June 2006

So, our dishwasher roof built by Virginia Design Builders flooded yesterday.  (more…)

…Or were they just an excuse to deploy cameras? Here in Virginia, I heard that red light cameras stopped being used for tickets. On a specific date (and I've been running reds — in situations I deem to be safe — ever since).

NY Times article. It would be nice if this one were adjusted for population growth. An interesting editorial with some facts. Ohio accidents increase? Virginia increase?

The Virginia one uses my county:

[Editor's note: only Fairfax County data reflects the most rigorous analysis. Other cities did not provide volume, yellow time, and data on other key factors.]

  • The cameras are correlated with an increase in total crashes of 8% to 17%.

  • The cameras are correlated with an increase in rear-end crashes related to the presence of a red light; the increase ranges between 50% and 71%.

  • The cameras are correlated with a decrease in crashes attributable to red light running, and the decrease is between 24% and 33%.

  • The cameras are correlated with a decrease in injury crashes attributable to red light running, with the decrease being between 20% and 33%.

  • The cameras are correlated with an increase in total injury crashes, with the increase being between 7% and 24%.



The one surviving legal worry actually turns out to be a practical problem, generated by the interaction of the notice provisions in the enabling statute and the Commonwealth's other service requirements. Because the mere mailing of a ticket without personal service by a law enforcement officer does not constitute sufficient notice under the statute's own terms, successful enforcement may require personal in-hand service if the accused fails to either pay the penalty or come to court. Although the statute permits the jurisdiction to make the initial attempt to summon the accused to court via mail, if the person fails to respond, he or she is not considered to have been satisfactorily served with notice. However, personal service on all violators is obviously a very expensive proposition, involving many personnel hours, and would defeat one of the primary motivating factors for employing automated detection systems in the first place—a reduction in the number of officers required to enforce red light laws. Thus, unless a jurisdiction is willing to devote resources to implementing extensive in-hand service, citations mailed for red light camera violations become essentially unenforceable. The average citizen is probably not aware of this loophole, but if word were widely disseminated, such knowledge could completely undermine the effectiveness of red light camera programs, as citations issued to violators would lose their practical impact. Again, this is a practical, but not legal, challenge. 

Well, I'm here to undermine the effectiveness by mentioning this.  It's a moot point if all enforcement has truly stopped.  But if you do get a ticket — just say No.

Time for The State Of The My Union Computer address.

Just for giggles, I thought I would blog about the current state of my computer "Storm".

These are links to pictures. The pictuers have many mouseover notes that help illustrate the many various things I do with my computer.  It can also turn off my lights (but not currently due to a helper computer dying), and is how we watch all our television and listen to all our music.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/clintjcl/169885320/ – a few more
http://www.flickr.com/photos/clintjcl/169885818/ – not as exciting. as if any of this is.

It's growing. Like the matrix. It shall envelope me utterly I fear.


Police launch eye-in-the-sky technology above Los Angeles

Pretty soon, if you're lucky, you can always have a watchful eye overhead.

Like Big Brother.

Like Sauron.delme-drone.gif

"This technology could be used to find missing children, search for lost hikers, or survey a fire zone," said Commander Sid Heal, head of the Technology Exploration Project of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Yes, and red light cameras could be used to stop people from running read lights, but I now know in hindsight that this was just a front to get people to accept surveillance at every traffic light. Virginia stopped using red light cameras for tickets alltogether this year, but the cameras still remain (and always will). I've seen this game before. It's for the children!

Considering that we're discussing the Los Angeles Police Department, I'd say the question about whether this technology will always be used virtuously answers itself…. (Rodney King, anyone? How about Rampart?)

Some tools are always tools of tyranny. 24 hour survellience of public spaces – despite the arguably utilitarian aspects – it antithetical to a free society. George Orwell had the foresight to realize this before it actually happened. He was a great man.

Police say that such privacy concerns are unwarranted because surveillance is already ubiquitous. "You shouldn't be worried about being spied on by your government," said Heal. "These days you can't go anywhere without a camera watching you whether you're in a grocery store or walking down the street."

I love the "it already sucks, so it should stay that way" argument. People use it constantly. "Every president has wiretapped, so it's not that bad." It's about scale, folks. A billion not-that-bads all added up is bad.

Here are the stats for the drone: STATS.
NOTE: I covered this topic earlier: https://clintjcl.wordpress.com/2006/03/30/more-bush-surveillance/

And just to foster some healthy paranoia:

Here's a company that would love for you to get 'chipped'.

And here's a link about the FEMA prison camps all over the country, including the specific location of camps in each state. (For Virginia: Ft. A.P. Hill (Fredericksburg) – Rex 84 / FEMA facility. Estimated capacity 45,000. Petersburg – Federal satellite prison camp, south of Richmond.) Now, I've read many articles about these camps before, and seen video of them. They are essentially empty, manned concentration camps. Of course, America would never put people in concentration camps, would they?

My cpu is running at 165 degrees (after 100% usage with a torture program)!

Maybe… I should invest in a better cooling fan.

Stephen Colbert interviews the weirdo who wants to display the 10 commandments in public:


(watch it, but the best part is, the idiot can't even name them!)

My friend Evan had a great spiel about this:

I havent watched that video, but that debate cracks me up.  Among the funniest things I've heard:

1) our society/system of laws/etc is based on the bible/10 commandments anyway, so they should be displayed publically

(Only two of the ten commandments are illegal, killing and stealing, and call me crazy, but I think that's just common sense that any society would make those activities illegal, regardless of whether a burning bush told them to do it, etc)

Honor thy father and mother?  Not a law.  Honor the sabbath?  Not a law.  Don't covet your neighbors wife?  Are you kidding me?  America was built on coveting what your neighbor has (yeah, I stole that idea from George Carlin.  Sue me).   Don't take the lord's name in vain?  That one is directly negated by one of the key bedrock principles of western democracy: free speech.  I could go on and on…but, clearly, our society is NOT based on the ten commandments (notwithstanding the fundamentalists who want all of us to live based on their peculiar religious principles…how are they any different from the mullahs in Iran, again?)

The other important point that is largely forgotten about is that each version of the bible (king james, etc) has a distinct variation of the ten commandments: thou shalt not kill vs thou shalt not murder, etc.  There are a few other differences I can't recall off the top of my head.  They're relatively minor, but they are significant, because they change the meaning of the commandments.  Under a "thou shalt not murder" version, any lawfully sanctioned killing is OK (so war, state sponsored executions are ok) but under the "thou shalt not kill" version, that is not the case. 

The important point is that by putting any one particular version of the commandments up on the wall, the government is *necessarily* endorsing a particular religious doctrine/viewpoint, which is expressly forbidden by the establishment clause of the first amendment.  Fundamentalists try to talk their way around this one by claiming that the commandments are general principles only, but, they're only present in Christianity and Judaism, which leaves out a lot of people. 

(end quote)

Thanks Evan!

Well.. I think I celebrated too early. The corpse smell still definitely plagues our house still; it’s just not as pronounced as it used to be.

If you sit on the floor and work on the computer for hours, like I did yesterday, you can still catch hints of it. But, all our windows and doors are closed, and it’s only a hint. Before, we had the windows and doors open, with a fan pointed outwards, and it was still unbearable. So, whatever it is: At least it’s decomposing.

Anyone know of any worms I can distribute to help speed up the process? I seriously almost got some worms from this woman on FreeCycle.

Anyway, the cpu upgrade is awesome! My motherboard was only rated for 1200mHz, but I am successfully running at 1700mHz now. The theoretical maximum is supposedly 2050mHz, but I didn’t pay attention to which core I was getting (the XP 2100+ processor can come with 3 or 4 different cores), so I didn’t get the optimal chip. Still, it was only $98, plus $15 for more Arctic Silver therma cpu compound. 

The motherboard manufacturers were smart enough to leave room for growth, and AMD is nice enough to not change the form factor of their newer CPUs (at least, not for awhile).

It’s really nice to take a computer I’ve been using for 5-6 years, and nearly double (189%) it’s speed with a simple (in theory) cpu upgrade.

The upgrade itself was painful. I had to google pictures of removing the heatsink, because I couldn’t get the thing off. Carolyn couldn’t find her thermal compound (um.. don’t put computer stuff upstairs), so I had to spend an hour and fifteen minutes cavorting around Rt 236 during rush hour, going to 3 places before someone actually knew where it was and could sell it to me. Of course Carolyn found hers later, but I didn’t want to wait and it’s a good thing, because I wasn’t really ready to use my computer to watch our night’s television until 9:30PM or so.

After she went to bed, I did some more tweaks until about 1:30AM. I finally got EvilLyrics to stop lagging — the problem was everytime a line of lyrics got written to the milk_msg.ini file that Winamp’s MilkDrop uses, the virus scanner scanned the file. So… disable (snooze) for best results.

And might I ad, my two favorite security programs are now:

Firewall: Sygate

AntiVirus: EZ AntiVirus

Sygate beats the pants off ZoneAlarm & Symantec Firewall. And EZ AntiVirus is much better than Symantec, in my opinion. Symantec slowly died on 5 different computers. Zone Alarm wont uninstall and can get corrupted by w32.licum/tenga virii. Fuck all that, I’d rather use something that continues to work.

Anyway, my computer Storm can now move files from the other computer, with the firewall on, only taking 90% cpu instead of 100%. This makes a big difference as 10% is enough to do other stuff, like review/watch videos. I’m happy. It was a hellish 6 hours or so, and I’ve still got stability tests to perform (I just typed testes…wtf), but as far as I’m concerned, I just dodged a bullet of having to spend $1,000 on a new computer, or $300-$400 on a painful motherboard upgrade which would require me to completley rebuild my computer from scratch. Score one for laziness & hardware mastery.

I’m done now.

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