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Comment Re:Charged with "making terroristic threat" (Score 1) 743

(a) A person commits an offense if he threatens to commit any offense involving violence to any person or property with intent to:"

That "with intent to" applies to all of a(1) through a(6).

First, I don't think he was actually making a threat to commit an offense to begin with, given the apparent sarcasm.
Second, I don't think there was intent to do any of 1 through 6. I think the intent was to sarcastically contradict the statement he was responding to.

Comment Re:My goodness (Score 1) 417

Your understanding that you have to be a suspect, or that you have to be on trial, is incorrect.

There was a case that went to the supreme court where a witness - not the person on trial, but a witness - took the fifth. The prosecution gave the witness immunity. The witness then testified, and none of the testimony was incriminating.

The defense brought this up on appeal trying to claim that because what the witness testified to was not incriminating, the witness should not have been able to take the fifth.

The supreme court ruled that the witness taking the fifth was fine. The standard was not that the person taking the fifth was the one on trial, nor that it was actually even a trial, nor that the person testifying was guilty or innocent.

I don't remember off the top of my head what the exact wording was, but it boiled down to whether or not the witness could reasonably think that truthful answers might be incriminating.

In this particular case, it was a murder trial, and the defense was that this witness was the one-armed man. It was entirely reasonable for the witness to think that the defense might attempt to ask questions for which truthful answers might be incriminating, despite the fact that the witness asserted innocence and when given immunity, did not actually give incriminating answers.

Comment Re:"No Insight" - What they really mean (Score 3, Informative) 262

They are not protesting that they don't spy on U.S. citizens. They are protesting that they don't "target" U.S. citizens. Even if true, it does not mean that they are not spying on U.S. citizens. It means that they consider any spying on U.S. citizens as incidental, rather than targeted. "We're going to take the data on everyone, but it's ok, you're not the target" is not reassuring.

Comment Re: Have u thought about.. (Score 1) 524

I didn't state it outright in my previous post but the point I'm trying to make here is:

You cannot absolutely guarantee that there will be zero defects.
Reducing the defects present in an end product takes time, testing, fixing.
What you can do is decide up front how much of your resources you want to put into reducing defects, which basically makes the decision depend on what you are doing.

It is (or should be) a whole lot like the decision you'd make in a security context where you weigh the cost of a loss against the cost of protection.

This is not, however, to say that programmers should be saying 'there's going to be defects anyway so why worry'.

Comment Re: Have u thought about.. (Score 1) 524

Is 17 detected bugs, 0 bugs?

The reality here is that for what NASA is doing, they need to go to that level - but doing that does not cost the same in terms of time, etc as not doing that, and as you can see, they did not end up with a totality of zero defects.

If someone wants to go to that level to have someone build them a website, sure, it can be done - but they shouldn't expect it to be cheap. You don't need to buy a million dollar safe to protect a thousand dollar wristwatch.

Comment Re: Have u thought about.. (Score 1) 524

Customers often complain about "bugs" that are actually not bugs but stuff they want changed without having to pay for it, so they call it a "bug" rather than what it actually should be called, which is a "change request".

"until we get toward the end of a project and the customer is complaining about bugs" leads me to believe that this could be what is occurring, although, of course, I don't have enough information to be certain.

If that *is* what is occurring then what should happen is it should be managed by explaining to the customer that no, that is not what you asked for, so it is a change request, not a bug, and everybody should get paid for doing it. If it's something that's not well defined in the initial requirements documentation and the customer now wants different-than-implemented behavior, well, then that's what it is and it still isn't a "bug".

(Again, I don't have enough info to absolutely say this is the case - but it certainly could be and what is given is consistent with that)

Comment Re:Not surprising ... (Score 1) 139

Mumbling to myself, I'm wondering if there's a way to show that they're not actually meeting the good faith requirement due to a known false positive rate - and if there is, does that let anyone do anything about it legally?

(If your copyright bot has a known-to-you false positive rate how can you in good faith claim that material is infringing simply on the basis that bot claims it is so?)

Comment Re:"Excessive fines" -- as government does it... (Score 2) 225

I once got a letter from the NTTA which purported to be a 'Final Notice' when I'd never previously received any notice whatsoever, for a motorcycle going through a toll booth in Dallas that was not, in fact, my motorcycle.

You couldn't tell what the plate number actually was in the picture (although you could tell it was not my motorcycle due to the tail light positioning relative to the plate). It appeared that they made a list of everyone who had a motorcycle with a plate number matching the parts of the plate they could read, and were cycling through those people, sending the letter out and sending it to the next person on the list when that person could show it wasn't them.

The letter, of course, emphasized legal consequences for not paying an $80 fine for what amounted to $1.50 in tolls.

Comment Re:That's nice (Score 2) 717

Problem is, (1). surely the Police should be sorting out these problems rather than individuals taking the law into their own hands

1) Defending yourself is not taking the law into your own hands. Even in "castle doctrine" states, the legal standard is generally a "reasonable person" standard, not a "whatever the guy decided/believed at the time is ok" standard - which is something that people critical of castle doctrine tend to completely ignore.
2) The police have no obligation whatsoever to do anything at all. They have no legal obligation to protect specific individuals, except in cases where they've specifically promised such protection. Their duty is to society as a whole, not any individual. The law on this varies state to state, of course, but it's pretty generally true. That they are not legally obligated to does not mean they will not try, but leading into the next point ...
3) It is unrealistic to expect the police to be able to defend you in the first place. They may have too many high priority calls to get to them all. They may not get there in time even if they do respond. This is basically the reason *why* point 2 is the case - and *realistically*, you can expect it to be more likely that they will show up after whatever happened is already over, and less likely that they will be able to show up in time to affect the outcome.

Comment WSJ article title is somewhat misleading. (Score 5, Informative) 276

From that WSJ article: "If your level of mathematical competence is low, plan to raise it, but meanwhile, know that you can do outstanding scientific work with what you have."

I don't really see anything wrong with telling people to still keep thinking about things, find out what they like to study, and get more math. More 'don't let current lack of math get you down' than 'you don't need math at all'.

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