularly read Scalia's opinion, where he lays out the reasons why an infrared camera is an illegal search of a home. It has to do with the fact the home is the bastion of the Fourth Amendment. There is literally nowhere that receives more Fourth Amendment protections than the home.

A set of blank cards, which someone voluntarily gives to the police, receives far less protection. If a cop asks me for a birthday card I'm holding, and I voluntarily hand it over, and the cop opens it up and finds I've tucked a baggie containing bump of cocaine inside, has the cop committed an illegal search? Under your logic, yes, since the bump wasn't in plain sight.

But the plain sight exception does not apply when the police have lawful possession of the evidence!

Good grief, man. This is high-school civics class stuff.

But seriously, read Scalia's opinion.

Comment Put it in perspective. (Score 2) 204

Alice and Bob are driving down the road when they're pulled over by cops. Alice is driving. Bob gets arrested on an outstanding warrant. As Bob's getting out of the car, the cops see a black plastic bag underneath Bob's seat. They ask Alice about the bag. She says, "This? Oh, it's just oregano, officers. A lot of oregano. No, we don't have receipts for it, and, uh, we bought it at ... err, from some guy. But it's just oregano. See?", and gives it to the cop. The cop, upon opening the baggie, sees what looks like oregano. But the volume of the oregano is much more than you'd need for a pizza, so the cop figures it might be marijuana and decides to run a field test on it. Ultimately this field test is turned over to the State Police, which are able to conclusively say it's marijuana. Bob is now facing marijuana possession charges and complains his Fourth Amendment rights were violated.

That's exactly what happened here. The defendant was arrested on an outstanding warrant, the arresting officer asked what was in the bag, the driver gave the bag over and said he and the defendant bought 143 gift cards from "someone", but couldn't identify whom, nor provide any receipts, and their business plan was to "resell" these cards for a profit. Put all that together and it's on the same level as telling the cop your weed is oregano -- it's a lie that's completely transparent.

Since the cops were given the evidence, they did not seize it illegally. Since the cops had an incriminating statement from one of the participants, they had probable cause to check for illegality. Legal seizure plus probable cause equals go directly to jail, do not collect a $200 gift card.

This Slashdot headline is misleading to the point of being journalistic malpractice.

Comment Re:What liberal arts actually means (Score 1) 420

A BA in a science is a BS with the math and other difficult parts removed.

I said that was true for institutions which offered both. And even then, it's not that math is removed -- it's that a couple of upper-level courses covering esoteria are removed to make room for a better grounding in the humanities.

My friends with BAs in math did the full gamut of differential and integral calculus, number theory, differential equations, analysis, linear algebra, statistics, and more. Even as a CompSci major I took differential and integral calculus, differential equations, and statistics.

Comment Re:What liberal arts actually means (Score 4, Insightful) 420

Liberal arts is rooted in theoretical nonsense...

I hold a B.A. in computer science from a fairly good private college. One of my best friends graduated with a triple-major B.A. in physics, mathematics, and computer science, from the same institution. Other close friends from undergrad received B.A. degrees in chemistry, biology, geology, environmental science, and botany.

In fact, my undergrad alma mater doesn't offer the B.Sc. degree at all.

In 20 years in the software industry, not once has anyone ever asked whether I hold a B.A. or a B.Sc. It's a total nonissue. Some institutions offer the B.A., some offer the B.Sc., some offer both but differentiate them on how many differential calculus classes you've taken.

Comment No. (Score 3, Funny) 286

I started programming in C++ in '89. Templates were still new, but most of the language was stable. C++ code I wrote in '89 is still readable and compilable today. I know people who started with C++ in 1981, when it was still Bjarne's skunkworks project. The first public release was '83, making C++ 33 years old -- closer to 40 years old than 25.

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:7.62x63mm (Score 1) 93

(I'm the AC who originally posted; I wasn't logged in then.)

But it's nice to know they somewhat cater for the Liberians, the USAmericans and the rest of the world.

Oddly enough, a .30-06 is only called 7.62x63mm. That's the metricified name for it... but not the actual dimensions of the round: the bullet diameter is 7.8mm, not 7.62mm.

Cartridge names look like they're dimensional quantities, but they're not, and really never have been. The .38 Special and the .357 Magnum fire the same size of bullet. (In fact, you can fire .38 Special from .357 Magnum revolvers.) The German-designed 7.65mm Parabellum cartridge actually fires bullets 7.85mm in size. The Russian 9mm Makarov is actually 9.2mm. The 9mm Parabellum and 9mm Short fire different sizes of bullets, too; one is true 9mm and the other is smidge larger.

Moral of the story: the name is just a name -- it doesn't actually reflect the size of the cartridge, and for that reason there's no reason to prefer metricified names.

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