Blog Ipsa Loquitur

Published on under Irreverently Irrelevant

The Incidental Economist corrects a story about an Oklahoma medical center which has posted its rates for various procedures online; an earlier version contended that the center could not accept Medicare while posting its prices:

Medicare pays ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) based on an administrative pricing model. ASC rates are generally lower than hospital inpatient rates for the same procedure, which has fueled the huge shift to outpatient and freestanding ASC procedures in the US over the past few decades. The government doesn’t pay the posted rate – they have a fixed price.

A fixed price which is also public, if high. More likely is that the center can’t publicly state that it charges $400 for a procedure and then bill Medicare for $700 for that procedure. Good to know I’m not the only one for whom that Medicare claim raised eyebrows.

Published on under The News

A juror in the George Zimmerman trial, the one who was so quick to hire an agent to land a book deal, did an interview with CNN yesterday. Here, we get some insight into the thought process of the jury in reaching their verdict. From the transcript:

COOPER: Do you think [Zimmerman]’s guilty of something?

JUROR: I think he’s guilty of not using good judgment.

And really, who isn’t guilty of exercising poor judgment once in a while? Oh, if only there were some sort of crime for which we could convict people who exercise poor judgment which results in the death of another. Maybe we could call it involuntary manslaughter and it could be a concept literally thousands of years old. Or something. I’m just spitballing here.

Published on under Irreverently Irrelevant

People are usually pretty surprised to find out that I don’t know a lot of technologically savvy attorneys. In fact, I think most attorneys regard technology the way they regard math — alternately bewildered and indifferent. The following conversation had me cracking up at my desk today:

A: Intern brought in his own computer. It’s a 15” MBP, unibody. It has fucking 10.5.8 He can’t even run Chrome. Get the @#%$# out.

B: How a person’s own gear is set up is a pretty reliable indicator for technical competence, imo.

A: Not doing anything technical for us, just content writing until he goes to law school in the fall…

Published on under Irreverently Irrelevant

The guy who made those really sleazy “Girls Gone Wild” videos, which at one point seemed to comprise half the ads on Comedy Central after midnight, has an interesting closing statement for his assault and false imprisonment trial:

I want that jury to know that each and every one of you are mentally f–ing retarded and you should be euthanized […] if that jury wants to convict me because I didn’t show up, which is the only reason why they did, then, you know, they should all be lined up and shot.

Actually, he was already found guilty, and he made these remarks (and more!) to a reporter in an interview before his sentencing. I’m reminded of that hacker who did an AMA on Reddit the night before his sentencing, wherein he declaimed his lack of remorse and general lesson-learning that I think judges probably like hearing. Prosecutors and judge noticed. Maybe the jury will notice this one.

Published on under The News

Bitcoin, that digital currency only several orders of magnitude less useful than Xbox Live Points, has been the subject of some really fun news pieces recently. There was the e-sports league surreptitiously running a mining operation with its users’ computers. There was the exchange which shut its doors and ran off with $260,000+ of its customers’ “money”. A speculative bubble around Bitcoin popped last month, collapsing nearly $200 in under a week. At least you know Bitcoin is always worth a funny story.

So the largest Bitcoin exchange (that thing which converts Bitcoins into money) is a Magic: The Gathering card trading site (yes, really) called Mt. Gox, which has trafficked in Bitcoin for the last few years. They just had (one of?) their bank account(s?) seized by Homeland Security. Ars has a good writeup of why this has happened, including detailed quotes from the key portion of the warrant.

tl;dr: Mt. Gox forgot to register as a currency exchange, which is a federal felony.

As part of the Money Laundering Suppression Act of 1994, all Money Transmitting Businesses must register with the Department of the Treasury. Neither Mt. Gox nor its US subsidiary Mutum Sigullum, LLC. are registered as such. Whoops. The Bitcoin subreddit is directing their displeasure toward Mt. Gox, whose navigation of regulatory matters is admittedly pretty displeasure-worthy. It’s okay, guys! An efficient market would never allow such egregious incompetence to handle two-thirds of all Bitcoin exchanges. (Yes, Virginia, etc.)

So wait, the coming crypto-currency wars? The stateless society? Post-capitalism anarcho-digital-libertarian utopia? All sidetracked because someone didn’t do their homework? What, don’t any lawyers take bitcoins? Hm.

How about Magic cards?

Published on under The Digital Age

Prince is DMCAing videos with his music in the background. This isn’t new. What’s new is that he’s sending takedown notices to Vine, a video service which hosts six second videos.

Vine launched less than three months ago, but the first DMCA takedown notices are already coming in. Among the first rights holders to file a grievance with Twitter is NPG Records, Princes music label. […] Chilling Effects, a watchdog site where Twitter publicizes such takedown requests, reveals that on March 22nd, NPG Records contacted the company and asked for eight videos to be brought down. As best we can tell, Twitter complied with the request, as none of the URLs are currently functioning.

via The Verge.