Today was my King Of Fools day (getting tattooed that is). On the way there I saw a horrible woman nearly kill a pedestrian — she hit him with her BMW, and then spent the next fifteen minutes on her cell phone, constantly looking at her watch, and glaring at everyone around her. I shouldn't say “hit him” — she actually ran right over him, realize what she'd done, and then backed up to get off of him, running him over a second time. She almost killed someone, and couldn't care less — the meeting took priority.
I've been getting a lot of messages from people asking about immigrating to Canada and working in Canada. These questions are largely from computer professionals. For those of you that haven't been following the news, America is considering even tighter legislation which would, among other things, make hacking, and even many forms of legitimate security and encryption related programming VERY illegal. They won't be considered felonies — they'll actually be considered acts of war against the state, meaning that you can be held indefinitely without trial and then subject to extreme penalties.
In addition, the laws are set up so that a programmer can be charged for software released by a company they work for (in the theory that if you're involved with an “unamerican” company, you're unamerican yourself I suppose). In addition, the laws allow for people to be prosecuted for “potential” crimes… So, for example, if you develop a piece of software that has the ability to be abused, you can be charged for the abuse even if it never happened. Penalties aren't small either — 25 to life is the sort of thing we're talking about.
Anyway, these new laws — and sometimes just strengthened old laws — are not just directed against programmers. There are even areas in the US where it is illegal to use solar power (Home Power Journal generally runs monthly features on people doing “guerilla solar” if you'd like to learn more about that issue). I guess it's clear that this “war” is a financial war, and laws are strengthened to punish anything that could damage the capitalist system… I guess sending a person running solar panels to jail helps protect the integrity of the utility companies?
In any case, if you're affected by these new laws, you have a few choices. Sites like Escape Artist are certainly a good start. For all I know, if these laws are actually passed, you may be able to apply for refugee status. On a purely financial level, US companies may have to either get the laws changed or have a mass exodus from the country — since the US government recent admitted to using the CIA and Echelon and related systems to spy on European companies, the EU is officially putting a strong push on using heavy encryption. An editorial in ArsTechnica pointed out that if the US government is successful in banning encryption technology, the US will no longer be able to sell software to the EU…
I've been taking lots of online tests lately, and jenc0 just pointed me to the Cocktail Test. In real life I'm quite fond of drinks like Smurfettes and Jolly Ranchers. According to the test, my top three drinks are a Tequila Sunrise (tequila, oj, and grenadine), a Fuzzy Navel (vodka, peach schnapps, and oj), and a Shady Lady (tequila, melon juice, and grapefruit juice)… The Shady Lady sure does sound good.