Uriel-238’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Mar 24th, 2017 @ 2:28pm

    Alfa Bank, Ms. Streisand Effect. Ms. Effect, Mr. Bank.

    This is how conspiracy theories keep going and going.

    They could have ignored it and let it go away on its own. But no.

  • Mar 21st, 2017 @ 1:27pm

    Rampage killings

    The rampage incidents are not a problem regarding gun control. Rampage killers extensively pre-plan and typically overprepare. This is to say if you criminalize firearms, they'll just get more creative, and find another engine of destruction perhaps, say, with fertilizer bombs or siphoned gasoline.

    (In fact, some do. They're called arsonists, and they get away more.)

    It's peculiar to me how rampage shooters are the flagship of anti-gun activists. The primary risk of gun ownership is suicide. Suicide is typically not planned, but spontaneous, and a handgun (less so, long arms) provide that easy vector. So if you have a suicide risk in your family, it's better not to have a firearm. About 2/3 of gun deaths in the US are suicides.

    But anti-gun positions are seldom about the protection of life. US drone strike programs kill more than all the guns in the United States. Drone Strikes are rampage killings, wiping out chunks of village at a time, including women and children, bloodily massacred in the worst possible way.

    Only they don't appear in mainstream media. Records of them are kept secret or quickly purged. We call those civilians bugsplats and militants (or the kids fun sized terrorists), and we let them go on in the shadows.

    Our newly elected President is looking to expand our CIA drone-strike programs, incidentally, so that he can use them anywhere, not just in designated War on Terror hotzones.

    So really, it's about keeping the ugliness out of our newsfeeds. So long as kids are dying offscreen, it's okay. So long as they're dying of diabetes or depression, piecemeal, that's the way we like it. Those fatsos were too weak to live, anyway.

    The truth of the matter also is that we suck at deciding what is a danger, whether it's bicycles causing lesbianism or AD&D and Rock-&-Roll as a gateway to Satanism, we're ever eager to decide one thing or another is endangering us. Whether its GMOs or Vaccine preservatives, we're going to freak out.

    And in that light, our outrage about guns and their link to rampage killings is yet another moral panic. You might as well also be protesting pants, as they, too correlate.

  • Mar 20th, 2017 @ 2:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Close one

    Well, if you're actually behaving like a weapon designer, you'll char your bench-vice.

    I take that demolitions scientists only stereotypically have names like Left Ear or Cyclops or Two-fingers.

  • Mar 20th, 2017 @ 1:43pm

    The Trump era illustrates the failure of the old notions of "Loyalty"

    Trump demands loyalty of a classic feudal nature, the loyalty to a king. There's a Persian(?) saying When at noon the Caliph declares it midnight, behold the stars!.

    During the late middle ages we developed the notion of loyalty to a flag -- to a nation as defined by a territory or a people -- rather than the magistrate that governs it. In the United States, patriotism and treason should be defined by loyalty (or disloyalty) to the principles that we have defined as essential to our nation.

    So, whistleblowers act in loyalty to the fundamental principles of the United States (many of which are enshrined, as clearly as could be done in 18th century language, in the Constitution of the United States).

    Considering that most elected and appointed positions (and plenty of hired ones) require an oath to protect and defend the US Constitution, I think loyalty to individuals is misjudgement. It's loyalty to what best serves the nation and its fundamental principles that should be encouraged and rewarded. Sadly, people will fight for loyalty to themselves, whereas those principles don't without champions.

  • Mar 14th, 2017 @ 5:10pm

    It's about time that we start using phones with plausible deniability.

    Phones with encryption that looks like junk data in unused sectors.

    Of course, then they'll just have to detain anyone and everyone who happens to just have a clean phone.

  • Mar 14th, 2017 @ 1:13pm

    Tarring all on the actions of a few

    A ten thousand percent increase in SWAT raids tells me I'm not tarring all the police from the actions of a few.

    The NYC pressure on officers to do Terry stops tells me I'm not tarring all the police from the actions of a few.

    The privileged reviews that law enforcement officers get (in contrast to the lest-than-sixty seconds rest of us get) to determine indictment tells me I'm not tarring all the police from the actions of a few.

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions refusing to read and then declaring mostly anectdotal the reports on human rights violations by law enforcement in the US tells me I'm not tarring all the police from the actions of a few.

    The FBI's policy to refuse to report shootings by officers to the BJS -- despite congressional mandate -- tells me I'm not tarring all the police from the actions of a few.

    The police unions' desperate lobbying efforts to cease advances in accountability and culpability of law enforcement agents tells me I'm not tarring all the police from the actions of a few

    I know officers who are true believers in the To Protect And Serve motto. I know good officers, so I know good officers exist. But remember, as the mistrial of Officer Randall Kerrick has shown us (as well as the short list of convicted officers) this is a systemic problem, not something you can blame on bad apples.

    No, rather, law enforcement internal affairs was supposed to manage their own. And. They. Don't. The precincts circle the wagons every single time. It doesn't help that the bad apples are not brought to justice, and then typically keep their jobs (at most, in another precinct.)

    None of this is about tarring all the police from the actions of a few

    We have bad apples throughout the Department of Justice, right up to Sessions, himself. We have judges that collude with bad apples, because they'd rather see a hundred innocent get incarcerated than a guilty suspect go free. And we don't know how often they get the culprit on first try, but if the various exoneration projects are to be believed, it's somewhere between a third and a half of inmates.

    The bad apples have, this time, spoiled the barrel. We're beyond tossing the bad ones and need to salvage any good ones in a whole 'nother barrel.

  • Mar 14th, 2017 @ 12:40pm

    A statement of intent

    You seem to forget that we are living in an era in which white nationalism is being normalized and hate crimes against marginalized groups have accelerated.

    So, no, while I can appreciate good comedy, even comedy about controversy, part of the art of craft is being able to joke about it without deriding those who are being marginalized. And yes, it's tricky. Sometimes you have to know your audience.

    Seinfeld and Chris Rock have, from time to time both been able to do exactly that. And Chris has intentionally trod up to the line. They know those risks.

  • Mar 14th, 2017 @ 6:53am

    Drone Strikes

    ...and now Trump is looking to loosen rules of engagement regarding targeted killings with drone strikes.

    Same as the old boss.

  • Mar 14th, 2017 @ 6:38am

    Re: Re: Did you really just suggest that gays enjoy getting assaulted by the police?

    In this era? No. It wasn't just a joke. It was a statement of intent.

  • Mar 14th, 2017 @ 5:48am

    But some animals are more equal than others.

    Animal Farm, written in 1945 by George Orwell.

  • Mar 14th, 2017 @ 5:44am

    Attacks on the blue, a hate crime.

    Lawmakers in New Jersey and Texas have tried to implement laws to do exactly that (dunno where else). So it's certainly been tried.

  • Mar 14th, 2017 @ 5:40am

    "The numbers don't support it."

    Do tell, then. Let's see some numbers. Show us the counties in which the police have been dropping like flies.

    2016 was a bad year for the Dallas Police Department, for instance. But that's an anomaly. Here are the rest of Dallas' fallen.

    So, yeah, show me where in the US where the War on Cops really is.

  • Mar 13th, 2017 @ 6:10pm

    PS: Regarding sexuality

    Gays just like partners of their own sex rather than of the opposite sex.

    It's bottoms in BDSM, specifically masochists that enjoy heavier degrees of stimulation, and then they tend to like specific things, and in a safe consensual setting.

    There are rare incidents of people who like fearing for their life, and getting hit hard, but even they don't want to be strangled to death under a jackboot, or shot in the back, which seems to be the kind of play preferred by malicious police officers.

  • Mar 13th, 2017 @ 6:06pm

    Did you really just suggest that gays enjoy getting assaulted by the police?

    Part of the reason minority communities are high-crime areas, as investigations of Ferguson have informed us, is that the police go there and harass civilians with petty crimes. In Ferguson's specific case it was part of a fining racket in which fines were compounded by making the warrant resolution process obtuse, and making it difficult for workers to appear when summoned.

    Law enforcement can follow just about anyone and within ten minutes find a reason to detain them for something. And then according to the Department of Justice, anything can be probable cause, from being too calm to being too nervous.

    Terry stops have been ruled time and again as a violation of fourth amendment rights. And we've seen how they're used disproportionately against minorities. They're not random stops in that a computer tags every 500 + RND (1000) head for a Terry stop. Essentially, the officer gets to choose who he wants to harass. And that's the problem.

    So...yeah, go easy on the simplified preconceptions.

  • Mar 13th, 2017 @ 5:08pm

    Re: "Don't commit a crime"

    Once an officer has it in his mind you are guilty, it's only a matter of time before they figure out for what [even if it wasn't for the crime they were originally investigating. They don't care.]

  • Mar 13th, 2017 @ 5:07pm

    "Don't commit a crime"

    HAH! You apparently haven't lived in the poorer neighborhoods of the US, or been a person of color. Or been in the vicinity of a crime as the same approximate build and sex of a suspect.

    Once an officer has it in his mind you are guilty, it's only a matter of time before they figure out what. You are committing crimes right now. Every American averages three felonies a day (and you might be surprised what is regarded as a felony).

    So if an officer is wanting a collar or doesn't like you defiling his beat, or wants to fuck your spouse, or wants that sweet, sweet car you are driving, you are, but for the grace of a small handful of decent judges, doomed to a few years in prison. Because they'll make your life Hell no matter how clean you are.

    No, the best way not to get killed by a cop: don't be black. If you are black, stay off the streets. And even then someone will SWAT your house thanks to a false informant just out of spite.

  • Mar 13th, 2017 @ 1:29pm

    They make it home.

    You're speaking to the rumor and not the actual numbers.

    In fact, I'd wonder how a long commute is in rush-hour traffic in inclement weather compares to a year of being in law enforcement.

    When I started playing Payday 2 (a heist game set in Washington DC) I noticed on long missions the police just kept on coming, and it raised the question how much I and my buddies were (virtually) cutting into DC precinct manpower, or contributing to the Fallen Officers Memorial. It turns out we were often doubling it. It speaks to the violence of the game, yes, but more surprising is how few officers have died in the line of duty in Washington DC (what was at least for some of the time the murder capital of the nation).

    For instance, the last death in the line of duty was in 2010. Since then, 100% of the police officers in Washington DC precincts have come home.

  • Mar 13th, 2017 @ 6:44am

    Others concluding you're not doing right.

    I suspect we civilians are at far greater risk of having such conclusions drawn against us by the DoJ then police officers having to face a jury at all.

  • Mar 13th, 2017 @ 6:42am

    Subdermal RFIDs

    I doubt subdermals will be mandated anytime soon. We encourage pets to be chipped because they often don't carry ID if they escape their collars.

    We also don't yet have the infrastructure in place (e.g. a scanner on every bus or street car, and we're already developing technology to block unwanted scans of RFIDs that are more common (e.g. credit card chips.)

    So this is a very, very low tech compared to obedience chips or even the more dreaded mandated GPS tracker that are now used to monitor the movements of felons on parole.

  • Mar 11th, 2017 @ 12:36pm

    Mandated Obedience Devices

    I wrote a blog piece about mandated obedience implants.

    TL:DR The devices we've seen in fiction (e.g. Star Trek) are of the worst kind: No warning and it just kills you. (Even Minority Report sentenced precriminals to prison).

    The advantage of a mandated obedience system is that it could warn someone in advance of breaking the law, and then intercept the behavior. No further punishment is required.

    The problem with such a system are the privacy issues we have with the NSA mass surveillance system or even with Google in that it would be prone to abuse. It would also be prone to unnecessary restrictions as magistrates decide to impose their own values on the people.

    It's mandated obedience devices like shock collars are something we wouldn't want to consider in today's political climate (the world over!) but in another era, another time, with a system that could compensate for the temptation to abuse it, it could actually work really well.

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