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Posts Tagged ‘news’

Snow: not threatening enough

February 11th, 2011 No comments

We’ve had a more interesting winter than usual here in New England this year. Average snowfall in Boston is around 40 inches per year, and we’ve had nearly 70 this year (as of January) spread across 10 or so snowfalls. So I’ve had some time to watch how people react to snow (whether I like it or not). I’ve noticed something this winter about the driving habits of the unwashed public. I’m sure its always been this way but for whatever reason I haven’t really noticed till now. It’s going to sound obvious, but it’s a newish perspective for me.

I’ve noticed a trend that drivers could care less about how much snow there is on the roads. Don’t get me wrong… the smallest amount of snow in the air turns most people into either terrified retards barely capable of breathing, or into trailblazing juggernauts of fury who drive where they want when they want (ATTN: Every SUV driver – this is not you: clicky). What I mean is that the decision of whether or not to stay home from work due to snowy conditions seems to have nothing to do with how much snow there is outside. It has only to do with how much hype the storm received before it hit. You’d think the sequence would go something like “get up, look outside, become terrified of conditions (or not), call into work (or not)”. But no. If a storm was heralded as a Ragnarok-like event scheduled to end all life, everyone stays home regardless of actual conditions. “The news said it was gonna suck, so it’s ok if I call in”. If the storm was predicted to fizzle out but ends up dumping 6-10 inches on us by morning, people look outside and say “Ha ha holy fuck, that is a TON of snow… fuck me, this commute is gonna suck”. Every time the news predicted the second coming of Snow Christ, my commute was great. Terrible road conditions, but no drivers around to cause trouble. Any time we got a crap-ton of snow we didn’t expect, nobody seemed to pay attention to the tundra outside. Refer to the following scientific analytic analysis chart:

As you can see, so long as a huge deal has been made about the storm during the week prior, an inch or so is all it takes to keep mere mortals cowering indoors. But without this hype, the number only gradually goes up, mostly due to people actually being physically incapable of getting their cars out of their driveways. This “Fusion of Conditioning and Timing Arising in Responsibility Degradation” (or the “FUCTARD effect”) makes even lesser storms complete hell to drive in if nobody makes a buzz about it. I blame the internet. No, really. Everyone’s so used to information being shoved in their faces that they really can’t recognize a poor condition outside their own doors unless their iPhone or Weatherbug or Weatherbug on their iPhone tells them “hey bro, you better watch out lol!”

Floating around on the internet is a rant about the naming of hurricanes:

“Who the fuck is the one naming hurricanes? They somehow manage to give them the least threatening names ever. If I turned on the news and heard that Hurricane Erin was coming I’d think to myself, “Erin? I could take that slut.” If I turned on the news and heard that Hurricane Dicksmasher was approaching, I’d grab all the money in the house, shove it in my pockets, and get the fuck out of there.”

Every time I’ve seen it it’s looked like copypasta, so I can’t credit the original author. But I’d like to see snowstorms get this treatment. I know if it was Snowstorm “Assured Fatality”, Blizzard “Blood Orgy”, or “Icefest the Great Deductible Nightmare”, I would really assess the situation before getting on the road.

This Just In: Texas Still Batshit Crazy

June 22nd, 2010 No comments

On the subject of the the following article,

Full Text (via Huffington Post)

I often think I could have been a lawyer or a politician. I think a lot of this generations bright and well meaning potential politicians have been scared off by how much BS and red tape there is in the way of “doing good” in office. And they ended up engineers like me. I think if there wasn’t an ez-mode vote-for-your-party bipartisan system, people would be forced to investigate issues more before voting. It would be inconvenient, but in my opinion people aren’t entitled to an easy voting process. If hard issues come up, you should have to think about them before putting your hand in.

Criminalizing gay marriage, and laws prohibiting it in general, are wrong. I can’t find any argument not religious or at least reasonably tangentially/implicitly religious (EG, “that’s the way we’ve always done it”) that holds any water in this area. I’m not into dudes, but I don’t see why that should be the next dude’s problem if he is. In fact it’s nice to know that option is there, because that tells me my peers are good free thinking people, not squirming under the thumb of fear or authority. I’m tired of seeing words like “abomination” and “unnatural” trying to keep people from the lifestyle they want to pursue.

In fact, I’ve gone to the trouble of re-hosting PDF copies of The Constitution and The Bill of Rights for your convenience. A quick search shows zero results for the words God and Christian. But go on and see for yourself.

The Constitution
The Bill of Rights

Separation of church and state is out there. From what I gather, there are political parties that refute that. But they’re wrong. It’s on the books. In a number of places. Each instance and incarnation of it being put as a reaffirmation of the facts that we were not founded on any religion, that the political powers in this country have no place making decisions on peoples’ religion, and that political powers in this country have no place using religion (popular or not) to make laws. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, etc all converge towards the idea of freedom of thought… so long as expressing those freedoms doesn’t violate anyone else’s rights. So long as such freedoms don’t interfere the next guy’s set of those freedoms. I don’t see how two consenting adults of the same sex doing what they want in the freedom of their own homes* encroaches on anyone else. Or even how such a couple getting married encroaches on anyone’s rights. No matter how much you want it, and I have no idea why you would want such a thing, you are NOT entitled to the company of purely heterosexual peers. You’re just not. Like it, hate it, it’s your right to harbor any opinion you want. But you don’t get to inflict it on someone else’s desire to live a lifestyle.

Now forget, if you’d like, everything I’ve said here. Just using that pair of links above, reconcile the following proposals for the Republican platform in Texas.
(Keep in mind, I make no claims for or against Republicans or Democrats in general. As I’ve said before, I think the bipartisan system is stupid. I merely put in “Republican” as a qualifier of the source)

* “We believe that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases.”

* “Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have beenordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans.”

* “Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable “alternative” lifestyle in our public education and policy, nor should “family” be redefined to include homosexual “couples.”

My point should be obvious and I think any more flavor text would just serve to bore. So I’ll finish up here. If those above points in the Texas GOP platform doesn’t horrify you, it really should. By all means, feel free to holler at me if you find some huge holes in my what I’ve said here. I always welcome opposing opinions.

EDIT – Before punching submit on this article I decided to go to The Texas GOP’s website. The place reads like it was written by a bunch of ignorant vindictive 16 year olds.

Yes, that’s for really reals. Adults wrote that, for other adults to think about and vote on. On a site for a potentially authoritative political party.

Disclaimer: I’m not telling you to vote democrat, or that republican is bad. Again, see the first paragraph of this post. I’m simply commenting on this platform for this party in this state.

*FOOTNOTE: When I wrote this, I meant “in the privacy of their own homes” as a meta statement meaning “in their own lives”. But as was pointed out to me, this implies a few things I did not intend. Taken from Asinine in this thread:

“My one gripe with what you’ve said is the mention of “in their own homes.” I think the “in their own homes” qualifier (your next sentence notwithstanding) really needs to go the way of the dodo bird when talking about gay rights for two reasons: 1) it implicitly, no matter how inadvertently, reduces a gay “relationship” to simply sex. Think about it for a second. When we say, “do what you want behind closed doors”, isn’t that the “between the lines” implication? And 2) why should it be a dirty secret?”

Which is a very valid point, and a very good caution about using popularized statements. I leave my initial post unedited as a good example of how these things can be misconstrued, and why things should be stated carefully and specifically.

What did you think was going to happen?

February 18th, 2010 No comments

According to the filings in Blake J Robbins v Lower Merion School District (PA) et al, the laptops issued to high-school students in the well-heeled Philly suburb have webcams that can be covertly activated by the schools’ administrators, who have used this facility to spy on students and even their families. The issue came to light when the Robbins’s child was disciplined for “improper behavior in his home” and the Vice Principal used a photo taken by the webcam as evidence. The suit is a class action, brought on behalf of all students issued with these machines.

Click for full story (boingboing.net): Clicky

I don’t even know where to start with this. But Lord knows I have a lot to say on this subject. This is legally and technically very close to a lot of things I do. And is not ok in any way imaginable. Seriously… What did you think was going to happen? To the school admins: You all are lucky that (as far as anyone knows) you didn’t catch anyone undressing or something of the sort. And that aside, I hope you have a strong door and decent defensive fighting skills, because you’re going to have some very angry parents. There’s a Noah Bennet inside of most fathers I know, and he’s best not provoked.


Originally published at The IggBlog. You can comment here or there.

Kill all hu-mans

July 30th, 2009 7 comments

“By 2047 the Air Force says unmanned aircraft with blazing artificial intelligence systems could fly over a target and determine whether or not to unleash lethal weapons –without human intervention.”

Full article: Clicky
Source document: Clicky (warning, it’s a PDF)

Are you fucking with me? Really? In what distorted reality is this a good idea? Machines break. Usually when machines break, they do it in such a way that halts their operation. But sometimes it “degrades” their operation in such a way that it operates outside of its normal parameters. Machines can also be tampered with… I mean, there’s no way they’d let these things loose without a way to communicate with them. If you can talk to it, chances are you can tamper with it remotely with malicious intent. There’s no way to completely 100% safeguard against that.

The argument could be made that humans break too… But humans CAN’T FLY OR MOUNT DOZENS OF MISSILES. We’re slow, soft, landbound, and can be stopped pretty easily with a pistol. Autonamous flying killer drones sophisticated enough to make kill/dont kill decisions on its own, and “the [ability] to swarm multiple drones on a single target” aren’t something that should be left up to machine logic. Thought engines are notorious for false positives. And once you refine them sufficiently in a lab environment, they get tons more in the wild. I can’t think of a way that developing a machine like this behind close doors, then bringing it to production wouldn’t be grossly irresponsible. I’m not saying “look at how many movies are about AI type machines going rogue!!!”. I’m saying that there’s pretty much no machine that’s been released into the wild that hasn’t been cracked and remotely exploited by someone with malicious intent given a reasonable period of time. And if there’s anything that internet badguys have proven it’s that they’re better at getting into the military’s electronic systems than the military has been at keeping them out.

Originally published at The IggBlog. You can comment here or >there.

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DDo$, it’s genius

May 13th, 2009 1 comment

I dont normally paste whole articles, but this one is pretty short. and pretty awesome. Sourced from http://dizzythinks.net/

Well I have to admit that this is genius. The guys from the Pirate Bay have a a 30million SEK fine which they say they won’t pay. However they have come up with a plan where all their users can join in which works like this.

Everyone sends a small amount of money in an electronic transfer to the law firm that represnted the music industry. Suggested amount is 1 SEK (equivalent to 0.13 USD. Apparently the law firm’s bank account is only allowed 1000 electronic transactions before it starts to cost them, the account holder money.

The charge per transfer at this point is, wait for it… 2 SEK. Thus after the first 1000 SEK, if people send just 1 SEK it will cost the law firm more than the money they receive to process.

Welcome to the Distributed Denial of Dollars attack (DDo$)

I’m going to stay on the fence about the legality of pirate bay and all that. But I’m firm in my contempt for how the big music and movie groups conduct themselves.

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I can’t stop loving bacon

May 8th, 2009 3 comments

… Just sayin’

Originally published at The IggBlog. You can comment here or there.

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At least he wasn’t speeding

April 17th, 2009 2 comments

From link below:

“PFLUGERVILLE, Texas – A Pflugerville man is arrested for driving home a piece of construction equipment, police say while intoxicated. FOX 7 News first reported this in October, now Pflugerville Police are releasing the video.”

Full story (with video): Clicky

A steam roller would have been bad enough, this thing looks more like a road crushing juggernaut. I realize it doesn’t go fast, but can you imagine what would happen if a person or car got in the way of that death machine and he didn’t notice or stop?

Originally published at The IggBlog. You can comment here or there.

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