BREAKING: Judge Says Cause Exists To Arrest Cop Who Killed Tamir Rice For Murder | ThinkProgress

BREAKING: Judge Says Cause Exists To Arrest Cop Who Killed Tamir Rice For Murder | ThinkProgress.

Even looking at this from a standpoint of assuming the cops reasonably thought Tamir was a threat, they still fucked up.

What they should have done is parked the car a bit away, yelled the warning without the engine noise or sirens possibly interfering, and taken cover behind the car just in case Tamir fired on them.

That would have almost certainly lead to Tamir surviving, possibly getting yelled at for being careless in showing off the toy gun but surviving, and even in the bizarro world where the gun was real and he was a threat, would have kept the cops and innocent bystanders safe.

Almost running him over and firing before the door is even completely open is stupid however you look at it.  If he was *already* shooting at people maybe a crazy stunt like that would make sense, but he wasn’t.

It might be debatable whether first degree murder should apply, but certainly second degree would IMO.

I try to give cops some leeway- if they hold fire too long in a situation where they do need to shoot someone, innocent people die just as surely as when they fire too quickly.  It’s a balance, and imperfect humans will never get it right 100% of the time.  But even giving them as much credit as possible, there’s just no way they were remotely in the right.  AT BEST they were incredibly reckless to the point a second degree murder charge, for depraved indifference to human life, should apply- or whatever the equivalent charge is under Ohio law.  And that’s reckless even if it could be established that they reasonably believed Tamir to be a threat, and that appears to be quite a stretch.


Abbott Signs Bill To Allow Students That Fail Exams To Still Graduate | Texas Public Radio

Abbott Signs Bill To Allow Students That Fail Exams To Still Graduate | Texas Public Radio.

It doesn’t waive test passing entirely, just allows other factors to be considered.  This *could* be a good thing to do- two people of equal qualification might have different results on a given evaluation, so providing alternative options, or some sort of weighting instead of an all or nothing system, should get more people the diploma they deserve.

That said, I’m not sold on this particular way of doing it, though the inclusion of college entrance exams as a potential mitigating factor for graduation test failure is promising.  If nothing else, that can indicate the student just had an off day when they took the graduation test, and failing to graduate because of one off day after four years would be bullshit.

It would probably be better to overhaul the entire testing/graduation regime.  Say “You need 70 graduation points out of 100.  Class performance counts for 75% of your graduation score, the final tests 25%” or something like that.

Rather than all or nothing the whole thing, or patch over weaknesses of the testing system, rebuild from the ground up with all of this cleanly integrated.  I’m not advocating these specific numbers, they serve merely to illustrate my point- attendance could probably be worked in, college entrance exams, etc.  The exact numbers should be chosen after a lot of research and analysis on what best predicts future performance.

Robot Chef That Can Cook 2,000 Meals Set To Go On Sale In 2017 | IFLScience

Robot Chef That Can Cook 2,000 Meals Set To Go On Sale In 2017 | IFLScience.

The price mentioned in the article is $15,000. While hugely expensive for a consumer gadget(now- it will likely come down over time if the thing works well), robots like this at that price could be amazing for anywhere that has to produce huge numbers of standardized meals. For a military mess hall, for instance, this would be a BARGAIN over a human cook. Get rid of every human cook job that only supports cooking in garrison. Free up budget for some savings, perhaps more infantry, more guns, or whatever. Prisons would benefit- maybe send the savings to oh, I don’t know, rehabilitation programs? That would be nice.
Fast food might benefit, though there might be some question over the things capabilities to modify a recipe on the fly- which happens even at McDonalds in response to customer requests.

It might be interesting to see how the economy reacts to increasing automation. A lot of jobs will be lost, and it’s hard to see how we’ll replace them all unless we start doing something that is fundamentally new. Manufacturing is already highly automated, there are only so many maintenance jobs out there, and robotics reaching this level can start wiping out jobs in the service sector – so we can’t count on that saving us like we could with manufacturing automation. High unemployment will become a constant when there are more people than jobs the economy can possibly come up with even under ideal circumstances.

Hopefully, costs will drop enough with the increased automation that we could afford a vastly expanded social safety net- basic survival will have to simply be given to people because it will be fundamentally impossible for many people to get a job to pay for it. Even if we legalize dealing drugs, how would you find customers when you’re dealer #700 in a neighborhood of 750?

NSA dreams of smartphones with “split” crypto keys protecting user data | Ars Technica

NSA dreams of smartphones with “split” crypto keys protecting user data | Ars Technica.

Ideally, the legal and technical difficulties involved in getting past someones encryption, and getting past the lock on their safe, should be the same.  After all, these two things do essentially the same job.  Some details of various laws and regulations might have to differ, but it should all aim towards the goal of the peoples rights being the same, and the governments authority being the same, and the ability of both parties to act on their interests being the same.

Failing perfect equivalence, I’d like to see policy err on the side of protecting privacy.  Artificial weaknesses introduced to force equivalence can spiral out of control.  Even if you trust the authorities won’t misuse it ever, if there’s a backdoor, other people can use it too if they find it.  And if you trust the authorities that much, you’re deluded.

Hopefully some of these proposals get us to a better balance of the need to stop bad guys, and the need to maintain privacy.  At least the NSA is indicating some willingness to compromise.  Probably not enough of a willingness, but it’s better than we’ve had so far.

House GOP Wants to Eliminate Pentagon Climate Change Research

House GOP Wants to Eliminate Pentagon Climate Change Research.

Seriously, what the hell?

Sea levels *are* rising.  The agricultural productivity of various areas *is* changing.  Droughts *are* becoming more common. Debate the causes of these things all you want, but these things are happening, and they *will* have implications for the national security of basically every nation on the planet.

Preventing the Pentagon and the CIA from researching climate change is asinine.  If we’re not prepared to deal with these things, we’re screwed.  When we intervene in a conflict caused by these things, and given the hawks infesting both parties we will intervene, we’ll go in with a plan that has less connection to reality than we’ve ever had, and we’ll be looking at a best case scenario of wasting resources to no effect.

Elkhart Four

Felony murder: Why a teenager who didn’t kill anyone faces 55 years in jail.

You can certainly argue whether the relevant law is a good law or bad law, but it is what it is.

And the law appears to require that the accused actually do the killing, not that it simply happens.  It seems to be “if they kill someone under circumstances that normally would not be murder, but it’s in the course of burglary, it’s counted as murder anyways”.  I’d have to dig up the full statute and maybe research case law, but if the quoted section in the article is accurate, that’s what the law says.  The murder charges never should have even reached a jury.

It’s up to the legislature to change such laws so that future incidents can be prosecuted as murder, not for the prosecutors to make shit up and the courts to let it fly.

I wonder about Indiana self defense law, too?  True, in most jurisdictions you don’t have to flee your home, and I’m ok with that.  The duty to flee should stop when you reach your home.  But the perceived threats are themselves running and hiding, it’s hard to imagine the requirement of an actual threat or the employment of a proportional response was met here.  Now, a lot of that depends on the homeowners perception- assuming they reasonably believe there’s such a threat and that lethal force is the only way to deal with it, they can be wrong about that and it would still count as self defense.  Requiring objective truth in such situations risks forcing the insane choice of suicide by asshole or prison.  Still, it sounds fishy to me.

To The FDA, Everyone Transgender Is a Gay Man |

I could see an argument for trans women being treated as AMAB men for this policy for sexual history when they were living as men, or perhaps while they still have a penis should be the determinant- the risks under those circumstances would be comparable .  But for activity after SRS?  The risks at that point are comparable to those of AFAB women, and their sexual history from that point should be judged by those standards.

Though I don’t think the MSM donation ban should exist anyway. Screening for HIV has improved dramatically- the reliability of the tests is much better, and the detection window is much shorter. It’s not 100%, very few medical tests are, but it’s quite good these days. And on the small chance it slips through?  Treatment options are far superior. An HIV+ person who is treated by current standards can expect to live pretty much a normal life. It’s not ideal(especially when considering issues of access to treatment), but the consequences of HIV positive blood slipping into the supply are far less severe than they used to be.

I do think the ban was justified in the early days- little was known about how the disease spread except that it was spreading faster among gay men(at the time).  But science marches on, and policy should change to reflect that. With the reduction in the chance for HIV+ blood to get into the supply, and the reduction in severity in the event it does, the importance of ensuring we have enough blood supply becomes more significant in the risk-benefit analysis.

It’s time to drop the ban.


To The FDA, Everyone Transgender Is a Gay Man |