Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Escaping the Narcissistic Family IV

I've decided to remove this post.  Though I stand by the content of the observations I made, I am not comfortable with how I made them.

My thanks to everybody who took the time to comment, including comments that don't appear below.

Simplified: Misogyny

Expand your understanding of misogyny: read this article.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sciaphobia: Fear of Shadows

Delightfully spooky.  Nice piece of work you guys!

Fun With Power Tools: Belt Sander

Klondike Bar Misogyny Fail

I was watching TV last night and was shocked by this ad...
Like, WTF?!?!  Does this increase Klondike bar sales?  Really?  I'm done eating Klondike bars, which I used to like, and which I now think of as Rush Limbaugh bars, or Misogyny bars, or Shit bars.  And if you think I just didn't get the joke, I feel sorry for the women in your life.  To the people at Klondike, I hereby award you the Fanatically Misogynistic Bullshit Product of the Month Award.  Congratulations guys!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

US Deploys and Recalls 'Pain Ray'

As reported in this article by Al Jazeera, check out this $120 million 'pain ray' deployed to Afghanistan, and then immediately recalled as, not surprisingly, a PR disaster.  I'm not arguing that pain rays are evil while water cannons, flash-bangs and tear gas are good, but people are very easily frightened by things they don't understand.  I can see how a pain ray, packaged in an camouflaged truck with a big satellite-dishy thing on top, would be super juicy low-hanging fruit for Taliban propagandists to make America look like an even greater Satan.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

News From America: Obama Ate Romney's Dog.

We've got some weird news filtering in from across our southern border.  It appears that Barack Obama ate Mitt Romney's dog.  There are unconfirmed reports that this happened a while ago, when Obama was young and living in Indonesia, and hungry.  There are also reports that Romney put the dog on top of his car and drove from Boston to Canada, and presumably stopped in Indonesia on the way.  It is not clear if Romney has arrived here yet, but we're keeping a bit of a lookout for a half eaten dog on a car.

Obviously this issue has become central to the campaign, since eating dog, and even just risking a dog's life, are both not fashionable in America, and so it appears that both campaigns are in full-blown damage control.  Obviously the economy must be fine again down there, and probably all the wars are over if they're arguing about dogs.  For myself, I wouldn't eat dog, but I also wouldn't fasten one to the outside of a moving vehicle, but I wouldn't have invaded Iraq either, and I'd make sure everyone had free doctors and police and fire men.

I've heard that in America you have to buy special insurance otherwise the firemen show up and won't put out fires, so they'll put out attic fires but not basement fires, or they'll put out kitchen fires but not bedroom fires (depending on your insurance) or if you've ever had a pre-existing fire, then they just let your house burn down, because you can't insure it. 

I understand it's the same for police.  Police will only solve crimes for you if you bought crime insurance.  Anything else would not really be a free market, where police would show up and just do work for you for free, so in America you need to have a deal with your employer to help you pay crime insurance, since it's really expensive, but what else can you do?  When you need the police you simply need them, so you better have insurance.

I hear doctors are free though, in America, so at least there's something down there that's civilized.

And did you hear that Obama ate Romney's dog?  Frickin' crazy!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tories Honour Charter, Fail to Mention Trudeau.

In a fanatically petty move today, the conservative government released this statement honouring the 30th anniversary of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms...
Today marks the 30th Anniversary of the Proclamation of the Constitution Act of 1982, which was formally signed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on April 17, 1982, in the presence of tens of thousands of Canadians on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

This anniversary marks an important step in the development of Canada’s human rights policy. Building on Diefenbaker’s Canadian Bill of Rights of 1960, the Constitution Act of 1982 enshrined certain rights and freedoms that had historically been at the heart of Canadian society into a constitutional document known as the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Constitution Act of 1982 empowered our government to amend every part of Canada’s constitution, for the very first time.

As we look ahead to Canada’s 150th Anniversary in 2017, we encourage all Canadians to commemorate the milestones that have built our nation and made us the great country we are today.
... and utterly failed to use the word Trudeau anywhere, which is ridiculous.  I don't mind Tories per se, and even though I didn't vote for one, I didn't think they did a bad job in their various minority incarnations over the past few years.  Yeah, there were some issues, but in my view it's a form of extremism to salute this Charter and mention Diefenbaker and not Trudeau.  So today I honour Heritage Minister James Moore and Justice Minister Rob Nicholson with FanMod's first Fanatically Petty Jerk Of The Day Award.  Congratulations guys!

Monday, April 16, 2012

If what you're doing isn't working, keep doing it. - Harper

At the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, Stephen Harper conceded that the war on drugs isn't working, which strongly suggests a continued and vigorous prosecution of the war on drugs.  The failure of the war on drugs has been so obvious for so long, and drug policy has remained so obviously ineffective for so long, that there is no reason to expect anything to change.

What we're in denial about as a society is that using drugs appropriately is pleasurable, just like using sex appropriately is pleasurable.  And we don't prosecute people as criminals for adultery, so we shouldn't prosecute people as criminals for abusing drugs.  Making mistakes is easy.  Eating too much chocolate cake is easy.  When we criminalize the drug abusing behavior we perpetrate a secondary harm that is commonly more harmful than the behavior itself.

So getting arrested for possession of pot is more harmful to a human life than using pot.  And the fact that people are dying over pot, killing each other over the illegal profits, is as stupid as people killing each other over chocolate cake.  Let's stop it.  Let's stop criminalizing the behavior.  Let's stop criminalizing the supply chain.  Let's stop declaring war on people and things and start helping them instead. 

Where I live there is no market for illegal booze.  A kid walking down a street in my city has an easier time buying a joint than buying a beer.   Making something illegal makes a thing artificially scarce, which drives up the price, which drives up the profit, which is a gift to criminals, which is a gift to enforcement agencies, which is how our current system works; paradoxically promoting the thing it's intended to prevent.

Aren't the real criminals the people, like Harper, who know what's going on, who see the harm, who can do something about it and don't, even when the leaders of a variety of ostensibly friendly nations want to talk about change and want to talk about solutions?  We are the fat cats, and we are corrupt, and we are hurting ourselves by maintaining this silly status quo.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Canada Post in Postal Code Copyright Fail

A company in Ottawa has crowdsourced a database of postal codes and now it appears that Canada Post is suing them for violation of copyright.  If you can't believe it, read it for yourself at CBC.   

Postal code data is a set of facts, and facts are not protected by copyright.  Yes, the format of those facts, so the A9A 9A9 character/digit sequence or format might be protected, so if you set up your own postal code system and you used L0L 0L0 somewhere, then they might have a case, and you might be a pirate, rrr, but even then it's not clear to me how you'd have damaged Canada Post's interests in any way.  Like, what is the harm?

In the current case Canada Post is trying to protect it's right to price gouge by making it illegal for other companies to compile and sell public facts.  In a free market this is called competition, and I can see how Canada Post might not like that because access to their own database of postal codes is extraordinarily expensive.

This is exactly the same situation as in other copyright cases, where rather than innovate to provide an awesome product at an awesome price, fat-cats in business lobby the fat-cats in government to protect lousy old business models with overreaching copyright law, protecting the interests of business over the interests of the consumer and of the society at large. 

Sunday, April 08, 2012

On Atheism and his Agnosticism: Neil DeGrasse Tyson

I love this guy.

US Allows Police to Strip-Search Anyone Arrested for Anything, Anytime.

The United States' supreme court has allowed police to strip-search anyone arrested for anything, anytime.  Yeah, for a speeding ticket.  Yeah, for not paying alimony.
“People detained for minor offenses can turn out to be the most devious and dangerous criminals,’’ wrote [US Supreme Court Justice Anthony] Kennedy. As an example, he cited McVeigh, the domestic terrorist who was executed for his role in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, who was first arrested for driving without a license plate. Kennedy also pointed out that one of the terrorists involved in the Sept. 11 attacks was stopped and ticketed for speeding just two days before hijacking Flight 93.
- Joan Vennochi, The Boston Globe
Left as a weird exercise for us all is to understand how strip-searching a speeder might offer predictive evidence of some terrorist activity he or she might be planning in the next few days.
A more sinister view is offered in this article by Naomi Wolf, writer of The Beauty Myth, about the connection between sexual humiliation and control of the masses, and how this ruling is just one of many recent events that are eroding personal freedoms in America, the country that used to call itself, with pride, the land of the free.

Of greater concern to me than the fact that these erosions are occurring is the fact that nobody seems to care.  Yeah, you can find out about this story if you search for it specifically, but if it was the cold war and Russia enacted this law, it would have been all over our news.  But enacted here, where it can do us significant harm?  Our media are mostly silent.