Vox: Is asteroid mining legal? Congress wants to make it so.
“The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 — a UN treaty signed by 102 countries, including the US — bans countries from appropriating any astronomical bodies. But there’s a dispute over whether this would apply to private companies mining asteroids. Congress seems to be arguing that it does not.” This’ll be entertaining to watch.
NY Times: Is It O.K. to Kill Cyclists?
“... there is something undeniably screwy about a justice system that makes it de facto legal to kill people, even when it is clearly your fault, as long you’re driving a car and the victim is on a bike and you’re not obviously drunk and don’t flee the scene”
Ramming around with drones ...
You’ve seen these two?
Mashable Drone Beat: Another Arrest in New York, NASA Working on Drone Safety and More. Do scroll down and watch the ram video.
SciAm: BP Found “Grossly Negligent” in 2010 Spill.
BoingBoing: Customer fined $250 for complaining, told “You are playing games with the wrong people”.
Read this one. Wow.
Guardian.UK: Santa Fe votes to decriminalise marijuana possession.
“The measure makes possession of an ounce or less of marijuana a civil infraction punishable by a fine of no more than $25. It had been a criminal misdemeanor.” This is getting heavy rotation in town.
CSM: US government - Monkey selfies ineligible for copyright.
“Marking an end to the controversy surrounding the “monkey selfie,” a self-portrait snapped by a particularly photogenic macaque in Indonesia in 2011, the US Copyright Office noted on Tuesday in a public draft of the Compendium of US Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition, that to be eligible to register an original work of intellectual property – be it a patent, trademark, or trade secrets – one must be a living, breathing, Homo sapiens.”
And that’s the end of that. No more monkeying around.
TechDirt: Why Do Police In Suburban St. Louis Have More Powerful Weapons Than Marines In Afghanistan
“What we’re seeing here is a gaggle of cops wearing more elite killing gear than your average squad leader leading a foot patrol through the most hostile sands or hills of Afghanistan. They are equipped with Kevlar helmets, assault-friendly gas masks, combat gloves and knee pads (all four of them), woodland Marine Pattern utility trousers, tactical body armor vests, about 120 to 180 rounds for each shooter, semiautomatic pistols attached to their thighs, disposable handcuff restraints hanging from their vests, close-quarter-battle receivers for their M4 carbine rifles and Advanced Combat Optical Gunsights. In other words, they’re itching for a fight.” Carry lethal weapons that you train with frequently, build skills, never get to actually use them as trained ... the itch gets overwhelming.
Techdirt: Thomson Reuters Thinks Not Responding To Their Email Means You’ve Freely Licensed All Your
“So it’s just bizarre and surprising that media giant Thomson Reuters apparently believes that it can license whatever content it wants by merely sending an email and saying that a refusal to respond will be taken as consent that it can use your content.” !@&^#$$% Bloggers, beware. That puts a whole new exponential spin on ‘big grab’.
ProPublica: What to Look For In Dueling Autopsies of Michael Brown.
Hmmm. There’s an elephant in the room here, to me. Police today are trained to shoot at center of mass, not extremities. Sans other evidence, the head shots in particular sound punitive.
Youtube: ‘Art and Craft’ Trailer.
Dazed: Palestinians tweet tear gas tips to Ferguson residents.
ProPublica, Report: Drillers Illegally Using Diesel Fuel to Frack.
“For many years fracking industry groups insisted their member companies never used diesel fuels in their operations. Then, in 2011, a congressional investigation found that in fact between 2005 and 2009, 12 companies had injected 32 million gallons of diesel fuel or fracking fluids containing diesel fuel in wells in 19 states.” This has been known, and ignored and/or buried, for at least a half-dozen years. Companies rely on semantics to dodge legal bullets.
Slate: Ferguson, Missouri photos - Tear gas, rubber bullets, and a militarized police force.
Hmmm. Then there’s Tom Tomorrow, hitting it on the head as usual. Militarizing police forces *is* a slippery-slope situation. I went in search of guidelines, perhaps Federal ones ... but none seem to exist. With all the surplus weaponry ending up in nonmilitary hands, Federal guidelines are overdue. Mr Obama - Congress - can you do something about this, please?
Too many police today are responding with a video-game-like kill-reflex; the reflex that used to be the lone purvue of the trained soldier. Killing should not be the first response of a police officer. Training high-powered rifles on protestors by itself is a terrible act of aggression.
I’ll say it again: Have we forgotten the ‘60’s?
Later: See who the cops are targeting. It would be interesting to see where Homeland Security’s money’s gone ... more to areas with distinct segregation among the populations? One wonders. Probably only ProPublica would contemplate such a report. Via Dan Lyke (Flutterby) on FB.
The Rumpus: My Nixon Years.
“Even though he was an adult in the 1970s, when I was a child, he seemed just as confused as I was by the changing social structure. I wished, when I was 7, for things to be comprehensible, controllable; I wonder if he felt the same way.” I am more of his grandmother’s ilk - noone post-‘74 ever again expressed to a child, “if you study hard, you’ll grow up and be President someday!” That phrase died on Nixon’s resignation date, and I don’t think we’ll ever hear it again.
Paramilitary police are in the news today, but in the ‘60’s we had CIA and military with automatic weapons in our neighborhood thanks to the Institute for Defense Analysis protests [IDA contained the supercomputer that made the strategic decision to invade Cambodia] right after Kent State. I will not forgive Nixon posting such weapons less than 60’ from the backs of my friend’s houses, about a football field from my own. M-16’s have a lethal range of about what ... 5 football field lengths or so?
Nope, I will not forgive Nixon. History should not, either.
Cue CSNY, Ohio.
The Economist: Paramilitary police - Cops or soldiers?
“Peter Kraska, a professor at Eastern Kentucky University’s School of Justice Studies, estimates that SWAT teams were deployed about 3,000 times in 1980 but are now used around 50,000 times a year. Some cities use them for routine patrols in high-crime areas. Baltimore and Dallas have used them to break up poker games. In 2010 New Haven, Connecticut sent a SWAT team to a bar suspected of serving under-age drinkers.” I think we’d all prefer the neighborhood ‘flatfoot’.
Mashable: A Yellowstone Tourist Crashed a Drone Into One of the World’s Largest Springs.
#^@#%$@$$ The hot springs in Yellowstone rely on very fragile geologic phenomena. It could just calcify over and become part of the spring, or, if heavy enough, could sink and destroy or plug ‘plumbing.’ Trying to fish it out of superheated water, surrounded by fragile calcification, is a major operation. The Yellowstone park service should put up signs with an IM/phone number to report drone sightings immediately.
Photoshelter Blog: Macaque Selfies and Your Copyright.
“An artist who steals paints and a canvas is still the copyright owner of the landscape she paints.* Banksy has a copyright in his graffiti.” [*I added a “t” to pains, to make it read properly.]
OddityMall: Pepper Spray That Takes A Picture And Alerts The Police.
Later: The above is where I found it. Here’s the direct link.
Independent.UK: John Myatt - The artist and convicted forger on life and art in and out of prison.
“The art industry has been nodding through paintings with extremely dubious histories.” As I’ve suspected. Way too many ‘miracle’ discoveries lately.
MeFi: DIY Law School - Learn the Law Without Law School.
ProPublica: Report Criticizes EPA Oversight of Injection Wells.
“ProPublica’s investigation found that the EPA did not know exactly how many wells existed in the United States or what volume of waste was being injected into them, and that it did not possess complete records required to be collected under the Safe Drinking Water Act.” My unastonished italics.
Fire Engineering: Drone Causes Problems at California Wildfire.
Seattle.gov: Space Needle Still Standing After Reported Drone Strike.
Another dope. Good luck to the President’s EO; the FAA is the proper venue, no matter what others say. If that thing had broken its props against the Needle, it could have killed or seriously injured someone on the way down. In a “Me, Myself and I” culture, this can’t end well without regulations.
ReadWrite: President Obama To Kick Off Drone Privacy Guidelines.
Hmmm. Seems like evidence of some pretty heavy-handed business interests smelling profits. Pulling responsibilities away from the FAA? Yeow.