atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#2840: Yet another complete loss of perspective.

And--what a surprise!--it comes from a school district.
When you have an unknown intruder in the building, delivering an unknown package, we come up with the same conclusion. ... We cannot be too cautious, in this day and age.
So says a school official; and because they called the bomb squad, someone has to be made to pay.

We can't just sigh disgustedly, have the chief of police chew the kid out for being a dumbass, and leave it at that or anything, oh no! No, we've got to make an example out of him. We'll arrest him and make sure he faces years in prison! We'll show him what happens when you challenge the power of the state! After all, he made us look silly!

...all this over a stupid senior prank. Okay? It's a freakin' blow-up doll left in a bathroom; it's childish and ludicrous, yes...BUT IT'S NOT A FELONY.


* * *

I wasn't concerned about HR-1981 until I read this Ace of Spades HQ piece about it.

You see, your ISP already keeps track of your billing records, and for years. Everyone does. There are a myriad of reasons why, but the important thing to remember is that these records already exist for sound business reasons, and the only people who will be affected by this part of the law are businesses which exist only to help people break the law (for example, by making it possible for someone to clandestinely upload freshly-generated teh kiddie pr0nnos).

The typical above-board ISP will keep a record of your uptimes, the IP addresses assigned to your system and other equipment, the amount of data you've up- and downloaded, and similar information. A typical ISP cannot retain records of what you looked at and which sites you visited; the volume of data would be prohibitive. So--until I read the post I linked, I didn't really care all that much.

But now I am steadfastly against this bill, for one reason:
It eliminates the warrant requirement.
Constitution of the United States, Fourth Amendment:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Understand, the Fourth Amendment is a guarantee against exactly the kind of fishing expedition this new law invites.

Because there is no warrant requirement, there is absolutely nothing stopping the police or the FBI from grabbing a particular ISP's records and running database queries for all sorts of things. "Hey, it's a slow week, so let's dig into Comcast's user database and see what pops up."

It isn't quite the equivalent of a cop strolling into your house uninvited, looking around, and arresting you because you're sitting on your couch in your underwear watching The Mission, and it happens to be on the last thirty seconds of the movie where that naked indian girl is walking around the smoldering ruins of the church. It's more like the cop strolling into the video store, perusing their records, and--seeing that you've rented The Mission four times in the past month--using that evidence to get a no-knock warrant to raid your house to search for teh kidi pr00n0z.

But, as Jerry Pournelle often says, we used to be free.

* * *

Ann Althouse has a story about a young liberal idiot (that's virtually a triple redundancy there) who doesn't grasp the notion that democracy means sometimes your party loses elections.

The left believes that elected office is theirs by divine right, and that whenever a liberal fails election (or re-election) it's because somehow there was election fraud or dirty tricks or-or-or.


* * *

All of this nonsense makes my brain ache.

* * *

Last night's weather was beautiful. The bunker cooled to 73° under ventilation with outside air, and it stayed cool inside even after I closed the place up around 7:30 AM. Of course, now it's 80° in here, since it was over 90° outside...but the dewpoint is 67° and with any luck that should mean I can open up in about two or three hours and re-ventilate, bringing the indoor temps back down.

So while I was enjoying the nice, cool air, I was playing WoW. Bitsychan (currently lvl 54 human rogue) was doing quests in the Burning Steppes, and the major quest chain there involves good old Corporal John J. Keeshan, who is a "Rambo" look-alike. They keep doing all kinds of "Rambo" references with him.

So in this quest chain, you help Keeshan and his boss foil an orc invasion of Redridge, which is just to the south of the Steppes. One of the first things you do is to make an orc costume; and after it's made it turns out to be a mask like the "flimsy orc mask" you can get during the Halloween world event. And it fools everyone. So I was amusing myself by saying to quest targets, "By the way, I am an orc! I am TOTALLY NOT a human in an orc mask!"

So then after all this (including a couple of quests where you risked discovery if your mask was pulled off) here's one of the things you end up doing:

The thing I laughed out loud at was "I don't understand any of this warlock crap."

And later on there's a reference to the risky quests I mentioned:
High Warlock Xi'lun says: We are nearly prepared to start this battle, brothers. Thorg'izog, what is the matter? Why are you covering your butt like that?
General Thorg'izog says: WHAT? No reason... it's just... something is very wrong with my stomach. I think it's something I ate.
High Warlock Xi'lun says: Can you still lead your troops? Do you need to promote one of your sergeants?
General Thorg'izog says: Timan fell from the Pillar of Ash. Othana was eaten by wolves. Gorlop fell in lava. And most of my sergeants were killed in a freak cudgelling accident.
The "freak cudgelling accident" and the others were, of course, me. Heh.

* * *

Anyway, so the other thing I did last night was to run through the playlist of anime.

I'm out of Yawara! again. *sigh*

Lucy's boobs are still awesome. The next ep (#52) will feature the scene that has this Erza awesomeness, though:


I am still enjoying Fractale. Other anime fans seem to think it's not very good, though I'm at a loss to understand why.

To Aru...Index II has finished its first story arc, and as usual it ended with Touma in the hospital. For crying out loud, that guy's skin has to be mostly held together with scar tissue by now.

Dragon Crisis is harmless and mostly mindless entertainment. It's got a decent story.

Hen Zemi just introduced the virginal ex-gangster girl. Ep 3 was short on the "Ha ha ha! ...eew" moments that the other episodes included, but I am not complaining. But as long as that order is maintained--laughing and then going "yuck"--it's kind of okay, and still entertaining.

Personally, though, I think that one guy--the almost-normal-looking one, who's actually the worst of them all--is going to end up being a serial killer, if he's not one already. He just has that kind of vibe. He's going to be wearing girls' cured skins and eating people and putting their chromed skeletons on display....

* * *

That last one came from a story of mine. Heck, if you can bronze something, you ought to be able to electroplate the bronze, right? That was my thought process; and I was so confident in it, I didn't actually bother to look it up until just now--but it turns out that I'm right. Done correctly it is, in fact, an electroplating process.

You start by spraying on a mixture of compounds that end up depositing a thin layer of silver on the object to be bronzed. This provides the electrically conductive surface required for further metal plating, including bronze or whatever finish is desired. So chrome-plated bones can be done, if you're sufficiently warped enough to want that.

* * *

Aigh, it's after 7 PM already and I need to hit the grocery store for some stuff. *sigh*

I've been thinking, on and off, about swapping a manual transmission into the Fiero. It would not be a trivial task, but it would make the car perform better and make it more fun to drive.

...and there are a shitton of manual transmissions out there that will fit and work fine. I can go from the vintage 1985 four-speed (which would be my first choice, actually) to a 21st century 6-speed manual, and they'll all fit as if precision-machined for the car.

I'd prefer the '85 original 4-speed only because it's what came in that year; and in fact the first Fiero I ever drove was an '85 with a 4-speed and a V6. It was fast because the transmission wasn't sucking down any of the torque; and the fourth gear is an overdrive gear so fuel economy is better.

But if I were to do this, it would end up being a huge job, because not only do you need to replace the transmission; you need to replace the axles and the pedal assembly and the shifter and shift cables and center console surround, run hydraulic lines for the clutch, and remove the automatic transmission coolant lines. (Though I suppose I could just cap those and leave them in place, in case I ever wanted to restore the car to pure stock later on.)

Replacing the transmission means dropping the cradle, which also means I'd need to get an engine support fixture made. (That's not hard to do, not when I'm friends with Og, but he's a busy man. I'd make one myself, but I don't trust my welding ability and won't until someone who knows what he's doing can evaluate it.)

...and if I were to drop the cradle, guess what that would mean? That's right: cleaning, cleaning, cleaning everything I could possibly reach, and fixing stuff besides.

So it'd be a big, big job; which is why it's more of the "I'm thinking about how nice it would be, but I don't think I'll actually do it" category.

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