Like, Unlike
Posted on September 15th, 2011 at 10:13 pm by Steve

Unlike -1

I can haz freedum?
Posted on February 4th, 2011 at 10:48 am by josh-wah

The Cute Cat Theory of Digital Activism – Ethan Zuckerman

Blocking banal content on the internet is a self-defeating proposition. It teaches people how to become dissidents – they learn to find and use anonymous proxies, which happens to be a key first step in learning how to blog anonymously. Every time you force a government to block a web 2.0 site – cutting off people’s access to cute cats – you spend political capital.

Read the whole thing – it’s great.

Gratuitous lolcat inclusion:

Nothing Sucks Like a Hoover!
Posted on March 3rd, 2010 at 11:23 am by Steve

J. Edgar Hoover, that is! Via BoingBoing, I came across The Kisseloff Collection, which is author Jeff Kisseloff’s collection of photos and stories stretching back through the 1920’s. Some of the photos are gorgeous, some are disturbing, and some are just weird:

Jeff writes about working with Alger Hiss in the early 1970’s, and in the process going through more than 40,000 pages of FBI files. He recalls many of the nasty, anti-Semitic writings he found in Hoover’s personal collection, and fires off this bon mot about the FBI director:

he had his agents compile lists of left-wingers to be picked up and placed in detention camps in the event of a national emergency. If he compiled lists of right-wingers it was only for dinner invitations.


Everything is OK!
Posted on February 3rd, 2010 at 4:29 pm by dr.hoo

Your Local Police: Hunting for Aliens
Posted on January 27th, 2010 at 5:39 pm by Steve

It’s even creepier than it sounds. Under the new “Secure Communities” program spearheaded by the Department of Homeland Security – named in the fashion of Bush’s “Clear Skies” and “Healthy Forests” Initiatives – all local and state police bookings will be run through the DHS master immigration database. Anyone flagged as an “illegal alien” will be detained at the request of DHS.

The idea that your local police would be cooperating with DHS in enforcing immigration rules completely undermines whatever limited trust might still remain between community members and police officers. Don’t just take my word for it; here’s the conclusion of a lobbying group called the Police Foundation:

immigration enforcement by local police undermines their core public safety mission, diverts scarce resources, increases their exposure to liability and litigation, and exacerbates fear in communities already distrustful of police.

The fact that every single person arrested and booked will be run through this system is considered a civil rights PLUS because it avoids the “profiling” of people based on their skin color or perceived ethnic background.

With that so-called advantage, I’m sure a lot of liberals will line up and cheer for the Obama administration’s newest plan to help Keep Us Safe from all those house-cleaners, musicians, DJs, gardeners, nannies, computer programmers, strawberry pickers, and meat packers who currently enable threaten our way of life.

“We are born alone, we die alone, and we use the Internet alone”
Posted on January 26th, 2010 at 1:08 am by Steve

Christine Smallwood, writing at the Baffler blog, examines the question, “What Does the Internet Look Like?” It’s a long way from the question to the answer, and the journey is well worth it.

After noting that many visions of the Internet rely on images of connectedness, she explores the essentially solitary nature of the Internet search:

We are born alone, we die alone, and we use the Internet alone. You may gather round the screen with friends to watch a video clip (turning the Internet into a television), or hang out while you play music on Pandora (turning the Internet into a radio), or post to your blog, or “comment” on someone else’s blog (turning the Internet into a roundtable, or a bathroom wall, depending). But these are subsidiary Internet uses. The essence of the Internet, the thing it does that nothing else can do, its Internet-ness, is the search. Comedian Dave Chappelle captured this with the skit “If the Internet Were a Real Place,” in which he loitered in a seedy mall like a modern Odysseus, ransacking CD stores, ducking into curtained rooms to indulge various temptations, and running away from spammers. Wandering around the Internet, the thing we are always searching for is the door—the exit ramp off the superhighway, the way home. But it’s hard to find. How do you know when you’re done doing nothing?

Please, read the whole thing.

(h/t to Dr. Hoo for noting that Thomas Frank is one again producing The Baffler in print!)

Posted on December 30th, 2009 at 4:14 pm by Steve

Chris Hedges nails it:

The tyranny we impose on others we finally impose on ourselves.

Join the Special Neighbor Program!
Posted on August 19th, 2009 at 10:04 pm by Steve

An oldie but a goodie from my archives, recently resurrected. (Full-size version).

OUR Tax Dollars at Work
Posted on April 23rd, 2009 at 3:28 pm by Steve

More excellent news from the Pentagon: their new robot helicopter sniper is working and almost ready for field deployment!

ARSS is literally point-and-shoot for the operator on the ground, using a videogame-type controller. The software makes all the necessary corrections, and the system should ensure first-round kills at several hundred yards. The secret is in the control system and stabilized turret (on the right in the picture above), which is currently fitted with a powerful RND Manufacturing Edge 2000 rifle specifically designed for sniping work, using the heavyweight .338 Lapua Magnum cartridge.

I find it indescribably awesome that our government is building and deploying robot snipers so that teenagers playing video games can kill poor people in cities anywhere in the world!


More Reasons to Feel Safe
Posted on October 15th, 2008 at 2:08 pm by Steve

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

From the always-inspiring publication Defense Systems:

Homeland Security Strategies, of New Rochelle, N.Y., will offer facial-recognition technology for its Icarus Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Platform. Originally designed to detect roadside bombs and landmines, Icarus can now perform tasks such as aerial observation and countermeasures against improvised explosive devices, buried-object detection, facial recognition, and laser targeting of hostile personnel.

Totally awesome! And definitely a great marketing strategy to name your flying machine after the mythical figure whose hubris led him to flaunt his limits and self-destruct! Genius!!

More detail, from the manufacturer’s sales page:

The Icarus Microdrone is able to hover over an area under surveillance with near silent lift propulsion. This enables the remotely operated aerial vehicle to function in urban environments without alerting those under surveillance to its presence.

Keep an eye on the sky!

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