- Seems that Joel and the rest of the gunblogosphere aren’t the only ones who think Liam Neeson is even worse than the usual Hollywood anti-gun hypocrite. A company that supplied weapons for his films has a thing or three to say about it.
- Ding-dong, Google Glass is dead. Well deadish, anyhow.
- A simple explanation of what Swiss bankers just did. And a slightly more complicated one. I’m sure some of our resident money gurus will have views of their own. If you haven’t been watching, Switzerland threw the entire world into a financial tizzy yesterday. (Though IMHO, their real screwup was when they pegged their franc to the euro, not when they suddenly pulled the peg.)
- “That Tree.” To help himself recover after an injury and to meet a friend’s challenge, professional photographer Mark Hirsh found 365 different ways to shoot photos of a single tree — with an iPhone — over the course of a year.
- Finally, your awwwwww story for the day: cat saves abandoned baby from freezing to death.
Archive for the ‘Privacy and self ownership’ Category
… has the Commentariat been a tad testy lately?
Maybe it’s just that we began the year with the hot-button subjects of religion and terrorism. But it seems as if people are more-than-usually ready to take offense, air grievances, pick at details, and generally carp about things.
Oh, it’s all civilized and a lot of interesting information has emerged, so I’m not complaining. Just … noticing. And asking.
I’ve been sitting on one more controversial topic (a book that’s likely to offend the other side of the room than the side that took umbrage over Vin’s new novel). I’d planned to review it a week ago, but given the current mood, I’m not ready to stir things up again. OTOH, I guess you could say at least it hasn’t been boring.
And speaking of non-boring, you may (or decidedly may not) be gratified to know that your friendly corporate marketer, and no doubt a world full of governments wants to know how you feel about things.
In the 90s and into the early 2000s, I sometimes wrote about ways to avoid using social security numbers. Going without an ssn (as many of you know from having tried it, as I did for many years) was always challenging. It also put the un-numbered in the position of being an outsider in society. Still, back in the day, you could do quite a few common things without using a universal government ID number.
Since 9-11 that challenge has become much harder, well-nigh impossible for anyone desiring to live a semi-normal 21st century life. Some succeed. Joel’s a perfect example. But he’s also an example of the extreme sacrifice and creativity it requires. Joel’s existence is as precarious as it is gratifying, and can’t in any way be called even “semi-normal.”
Me? As I got older, I eventually found being numberless more than I wanted to live with.
Several times a year I get messages from people who are trying to live numberless or, even more laudable, trying to keep their children unnumbered. They want my advice on how to overcome this problem or that. I got one of those messages the other day. This is my reply and will be the only reply I ever again make to such requests.
- “I carry a gun every day.” This is great! (H/T LA)
- Wordlessly ending the hassle at a checkpoint. (Tip o hat to jed)
- Publicola is back! And he comes out swinging at the Neville Chamberlains of gun rights.
- Lenore Skenazy of Free Range Kids reviews the top 10 nanny-state fails of 2014.
- Amazing. Wonder. Beauty. Creation. Destruction. Science!
- And speaking of “science,” a prominent meteorologist explains why the NorthWET has been so very darned wet this year. :-)
- Groom calls off wedding. Bride, family, and friends have some liberating fun.
… for the long, idle post-celebration hours ahead.
In The Atlantic James Fallows writes about “The Tragedy of the American Military”. How we can reflexively say, “Thank you for your service” and claim that all soldiers are heroes — precisely because most of us are so removed from the realities of their lives, their missions, and the management of military matters.
The German ‘zine Spiegel Online goes inside the NSA for an educated guess about what types of encryption the NSA has broken, which it’s working on, and which are so far safe from its prying eyes.
Both articles are longish but very worth a read.
- The latest Twitter hashtag: #IMBLOCKEDBYSHANNONWATTS. Go get ‘er, Nicki!
- So sadly believable. In the last century +, western nations have cut their average work weeks by 30 hours. Guess what people are doing with all that glorious free time?
- Was Santa good to you? Better doublecheck. Those Christmas presents may be spying on you.
- Not sure why this didn’t get more coverage a few weeks back: Woman abused and jailed for taking perfectly legal photos from a perfectly legal spot finally gets a little justice.
- Um … healthier ways to be lazy.
Mostly not nooz. :-)
- Think your way to stronger muscles. (No doubt has a lot of applications beyond muscles, too.)
- (Formerly) dying man says adopted stray dog — that he didn’t even want — helped cure his cancer.
- It’s not really news that religious people are happier than us non-religious. Question is, are they happier because of something about their religion or are they happier because they’re the sort of people who don’t poke and prod at every extraordinary claim, the sort who just accept the word of their chosen authority and get on with life?
- Yes, Christmas Eve was quite a time for that embarrassing data dump, wasn’t it, NSA? Kevin D. Williamson has some sharp words about that — before winding toward some very naive and foolish words. (Williamson is frustrating. He’s one of those guys who almost, alllllmost, gets it, then turns away.)
- Shocked. Simply shocked. Guess which political party is “the party of the rich.” (Yeah, you knew, didn’t you? The real question is why will millions of supposedly informed people be genuinely shocked — and in denial — about this?)
I still owe some thanks to some Santas! Right now, I gotta go walk the dogs in the rain, but I will get to that. I think I’ve already thanked the Santas themselves, in person or in email, but I had to guess on matching some of the packages up with their mystery givers. And here I really wasn’t expecting anything for Christmas this year.
Hope Santa was great to you, as well.
Am also reaching the end of my two-months hermitude and need to write a wrapup on that. A wrapup would be easier if I actually knew what I’d accomplished during these months, but surely even a failure to find what I didn’t know I was looking for is … something.
News avoidance lurches right along. Mix of nooz and think pieces today.
- New software (so far W*nd*ws only) aims to help activists detect and foil government surveillance. Get it here. Can’t say how effective it’s going to be, but it’s endorsed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Amnesty International, and other big-timers in the field. (H/T MJR)
- Along the same lines, Let’s Encrypt aims to bring SSL/TSL to the masses by taking the difficulties and mysteries out of those pesky web site certificates. (Remember: Encryption is subversive! Or so our masters claim. Which is, of course, all the more reason to do it.)
- What if age is nothing but a mindset? (Tip o’ hat to ML)
- If you were talented enough to play in the NFL, would you quit to become a farmer? Jason Brown did.
- Holleee freakin’ cr*p! The shooter who did this was lucky he didn’t (in the famous words of Ralphie’s mother) “put his eye out.” His (or her) eye. Or face. Or hands. Or parts of the guys standing next to him at the range. Just looking at that photo is mind boggling.
- Which dietary supplement claims are backed by evidence and which aren’t? Interesting chart. But also not the be-all and end-all of truth. Much is still unknown.
- 10 instinctive decisions you will regret forever.
- It’s astonishing and discouraging how a cheesy, corrupt, lying, hustler can be considered “respectable.” And speaking of cheesy, corrupt, lying, downright embarrassing hustlers who nevertheless keep landing on their feet: Marion Berry, RIP.
Thoreau famously went to Walden Pond to “live deliberately.” We know what that meant to him.
What would living deliberately mean to you?
He do have him some big brass ones. Not to mention a knack for turning the other guy’s “ghost gun” meme on its head.
More non-nooz, well mostly non-nooz …
- “Why Liberals Love the Disease Theory of Addiction by a Liberal Who Hates It.”
- First great reason I’ve seen to consider a smart phone: The iPhone 6 locks out the NSA.
- And look how upset it’s got some lawbreaking authoritarians! The FBI director seems to think that, historically, it’s been okay for the feds to snoop randomly on everybody and verboten for us to have secrets from them. Apparently that’s what it means to be a “country of laws.”
- While this article asks the irrelevant-to-most-of-us question of why billionaires get depressed, the solution it presents is one for anybody who feels stuck.
- Mysterious private ninja forces destroying California’s legal pot crops. The progress of the police state.
- Good cops.
Wouldn’t you just know it? Wouldn’t you just? As soon as domestic drones even start looking like they could be a nuisance, somebody comes up with this: Drone Shield.
Yes, indeedy, you to can keep the paparazzi and other airborne vermin away. Fancy that! But look who all is in the list of potential clients — a veritable roster of the crony capitalist police state. Pity.
People laughed earlier this summer when big-time columnist Maureen Dowd tried her first cannabis, did it unwisely, and wrote about feeling like she was dying. They thought she was making a ridiculous big deal out of a pot experience.
I didn’t laugh. I had an experience like hers. Edible pot. Not for some of us, no, no, not ever. Turns out even the Emperor of Pot, Willie Nelson won’t touch edibles for that very reason.
In more mundane news, I had to pull a tick off the base of my cat’s ear tonight. We don’t usually get ticks and though I’ve yanked a few off dogs, I’ve never tackled a kitty.
I figured that “tackle” might be the operative word. But Kitsu is such a mild-mannered little thing that after a few token twists to keep her head out of my hands, she sat still for the procedure. She was very offended, and demanded out immediately afterward, but the only one harmed by the experience was the tick.
I was kind of surprised.