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Fear Of Their Own Shadows

(for those who missed this!)

The lovely and brilliant TAMARA takes the Internets, AGAIN!  It seems some media fools were demonstrating how to use a portable fire extinguisher, when this exchange came about:

I am including in the dialogue the parts where I was yelling at the television. (Tamara)

Savannah Guthrie: “A lot of us are intimidated though, like, by the idea of turning it on…” *makes gestures and facial expressions as though she’s holding a well-greased and annoyed cobra at arms length*

Me:Wut?” *tilts head on side like RCA Victor mascot*

Jeff Rossen: “I… I will tell you, I actually never used a fire extinguisher before and I thought there would be a kickback and I was afraid to use it…”

Me: (yelling) “OH. MY. GOD! It’s a fire extinguisher, you sackless herbivore! What are you afraid of, you big girl’s blouse?

It had honestly never crossed my mind that a grown human being could feel an ounce of trepidation about a fire extinguisher. That’s like… I don’t know, being scared of pillows, or footstools, or filing cabinets. And whatever you call this bizarre phobia, two out of five Manhattanites on my TV screen just admitted to suffering from it!

Well Said!

I suspect said Manhattanites are ferried to work by limousine, and returned to their condos nightly under the watchful eyes of armed security.  No wonder they scoff at those of us in fly-over-states who seek self-sufficiency and self-protection.

EVERYTHING IS DONE FOR THEM!

It’s as though they are AGE 5 !

BRAVA, once again! – all hail the Queen of Snark!

Person Of Interest, Part Dos

Regular readers may recall I love the TV show Person of Interest.  In it, a supercomputer is built, gleaning data about people from all exterior sources, including traffic and surveillance cameras, and calculates if the person so surveilled is either in danger or a danger.

Of course, there is a battle royal between various elements in the government (and, by extension private contractors), as to who is going to have access (in the government) to this data, and what they will do with it.

There is a second computer in the mix, and, of course the computer’s creator and his allies.

I am anxiously awaiting the next season.

Now comes real life (courtesy of Wirecutter)…

From Boston to Beijing, municipalities and governments across the world are pledging billions to create “smart cities”—urban areas covered with Internet-connected devices that control citywide systems, such as transit, and collect data. Although the details can vary, the basic goal is to create super-efficient infrastructure, aid urban planning and improve the well-being of the populace.  (yeah, right! – Guffaw)

A byproduct of a tech utopia will be a prodigious amount of data collected on the inhabitants. For instance, at the company I head, we recently undertook an experiment in which some staff volunteered to wear devices around the clock for 10 days. We monitored more than 170 metrics reflecting their daily habits and preferences—including how they slept, where they traveled and how they felt (a fast heart rate and no movement can indicate excitement or stress).
MORE

DATA MINING EXTREME!

And you thought the NSA reading your email wherein you mentioned you purchased a pressure-cooker, or watching you do whatever you do while surfing porn was a problem!

Sheesh!

Gimme That Ol’ Time Research

Old-Timers will completely get this.

(Youngsters, not as much!)  :-)

I remember a time (voice fades out, looking wistfully skyward…)

When a random thought regarding some subject entered my mind,  And I wanted to know more about it. So, I checked my bookshelf for dictionaries, encyclopedias and reference books.

If THAT failed…

It was a trip to the public or college library, next chance I got, searching for similar materials and more specific ones about the subject.  Later-in-life, as a private investigator, city directories and telephone directories sometimes offered help.

And failing all that, the reference desk librarians.

But, all this took time, legwork and shoe leather.  It was what we had.

Since the early 90’s, most of us have had access to The Internet.  And now many of the same reference materials are available on line.

More quickly and with less walking.

I wonder what we old-timers will be wistfully thinking about The Internet in 10 or 20 years?

Ain’t technology grand?

Or have we been sucked in to a vortex of uber-surveillance, wherein ‘they’ can watch and record our every movement and action.  And what were look for on the ‘net, and where we shop, what we buy, how and where we travel and work?  With whom we communicate and associate?  What ideas we share?

Of course, the same data was available 25 years ago.  But took much more in-person research and surveillance.  And time.

And much as we cannot go back to dial-up, we can’t stop this ever-encroaching technology.  But we can petition the government to stop abusive information gathering, and limit our exposure – somewhat.tin_foil_hat_area

(Puts tin-foil chapeau back on and skulks back into the shadows…)

Our Tax Dollars At Work

EMPLOYEES HIRED TO DRIVE DRUNK CA SENATORS HOME AT TAXPAYER EXPENSE

Good thing they haven’t anything to worry about in California, like corruption, drought and deficits…

h/t David Hardy

If Nanny Bloomberg Says Only Minorities Should Have Arms, Is That Reverse Racism?

Or simply Affirmative Action?

Bloomberg said that we should restrict guns to minorities. Then, he asked everyone not to release any video and they complied. But here’s the audio.  (SayUncle)

bloomberg

Drug Stores

Remember when we called a spade a spade?  Not pharmacies?

I remember, as a grade-school kid, going into Skaggs Drug and buying CP potassium nitrate in 4 oz. bottles.  No one questioned me.  There were no forms to fill out.  No one asked if I was making rocket fuel or gunpowder from it.  (I was!)

And I still have all my eyes, hands and fingers!

Here it is some 50 years later, and my roommate not only acquired the crud I had (and am finally getting over, thank you!) but it progressed into some kind of respiratory infection.  Antibiotics and numerous pills later, she too is finally getting better.

And one of the medications prescribed was sudephedrine.  You know, the stuff that can be distilled into methamphetamine. 

And I had to present my driver’s license (which they swiped into the cash register computer system) and then sign for it.  For the 12 tablets!

Not only am I annoyed at this invasion of privacy, but for THIS amount?  When the Mexican cartels are buying it by the ton and making meth and exporting it here?

PITA.

The Travis McGee Reader recounts a similar story.  Go there and read it.

The shed a tear for our loss of more freedom, once again.

And, if you can, go launch a bottle rocket.bottle rockets

More From The ‘Formerly Great’ Britain

knives UKThey got rid of most civilian guns in 1997; apparently now, there’s some kind of ‘problem’ involving knives.  (Self-stabbings?)  Obviously, the suggestion here is one is more likely to be stabbed with one’s own knife, then to use it in self defense.  (Gee, where have I heard THAT argument, before?)  Of course, self-defense in and of itself is a problematic issue there.  I understand glass beer mugs are being replaced with polycarbonate ones (less heft, worse weapon) as well.  And plastic knives in restaurants!

From the Nation that brought us Sandhurst, Lee Enfield, Webley-Fosbery, and all manner of shotguns.

Turn In Your Knives – It’s For The Children

h/t Michael Z. Williamson

How Exactly DOES A Libertarian Deal With Quarantine?

Or libertarian (small L)?

From Say Uncle:

My wookiee suit is strong but . . .

How do libertarians deal with quarantine? Personally, I accept that I am a rational actor and I’d go all quarantine because I should and am responsible for my actions. But some folks, like patient zero, who is not a libertarian, say I’m looking out for numero uno. Libertarians might just tell you to fuck off but that’s not kosher in the whole “I am responsible for me” thing. What say you?

One answer (of 23 when I viewed it) from his posting:

  • Joe Allen Says:
    The Zero Aggression Policy perfectly addresses quarantine. If you know, or have reason to believe, you may have a deadly contagious disease, you cannot hop on a cruise ship or jet airplane and call yourself a libertarian.

Of course, no mention is made any longer of the illness(es) being brought ashore by the thousands of illegal alien children children who came here illegally without parents.  This has been relegated to page 24, if it’s on ANY pages at all!

I suspect, as we are not the World’s policeman, we are also not their nanny.

What do you guys think?Guffaw

For All Libertarians/Anarchists Everywhere!

(entitled EFF You Big Brother on The Feral Irishman blog!)

fyou“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety”   –  Benjamin Franklin

Judgment Day

skynetSkynet was originally activated by the military to control the national arsenal on August 12, 1997, and it began to learn at an geometric rate. On August 29, it gained self-awareness, and the panicking operators, realizing the extent of its abilities, tried to deactivate it. Skynet perceived this as an attack and came to the conclusion that all of humanity would attempt to destroy it. To defend itself against humanity, Skynet launched nuclear missiles under its command at Russia, which responded with a nuclear counter-attack against the U.S. and its allies. Consequent to the nuclear exchange, over three billion people were killed in an event that came to be known as Judgment Day.  (Wikipedia – self aware)

MADISON, Wis. — At the risk of sounding a bit curmudgeonly, I have to confess one thing. While there’s certainly something positive to be said about the Internet of Things (IoT), I can’t help feeling suspicious, weary, and a bit turned off by the whole idea.

Aside from big-number projections (e.g., Cisco predicts 50 billion IoT devices by 2020), which would tempt anyone into becoming an IoT cheerleader, I haven’t seen a single credible-use scenario that might lure the average consumer onto the IoT bandwagon.

Honestly, it creeps me out to think about my devices at home talking to one another, doing stuff without my involvement, and talking about my habits — good and bad — to total strangers (advertisers, service providers, or just more machines), behind my back. There’s nothing warm and fuzzy about this. At all. [Bold added – SiG]

That emphasized text raises an important point.  Those of us in the technical fields have a tendency to think of something that would be cool and then do it simply because it can be done.  (remember Jurassic Park, anyone? – Guffaw) On the other hand, the vast majority of people are not technophiles like us who do things because we can.  They want to know just what they’re getting for what they spend on the interconnectedness and thanks (in my opinion) to Edward Snowden, they increasingly want to know what privacy they’re giving up to get that interconnection.  Yoshida continues:

With this in mind, I’ve started asking industry sources for credible scenarios under which IoT devices improve my life by talking to each other. Readers are welcome to chime in below. Give me your best shot. Convince me why my washing machine needs to strike up a conversation with my gas grill.  (The Silicon Graybeard)

AND, IF WHEN they do, don’t you think The G will be listening?

"One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas - how he got in my pajamas I dunno!" - Groucho Marx as Captain Spaulding in Animal Crackers

This election is not about who gets voted off the island.
It’s about who is at the tiller of this Republic’s Ship of State. - Guffaw

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The Four Rules

1. ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED.

2. NEVER POINT YOUR MUZZLE AT SOMETHING YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO DESTROY.

3. KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET AND YOU ARE READY TO SHOOT.

4. KNOW YOUR TARGET AND WHAT'S BEYOND.

Certified EVIL!

FEAR

"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain." - Bene Gesserit, from Frank Herbert's Dune

Penn Jillette

“F**k Civility. Hyperbole, passion, and metaphor are beautiful parts of rhetoric. The marketplace of ideas cannot be toned down for the insane.” - Penn Jillette

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