Posts by Andre Alessi

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  • Hard News: A bigger breach?,

    I have the same thing with Coop Taxis, until I learnt to enunciate: "riddy nowww"

    When my old company was trialling a voice activated IVR, they placed test phones on each floor for people to try it out and give feedback.

    I was highly impressed when my demand of "I want a steak and mushroom pie, please" caused me to be immediately put through to the sales department. (We didn't sell pies, but it's the thought that counts.)

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 864 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: A Strange Surprise,

    The section 58 offence only related to any class A drug.

    The section 11A offence is any drug (including prescription medication), but requires proof of impairment.

    Sorry, poor phrasing on my part. That's the point I wanted to get across too. My concern is that this will result in an additional offence on top of the Misuse of Drugs Act without need to establish that the substance detected in the blood test results in impairment of the ability to drive.

    Fair enough, I think that operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of any substance should be a crime, but it strikes me as a little contrary to common sense to write an amendment to an existing law intended to deal with impairment of driving ability due to the use of substances, then include wording that seems to allow for charges to be laid even if impairment cannot be established. We have other laws that already cover that situation, there's no reason to add another.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 864 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: A Strange Surprise,

    And if you do go down to get tested, what constitutes a failed test? Are there established limits? And, if so, does being below said limit but still guilty of having measureable traces leave me liable for a charge of 'being high at some stage recently'?

    Enquiring minds want to.........what were we talking about again?

    As far as I can tell from the amendment, the test is simply whether it impairs the ability to drive (Section 11A.)

    Persons may not drive or attempt to drive while impaired and their blood contains evidence of use of controlled drug or prescription medicine

    A person may not drive or attempt to drive a motor vehicle while—
    (a) impaired; and
    (b) that person's blood contains evidence of the use of—
    (i) a controlled drug; or
    (ii) any prescription medicine.

    But Section 58 indicates that actually any indication at all of a controlled substance in your blood test is an offence in itself:

    (1) A person commits an offence if the person drives or attempts to drive a motor vehicle on a road—
    (a) while under the influence of drink or a drug, or both, to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of the vehicle; or
    (b) if the person’s blood, as ascertained from an analysis of a blood specimen subsequently taken under section 73, contains evidence of the use of a controlled drug specified in Schedule 1 (except thalidomide) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975.
    (1A) To avoid doubt, subsection (1)(b) does not limit subsection (1)(a).

    The key here is that a blood test cannot be demanded unless "impairment" is established, which is done via a "compulsory impairment test" (Section 71) performed by the police officer, or in the case of an accident causing injury or death (Section 62). So there needs to be reasonable grounds for a blood test to be demanded, but once this occurs any amount of a controlled substance detected is an offence.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 864 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The March for Democracy,

    On that note, could someone tell Phil Goff that dog-whsitling racist populism at Grey Power meetings doesn't even work for Winston Peters any more?

    Since when has telling a politician that something doesn't work been effective at stopping them from doing it anyway?

    Besides, Phil appears to be on the political equivalent of a visionquest, hoping to prove his manhood and independence from his elders by locking himself in small smoky spaces and attempting to induce prophecy-laden hallucinations. Just wait till he gets to the bit about the pink elephants who want New Zealand to take up compulsory military service.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 864 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: A bigger breach?,

    Worse than that, "paycheck" is often a literal, not a metaphorical staetement in the US, meaning that companies can dick people around by ensuring they get their pay too late on Friday to bank it, leaving the money in the company's accounts for an extra couple of interest-bearing days. It's almost unbelievably antiquated.

    The number one "guaranteed to start a flamewar" topic on many American-majority forums is tipping for waiters. "Minimum wage" laws, such as they are (or aren't as the case may be) usually have special allowances for tips received in service industries in many states, such as allowing an employer to count "predicted average tips" as part of a waitperson's wage-so if you are required by law to pay someone (say) eight USD p/h, but you claim they'll get on average 6.5 USD per hour in tips, you only have to pay them 1.5 USD an hour, and the need to work their asses off for the tips that will ensure they get paid what they should (sometimes the employer will have to make up the difference, but this process usually gets dragged out to the point where it's not reliable when you need to pay your rent.)

    It's one of the main reasons tipping is such a huge emotional trigger for many in the US-it's effectively a voluntary subsidy to prop up someone's salary.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 864 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: A bigger breach?,

    You stop too soon, Craig. There's no evidence he wasn't involved with the Permian extinctions, after all, and I personally find that deeply suspicious.

    To quote Peggy Noonan, it would be irresponsible not to speculate.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 864 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Apple-pie Embedding,

    I am startled by how many people on my Twitter feed (and the blogs I read) have been passing that Muppet video around.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 864 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: A bigger breach?,

    Slightly off track.
    The appropriately named 'Your Telecom' service from Telecom has been offline for a week.
    Security breaches ?

    I'd be highly surprised if it was anything like that, from what I understand it's heavily integrated with other services which are still up and running, and there's no way to get "free money" (or free services for that matter) from it.

    Much more likely to be an issue with an upgrade or change to the backend of the service that had to be rolled back, resulting in the shutdown until they could get things fixed. It wouldn't be a priority at this time of year, unfortunately.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 864 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: A bigger breach?,

    I have often wondered about the security of credit cards. How easy would it be to place a small transaction on all the card numbers that, say, a waiter or checkout worker have collected over the years. When you charge to a card you have the option of stating what you want to appear on their statement, how hard is it to write "Account Charge" or "Card Management fee" ?.
    If the charge is less than $5 most people would dismiss it as just another credit card company "charge" and do nothing about it.

    Most credit card companies proactively monitor for this sort of thing and suspend your card until you say it's OK to proceed.

    The general pattern for Internet-based credit card fraud is that you'll get a couple of small (1-2 USD) transactions on your card to "test the waters", then a much larger transaction as the fraudster tries to withdraw the money as cash. Banks have gotten better at jumping on those first small transactions.

    I've had my credit card suspended twice while this was investigated (though as far as I know my card's currently active.) The first time, my details had been stolen, but the second time I was signing up to an online gaming service which used a method of charging two small random amounts then having you report those amounts back from your statement to verify that you actually owned the card.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 864 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: So-called celebrity justice,

    Andre - not every non-celebrity is a bus driver. You would be surprised how many employers operating in a professional capacity would have it written into an employment contract that if you were to break the law in such a manner as the case in question that you would be dismissed.

    You do the crime, you do the time.

    To be fair, you were the one that used a bus driver as an example. I took it and ran with it to show that there are predictably different results for publishing various kinds of information for different types of profession, and that's something that we want judges to take into account. If someone is likely to lose their job as the result of publication of their offence, then the sentencing judge needs to take that into account, and name suppression (or discharge without conviction) may well be appropriate.

    If we are instead going to talk about the more general issue of employment contracts that have clauses allowing dismissal for questionable private conduct, that's something else again. That stops being an issue about publicity surrounding an offence and starts being about the offence itself and the contractual obligations of the person committing the offence.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 864 posts Report Reply

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