Tuesday, October 16, 2007

why I am a Bright

adrian has a recent post on fox news' treatment of an atheist radio station.
in response he got a rather aggressive comment that, in my opinion, had no substance. but it did get me thinking about this stuff again i thought i may as well post as to why i'm a Bright.

Brights, if you aren't familiar with the term, are people share some very basic beliefs. from that website:

  • A bright is a person who has a naturalistic worldview
  • A bright's worldview is free of supernatural and mystical elements
  • The ethics and actions of a bright are based on a naturalistic worldview
thats all. most Brights are obviously atheists, but as i understand it there is even some room for people who believe in a god or some such that exists completely outside our universe (really though, whats the point of that?).

Why does this movement exist? mostly because atheists are, at least according to some studies, america's most distrusted minority. i should point out that distrusting any minority, any group of people, due to their race, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, taste in music, or whatever, is stupid and wrong.

So the Bright movement is an attempt to counter that distrust by using a positive re-branding, similar to the homosexuals' use of the term Gay. it seems to have worked pretty well for them (well, as long as you're not playing like halo3 or WoW, where "gay" is used to mean anything that the 12-yr-old saying it doesn't like), hopefully it will work pretty well for us too.

now, why is this important? because politicians these days feel the need to cater to religious groups in order to secure their votes and remain in office. some of these religious groups believe (for example) that the rapture is imminent, that we should hasten it as much as possible, and that war in the middle east on behalf of israel is the way to do that. seriously, people believe this, and these people vote, often in larger numbers than any other interest group. this has a serious impact on our policies. these peoples beliefs thus directly effect my life, for the worse. making policy for these kinds of reasons is one of the most moronic actions a nation can take, and it is exactly the kind of thing we as americans have a long tradition of not doing.

where do the Brights come in? they count their members. I'm actually having a hard time finding that number right now (which is stupid, it should be plastered all over the site), but the point is a simple message: theres more of us than you may realize. the more this group grows, the less pressure there is on politicians to kowtow to religious groups. we've apparently got one atheist senator; i suspect theres quite a few more, and strong groups like the Brights may help give them the courage to "out" themselves. i would very much like to see more, if not all, of our policy decisions that require moral viewpoints be grounded in naturalist morals, and i challenge any theist to show me a single instance where a naturalistic morality is in any way inherently "worse" than a theistic one (sending other people off to kill each other in order to hasten one's own ascension into heaven is, i think it is fair to say, easily worse and more evil than not doing that).

So, that's why i'm a Bright, and thats why its important to me to be one right now. other atheists may find comfort in the communal aspect of the group (often one criticism leveed against atheism is that it does not build a community), and while i get a vaguely nice feeling on that note too, its not really my prime focus.

now, most people i talk to about this immediately go "isnt calling yourself "bright" pretentious?" the implication is that Brights think that they're smarter than people who believe in god and deliberately picked a term that shows that. its a valid criticism which is worth discussing.

its important to note that here the term is to be used as a noun. thus i am a Bright, not i am bright. very important distinction. the word "bright" didn't previously exist as a noun, just like Gay, so we, like they, get to define it however the hell we want to. that being said, its not the word i necessarily would have chosen (though i've yet to think of a better one). and certainly some Brights will use it in that sense and feel clever, but they're wrong to do so. being a Bright is not a condemnation of supernatural worldviews, merely the affirmation that one has a natural worldview instead. there is no judgment, only statement, inherent in being a Bright. individual Brights may pass judgment on those who belief in god, but they do not speak for the group in doing so.

So thats my schpiel on this stuff. if you think you're a Bright and would like to be counted, i encourage you to go sign up on the website. yes, you'll get an email (seems to be once every month or every other month or thereabouts). yes, twice a year they'll ask you for money. is that really a big deal? are you really running out of space in your gmail mailbox? theres strength in numbers, and we need all we can get.

EDIT: and, aside from the politics, it will also be nice if most of the country doesnt think we're amoral hedonists merely because we dont believe in god. but really in my social circles this isnt such a big deal.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

why isnt congress doing this already....

Bill Clinton was on the daily show tonight, and among other things, he lamented that congresspeople often have a very taxing schedule. they have to fly between where ever they live/represent and DC often. time they spend in DC is time spent away from their constituents and inside the beltway.

i believe this is a legit issue. and its incredibly stupid.

back in the day, it was necessary for congress to actually meet together in one place. the only alternative was correspondence my mail, and that would obviously never work.

but this is the age of the fucking information superhighway (thanks in no small part to al gore). i can go into any damn conference room in my office building and have people from london, tokyo, or both on the phone in moments. with a little bit of setup, i can have them on video. congress is so obviously begging for this.... its literally the ideal use case for videoconferencing.

for gods sake, install some webcams and lets get 98 video feeds into the capitol (someone should be there in person, just for kicks). theres no reason a senator should miss a session just because he has to be home campaigning.

this is incredibly stupid, there should have been a push for this 5 years ago. even if "all" it does is save our lawmakers some sleep, well, our lawmakers a group of people i want, by and large, to be in the best frame of mind they possibly can be. so they should be getting rest whenever possible. plus, *gasp*,they'll be closer and more in touch with the people they actually represent! in fact the only people this hurts are the big interest lobbying groups, since now they'll have to be the ones flying people around! good god its almost too good to be true!

there is no downside. congresspeople can still fly into DC whenever an occasion arises that merits the trip. er, well, there shouldn't be any downside, though if this administration has its way, it could tap the wires for some democratic anti-war committee without a fucking warrant because they're giving "comfort" to the enemy (by even considering a withdrawal)... but once we get this crazy neocons out in '08, there wont be any downside.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

surprise surprise...


all that surveillance, all that data mining, its all bullshit. "good old fashioned police work" is still the best way to go. so why is our executive breaking the fucking law to spy on us?

i wont even go into McConnell's credibility, or apparent lack thereof. i have no reason to trust anyone in this administration at this juncture.

i agree with this completely:


only just found it, but i agree with it completely.

update: i dont think we can win the war in iraq, for any reasonable value of "win". but jon stewart said this on the first running of the daily show after 9/11:

Whatever barriers we put up are gone. Even if it's just momentary. We are judging people by not the color of their skin, but the content of their character. You know, all this talk about "These guys are criminal masterminds. They got together and their extraordinary guile and their wit and their skill. . ." It's all a lie. Any fool can blow something up. Any fool can destroy. But to see these guys, these firefighters and these policemen and people from all over the country, literally with buckets, rebuilding. . . that’s extraordinary. And that's why we have already won. . . they can't. . . it's light. It's democracy. They can't shut that down.

i also agree with that completely. as long was we have our democracy, our freedoms, we can never lose this so called "war on terror". we have already won.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

a question...

which i'll hopefully elaborate on myself when i get home tonight:

which is more valuable, an "objective" media that actually caters to one side or the other, or more independent, franchise style reporters (bloggers) who very much proclaim their stance and fight for it tooth and nail? should we empower biased bloggers with more resources to do more investigations, hoping the the competition will turn up the truth? or should we continue to rely on supposedly objective media outlets to bring us the full and complete story?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

the coming cyberwar...

haftofthespear has a brief post that mentions that general Petraeus mentioned the war of ideals agaisnt the "terrorists" in cyberspace. i'll just borrow the quote:

"Finally, in recognition of the fact that this war is not only being fought on the ground in Iraq but also in cyberspace, it also notes the need to contest the enemy’s growing use of that important medium to spread extremism."

so what should we do to stem the tide of anti-american propaganda on the intertubez? absolutely nothing.

i mean, this is some really basic social engineering. idiots in the states click on phising websites all the time, enough that bank of america makes me go through an extra layer of clicking for a completely fictitious sense of security. why shouldn't the terrorists be susceptible to the same things? they obviously aren't all brilliant evil geniuses, and they're coming from parts of the world that are relatively new to the internet.

and a forum in which anonymity is integral to success (an online terrorist network, if such a thing exists) would be excedingly easy to infiltrate; just have a couple agents or whatever read some of the numerous studies on establishing identity on anonymous online forums (those are fun studies by the way, though i don't have a link to one).

if anything, the US should be working to foster and expand online terrorists networks with the goal of infiltrating them, not suppressing them.

oh and for god sakes, log everything! hell have France log everything, so if we do find something, no one can accuse us of fabricating stuff. our international credit isnt exactly high right now...

i mean, this is basic stuff. its outrageous if we aren't doing this already. my advice to the policy/war makers; stay out of the tech you'll just muck it up. stick with basic policework, it will be much more effective anyway.

hell we should even tell the terrorists we're doing this, so they can all turn on each other.

and at no risk! if an agent is found out, who cares? he's sitting in his home outside NYC or DC or whereever!

i'd much rather my tax money go to something like this than Petraeus trying to figure out how to censor international content without pissing off everyone in the whole world

as for them attacking us, we need to secure our virtual assests anyway.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Ann Coulter is a complete idiot

not that this is news to anyone, but i'm gonna have some fun with it.


"Normally, using the word "deviant" in reference to any form of sodomy
would be a linguistic crime worse than calling someone a "nappy headed
ho." Luckily, Craig is a Republican."

sex in public bathrooms with strangers is deviant behavior. what kind of sex it was is irrelevant.

"As a backup precaution, Matthews has worked to ensure that there is
virtually no audience for "Hardball." I shudder to think of the damage
such a remark might have done if uttered about a non-Republican on a TV
show with actual viewers."

an extremely juvenile comment, but Ann knows none of her readers watch the show, so she can get away with it.

"The New York Times ran 15 articles on Craig's guilty plea to
"disorderly conduct" in a bathroom. The Washington Post ran 20 articles
on Craig."

wow, a combined 35 articles. yeah, totally 9/11 or moon-landing coverage. i will admit, it does seem to have been a slow news week.

"In other news last week, two Egyptian engineering students, Ahmed
Abdellatif Sherif Mohamed and Youssef Samir Megahed, were indicted in
Tampa on charges of carrying pipe bombs across states lines. They were
caught with the bombs in their car near a Navy base."

wake me when they're convicted; indicted != guilty. maybe mathews is guilty of that as well, but then, craig plead guilty to something.

"If liberals were any happier, they'd be gay."

i'm not even sure what she's implying here. she probably isnt either, its a poor attempt to appear clever which probably succeeds on her audience. in any case, its another extremely juvenile comment.

"Indignant that Craig had short-circuited their gleeful gay-baiting,
liberals quickly switched to a new set of talking points. In the blink
of an eye, they went from calling Craig a "deviant" to attacking
Republicans for not insisting that Craig stay."

most of the ones i read attacked reps for treating Craig differently from that other senator when the only difference was the type of sex they're having (heterosexual or homosexual). remember Ann? the type of sex doesn't matter? thats the point

UPDATE: David Vitter - thanks adrian.. back to the point....

"Liberals said the only reason Republicans were not blanketing the
airwaves defending Craig -- maybe running him for president -- was
because of Republican "homophobia." After howling with rage all week
about gay Republicans, to turn around and call Republicans homophobes
on Friday was nothing if not audacious.

same point

"Liberals don't even know what they mean by "hypocrite" anymore. It's
just a word they throw out in a moment of womanly pique, like
"extremist" -- or, come to think of it, "gay." How is Craig a
"hypocrite," much less a "blatant hypocrite"?"

because he ran on a platform of family values, and then pleaded guilty to having sex in a public bathroom? public bathroom sex isnt very high on the list of family values is it? so he's saying one thing, yet doing another, which is pretty much the exact definition of hypocrite. can Ann really not understand this? or is she just being completely disingenuous? also, a great quote for GG's new book on gender bias, Ann certainly isnt afraid to pull out her giant ovaries and accuse "liberals" of being "womanly".

"Assuming the worst about Craig, the Senate has not held a vote on
outlawing homosexual impulses. It voted on gay marriage. Craig not only
opposes gay marriage, he's in a heterosexual marriage with kids. Talk
about walking the walk!"

what?? this is amazing, she's bringing up the exact same points someone attacking Craig would (hey, he's having public sex with strangers in a bathroom, while married and with kids!), and using them to defend him and attack the would be attackers. you have to give her credit, i mean this is skillfully laid out bullshit.

"Did Craig propose marriage to the undercover cop? If not, I'm not seeing the "hypocrisy."


the same points keep coming up over and over

but this brings up a great point. lets giving Ann's readership the benefit of the doubt and assume they're intelligent, well meaning people. i'm sure they dont have the time, energy, inclination, or skills to go out and get all the relevant news in todays world, i sure as hell don't. so they, like everyone else, have to attach themselves to some source of knowledge. its unfortunate, but true. if they attach themselves to people like Ann, they'll receive nothing but the dishonest, false, and duplicitous information like that present in the post she made above. and they won't know it for what it is, since they won't have anything to compare it to.

i'm susceptible to the same thing. right now, i get my news pretty much from adrian and Glenn Greenwald. but honestly, i trust my sources a hell of a lot more than i trust Ann Coulter.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

advertising in social networks

see link, which should be automatically placed, i havent used scribefire for awhile (or posted at all in awhile) and pretty much forgot how it works.

advertising in social networks is a very interesting problem to me. as i see it the two goals are fundamentally opposed; users want to do whatever it is kids do on the facebook these days (presumably, post pictures of themselves drunk and write funny captions), specifically without being advertised to. the site wants to make money, so its sells advertising space. advertisers want to tap into this new marketing space which so often captures otherwise hard to reach demographics.

banner ads are all well and good, but they've been around for so long they've got to be pretty much completely ineffective by now. this leads marketers to try more novel approaches, like creating actual sites for whatever they're selling and trying to friend people, etc.

but users backlash against this. they perceive it as an infiltration into their otherwise pure online social world. and so they deface the site. its like the SL guys who blew up nike's building, or whatever that was.

both the site and the companies advertising on it are playing a dangerous game. in this case, more people probably found negative press on wal-mart than positive; i doubt they've earned any more shoppers through this venture. at the same time, users are mad at facebook, and it doesnt take much to get fickle user-bases to switch over to a new medium.

my advise to the wal-marts of the world; play your cards very carefully in this new game. err on the side of caution... when the kids in the facebook decide they need a new... whatever (what does wal-mart sell anyway.. everything right?), they'll decide where they want to go get it from. if they want to look at hilarious pictures from last weekends crazy party at Fred's place when his parents were out of town...they're going to get pissed at you if you interrupt that.

as for facebook, be careful not to sell out your user base too much, or they'll be gone before you know it.

i've even had thoughts of starting up a social networking site specifically designed not to have any ads... but there's obviously no money in that. still, an open source ad-free social networking site would probably catch on pretty quick.

link to what the hell i'm talking about

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Monday, August 6, 2007


if you're reading this there's a good chance you either know my friend Adrian personally, or you've come across my blog through his. In either case, congratulations are in order; Adrian recently proposed to his girlfriend Ruth, and she said yes! these two crazy (no really, crazy) kids will be getting hitched next summer, as i understand it. in whatever capacity you may no him/her/them, drop 'em a line of congrats.

makes me feel pretty old. but it will be one hell of a party. congrats Ruth and Adrian!

Thursday, August 2, 2007


on advertising in SL... dont bother, unless you can create value (and how you're going to do that for the average consumer in SL is beyond... no fuck that you arent going t0), theres not point in trying to advertise. people dont just go places to be advertised at. well, except times square.

second, i read somewhere (probably /.) that google's shown a ad-based phone to retailers. its just a prototype but its definitely interesting. free phone, free text messaging, etc etc, except presumably you have to listen to some ad before you can make your call. will people go for this?

probably, free is often too cheap to give up. the real question is how easy it will be to circumnavigate the ads while still getting the free service. once you can hack the thing up, google goes out of the phone business.

i'm not sure they belong there to begin with. yes, they've always been a targeted ad company (whether or not you were aware of it), but where else are they going to expand, and how much of this are we ok with? would you wear free t-shirts that are billboards for some cheesy product? i mean, some people pay a lot of money to do that right now?

its an interesting move and we'll see what comes of it. they may have some success in the poor sector; i dont think middle-upper class people will be willing to put up with ads in their phones. on the other hand, phones are often the one status symbol some lower-class people can afford (just ride on any given bus for proof of this) so they may not go for it either.

and how do you target the ads? i can see this as a great way to sell condoms (whenever you call your girlfriend, trojan gets a 10 sec blurb on safe-sex), but otherwise....

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

more than a month later....

the reason i havent posted in over a month is frankly there was too much stuff i felt like i could post on. i got overwhelmed, though no one was reading this stuff anyway, and gave up for awhile. this is still pretty much true. however after having been accused of writing nonsense (not really), i feel like i should update again. adrian wants a post on the recent SL "Terrorism".

can terrorists use SL to train? sure they can, for certain values of train. they arent going to hone their aim with real ak47's in there. but they can go over procedure and protocol as much as they want to, and probably get some practice flying stuff. they could build a mock white house, bomb the shit out of it, and repeat as many times as they wanted to.

"zomg!!! shut down SL NOW!!!11!1" right? please. we can't limit our own tools just because they have the potential to be abused. and SL is a tremendous tool for various reasons that i'm not going into (just wiki it).

"ok!! lets throw lots of taxpayer dollars into government programs designed to infiltrate virtual terrorist cells so we can get those bastards!!!" eh. having some presence in virtual worlds may be valuable. but i'm not convinced. there's a ton of problems here and i only feel like going into a few of them. how do you determine who's actually a terrorist and who's using the whole not-reality of this medium to just play at one (there's a huge difference there, and the slippery slope applies too. maybe we should go after everyone who plays a terrorist in CS as well?). tracking down the people behind the avatars would also be a nightmare, even if they were in the states (just ask RIAA). finally, blowing up the ABC building in SL is not terrorism; it was probably some guy who loves all the geeky things about SL and doesnt appreciate it being hijacked by marketers trying to sell him stuff. i mean, i kinda feel like blowing up a virtual whitehouse right now, with all the bullshit gonzo's spewing out etc. (data mine that, suckers!).

so call me underwhelmed on this one, i really just don't care. they could make a facebook group. "i joined al'qaida and all i got was this crappy facebook group". i still wouldnt care. cause that group is gonna be populated mostly be retarded highschool kids going through the whole "stick it to the man" phase.

other thoughts:
today outside my office some people were marching for affordable housing. i mentioned i wouldnt mind if my rent was lower, and my boss said that the way to acheive that would be to get rid of affordable housing and let the free market do its thing. with a higher supply of market-rate housing my rent would go down (this is most likely true, there are people in my complex paying $800 a month for glorious 3BR's, just cause they've been there since 1930).

should we let the free market do its thing and determine value? why should i pay more rent just so some old lady doesnt have to? does her husband serving in WWII affect that? should it?

the next place to go with this is medicine of course. i'm really not sure about it. i believe the free market works and is a good way of doing things. but it also feels so heartless at times, and i'm not sure how to reconcile that.

rugby is awesome. the rugby world cup is coming up, and i'm psyched.

uh.. i bought a ps3 and enjoy it so far. i feel like i outgrew nintendo a decade ago and havent felt the urge to go back since then. the Wii just seems too much like novelty to me. Wii sports is fun for 15 mins, then you're done.

Apple's iPhone commercials are starting to bother me (people who know me in person will not find this surprising). the first batch i saw just demo'd the features (this is the one like "say you're watching pirates of the carribean and you decide you want calamari hey ok lets look up seafood oh theres the closest". a paraphrase, of course.) but now they're like "never before has an ipod been able to do this" while it shows the guy flipping through his fucking music library or playing a video. really?!? than wtf was the video ipod doing all these years??
but thats not as bad as the most recent offender in the ads-spreading-ignorance campaign. Time Warner Cable, who i'm pretty much forced to use, has one that makes fun of verizon's latest campaign about fiber optics. TWC claims to have been "using fiber for decades, get with the program!". and its true, TWC has been using fiber optics for probably that long. of course, that has nothing to do with what verizon is advertising. TWC is talking about the internet backbone, the absurdly high-speed "tubes" that handle large amounts of traffic. verizon's talking about the "last mile" (wiki it), the part that runs off those larger lines and into your house. does TWC offer fiber optics for the last mile? no. is verizon, by doing so, offering you faster speeds? yes.

i hate deceptive advertising, particularly in this arena.

ha, i should clearly read full aritcles before commenting on them. the ABC building in SL went down due to a "computer error" rather than a bomb. but should someone bomb it, i still maintain its more likely to be some dweeb making a statement than a "terrorist". thats my take on the Second Life Liberation Army, anyway

Monday, June 25, 2007

marketplace of ideas

this guy's blog, which he himself was brave enough to post on /. on a thread about Britain ruling intelligent design "not science" (duh), got me thinking about the marketplace of ideas.

generally, i'm a fan of the marketplace of ideas. This guys ideas though, or at least his writing, is incredibly self-centered and egotistical, and looks to use big words with no clarification in the hopes that by being very confusing he'll come off as intelligent. i read a rather long post and really have no idea what the hell he was trying to get across, other than that he's a genius. get over yourself man.

well i should rephrase. he's arguing for the existence of god and it would seem some other conservative ideologies, again in the most obfuscating way possible. just.. read a paragraph and you'll see what i mean.

so what? we should let him profess his ideas, in as unclear a fashion as he wants (or is capable of) even consider them, in the way we should consider all ideas, and choose the best ones based on merit, right?

well, yes, assuming we're capable of judging ideas on their merit. it seems to me that not everyone is truly capable of doing that, they're too prejudiced towards irrational beliefs (ie, religious), too egotistical to accept the equality of others (racists, classist, etc)... the list goes on. these people, either willfully or not, will not pick the best choice out of the marketplace of ideas. not everyone can tell which fruit are bruised.

but they all get to vote!

so we end up with assholes like this One Cosmos guy, and a bunch of idiots agreeing with him for whatever reason, and then they all run off to the polls to save america from teh gayz, meanwhile the rest of us have to deal with the consequences (war in iraq and general incompetence) of ther utter lack of abilities with respect to reasoning.

i'm not proposing anything here... just food for thought. and yes, i do realize i come off at least as egotistical as the guy in that blog, saying that some people can't judge ideas on merit, yet i can. hey, just because i can, doesnt mean i always do. and at least i'll admit these faults.

but really, i'd love to believe that most americans aren't idiots, i just dont get that impression. someone please clue me in if i'm wrong here.

Update 1: BLECH just look at the header under that blog's title.... this guy loves to make up stupid ass words. who the fuck does he think he's impressing with that childish nonsense?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

USA 2 - 1 Mexico

The USMNT won the gold cup about an hour ago, 2-1 over mexico. some thoughts i had on the game:

Benny Feilhaber (sp?) completely owned the second half. he played great.

how the fuck did Beasley miss that chance in the 82nd or so minute? my grandma could have finished it. and shes dead. i could have dropped her on the field in the right place at the right time and the ball would bounce off her and go in. incredible.

Ching played ok, did well to draw the penality, unlucky to hit the bar. Really did nothing else besides those two chances, but if we can get one forward who can consistently come up with two or three chances like that a game, it will be a step in the right direction for us.

Dempsey did nothing. Landycakes played ok.

I'm liking Bradley's coaching style so far. he's got some young guys and he seems to know them realy well. He's not afraid to make changes in either the system or the players when its not clicking, and moving landy to the right wing was a good move. I think he's going to be a good coach for us.

thats all really, fun game to watch. Action packed, both keepers made some very nice saves, etc.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


I've never given much credit to Dinesh D'Souza's mental faculties, but in two recent blog posts he falls victim to a complete and utter breakdown in logic. one could argue that all his points of view suffer from such breakdowns, but whatever.

First off, double D claims that Newton is the greatest scientist ever, because Einstein only "modified" Newton's theories and gave them "a deeper and more elaborate context". By this arguement the worlds greatest scienist should be the guy who invented the wheel, since all Newtown did is explain rotational mechanics in a "deeper and more elaborate context". I mean, is he serious? thats completely absurd. Newton was a great scientest.... in the 1600s. we've come a long way since then, baby. I mean Leibniz developed calculus indepedently and at the same time, so you can't use that to argue for Newton's case. And yes, he came up with some great laws and big breakthroughs in mechanics. but mechanics these days is physics for dummies. anyone can understand mechanics. Einstien talked about converting mass to fucking energy. i think thats a bit more impressive than explaining how things move (it goes faster when somethings pushing it! WOW!!).

But none of this is relevant anyway. Atheists don't hold up Darwin and go: "look! this guy was really smart! he's like, the smartest guy evah! and he's an atheists!! we'll all be atheists too!!!". Atheists only point to Darwin when someone says "God created man". then we get to say "well, theres a fuckton of evidence that shows that thats not the case. Check out this dude Darwin and all he did". Darwin provides a pertinent argument to a specific debate (where did people come from). Newton is doing nothing of the kind.

Newton derives his prediction on when the world's gonna end FROM SCRIPTURE. He doesn't have any scientific evidence for the proof of God or anything else religious he may have happened to say. last i checked scripture was not a very good place to get your science. D'Souza's coming to battle equiped with a large baguette. It may, if your mostly blind, look like the right kind of thing to bring to a fight, but its not going to hold up once things get started.

Apparently Newton once said:
"This most beautiful system of the sun, planets and compets could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful being."

thats not an argument. thats "I don't understand how this system got started, so i'm going to make up an answer, and claim its the only one". Anyone who cant see that is decieving themselves. not to blame Newton, he was operating with very limited knowledge.

the big DD says:
"If the atheists are right that there is some great conflict between science and religion, how come Newton didn't experience this?"
4 January 1643 – 31 March 1727. thats why. Newton had no other knowledge to work with. Once he got to the edge of his understanding, he held up his hands and said "well, thats all i can figure out, God must have done the rest". BUT JUST BECAUSE HE SAID IT DOESNT MEAN ITS TRUE, and thats what DD seems to fail to understand.

You wouldnt take the cavemen who invented the wheel and ask him to build you a car. Just because someone has a good idea at one point doesnt mean 400 years later they're still an expert. Hell, i wouldn't even ask Bill Gates for advice on a piece of software today. i mean he had two good ideas (money in software, pc's everywhere), and thats it. he may, in fact, not be a genius. if he had't had the idea, someone else might. same is true for Newton. just cause he figured out how a ball on a string rotates above my head as i swing it, doesn't mean i trust him to expound on the order of the entire fucking universe. Nor should I. nor should DD.

Darwin is brought up by people because he's relevant to a specific debate (or rather, proves there should be no such debate). Newton isn't, because he's not.

Update 1:
Thats right! i missed the full article and in DD's paragraphs that i only just now read he brings up what Hitchen's said about Newton. Hitchins reminds us that Newton spent a lot of time with alchemy, trying to turn lead into gold. SERIOUSLY. then DD says "I'd set Newton's knowledge of science and religion against that of Hitchens anytime.". Yes, you would, and you're a fucking idiot to do so. Hitchen's has the benefit of ~300 years of scientific development since Newton's time. We've learned an awful lot since then DD, or at least, most of us have. you apparently are stuck in 1700.

Update 2 for grammer, syntax. its hard to write coherently when faced with such outragoues idiocy.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

i do love technology...

posting from work at 7:45pm because i'm a large idiot who left his keys in the apt, locking himself out. I'm not on the lease (or the key card, which i didnt know existed, but need to get on) so they won't let me in. which is good. they shouldn't be letting me in. My cellphone is dead (why they don't make cellphones that turn off 5 minutes before their batteris die so you can still get some emergence use out of them, like getting a number from your contacts? i would love this feature). My roommates out of town until thursday.

20 years ago (ok, maybe 25-30) I'd be fucked. i dont know where my roommate works, so i can't get in touch with him through his company. (I actually dont even have his cellphone number on my phone i will after this experience, howewver). With no real way to contact him, i'd be stuck waiting it out til he got back thurs and could let me in.

As it is, i have his cellphone number in a gmail conversation. all i need is internet access and i can get at it. luckily, all of my friends have internet access (altough i wound up going back to the office since i couldnt get in touch with them). with it i've already reached my roommate who will hopefully be able to find a fax machine at the airport in seattle, otherwise i'll have to crash somewhere and be let in tomorrow.

so yay for the internet. and boo for me being stupid.

Monday, June 18, 2007


i found this on fark:

ireland.com - Breaking News - Diageo mulls options for Guinness brewery

they'd better not sell it! i will be much anger and swift vengence should it be sold! actually, the coolest part about this is that Arthur Guinness took out a 9000 year lease. i mean, thats awesome. and i hear its for something stupid like, $3 a year.

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

this is interesting..

131 - US States Renamed For Countries With Similar GDPs « strange maps

new jersey's GDP is roughly on par with russia's.

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i hate viral advertising

Kooky: Halo 3 Viral Marketing Campaign Begins; Everyone Confused - Kotaku

the link above is kotaku linking to some other site that has photos etc about apparently a viral marketing ad campaign for halo3.

I hate viral ad campaigns. after their last one failed so horribly, i doubt sony will be trying them again any time soon. google "all i want for xmas is a psp" for some stories about that one, apparently the url (www.alliwantforxmasisapsp.com) now links to haagen daas ice cream. go figure.

In any case, viral ad campaigns, particularly of the sony variety, rely on duping would be consumers into believe they are authentic. as a result they're fundamental insulting the group of people they're advertising to. someone must think they're smarter than i am if they think they'll be able to trick me into believing that some schmuck is gonna start a blog completely dedicated to how he wants a psp for christmas. you could make enough money to buy one in half the time required to set up a polished blog. nevermind registering the domain name, site hosting, all that shit costs money.. the whole premise was utterly stupid, and you were supposed to believe it was genuine, which would make you even more stupid. there you go, thats a great way to get me to want to buy your product, calling me an idiot. the only thing they succeeded in doing was pissing a lot of people off.

so i don't really know what the halo3 people hope to accomplish with this one. they want you to go to this site: www.societyoftheancients.com. its clearly designed to make it look like it was the second of third page on the internet (i mean only 12 year old girls think flashing backgrounds like that are a good idea). they offer no way of contacting the "society", other than joining a mail list. great. cause i love signing up to recieve emails about god knows what from people of have as yet not identified themselves. its a thinly veiled hoax. and with a completely stupid premise.

i mean i just don't get it... no rational person is going to follow the "logic" they propose:

1) we don't know how or why they build stonehenge

2) therefore, the "simplest" explanation is that they had help

3) who could have helped them but technologically advanced aliens?

what?? i mean they actually invoke Occam's razor in their "argument". how does that work... since in order for aliens to be the simplest explanation to stonehenge or the pyramids, you have to explain where the fucking aliens came from and how they got here. thats a whole lot more fucking difficult.

so what's the point? i mean clearly this isnt meant to be taken seriously? how is it going to get anyone to buy halo3 who wasn't already going to? if it isn't, why the hell are they paying people to stand around times square and annoy passersby with this horse shit?

i just dont get it, and it bothers me. because i pride myself on my intelligence, and even the implication that they think i might fall for this shit is insulting.

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Annals of National Security: The General’s Report: Reporting & Essays: The New Yorker

A dozen government investigations have been conducted into Abu Ghraib and detainee abuse. A few of them picked up on matters raised by Taguba’s report, but none followed through on the question of ultimate responsibility. Military investigators were precluded from looking into the role of Rumsfeld and other civilian leaders in the Pentagon; the result was that none found any high-level intelligence involvement in the abuse.

Who the fuck can hold these people responsible, if the main vehicle for investigation can't? This is a republic, we the citizens should be able to hold the people working for us, like Rumsfeld, responsible, and the army, who works for them, and thus us, should be able to investigate. this is crap.

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Thursday, June 7, 2007

BofA's sitekey

one of the most ridiculous pieces of "security" ever. more to come when i get home from work.

ok... getting back to this more than a week later, the sitekey is designed to foil phising attacks. phishing attacks are when i design a web page that looks just like bank of americas, give it a url along the lines of www.bank0famerica.com, and then fake an email to you joe user from bank of america with a link to my version of the page. i want to get you to enter your username and password, so that i can later empty out your account.

Sitekey is supposed to foil this attack. you don't put in your password right away, just your username. then bank of america proves that its ok to enter your password by showing you a picture associated with your account. now that you know who you're dealing with, its ok to enter your password, right?

wrong! this is just creating an extra step for a would-be phisher, who now has to impersonate two sites instead of one. the main method of attack is the same. once you're on the phisher's version of the site, you enter your account name. the phisher takes your account name, goes to the real BoA site, gives them your user name. BoA gives the phisher your sitekey picture. the phisher gives you your sitekey picture. you give the phisher your password.

so there's no real added security here. sure its making things more difficult for the attacker, but the same attack is still possible. and if you've managed to convince your customers that they're safe because of this so-called security feature, they're more likely to trust it, and may even be more susceptible to attack.

but really its just another annoying page to load.

so, stupid sitekey.


this (zdnet.com) is a very good post on why DRM will never work. more on this later when i get home from work. Essentially i'll be tying it to why publishers need to give up on the whole "copyright" idea for content and just embrace free distribution.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

evolution of the species

facebook apparently came out with this little gem; Facebook Diaries: Busted.

now, before we get into the particulars, i'd like to reiterate a few things. i don't like where facebook is going. the more crap they add to their site, the less inclined i am to use it. i want to scope out hot sales chicks from work (ie, find out if they're single), maybe post something clever to some group or some picture or something so i feel good about my own intelligence, browse through photos of people i knew in high school and think "how weird is it that they're still friends with each other??" and thats really about it. i don't want to "RoShamBull" you. online rock-paper-scissors is just about the dumbest thing i've ever heard of (or any asynchronous version of the game, but sponsored ones are even worse). i don't want to paint on your wall with graffiti. i don't give a shit about your horoscope. or mine. the list goes on.

But i fully support this idiotic web-video-confession thing. please, please submit something about that one time in high school where you got totally smashed and drove over your neighbors shrubbery. not only will i laugh at your stupidity (ok i wont really, i'm not wasting my time with that shit), but i'll rest safe and sound knowing that people like me are going to have an easier time getting in to schools and landing jobs because idiots like you are posting yourselves at your most moronic on utterly public sites where such screening most certainly does occur.

i've gotten calls from recruiters because of my facebook profile (not that that means a damn thing about my abilities, i happen to work in a field thats currently pretty highly sought-after and went to a good school). you, after making your gastrointestinal pyrotechnics available for all to see, won't make it past the first round. and thats fine with me. getting into school in particular is such a crapshoot anyway, i'm all for giving the good kids a leg up over people who think anyone else gives a damn what they did that one time they got really high and their parents came back from florida a day early. if i was into that kind of stuff, i'd watch a damn sitcom.

so well done on this one, facebook team!

Volleyball is good times

i had forgotten how much fun it was. Hurt my back though, so i couldnt jump very well and hit a couple balls into the net as a result. Also the guy in front of me in the rotation just loved to play defense right in front of where i was standing, leaving a huge whole where he's supposed to play and me with nothing to do. oh well, at least i have something to do on wednesdays this summer. soccer may be thursdays, i have to look into it.

now if only there were pick-up fencing bouts right outside my apt. that'd even be worth buying equipment for.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

a couple thoughts....

I'm too tired for a real post, but a couple things worth mentioning:

Read an article on "Radical Honesty" in my roommate's esquire magazine. It is, as you'd expect, the idea that you should always tell the truth. always. Its a pretty cool idea, i dont think i'll subscribe to it completely (which i believe means not at all, its a sort of all or nothing thing), but being more honest probably couldnt hurt.
it should be required of politicians.

uhh the facebook as allowed users to create applications and post them. this has resulted in a couple good apps, a couple dating apps, and a bunch of thinly veiled advertisements as apps. i'm not against free content in the form of advertising but i am wondering how the user base will react. when i joined facebook was only at harvard, brown, and maybe one other school. now its so ubiquitous i wonder if some of the appeal won't be lost. probably not. i'm just condescending.

i guess thats all. radical honesty is cool stuff and i'm gonna try it out. i dont have much to lose here really anyway. i just hope i can distinguish between "honest" and "jackass for the sake of being jackass".

Sunday, June 3, 2007

publishing in the public domain

this slashdot story got me thinking again about publishing content in the public domain. A couple weeks ago there was news about tv companies suing the likes of youtube for posting copyrighted content and all that jazz. Its a very interesting problem without a clear solution (well, we'll see about that anyway).

Say you produce content. You're ABC and you make Heroes, you're EA and you make FIFA 07, you're some record label recording Led Zeppelin... whatever. Doing this costs you money. You have to pay people to do this. You yourself are only doing this so you can make money. that's only natural, most people won't do work if they don't get paid for it.

The rise of the internet has made it impossible for content publishers to prevent people from stealing said content. Its not feasible; the crack only has to be applied once, distribution is widespread and if not untrackable, not worth tracking. Once you release it, people who want to are going to get their hands on it without paying for it. except in some fringe cases (MMO's, basically) thats the reality of the situation.

Most users are good people. Many pirate content not because they're upset about paying for it, but because its its just a lot easier to access that way. That used to be the reality anyway... i could head to my local music store and stive in vain to find a copy of Lakeshore Drive by... well whoever its by (part of the point that), or i could just search for it on napster and have it in minutes. theres a clear winner there. CD's themselves were another reason, no one wanted to pay 20 bucks for a cd when only one song was any good (remember melancholy and the infinite sadness? fucking $40 double cd and all i wanted was Tonight Tonight. bullshit).

TV companies have started to catch on, posting some of their shows streaming online. its a good start in the right direction, but not quite there yet; i can find HD-quality versions with no commercials on other sites. I wouldn't mind watching an ad or two at the start of the show, but they break them into like 5-6 minute chunks and do one in between each. not happening.

you can use something like itunes, but believe me, apple doesn't deserve to be making any money selling music. that they are is more a testament to how idiotic the music distribution companies were not getting in that market first. or you could just get it free.

back to that slashdot story, now apparently music (like, sheet music) publishers are pushing on sites that post guitar tabs (free sheet music, except you don actually have to be able t read music to read a tab). Thats insane; if i figure out a way to play my favorite song without ever reading any sheet music, i should have every right to share that method.

So we're faced with a widespread problem. The internet has provided pretty much unstoppable free distribution of copyrighted content. As a user you may not care (you get the good deal, right?) but remember that if there's no money to be made distributing this content, it won't get made. guaranteed. what's the solution?

Well the tv companies have the right idea; the producers of the content should publish it, for free, themselves. money lost in sales can be recouped in advertising, and users will be fine with that if its done right. i'm talking music, movies, tv shows, sheet music, books.... its going to happen whether publishers want it to or not, so they should ditch all this copyright lawsuit bullshit and get on board. hell, you can even ask for donations. Public broadcasting has been following these models for years now and while they aren't exactly huge financial successes (neither are they mainstream), and they're all still around and doing ok. but if you just do the advertising right...

i mean, say i sign up at a website that distributes tv shows, and i watch a lot of heroes and firefly. you can definitely direct certain ads at me and charge a lot more for those ads. just use google's model of advertising, its a perfect fit for this model. its how webcomics like penny-arcade thrive and i dont see why it cant work just as well for a music label. product placement is another excellent way to go (video and video games), as long as its well done, since at that point the advertising will directly impact the quality of the product. In short publishers need to give up their outdated ideas on how they can "sell" their product and adapt to the changing landscape of technology or go extinct. and this evolution is awesome for the consumer, since we'll get a ton of quality content, on demand, legal, and free.

or they can keep spinning their wheels in this stupid "content goes up, lawsuit goes out, server moves to switzerland" cycle, and attempts at DRM will continue to plague honest users and have no effect on the bad guys.

in the mean time, i'll continue to support worthy products in ways i think are fair. i will of course, err on the side of free (to me, suckers).

Friday, June 1, 2007

glenn greenwald clearly the man

link here (salon.com)

Glenn is, as usual, on point. I can have only very little to attribute, and highly recommend you read his post yourself. Two things, though.

Glenn says:

"Beltway pundits are so easily fooled, because they are so eager to be. Their brains and emotional reactions -- and thereafter their political statements -- are dominated by these shallow and inauthentic symbols of masculinity and piety which overwhelm reality. They search so desperately for these attributes that they find two-dimensional cartoon images which are just archetypes -- really caricatures -- deeply satisfying."

I fear that not only do the pundits suffer this disease, but their audiences to as well. In fact, what a pundit actually thinks is irrelevant, if he's crafted his message specifically for his audience. I fear that this is in fact the case, and is a result of the infantile obsession we have as a nation with security, as i discussed in an earlier post.

Later Glenn says:

"It's always a great mystery how people who are on their second or third wives with children from each marriage can stand up with a straight face and proclaim themselves to be believers in "traditional marriage" and -- far worse -- to insist that the laws be structured so as to allow and endorse their own highly untraditional and un-Christian marriages while prohibiting other citizens from entering their own. And it's even more of a mystery that individuals such as Thompson are able to spout (though, with vigor, personally contravene in their own conduct) such platitudes and still be taken seriously."

Its an excellent point, and in a rational world, this would be a great mystery. But again, the audience to which these posturings are targeted don't care whether or not they're true. they just want to feel safe, and as long as someone plays the part, what matter that person's real life dealings? These people aren't going to fact check, they don't care if someone's actions reflect their words. they just want a nice and warm, fuzzy feeling when they see their "decider" on tv. as long as their getting that they don't care. once someone who they disagree has an affair, however, well, thats another story entirely.

in the mean time, i really do have a very negative opinion of the general population of america, particularly the red states. someone please, prove me wrong to hold it.

this (youtube) is Fred Thompson's video response to something michael moore apparently said to him. i dont know what. Thompson recommends Moore think about a mental institution (sigh... i always liked his character on L&W too).

but thats not the point. read the comments. go ahead, read them. how many of those people can vote? in swing states? apparently they'll vote for anyone who points michael moore down, because moore is fat and deserves to go to hell. or something, i mean you explain it to me if thats wrong.

oh, apparently moore challenged thompson to a deabte on health care. hence the "i don't have time for you". now the "you should look into a mental instituion", that, to me, seems a little uncalled for.

Google's Mission

Google's new street view is kinda cool. you can zoom around the street and look at stuff. neat right?

well, sorta. its also kinda creepy. and the trend it demonstrates is even creepier. Google is the first to admit their goal; have all the data. they want every piece of data, ever, and they'd like it now if possible. Their business model is as follows:
1) get lots of data
2) ????
3) profit.

and its worked well for them so far. But their never-ending quest for more information is in direct conflict with their "do no evil" philosphy. Lets take google maps for example. Initially it was how most people probaby still use it, just maps, with directions, etc. then they added satellite imagery. "Hey cool, i can see my car parked outside my house!". now apparently they've sent a van to drive around select cities and take pictures of everything that happens to be going on in that street on that day. Naked person in the window? woops. Now you're online for millions to see! check out this (wired.com) for some funny photos people have found so far. The logical next step for this is to put live cameras up there and make it all update in real time. Horrifying. Then you can store and index all that data and... well forget about getting away with running any red lights. or anything else for that matter.

it comes down to a privacy issue. i mean, i dont really have a problem with google street view. but whats next for them if they keep going down this line? google interiors? google people? those are all downright frightening. google blueprints seems completely feasible. do you really want the blueprint of your house/apt available online at a moments notice to anyone?

Can google possible stay "not evil" while continuing to hoarde every piece of data they can get their hands on? i don't think so. I'm not really paranoid over this, i'm not gonna lose any sleep over google street view. i was probably at work when the pictures were taken. but its still pretty creepy, and continuing down the "more data more data!!" line it only gets worse.

Someone's apparently already sueing over it, claiming that her cat can be clearly seen in her window. i dont have the link, but whoever it is said something along the lines of: if it was the government doing this, people would be outraged. And she's right, if the feds were doing this (or telling us about doing this anyway), wouldn't you be pissed? shouldn't you be just as, if not more, pissed now? i mean its not just the feds who can see this, everyone can.

in the mean time, you just try to catch me sunbathing outside on the street, suckers.

Thursday, May 31, 2007


Security is a myth. it simply does not exist in the sense most people want it to. People want to feel that even if someone wanted to hurt them, this hypothetical attacker would not be able to. yeah right.

this article(cio.com) describes how hackers can cover their tracks in such a way as to be pretty much invulnerable to prosecution, at least through electronic evidence. It's an interesting read, and the techniques described are interesting (to me at least), but it raises some higher-level question about what we should be trying to do when it comes to security anyway.
can you possibly hope to protect your credit card number? well, no. you can make good starts (never give it to a place that will save it is a good one), you can hope vendors are smart and dont store the thing (which you shouldn't do), or you can just deal with some fraudulent charges when they show up. credit card companies seem to be pretty on top of that these days, which is good, since they'd go out of business if they weren't.

But if you can't trust your file system to tell the truth, who can you trust? Security in any sense, informational, personal. national, is utter crap. its a complete chimera. it will not and can not exist. If some wants very very badly (and i mean more than you've wanted, anything or ever) to do X, whether X is break into your house, steel your "identity", slice you open with a power saw, or fly a plane into your building, they're going to find a way to do it. if, god forbid (ha, god) a group of people decided they wanted to do one of those things to you, its just a matter of when. As a nation we need to accept our vulnerability, give up our infantile obsession with security, and move on. you want to play the numbers game here. you want to stop most of the attacks, most of the time, for most of the people. You want to stop big attacks. If you're smart you can usually do that without giving up much if any freedom (or time, or cpu cycles, or whatever). If, better yet, you can remove the benefit of the attack all together, now you're really winning.; why break into someone's house if you can't sell the stuff you steal? Of course to do that you've got to convince some people to keep vigilant eyes on their bank accounts, and others that there may, in fact, be no afterlife, so they should stick to this one. In the meantime, computer forensics go out the window; it's kinda like trying to ask a suicide bomber where he got his bomb. he's, you know, dead.

ps: oh yeah, slashdotters annoy me some time. here we have an interesting article on security, and theres no debate on the real topic. nothing about the schools of thought behind the guys writing these antiforensic apps, nothing about.. well, anything. other than "zomg you need an app to mess with timestamps? n00b you can just use touch!". My guess is TimeStomper is a windows app, boys. and even so, completely not the point.... but everyone wants to show off their knowledge (hey me too).

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Rudi Guilliani is a bad person

Whatever you think about republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, admit that he sticks to his guns. When he expressed the opinion that the US should stay out of foreign affairs, and that our meddling can result in things like 9/11, Rudi took it upon himself to say that the US was in no way responsible for 9/11, and i think demanded that Ron Paul take his comment back. He didn't, and went on to talk about the CIA's understanding of blowback and gave several examples.

What sort of evil bullshit is that? Rudi's words communicate the following things to me about his ideas:

1) We should continue to do whatever we want abroad, without worrying about the consequences.
2) Instead of analyzing what went wrong to bring about 9/11, we should all just stop thinking about it because it wasn't all fault.

and presumably:
3) Rudi will think about it for us and decide what's best.

he's an authoritarian fuckhead and i very sincerely hope he doesn't get elected.

US media sucks balls

from /. (www.slashdot.com):

Hylas sends us to Democracy Now for a newscast on the missing emails, an interview with investigative journalist Greg Palast. Here's Palast talking about the fired US attorney from New Mexico, David Iglesias:
"Iglesias believes the real reasons for the firings are in what are called the missing emails, emails sent by the [White House political advisor Karl] Rove team using Republican Party campaign computers, which Rove claims can't be retrieved. But not all the missing emails are missing. We have 500 of them. Apparently the Rove team misaddressed their emails, and late one night they all ended up in our inboxes in our offices in New York City."
This story has had zero play in the US media; it's been being carried on the BBC.

why isn't this all over the news? i want to know whats in those emails.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

jon stewart rocks

he called the fact that politicians refuse interviews and duck questions and etc "open contempt for ... democracy". he couldn't be more right, and it sucks that this goes on so much.

Jerry Falwell dies

just google him for confirmation that i'm not making this up.

and really, i don't care. i mean, i'm not happy anyone's dieing, but i am happy that this guy is shut up. check wikipedia on him, he was agaisnt the civil rights movement, supported apartheid, made up bad stuff about Clinton, etc etc. all that's really par for the course for these far right-wingers.

i'm about half-way through Richard Dawkin's The God Delusion and have been listening to what some of Christopher Hitchins has to say on the issue, and i have to agree with them. Religion is very bad. Falwell is an example. I'm an anti-theist.

That he died suddenly, and that he lived in a city in the south with the word "Lynch" in it, are ironic, but that's all.

IP copywrite laws chock full of utter stupidity.

full article: http://news.com.com/8301-10784_3-9719339-7.html (news.com)

Apparently everyones favorite utterly inept (or completely corrupt, take your pick), attorney general wants congress to enact some new IP copywrite laws. lets take a look at some of the real beauties here.

" * Criminalize "attempting" to infringe copyright. Federal law currently punishes not-for-profit copyright infringement with between 1 and 10 years in prison, but there has to be actual infringement that takes place. The IPPA would eliminate that requirement. (The Justice Department's summary of the legislation says: "It is a general tenet of the criminal law that those who attempt to commit a crime but do not complete it are as morally culpable as those who succeed in doing so.") "

Why is this one so bad? well, what constitutes "attempting" to infringe on IP copywrites? clicking a link to download a movie? clinking a link you thought was to a review of a movie? this is one step away from thought crime. "you were thinking about clinking that link, therefore you go to jail". rubbish.

" * Permit more wiretaps for piracy investigations. Wiretaps would be authorized for investigations of Americans who are "attempting" to infringe copyrights. "

combine this with the "anyone using any real amount of bandwidth must be downloading movies illegally" argument and you get the feds listening in on every interent connection in the states. if they aren't already. i should write a packet filter that looks for "terror-related" material, then sell it to the feds. meh they probably have one already.

"* Add penalties for "intended" copyright crimes. Certain copyright crimes currently require someone to commit the "distribution, including by electronic means, during any 180-day period of at least 10 copies" valued at more than $2,500. The IPPA would insert a new prohibition: actions that were "intended to consist of" distribution. "

oh here we go, actual thought crime. cool.

"* Require Homeland Security to alert the Recording Industry Association of America. That would happen when CDs with "unauthorized fixations of the sounds, or sounds and images, of a live musical performance" are attempted to be imported. Neither the Motion Picture Association of America nor the Business Software Alliance (nor any other copyright holder, such as photographers, playwrights or news organizations, for that matter) would qualify for this kind of special treatment. "

what? why the hell should the department of homeland security report anything to any commerical orginization? don't these guys have better shit to do??

and finally my favorite:
"* Create a new crime of life imprisonment for using pirated software. Anyone using counterfeit products who "recklessly causes or attempts to cause death" can be imprisoned for life. During a conference call, Justice Department officials gave the example of a hospital using pirated software instead of paying for it. "

thats life in prison for using pirated software. but don't worry, in order for you to wind up in jail for your stolen version of windows, you have to kill someone with it. or "recklessly cause or attempt to cause death". here's a couple ways this could happen to you:

1) because you didnt pay for your windows, your outlook is broken. you don't get an alert to go perform brain surgery on your patient, who dies.

2) a pirated version of photoshop running on your machine produces pictures so horrendous, onlooker's heads explode.

3) a stolen video game is so realistic, you die in real life too. of course, thats more of a suicide.

i mean in all seriousness, how the hell can you kill someone with a piece of software? and if you manage to do that, why in gods name does it matter that the software was pirated?? if through some brilliance you can kill someone with a version of windows, does it really make any damn difference how you got your hands on that version of windows? People who shoot people don't get life cause they stole the gun. The only way i can think to kill someone with acrobat is to lodge the cd in their throat, which is death by cd, not software. this whole thing is completely absurd.

so why's it happenin?

movie and record labels apparently have a lot of lobbying power. big surprise there.

in any case, its kinda like prohibition. you can try to make this stuff illegal, it will just mean that most americans are breaking the law.