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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:Only Two Futures? (Score 1, Flamebait) 609

>NOMINATE scales people based on their choices relative to contemporaries

That's exactly *why* it works across decades. Because it allows a continuous chain of comparison even between people who never served together. (E.g, person A served with person B, person B later served with person C, person C later served with person D, etc)

Comment Re:Only Two Futures? (Score 5, Informative) 609

> "JFK was more conservative than most conservatives are today"


Keith T. Poole at the University of Georgia has built his career on quanitfying the liberality/conservativeness of politics.

I couldn't find his numbers for John Kennedy, but he gave John Kennedy a -.318 during the 83rd Congress, making him the 15th most liberal member of that body. By comparison, in today's Senate, he'd rank as the 31st most liberal senator, between Senators Wyden and Murphy, and more liberal than EVERY SINGLE Republican in Congress.

Comment Re:same as vote by mail (Score 1) 190

Actually Oregon was getting high turnout decades before they switched to vote-by-mail. There was one study which showed that Oregon got increased turnout from vote-by-mail, but a more recent study was unable to replicate that. It showed that Oregon's increased turnout was due to a "novelty effect", but it has since disappeared (except for a very small effect in some small special elections).

Furthermore, Oregon's anti-fraud measures are inadequate (e.g., the handwriting analysis isn't done by fully trained people, and has never been subjected to third-party scrutiny). And the much-touted "ballot parties" -- where groups of friends get together and talk about the issues and then fill out and mail their ballots out together -- are a classic example of a violation of the secret ballot and peer pressure in voting. (And remember: this doesn't actually increase turnout.)

Vote-by-mail increases the risks, doesn't effect turnout, and removes the secret ballot. But at least it's cheaper, I guess?

I do agree that online voting increases the risks monumentally, though. Even the much-lauded Estonian system is fundamentally flawed.

Comment LEDs (Score 1) 278

I bought two cases of LEDs for $2.99 each at Costco (one 60W equiv, one 75W) . Yep, $2.99. I replaced every bulb, inside and outside my house and it's really nice. The color is the same all over the house, and knowing I won't have to change one till I'm well past 60 is VERY Cool.

Comment Re:if you want your day in court (Score 1, Insightful) 215

> Why does the legal system allow settling class action suits?

Because when all the basic facts are the same, it makes *a lot* more sense to have one trial covering 64,000 victims than it does to have 64,000 trials. The *only* people who benefit from having all those unnecessary trials are the lawyers. If anything, class actions are less profitable for lawyers than the alternative.

Furthermore, unlike this case (where each plantiff suffered substantial harm: tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars each), imagine a case where the harm suffered is small-but-nonzero. (For example, a few years back, the music CDs with the rootkits on them. For most people, the harm is the cost of the CD, around $15. Maybe twice to four times that if you want to include the cost of rootkit removal) In those cases, nobody in their right mind is going to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to file a lawsuit to recover $15. So the victim's choice is a class action suit or nothing at all.

Submission + - Heartbleed: Serious OpenSSL zero day vulnerability revealed ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: ZDNet reports: New security holes are always showing up. The latest one, the so-called Heartbleed Bug in the OpenSSL cryptographic library, is an especially bad one. The flaw can potentially be used to reveal not just the contents of a secured-message, such as a credit-card transaction over HTTPS, but the primary and secondary SSL keys themselves. This data could then, in theory, be used as a skeleton keys to bypass secure servers without leaving a trace that a site had been hacked.

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