Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for December 16th, 2012

If it is broke, fix it

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The criminal justice system, for example. From an interesting op-ed in the NY Times by Steve Cohen:

. . . Almost everyone involved recognizes that the system needs fixing. For the past five months, as part of my final semester in law school, I’ve been a clinical intern with one of the city’s five district attorney’s offices. In addition to assisting prosecutors, I’ve handled dozens of cases that, in part because of my 37 years in business, have fascinated me by their slow progress.

There are very real obstacles to changing the system: union prerogatives, the politics of five independently elected district attorneys, and a police department that reports to a commissioner appointed by the mayor. But there is one simple thing that can be done, that would create overnight change: give every police officer an iPad. Then they could use the affordable, off-the-shelf technologies that could significantly improve efficiency, lower costs and reduce errors. More important, they would improve the quality of justice.

Now, after a police officer makes an arrest, the paperwork begins. Here is what I observed: the officer writes the information by hand in memo books and onto “scratch” forms. Clerks decipher the handwriting and enter the data into multiple computer systems. The forms are faxed to the prosecutor’s office, where different clerks re-enter the information into different systems.

It resembles the children’s game of telephone, with 7-year-olds whispering a phrase in turn to the person next to them and the resulting message getting distorted. That’s why I was only momentarily surprised to see an arrest report describing the defendant as 6’10” tall. His arrest record listed his height as 6’01”.

One of the biggest sources of delay — and case dismissal — involves prosecutors’ getting signed statements from victims, witnesses and police officers. Last year, more than 58,000 cases — 15 percent of all misdemeanors — were dismissed or not pursued by the district attorney’s offices, many because of difficulty in reconnecting with victims and witnesses. It is exasperating because the police typically collect these same statements on the scene, but without signatures.

If police cars had iPads equipped with voice-to-text software, the officers could accurately and efficiently record descriptions of events — both what they saw and what they were told by the victim and witnesses. The officers’ spoken words would be digitized instantly into text and shown to the witnesses and to the victim. Mistakes could be immediately corrected and a digital signature secured. Unfortunately, few police cars have computers capable of connecting with the Internet or the department’s databases. (Some kinks in my technological fantasy may have to be worked out: the Police Department says that a standard Internet connection is not currently secure enough for its communications.)

THE methods of communicating with police officers and scheduling their court appearances are antediluvian. Only 25 percent of police officers have been given . . .

Read the whole thing.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 December 2012 at 11:07 am

Entertaining high-tech sci-fi martial-arts movie with female leads

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Three female protagonists, but not The Heroic Trio: I saw So Close several years ago and somehow it stuck in my memory, and for the past couple of months I have tried to find it again, search on this or that and always coming up empty. Then it popped up as an “also recommended” title from a movie I selected, so last night I got to watch it again. Highly enjoyable and somewhat unusual. Not without flaw, but entertaining and worth watching, at least in my opinion. The three leads are wonderful, and the villains good as well.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 December 2012 at 10:17 am

Posted in Movies & TV

Xmas party shave

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SOTD 16 Dec 2012

Normally Sunday is a no-shave day—so that I get to shave a two-day stubble on Monday—but The Wife’s office Xmas party is today, so I shave for that. And, wanting a BBS shave, I naturally reach for the bakelite slant.

The Wet Shaving Products Monarch brush worked up a fine and ample lather from my Wilkinson shave stick. I don’t much care for the Wilkinson tub soap, but the shave stick works fine. The brush was full, the lather was thick, but somehow yesterday’s Ogallala lather was better: richer, somehow.

Still, this lather was perfectly good, and the shave went quite well: three smooth passes, a bit of Gilbert Henry Bay Rum aftershave balm, nice stuff, and I’m ready for the party—which is late this afternoon.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 December 2012 at 9:41 am

Posted in Shaving

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