Håkon Wium Lie has many claims to fame -- he not only created Cascading Style Sheets, an integral part of the web, but he also was the first person to publish the laws of Norway (which are public domain, but were behind a $1/minute paywall at the time) for free, online. Though the company that maintained this paywall threatened to sue, they eventually saw the light and put the laws up for free.
Read the rest
Jeffery Shaver, 31, stood outside the Kitchener, Ontario courthouse yesterday in his underwear beside two signs that read "RETURN MY BONG" and "RETURN MY MARIJUANA." He claims that police seized his bong and stash at a local hospital where he was taken during a panic attack. He says he was yelling about a problem with a vending machine when they arrested and searched him. This is the second time one of his bongs and his weed were confiscated. From The Record:
"I have a legal medical marijuana card. Five months after I got it, I was arrested for possession of marijuana, but I had my card on me," Shaver said.
"So two days later, I went back and smoked marijuana on the front lawn of the police station," Shaver said. "Again they arrested me. I went to jail for the first time. They held me there for 16 hours.
"And that charge, ironically, has already been dropped and this is the very bong they returned to me," he said, pausing to take a hit off the bong. "They refuse to return the other one because they haven't dropped that marijuana charge."
photo: Vanessa Tignanelli/The Record Read the rest
In Ohio is illegal to disrobe in front of a portrait of a man. In Texas it is illegal for children to have unusual haircuts. In Nevada it is illegal to put an American flag on a bar of soap. Photographer Olivia Locher broke these laws, and 40 others just as ridiculous, by taking photos depicting the illegal acts.
In Pennsylvania, It’s Illegal To Tie A Dollar Bill To A String And Pull It Away When Someone Tries To Pick It Up
[via Bord Panda] Read the rest
Funny: In Florida, it's unlawful to have sex with a porcupine. Sad: In Russia, it's illegal to tell minors that gay people exist. (Sam O'Nella)
Read the rest
Texas passed a new regulation requiring "cremation or burial" of fetal tissue after a miscarriage or medical abortion, and to hear the lawmakers who passed this idiotic rule, this requires grieving women to dress up minute scraps of tissue in little funeral suits and stand contrite over a tiny casket while a clergyman excoriates them for disappointing god with their selfish uteruses. Read the rest
The evidence against tipping is voluminous and damning: it plunges workers into sub-subsistence wages, subjects woman servers to sexual harassment, encourages servers to deliver poor service to people of color (and old, young, and foreign people), incentivizes workers to take actions that harm the business (free drinks for big tippers!), and covers up a system of widespread criminal wage-fraud that lands disproportionately on the backs of workers who are already poor and marginalized. Read the rest
Howard Arthur Klein, 87, was nabbed in Grand rapids, Michigan for soliciting a prostitute. Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth decided not to pursue the matter, saying, "He wouldn't and shouldn't go to jail and 87 years without involvement in the criminal justice system has, in my opinion, earned him a pass." Read the rest
Jim Fouts, mayor of Warren, Michigan, has proposed a ban on flamethrowers.
Chris Byars, seen above, is CEO of Detroit-area flamethrower firm Ion Productions Team. He says that to automatically assume people will do stupid things with his company's products is "insulting and discriminatory." Read the rest
Banning the homeless from sleeping outside when they have nowhere else to sleep is unconstitutional, argues the United States Department of Justice in a statement of interest filed regarding a Boise, Idaho court case about an anti-camping ordinance. Read the rest
The state of Tennessee extended its "Good Samaritan law" this month, allowing people to smash a car window to save a dog from dying in a hot car.
“If you act reasonably, as any reasonable person would respond, you will not be at fault to save a life," says Nashville Fire Department Chief of Staff Mike Franklin. "You will not be at any fault to save a life and/or animals."
Apparently, acting "reasonably" includes first searching the for car's owner and calling police. I don't think I'd waste the time.
According to the Humane Society, "On an 85-degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. Your pet may suffer irreversible organ damage or die."
"It’s Now Legal to Break Into Cars to Save Dogs in Tennessee" (TIME)
(photo by Nate Christenson) Read the rest
Yes, pinball is illegal in Oakland, California. But this week, the 80-year-old law, tied to anti-gambling ordinances, will be reversed. Read the rest
Senator Joe Manchin delivered a grandstanding, technologically clueless, facepalm-inducing request to the Treasury Department to ban Bitcoin. In response, Rep Jared Polis (who proudly wears Boing Boing tee-shirts in his spare time, and rocks some snazzy duds on the floor of Congress) wrote a mock-serious request for dollar bills to be removed from circulation, pointing out that practically every objection that Manchin raised over Bitcoin applies equally well to paper money. Read the rest
Mother Jones has published a heartbreaking story about the survivors of the Florida School for Boys; children who were, basically, kidnapped by southern cops and sent to a hellhole where backbreaking labor, torture, and murder were the order of the day. A state court has finally given the go-ahead to exhume the graves of the children who were killed and buried in anonymous, unmarked graves by their jailers. The survivors returned for a press-conference, but found themselves with almost no press to speak to.
Mike Mechanic writes, "Johnny Gaddy, 68, still doesn't understand how he landed at Florida's Dozier reform school. When he was 11, the police showed up at his front door. 'They told me the judge wanted to talk to me,' he recalls. 'I'll never forget it as long as I live. I was watching 'The Lone Ranger' on TV. My mama said, 'The officer going to take you down, the judge going to talk to you.' I said, 'Mama, why's he going to talk to me?' She said, 'Go ahead.' He took me to the police station, told me to get in a cell. I never saw a judge. I wasn't sentenced for anything as far as I know. I was handcuffed all the way to Marianna.' Read the rest
Sherwin from Public Knowledge writes, "The Copyright Office and the Library of Congress think that copyright law and the DMCA make it illegal to unlock your phone and take it to a new carrier. This is plainly ridiculous: a year ago, 114,000 Americans wrote the White House to tell them that, and the White House agreed. So did the FCC. And, eventually, so did the phone companies, who say they'll work to unlock most consumers' phones for them. But the law has stayed the same. It's still illegal for you, even if you've paid off your entire contract, to take it upon yourself to unlock your own phone." Read the rest
Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "Want to help save democracy?
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a super-secretive trade agreement that threatens everything you care about. It's been negotiated behind closed doors with ample input from over 600 corporate lobbyists -- but no access for journalists or the public. Sound bad? It gets worse. The corporate interest groups pushing for the TPP are the same folks that brought us SOPA, ACTA, and NAFTA." Read the rest
Popehat's Ken White (a former federal prosecutor) uses the arrest of alleged Silk Road founder Ross "Dread Pirate Roberts" Ulbricht to explain how the criminal justice system works, including the difference between a grand jury indictment and a criminal charge, and how to understand sentencing guidelines and "maximum possible sentences." It's a great way to use current events to deepen your understanding of important, complicated systems.
If you enjoy that, you should also check out Ed Felten's post that contrasts the Silk Road story with the shut down of Lavabit to explore how crypto does -- and doesn't -- change the criminal justice system. Read the rest
In Matot v. CH, et al, a middle school assistant principal named Adam Matot asked a court to find that two students who'd set up parody social media accounts mocking him had violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and when the court laughed that out the door, asked the court to find that the students had violated the RICO Act and were engaged in organized crime. Thankfully, the court understood that this was raw sewage disguised as legal theory [PDF] ("Congress did not intend to target the misguided attempts at retribution by juvenile middle school students against an assistant principal in enacting RICO.") and found for the kids. Here's some trenchant analysis from Venkat Balasubramani: Read the rest