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  • Jan 16, 2022 @ 08:21am

    I have actually seen a cop pinpoint weed in a moving vehicle. I was a witness to a purse snatching in London and while a police officer (a UK one, not a US one, so significant differences here) was taking my statement a car drove past. He turned around and immediately called it into one of the cars that was searching the neighbourhood for the purse snatchers.

    I have no sense of smell, so I had to ask him what had just happened. He looked at me like I was crazy - apparently, the weed was so strong that we should all have been slightly high at that point.

    I do see the differences between the completely unbelievable story above and the thing that I saw happen - I'm just saying that I've seen it happen, albeit with a cop standing on a quiet street corner in the middle of the night.

  • Oct 10, 2020 @ 09:19am

    Re: Re: A question about US defamation

    Thanks very much. I figured that Tom Hanks wouldn't pursue such action even if he could. After all, thanks to the Streisand effect, he would lose even if he won. Also, his generally nice and chill persona is why I picked him as my example. I could swear that I saw somewhere that the actual malice standard no longer applied in the case of criminal activity, but I'm perfectly comfortable with being proven wrong. I live in the UK, where our libel laws are... mental. I think that an actual malice standard generally makes more sense.

  • Oct 09, 2020 @ 02:38am

    A question about US defamation

    This is just a question so I understand, not a veiled suggestion of what should happen:

    Given that the QAnon conspiracy is accusing public figures of multiple crimes - e.g. child abuse - do the public figures still need to meet an actual malice standard to sue for defamation?

    Legally, is there anything stopping Tom Hanks try take down QAnon by suing anyone who posted that he was involved in child abuse? I realise that there are all sorts of practical things that would get in the way, but I'm just wondering if he could prevail in court.

    Once again - I am not suggesting this. I'm not from the US and just curious.

  • Sep 15, 2020 @ 09:36am

    Well it's kind of correct

    At least in the UK, beer actually is the most trademark thing ever (or at least the longest running). The very first registered trademark was granted to Bass in 1876. According to the myth, their lawyer slept on the steps of the trademark office.

    Apparently, beer counterfeiting was a thing back then. Stunningly, that is a serious statement, not sarcasm.

  • Jun 19, 2019 @ 08:07am

    Re: Re: I no longer agree with you on this

    I find that slippery slope arguments tend towards the bullshit. My comments can't be construed as actively harming anyone. You could make the argument that a preponderance of people arguing my side could go too far, but that requires a logical leap. I'm not promoting terrorism. There's a world of difference. The slope isn't that slippery.

  • Jun 19, 2019 @ 04:02am

    I no longer agree with you on this

    I used to think that your position on this issue was the correct one. But as a New Zealander I have a different perspective on this now. I don't mean "This one is special, so free speech just doesn't apply here," I mean that this is on the other side of the line.

    First, NZ doesn't have the free speech absolutism of the US. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. There are definitely times where we go too far the other way, but for comparison, leaked US State department memos complained that we had too much respect for free speech, so we aren't that bad.

    If the footage were security camera footage, or shot by observers, then I'd have more sympathy for your position. But this footage is itself part of an act of terrorism. That is different from e.g. the footage of the twin towers, which was shot by observers. This is footage shot by the terrorist. Spreading this video is his goal. He's just plead not guilty so that he has the chance to draw even more attention to his acts. Every time the video is shared, his act of terrorism increases in size. The primary goal of sharing it is to recruit others to his cause and inflict more damage on his victims; even those who themselves share it without this goal are furthering his.

    Emotionally, I would like to silence him completely. Try him in a secret court and release none of his testimony. Gag him completely. Deny him visitors. Hold him in solitary for the rest of his miserable life. But that isn't how justice or our country should work, and I hope he can be prevented from preaching and hurting the victims families further without compromising the things that make our justice system work.

    So you're free to disagree. I understand your position on free speech and I respect it. But I hope that the points above make at least some sense to you. And if they don't, well it's our country and we'll run it our way. You're free to disagree and say what you want. :)

  • Sep 25, 2018 @ 11:40pm

    I've worked out their strategy

    The primary consumer of Monster energy drinks? Computer nerds.
    The primary consumer of Techdirt? Computer nerds.

    The endless stream of pointless lawsuits is a deliberate attempt to leverage the Streisand effect to reach their target market through Techdirt. YOU are providing them with free* advertising.

    *Free does not include millions in wasted legal fees.

  • Sep 06, 2017 @ 12:47am

    Drugs in eSports

    I was at an eSports gambling conference where they spoke about the laws relating to doping. They're actively planning to ensure that only drugs that enhance performance are excluded.

    They aren't planning to test for THC or steroids, for instance, because neither boost performance.

    Ritalin, on the other hand, is right out. Coffee is more likely to be banned than steroids! They explicitly said that they aren't there to enforce drug laws or moral codes.

    Adding it to the olympics might force them to follow the more rigid "no getting high ever" rules, which could actually be bad for eSports in general.

  • Jul 24, 2017 @ 12:53pm

    It's because United Breaks Guitars

    Seriously, it's because they know they treat your baggage like crap and they don't want the responsibility of protecting priceless comics. The insurance claims - even assuming no fraud - would be a huge drain on time and money.

  • Jan 23, 2017 @ 06:00am

    I hadn't seen the funny comment about authors 31 years after death. Based the current record, it would seem that 4 days would be long enough to be sure that they aren't coming back, right?

  • Dec 15, 2016 @ 03:30pm

    Just because they can't drive themselves safely

    Doesn't mean they can't drive themselves. If the engineer weren't in the car, it would still work and drive itself. Therefore it falls under the regulation.

    And as a person who also uses the roads, requiring basic evidence that the systems actually work seems like a sound idea to me. Yes, yes, slippery slopes and all that, but as I said above - it really is already captured.

    Finally, monitoring doesn't work. Humans who aren't driving a car don't have the attention or reflexes to correct. Assisted driving (where the human is expected to take over) is almost certainly going to be worse than going straight to full self-drive.

  • Aug 25, 2015 @ 06:01am

    Pity about their choice of lawyer

    Larry Klayman's a dishonest idiot. He makes the guys from Prenda look competent and trustworthy.

    He's currently representing Joe Arpaio. Enough said.

  • May 21, 2014 @ 03:13am

    Word choice

    "The execution, if you'll forgive the synergy of word-choice, of the execution means everything"

    I'll forgive the use of the word execution, but using "S**ergy in cold blood is a capital offence. Please join the queue for the random cocktail of chemicals that may or may not cause an agonising death.

  • Nov 14, 2013 @ 02:36am

    "What the country's TPP negotiators are effectively doing here is to surrender key rights that belong to all New Zealanders, for the sake of some minor, and probably temporary, financial gains for a single industry with powerful lobbyists."

    You've completely misunderstood NZ here.

    This isn't "a small industry with powerful lobbyists" this is a massive industry that employs - directly or indirectly - the vast majority of the electorate.

    The government is wrong, but it didn't need any lobbying. We are almost completely dependent on Agriculture and Tourism, because we haven't developed our high tech industry properly. Yes, we could make some long term gains (which I would like) by actually protecting our creative and copyright interests, but that would be political suicide for either of the major parties.

  • Jun 07, 2013 @ 09:38am

    Or it could be even more machiavellian...

    I think the story is probably legit, but once you've gotten that far, why not go full on conspiracy theorist:
    The administration was prepared for the eventual leak of the telco data. They then pile on a deliberate leak of a much more extreme breach that will grab the headlines. This is eventually shown to be false, the journalists involved are discredited and the telco thing is forgotten as collateral damage.

    I don't know how much confirmation the Guardian could have gotten before running with this story - after what happened to Bradley Manning, there can't be too many people willing to blow the lid on something this big. Therefore, it could all come down to something easily forged.

    I'm not normally a conspiracy theorist - the twin towers were an act of terrorism, climate change is real, and the only chemicals in the chemtrails are flouride :) - but this story is either true (in which case it's a conspiracy) or it's a distraction (in which case it's a conspiracy).

    Either way, this is all seriously messed up.

  • Jun 20, 2012 @ 05:01am

    Actually, he would have been a terrible teacher

    My MSc supervisor had a Post Doc supervisor who was taught physics by Einstien during WW2 (he couldn't work on the Manhattan project because he was German).

    He said that Einstein would miss lectures, read directly from his notes, repeat the same lectures he'd given the day before and didn't mark the work they submitted.

    I'm not arguing the point made above - this had nothing to do with his qualifications, and more to do with the fact that he just didn't care - I just think it's interesting.

  • Mar 05, 2012 @ 04:08am

    It's because of how they see geeks

    The problem is that people tend to divide the world into people who understand computers and people who don't. The distinction between a games programmer and a DBA is lost on them.

    For that reason, the idea of setting up a department of people like McGee from NCIS, who seems to know everything about everything. This means that when they have a problem with mortgages, the cybercrime dept can swing into action, etc.

    The problem is that they have failed to understand that a) McGee is fictional. b) Computers are not separate from normal crime. Everything uses computers now. I think it's scary that they think it's acceptable to have investigators who aren't tech savvy, and to have investigative divisions without expert tech support.

    They would be better off having specialist mortgage fraud investigators, some of whom are experts in the computer problems mortgage fraud investigators face dedicated to the area, than expert geeks with only a hazy understanding of the specific problems of mortgage fraud being shared across multiple departments.

  • Mar 28, 2011 @ 09:45am

    Re: The ROI was there..

    "According to their overly optimistic calculations, the ROI was there so they opened up the check book and started writing."

    It probably cost them 40 million to have an accountant write all the zeros...

  • Oct 15, 2010 @ 10:07am

    Re: Re: Because...

    Law school is vocational - like engineering or medicine. They aren't easy, but the purpose is to produce Lawyers, Doctors and Engineers.

    The purpose of other academic disciplines is often more abstract - what career is a philosophy degree preparing you for?

  • Oct 15, 2010 @ 02:55am


    The problem is that self-plagiarising leads to being a bad academic.

    Lecturers at a good university aren't preparing you to be a . They're teaching you skills that will make you a good academic in your field. Any real world competence gained is a side effect.

    Self plagiarising is bad for many reasons. Consider a freelance journalist who breaks a story in the NY Times. They get recognition for producing it. Great. Then they break exactly the same story - not a follow up piece, literally the same thing - 6 weeks later in the Wall Street journal (for some reason, the editors haven't been reading each other's papers). Then they do it again elsewhere...

    Is this a good journalist? Well, they clearly wrote a good story originally. They did find a good market for it, something they could make a profit from repeatedly. But, like a comic who steals jokes, they aren't really adding anything new to the conversation.

    Apart from the loss of reputation they should suffer for this, it's an unnecessary waste of reviewers' time, and placing strain on an already overworked peer review system.

    Publishing a follow up piece is fine, but passing the same work off over and over again is just a lazy way to boost your publication count, and not something any good academic would respect.

    When you discuss the functional benefits of repeating paperwork and discussing self plagiarism like we are living in the real world, instead of in a university, you are missing the point of the university.

    I used to think that self-plagiarism was fine. Learning why it wasn't was an important step in becoming a good academic.

    The idea of making revisions and updates makes sense, but blatant copying of previous work is academically dishonest. Real world be damned - this is the realm of the ivory tower, and here we set rules for our benefit.

    Of course, conceding that we were talking about the real world, you have only your own reputation to consider, and in some, maybe even many, cases it makes sense. But we're at uni - at least try to understand the logic behind it before you criticise it.

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