Archive for July, 2011
There have been a few stories lately about people getting booted out of Google’s Google+ service. I haven’t covered it because I honestly don’t give a shit, that is until now. A Google likes to tie all of their services to your Google account it is possible for you to get booted from all of your Google services if they decided to kick you off of Google+, and that’s what apparently happened to one person:
Marcheschi had the last seven years of his digital life stored on various Google services, and he lost access to all of it two weeks ago when Google mysteriously killed his account and refused to tell him why.
Two days ago, as public pressure on Google to explain itself mounted, Marcheschi found out why. A Google bot that automatically scans Picasa for illegal images flagged something Marcheschi had posted as child pornography. And that was all she wrote – goodbye Gmail, Blogger, Calendar, Docs, photos, and all the rest.
It turns out that the image he posted, though admittedly disturbing, was not technically porn. In fact, he says his reason for posting the image – to a collection he curated called “The Evolution of Sex” — was to make a point about how you can post images of minors being sexualized without breaking any laws. (Marcheschi says Google deleted the image, he has no other copy, and doesn’t remember where he found it on the InterWebs, so there’s no way to judge for yourself.)
Luckily for Marcheschi, a Google human stepped in, determined that Dylan was not a kiddie porn merchant, and turned his account back on.
But what if something similar happened to you, and you weren’t so lucky?
What if you owned an Android phone, which uses your Google ID to access all kinds of data services, and Google killed your account? Would you have a brick in your pocket
Situations like this are why I’ve moved my needed services onto computers I personally control. In the case of Marcheschi an automated bot incorrectly flagged something he posted as illegal and killed his entire Google account. If you’re running an Android phone getting your entire account killed is basically a death sentence for your phone as well.
Android phones backup everything to Google’s services including the applications you’ve purchased, contacts, calendar events, e-mail, etc. You would lose all records of every application you purchased from the Android Market meaning you’d have to repurchase them all again. Basically you’d have to start from square one again as the phone is unable to make backups to local machines.
Relying heavily on third party services is a dangerous endeavor. If that services goes away or kicks you off you lose everything that was dependent on that service. This nice thing about my iPhone is that I can tie it to my self-hosted services meaning if Apple every killed my iTunes account I’d still have all of my personal information safely stored on my server safe and sound. This is why I want CalDAV and CardDAV support in Android so badly, at least then I wouldn’t have to rely on Google’s services to sync and keep my personal information.
Either way this should be a lesson as to why it’s best to do it yourself (not just in technology but in anything you possibly can).
Get this, a man used a firearm to prevent two would be invaders from invading his home. According to the anti-gunners this kind of thing never really happens but alas it did:
Jerry Bowen didn’t run and hide when two Hickory men kicked in his door at his Warwick Court home in eastern Lincoln County, according to law enforcement. Instead the 42-year-old grabbed his gun and took charge of the situation.
Bowen fired a warning shot and ordered the men to the ground, according to Lincoln County Sheriff David Carpenter.
James David Rubenstahl and his nephew, Robert Ray Rubenstahl, did as they were told. They dropped to the ground and waited for police to arrive, said Carpenter who mentioned that Bowen searched the men and even used their cell phone to call 911.
I’m not the biggest fan of firing warning shots. North Carolina has castle doctrine which includes using any means necessary to prevent intruders from entering the home so I don’t think Mr. Bowen will have to face charges for firing the warning shot. Firing a warning shot in Minnesota could land you in hot water since we lack castle doctrine (thanks “representatives” for refusing to vote on the bill until the session ended, fuckers) so the only way you can use a firearm in self-defense is if your life is in immediate danger, even if you’re at home. Firing a warning shot can make the defense of feeling your life was in immediate danger a bit shaky which is why we need castle doctrine here (and in every other state) desperately. By firing a warning shot Mr. Bowen was able to defuse the situation without harming anybody which most people would consider a good thing.
I also want to give some style points to Mr. Bowen for using the would be invader’s cell phone to call the police. That right there is humiliation you simply can’t buy. These kinds of scenarios play out fairly often which is why the right to keep and bear arms is so important, especially when the criminals are literally kicking down your front door and the police are minutes away.
It has been discovered that Chiappa is going to start adding radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips to their handguns for inventory and quality control purposes. RFID, like any technology, has good and bad uses. The Firearm Blog has a nice writeup on the whole situations including a press release from MKS Distributing which is rather snarky:
RFID Removal: For those still concerned you can simply remove the grip and remove the hot glued RFID from the frame in the grip area when (over a year from now) these begin to appear. Others may prefer to wrap the revolver and their head in aluminum foil, curl in a ball and watch reruns of Mel Gibson’s 1997 film, Conspiracy Theory. Well, that’s a plan too!
I smiled a little at the snarky remark and then shook my head as its obvious MKS Distributing doesn’t understand the very real concerns over implanting RFID chips into firearms. Although MKS Distributing claims the RFID chips can only be read a few inches a way that was proven to be completely incorrect at last year’s Defcon. RFID chips are very simple, thus they have no built-in security mechanisms meaning anybody with the right equipment can read them without your knowledge.
Combine this with the fact that obtaining RFID readers is pretty cheap these days and you can see a problem for people carrying concealed. Although I would rip these chips out the second I obtained a gun with embedded RFID chips, most people would not know to look for or pull out these blasted little identification chips. With simple equipment somebody would be able to read the RFID chip on your firearm and instantly know whether or not you were carrying a firearm. Part of the reason people carry concealed is because they don’t want anybody else to know they’re carrying. Often this is to make others feel more comfortable but another reason is to have the element of surprise should you ever have to pull it. Embedding RFID chips into firearms would give criminals a means of know whether or not you were armed and take appropriate actions.
Of course there is also the possibility of using the RFID chip to identify homes of gun owners (a person staking out your home could just drop an RFID reader in your area and see if they come across any hits). If a person has one gun (for instance if they’re carrying it out the door when leaving for work) it’s likely they have others which would make their home a desirable target for the would be thief. On top of that, if you left the reader in the area for a couple of weeks a potential thief could figure out when the homeowner is away so they could move in and rob the place without resistance.
Putting a passive remotely readable device into anything isn’t a great idea, but that idea becomes far worse when that object is a firearm. Personally I won’t support Chiappa as I feel that would be promoting this type of behavior but I also believe what MKS Distributing said is true, RFID chips will become far more prevalent in firearms down the line.
If I had a dime for every time I’ve heard a statist say libertarians are selfish I’d have, well not that much, but that’s not because I never hear that statement it’s because the Federal Reserve has devalued our currency to the point of being almost worthless.
Anyways, as I was saying it’s a common misconception that libertarians are selfish. Unfortunately for statists their accusation is far from the truth, in fact the exact opposite is true. Statists are terribly selfish people who use the government’s monopoly on violence for force everybody in society to comply with the statist’s desires. They want the government to pass laws banning firearms, they want laws that prohibit drinking or using other substances they don’t like, they want laws banning swearing in public places, they want laws telling connecting adults what they can do in their bedroom, and the list goes on. They want these laws that control the actions of others and they want the government to use their monopoly on violence to enforce these laws.
Libertarians on the other hand want everybody to live a life free of coercion. We want the government to get out of our bedrooms, gun safes, liquor cabinets, and everything else they’ve put their fingers in. It is the belief of libertarians that everybody should be free to do as they please so long as they’re not hurting anybody else or anybody’s property. If you want to drink a bottle of whiskey, smoke a joint, and go have sex with three other people all of whom are the same gender as you then by all means go for it. It’s your life to do with as you please and we’re not going to demand that the government use violence to prevent you from pursuing what makes you happy. Even if I don’t approve of something that doesn’t give me the right to demand violence be used on those who do enjoy that thing.
While statists want violence used against everybody to make them comply with their selfish ideals libertarians detest the use of violence. How can anybody think wanting to give everybody the right to do with their life as they please selfish?
John McCain, like almost every other politician on the planet, is a piece of shit who cares only about maintaining or increasing the power he has over people. I’m always proud of the fact that I didn’t vote for him or Obama because they’re basically one in the same. McCain recently came out and railed on the tea party (whatever the Hell that means anymore) for opposing raising the debt ceiling. His reason demonstrates that he sees the argument as nothing more than a power play:
Sen. John McCain on Wednesday took on conservatives reluctant to raise the national debt ceiling, calling them “tea party hobbits” and saying that if they reject the House Republican plan, they will help reelect President Obama.
There you have it, McCain’s only concern is whether or not Obama gets re-elected. You now what the sad truth is? That’s the only concern most of the politicians have over this debate. But the debate isn’t about whether or not Obama gets re-elected, it’s about the fact that the United States is spending so much money that we’ll never be able to pay it back.
In terms of normal people like you and me (OK I admit I hardly qualify as normal) this would be like racking up your credit card bill and then demanding a higher credit limit. Sure the bank may extend the amount of debt you can put on that card for a while but eventually they’re going to catch on and demand that you pay them back. If you can’t pay them back your option becomes defaulting on your credit in the form of bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is where the United States is heading folks and we’re only going to get further in over our heads unless we stop extending the government’s credit limit.
Instead of being concerned over this fact the politicians are only concerned with power. The Republicans want more which means they have their eyes on the presidency while the Democrats want to maintain the presidential power they currently hold. Neither party gives two shits about you and me.
Kahr Arms was recently sued by the family of a man shot by one of their firearms. Kahr settled and ended up paying the family a sum of $600,000. Why was Kahr responsible? Because they hired a guy who was stealing guns from their production line:
The lawsuit alleged that Kahr employee Mark Cronin — who had a drug problem and a criminal record — stole the gun before it had a serial number stamped on it and sold it to Robert Jachimczyk for a gram of cocaine. The man charged in the shooting, Edwin Novas, then bought the gun from Jachimczyk for some heroin, according to the lawsuit. Cronin pleaded guilty to the gun theft and was sentenced to two years in prison. Novas was never caught; he is still listed on the Worcester Police Department’s website as being wanted in the unresolved killing.
I agree with Jay G, this settlement is a bunch of malarkey:
Since dirtbag drug addicts don’t have deep pockets – but Kahr does – they wound up on the wrong end of a wrongful death suit.
Kahr didn’t kill Mr. Guzman, Edwin Novas did. Kahr was a victim of theft plain and simple. Of course Novas was never found and even if he was I doubt he has a sum of $600,000 lying around.
It’s a liability to be successful in this country. When a crime is committed the criminal isn’t the one targeted for punishment, whoever has the most money that can be tied to the criminal act in any way is targeted. When somebody is killed by a scumbag that scumbag usually becomes a secondary concern to punishing the company that produced whatever weapon was used to commit the murder. Why? Because we don’t have a justice system in this country, we have a monetary exploitation system. If you’ve been successful in life by providing a good that consumers want you will likely be sued some day because your product was used by a criminal in some illegal capacity.
Now that the family of Mr. Guzman has $600,000 from Kahr they may want to look into whether or not Novas used a vehicle to flee the scene of the murder. Who knows, maybe the family will be able to get another $600,000 from Ford, Chevy, Toyota, or Volkswagen.
When seconds matter the police are only minutes away. You’ve likely heard that statement from gunnies numerous times but it’s true. Take for instance this story:
A missing Minnesota woman repeatedly called police in the hours before she disappeared to tell them her estranged husband had violated a restraining order.
An FBI affidavit says witnesses saw Caskey grab his wife and throw her into a pickup truck. She struggled while two people tried to intervene, but Caskey fought them off and fled with her in the truck.
Although the now missing woman called the police it didn’t matter. When her estranged husband finally arrived he picked her up, tossed her in his truck, and drove off all in a matter of seconds. There is no way the police would be able to respond to such a situation in time unless one were nearby or the police found a way to violate the laws of physics. If you find yourself in such an unfortunate scenario the only person you can depend on helping you is you.
This is why the right to self-defense is so important to uphold. Had this woman had a means of defending herself against her estranged husband she may not be missing how. Instead our society promotes the idea that we should simply cooperate with those who bring violence against us and that resorting to violence in our defense is not acceptable. This attitude is bullshit because you don’t know how far an assailant will take their misdeeds. We’re not even sure if the missing woman is still alive.
Having a means to fight back may not save your life but not having a means certainly won’t. Being able to defend yourself gives you options when a piece of shit decides you look like a good target and in those situations options are what you want.
I’m usually not one to pull out Ayn Rand (I far prefer the likes of Mises, Rothbard, Hayek, etc.) but I’m also a fan of calling a spade and spade so I’m willing to say with confidence that the following is a situation right out of Atlas Shrugged.
Terry Douglas is the owner of two coal mines (you know, that material most of our power plants required) and obtained a permit to open a third one. These permits aren’t cheap, coming it at roughly $250,000, but a quarter of a million dollars simply isn’t enough flesh for the government so they decided it would be great to go after him for some more money. Well it sounds as if Mr. Douglas has finally had enough and may simply call it quits:
Here is a transcription of what he said that I oh so cleverly borrowed from the linked article:
Nearly every day without fail… men stream to these [mining] operations looking for work in Walker County. They can’t pay their mortgage. They can’t pay their car note. They can’t feed their families. They don’t have health insurance. And as I stand here today, I just… you know… what’s the use? I got a permit to open up an underground coal mine that would employ probably 125 people. They’d be paid wages from $50,000 to $150,000 a year. We would consume probably $50 million to $60 million in consumables a year, putting more men to work. And my only idea today is to go home. What’s the use? I see these guys—I see them with tears in their eyes—looking for work. And if there’s so much opposition to these guys making a living, I feel like there’s no need in me putting out the effort to provide work for them. So…basically what I’ve decided is not to open the mine. I’m just quitting. Thank you.
Of course many people will crucify Mr. Douglas because they believe environmental laws should be upheld at any cost. The problem is many of the environmental laws are bullshit created simply so the government can extract more money from those who actually produce goods that people want. On top of that we wouldn’t even need all these environmental regulations is our country simply recognized property rights as absolute.
Think about it for a moment, if a coal mine discharged a pollutant onto another person’s property that person could sue for damages. As it sits now if such an event occurs the government steps in, fines the polluter (or lets them off depending on how much the polluter has contributed to our political Leviathan), and perhaps gives the property owner a little bit of money if they’re feeling generous. The Gulf oil spill would have been devastating to British Petroleum (BP) had the owners of the shorelines covered in oil been allowed to directly sue BP. Instead our government decreed a maximum liability oil companies are responsible for paying which let BP get off with destroying a lot of property with nothing more than a slap on the wrist.
If Mr. Douglas damages another person’s property then let that person take legal action. If no damage is occurring Mr. Douglas shouldn’t be punished by our government in the form of fines, taxes, and regulations. It’s honestly that simple.
I’d also like to bring up a side note that’s relevant to this story, which are complains some people make against mine owners. Mine owners are generally not well liked, even if their product is, and accusations are constantly made that these mine owners are skimping on safety and health related concerns. Mr. Douglas points out why that really isn’t the case:
When asked about typical concerns surrounding coal mining—including companies skirting health and safety regulations—Douglas said it “doesn’t make sense” to let safety lapse and risk losing miners to illness or injury when it would only cost more to train new personnel.
This is why business owners are the evil barons they’re often made out to be. It’s in the owner’s best interest to ensure his workers are safe and healthy. Not only do you face potential lawsuits against those you’ve wronged but you also have to hire and train all new personnel. The longer a person works a job the more experience they generally obtain which makes them more valuable to have around.
I expect to see more situations like Mr. Douglas’s where the government makes owning a business all but impossible by piling on pointless environmental regulations. If property rights were properly observed in this country we wouldn’t need all of these expensive regulations. Eliminating these unnecessary regulations would make doing business cheaper and likely cause a reduction in the amount of environmental damage since the consequences wouldn’t be easily bypassed by giving the right people a large campaign contribution.
Hot on the heels of complaining about the popularity of Glock pistols, the Violence
Promotion Policy Center (VPC) has released another report titled “The Ruger Mini-14, The Poor Man’s Assault Rifle. Obviously I’m not linking directly to VPC material (they get no link love from me) but No Lawyers – Only Guns and Money has a nice writeup and a link to the paper:
In the wake of revelations that the deranged killer in Norway used a Ruger Mini-14, the Violence Policy Center [Direct VPC Link Removed] has released a “report” calling the Mini-14 the “poor man’s assault rifle.” This term came from “Assault Pistols, Rifles and Submachine Guns” – an old, out-of-date book (published in 1986) – by Duncan Long
The MRSP for the base model of the Ruger Mini-14 is $881. The price for the model they feature in the “report” is $921. Street prices for these rifles are still in the upper $600 range. Those are U.S. prices. I imagine it is much higher priced in Europe.
The Violence Policy Center then goes into exhaustive detail from the deranged killer’s 1500 page manifesto about why he went with the Ruger Mini-14. They, of course, call it a “militarized weapon” which can defeat body armor and are easily available in the United States. Mind you, the deranged killer was Norwegian and bought his rifle under the extremely strict Norwegian gun control laws.
You know what else can defeat body armor and is easily available in the United States? Lever action rifles, which must make them the really poor man’s assault rifle. Likewise I can get a pretty nice entry level AR-15 for the price of a Mini-14 so if I’m going to go for the poor man’s assault rifle I might as well go all out and buy something that’s scarier looking (according to anti-gunners).
I also find it interesting that the Norwegian psychopath was able to get a select fire rifle when I can’t even get those here with our “loose” gun laws. Well he either obtained a select fire weapon or VPC is lying by saying the Mini-14 is an assault rifle because assault rifles by definition have the ability to go full auto. I’m just saying an organization willing to lie about what kind of weapon a specific rifle is likely lying about other things as well.
You’ve got a 25mm autocannon and you’re thinking to yourself, “What could I do to make this more awesome?” Explosive ammunition seems a bit dull, especially with that sweet tomahawk missile launcher next to the autocannon, you don’t want to pay the electric bill for that sweet rail gun, and honestly upgrading the targeting system for the autocannon is a bit dull. Finally it hits you, mount a frickin’ laser to the top of your frickin’ autocannon:
The Mk 38 Mod 2 Tactical Laser System couples a solid-state high-energy laser weapon module with the operational Mk 38 Machine Gun System. The addition of the laser weapon module brings high-precision accuracy against surface and air targets such as small boats and unmanned aerial vehicles. The system also provides the ability to deliver different levels of laser energy, depending on the target and mission objectives.
Lasers are always cool. Now that autocannon can pew pew enemies into non-existence. By the way if anybody from Boeing is reading this I would like you to know that I would be more than happy to test a review unit and post my findings on this very website. If you’re interested contact me via the e-mail address on the sidebar and we can set something up.