Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Conservatives exposed by Pope

If you've been paying attention, you might have noted what appears to be a rather sharp departure from the past conservative line. It happened because Pope Francis made some rather disparaging comments about trickle-down economics, capitalism, and selfishness.

The conservatives—Republicans and the Tea Party—makes a pretty good show of supporting religion—particularly Catholic—ideals. Or at least they have in the past. But they support Mammon much more than they support Christianity.

Monday, November 18, 2013

New Theory: Your Privacy Doesn't Matter

As reported in this TechDirt article, law professor Eric Posner wrote the following:
Mass surveillance—where emails and other communications are vacuumed up, stored in databases, and then searched for keywords—doesn’t harm anyone in itself. The problem only arises when the information is used to detain, interrogate, or harass people.
What a remarkable concept (translated): It doesn't matter if the government violates your privacy, so long as you don't know it. Just think how this can be applied!

Some examples of things that don't matter:
  • It doesn't matter that your 401-K was stolen, so long as the monthly reports show the money is still there.
  • It doesn't matter if your mechanic tacks a few unneeded parts onto your bill, since you won't ever know if any were broken anyway.
  • It doesn't matter if you're sold a smoke detector that doesn't work and you don't know it. (Maybe you'll be lucky and never find out; and if you're unlucky, it probably won't matter anyway since you won't be around to complain.)
  • It doesn't matter if you're sold food contaminated with e. coli, since there's no way you'll ever be sure which food it was that made you sick. (Even the government has trouble figuring that out.)
  • It doesn't matter if the doctor accidentally removes your kidney along with your appendix. (I have only one kidney: I know about this. The loss of one kidney "doesn't matter".)
  • It doesn't matter if your daughter disappears because she was raped and murdered, so long as no one finds her body. (You can always hope she just ran away.)
  • It doesn't matter if your vote isn't counted, since you'll never know your ballot was thrown out "accidentally".
  • It doesn't matter if you don't know your civil rights were violated.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Poor hawks. They were all ready to go to war and wipe out thousands of civilians, make megabucks for the industrial complex, get rid of an uncooperative regime, and keep that oil for America.

Then some stupid politician had to make a stupid comment about how if Syria did some things that Syria would obviously never do, it could all be avoided. How dumb can a politician be?

Because now, Syria is doing those things...

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Tokyo Electric Company Stockholders Saved

Recently it was that discovered Fukushima radiation levels are '18 times higher' than thought.

The radiation level from some of the (leaky) tanks containing waste had been thought to be 100 millisieverts per hour (mSv/h). Why? Because they had been using a device that reads to a maximum limit of 100 mSv/h. When they brought in and used a device with a broader range, big surprise, the real level is 1800 mSv/h.

This could have quite a bit of significance for workers. A lethal dose is hard to be compute—there are lots of factors—but it appears that a lethal dose is around 5000 mSv cumulative. So the difference between 100 and 1800 mSv/h could be perhaps the difference between a worker receiving a lethal dosage in 50 hours versus just 3 hours.

I know Hanlon's razor says malice should not be assumed when stupidity is an adequate explanation, but sometimes it is really hard to tell the difference; especially when there is a huge motive for a little creative stupidity. There is a clear motive in this case: It is so much more expensive to hire workers when they can only work for 4 minutes per year...

I foresee broad usage of this principle in the future. It certainly could have been used in the past: "Well, yes, we did release cyanide gas into the holding chambers, but these devices we used measured the maximum concentration at 8 parts per million, which is well below the safe exposure limit."

(I mean, I would love to say to the officer, "I definitely wasn't speeding: My speedometer said 55 exactly." Think he'd let me off?)

Oh, and by the way, the Japanese government is now assuming responsibility for Fukushima, the cost of which will perhaps be as much as $150 billion U. S. The Tokyo Electric Power Company stockholders are now safe from harm—so long as they stay away from the site.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Evidence laundering

My definition of a term I think I might have created (I've not seen it anywhere else):

evidence laundering n. The act of concealing the source of evidence obtained by illegal or unconstitutional means, so as to render it admissible.

I originally used it here.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Free Market 911

Chris at Information Liberation presents Listen To The Way This Rude Dispatcher Handled Charles Ramsey's 911 Call... an article of 911 aberrations. (Note: I originally wrote my free-market examples in comments to that article.)

The article starts with the handling of one Charles Ramsey's call to 911 about the woman trying to break out of the house next door. Okay, I listened to it and, while I would prefer to be charitable, Mr. Ramsey has a problem forming coherent, connected sentences that actually convey useful information. The dispatcher did get a bit frustrated but overall, I think, handled the call fairly well.

There's apparently some people who don't agree.

What a Shock: It's Unfair

There's shock in the progressive world because the people in West, Texas, will have to pay property taxes for the full value of their house that no longer exists.

What a shock: A government bureaucracy has an unfair process.