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The Internet

Submission + - Child porn victim looks to the courts for cash

jswatz writes: ""Amy," whose uncle used her for child pornography, is now trying to get restitution from those convicted of possessing porn collections that include her images. But getting restitution from those who simply possess porn, instead of producing it, is controversial. I wrote the story up for the New York Times:"
The Courts

Prison Bans D&D For Mimicking Gang Structure 496

Trepidity writes "In a case that has been winding its way through the courts for a while now, a Wisconsin prison banned inmates from playing Dungeons & Dragons, using the justification that 'one player is denoted the Dungeon Master... [who] is tasked with giving directions to other players... [which] mimics the organization of a gang.' The prison also cited some sparse evidence that a handful of non-inmate D&D players once committed some crimes that allegedly were related to their D&D playing. On Monday the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the regulation (PDF) against challenges from inmates. The court appeared skeptical of the ban, sarcastically referring to it as the 'war on D&D,' but upheld it nonetheless as having a 'rational basis.' Law professor Ilya Somin suggests that the court may have had no choice, given how deferential rational-basis review usually is."
The Media

Submission + - tech disorder in the court (

jswatz writes: "There seems to be a lot of interest in my story in today's New York Times — thought it might be good fodder for /. ... Handhelds — from the BlackBerry to iPhone to Android and the rest — are making their way into the jury room, and it's causing problems in trials..."

Comment Re:Are all the news stories sensationalist? (Score 1) 288

absolutely amazing. that's the "failure is not an option" mentality the program lived by in those days... for comparison purposes, read the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, published in 2003. It talks of a "broken safety culture" in which managers denied problems existed and suppressed efforts to look at the shuttle Columbia's wing, insisting that foam couldn't cause dangerous damage to the shuttle Things have improved since then -- tragedy has a way of focusing the mind -- but no one should ever forget that going to space is an extraordinarily risky proposition.

Comment Re:Sheesh (Score 5, Informative) 288

Hey there--it's John, the guy who wrote the story. There are other factors at play besides the number of votes that an initiative can generate. For example, the place that the votes are generated is important, and space states like Florida have pretty important votes. The companies that benefit from space spending are also influential. NASA centers and NASA work is spread out all across the country. There are many reasons that Congressional support for NASA remains high and bipartisan -- not just the ones I've named, but the inspiration that NASA can provide to kids who might pursue careers in science and engineering. But the support hasn't been there to give NASA substantially MORE money, and that's why there's going to be a gap in US space flights.

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