piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
so yesterday i was prompted by an email to check where the 3D printed gun project had gotten too. very timely, since apparently they just managed to print the entire gun (not just the lower receiver, which had been done previously). and shoot it. once. short report from the BBC which is not terribly alarmist. i guess the heat ruins the plastic barrel; i am surprised it actually fired successfully (but then i don't actually know how much heat gets released). cody wilson, the crypto-anarchist, techno-libertarian law student (not sure what he considers himself) helming the project shared the CAD files[*] on the net.

this is all there is to it. simple, eh?

so, predictably, hysteria ensued. US legislators rush to make the technology illegal, the state department demands the site take the files down. which it has; not like there's a lot of choice if your organization is in the US.

but no matter how firmly the barn door is being slammed shut, more than 100,000 people had already downloaded the files. last i checked they were also hosted on mega, kim dotcom's new venture. and however much i think he is a prick, he does enjoy sticking it to the US government, so those files will remain available somehow. also, knowing that it can be done will spur other people on to replicate and improve on the design. and the US government being its usual ham-fisted self, that alone will make some people want to help distribute the files far and wide. i sympathize with that notion; these days it doesn't take much huffing from the feds for me to cheer anyone who defies them.

it's a good time to reflect on how my views have changed from the idea that guns should only be legal for hunting (and that reluctantly). i don't like the US's gun culture; it's full of testosterone-poisoned posturing. i think rabid 2nd amendment fans live in a fantasy world, because if you actually want firepower to protect yourself from the government, go for anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons. hand guns are not what wins wars against governments gone bad (cf libya). well-regulated militias? militias in the US seem to be populated by racist, neo-nazi morons; pretty much the last people i'd want to rely on to save me from the government.

i've never owned a gun. i've never really felt the need for one, though living with US gun culture got me close to wondering whether i should get one -- not to protect myself from the government, but to protect myself from the gun-wielding nut cases. i came to north america with lofty ideas about gun control. i've pretty much given up on those. it seems that in every country that's not brutally controlled by its government, the number of unregistered handguns vastly outnumbers the registered ones. ergo, these are laws people don't obey, even if they might not agitate against them. laws people don't obey are worthless. and really, laws are not the best answer to a cultural problem anyway.

so it feels weird to be on what feels like the opposite side from where i used to be, and very firmly so. i am not worried about 3D printed guns. i know now how very easy it is to make your own gun with rudimentary metalworking skills, materials and tools one can get from any hardware store. and that gun will be cheaper, safer, and much more durable. sure, plastic guns can't be detected by metal detectors, but neither can ceramics. personally i have no need to evade a metal detector. and terrorists are not gonna be falling over each other 3D printing weapons that can only get off one shot, for heavens' sakes.

i am hoping cody wilson stays out of jail. if anything, his initiative is showing all of us how dangerous a government with too damn much power is to personal liberty.

no, i'm not worried about 3D printed guns. i am worried about drones, and chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. i am not terribly worried about terrorists. i am much more worried about governments in cahoots with big business curtailing democracy and my own choices.

[*] not only that link, but the entire server was down when i checked just now.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
i don't get particularly het up about politicians having affairs, except that it tends to tickle my hypocrisy bone when they are "family values" people. generally other politicians act like it's a much bigger deal than i feel it is. so per se i don't really care whether david petraeus shtupped other people than his wife; that's between him and her. but now i hear such sentiments coming from politicians.

and what a strange concept some people of honour they seem to have: david petraeus is considered to be ever so honourable for resigning his post as CIA director due to his extramarital affair. i am not impressed. honourable would have been to not have the affair in the first place. believe it or not, most people can resist their hormones, and i expect somebody who is the director of the CIA to manage that, because the stakes are so much higher than for a person who is not in a position to be blackmailed. but since shit happens -- especially when it comes to sex -- if he didn't resist, honourable would have been to come clean with his wife and his president right after he started the affair, and to consult as to whether this was a big enough deal to resign right then and there. it might not have been, because the danger here isn't so much the public's lowered opinion of its hero, but his vulnerability to being exposed. if he prevented that by telling the people who most needed to know, there was no danger of blackmail.

to only resign once caught, and once it was clear the shit was gonna hit the public fan, doesn't strike me as particularly honourable. i guess waiting until after the election is the only honourable thing i see here. if he did even that. i can't be bothered to track the timeline; too many conspiracy theorists already swarming around that.

as an aside, i am kinda amused by the fact that we now need a relationship diagram for the cast of characters in this sordid little morality play.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
best election summation i've seen yet. she is just amazing, a brilliant political analyst.



[*] in the soc.singles.moderated sense, not the actual marriage sense.

relief

Nov. 6th, 2012 21:58
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
romney is making his concession speech, and he is actually being quite gracious. while karl rove is probably still being talked down from the ledge of bullshit mountain. i can sort of understand, because this was nowhere the nailbiter the republican echo chamber and the media aching for a horse race predicted. over so soon. sweeping nearly all the swing states. and republicans are getting hammered in their senate races as well (please, may michele bachmann lose too; that would put the icing on my schadenfreude cake).

what REALLY has me excited is that it was a fine day for my people. in maine and maryland, gay marriage ballot measures have passed, prop 74 is leading in washington, and minnesota struck down a state constitutional amendment to enshrine the "one man one woman" concept of marriage. openly gay, progressive tammy baldwin was elected to the senate.

nate silver's statistical model, vindicated. karl rove's "statistical" model, shown for the piece of shite he is. uh, it is. ahhhh.

will the republican party wake up now and become less extreme? not holding my breath, but it would be nice. maybe necessary. though i am wondering now whether they're not making themselves increasingly irrelevant in a changing electorate.

al jazeera wasn't quick with any projections, but i really enjoyed their coverage; it had no high drama from attention-whoring pundits, just relatively courteous discussion. glenn greenwald was very much... nicer in person than he is in writing. it was interesting.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
i'm watching al jazeera's US election coverage.

because it has glenn greenwald. OMG. can you imagine a US mainstream news network having glenn greenwald commenting on the elections?

but it's more interesting anyway. fewer blowhards, more reportage. and so many cool accents.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
and i hope, very very strongly, that when i wake up, florida is NOT heading towards a recount.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
and the way republicans deal with the fact that even polls generally friendly to their candidate now trend obama is to blame -- not themselves, never themselves -- hurricane sandy! (i am so NOT linking to any of the douchebags saying so.)

but wait -- nature doesn't just happen, does it? something is driving it, and the something isn't global climate change, because that doesn't exist.

and since nature doesn't just happen, sandy must be an act of ghod. and ghod usually punishes good people for the transgressions of... gays. are gays to blame for obama's reelection? those few gays outdo all that hard republican voter suppression work? you can see why gays need to be feared.

aging infrastructure can't keep up with this level of storm -- alas they "didn't build that", because government shouldn't be so spendy domestically. that money should go to destroying infrastructure in the middle east.

real americans don't need government help, only losers do -- republicans in storm-stricken areas surely won't sacrifice their principles to make nice with the president now. or will they? damned RINOs.

private enterprise is better and faster at dealing with... well, anything socialists liberals might consider the job of government. that's why there are power problems, gasoline shortages, and price gouging evident in the stricken areas.

yup, republicans are right, hurricane sandy is to blame. it might've been ripping the blinders off the eyes of more people to allow them to finally see that so much republican propaganda is pure narrow-minded, egotistical bullshit.


p.s. it is almost over. in a couple of weeks i might actually be able to open a newspaper again without being bombarded by the circus and its clown posse that bangs through town every 4 years. then the question shall be whether i want to subscribe to the NYT to reward them for nate silver or Rolling Stone to rewards them for matt taibbi. oh, i can feel another post coming on about paywalls.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
i'm mostly staying away from it, but if the alternative is kate middleton's bared breasts...

so the mass media is in an uproar over romney's "47%" bit. (if you live under the same comfy rock where i am normally curled up, he was secretly taped at a closed, wealthy donor fundraiser, where he spouted a lot of really lovely crap, see [*] for verbatim quote about this particular bit).

and i gotta say, i see why the uproar is handy, of course (and a nice present for the obama campaign), but it's not like this is news. isn't this what the right wing has been flogging for more than a year already? hasn't there been some anti-"occupy" reference like "we're the 53%" from them? ok, so it's news that the candidate for the presidency said it, with the addendum that he doesn't worry about these people (which will be taken out of context, but he clearly meant it in regards to his election strategy)(well, "out of context" -- i think romney does in actuality not care about most people, but he wouldn't ever say that out loud as president, or act overtly as if he believes it. heck, maybe he doesn't even realize it.).

so some people say "stick a fork in him, he's done". and i say "alas, no".

because his base will gobble it up. seriously. they think it's poor people driving the US to the brink (nothing could be further from the truth, but truth was a victim of republican talking points long ago). they're dead set against helping poor people, because they think they're lazy freeloaders. they have become a lot less compassionate than they were even under reagan (who started the whole "welfare queen" malarkey). they don't recognize who these 47% are. since i know how to, uh, quack (using duckduckgo as my search engine), i looked it up, to be sure i had actual data instead of gut feelings: most of the 47% pay other taxes, just not federal income tax -- they simply don't make enough for the latter. but they pay sales taxes, payroll taxes, state income taxes, etc. most of them are not lazy, shiftless bums lying on their couches eating government bonbons, they're working in menial jobs where they barely make ends meet because they also have children. or they are retired, after a working life of, well, not being a corporate raider; the 47% includes many seniors. the idea that they're not taking responsibility for their lives is preposterous.

and a huge part of his base don't even realize that they are quite possibly part of these 47%. they just don't think of themselves as lazy victims, dependent on government handouts, unlike those obama voters.

so no, romney's not gonna lose those voters. not a chance. in fact he might fire them up some, which he badly needs, since they're not that excited about him. well, maybe a few seniors will stay at home, the ones who're already worried about medicare and medicaid.

he's just not gonna win any undecideds. but i doubt there are many of those left. how can anyone still be undecided? it's not like the republicans are actually fiscally conservative; they just prefer to direct their welfare at the corporate sector. of all the people to rail about debt, romney is their champion? romney, who made his fortune off pushing companies into debt? romney, who has never created anything, and who got his own personal bailout for bain? why paul ryan isn't throwing up every time he looks at him, is a mystery. or hell, not so much. he's a republican; hypocrisy comes with the territory these days.

i mean, for me obama has been a crushing disappointment, but if i could vote, i'd vote for him 10 times over romney. people are supposed to become more conservative as they grow older, but so far it looks like the opposite is true for me. i used to have respect for some republicans, but that group is tiny now, and most of them have already left the party.

last but not least, romney saying anything at all about people not paying taxes? the irony, it slays me.

[*] “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right? There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. …. These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of lower taxes doesn’t connect. So he’ll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean, that’s what they sell every four years.

And so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
we thought what happened to peter watts was bad?

this is much, much worse.

ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) is holding prisoners in 186 unlisted, unmarked locations, many in suburban office parks or commercial spaces. people are shuttled around without a proper paper trail. their relatives often don't even know that they have been detained. they frequently don't have access to legal advice. they might get deported to wherever ICE thinks they should go, without anyone knowing.

i have no words. whenever i think i must have been too negative about the bush administration's actions, i must have been too paranoid (because some people i respected voted for him twice), something comes out that shows i wasn't even paranoid enough; the people on the daily kos whom i wrote off as mild conspiracy theorists, they were right all along.

and this continues to go on under obama's watch. to say i am disappointed in him would be an understatement. i never expected him to be a truly progressive president. but i expected better from him than allowing this sort of human rights violation to go on. he promised transparency. secret police and people disappearing isn't transparent.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
Todd Stern, the Obama administration's chief climate negotiator, said Thursday that he "categorically reject[s]" the suggestion that rich industrial countries owe compensation to the victims of climate change. Stern acknowledged that the emissions of rich nations over the past two hundred years of industrialization had caused global warming, telling a press conference, "We absolutely recognize our historic role in putting emissions in the atmosphere." But, Stern added, "the sense of guilt or culpability or reparations--I just categorically reject that."

more at alternet.

responsibility? we don't haz it.

i'm looking at you too, stephen harper.
piranha: ruri from nadesico says "idiot" (her trademark) (idiot)
so fictionwise has a new ebook reader for sale. the small print says "Items not shippable to Cuba, Iran, Syria or North Korea."

because... WE DON'T WANT THE AXIS OF EVIL TO READ?
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
peter watts, canadian science fiction writer, was beaten and jailed at a US border crossing, according to him without provocation or reason.

peter's blog entry does not shed any more light on what exactly happened.

dear US of fucking A:

occasionally friends of mine in the US wonder why i no longer travel there. and when i explain, i am sure -- even though nobody has said it out loud -- that they think i'm probably a little paranoid.

i'm not. your damn country is a loose cannon. crossing your borders is not safe for foreigners. yes, thousands cross without incident. but the incidents are many more now than they used to be, and the guards are more petty and vindictive, and more filled with righteous POWER because hey, there's terr'ists out there.

no way am i visiting the US again while this sort of shit goes on. i had great hopes for the obama administration, but obama clearly isn't willing to fix many of the problems introduced by the abominable shrub.

my canadian dollars won't go into your tourist industry. they'll go to a legal defense fund for peter watts.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
thin, bare branches of apple tree with only three tiny yellow ones left hanging; one of them with a wormhole


i am cold. time to bring firewood inside, and clean out the wood stove.


today in palintological news:

the woman of the people who travels the country in her bus, always looks so fresh and full of energy because she ... doesn't actually TRAVEL in her bus as she's claimed. no, she goes rogue in a chartered jet to an airport near the next book signing, hops on the bus, and then makes her grand entrance as if she'd been on it all along.

she is such a pathological liar. nobody would give a damn whether she flies!
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
white paper birch bark, with a bit of it peeling back to reveal the layer below which is an orangey tan


the crud has mostly departed now, though a bit still lingers in my nose.


the US senate advanced the healthcare bill to the floor, 60:39, dems and independents allowing it to go to debate, repubs united against it, one of them absent. mitch mcconnell: YOU LIE.


i am spectacularly disorganized today. don't want to make a list because that will overhwelm me. maybe i just knit -- i started knitting up my grey handspun shetland. i am inordinately proud of it; it really is a big deal for me to be knitting my very own yarn. also, it knits up better than i expected, being that it's so uneven (between DK and bulky); it looks loveably rustic, *heh*.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
single yellow grape leaf with brown spots hanging from grapevine with empty stalks, in front of faded and cracked brick red wooden siding

bright colours are getting very rare now. we're under a deluge, and everything is dubdued. i rather like it, except that i don't really like to be outside for long when it is pouring.


the crud will not completely leave; it's moving back into my sinuses. it just seems intent on staying the standard 14 days, even if it's just hanging on by a thin thread of phlegm.


dear sarah palin. thank you for describing yourself so aptly:

rogue (\ˈrōg\)
n.
1. An unprincipled, deceitful, and unreliable person; a scoundrel or rascal.
2. One who is playfully mischievous; a scamp.
3. A wandering beggar; a vagrant.
4. A vicious and solitary animal, especially an elephant that has separated itself from its herd.
5. An organism, especially a plant, that shows an undesirable variation from a standard.

adj.
1. Vicious and solitary. Used of an animal, especially an elephant.
2. Large, destructive, and anomalous or unpredictable: a rogue wave; a rogue tornado.
3. Operating outside normal or desirable controls: "How could a single rogue trader bring down an otherwise profitable and well-regarded institution?" (Saul Hansell).

v. rogued, rogu·ing, rogues

v.tr.
1. To defraud.
2. To remove (diseased or abnormal specimens) from a group of plants of the same variety.

v.intr.
To remove diseased or abnormal plants.
[Origin unknown.]


The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009.

so, it's pretty much never anything GOOD.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
apparently GM is set to start repaying government loans this december, and be done repaying 4 years ahead of schedule.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
i learned something new today. washington DC has as part of its legal code a provision that prohibits any referendum that would have the effect of authorizing discrimination against DC residents on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender.

that is awesome.

and fortunate. because the forces of bigotry, hiding behind another "marriage initiative", are busy trying to work against same-sex mariage in DC, since there is clear movement towards recognizing it in the district.

the arguments are... i know i said i'll try to no longer use words like "stupid" as an insult, but what else is it if a christian quotes pontius pilate: "let the people decide". good grief! does this person not know what those people voted on? "stupid" doesn't even cover it.

read this report from a hearing in DC; the unintentional irony can be shoveled with gigantic trowels. what can you say to such people? they don't even know their own religion, their own history, the meaning of words they use:

Another woman patiently explained to me that the 60-odd people who testified against equal rights for gay people [...] did not hate gay people. They just feared gay people, she said. They were not homophobic.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
those of us who have it hate it! or not. instead we seem to actually be fairly realistic about its benefits and shortcomings.

canadians overwhelmingly support universal health care; think obama is on right track in US. (pdf from nanos research.)

The survey found that nine in ten Canadians support universal health care (90% support or somewhat support), and seven out of ten Canadians believe that President Barack Obama is on the right track with respect to health care in the US (71%). Results were consistent across regions.

When asked what they believed was the key strength of the current Canadian health care system, six in ten said, unprompted, it was accessibility and universality (61%). The key weakness identified, unprompted, was wait times (33%), a more than two-to-one margin over the next most cited weakness - a shortage of doctors and nurses (14%).

When asked to look south of the border to the US, the majority of Canadians felt that President Obama was on the right track when it came to making changes to the health care system in the United States (71%) with only seven percent saying he was on the wrong track. One in five were unsure (21%). Quebecers were comparatively more likely to say Obama was on the right track (82%), followed by Ontarians (74% right track).


i should add that the wait times are for non-urgent care problems. the paramour's mother waited too long (in my book) for a hip replacement. but when i had life-threatening high blood pressure and tachycardia, i was immediately seen at the ER, ushered past a waiting room with other people. i've also always been able to see my GP when i needed to. and all that costs a mere C$54/month for british columbians (and if you can't afford that there is help); nobody is dependent on an employer offering health insurance and spousal/dependent benefits; if you lose your job in a bad economy, you don't also lose your health care (i find that incredibly frightening).

having lived under both type of systems, i greatly prefer universal, single-payer health care. and i don't at all mind paying taxes to support such care for people who have less than i do. i like living in a society that cares about all its members, whether they're currently fortunate and able-bodied or not.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
closeup of burgundy foliage of plum tree with rain drops hanging from every place a raindrop could hang

civil rights should not be put to a popular vote. i'm supposed to become more conservative as i grow older, but it's not happening. i see less and less in today's conservative movements that is the least attractive to me; heck, i am not seeing much to recommend in liberals when they are in power either anymore. they're better than conservatives, sure, but still so far from what i'd consider actually good. i might well end up an anarchist, *sigh*. when i was in college, i thought anarchists were too cynical...

i'm looking at you, maine. WTF, you voted FOR pot and against gay marriage? what are you smoking there?

at least washington state seems on the right path, though they're not done counting yet.

and hurrah for kalamazoo, michigan, for passing ordinance 1856, prohibiting discrimination against glbt persons in housing, employment and public accommodations. 62 to 38%!

it just bothers me to no end that so many people in the US are perfectly willing to deny others the same rights they enjoy. i can't be calm about it anymore; it is so very wrong.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
ACTA = Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

we need a global DMCA like we need a hole in the head. we also don't need to make ISPs responsible for their users' copyright violations, and for sure we don't need service providers to proactively police for them -- that'll just about close down sites like youtube and flickr; nevermind blogger, livejournal, and dreamwidth.

dear white house: transparency? you promised, didn't you?

what's with the freaking secrecy about the copyright treaty then? how is this in any way a national security issue?

or are you just trying to hide what an execrable piece of shite this is for anyone but the RIAA, MPAA and large corporations jealously guarding their copyright way beyond what copyright law was ever intended to do? anti-counterfeiting? where are china and russia in these talks? no, this is instead pushing copyright even further than you've already pushed it.

- michael geist has info on ACTA.
- IDG news service has some more.
- so does numerama (in french)
-
the EFF chimes in.
- and lawfont in australia.
- needless to say, cory doctorow is unhappy.

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