Re: Guest Post - folk porn avenger!

1

Even if I wanted to, I'm not sure how I would go about raping a waffle.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 8:34 AM
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Possibly a waffle-cone?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 8:37 AM
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The waffle cone is pretty much asking for it.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 8:38 AM
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If it's cool to grab phones off people on public transport who are having conversations that you find offensive, I am going to have a GREAT time next trip up to Heroinopolis. No, I don't want to hear about your hysterectomy! Your business model is boring and unimaginative! Your daughter probably is a silly person but she is 26 and her choice of boyfriend is her own business, as are her contraception decisions! You should be able to limit yourself to one use of "innit" per ten seconds!


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 8:42 AM
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I want the ability to grab phones from people who are talking or texting on them in while driving. The other day I saw a cop cruising along at about 70 mph busily texting away on his phone.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 8:47 AM
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The woman writing Heebie's link lived in my neighborhood; wonder if she still does?


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 8:48 AM
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Plus, teenagers need to learn that they don't deserve dignity or privacy.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 8:49 AM
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Right, grabbing the phone is actually theft. I don't think that there's more to do besides openly saying some behavior is rude. Of course, if the kids are being shits, they know that and want the attention, will basically enjoy a shouting match.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 8:52 AM
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Eh. Yes, theft, yes, bad behavior, no, I'm not generally endorsing that sort of thing. But if the situation were substantially as described, the kids' behavior seems to me to have been in a really different category than what Ajay is talking about in 4, and one making a fairly extreme response understandable.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 8:59 AM
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It speaks very well of the four teenagers in question that they didn't beat this woman up. I don't think you could nick stuff off many groups of teenagers on London public transport and not run the risk of getting a kicking.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:00 AM
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And 7, honestly -- again, given the situation as described, the kids had no interest in preserving their own dignity or privacy. What they wanted was the ability to behave aggressively unpleasantly in public without the knowledge of any authority they cared about.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:00 AM
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People are seriously taking the side of the teenagers?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:02 AM
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10: I'll agree that it's surprising it didn't get violent, but "speaks very well" of them that they didn't beat her up? I think of "not beating people up when provoked" as a really low bar to clear.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:02 AM
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11: they were talking to each other. Given the situation as described, there was no interaction at all with anyone else, aggressive or otherwise. The only person being aggressive was the person who wrote the post, who stole their property and then deliberately humiliated them.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:04 AM
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I'll agree that it's surprising it didn't get violent, but "speaks very well" of them that they didn't beat her up?

I think so, yes. I would expect the average teenager, if you stole their phone out of their hand, to try to get it back off you by force if necessary, particularly if they outnumbered you four to one. If someone stole my phone out of my hand I'd probably try the same thing. In fact, no hypothetical here, someone actually did steal my phone out of my hand, and I gave chase with that idea in mind (didn't catch up with him though).


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:06 AM
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Given the situation as described, there was no interaction at all with anyone else, aggressive or otherwise.

Bullshit. Discussing pornography in the manner described, in a public place where people are trapped in close quarters and you are clearly audible to the people around you, is aggressively unpleasant to the people around you. There are strong social norms against it (at least everywhere I've lived), and under the assumption that the situation was described, it wasn't a private conversation, but an intentionally public performance for an unwilling audience.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:09 AM
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, to try to get it back off you by force if necessary,

Strong distinction between that and "beat up" or "give a kicking", isn't there? Snatching the phone back is a very different matter.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:09 AM
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17: well, I think the one could easily turn into the other. The author would presumably not have given the phone up easily.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:12 AM
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16: I would have thought there was also a strong social norm against robbing people and deliberately humiliating them.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:13 AM
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Discussing pornography in the manner described, in a public place where people are trapped in close quarters and you are clearly audible to the people around you, is aggressively unpleasant to the people around you.

Yeah, but they're 16. Being totally oblivious to how your idiotic conversation unpleasant for everyone around you isn't exactly unheard of in that cohort.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:13 AM
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Right. You start violating social norms, it's unsurprising that people are inspired to violate social norms right back at you.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:14 AM
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This doesn't sound like a conversation too far outside the norm for young teenage boys, honestly.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:15 AM
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Being totally oblivious to how your idiotic conversation unpleasant for everyone around you isn't exactly unheard of in that cohort.

And now they know.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:15 AM
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It does have a strong Frank Miller/mall ninja "righteous middle-aged person strikes back against those awful teenagers" wish-fulfillment vibe. But objectively it does seem like a reasonable thing to do, although success is less likely.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:16 AM
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Would we be OK with a white police officer doing this - taking the phones, sending their photos and browsing history to their parents - to four black teenagers on the grounds that their conversation was "offensive to other people on the bus"?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:16 AM
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LB is right. I'm not sure I buy the story, but that's a different matter.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:17 AM
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22: Privately, sure. But I spend two hours a day on public transportation, often with teenagers on it, and I've never heard anything as egregious as what's described. (It doesn't seem impossible to me that the story is bullshit, and the phone-snatcher overreacted to murmurs she was actively eavesdropping on, at which point she's lost my sympathy. But if the story was as described, I can see her point.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:18 AM
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25: Couldn't you find a way to work Hitler into that analogy?


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:19 AM
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If we just tattooed parents' phone numbers to teenagers' heads she wouldn't have had to steal the phone.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:20 AM
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25: Honestly, I would -- I was actually thinking that as described, they sound like they'd be within an ordinary 'disorderly conduct' ordinance. I'd hold a cop to a higher standard, and expect them to give the kids a warning and a chance to cool it, first. But a ticket and a full explanation of what occasioned it to the parents? I'd be fine with that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:20 AM
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The story sounds fake.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:21 AM
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"...was offensive to Hitler..."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:21 AM
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25 was well played.

But, seriously, what person over 20 hasn't fantasized about fucking with an annoying bunch of teenagers who are being annoying. I view this kind of like the world's most awesome flight attendant who quit his job by saying fuck this, grabbing two beers, inflating the inflatable safety slide and sliding down it. Was that the "right" thing to do in some kind of Kantian sense? Probably not. On the other hand, it was awesome.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:23 AM
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as described, they sound like they'd be within an ordinary 'disorderly conduct' ordinance

Good grief. Well, I'm not a lawyer, so I'll have to take your word for it, but I think the situation is a bit different over here.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:23 AM
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31: It does, a bit -- either never happened at all, or was a busybody hassling kids who she had to actively eavesdrop on to know they were talking about anything offensive. I've just been arguing against the idea that the phone-snatcher was terribly out of line taking the story at face value.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:24 AM
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Discussing pornography in the manner described, in a public place where people are trapped in close quarters and you are clearly audible to the people around you, is aggressively unpleasant to the people around you.

The whole point of having that conversation in front of women in a crowded environment is to show that you have social power over them - to remind them that their worth is in their fuckability and that they don't have the power to compel you to be polite. It's a perfectly standard gross bullying teenage boy tactic, and I well remember being on the other end of it, albeit without cell phone-accessible porn.

For all the "oh, you should have a right to your property" business, and "she's lucky they didn't beat her up", I tend to see this from a "why shouldn't women have the right not to be subject to this shit" standpoint.

I doubt the whole thing happened, of course, but I wouldn't be at all sorry if gross creepy dudes on public transit were interrupted in their possession of their phones.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:25 AM
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25: Honestly, I would -- I was actually thinking that as described, they sound like they'd be within an ordinary 'disorderly conduct' ordinance.

I'm off to go fishing, but disorderly conduct is an arrestable offense and having the cops do this for conversations deemed offensive is fraught territory.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:26 AM
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"Once a man is twenty-five, he starts to think, every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest motherfucker in the world to a bunch of annoying teenagers. If some kids talked shit on the bus and I swore myself to revenge. If I got a fatal disease, had one year to live, and some kid didn't move to let an old person sit down. If I just dropped out and devoted my life to policing public transit."


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:26 AM
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I also doubt it happened, but have little problem with the scenario as described.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:27 AM
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Wait, what? A British cop (or train conductor or whoever) who saw a bunch of unruly kids causing a disturbance on a train couldn't tell the kids to cool it? I know your cops inexplicably don't carry guns and spend all their time investigating intricately plotted murder mysteries, but I hadn't realized it was full on lord of the flies by national fiat over there.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:28 AM
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34: Don't take my word for it, here's the NYS ordinance.

§ 240.20 Disorderly conduct.

A person is guilty of disorderly conduct when, with intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof:

1. He engages in fighting or in violent, tumultuous or threatening behavior; or

2. He makes unreasonable noise; or

3. In a public place, he uses abusive or obscene language, or makes an obscene gesture; or

4. Without lawful authority, he disturbs any lawful assembly or meeting of persons; or

5. He obstructs vehicular or pedestrian traffic; or

6. He congregates with other persons in a public place and refuses to comply with a lawful order of the police to disperse; or

7. He creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose.

Disorderly conduct is a violation.

These kids would fit under 240.20(3).


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:28 AM
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41: Any law that criminalizes most Manhattan drivers is problematic.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:32 AM
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It is New York law that you can't use abusive language or make an obscene gesture in public? Next you'll be telling me that snow is illegal in Canada.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:32 AM
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As someone who lives here, no, it really isn't. If there's a population that needs the fear of God put into them, it's Manhattan drivers.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:33 AM
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The whole point of having that conversation in front of women in a crowded environment is to show that you have social power over them

I think the person with the social power in this particular case is the one who can take other people's stuff with impunity and with the general approval of everyone else around.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:33 AM
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Norms are a bit different in Stockholm to those of either London or heroinopolis. And if she timed the phone grab right she could have been off the train before the owner had a chance to react; and the doors would have closed behind her. None of this proves the story is true -- and if it happened, there will be cctv in the possession of the Stockholm public transport system. Which no one seems to have got hold of.
The phone was returned to the owner, according to a later story in Aftonbladet.
Still, this kind of public and humiliating punishment is how norms are in practiced established and enforced. And there ought to be some norms about what you can look at with impunity in public and in front of children: Fisting videos? Beheading videos?


Posted by: President Sweden | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:34 AM
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Well, the criminalization without enforcement. If they're arresting/citing everyone, go for it.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:35 AM
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43: To engage humorlessly, there's an intent element -- you need to be intentionally or recklessly causing inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm. Anyone behaving within local norms isn't doing that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:35 AM
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45: yes - and surely it is better that the social power lie with middle-aged women than with teenage boys. This wasn't a situation in which it could be shared.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:35 AM
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This sounds awfully like the stuff my middle school friend posts on fb all the day long, the most recent being a story with the headline "This Iraqi Lady MOCKS US Soldiers Til An Old Man Shuts Her Up With This Offer...WHOA!" which, needless to say, ends with everyone cheering and the woman in the burqa slinking back to Central Casting. Everyone likes indignation porn.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:36 AM
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46: videos of HITLER?


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:36 AM
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For those concerned that physically seizing the phone goes too far, how would you feel about videotaping* the teenager's behavior and posting the video to YouTube? It involves no theft of property but is potentially much more embarrassing than simply notifying the parents.

* We need a verb for the act of capturing video using a method that involves neither tape no film. "Videoing" sounds stupid.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:39 AM
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45 is like blaming Batman because he has the utility belt.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:39 AM
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52: Recording?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:41 AM
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Evokes audio-only.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:43 AM
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"Videoing" is fairly common usage, no?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:44 AM
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48 -- well, and also to be fair, the statute has serious constitutional limitations. For example teenagers doing no more than having a gross, but no louder than normal for a public space, discussion of how awesome rape is on a train probably couldn't be constitutionally convicted under a disorderly conduct statute. But as with a lot of policing/public order things, there's a difference between what justifies a formal arrest or conviction and what's appropriate to maintain order. If the conductor or train police or whoever had come by and said "you boys need to be quiet until we get off the train, and I'm going to hold the phone and give it back to you then" I don't see much of a problem at all.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:45 AM
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Still, this kind of public and humiliating punishment is how norms are in practiced established and enforced.

And surely if there's one thing we can agree on, it's that we should be free to impose public and humiliating punishment on people who don't behave the way we think they should.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:46 AM
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The lady's story is the enlightened topless equivalent of defensive gun use fantasies among American wingnuts.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:46 AM
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If I just dropped out and devoted my life to policing public transit.

That story doesn't end well.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:49 AM
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58 - A commitment to free speech doesn't and shouldn't in any way, at all, prevent private citizens from shaming speech they think is shameful. Exactly the opposite, in fact.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:49 AM
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58: Depends who we are and what the behaviour is. But without the credible threat of that punishment social norms just stop being norms.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:49 AM
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58: Yes?


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:49 AM
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59: -- except of course for the toplesness.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:50 AM
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58: You keep on coming back to 'humiliating'. Does it seem wrong to you to humiliate someone by informing a third party of how they behaved in a public place? I'd think that once you're doing something for a public audience, you've lost the moral high ground for objecting to anyone else knowing about it. (There are particular cases, where the public behavior is not wrong, and the third party it's reported to has power over the actor and is likely to use the knowledge to injure the actor -- things like outing someone who is for good reason closeted at work. But this doesn't seem to me to come anywhere near that kind of exception.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:54 AM
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The end result, of course, is that women (and visibly queer/non-gender-confirming men) have to sit around on public transit listening to this stuff, because it doesn't rise to the level of a criminal offense and lord knows, we wouldn't want to infringe on the cell phone use of creepers. Run of the mill misogynist grossness in spaces that you can't avoid is just something that has to be endured - the price of the ticket, if you will.

How would one "share" social power in this situation? Asking nicely that they stop?


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:54 AM
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52: For those concerned that physically seizing the phone goes too far, how would you feel about videotaping* the teenager's behavior and posting the video to YouTube?

I'd say that's totally different. Of the three actions:

1. Loudly and obtrusively being a vulgar sexist shit in a public place.
2. Stealing a complete stranger's personal property.
3. Recording someone's behavior and posting it to YouTube.

only 2 is clearly and unambiguously a crime. 1 and 3 might or might not be against some law or other depending on the circumstances, but there's absolutely no question about 2.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:54 AM
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Agree that it sounds fake. Agree with ajay that taking the phone crosses a line. Use your words, lady. I'm assuming there's less "I'm going to rape that bitch" among the teenage crowd in Sweden than in Chicago, but who knows.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:55 AM
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To the extent the story is true, I suspect the intended audience was the 14 year old girl. She has all my sympathy. The young men have none, zilch, zero, nada.

Once when we were waiting for the bus across the street from the Opera House after a performance, probably on a Friday night, a relatively empty 47 or 49 pulled up, but the driver didn't open the doors right away. Instead he got up, walked about halfway back the bus, made a mini-speech and then went back to his seat and opened the door. I'm pretty sure he was telling the rowdy teenagers to cool it before all the post-performance elderly people got on. And they did largely cool it!


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:55 AM
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(And the phone snatching really is a serious norm-violation, and one I don't actually support. But the meaningful part of the reaction is ratting the kid out to his parents, and if it had been possible without the phone snatching -- if the kid had failed to notice an acquaintance in earshot -- I would absolutely support the ratting-out.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:56 AM
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True story: Once I was waiting in a European subway station and the woman next to me lit a cigarette in blatant disregard for the No Smoking sign. I said "Smoking is forbidden here." She said "I don't give a shit." I sat quietly for a moment, then deftly snatched the burning cigarette from her mouth and stamped it out under my foot.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:57 AM
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71: Then you found five Euros.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:58 AM
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Of course, the first step for the nearby responsible adults should be to tell the kids that their behavior is offensive, and that they should cut it out. If that does not deter them, then cell phone stouthrief seems like a reasonable next step.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:58 AM
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I mean sure stealing the phone was wrong and probably a crime and if I were thinking as a judge I'd have to say as much. On the other hand so was stealing the beers and opening the airline's inflatable slide, so sometimes we have to break the law a bit to be awesome.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:59 AM
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71: In Greece, you would have been killed. But so would have the guy who tried to put up a no smoking sign.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:59 AM
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74: Will "awesomeness in the first degree" be a valid defense under Halfordísmo?


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:00 AM
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Frowner is correct in this thread and I would be interested in ajay's response.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:01 AM
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The real lesson here for teenagers is, don't save your parents contact info under "Mom" and "Dad."


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:02 AM
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Er, parents'.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:03 AM
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Does it seem wrong to you to humiliate someone by informing a third party of how they behaved in a public place?

But that's not all she did, is it? She stole the phone, downloaded the contents, including the browsing history, and forwarded it to their parents. That crosses a line from "justified public expression of displeasure". I wouldn't have a problem if she'd told them off loudly in public, and/or called their parents to tell them "your son was being very loud and obnoxious on a bus today". That's fine. But there's something pretty invasive about what she did that I'm really not OK with.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:03 AM
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Then you found five Euros.

Five D-Marks in those days, but yes, I forgot to include that part.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:03 AM
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"Yes, your honor, I did knowingly break the law, but I did it with panache."


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:03 AM
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All right, not out the door yet, coffee is still being drunk before I go chuck a yellow humpy around the stream.

The end result, of course, is that women (and visibly queer/non-gender-confirming men) have to sit around on public transit listening to this stuff, because it doesn't rise to the level of a criminal offense

It can, in this state and in NY. I'm not transit PD but I do ride for free because of the cop thing and I would have said something and likely identified myself as a cop if they got shitty about it.

But, people, don't take phones by force. It can be charged as robbery.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:03 AM
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We just got a criminal alert about people taking phones by force. The victims seem to be students waiting for the bus who are even more obliviously engaged with their phones than I am.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:05 AM
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don't save your parents' contact info under "Mom" and "Dad."

I once got a mobile phone I found in a taxi back to its rightful owner by calling the listing for "Grandma" and asking if she had a grandchild in London. Improbably, it turns out I knew the guy. Then I found five GBP.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:06 AM
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I think one of the reasons our instincts are in favor of this is that the offenders were underage - the intervener is temporarily acting in loco parentis. It takes a village and all that.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:07 AM
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Knecht is totally right that this sounds just like gun nut vigilante fantasies; in fact, the snatching the phone away is also what makes it sound fake to me--it's so much more dramatic than "And then I asked them to pipe down, and they did." To amend my earlier point, if she felt safe enough to grab the phone, she certainly felt safe enough to tell them to knock it off.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:09 AM
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The end result, of course, is that women (and visibly queer/non-gender-confirming men) have to sit around on public transit listening to this stuff, because it doesn't rise to the level of a criminal offense

I am not sure that moving towards more aggressive enforcement of social norms by means of punishments including public humiliation is going to be, on balance, a good thing for visibly queer/non-gender-conforming men.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:09 AM
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I wouldn't have a problem if she'd told them off loudly in public, and/or called their parents to tell them "your son was being very loud and obnoxious on a bus today".

What about "Your son was being loud and obnoxious, specifically by loudly discussing pictures and websites about vaginal fisting and facials in front of a train-car-full of people, including young teenagers?" Is the invasiveness the detail, or the physical proof that you're not lying?

What if she'd videoed from an angle that showed the screen of the phone they were looking at? That seems to include the same information that you're objecting to as invasive, but wouldn't have required the phone-stealing, and wouldn't seem to me to be significantly differently humiliating.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:09 AM
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88: Depends on what the social norms are. The problem for non-gender-conforming people isn't the enforcement of social norms, it's the existence of oppressive social norms.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:10 AM
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Now we know how knecht can afford to live in PDBS.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:12 AM
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I am not sure that moving towards more aggressive enforcement of social norms by means of punishments including public humiliation is going to be, on balance, a good thing for visibly queer/non-gender-conforming men.

Isn't that how stuff is always rationalized, though? Don't be militant, because the Other Side will just beat you up more? Women, don't be aggressive because men are stronger and you'll just make them mad?

In my lived experience as a very flinchy person who hates to make trouble, I have noticed that while a small fraction of bullies get madder and more violent when you cross them, a lot of them are either cowards or situational bullies and will stop if you act aggressive.

Teenage creepers are gross on public transit because they know that everyone will just turn a blind eye - partly because after all women should just expect that kind of stuff and boys will be boys and porn is totes okay (which means that it's totes okay as part of a strategy of aggression) and partly because we don't want to rock the boat and partly because the strategies for dealing with them in group of strangers are few and tricky to implement.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:13 AM
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Isn't that how stuff is always rationalized, though? Don't be militant, because the Other Side will just beat you up more? Women, don't be aggressive because men are stronger and you'll just make them mad?

Yep.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:14 AM
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90: well, quite. But that's the thing, isn't it? Social norms aren't set by godlike philosopher monarchs (or 47 year old men in basements), they're set by majorities in society. If you're in a social minority, which by definition non-gender-conforming people are, then you're breaking some of those norms.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:15 AM
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I'm not denying things could have gone seriously south for the self-proclaimed phone snatcher, she's just lucky they weren't dancers:

""I didn't feel any pain, my adrenaline was so hopped up, it was pure animal instinct. I was just like, who does he think he is, he has no right to take my iPhone....[Other people on the car] started chanting 'Rocky! Rocky!' and some black guy said 'That was pretty good for a white boy; I thought you were dead meat.'""

http://m.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/2010/08/05/san-francisco-ballet-dancer-beats-down-mugger-in-bart-brawl

Beware Super Pupi!


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:17 AM
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I mean, even assuming that this actually happened, which seems vanishingly unlikely, I think virtually all choices open to the woman were poor. We just tend to accept "women experience pervasive bullying misogyny on public transit" as so normal that we don't even see it as a bad choice. Taking the phone? Just awful. Young teen listens once again to sexualized bullying from other teenagers? Normal, so the best choice.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:18 AM
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If you're in a social minority, which by definition non-gender-conforming people are, then you're breaking some of those norms.

Again, bullshit. Where I live, gay people are a social minority. They are also not breaking any norms by being visibly gay in public. Unusual conduct is not by definition norm-violating.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:18 AM
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I mean, even assuming that this actually happened, which seems vanishingly unlikely,

That does take some of the fun out of arguing about it, admittedly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:20 AM
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It's the aggressive defense of property rights that you led with, ajay, that grated with me. You seem to have moved away from that. Frowner still pretty much wiping the floor with you, though!


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:20 AM
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Funny, I was thinking of the defense of property rights angle as the only vestige of a defensible position Ajay had.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:21 AM
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So the two alternatives are a world in which do-gooder vigilantes go around enforcing social norms which some may find oppressive, or a world in which the public sphere is an anarchic free-for-all where we can all behave however we want, free from the fear of being criticized?

This is why I stay in my basement, venturing out only when my supply of Cheetos runs low.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:22 AM
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Taking the phone? Just awful. Young teen listens once again to sexualized bullying from other teenagers? Normal, so the best choice.

This isn't my position. I don't think she should just put up with it at all. Tell them to stop. Yell at them. Videotape them. Get other passengers to scold them as well. I don't think anyone here or on the train would care to defend the teens. But once you take the phone, you're a thief.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:24 AM
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When I was twenty, I would not have been able to hold the type pink collar gig I work looking as I do - short hair in a "masculine" style, mannish clothes and a generally unfeminine affect would have rendered me unemployable. At the time, I made myself miserable by trying to pass, but luckily other braver souls were out there being themselves, and I've lived through to a time when I rarely encounter overt homophobia at work and can dress as I please.

I was - and am - both gender non-conforming and of a minority sexual orientation. Cowering and passing haven't actually been good strategies for people like me. I think the question of whether I violated "norms" is...well, it's just not a useful way of approaching the question.

I'm also a bit hinky about "if people who are being trodden on act up, they are implicitly justifying the acts of their oppressors, since their oppressors are also acting up".


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:24 AM
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I don't think anyone here or on the train would care to defend the teens.

Ajay does seem to think that humiliating them in front of their parents is inappropriate.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:26 AM
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(augh, what a garble of a sentence - should be more like "I would not have been able to hold the type of pink collar gig that I currently work if I dressed as I do now")


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:26 AM
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Escalating from the realm of just-talking (even loud and offensive talking) to the realm of the physical (taking the phone and not giving it back) is no bueno despite the provocation. To quote the post linked in the OP, "as long as you don't actually SHOVE ME or YANK YOUR ROD it is all good in the hood".


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:27 AM
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Finally looked up PDBS, and am enlightened. Was guessing "pretty damn bougie"...something.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:27 AM
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"The whole point of having that conversation in front of women in a crowded environment is to show that you have social power over them - to remind them that their worth is in their fuckability and that they don't have the power to compel you to be polite."

I think this attributes to malice what should be attributed to stupidity.


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:28 AM
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102 gets it right - pretty much anything short of physical escalation is fair game.


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:30 AM
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Try maintaining that degree of serenity and security as a 14 year old, torque.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:30 AM
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I don't really understand Ajay's position. There's a decent (actually probably correct) argument that taking the phone was wrong (the counter-argument is that it didn't actually hurt the teens very much, and as a one-off example of understandable public shaming, not something we'd want to impose as a universal norm or law, it's fine). There's no good argument that it's not OK fo private people to shame others for conduct in public that's objective shameful and harmful, so long as the shaming doesn't cross a line into physical invasion. I can't really tell what position is being argued for.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:31 AM
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this attributes to malice what should be attributed to stupidity

Oh, there are definitely times when this kind of behavior is a calculated provocation. Still, you can ask them to cut it out first, and then you'll know for sure.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:31 AM
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I think this attributes to malice what should be attributed to stupidity.

I really don't. The difference between inattention to who can hear you and intentional public performance is very apparent in the moment. Anecdote from TFA, where the attempted intimidation/grossout was such a failure that it was actually kind of cute, but it is obvious when it's happening.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:32 AM
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I think one of the reasons our instincts are in favor of this is that the offenders were underage - the intervener is temporarily acting in loco parentis. It takes a village and all that.

Definitely. Part of what makes this case problematic is that the kids are described as being 16 or so--right on the edge of adulthood. If the kids had been younger--say, 11 or 12--it would be harder to object to seizing the phone and calling the parents, or even social services, for that matter. OTOH, if they were a little older, 18 or 19, then grabbing the phone becomes indefensible.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:35 AM
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Surely there's a way to shame people for being loud stupid creepy fucks without shaming them for looking at porn. There is something awfully small of spirit about sending someone's porn to their mom.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:35 AM
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I'm with 102. You don't have a right to steal other people's shit. You do have a right to yell at people, call them out, complain to the police, complain to their parents, videotape them & etc., but you don't have a right to steal other people's shit.

As 102 notes, once you start stealing other people's shit you're a thief regardless of whatever social justice-y reasons you might have had.

Now it's possible that in stealing an obnoxious teenager's cell phone you're in exactly the same position, morally speaking, as the civil rights protestors who violated segregation laws and history will vindicate you in the same way. If that's your theory, run with it. But I'm not convinced. Especially since "nothing short of stealing cell phones would work" hasn't been very convincingly established.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:36 AM
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115: If the loud-stupid-creepy fuckdom was inflicting their porn on an unwilling audience, that seems to me to fully justify it. For any other offense, I'd agree with you.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:37 AM
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"Stealing the cell phone" does seem to me to be mitigated, as an offense, by the (actually carried out) intent to return it. It's still illegal, of course, but it seems to me to be morally distinct from stealing with intent to deprive the owner of their property.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:42 AM
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("Actually carried out" should be footnoted with "Again, if any of this happened for real.")


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:43 AM
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112, 113: mostly I'm saying it's ridiculous to say that the teenager are performing a calculated act to maintain the patriarchy by reminding women of the source of their value, when actually they're either just being dumb kids or, as I agree is likely but also don't see particularly strong evidence in the FB post for, intentionally grossing people out.


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:44 AM
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*teenagers


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:46 AM
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Surely we can all agree that tazing or pepper spraying would have been a less problematic response to the initial provocation.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:46 AM
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when actually they're... as I agree is likely but also don't see particularly strong evidence in the FB post for, intentionally grossing people out [by making them listen to a discussion of fisting/facials including misogynistic language].

I'm sure the kids wouldn't use Frowner's language. But if they're intentionally targeting a young teenage girl with the described performance, what message do you think she was meant to take from it?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:48 AM
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Making a bit of a left turn: something that struck me is the "four little fuckers" in the opening line, because it sounds so much like "four little thugs" or other transparent slurs, and it made me wonder if there's some racial/ethnic component to this (possibly fake! but even then, interesting as a fake) story. An American journalist would have shown up at this woman's house already.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:48 AM
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"Get out. The wire story is coming from inside your house."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:50 AM
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An American journalist would have shown up at this woman's house already.

Seriously, Annika Bengtzon is off her game lately.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:51 AM
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Wouldn't the "I'll ring your mum" aspect cut against that? I'd think someone othering the teenagers in a racial/ethnic way wouldn't expect a supportive reaction from the teens' parents; that sounds like someone trying to shame within what they think of as the same community.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:51 AM
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Assuming it was in fact targeted, I think they were looking for an immediate reaction, not thinking about what the takeaway "message" would be.


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:51 AM
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Wouldn't the "I'll ring your mum" aspect cut against that?

Probably but not necessarily--imagine someone who really wants to tell a mom that her kids are trash.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:53 AM
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Surely we can all agree that tazing or pepper spraying would have been a less problematic response to the initial provocation.

Of all the days I had to go and forget my air horn at home, why oh why did it have to be today?


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:53 AM
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128: Why would they think she'd be grossed out? I'm not saying that they thought this out in full sentences phrased as Frowner did or I would, but the way the grossout/threat, where the audience is a girl or young woman, seems to me clearly to be "You're the same kind of thing we're talking about here." And it seems absurdly charitable to believe that someone doing that sort of performance knows that people find it unpleasant or threatening but has no understanding at all of why or how they do.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:57 AM
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imagine someone who really wants to tell a mom that her kids are trash

Facebook does trigger that emotion in my at times.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:57 AM
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And what if the 14 year old was sitting there in a cold sweat if nauseating anxiety that she would have to get off at the same stop as these young men and then walk down an otherwise deserted street?

The amount of hullabaloo that was instantly raised here re THIEVING! OH MY GOD! frankly astounds me. What if a teacher or principal at their school had "snatched" their phones and told their parents? Impermissible invasion of property rights, slippery slope to bedlam? Inexcusable humiliation?


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 11:03 AM
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If they were harassing the girl a serious rebuke is in order. This wouldn't have much to do with their browser history or the specifics of what they were looking at.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 11:05 AM
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94 is confusing statistical norms with social norms.

Smearcase, 115 seems small-hearted about moms (parents) to me. GIANT CAVEAT that (a) I'm only defending exposing public behavior, incl porn, not dumping the phone (b) my parents wouldn't have thrown me out for consensual sexuality, so. But rape threats and insults from lads who went to church w/their parents shrank my youth. Of course, I was a wierdo in a small town, maybe their parents knew.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 11:06 AM
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Yeah, I'm also just now catching up and surprised at the pearl-clutching over the temporary theft of the phone.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 11:06 AM
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If they were harassing her by loudly describing the particular websites in the browser history, yes it does.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 11:06 AM
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I'm on Team LB and Frowner with this one.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 11:08 AM
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OTOH, it doesn't really matter if they were looking at videos or just discussing facials enthusiastically from memory, so I'm anti-downloading and emailing videos to Mom. Pro-contacting mom, though.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 11:08 AM
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What if a teacher or principal at their school had "snatched" their phones and told their parents?

That is a much more clear-cut case of in loco parentis than the random nearby adult on the train.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 11:08 AM
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133, 134: Should bus drivers have the right to temporarily confiscate phones? They don't have time, but I think the drivers (& librarians) in my town do a tolerable job of maximizing - hm - mutual tolerability.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 11:11 AM
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139.1: Well, it's nice having supporting evidence.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 11:11 AM
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140: hence the popularity of sites like public transit for exactly this kind of behavior.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 11:12 AM
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139: Yeah, if they were targeting the girl I'm have no qualms about grabbing the phone and calling. I wouldn't object to even violence, if one could get away with it, in the waffle story.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 11:12 AM
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New Theory!

Yes, I agree with everyone that this is probably fiction. However! I think we're misinterpreting:

Mum has been phoned, the pictures and links sent to her via her son's telephone and as well as that she has collected the phone.

What the author wants us to believe is: she snapped photos and video with her own phone. She will get the phone number off the kid's phone, and send the material on to Mom.

She's not planning on downloading the porn and sending it on; that is less-clear and more tricky on an unfamiliar phone. What's easy is just getting someone's contact info and then using your own phone from there.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 11:12 AM
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Sending the porn on to the mother could also be a copyright issue.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 11:14 AM
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Maybe 145 is off. Who knows what lies in ficticious accounts.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 11:14 AM
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It does make a difference that not only did she give it back, but she told him immediately that she would. That might put it in the category of tough lesson for me. I confess I just sort of skimmed over that when I was reading the post.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 11:16 AM
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Sending the porn on to the mother could also be a copyright issue.

Well if we want to go down that rabbit hole, if the porn in question featured anybody under 18, then the vigilante just became guilty of distributing child pornography.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 11:18 AM
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People on both sides of this debate are overestimating the punitive character of calling the boys' mums. IMX, the instinct of parents to jump to the defense of their shitty children in the face of complaints by random busy-bodies should not be underestimated*. The busybody will invariably overstep by impugning the character of mum's little angels, the boys will get to present their defense without cross-examination, and in the end, they'll skate from it.

*Especially if there is a class difference in either direction: the complainer will be dismissed as a haughty bitch or one of *those* people.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 11:19 AM
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It is true that busybodies are the worst. On the other hand so are gangs of teenagers. The only solution, as Pitbull sings, is the all-consuming fireball.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 11:24 AM
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I'M WORKING ON IT OK!


Posted by: Opinionated Climate Change | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 11:27 AM
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Busybodies are the worst. I don't particularly like this woman.

OTOH, reprimanding the kids publicly, on the spot, will result in her getting laughed at hysterically by the teenagers. Zero impact.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 11:32 AM
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153.2: I'm not sure. Teenagers can have a self-reinforcing effect that can be popped by adult intervention.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 11:38 AM
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Goofus watches porn videos on a crowed train and makes lewd comments within earshot of others.

Gallant seizes Goofus' cell phone and informs Goofus' mom.

Goofus' mom wonders why she ever let her deadbeat ex-husband talk her into naming their son Goofus.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 11:39 AM
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124: An American journalist couldn't speak enlightened topless languages in the first place so the problem would not have arisen.

145: A later article claims that the SPA rang the mother, who came to meet her on the platform; they looked at the stuff together there, and she returned the phone. The journalist who wrote it presumably talked to the subway porn avenger. Therefore he has her contact details. He has been asked for them.


Posted by: President Sweden | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 11:42 AM
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So my US public transit experience is that a pack of kids being purposefully noisy and rude will not pipe down when some adult wags a finger-- they'll all yell louder and enjoy doing it. Shoving and spitting or food throwing from the kids is escalation to expect.

The suggestion to record them actually seems most reasonable. In the US, this interaction on a train in Chicago is going to be a group of black or hispanic kids pretty often, and the older scolder is going to be white and angry, leading off with being insulting rather than saying "Please pipe down" in a plausibly polite way.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 11:44 AM
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My point that a phone snatch is theft is based on thinking of the interaction between angry older guy- pissed off group of hooplehead kids slinging soda as they run off at their stop that I've seen on trains maybe five times.

I'm not that interested in righteous Swedish lady.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 11:49 AM
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I'm actually somewhat leery of record and post to YouTube option (which I introduced to the thread.) The problem is that the video will either get 17 hits, in which case it accomplishes nothing, or it will get several hundred thousand hits and be featured on the morning news program, in which case it seems like overkill.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 11:50 AM
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159: It seems more extreme, to me, than contacting the kids' parents, but it does have the benefit of being less illegal.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 11:54 AM
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Where is all the good Goofus/Gallant fanfic?


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 11:58 AM
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Right, so what's the best course of action with a group of rowdy kids in the US? Say 5 kids, cussing loudly and sustainedly, horsing around to take up as much subway as possible, describing say a beating or a public BJ.

Sometimes quietly asking them to ease up on the cussing before they really work up a head of steam works (I'm 2 for 2 with that, but one group was 3 guys and one was 4).


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 11:59 AM
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Or at least Goofus/Gallant sex tips.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 11:59 AM
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The story is almost certainly fake, but as poetic justice and/or awesomeness in the first degree it's a lot of fun in exactly the manner that Halford suggests, but not nearly as much fun as you guys. BUT THAT'S THEFT!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 12:03 PM
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162: In practice, for me, I wouldn't expect much overlap between "groups of teenage boys behaving badly enough that I feel as if someone should intervene" and "groups of teenage boys that I'm not too afraid of to attract attention to myself". Ajay's comment that he's surprised she wasn't beaten up does seem reasonable to me, in terms of what you'd expect to happen. I don't see objectionably rowdy kids often at all (if you don't count the massively irritating gymnastic dance performances. Very impressive, but I hate them), but on the rare occasions when I have, they've been scary enough that I keep my head down and try to be invisible.

I'm all for someone intervening, but generally it's not going to be me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 12:04 PM
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Actually, 156.2 is starting to make it sound more plausible.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 12:05 PM
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Right, you're like the fourth woman on this thread to chuckle about noticing theft.

The subways I ride, rowdy kids happen pretty often, elderly white scolders also. That's my personal context for saying "theft," and for wondering about possibly productive things to say before escalation.

Again, I am not interested in self-righteous Mrs Lindblad, I'm interested in my own subways, one which had a pack of kids attack someone with a machete on a platform last month.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 12:07 PM
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Where is all the good Goofus/Gallant fanfic?

It's been optioned by Wes Anderson. Owen Wilson and Jason Schwartzman will star in the title roles.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 12:12 PM
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Clearly, Bernie Goetz failed to shift the Overton window on responses to public-transport misbehavior in any meaningful way.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 12:16 PM
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169. Yes, I don't want to bring him up, but that's the extreme case.

Wedding Crashers is actually Goofus+Gallant plus some rounding error. I find Owen Wilson's fake sincerity persona about ten thousand times more jarring than Hallmark Channel raised to the power of Sabado Gigante. (whic, as an American, I no longer feel entitled to chucle at becasue America's got Talent is equally bad in every particular. Not that anyone asked.)


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 12:21 PM
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If Isla Fisher were in Goofus and Gallant, I'd still subscribe to Highlights.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 12:23 PM
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I'm interested in my own subways, one which had a pack of kids attack someone with a machete on a platform last month

Mitbürger!

I guess I never noticed you were a CTA-riding Chicagoan; we may have seen each other. In an hour I'll be taking that very train, an hour after that my wife and I will get on it one stop away from where the attack took place.

I've thought of that incident reading this thread too, partly because the one teenage girl in that group doesn't seem to have had too much trouble with it although she stands off a bit in the video. Assuming the Swedish teenage girl was afraid or oppressed, while possible true, is not assured either.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 12:25 PM
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Bernie Goetz, when I looked at it in law school, wasn't that far off what I'd think of as legit self defense. If I'm remembering right, he was actually being mugged by four guys with a sharpened screwdriver. His gun wasn't legal, and he kept shooting after the threat was eliminated, but the initial shots didn't seem wrongful to me. He fled the scene, and he was admired by the wrong people, but he wasn't Zimmerman.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 12:26 PM
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Alternate judge-the-busybody scenario from this morning, observed while sitting in the daycare yard trying to extricate Teapot from my lap: one of the teachers, watching a car drive past, noticed that the driver was holding a small child in her lap. The car turned into the daycare lot. The teacher hemmed and hawed and eventually went to the front desk to pass the word that Something Should Be Said to the parent. No mention was made of saying anything to the cops, but I don't know what the threshold for mandated reporting is here.

(a) How many monsters do you see in this scenario?
(b) What if I tell you that the car was a Lexus?
(c) What if I tell you that faculty housing is just past daycare down a nearly private road, with low traffic volume and low speed limits? (We can't see the relevant turn from the yard to know whether the Lexus came from housing or from town, but daycare is university-affiliated and substantially enriched for faculty kids.)


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 12:26 PM
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So once I was riding on the metro at rush hour and some jerk decided thus was the perfect time and place to masturbate *just for me*. Super special! So I'm trying to maneuver away from him by putting a few suited blokes between us when the absolute perfect epitome of diminutive but waaaay stocky elderly black clad French woman spots him. And she has an umbrella, not collapsing but full size, along with of course some marketing bags. She starts reading him the riot act at beyond full volume. Someone had apparently alerted the driver as at the next station the flics are already on the platform. The passengers collectively expel the (literal!) wanker, with Mme. Marianne hot on his heels. As the train pulled away, I had a glorious view of the cops standing with their arms folded as my avenging angel put some serious muscle into going at the guy with her umbrella.

I don't know if anyone stole his phone.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 12:29 PM
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175: I was riding the metro as a 14 year-old tourist and sitting on one of the fold-out seats at the end of a row. This guy started bumping against me. At first, I didn't realize what was happening, but then he pulled his penis out. Nobody did anything which was quite scary for me.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 12:35 PM
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Note that the incident in 175 is only remarkable in my experience because something happened to the dick, rather than me just doing my best to get away.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 12:37 PM
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174: a) No monsters. The parent isn't a monster -- forty years ago that would have been perfectly normal. But mentioning it to the day care isn't being a busybody, because having a kid on your lap while you're driving really is dangerous, and it's the kind of thing I'd expect cops to get very excited about, so the parent should be warned that they're going to get into trouble. b) Don't care. c) More evidence for the parent not being a monster, but doesn't change my support for saying something to the day care.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 12:39 PM
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I've been either lucky or oblivious with subway masturbators -- I can't remember one. A guy in a car near MIT when I was at school there, called me over asking for directions and was jerking off when I looked into the car, but not on the subway. I certainly got my ass fondled fairly frequently, but not, I think, since high school (combination of I got better at self-defense and the trains got less crowded.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 12:42 PM
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177: I'd never noticed it on the MBTA.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 12:43 PM
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(b) What if I tell you that the car was a Lexus?
(c) What if I tell you that faculty housing is just past daycare down a nearly private road, with low traffic volume and low speed limits?

Neither is a mitigating factor. Driver's side airbag is triggered by the equivalent of a 14mph collision with a fixed barrier, and could seriously harm a young child. LB gets it right.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 12:45 PM
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176: That's really awful that nobody did anything.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 12:50 PM
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Of course, trying to tackle a guy with his penis out would seem a bit uncomfortable.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 12:51 PM
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So we're thinking of masturbating/exposure to young women on trains as a thing, more likely on the Metro than in our subways?

I'll ask my daughter, who rides at all hours and may have encountered it.

We rode Metro as a family, which probably protected us. Worst thing was a group of "musicians" with dented brass instruments trying to play "Those Were The Days My Friend," very poorly.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 12:55 PM
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Of course, trying to tackle a guy with his penis out would seem a bit uncomfortable

But swatting with an umbrella or newspaper would be practical.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 12:57 PM
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So we're thinking of masturbating/exposure to young women on trains as a thing

Seriously? I mean, I just said I haven't encountered it on the subway myself (although being groped by strangers, yes I have), but I've got second-hand anecdotes up the yin-yang and out the wazoo. Alameida has posted about it here. It's a commonplace.

You've never heard of this before?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 12:58 PM
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||
Smooth move, Ex Lax:

http://www.newser.com/story/193757/cops-hit-cyclist-arrest-him-as-hes-dying-witnesses.html?utm_source=huffingtonpost.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=pubexchange

||>


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 12:58 PM
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Incidence of exposing, rubbing, fondling, grabbing etc in my experience is in descending order Paris, London, SF. Haven't spent as much time in LA, NY or elsewhere to compare. This is both in and outside of transit.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 12:59 PM
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Of course, trying to tackle a guy with his penis out would seem a bit uncomfortable.

It gives you something to hang on to as he tries to get away.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 1:02 PM
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Of course, trying to tackle a guy with his penis out would seem a bit uncomfortable

But swatting with an umbrella or newspaper would be practical.

Pepper spray. And not in the face.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 1:03 PM
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Neither is a mitigating factor.

I don't think the Lexus detail was meant to mitigate anything.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 1:03 PM
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I would bet that pepper spraying in an enclosed train car is very nonspecific and strongly contraindicated.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 1:04 PM
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I once knew a woman who carried pepper spray on key chain. Through a combination of carelessness and crowding, she managed to learn that one blast will clear an entire bar.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 1:08 PM
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Surely one has some control over the direction of the spray and the amount sprayed, no? I mean, it's a spray, not one of those pest control fog bombs.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 1:08 PM
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I've heard of it; I was framing a question which 188 answered.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 1:09 PM
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Something, something, Brownian motion, something, something.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 1:09 PM
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195: Sorry, seems as if I've been misreading you a lot lately. Your comma in the first sentence threw me -- I read it as "We're thinking of this as a thing? And it's more likely on the Metro than in the US?" rather than what you meant, "We're thinking of this as a thing that is more likely on the Metro than in the US."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 1:11 PM
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One of those little directional tubes like on WD40, for spot applications.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 1:11 PM
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To wickedly analogize, remember that time I was riding the bus, and the crazy old white guy was loudly upbraiding two black men and maliciously calling them "boy"? There was no phone involved, but if there had been, I wouldn't have been sorry to see him lose it. In fact, I wouldn't have been sorry to see him get punched in the mouth, either, although, of course, if done by one of the black guys, that would probably have led to a negative outcome for them.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 1:12 PM
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196: Spray, spray, masturbate, spray?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 1:14 PM
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181, 191: certainly I didn't mean the make to mitigate assessment of the parent's behavior, but it did make me more comfortable with the teacher's intervention, in that if you drive a Lexus the odds are much worse that, if official notice falls on you, the consequences will include family disruption.

In some ways the proximity of faculty housing makes me even less sympathetic to the parent; if the kid is kicking up a fuss about the car seat for a trip of a few hundred feet, you don't use the car in a patently unsafe way, you just walk.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 1:15 PM
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I've got second-hand anecdotes up the yin-yang and out the wazoo
Good god, where was their first hand?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 1:18 PM
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201: Oh, I thought the Lexus was there to invite sort of undifferentiated hatred. As "there's not much risk that the authorities will do anything really unjustified to this family" signaling, it makes sense.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 1:22 PM
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201.1: It sure looks like almost no of the other families at dropoff at the girls' school follow the child seat laws and I haven't been able to find a grant that would cover some sort of mass booster seat handout but there's got to be something and it's on my list of what to discuss with the fire chief. A first-time citation is something like $25 and you can get it waived if you show you bought and installed a seat. But I'm trying to get this addressed in a way that doesn't involve anyone getting citations, definitely.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 1:25 PM
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1. Grabbing phone is theft. You should only do it if you're willing to go to court, fight the charges, and ask for mercy.

2. Everything else, I'm on board with. Public shaming, calling parents, reprimanding, etc. all have their place. They can be more or less effective depending on the specific circumstances, but as far as I'm concerned they're all options.

3. Not-at-all confidential to torque et al: Are you nuts? Have you ever been a teenage girl on public transportation? This is exactly the attitude that Frowner and DQ are pushing back against.

N.b. I think the story's fake.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 1:29 PM
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Also, Lexus is clearly an aggravating factor because it takes "too poor to afford a car seat" off the table.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 1:29 PM
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Less flippantly, a statement like this:

it's ridiculous to say that the teenagers are performing a calculated act to maintain the patriarchy by reminding women of the source of their value, when actually they're either just being dumb kids

reveals a serious lack of understanding that the ability to be "dumb kids" in this particular way is EXACTLY what it means to maintain social control.

(Not the only way to do it, but one of them.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 1:35 PM
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It sure looks like almost no of the other families at dropoff at the girls' school follow the child seat laws and I haven't been able to find a grant that would cover some sort of mass booster seat handout but there's got to be something

Some of the usual sources of free stuff for poor people, e.g. Goodwill, do not accept donations of car seats for liability reasons (they don't want to keep track of the product recalls).


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 1:37 PM
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Also, public masturbating is not limited to subways. I remember a guy driving up to a bunch of us waiting for a school bus, and motioning someone over. She went over, saw what he was doing, and headed back to our group. "He wasn't juggling keys down there," she said.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 1:38 PM
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197:
Not entirel wrong; your answer also helpful as to frequency.

Abusive shouting on this train, right now.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 1:42 PM
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208: We were told to throw ours away because I guess the plastic gets weaker over time.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 1:42 PM
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I wonder if the ubiquity of cell phones with video cameras has reduced the number of incidents such as 209. What are the chances a pervert could do that today without at least one of the girls in the group getting a photo of his face, his car, and/or the license plate?


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 1:45 PM
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212: I remember when it happened to me as friends and I stood at a bus stop in our school uniforms and how all of us kicked ourselves for not catching his license plate but only one told her parents, who then called the rest of the parents.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 1:50 PM
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I got the license plate on the guy who jerked off at me at MIT and called the police with it (twenty years later I don't remember if I called the campus police or the Cambridge police). Never heard anything more about it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 1:53 PM
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At Belmont just now, verbal threats from two teenage girls.

CTA liveblogging!


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 1:56 PM
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Directed at whom? You, each other, other passersby? Content? Apparent emotional temperature? Estimated likelihood of violence?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 1:57 PM
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verbal threats from two teenage girls

Threatening each other?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 1:58 PM
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Goodwill, do not accept donations of car seats for liability reasons (they don't want to keep track of the product recalls).

I don't think this is it - you're not supposed to sell used carseats because you can't necessarily tell if it's been in a crash and is no longer as safe as it's supposed to be. Plus they expire in just a few years.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 1:58 PM
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216, 217: Enquiring minds!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 1:59 PM
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218 would be my guess.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 2:00 PM
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218: This is a K-2 school, so all the kids ages 5-7 need to be in boosters in the back seat and many are neither. I'm more worried about the legal liability for parents than about safety, because I'm inadequately SWPL. It just seems like it should be a good opportunity for someone to get good publicity donating the damn things, but who knows?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 2:02 PM
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A couple of women I knew as an undergrad had a guy show up in their yard and start wanking at them through the window. They tried to take pictures (more for entertainment than anything else) but the reflection of the flash in the window washed everything else out. My dim memory suggests I've told this story before.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 2:03 PM
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Weirdly, the only time I've been masturbated at was not on public transit but when I was giving a talk in a lab meeting. We had a couple of people video-conferencing and the hangout (2003-equivalent) was public, so. Apparently my data was super sexy.

No threat to my person, obviously, but it was horribly awkward, because I was the only woman in the group, and the youngest, and a guest of the lab, and no one knew what to do. Ick.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 2:06 PM
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At Belmont just now, verbal threats from two teenage girls.

Steal their cell phones!


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 2:08 PM
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Does anyone have a link to some actual science on the booster seat issue? The California law is that you now have to be 4'9'' to not use a booster seat, which is pretty damn close to the height of a small adult. I don't really care because booster seats are cheap and nbd (unlike car seats, which are a giant PITA).


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 2:09 PM
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225: My vague recollection is that booster seats are only minimally if at all safer than lap-belts.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 2:10 PM
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221: There is definitely such a charity around here that helps parents acquire safe, cheap or free carseats. So such a thing at least sometimes exists. I was just addressing why it's not Goodwill.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 2:11 PM
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I am not buying my (shrinking) mother a booster seat.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 2:11 PM
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225: Wow, they only have to be 50 inches or age 7 here, which is no problem in my household. (As in, you can be 7 and any size or younger than 7 but over 50 inches and ride without one.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 2:13 PM
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When we travel, we take these (totally legal) little strappy vests for the kids (3 and over) instead of their carseats. It basically pulls the seatbelt down to their shoulder, and then lets it function like a seatbelt. I'm trying to find a link, but can't remember what they're actually called. (We call them Rocket Vests.)

The point being, all a carseat needs to do is make the kid big enough for the seatbelt to function, even in the pre-booster years. So I think the carseat paranoia is totally overblown but it plays so neatly into my own fears about cars that I will be a grade A neurotic about them.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 2:14 PM
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Oh, here it is: the ride safer travel vest. So much easier than taking carseats along when you're flying.

(In theory car rental places can have carseats, but we showed up in Jacksonville and got "Haha, it does say you reserved a baby carseat! How funny. Let's go see if we can borrow one from any of the other car rental companies, shall we?")


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 2:17 PM
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I'm fairly certain that by the end of her shrinking-old-lady phase my grandmother would have been somewhere around 4'9" (she started out around 5' and curled up a fair bit). I don't think she would have been safe to drive by that point, but not because she was too small. I would have enjoyed watching someone tell her she needed to be in a car seat.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 2:17 PM
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I think the requirements vary by state.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 2:18 PM
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Knecht is right about Goodwill. We've been told the same thing, and on their website they list all the kid stuff they won't accept under "frequently recalled items."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 2:18 PM
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I probably should have read Halford before 233.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 2:21 PM
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Let's go see if we can borrow one from any of the other car rental companies, shall we?

That's happened to us, too, and then there was the car trip across the (small) airport where the guy let me rummage in their storage to see if there was one we could use. Even when they have them they're mostly down to bare plastic and look horribly uncomfortable. Too bad the ones we have weigh 700 pounds.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 2:24 PM
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||

OT: Here's a pretty good writeup on why the new Apple Pay system might catch on. Or at least, what advantages it has over existing/prior systems. The only really significant thing (as far as user value/convenience) is that it confirms that the Watch will be usable as a standalone device, including for this function. Obviously you lose phone functions then, but you have the health things and the pay things without the phone.

|>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 2:25 PM
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The watch has an NFC chip in it?


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 2:29 PM
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I thought Apple Pay and the watch were completely separate products. The whole Pay spiel came before the "one more thing" unveil.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 2:30 PM
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Here it's 4'5" (except of course we say 135cm and I just had to use a calculator to convert it for you backwards lot) or 12 years old, whichever they reach first. 135cm is average 9 year old height I think.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 2:31 PM
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A car rental reservation doesn't even guarantee a car. It guarantees a rate.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 2:32 PM
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I'm suspicious of new ways to deal with money on general principle ("the older it is the less chance there is of someone coming up with a new/unexpected way to screw me over with it, and the greater the chance that laws have had time to prevent it from happening"). But I'm particularly suspicious of the way that article argues in favor of Apple Pay - specifically this bit:
No wonder merchants and card issuers like Apple Pay: it reduces their risks and costs.

Well, yes, it reduces their risk because it doesn't have the bit that credit cards (and checks somewhat) do that forces someone other than me to take those risks. I'm not sure why that's something I should see as positive, though.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 2:37 PM
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236: get thyself a safe rider vest. So worth it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 2:39 PM
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Attempted social norm-related phone grabbing averted! (Now it's going to be like seat-reclining fights--everyone's going to be doing it.)

"You think you're so fucking funny?" she asked. "When you cut me off, I almost fucking wrecked you asshole! Film that!" she shouted, before attempting to grab Arakaki's phone.

"Don't touch me!" he replied.

"You're the one who almost caused a wreck!" she shouted, before flipping him off.

"Fuck off, you fat ass! Fatty! I'll fuck you up! Fat ass!" As Arakaki drove up, Ong sang, "Go fat boy, go fat boy go! Go fat boy, go fat boy go!"

Ong said it was Arakaki's fault, and that her son agreed. "Even my son said, 'the guy started it.' My son was also upset, we were both in shock that he tried to reverse and crash us."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 2:39 PM
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241: Oh good, something travel-related that's never worried me before. The BF will be so pleased to hear my new concerns on the next trip we take.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 2:42 PM
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They don't sanitize the steering wheel or the trunk, either. My dad returned a car that he had driven with a deer in the trunk once; He cleaned up, but there were some new stains that may have raised the eyebrows of the cleanup person.

No, you'll be fine if you're getting a car at an airport, surface locations are the only place I've ever had this problem. Oh, and most rental companies do have access to how many cars a location has right now in their db, so you can verify depth of supply the night before travel. Or you can pack.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 2:50 PM
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We were told to throw ours away because I guess the plastic gets weaker over time.

Yes, that is supposedly why they "expire", but I'm convinced this is horseshit. Does it MAYBE weaken over 20 years? Sure, it's plastic.* Is it really measurably less safe after four years than it was when brand new? No. Horseshit. Total horseshit. I think that's a VERY conservative estimate that's based on 24-7 uv exposure (which is what weakens plastic over time, mostly), pushed by the industry to make paranoid parents shell out for more new car seats than they otherwise would. It should be criminal.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 2:55 PM
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247 is right, but the carseats do sit in a hot car all summer long, which can kill a marine in under 30 seconds, I'm told.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 2:57 PM
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I think that's a VERY conservative estimate that's based on 24-7 uv exposure (which is what weakens plastic over time, mostly), pushed by the industry to make paranoid parents shell out for more new car seats than they otherwise would.

This exact same debate also takes place with bike helmets as well.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 2:57 PM
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Btw I am pretty sure I saw an iWatch on the bus today. Is that possible? I knew they were announced but do people have them already? I started to ask the guy but I figured if he had one already he would LOVE to be asked and I couldn't gratify that.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 3:04 PM
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An IWatch on the Loser Cruiser? No way.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 3:09 PM
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Non-functional knockoffs with a case that looks right will be sold alongside Nolexes within days, which will be months before the real thing is available.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 3:10 PM
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There are other smartwatches out now, but not the Apple Watch.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 3:12 PM
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The current booster seat laws, while undoubtedly safer, also make me a little sad. I think that I'd have been 11 or 12 before I was tall enough and weighed enough to get out of it. The teasing would have been terrible.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 3:13 PM
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Times article on whether various expiration dates are legit. Short answer on car seats: fine for ten years, maybe more.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 3:17 PM
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That article suggests that the reasoning behind bicycle helmets has as much to do with how they typically get banged around a lot during normal use, which I'm willing to believe. I've broken several (cheap) watches over the years just by absentmindedly knocking them against door frames and other things, and I've certainly dropped bicycle helmets, had them hanging off my bag knocking into things, and so on. So I'd believe that they need replaced every so often if you're using a bike as transportation rather than occasional recreation. If you're mostly just using it to go on bike rides, and don't end up carrying it around in supermarkets or taking it to work then three years is probably a bit paranoid.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 3:53 PM
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We have two kids and have bought a total of 9 child carseats (including boosters), and will probably buy at least two more. It is absolute insanity. (I think we may have bought another two or three for caretakers to use in their cars, but I'm not positive and anyway I'm not counting those.) My wife is convinced that any time there is a design safety update, we have to have new seats or we will be grossly negligent parents who might go to jail (and certainly deserve to go to jail).


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 3:55 PM
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And also we can't give the old seats to anyone because that would he endangering their children.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 3:56 PM
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||
Speaking of robots, in one sense this is very far from the uncanny valley, but in another it is much more in it than other more superficially human-like systems. Unfogged local vicinitarians should go over and check it out (and maybe already have or are quite familiar with it).
|>


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 4:01 PM
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Meant to say, "speaking ofplastic!" Jesus.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 4:01 PM
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The thing about car seats is that the difference between "no car seat" and "the shittiest, oldest car seat you can possibly imagine" is far, far greater than the difference between "shitty, old car seat" and "brand new, uptight-parent-approved car seat" [citation needed].


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 4:03 PM
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How old do you have to be before you can crawl into the back section of a station wagon during long trips and make yourself a comfortable nest out of the luggage?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 4:12 PM
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Well, yes, it reduces their risk because it doesn't have the bit that credit cards (and checks somewhat) do that forces someone other than me to take those risks. I'm not sure why that's something I should see as positive, though.

But their risk is reduced because it's a more secure system, not because the risk is now on you (I don't think). That is, your insurance rate goes down if you drive a Volvo, because it's safer, not because Volvo drivers don't get compensated in the event of an accident.

I don't think I'm being an Apple fanboy with that. A more secure system is a gain for everyone (it's not like a stolen card that you aren't liable for is some walk in the park).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 4:22 PM
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The bit where they say it's safer because the risk is on you is there: they say it's safer for merchants because the risk is on you. That's the bit that isn't particularly reassuring.

Everything has some exploit or other. The important questions are (1) how easy/cheap is it to use that exploit, (2) how quickly/easily can it be patched/fixed, and (3) who gets stung by it. In this case the safety argument seems to be something like "Users! It's got a complicated security system. Merchants! The users are on the hook when someone finds a way around the security system."


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 4:33 PM
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How the liability works for Apple Pay is totally unclear. I have been told that some banks push the liability onto the customer if they opt in to two-factor authentication (or it may have been chip-and-pin; the bottom line was that improving the security on your account resulted in the bank reducing their fraud coverage), so it wouldn't surprise me if they pulled the same hijinks with Pay+Touch ID.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 4:41 PM
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I don't want my ability to use credit to be reliant on my ability to consistantly keep a device charged.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 4:47 PM
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I don't think the phone actually shreds your cards or anything. It would be fabulous to have my money, keys, and other info (car insurance, say) all on my phone.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 4:59 PM
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in one sense this is very far from the uncanny valley, but in another it is much more in it than other more superficially human-like systems.

Why did they have to make it flesh-pink? Also it moves like Gumby crawling across the arid floor of the uncanny valley gasping for water.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 5:07 PM
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268 was me. Also, if I was trapped in a cave-in, seeing that coming toward me would really be the last straw.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 5:08 PM
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268 is exactly right. Brrrr.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 5:18 PM
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268: Gumby, right! I was trying to think what it vaguely reminded me of. They should add a loop of it saying "Help me!" in the voice from The Fly.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 5:34 PM
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belatedly, agreeing w/Frowner and Witt and LB &c. on the systemic nature and effect of public transit trashtalking, also its frequency. I got masturbated at/next to on the bus in Seattle in the 80s, 90s. Never called authorities; trying to remember why... first paralyzed by the shame one gets when victimized, I think, and also I was probably afraid that if my parents knew I wouldn't be able to travel round town on my own. Later -- like, by the time I was fifteen or sixteen -- a couple times I elbowed the guy off the seat when the bus hit a jounce.

A few years later yet, I could choose whether to be taken for a guy or a girl, especially from behind, by changing how I walked. (Was once mistaken for a man at ten feet distance by a lesbian who knew me.) So I got approached by chickenhawks when going through town at night. Still creepy, but noticeably more respectful than guys going after me as a girl.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 5:37 PM
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There's a softbody made of giant bubble-wrap, that can inflate and deflate the bubbles separately, meant to go under doors and also to be able to wedge under disaster debris and pneumo-lift it off victims. Japanese. Can't find the video.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 5:38 PM
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264. The Apply Pay thing has one advantage over any typical credit card system, which is that the merchant doesn't get to see your credit card number. Of course Apple does, but Apple is better at protecting them than Randomly-Selected-Store-or-Website, or at least more motivated. The security practices at most merchants would curl your hair (or uncurl it, as the case may be).


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 6:10 PM
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You should maybe wait another week before making the Apple = security argument so people have had time to save their celebrity nude pics.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 6:20 PM
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Grabbing phone is theft. You should only do it if you're willing to go to court, fight the charges, and ask for mercy.

In Virginia, I suspect she'd be charged with robbery but probably found not guilty: she lacked the required intent to permanently deprive. She might be found guilty (in Virginia) of an assault or an assault and battery, based on the facts in the OP. But taking it to a jury would be an appealing option, just based on the reactions in these comments.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 6:31 PM
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Is 276 the legal fan-fic you all were salivating about?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 6:33 PM
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Coming this fall, to a theater near you: Voir Dear.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 6:38 PM
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That's the first time in my life I've heard that pun. It surprises me that I've not heard it before.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 6:39 PM
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I could choose whether to be taken for a guy or a girl, especially from behind, by changing how I walked.

Oh man. So envious of people who can do this well. I think Hilary Swank did it in that movie...what was it called? The one where she played a trans guy?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 6:42 PM
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Boys don't cry.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 6:43 PM
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280: Boys Don't Walk That Way.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 6:50 PM
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274: Apple sees your credit card number but they're claiming not to store it (via "tokenization"). One thing I'm not clear on is why the "token" is more secure than the actual number, since in form the token is... a valid credit card number. It may only be valid in combination with a Touch ID, like a "chip and pin" card.

The whole "we don't store your number" angle is somewhat undercut, also, by the fact that most users will probably end up using the CC stored in their iTunes account.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 6:51 PM
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One thing I'm not clear on is why the "token" is more secure than the actual number, since in form the token is... a valid credit card number.

It's a "virtual card number", only valid for one transaction.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 7:01 PM
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Semi-related to the post, but maybe also in defense of the 16-year-olds, I'm taking this class on mental health and juveniles who get caught up in the criminal-justice system. And the thrust of the class is that teenagers' brains are just in a weird fucking place. The executive functions (wiki: "working memory, reasoning, task flexibility, and problem solving as well as planning and execution") aren't necessarily in sync. The social science stuff I've been reading suggests there's an imbalance in their calculations of risks vs. rewards, and they overvalue short-term rewards and undervalue risks. Psychologists toss around the metaphor of a car with a NASCAR engine and no steering wheel. It's interesting stuff. I'm curious what Sifu thinks, actually.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 7:13 PM
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Well, that's about right. 16 year olds don't have a hell of a lot of executive control compared to somebody just a few years older. They also have wildly uncontrollable status anxiety, no real ability to figure out how they fit in an adult world that no longer gives them adult responsibilities, and incredibly intense social relationships. That's why the army works, right? But yeah, I dunno that I'm comfortable with using neurodevelopmental milestones to mark when we can talk about responsibility and blame, but 16-year-olds don't know what the fuck they're doing or how to stop themselves from doing it, neurally speaking.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 7:17 PM
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It isn't just young people. Plenty of crime (or at least the sorts of crime where the guy is most likely caught and imprisoned) is done by people who have had at least one too many blows to the brain.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 7:22 PM
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16 year olds don't have a hell of a lot of executive control compared to somebody just a few years older.
That's why the army works, right?

The overwhelming majority of enlistees are over 18. How many is a few?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 7:23 PM
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In court, the counter-argument against using that kind of data is that defense attorneys can talk about trends, but there's no ability to measure the neurodevelopmental milestones of this particular defendant.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 7:24 PM
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288: 5?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 7:24 PM
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Okay, then. Sounds good.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 7:26 PM
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284: The link in 237 says it's a per-device token, not a per-transaction or per-merchant token.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 7:26 PM
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I mean, I don't mean "that's how the US army works", exactly, I mean that "armed forces such as they are depend on convincing quite young men to do things that don't really make a lot of rational sense because those quite young men aren't really very good at evaluating certain sorts of decisions". That's not even bad, necessarily. But there are good reasons besides physical fitness that nobody has tried to make a front-line army of thirty-year-olds.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 7:27 PM
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We've all seen Stripes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 7:29 PM
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no real ability to figure out how they fit in an adult world that no longer gives them adult responsibilities

??? You mean, like, compared to the veldt?


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 7:29 PM
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You know I think I never have. That's pretty weird, isn't it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 7:29 PM
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Further to 287: Jovan Belcher's body was exhumed last December to see if they can find evidence of CTE.

I don't know how you check a person's brain when he's been buried for months and was killed by a gunshot to the head, but apparently it may be possible. I couldn't find any more recent articles, so who knows if they found anything.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 7:29 PM
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295: noooo I mean compared to almost any society besides ca. last fifty years western industrialized ones. Which I guess includes the veldt. The idea that sixteen year olds aren't fully engaged working adults with dependents etc. is a pretty weird thing, right?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 7:31 PM
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296 to 294, 298 to 295.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 7:31 PM
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297.2: I don't know about that kind of thing either. I was just thinking of how the jail and prison populations have way, way higher rates of head injury. I don't even know what you'd look for in a fresh, intact brain.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 7:31 PM
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275. From what I have read the celebrity nude pics were gotten via a combination of a bug (now fixed) and weak passwords. The Apple Pay protocol might have bugs but does not have weak passwords. A one-time token is in principle significantly more secure than a password or the SMS-one-time-token that (I hear) is common in Europe.

Also, not letting the merchants see the CC number is a big improvement.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 7:33 PM
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Amyloid plaques are pretty easy to spot in a cadaver, right? I dunno why a gunshot would change that; the protein isn't going to get created after somebody's dead. I guess they are also relatively robust to embalming? That's not really surprising; complex protein-y things are pretty tough (like how BSE can survive cooking).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 7:34 PM
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Didn't the Greeks and Romans use thirty-something men as their heart of their front line?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 7:34 PM
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Really? I just read this painfully long history of WWII and it really leaned heavily on how the primary function of an army is convincing their enlistees that getting killed at time X is a pretty good idea, and that armies that fail to convince their enlistees of that for any given time X are not going to be very successful armies. That seems like something that would be tougher for mature adults with a lick of sense.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 7:37 PM
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292. Having now read the fine article, it does seem to be per-device. While not the epitome of security it's better than what we have now.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 7:40 PM
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304. Which painfully long history? There seems to be a lot of research and history that says that soldiers will generally fight until they think the odds of getting killed are greater than 50%. As for training, it's mostly about getting to the point where, when someone says "Do that!" you will in fact do it (or at least most of you will do it). Even so, soldiers don't give up until it's clear that their compatriots are giving up too.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 7:44 PM
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304: I read that somewhere, I think. Not finding an obvious cite.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 7:52 PM
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the primary function of an army is convincing their enlistees that getting killed at time X is a pretty good idea, and that armies that fail to convince their enlistees of that for any given time X are not going to be very successful armies

I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a
war by dying for his country. He won it by making the
other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.


Posted by: George C. Scott as Gen. George Patton | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 7:53 PM
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||

So how long does the NFL have left? Two weeks? Three?

|>


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 8:04 PM
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It's probably too late now but 120 and related are wrong in an important way - the kids don't have to understand what they are doing to do it, and they are doing it because that's how they are socialized. That's how "the patriarchy" actually works. The young girl unable to assert herself and the young boys imposing sexual judgements in public are two sides of the same coin.


Posted by: D | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 8:37 PM
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He fled the scene, and he was admired by the wrong people, but he wasn't Zimmerman.

Speaking of Zimmerman...


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:25 PM
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Sorry to have left everybody hanging, those hours ago. Girls were in two groups, with boys sheepishly tagging along. Very loud and profane, but I was just boarding my train so I didn't stay for the outcome. Two different incidents in one trip, within a few minutes.

I rode home and hurriedly got ready to go out with my wife. No opportunity to follow up until now. I don't use my phone much and I certainly don't come here when I'm with her.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:29 PM
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"Do you know who I am? I'm the guy who can fucking kill people with the consent of the government. And I'm not even a cop."


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:31 PM
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On Roman soldiers: weren't roman enlistments absurdly long by modern standards? Like, 25-30 years?


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:37 PM
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But they lived longer back then.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:39 PM
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Yeah, I don't buy Sifu's generalizations about armies or roles of teenagers in pre-modern society at all. Societies have varied a huge amount in how they deal with this stuff.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:42 PM
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Huge range of ages even in modern armies, with a standard 18-21 enlisted man's career really a product of very modern conscription. IIRC the age of an average 18th century British soldier was mid-30s, and there were tons of US Civil War regiments with men in their 30s or 40s (with a lot of variation there). I believe the median age for a US infantryman in WWII was 23 or 24, and they didn't even allow under 21s into the army before 1941. Would be interested to know the book Tweety is reading.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 9:58 PM
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314: I think in the Republic armies were raised intermittently depending on what was happening, usually not more than ten years regardless; 25-year enlistments were something started around Augustus's time.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:03 PM
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The German short film Schwarzfahrer, linked in previous threads long ago, is relevant to parts of this thread.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:04 PM
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The Russian Empire had generation-long conscription terms more recently.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:06 PM
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Last year me and my sister sat next to a group of maybe 14-year old boys on a Stockholm commuter train. They were very loud and foul mouthed, and after a while my sister told them off very indignantly for being obnoxious and 'using language that was degrading to women'. I tried to look calmly intimidating to back her up.

I guess I expected them to laugh it off, but they enthusiastically turned on the guy who was the worst offender instead. They dialed it down after that, but were still kind of loud and obnoxious, but also kept berating each other for being loud and obnoxious.

I suggested we pretend to get off the train and go to another wagon, so we could get away from them without conceding defeat.


Posted by: David the Unfogged Commenter | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 10:26 PM
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and they didn't even allow under 21s into the army before 1941

My grandfather was able to enlist in the National Guard in the 1930s when he was only 15 or 16. I guess that rule was more honored in the beach, given that he was in the Coastal Artillery.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-12-14 11:25 PM
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Note: "In the breech" would have worked just as well I suppose, but I didn't want to dither over it excessively.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 1:03 AM
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Eh, I concede the military stuff. Don't particularly know what I'm talking about there, in all likelihood.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 4:12 AM
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They dialed it down after that, but were still kind of loud and obnoxious, but also kept berating each other for being loud and obnoxious.

This sounds completely irritating, but would also have cracked me up.

and 296: Admittedly I haven't seen it for twenty years, and I would probably be more offended by the sexism if I saw it again now, and all that, but Stripes is great and you should watch it. There's a speech that may be the most affecting statement of American patriotism I can remember. ("Our ancestors were thrown out of every decent country on the face of the earth!..."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 6:08 AM
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Stripes (1981) is an excellent reminder that what we remember as the Reagan Era (economic optimism, resurgent pride in the military, overwhelming personal popularity of Reagan) really didn't start until late in Reagan's first term. As late as mid 1983, every Democrat under the sun was pursuing the Presidential nomination, so certain were they that Reagan would be a one-termer. I would put the turning point at the invasion of Grenada (October 1983).


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 6:56 AM
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Reagan accidentally stumbled into the perfect playbook for electoral success -- completely crush the economy at the beginning of your term, so that when it recovers everyone credits you. This is basically the strategy for the current Tory administration.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 7:36 AM
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Having now read the fine article, it does seem to be per-device. While not the epitome of security it's better than what we have now.

The thing is that the Device Token is, literally, worthless without TouchID*. That's completely unlike a credit card number, which, together with 2 other pieces of info printed on the card, is sufficient to make any purchase, physical or online.

I don't get the claim up above that risk is being passed on to consumers. From the article:

online providers pay higher per-transaction fees due to the higher risk of not seeing the card

Apple Pay reduces that higher fee because online providers are now just as secure as physical ones, not because any more risk is being taken on by the consumer. Am I missing something?

*Way in which this may not be true: the Watch doesn't have TouchID, but does have a Device Token (the security is that the Watch need to have a passcode reëntered each time it's put on a wrist). But I don't think it can be used for online purchases, so you're talking about physical security - it only works when it's on your wrist and you've entered the passcode


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 3:12 PM
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Had the talk with wife & daughter

Daughter estimates about dozen m'turb'n incidents in her time on CTA.

Wife recalls incident w/ girlfriend early 70s. G'friend distressed by spunk on coat.

Wife thinks less frequent shorter trips account for some, another time for balance of disparity.

Daughter thinks non-rush-hour most common, late night worst, rush hour unlikely

Daughter thinks she gets less because 6', white, glasses & short hair. Says she can feel attention grow as her hair does.

Daughter thinks I am by size, race, age, appearance and time of travel least likely person on planet to both ride train and see subject behavior

30


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 10:02 PM
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33,164 Well the Rule of Cool is clearly some sort of social phenomenon, perhaps it obtains legal force in practce if you impress the judge or jury in a way that still stays close to a grety area ...


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 09-14-14 6:51 AM
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