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Comment Re:Define "Emergency" (Score 1) 109

I've called 911 several times and asked to be transferred to "the local non-emergency police line for town X", and every time they were completely fine with that. Works great when you have a time-sensitive police issue in a town that you don't have the local number for, and it only takes the operator a few seconds to manage.

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:I'll get pilloried for saying this but (Score 1) 123

the point is that inventions are valuable - and profit is an excellent motivator for innovation. The statutory balance (as opposed to market-driven licensing, which is its own balancing mechanism) between the interests of the inventor and the interests of the public happens when the patents are granted a reasonable but not indefinite exclusivity to the work.

Yes, progress happens - but without an impetus to the inventor(s), it is not always inevitable - and certainly not within short timeframes.

Comment Re: Only COMMUNISM can save us (Score 0, Offtopic) 188

We need a revolutionary workers party that Lenin and Trotsky would call their own.

No! What we need is an all powerful nationalistic dictator who can "feel" terrorism and wave his satanic wand and do dark magic to fix everything!



What's awesome is how disconnected from the truth your comment is.

How is life on planet angry loon?

this is the worst thread I've seen on Slashdot this year, I had to be part of it.


give it a week.

Comment Re: Not sure I understand this. (Score 1) 435

wtf, did you even read the post that you're knee-jerking about? I never made an argument about the merits of the ACA, so how can it be "wrong"?

In fact, your explanation of how you think the ACA works is an almost exact representation of my own example on how Apple can be forced to comply. You are in essence making the exact same observation I made, but are somehow blaming me for making an argument I never actually made.

Let me water it down for you to make it simpler for you to understand:

The federal government can levy a tax in one of two ways: First, via a bill passed by Congress and signed by the President, establishing a new tax by law. There is now SCOTUS-settled precedent that individuals can be compelled to act a certain way or they "lose their tax deduction". That's how the ACA works. You get taxed but then are given a reprieve if you take specific action, although it's quite a bit more complicated than that. Since this has now been confirmed by SCOTUS as a legitimate form of taxation, it's plausible to have such a law drafted to compel all radiotelephone manufacturers - including Apple - to comply, and it could happen especially if Congress were to pass a bill without actually reading the bill first (this, incidentally, also has precedence connected to the ACA). Second, by executive order unilaterally signed by the President enacting regulation enacting "fees" on any regulated activity. A phone is a radio, and radios are regulated by the FCC. A simple order requiring "any radiotelephone that utilizes encryption must contain a device or method capable of allowing the government to decrypt any information stored therein" could be enacted without the approval of Congress, with the tax/fee/penalty for noncompliance being anything the President wanted. That could happen tomorrow.

The whole point of my post had nothing to do with the ACA (that was just used as an example of how easy it would be to get support from SCOTUS if it was ever challenged that high), but it had everything to do with how Apple can actually be forced to comply. Apple doesn't have to be explicitly named, either. Hooray for liberty.

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I bet the human brain is a kludge. -- Marvin Minsky