29. September, 2000 - The Rights of Man permalink
- I've been thinking about rights. I sometimes think that the only right we really need is The Right To Be Left Alone (MPR). There are Individualists Who Believe similar things. Mostly these articles talk about more traditional privacy rights, but I think one of the bigger problems is government protecting us from ourselves. If we truly have the right to be left alone, there are a great many laws on the books that infringe that right.
- On the other hand, the right to self-defense is pretty important, and would allow you to be sure you're left alone, as long as you have the right to defend yourself against the government. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be how things work today.
- A Right to Self-Defense Against Criminals and Despots goes into great length about the right of people to defend themselves against their government. In Missouri, Proposition B, which affirmed The Natural Right of Self Defense, was rejected by 52 to 48 percent. There's more information in general at capitalism.org's Gun control and the right to self-defense page. I think defending ourselves against despots may be more important than defending against more common criminals.
- Goodbye, Blue Sky is a discussion about the War on Drugs over at kuro5hin. I'm pretty sure the War on Drugs is currently the single biggest excuse for government attacking our rights, but another excuse would present itself if that wasn't available.
- And as for the French Declaration that I used as the title of this piece (it was a tough call, but Tom Paine's Rights of Man is much weightier), I think they only needed number 4: Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else; hence the exercise of the natural rights of each man has no limits except those which assure to the other members of the society the enjoyment of the same rights. These limits can only be determined by law. They probably could have even left off the last sentence with no ill effects.
25. September, 2000 - Politics and economics permalink
- The LA Times says The Truth Is, We Need Even Higher Oil Prices in order to encourage research into alternative energy sources. If nothing else, it might get some SUVs off the road.
- Why Big Oil Backed The Fuel Protests In Europe - So they can make more money. I think of all the things wrong with the capitalist system, greed is probably the primary one. There are just too many plutocrats for whom too much ain't enough.
- Suck clarifies The real problems with the IOC. You also get the fine turns of phrase that I read Suck for: Time, which coughs out glowing Olympic puff pieces like a random search engine for treacle....
22. September, 2000 - More geekiness permalink
- H1B Workers Being Deported - H1B visas started six years ago, and the visas have a six-year time limit. They're also not being deported, but leaving voluntarily before their visas expire. The original story is The H-1B welcome mat wears out, and you should probably read that first. The important point is that the H1B was a temporary work visa. If someone wanted to stay, there's another visa, called a green card that's more appropriate. This whole mess is the most compelling reason I can think of to eliminate or seriously reform the H1B visa.
- Get Off The Grid: GE announces home fuel cells. About the size of a refrigerator, the HomeGen 7000 provides 100% of a home's energy needs, plus runs on fuels (natural gas or propane) already delivered to your home. Cool. And the ''waste'' heat can be used for hot water or space heating. It should be out in 2001, but you can sign up now if you want to be an early adopter. Heck, if you've got a hog-farm, a lot of cow-farts, rotting vegetation, or other source of methane available, you probably wouldn't even need deliveries.
- I've been using my TiVo for just about a month, and I have to agree that TiVo is One Jack Short. It's so close to cool, and it does change the way I watch TV, but it could be so much cooler.
- CNet is reporting that e-tailers dodge phone calls to cut costs. Nothing surprising there, but they do go out of their way to point out the companies who are doing customer service right. That's a good thing. Make sure to check the related stories links for more. This looks like a pretty darned good series.
- OS X: Our New War. With Aqua, Apple has removed 15 years of progress [on the Mac OS user interface] and started afresh. They've put us 10 years behind, and now, we have to climb that mountain all over again. Amen! I have two major gripes about Mac OS X. The first is that the UI is sluggish at the wrong times, and there's no real way to control it. When a background task starts hogging the CPU, the foreground task can't respond to user actions immediately and it feels wrong. The second gripe is the gratuitous use of color. While the old close-box and zoom-box in the title bar weren't completely clear about what they did, because of their positioning, it was easy to remember which did what. With the new grouping of the window controls at the left side, and the only difference between them being the color, it's much more difficult to figure out which does which.
18. September, 2000 - Who'll watch the watchmen? permalink
- Federal Judges Oppose Electronic Sunshine Bill. Apparently the stated reason for the opposition is that people might not get an accurate picture of what's actually happening within the courts and ''could interfere with the federal courts' primary mission of dispensing justice.'' Yeah, I think it might hurt ''justice'' if people actually found out what goes on in some courtrooms.
- The News Manipulators is an interview of Reed Irvine of Accuracy In Media. The talk is of news stories that didn't get covered until ''alternative'' media picked them up.
- Silencing Dissent: The Global Information War is just one of Disinformation's reports. If you're looking to spend a weekend reading, you may well find something to pique your interest there. The best part is that each article is relatively short, but full of links to related stories and more information.
- Congress may pass single huge spending bill, circumventing its normal procedures in order to get pork for everyone's district and close the session in time to hit the campaign trail.
- Firearms industry wins Chicago case, but the city will probably appeal. Good news, though. The court decided that manufacturers aren't responsible for what criminals do with their products.
- In Politicizing Parenthood, Virginia Postrel talks about the high cost and government penalties on the childless. Interesting. If nothing else, it encouraged me to read family friendly as more expensive for me.
15. September, 2000 - Geek-a-rific! permalink
- Fred Sanchez gave a talk on The Challenges of Integrating the Unix and Mac OS Environments at USENIX this year. It's pretty good.
- Grady Ward's Moby is a public domain source of hyphenation, word lists from five languages, parts of speech, pronunciation, Thesaurus, etc. Pretty useful if you need it.
- Feh! Barnes&Noble To Buy Fatbrain. I've been shopping fatbrain since they were Computer Literacy. And they were a very good store. Now that they've been swalled by a corporate giant, I expect I'll be moving along to some other small technical bookseller. Maybe Stacey's or Powell's will fill the void, but I suspect I'll end up using Best Book Buys and just not being loyal to any one bookseller.
- Heavens-Above provides you with the information you need to watch satellites, Mir, the International Space Station, the Shuttle and other astronomical objects. The SatEvo Page has satellite tracking, but adds predictions of satellites whose orbits are decaying.
- The Army Corps of Engineers provides information the water flow at St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam on the web. Cool. They have other records related to the river all accessible from this one confusing form.
13. September, 2000 - Midweek Hulk Smash! links permalink
- You shouldn't do that, because now you've made me angry
- Some Godzilla 2000 links: Filthy Critic on Godzilla 2000, The Interactive Guide to Godzilla 2000, and finally, Stomp Tokyo on Godzilla 2000.
- Jeff Del Papa pointed me to The New England Rubbish Deconstruction Society after noticing I had a link to "Junkyard Wars" a while back. He noticed that I was pointing to the mostly content free TLC site and thought they had more content. He's right. One of the members was involved in the creation of the Large Hot Pipe Organ. The collection of content also includes Ten reasons why being on Junkyard wars is better than being on Survivor (don't click that link) and Ten reasons why Scrapheap/Junkyard is better than Iron Chef.
- Subtracting the 4th Amendment, part II is the second part of a two-part series on the effects of the drug war on the Fourth Amendment. It points to the first part, which covers ''drug courier'' profiling. The gummint gets to play Hulk in this one.
- The Oglala Sioux on the Pine Ridge Reservation are telling the feds: Give us back our hemp!. (The story will probably end up here when they put up the new issue.) Even though it was industrial hemp, with no detectable THC, the feds seized it, and were planning to burn it. I'm not the only one in a Hulk Smash! kind of mood, apparently. The story of the original raid is told in the Hemp raid stuns family article.
11. September, 2000 permalink
- Claire Wolfe tells us to Know your Congressman's Ways!!, an important warning. It covers Land-Mine Legislation passed during the 104th Congress. You know, the Republican Revolution that was supposed to get government off our backs. It hasn't gotten any better since. ''Not one of us can be certain of going through a single day without violating some law or regulation we've never even heard of.''
- The Demopublicans are trying to get Ralph Nader kicked off the ballot in Illinois. This happens every presidential election, but that doesn't make it right. Ballot Access News -- September 1, 2000 has more information.
- Qwest to shed 13,000 staff after buying US West (my telco). I have a strong suspicion I'm going to get the same kind of quality phone service that Verizon is giving to folks on the coasts.
- Joseph Farah wants to Bring back DDT to combat the West Nile virus. He covers the carcinogenic properties of DDT (it appears to be safe), but doesn't mention the danger to birds.
- In The annotated Dennis Miller, Britannica.com attempts to explain as many of Dennis Miller's Monday Night Football references as possible. They're got quite a job in front of 'em.
- Road Etiquette in Ireland seems to accurately describe the ride we took in a taxi to get to the train-station in Dublin. It's described briefly in the first paragraph of the To Cork section of the vacation writeup from last year.
8. September, 2000 - We now return to our regularly scheduled program... permalink
- State police infiltrated protest groups in Philadelphia. The saddest thing about this is that it doesn't surprise me. Sigh.
- Federal agencies share taxpayer info gathered via their websites. The 1974 Privacy Act pretty much covers this, and once again, the Executive Branch isn't enforcing the laws that are on the books.
- More on amazon.com: Amazon makes regular customers pay more says The Register. Amazon Charging Different Prices for same items? is the Slashdot thread. ComputerWorld has the story that seems to have started it, saying Amazon charging different prices on some DVDs.
- The Filthy Critic rocks. Right up there with the The Self-Made Critic. And they like different movies so you can use one of the two to make your arguments for you. Unless you didn't like Erin Brockovich and Julia Roberts' tits. Both critics liked 'em.
6. September, 2000 - RSA is Free! permalink
- RSA Encryption Algorithm Released into the public domain! Woo! They let it go early in order to create an opportunity to state the facts. Fine. I even read their statement.
- Amateur Webmaster Unveils Underworld Dealings is the Fox News profile of John Young, who runs Cryptome.
- Imagine a world without Amazon.com. I have. Especially given their
stated intention to sell the data they have on me. Technical books come
from Fatbrain.com or O'Reilly & Associates and just about everything
else comes via BookFinder.com. Amazon had me as a loyal customer
until they tried to enforce their Amazon One-Click patent. That turned
me off them and started me searching for alternatives. And now they've
they've collected on me*.
Well, to hell with 'em. I can't make them get rid of the information they've
already collected, but I can make damn sure they don't get any more.
Y'know it's trivially easy for me to add the following entry to my hosts
file in case I should even forget and try and access 'em:
www.amazon.com CNAME 127.0.0.1but I'm probably not going to do that just yet, since I still use their database to get information on books that other vendors might not carry.
- Amazon's new privacy regs may backfire is The Register's take on the situation. The Amazon manifesto is such a bald-faced, frontal assault on privacy that it confirms everyone's worst fears about the intentions of Internet marketeers, and is likely to have the ironic effect of finally inspiring Congress to pass at least one of the scores of privacy initiatives it has been dithering over during the past two years.
5. September, 2000 - Virtual Monday edition permalink
- Putting Lipstick on a Chicken discusses the Star Trek project at Apple, which ported Mac OS to Intel hardware back in 1992. It's an excerpt from the book Apple Confidential.
- Howard Besser's T-Shirts Database. Huh. Only 533 t-shirts in the database, but some good finds. And it's another bit of applied library science that I find interesting.
- Amazon may share information on users. Between this and their annoying patent stand, I'm getting pretty done with amazon. Here's the updated Amazon.com Privacy Notice so you can read it for yourself. Warning, simply by going to any page on amazon.com, you've accepted the terms of their privacy notice.
- Bumper Stickers that Offend. I like an awful lot of them.
- Oy Gevalt, says Vini, it's krakh not honey. Winnie the Pooh has been translated to Yiddish.
- Churchill archive to go on internet. Cool. There's almost a million documents of real history. Of course it'll be four years before they're done processing 'em.
4. September, 2000 - Labor Day permalink
- Masked Cops Raid Wrong House and now they're showering the homeowner with gifts. The problem here is the same problem as with almost all dynamic entry searches. ''Our SWAT team members are professional and are extremely upset over what happened. This was a regrettably horrible mistake. I can't say it enough.'' Actually, it doesn't sound to professional to me to respond to a request to see a search warrant with ''shut the f--- up'' no matter whether it's a upstanding citizen, or a possible criminal. People are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. Dynamic entry warrants presume some kind of guilt by their very nature. It's a result of the war on drugs mentality of ''us'' vs. ''them''. And that's just wrong.
- A Declaration of Civil Disobedience. I applaud the sentiments, but don't know how eager I'd be to say that sort of thing publicly. Might lead to some jack-booted thugs dynamically entering my abode.
- Minneapolis bikers unite to claim their share of the road. Coverage of the Minneapolis Critical Mass demonstration on August 25th. If you're looking for something more local to you, the Worldwide Critical Mass Hub is a good place to start.
- A Pocket Guide to NSA Sabotage. Apparently the NSA openly coerced companies to make their cryptography-related products less secure.
- Ain't no network strong enough reviews Bruce Schneier's new book Secrets and Lies. The quick synopsis: complete security is impossible, so you should focus on detecting intrusions and cleaning up after them. I haven't read the book yet. It's probably going to be reading material for some cold winter's day.
- Unknown News is turning into one of my regular morning news-reads. The news you need, whether you know it or not.
1. September, 2000 - Link-rich. Calorie-free. permalink
- First, my rant about The Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer has been updated. The situation out for the best. It's an okay product, but there were some quality problems out of the gate. We'll see if they're worked out or not.
- Second, I'm not so happy about Frontier. I have to reboot my webserver around the first of the month every month, since it just goes deaf about that often. Sorry if you've tried to get to Dave's Picks and couldn't. I'm looking at other solutions.
- The Minnesota State Fair Tribute Page is the state fair link I was looking for last week. Shame it took me this long to find it. There's still a full weekend of fair left, though. Time for at least a couple dozen Pronto-Pups before it's over.
- Please don't screw the loons! Minnesota Statutes 1999, 609.294. It came up in the bar last week. Don't ask why. We don't remember. We were drinking. There was some connection to crossing the St. Croix river with a duck on your head, though.
- Smile! The Feds Want Your Face on File. More privacy lost in the name of combatting terrorism. I think there ought to be a law requiring all terrorists to wear those Groucho Marx eyeglasses with the fake moustache and eyebrows.
- The next era for Internet security discusses some of the implications of the expiration of the RSA patents. That expiration is less than three weeks off. Another example is the SSH client I'd like to use to talk to my unix box is unavailable in the US. Until September 20 (or 26th, depending on who you ask), that is.
- Darwin Award nominee: Mobile phone immobilises policeman -- permanently. Someone forgot to tell him to Hang Up and Drive. Personally, I'm trying to figure out how to build a portable box that will wipe out all cell-phones within, oh, say a twenty-foot radius. I'd leave it on all the time. Well, except when I need to feel important and use my cell-phone. Yes, I know a spark gap would do the trick, but that would also kill the wireless microphone used by Eric at the St. Paul Saints games.
- The Twelfth Amendment Time Bomb is waiting to explode on the Shrub like an overripe cream-pie to the face. Sadly, it'll probably go off like a soggy Twinkie.
- Watch out for Ecstasy Madness! It might make you grind your teeth until you need dentures! And make you end all sentences with Exclamation Points!