Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Submission + - SPAM: Prosecutorial Misconduct is Now a Felony in California 1

schwit1 writes: Along with signing a major asset forfeiture reform bill last week, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law making it a felony for prosecutors to intentionally withhold evidence.

Under the new law, prosecutors who alter or intentionally withhold evidence from defense counsels can face up to three years in prison. Previously, prosecutorial misconduct in California was only a misdemeanor. Courts were statutorily required to report misconduct to the state bar association, but advocates of the bill say the laws were rarely enforced.

"When a prosecutor intentionally withholds exculpatory evidence, an unknowing and innocent defendant can be convicted, sentenced, and incarcerated for a long time," California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, a group of criminal defense lawyers that supported the bill, told The Los Angeles Times. "These bad-acting prosecutors rarely, if ever, face any actually consequences for their actions."

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Verizon trying to abandon copper (arstechnica.com)

Caviller writes: A internal letter from Verizon released by the CWA union shows that Verizon does not want to maintain their copper infrastructure. The union says that Verizon is telling techs to replace the users phone with their VoiceLInk service if the problem appears to be in their cable plant. Verizon says that their number one concern is to get their customer's service working again but the memo says otherwise. Is Verizon abandoning copper to push more people to the more profitable wireless service?

Submission + - Google Fiber reportedly told to cut half its staff to offset subscriber shortfal (zdnet.com)

walterbyrd writes: Alphabet CEO Larry Page is not happy with the speed of Google Fiber's rollout and last month told the unit's chief Craig Barratt to halve the unit's headcount to 500 and cut costs, sources told The Information.
Yet for all the costs sunk into Google Fiber, the service only had around 200,000 subscribers by the end of 2014, according to The Information, a figure that is well short of the five million hoped for within five years.

Submission + - American Bar Association votes to DRM the law, put it behind a EULA (boingboing.net)

schwit1 writes: Rogue archivist Carl Malamud writes, "I just got back from the big debate on is free law like free beer that has been brewing for months at the American Bar Association over the question of who gets to read public safety codes and on what terms."

In my remarks I made the point that this resolution was perhaps well-intentioned, but bought into a really dangerous idea that somehow DRM-based access to the law from an exclusive private provider is "good enough." I was actually joined by the standards establishment in arguing strenuously that "read only access" simply doesn't exist and DRM is futile. A law is either public or it isn't. (And if a law isn't public, it isn't a law!)


Comment Re:Rhetorical... (Score 1) 247

For the highest bidder they will hold the games anywhere. The Olympics are just a scam for the uber rich to make money off of unpaid athletes hoping for stardom.

I partially agree, the Olympics overall have become incredibly commercial and care more about profit than anything else. But I disagree on two points. First, for some sports (swimming, diving, track and field/athletics to name a few), the Olympics are really their "spotlight" event and are important to the athletes - sure there are worlds every year but it's the only time they really get good media coverage. Second, the Olympics haven't "belonged" solely to unpaid athletes in a long time now. I can't remember exactly when the IOC first started allowing it except it was sometime after 1984, but most if not all sports allow professionals to compete in the Olympics. Some of whom are making 10s of millions each year.

Comment Re:Just two words (Score 1) 190

This is a relatively huge deposit, agreed. We do waste a whole lot of helium. In fact, it may be that most of what's wasted is actually from natural gas fields not capturing the helium "byproduct".

I think you grossly understate that chilling it out of the air would be "signficantly" more expensive than recovering from ground reserves, it's far more expensive than that. A small helium recovery system for NMR/MRI instruments costs on the order of $200k installed, ignoring ongoing maintenance. We looked into one a few years back as helium prices rose - I manage 3 NMR instruments and we use ~60L/week of liquid helium keeping the cold - and the payback period for a recovery system at then current prices was on the order of 15 years again ignoring maintenance. That may be more like 12 years now. And that's for separating and reliquefying helium that's a very significant portion of the captured gas, not something that a small fraction of 1%. Economics get better as you use and recover more. I will say though that the newest large magnets come with built in reliquefaction systems - they still take several to many thousands of liters of liquid helium to cool and energize, but only require a small periodic topping up.

Pricing can be a bit tricky, but we pay ~$12/liter for liquid helium which is on the lower end of retail. One liter of liquid becomes something like 720 liters as a gas, so your per cubic meter price a couple of posts down is a bit low, it should be $15-20. A full party balloon has a negligible amount, though, if you figure 1/2 liter/balloon my one liter of liquid would fill almost 1500 of them, or about $0.01 each. I've filled a couple of dozen from one of our gas cylinders and the amount used didn't even register on the regulator.

Comment Re:Just amazing (Score 1) 198

My work password rules are set/enforced by hospital IT (I don't work in the hospital, but we unfortunately share IT). The rules are basically 10 characters minimum with 2 upper, 2 lower, 1 or 2 numbers, 1 non-alpha, no embedded dictionary words, some minimum level of difference compared to your last 10 passwords, and changed every 6 months. This is why you see things written down on sticky notes.

Submission + - Snap Packages Become the Universal Binary Format for All GNU/Linux Distributions 1

prisoninmate writes: Canonical informed us that they've been working for some time with developers from various major GNU/Linux distributions to make the Snap package format universal for all OSes. Snap is an innovation from Canonical created specifically for the Snappy technology used in Snappy Ubuntu Core, a slimmed-down version of Ubuntu designed from the ground up to be deployed on various embedded and IoT (Internet of Things) devices. Starting with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), Canonical launched the Snap packages for the desktop and server too. At the moment, we're being informed that the Snap package format is working natively on popular GNU/Linux operating systems like Arch Linux, Fedora, Debian GNU/Linux, OpenWrt, as well as Ubuntu and its official flavors, including Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu GNOME, Ubuntu Kylin, and Lubuntu.

Submission + - Online Loans Made in China Using Nude Pictures as Collateral

HughPickens.com writes: There is more than one way to get a student loan in China as People's Daily Online reports that many Chinese university students use their nude pictures as IOUs on online lending platforms, putting themselves at the risks of having everybody – including their parents – see them naked. Borrowers are also required to upload pictures of their ID cards and report their family information, including their address and cell phone numbers. "The nude photos will be made public if the borrowers fail to repay their debts with interest," an insider was quoted as saying. The credit varies based on the borrower’s education background. Usually an undergraduate student can receive 15,000 yuan ($2,277) in credit, while those studying at famous universities as well as doctorate students can receive even larger loans. Snapshots of threatening collection messages have also gone viral, with a photo of a female borrower and a message reading how the lender would send the photo and her naked video footage to her family members if she could not pay back her 10,000 yuan borrowed on an annual interest rate of 24 percent within a week. “Naked IOUs started long ago. Not only university students but many others also borrowed money with nude pictures,” says insider surnamed Zhang. Zuo Shenggao from Jingshi Law Firm says that nude photos are actually invalid as collateral in terms of laws. "Nude photos are not property. It is in the category of reputation rights," says Shenggao. "If anyone threatens to publish the photos online, they will violate the clients' reputation. At the same time, they are also spreading pornographic material. Both are illegal and they will commit double offence,"

Submission + - Laid-Off Americans, Required to Zip Lips on Way Out, Grow Bolder (nytimes.com)

Indigo writes: New York Times: American corporations are under new scrutiny from federal lawmakers after well-publicized episodes in which the companies laid off American workers and gave the jobs to foreigners on temporary visas.

But while corporate executives have been outspoken in defending their labor practices before Congress and the public, the American workers who lost jobs to global outsourcing companies have been largely silent.

Until recently. Now some of the workers who were displaced are starting to speak out, despite severance agreements prohibiting them from criticizing their former employers.

Submission + - Congress moves to limit civil forfeiture (dailysignal.com)

schwit1 writes: A bill now moving through both houses of Congress will place some limits on the ability of state and federal governments to confiscate private property.

The bills most important provision will be to shift the burden of proof to the government, not the citizen. However,

Unfortunately, while the DUE PROCESS Act contains many of the procedural reforms that The Heritage Foundation and a broad coalition of organizations have called for in our recent Meese Center report, “Arresting Your Property,” it does not tackle two of the most perverse aspects of forfeiture law: the financial incentives that underlie modern civil forfeiture practices and the profit-sharing programs known as “equitable sharing.”

Under federal law, 100 percent of the proceeds of successful forfeitures are retained by the federal law enforcement organization that executed the seizure. This money is available to be spent by these agencies without congressional oversight, meaning they can—and do—self-finance. This profiteering incentive is extended to state and local agencies through programs administered by the Justice and Treasury departments known as “equitable sharing,” which allow property seized at the state and local level to be transferred to federal authorities for forfeiture under federal law. The feds then return up to 80 percent of the resulting revenues to the originating agency.

Thus, federal law provides every law enforcement agency in the country with a direct financial incentive to seize cash and property—sometimes at the expense of investigating, arresting, and prosecuting actual criminals—and simultaneously encourages state and local agencies to circumvent state laws that are more protective of property rights or restrictive as to how forfeiture proceeds may be spent than the federal standard.

The simple fact is that civil forfeiture is already blatantly illegal, as per the plain words in the fifth amendment to the Constitution:

No person . . .[shall] be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

It is a horrible tragedy that so few people today respect these plain words.

Slashdot Top Deals

System checkpoint complete.

Working...