* Posts by Hardrada

112 publicly visible posts • joined 9 Apr 2015


Musk's mighty missile is ready for launch once FAA says OK


Re: Premature Stackulation?

"I think there might be some people concerned about the idea of a privately launched rocket with a nuke inside it."

They might have a point. It would more prudent to have two, in case one fails.


Re: Premature Stackulation?

"It's just possible that there isn't a viable, detachable dumpable FTS design. If that proves to be the case, then StarShip is an impossible concept."

It seems that an old W54 would address all of those issues quite nicely :) No need to detatch it, since it could do the job from anywhere inside the heat shield and wouldn't be exposed to the heat of re-entry. The FTS would then be available during re-entry if needed, and would be fully re-usable after a successful mission.

Uncle Sam accuses SpaceX of not considering asylees and refugees for employment


Yunfortunately s'rite.

Foxconn founder Terry Gou to run for Taiwan's presidency


While they didn't get the initial billions promised in the deal because of non performance, they are still collecting...

As noted in your link, Foxconn isn't collecting money from the government of Wisconsin. They were allowed to buy building materials from local suppliers without paying local sales tax, a waiver equal to ~10% of what they spent on construction in Wisconsin during the same period.

That's unlikely to have cost Wisconsin tax revenue because the state has excess industrial capacity that would otherwise be idle, and most of the work was done during the worst part of the COVID downturn.

Speaking of which, your source also accused Foxconn of laying off employees 'as soon as subsidies expired,' but didn't acknowledge to their readers that in the same period (early 2020) the entire US economy lost 10% of our workforce due to lockdowns.

...taxpayers have spent hundreds of millions [on infrastructure improvements] that they will probably never recoup.

The roads that were expanded aren't in a low traffic area; they're adjacent to the main highway between Chicago and Milwaukee, on the southwestern edge of Kenosha.


Ask the citizens of Wisconsin how many jobs were actually created from the multi billion dollar tax break and infrastructure build out there

@HausWolf, I mean this in a friendly way, since you don't seem to be from the states and you've raised an esoteric aspect of the US tax system...

Foxconn never received those tax breaks because most could only have been collected as a discount to an equal or larger tax bill. That was a deliberate feature of the legislation that authorized them. It contained quite a few other prerequisites, such as building general purpose infrastructure using in-state labor and materials, and hiring a minimum number of full-time employees at each of several qualification levels and pay grades. By a wide margin it wasn't a givaway to Foxconn.

Since when did my SSD need water cooling?


"...heat pipes, 20,000 rpm fans, even tiny liquid coolers."

I've obviously been sleeping under a rock - since when did anyone put a *20krpm* fan in a computer? That's the upper end for jet bypass fans for goodness sake.

Big Tech silent on data privacy in post-Roe America


Re: Yes, I am ashamed of my country

@jmch "Ordering someone to pay child support is one which I am all for"

I agree in the case of divorce, assuming the couple can't reach an amicable agreement out of court. But I don't agree in the case of accidental pregnancies in casual relationships.

"I'm not sure what you mean by 'ordering someone to *work*"

I tried to make that clear by writing "...a minimum amount." In the US a judge can order a non-custodial parent to work more hours or find a better job in order to increase child support payments.


Re: Yes, I am ashamed of my country

"e.g. the drunken one night stand that you dont hear from for 10 months who shows up with kid in tow demanding money. She told you she was on the pill / said she was infertile / whatever....."

I can't speak for the UK, but here in the states even having a formal contract to that effect won't excuse you from paying child support to her. Nor are those payments predicated on need - she might be wealthy and you might be poor, but you'd still owe her support.


Re: Yes, I am ashamed of my country

I suspect @herman was referring to this section from the US Bill of Rights:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Roe v. Wade held that the 14th amendment to the US constitution prohibited individual states from regulating abortion prior to fetal viability, and Dobbs holds that the constitution is silent on the topic of abortion. Neither ruling established a fetal right to life.

As for the New York ruling, it changes the circumstances in which private citizens are allowed to carry a sidearm, but not the circumstances in which they're allowed to use one (i.e. almost never in most jurisdictions).


Re: Yes, I am ashamed of my country

"It’s not any legislature’s business what an adult does to their own body."

The federal and state legislatures disagree. They reserve the right to draft you (if you're male), jail you for recreational drug use in the privacy of your own home, fine you for taking non-abusable theraputic drugs without a government permission slip, order you to work a minimum amount to pay child support and quite a few other things.

They will also have you physically dragged to a court, jail or morgue if you resist any of the above.

Allegations of favoring visa holders over US workers for jobs cost Facebook just 4 hours of annual profit


I've discussed the work climate in the USA with several immigrant professionals from different backgrounds - a Microsoft DBA in Redmond, a Seagate EE in Minneapolis (both from India) and a couple of finance people in Florida (from Central and South America). They all gave roughly the same reason for preferring to work here: 'If you do what's expected of you, you'll be rewarded.'

The DBA told me candidly that he thought many Yanks were being stupid in not following the easy money. The Indian EE just laughed when I told him that some Americans would rather work harder on something excellent than be paid well for a career that will be forgotten before they've even retired.

None of them seemed to mind that the stability they enjoy is being paid for with mounting national debt. Nor that the stimulus keeping venerable companies afloat also subsidizes bad management and keeps younger companies out of the market.

It was all very logical in the way littering is logical. You can't control your environment, so you might as well go with the flow, take what you can, and run away if necessary.

Foxconn and Wisconsin reach new deal to do something different at Donald Trump's favourite (flop of a) factory


Re: Context

another went to mediation


Re: Context

"local government is already committed to spending nearly $1billion in infrastructure"

You may want to re-read your source:

"At the local and regional levels, Mount Pleasant and Racine County created a tax-increment financing district in 2017 to pay for a $764 million investment to support the Foxconn project."

...i.e. they created a reduced-tax district around the construction site. Foxconn would have received tax waivers (not payments), and the waivers would have been equal to 10% of what they spent on construction in the district.

"The problem is not really with the State of Wisconsin's liability. It is at the local level. Many people lost homes and land"

Do you know how many? I don't see any record of a single home or property being taken under eminent domain. Out of 132 parcels, 125 were sold at 140% of their market valuation. Six others were sold at a negotiated price, and a third went to mediation.



"[Democratic Party] governor who once said $3bn subsidy plan was a con now thinks it 'works for taxpayers'"

Unsurprising to anyone who paid attention to the text of the original agreement, in which the state of Wisconsin assumed very little risk.

Foxconn agreed to use their own money to build infrastructure and facilities on low-value land in exchange for reduced tax on things like building materials. They also agreed to train and hire employees in a weak sector of the state's economy in exchange for a reduced tax rate on that portion their payroll.

The state government would have lost nothing if the project failed, and only offered to forgo part of the revenue windfall if it succeeded.

End-to-end encryption? In Android's default messaging app? Don't worry, nobody else noticed either


Re: There's Nothing Fundamentally Wrong With The Idea Behind RCS

"Signal requires a telephone number, not an identified telephone number."

Some Yankee carriers make it tricky to activate a SIM without registering by name, and they're likely under regulatory pressure to that end.

I think Telegram still allows registration without a phone number, whereas WhatsApp is the polar opposite; their app must be running on the phone associated with the account and talking to their servers before you can log in from a desktop.

I wouldn't be surprised if they try to block Tor, and keep in mind that on iPhone you'd also need to anonymize the developer ID checks that happen every time an app opens.


Re: I've done this in a job years ago.

I'm not sure how vulnerable modern ciphers are to this, but messages with predictable format or contents used to be a lot easier to break. And at that point I believe the attacker has your current key also. So the next time your correspondent writes "how r u?" or "where u at?," maybe mind your words until the next key exchange...

Famously flawed, it is 30 years since the Hubble Space Telescope was launched



Hubble's reflector was actually quite a hassle even before launch. First the alignment system didn't work and Perkin-Elmer had to subcontract that part of the project to a specialty instrumentation maker that hadn't worked on a telescope since Landsat (my old employer). Then during the years-long launch delay, some of the other contractors lost blueprints that turned out to be important for the repair. (Fortunately we still had those.)

One story I heard from a co-worker who was our main point of contact with Lockheed is that there was a physically separate design office tasked with re-creating the subsystems that couldn't be copied from Lockheed's military satellites, without the benefit of being able to look at blueprints or talk to the engineers at the other office. Sounded like fun...

What's the German word for stalling technology rollouts over health fears? Cos that plus 5G equals Switzerland


Re: Up to a point, Lord Copper

@Licenced_Radio_Nerd "I use the term "detect" in the sense of: can the so-called electro-sensitive person who claims Wi-Fi gives them a headache, sitting in my RF test chamber with an aerial pointed at their head, tell me whether the transmitter is on, off, or even plugged in? I am going to bet a King's ransom that they cannot!"

There have been quite a few studies along those lines, but all of the ones I'm aware of were shoddy. In particular I remember that they hooked study volunteers up to EEG machines without testing for SMPS noise, didn't mention any shielding (for the non-exposure half of the test) or made it clear that there wasn't any.

One of the only studies with shielding used 6" pyramidal foam absorber panels rather than metal, even though they were looking primarily at electric fields (doi.org/10.1289%2Fehp.8934). They also mounted the panels with the absorbant sides facing outward and the reflective sides inward, then placed several noise sources inside the shield right next to the volunteers.

On the other hand, some of the animal studies have been pretty good:



(Probably a better summary for people without access: https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/182077-new-research-confirms-that-our-electronics-and-radio-waves-disrupt-migratory-birds)

Looming US immigration crackdown aims to weed out pre-crime of poverty. And that may be bad news for techie families


Re: Pre-crime

@Just Enough It discriminates against those who might possibly, in the opinion of someone following an agenda, in the future rely on state benefits.

Until recently, Canada would turn back a wealthy and productive applicant if they had a single disabled child: https://crippledscholar.com/2016/04/19/what-canadas-immigration-policies-say-about-the-status-of-disability-in-canada/

(From the law: "A foreign national is inadmissible on health grounds if their health condition might reasonably be expected to cause excessive demand on health or social services." You can find the text here: https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/I-2.5/page-9.html?txthl=health#s-38)

...they're not using the futuristic science of Philip K Dick's Minority Report. They're just using plain, old-fashioned racism.

Is old-fashioned eugenics better?

Even if you're OK with it, Canada's policy wasn't limited to provable conditions like Downs and Fragile-X. Many of the denials were for more speculative diagnoses.

Tech giants get antsy in Northern Virginia: Give us renewable power, there's a planet to save... and PR to harvest


Re: Power in Virginia

Thanks for the link :)

There are also diesels that can run on pure CNG or mix it with diesel fuel in various ratios, but I don't know much about them.

One caveat about the numbers for the i3 is that the Moses Lake dam is old; so using it for a new factory would have displaced existing users of 'renewable' power, most of whom would have switched to natural gas, nuclear or coal*.

The other thing to watch out for is Jevons's Paradox.



Re: Power in Virginia

@Chairman of the Bored "There is a 2+ GW pumped storage plant that significantly levels diurnal demand."

That's an interesting tidbit. Thanks :)

"Natl gas is a fine vehicle fuel, feels almost like a crime to burn it for stationary power"

Related to that: BMW estimated that the lifecycle CO2 footprint of their i3 would be 30% lower than a similar diesel car when charged from a typical European power mix, and 50% lower when charged with '100% renewable' sources*. Conventional cars running on compressed natural gas likely match the first of those two figures**, and the range is competitive with electric cars.

So if a car company pulls out all of the stops and makes an entire chassis out of a graphite-epoxy composite, pyrolyses the PAN precursor in-house with 100% hydro-power from a nearby dam, uses recycled aluminum, and tweaks the entire supply chain, the outcome is similar to converting a typical internal combustion engine to CNG. And only in some regions. And it doesn't win until much of the grid has been switched over to solar and wind.


**It's necessary to account for somewhat lower fuel efficiency and the fact that not all of the lifecycle emissions are from running the vehicle.


@AC "They are - they are based in Reston, Virginia (https://technical.ly/dc/2019/02/19/google-set-to-double-its-footprint-in-reston-as-part-of-a-larger-expansion-plan-report/) and have a number of leased facilities rather than running their own data centers. The US Geological Survey department is also in Reston, but it is believed Google predominantly works with the NGA and NSA based on leaked e-mails."

Thanks. That makes more sense.

"Places like Langley, Arlington, Fairfax, Fort Meade, Quantico should give you a pretty good hint why. I'm sure there are more."

Between my old job and having an immediate relative who flies to Bethesda regularly on federal business, that crossed my mind immediately. But the NSA does a lot of its data-warehousing in Utah. So presumably the work close to D.C. is high-bandwidth, low-latency. Most of the work that comes to mind is sensitive enough that I didn't expect it to be handled by a private contractor, unless they're just routing encrypted data around from one agency to another.


Regarding the earlier mention of Google, the company website doesn't list any datacenters in Virginia: https://www.google.com/about/datacenters/inside/locations/index.html

That raises the question of why the other tech giants built there in the first place. If there are important regional features like access to undersea cables, then why isn't Google there also? And if not, why build there in the first place? Maybe it was for the then-cheap coal power...

Regarding the relative significance of hydro power in Canada and the USA, keep in mind that the comparison would be quite different if plans to dam some of the major canyons in the US Southwest hadn't been blocked over environmental concerns*. Does anyone know how Canada was able to build that much capacity per capita without running into the same opposition?

*Some of the best hikes and camping trips I've ever taken were in those canyons, so don't interpret that as a lament. I'd just like to remind other environmentalists that there are costs and trade-offs to each policy.

NSA: That ginormous effort to slurp up Americans' phone records that Snowden exposed? Ehhh, we don't need that no more


"An attack of conscience or have the super-snoops got something better now?"

That thought crossed my mind immediately when I last re-entered the US. There were no agents digging through my bags and asking my where I'd been, and the only explanation I could think of was that they already know where I've been. Maybe Visa has been tattling on me, and the feds now know that I'm totally boring.

It's kind of a shame, because there used to be so many fun conversations:

Agent: "What did you do in Medellin?"

Traveler: "You mean who."

We've read the Mueller report. Here's what you need to know: ██ ██ ███ ███████ █████ ███ ██ █████ ████████ █████


Re: oh please!

>> Sources, please.


Their estimate for FY 2016 (the most recent data they had) was $1.043 trillion.

Their figures for defense spending are similar to those in your source.

"Now you might want to argue that the _total_, country-wide spending on education is much higher than the federal part."

That's what the word "costs" means in this context. State level spending accounts for about 90% of the total and is largely federally mandated.

"the US government spent $598 billion on national defence, plus another $176 billion on veterans services (which is just a form of deferred military spending after all)."

In that case you'd need to include state contributions to education workers' pensions, and also some portion of the federal healthcare funding they receive. (VA healthcare spending is partially in lieu of Medicare, since veterans have to choose which system to use whenever they go to a clinic.)

"If you wish to go this route, however, you shouldn't just count the federal military spending either: it would be appropriate to also include all spending on all military and paramilitary forces (police, national guard, security services of all kinds) as well. I can't be bothered to waste an evening on digging out the data, but it appears to be well in excess of $180 billion pef year."

The National Guard is federally funded, and public defense is a small part of local police budgets (which spend more time acting as paramedics, regulating petty deportment and investigating non-violent crimes). If it belongs in the military tally, then wouldn't the domestic emergency-management portion of the Coast Gurad and National Guard budgets be properly categorized as a civilian expense?


Re: oh please!

I agree with you about Ars, but why is the electoral college unacceptable in a federal system? The presidency of the EU isn't decided by popular vote. Instead (and like the US) it gives disproportionate power to smaller states.

Also, the military budget isn't the worst boondoggle in the US. If you judge a program by the money spent on it and whether its methods are rational, education is worse: It costs twice as much, is based on tradition more than science, and is run by people who are resistant to collecting data that could be used to make the process more scientific.

There have been decades-long controlled experiments in other fields that provide a good model for how to measure the lifetime benefits of education, but nobody in academia wants to do it. That should tell you something.


I didn't think of it as a safe space...

...but the slant that Lewis Page brought to El Reg was novel enough to be interesting.

I'll take his articles about nuclear reactors and airships over ArsTechnica's veiled advertisements for the latest eco-startup any day. Equally flattering is the comparison to the non-technical, economically-orthodox and -abstract rebuttals from Reagan Republicans.


"It demonstrates conclusively that the Russia government went to great lengths to try to sway or interfere with the 2016 US presidential election in favor of Donald Trump, or at least sow seeds of confusion, muddy the waters, and disrupt American political discourse."

And I have absolutely no doubt that I'm going to run a marathon today, or at least walk around the block.

From hard drive to over-heard drive: Boffins convert spinning rust into eavesdropping mic


Re: I'll file this in the ...

It might be worth watching out for capacitance and impedance also. I used to work on the servo-writers that create the tracks used by hard drive PES systems, and the capacitance gauges we used to error-map them were capable of picking up a lot of other stuff. Maybe it's possible to turn a touchscreen into a microphone.

When the bits hit the FAN: US military accused of knackering Russian trolls, news org's IT gear amid midterm elections


That saddest thing about Russiagate...

...is that I'm not sure whether the FSB or my own (Yank) government lies to me more often.

For example, when Maria Butina was arrested in Washington D.C., the initial coverage in the Washington Post (which was based on court documents) used blurbs like this one to portray her as a serious Russian spy:

"In a note in March 2017, Torshin wrote, 'You have upstaged Anna Chapman,' a reference to a Russian spy who had lived freely in the United States for years before her 2010 arrest."

The average dolt who reads the Post would take that as a smoking gun - in short, Torshin admitting that Butina was a spy and complimenting her performance.

Anyone smarter than the average Post reader would remember that Chapman was a failed spy (making it a dubious compliment). They would also wonder why an FSB agent stationed in an unfriendly place would make purposeless self-incriminating statements by e-mail, encrypted or not. (Any communication with Russians makes you a statistical anomaly among US residents, and the NSA tends to notice those things.)

The full quote from Torshin - which the FBI had in-hand - was "You have upstaged Anna Chapman. She poses with toy pistols, while you are being published with real ones."

It had exactly nothing to do with spying, and was a reference to Chapman's publicity stunts since she returned to Russia.

I'm not sure whether the FBI tried to mislead the judge, or whether the Post tried to mislead its own readers, but at least one of those two institutions cynically lied to the public.

Correction: Last month, we called Zuckerberg a moron. We apologize. In fact, he and Facebook are a fscking disgrace


"Who'd have thought that a company run by a liar and filled with lying liars would stoop so low?"

Certainly not me!

Seriously though, when Sharyl Sandberg's husband died in a "treadmill accident" in Mexico not long after her net worth skyrocketed, my first thought was "3:1 she did it."

The D in SystemD stands for Danger, Will Robinson! Defanged exploit code for security holes now out in the wild


Re: Again

I can't speak for anyone else, but it sure didn't bring me over to his side.


Re: Again

@m0rt "systemd is a philosophical wrong choice."

I think there's also been a shift in influence in the opensource world. I started experimenting with Linux 20 years ago after my NT 4.0 workstation gave me one too many stop errors, and I remember encountering a mix of obsessive tinkerers, professional users (mostly in IT and academia) and passionate Microsoft-haters. There were lots of neat little programs and libraries being actively developed by individuals, and while they often lacked API level integration and couldn't easily be rolled into something like a Windows or Mac desktop, there was a lot of choice and decent data interoperability. Portability was hit-and-miss, but most people I talked to seemed to think that it was a good idea.

Poettering is a different breed. He seems to want social unity, and while I don't feel qualified to judge his technical arguments about the design of system level daemons, it seems odd that he (and some others*) want to remove abstractions that facilitate portability and compatibility while keeping lots of other cumbersome abstractions.

A modern OS is a matryoshka doll of abstractions. In hardware you have translation of instructions into micro-ops as well as execution-reording, At the top you have web applications written in interpreted languages (both client- and server-side) that use compiled languages to interact with a supervisor that lives inside a hypervisor. And you don't just have one stack, but many different interpreters and several compiled languages. And a few different hypervisors. And ARM support, and initial support for RiscV. So I'm not sure why Poettering thinks that POSIX compatibility is the biggest threat to the elegance and efficiency of a modern Linux server or desktop.

*I'm thinking of Jon McCann's argument back in 2011 that GNOME should depend on SystemD even if that meant nuking support for all non-Linux kernels. He also wanted to drop support for non-GNU core libraries even though they were useful on systems with limited memory or security requirements that made functions like strlcat/strlcpy advantageous.

In huge privacy win, US Supreme Court rules warrant needed to slurp folks' location data


Re: Hypocrisy of dissent

I would not describe the dissent by Gorsuch as "[limiting] the 4th to the original wording." It's more a 'spirit of the law' argument.

@MrDamage: "The 2nd ammendment did not foresee the sheer firepower available in modern firearms, the same way the 4th did not foresee digital devices."

The US constitution was ratified a year after Shay's Rebellion, during which privately held artillery was used against the state; yet for almost 200 years afterward it remained legal for civilians in the US to own cannons. It's pretty hard to believe that the authors and signatories of the constitution didn't forsee civilians having the power to mow down large numbers of people at once when they had just seen exactly that.

You could make a fair argument that the miniaturization and simplicity of operation of modern weapons is novel enough to justify a reinterpretation, and indeed the court has implicitly endorsed that by allowing the National Firearms Act and various state-level restrictions to stand.

As Jonathon Desmond noted above, the Second Amendment does not refer to "we'll organized militias." Furthermore, the term "regulated" carried different connotations (closer to "disciplined" or "rigorous").


something missed...

Kieren forgot to mention what is almost certainly the most striking result: Justice Gorsuch dissented because he wanted an _even stronger_ rejection of warrantless tracking than what Roberts, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan agreed to in the majority opinoin. His argument was that cell tower tracking data belongs to the person it refers to, and that the earlier precedents the majority awkwardly danced around should have been reversed instead.

Gorsuch is likely to be around for a long time, and this may hint at what can be expected of him.

Backpage.com cops to human trafficking, money laundering


I omitted a paragraph from the last quote above:


"Deputy Chief Sean Case told the Alaska Dispatch News that the freedom to engage in sexual behavior with people under investigation is vital to doing police work. That's because sex workers can engage in 'cop-checking,' he says—vetting possible clients by asking them break laws that restrict law enforcement. A suspect might ask him to touch her breast, he explained. 'If we make that act (of touching) a misdemeanor we have absolutely no way of getting involved in that type of arrest.'

"In the same interview, however, Case claimed that police 'are not out there to go out and find that street prostitute….What we're interested in now is the trafficking.' In other words, Anchorage police are arguing that they must be allowed to molest trafficking victims in order to do their jobs."


I'll answer this for the benefit of other people.

A good place to start would be the actual charging documents or plea agreements, or news articles that summarize them. Here's an example:


"Most efforts wind up as they did in Lincoln, Nebraksa—where initial headlines about the August bust announced "12 arrested in Nebraska for sex trafficking related crimes" and "Lincoln teacher among those arrested in sex-trafficking operation." But the ultimate arrest/rescue breakdown for Lincoln?

no underage or adult sex-trafficking victims discovered

no force, fraud, or coercion discovered

four women, ages 23 to 36, charged with misdemeanor prostitution

five men charged with misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution

one man charged with felony solicitation of prostitution

one man charged with marijuana possession

charges dropped against Corey Walcott, who was arrested for solicitation of prostitution

charges dropped for Maurice Briggs, who was arrested for pandering"

You can get a sense of the sleaziness of the people doing these stings here:


"In the same interview, however, Case claimed that police "are not out there to go out and find that street prostitute….What we're interested in now is the trafficking." In other words, Anchorage police are arguing that they must be allowed to molest trafficking victims in order to do their jobs."

The plea agreement in the Backpage case is pretty eyebrow-raising, since the prosecutor is recommending no jail time and the fine is only $20,000 - in other words, the 'perpetrator' is being allowed to keep almost all of his profits and walk free - something that a prosecutor would never agree to if the case were strong. (US law certainly allows for much harsher punishments, and the feds had plenty of time and access to build a case.)

This is more likely a face-saving way for both sides ot wind down Backpage, which was already dead as a business. (International operations were shifted to cracker.com a long time ago,.)


It's worth noting that while the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children receives money from the US federal government, it is not a US government agency. It's a private activist group.

If you want to understand the political history of this issue in the US, read about the Mann Act (AKA the White-Slave Traffic Act), which was passed in response to unsubstantiated racist hysteria about black men kidnapping white women and sexually enslaving them. (This was especially galling, since at the time black men in the US were a lot more likely to be the victims of de facto slavery or forced servitude.)

The FBI does regular nationwide 'trafficking sweeps' that almost never turn up underage victims and rarely uncover evidence of forced sex.

This is despite laws in the US that give prostitutes an imposing incentive to claim that they were trafficked: If they do, they're teated as victims and given free services; if they say 'No I wasn't forced, I just needed the money to pay off my exploitive college loan' or 'It was easier than working in a factory,' then they're charged, fined and jailed.

So pause on that for a moment: Several hundred million dollars a year, tens of thousands of man hours and a stark carrot-and-stick ultimatum to each possible victim can't turn up more than a dozen possible cases of trafficking - many dubious - in a nation of 300 million people.

Kentucky gov: Violent video games, not guns, to blame for Florida school massacre


Re: They're not morons.

@Charles 9:"...or simply have BOTH at the same time."

That's the part that really worries me. A bad law would probably not do much to stop violent crime and would likely make the existing abuse problem worse.

It's possible that cleaning up the hold/commitment system would reduce violent crime even without any tightening of the background check system, since we're currently wasting a lot of beds and clinic resources holding people who pose no credible risk to anyone.

Shrinks like to go after harmless eccentrics for the same reason that police departments like to focus on speeding and non-violent drug dealing and prostitution - going after dangerous people is scary and labor intensive - so getting them back 'on task' might be as close to a panacea as we'll get on this one.


An offer:


I'll make a binding offer right here:

If you'll advocate for sane adjudication of mental health accusations, I'll advocate for tight restrictions on people who are fairly judged to be a danger.

I'm a former organizer with ties to both major parties (and even some Green and Libertarian contacts), so that's not a casual offer.

Some of it is just common sense; a probable cause requirement wouldn't interfere with reasonable detentions (since someone making threats could still be held on the spot, and someone more insidiously dangerous can't be charged or committed anyway), and it would have the side effect of saving taxpayers and ratepayers a lot of money.


Re: They're not morons.

@ Charles 9:"I wonder if anyone who's been held like this has challenged the holding on Sixth Amendment grounds (being unable to confront one's accuser)."

I have a sneaking suspicion that several of these will go to civil or criminal court, and that's definitely one avenue.

There are a few others.


They're not morons.

@ sisk:"I don't know what kind of morons have been arguing against the restrictions that would keep legitimately mentally ill people from buying guns, but they should be on the receiving end of a clue-by-four."

The problem with that was illustrated in an article* on gender crossing by the University of Chicago's Deirdre McCloskey last April:

"In most states even now, if two people who don't know you from Adam (or Eve, for that matter) are willing to claim falsely, and without penalty, that they heard you threaten to kill yourself—or in my case, threaten to have a nose job—sheriff's deputies will escort you in handcuffs to the local locked ward for three to five days of observation.

"What's worse, they might keep you there indefinitely, particularly if you let them drug you on admission. No kidding. If you are accused of murder you at least have a chance of getting free sometime, especially if you are innocent. If you are accused of being crazy, the government can put you away forever on the say-so of one psychiatrist."


McCloskey can't legally own a gun in the US. She hasn't committed any crime whatsoever, let alone a violent one. She's actually been a TARGET of state violence.

The legal picture she painted is also a bit too rosy. In Minnesota (where I live) there's no requirement for multiple witnesses. There's not even a requirement for probable cause - in other words, they can hold a person for 72 hours even if it's clear that they COULDN'T be committed under the law. There's no written standard of what it takes to justify it - just a no-string-attached delegation to the professional opinion of the person doing it, plus a broadly-worded good faith indemnity to make sure that they don't take that duty too seriously. There's not even a minimum standard for what has to be done in those 72 hours to ensure that the rationale for detention is factually accurate.

(The worst example that I can give you is a child abuse victim who was held on the say-so of their abuser despite having both an extensive Child Protection Services record on-file and cell phone photos in-hand documenting the abuse. There was nothing they could do afterward because there is no requirement that the clinic staff bother to look at any of it - even if doing so would take a mere 30 seconds or a five minute phone call to have the records sent over.)

There's also no right to a public defender, and unlike a person in the county jail, someone on a psychiatric ward is liable for a bill of $1,000-2,000 a day. That's $3,000-6,000 after 72 hours that they won't have to hire a private attorney.

So the problem with your suggestion is that the majority of the people who would be swept up in such a dragnet are abuse victims or harmlessly odd people who've spent their lives as human piñatas.


Re: "Yes. BECAUSE of the police, which can be turned against the population"

There's an international treaty governing de-militarization of (and trade in) big guns. IIRC, the procedure for most field artillery and tank guns was to fire a .50 BMG or 20mm round through the barrel transversely to render it unusable.

To 'fix' that you'd need to fill the hole and clean up the rifling, and probably also heat-shrink or braze a reinforcing sleeve onto the outside of the barrel. No idea how accurate it would be.


Re: "Yes. BECAUSE of the police, which can be turned against the population"

@ AC: "Just, any authoritarian government today turns the *military* against the population, with tanks, helicopters, etc, all with far heavier weapons than an assault rifle. So, unless you get antitank and antiaircraft guns and missiles, you have no chance to resist it."

That's a solid argument, and one that even some pro-gun activists will acknowledge. It's worth noting, though, that most regulations governing heavy weapons in the US are semi-recent, and many were enacted to suppress leftists.

Machine guns were banned here in the early 1930s as a check against anti-bank anarchists.

Up until the 1970s it was legal to buy 20mm light anti-tank rifles, but fears about the Symbianese Liberation Army using them led to the law being changed.

One old hillbilly told me about an ad for one that read "Stop that gopher IN HIS TRACKS!" :)

There was another round of gun restrictions during the Reagan years after some Black Panthers marched into a statehouse holding (but not aiming or firing) rifles.


Re: The 2nd Ammendment was probably right for its time

@ thesaucymugwump: "Some would say that the police have become too powerful with their many killings of people who were not a threat, e.g. Justine Ruszczyk."

She was killed less than three blocks from where I'm sitting right now. I've lived in this area for most of 34 years, and it's one of the safest parts of Minneapolis. Generally the biggest danger in taking a late night walk in the summer is that there will be too many people out doing the same thing. (Oh, and you might be bitten by a rabid fox.) In the winter it's that it's too bloody cold.

There's never gunfire anywhere near hear. People are so well protected that one of my neighbors got spooked when I pelted a raccoon with a low-powered CO2 pistol because he couldn't tell the sound from a gun.


Re: The 2nd Ammendment was probably right for its time

Steve Davies 3: "i.e. the time of Muzzle Loaders and single shot pistols and no organised police [and civilian militias with artillery]. Is there a need to still have the 2nd Ammendment? I know that the gun lobby will be out in force but personally, I don't think it is needed."

Of course not. And we can all exercise our free speech rights while standing on park benches and yelling at the tops of our lungs, just as the Founders intended. No Tweets or laser-printed leaflets for you, Sir. That's not what they had in mind when they wrote the First Amendment, and it might even lead to Fake News.


Re: Two year waiting period, anyone?

It should have read: 'It's possible to make a dart that would penetrate a limited distance and deliver a fast-acting sedative... but a thick sweater UNDER a leather jacket would defeat it.'

The engineering challenge is penetrating hard clothing without over-penetrating and killing kinetically.


Re: Two year waiting period, anyone?

@ Reaps: "Way to miss the point [esteemed colleague], is alcohols main purpose to kill things? guns main purpose is to kill stuff."

I have some personal experience with the comparison you're trying to draw between deliberate and accidental death:

I was nearly stabbed when I was in grade school (with something that would have gone right through me), and I've been T-boned by a driver who went out-of-turn at a stop sign while I was biking home from work.

The former was scarier, but mainly because I was younger at the time and the car wasn't going very fast. Based on that experience, I would prefer tangling with a guy holding a six-inch knife to facing down a car going 30 mph or more.

Given the complete lack of a utilitarian purpose for ethyl alcohol, your argument seems a bit odd. Guns at least have some niche uses that haven't been replaced by something better:

- Chemical irritants work very well against bears and muggers, but you can't use them into the wind or indoors.

- Tasers are very effective when they work, but both of the barbs have to hit, and they won't go through thick clothing.

- Ketamine darts are too slow (minutes) and Ketamine is a controlled substance.

When I lived on a mountain outside of Seattle, one of my neighbors found a cougar eating his dogs. He shot it. I don't blame him. I've also stopped to help people in rough parts of Minneapolis at times when I might not have if I'd been unarmed. Those people never knew that I was carrying a weapon - only that I was friendly and helped them change their flat tire or let them use my phone.

Strong doors and rolling shutters would be a good alternative to guns for urban home defense, but the people who need them most tend to be renters who relocate frequently. It's also theoretically possible to make a dart that would penatrate a limited distance and deliver a fast-acting sedative like fentanyl (another controlled substance), but a thick sweater over a leather jacket would defeat it. It would also be pretty lethal without respiratory aid.

> stop with the "whataboutism", it makes you sound like a f**king idiot.

I'll admit that I enjoy a good shag, but the other part surely has more to do with your morning pint.

(Also note that I didn't bother to downvote you. Thanks for the laugh.)


Re: Legislation can save lives.

@ Pen-y-gors:"Someone elsewhere in a lovely bit of whataboutery said that 10,000+ people are killed in car incidents involving drunk drivers, but no-one is calling for a ban on cars or alcohol. Actually really not a good example. In the UK we decided to leave cars and alcohol alone, but come down hard on the combination. Drink driving was explicitly banned in the UK in 1967. By 1979 (first year of statistics) there were 1640 deaths on the road where one driver was drunk. Last year it was 200. And it's been down to a consistent 230-240 for the last six years."

The US has similar rules governing alcohol in combination with both cars and guns. The former were enacted during roughly the same period that you mention, albeit with less extreme results: We used to attribute roughly half of fatal auto accidents to alcohol, but by the time the total number of deaths peaked several years ago, it was down to a third.

It's complicated to estimate because US states use different definitions of intoxication, and reporting is inconsistent both geographically and over time.

Where I am, it's illegal to carry a pistol if you have any detectable alcohol in your blood. (The standard for driving is 0.08%.) It's also illegal to carry one in public without a permit.

(I mis-posted my reply to @AC here, and it should have been more explicit: A lot of the aforementioned immigrants had very bad experiences with government and don't trust it to be their sole protector. That doesn't mean that they don't appreciate it or make use of it when it works. My Irish ancestors fled Great Britain for the Americas only to be stuck in a war among Englishmen when the Colonists declared independence. They left for Quebec. They did not hate the British or the Colonists - or the Protestants for that matter. In fact one generation was married in a Protestant church. They were just free-spirited frontier people who didn't want to be caught in collective wars. )


Re: Legislation can save lives.

@ Anonymous Coward: "At some stage, we all have to accept that this is the country that the Americans have chosen. As a Brit I find it baffling that anyone would accept [it.] ... However, despite constant hand wringing and many attempts to "do something about it" after every tragedy, I can only conclude on the basis of outcomes that this is the country they want."

If you want to understand it, it might help to look at where many immigrants to the US have come from:

- Silesians and Pomeranians fleeing the Prussian draft.

- Irish fleeing the potato famines

- Small-time businesspeople fleeing Cuba

- Cambodians fleeing the Khmer Rouge (including a friend of mine)

- Various members of Continental European underclasses

- Motivated people who just wanted a bit more freedom.

(I was shocked when I read Lieutenant W. Leefe Robinson's after-action report on his downing of SL 11 and saw that it was signed "Your obedient servant" - BUT that didn't cause me to cluck condescendingly at Great Britain.)