An Onymous Lefty

Lefty pwned

25 March, 2009 · No Comments

If he’s so critical of the technique, why would he do the same thing?

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Teenager killed by police taser use

25 March, 2009 · 7 Comments

Another reason there are many things we should be doing before spending millions on giving tasers to police.

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They said what about Israel?

25 March, 2009 · 4 Comments

Amnesty International criticises human rights violations committed by both Hamas and Israel.

Bloody anti-semites.

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The Tower Is Tall But The Fall Is Short

24 March, 2009 · 18 Comments

Seriously, US military - WOULD YOU PLEASE STOP PUTTING GUNS ON ROBOTS?!

These robotic monsters with its array of big guns and mountain-climbing ability will soon be released on the Taliban and terrorists hiding out in their Himalayian (sic) hideouts and caves in Afghanistan.

Some people might scoff at the idea that science fiction raises any questions worth considering in the real world, but come on. You don’t need to have seen The Terminator to have serious concerns about giving AI guns and trusting it not to turn on us at some point.

When it happens, it’s going to be cold comfort that they go after you lot first.

UPDATE: I’m not convinced that the source above is right - I can’t actually see any guns on the images in the video, and the general design appears to be as an equipment-carrying device.

Still, it’s also not as if the US has declared that it won’t be putting guns on these robots - which is what I’d like to hear - so it’s still a worry. And they’ve already armed these UAVs - which, whilst usually remote controlled by human pilots, are also capable of autonomous flight. As in, flying robots with guns.

It doesn’t take too much imagination to see what comes next.

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Serious black mark for Andrew Bolt

23 March, 2009 · 19 Comments

Andrew, the Cylons are pretend robots, not aliens. They were originally made by the same fictional humans they’re trying to exterminate. Duh.

untitled

Fancy not knowing that. I don’t know how we’re supposed to take anything you say seriously any more.

NOTE: I would’ve uploaded this to Pure Poison, but there’s so much non-trivial stuff being pointed out about recent conduct on Andrew’s blog (what are his moderators DOING?) that I didn’t want to dilute it with this. Even though for many this will be the most damning indictment of all.

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“At least”

23 March, 2009 · 14 Comments

As usual, it’s difficult to determine the actual sentence handed down to Marcus Einfeld from the typically useless News Ltd reports:

FORMER Federal Court judge Marcus Einfeld has been sentenced to at least two years jail for repeatedly lying about a traffic offence.

“At least”? Uh, no, what was the actual sentence? I had to check on AustLII to find it:

For the offence of perjury — sentenced to a non-parole period of imprisonment of one year two months commencing on 20 March 2009 and expiring on 19 May 2010 and a balance of the term of seven months commencing on 20 May 2010 and expiring on 19 December 2010.
For the offence of perverting the course of justice — sentenced to a non-parole period of imprisonment of one year three months commencing on 20 December 2009 and expiring on 19 March 2011 and a balance of the term of one year commencing on 20 March 2011 and expiring on 19 March 2012.
Parole order for release on 19 March 2011.

Which is, by my count, three years, although divided in a slightly convoluted way. And assuming he’s ultimately parolled after two years, that’s not actually the same as being “free”.

But News Ltd insists on going, as usual, with its disingenuous line of making sentencing seem lighter than it really is (by constantly reporting minimum terms rather than full terms), so they can then sell advertising space by complaining about it later - which leads to posts like this.

And fairly non-constructively harsh sentences like Einfeld’s.

The prosecutor in this case argued that

Einfeld should be jailed, saying the counts were “in the worst case category” of such offences.

How? Wouldn’t the “worst case category” be instances where someone was lying to get a violent criminal acquitted, or an innocent person convicted of a violent crime? Isn’t that a much more serious instance of perjury than someone trying to get out of a speeding fine?

And look at the sentencing remarks regarding the mitigating factors in Einfeld’s case, including his health, his age, the punishment he’s already effectively received (”extra-curial punishment”), the years of contribution to the community - if three years is what he got even after considering those factors, what would the judge have given him without them?

What’s really gained by jailing this man? Deterrence? Everything even up to this point is a pretty major deterrent, and there are other sentencing options which punish more constructively than jail. (Maybe there was a fear that Einfeld, having spent so long working for the community, wouldn’t have found doing more community work enough of a punishment.)

This outcome looks to me suspiciously like a legal system trying very hard not to look like it’s going easy on its own - lest the rabble rousers make too much sport with it - and bending over too far in the other direction.

On the other hand, it can’t have been an easy sentencing decision, and it’s very easy to criticise from the sidelines, having not heard a jot of evidence in the case and not having to balance the competing factors myself.

But what’s the internet for, other than opining on stuff for which we’ll never have to take responsibility, from the comfort of our own armchairs? Feel free to have at it in the comments. Everyone else has.

UPDATE: Talk about petty.

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When going to the police seems more dangerous than dealing with it yourself

23 March, 2009 · 15 Comments

There’s a whole class of people, terrified of being found by a particular person with connections from whom they’re running away, who will not go to the police no matter what happens to them. Why? Because their details will be put in the computer. Why’s that a problem? Because they don’t believe - official assurances by police authorities notwithstanding - that it’s one hundred percent secure. And it looks like they’re not wrong:

Victoria’s Police’s information system is so overwhelmed, underfunded and underprotected it risks a massive loss of data that could paralyse the force’s operations, confidential documents obtained by The Sunday Age reveal.

The consequence? People who do trust the security of the police system get found. People who don’t find themselves effectively without police protection.

It can be done better. Witness the Centrelink system, in which every access by a person’s record by Centrelink staff is recorded and good reasons have to be given - even to the point of for each page that staff member looks at. And in which people with serious concerns about their safety can be put on a system that has only very restricted access - ordinary Centrelink staff cannot view those records at all.

There should be something similar for the police database - but, unlike the Centrelink system, it is decades out of date. Other practices are also decades out of date - the Force still insists on sending record of interview recordings on audio cassettes instead of as mp3 files on burnt CDs, despite cassette players being difficult to even find these days and despite cassettes being more expensive for the Force to purchase and send than CDs and digital files (that can be emailed) would.

I gather there is an upgrade coming for part of the computer system - but when, and what security measures will be in place to give people faith that their information will be one hundred percent safe, have not yet been made clear.

And in the meantime, many of the people who most need police protection are too scared to avail themselves of it.

UPDATE: Another thing to consider - people who are being chased by some nutter also can’t afford to risk updating their address on the electoral roll, which means that they’re also effectively disenfranchised. We do have a system where you can apply to the Returning Officer in your division to have your address suppressed - but it’s still available to any random AEC employee. Would you take the risk? When your family’s safety was at stake? Many - I suspect most - wouldn’t. And so they can’t vote.

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False advertising

23 March, 2009 · 3 Comments

This story in this morning’s Age - “Low kitty bowls Preston’s kitty off the lawn”” - has nothing to do with kittehs at all. Despite mentioning them twice in the title.

Shame, The Age, shame. I want those twenty seconds back.

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Alright, now

22 March, 2009 · 20 Comments

Here we go. This theme’ll do. Most importantly - comments should now be quick, easy, and with the basic functionality that everyone was used to until November last year (ie, they work).

I’m not going to delete the original An Onymous Lefty at Blogspot - it’ll remain as an archive of almost five years of what I’m confident we’ll all agree was some pretty damned spectacular blogging. Nor will the disqus comments be deleted - unlike when I lost four and a bit years of Haloscan comments - so you can keep commenting on the old threads and be confident that your pithy remarks will still be there in the morning.

But this is where it’ll be from now on. And I don’t think you need me to tell you what “it” is.

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Not quite yet

21 March, 2009 · 9 Comments

Tinkering around, considering a move.

Seriously, Blogger - you’ve had five years and you still don’t let blog administrators block IPs?

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