Monthly Archives: November 2002

To be free, one must give up a little part of oneself.

Put simply, given the technology we have now, building a voting system that would easily allow every single eligible person to vote from their home using a touchtone phone would not be at all difficult. Do you want to know why? Because big business and special interests don't want you to vote.

Voter turnout in this election was about 39% (yes, that's up from 1998, but 1998 was the lowest turnout since 1942). The smaller that number is, the more a dedicated group of people who all vote can swing the election their way, even though it's contrary to the will of the people. The Christian Coalition is one of the most obvious examples.


Other than that I just got back from Belleville from dropping off Jon and Rachel. I picked up some CDs on my way home; mostly punk stuff that I've had for a while (downloaded) that I wanted to buy the full album (that's right — if there are any RIAA goons monitoring this, I use file sharing to preview albums and I legitimately buy them if I think they're worth it).

I also picked up the Hedwig soundtrack. You'd think I've have gotten it earlier considering I've been promoting Hedwig since 1998 (and more in 1999), but better late than never. Origin of Love still blows me away every time I hear it, but then I do have a weakness for musicals in general. Sorry.

Help?

I'm probably pushing my luck asking here, but there are a fair chunk of “car people”, so you never know. I am seeking information on the Probe series of vehicles designed by the Adams brothers (as well as information on the one-off Marcos Mantis sportsracer, which was loosely based on them). I've only ever seen one picture of the Probe 15, which is the “plastic fantastic” that I'm most interested in (the picture below is from my old car site) — that car was only 29″ tall, probably the smallest closed-canopy car ever made. It was also the “Durango 95” in A Clockwork Orange as far as I can tell.

The Probe eventually spawned many models, and even some kit cars, and to the best of my knowledge, the original Probe 15 has basically been scrapped, with a Centaur GT roof and door section added, making the car 37″ tall instead of 29″, and losing the “bubbliness” of the original design.

I've read the article reproduced on the Imp specials site, but while it claims to be an article on the Probe 15, it's quite apparent that it's actually a Probe 16 (note the windshield and doors most obviously) or at a minimum a very modified Probe 15. Well, if anyone has any info on the original design of the Probe 15 I'd like to see it.

Other than that, I talked to the printers today and they've done proofs of the scrapbook and everything is looking good. I'd forgotten to send them one of the fonts for the cover (below), but they have that now. I'm told that it'll be printed tomorrow or the weekend at the latest, and then it's off to the bindery at the start of the week (so everything is on schedule).

Connect damn you, connect!

Sorry for posting so late, my internet access has been down most of the morning.

Now that the election pretty much guaranteed war (and the world in general is none too thrilled about this “America First!” stance; and unfortunately it's innocent citizens, including Americans, that will pay for that arrogance with their lives), defense stocks are way up… I don't know; I'd feel weird buying defense stocks… I couldn't do it without seeing the blood on my hands. I'm actually kind of amazed the degree to which the average person can separate themselves from the evil they take part in.

Take a look at this article on Slate about the death of the balanced budget. I've heard a few Republicans say how happy they are that now taxes will go down, but unless you're the owner of a large corporation, that's simply not accurate. Under Republican leadership, while corporate profits have gone way up, taxes for corporations have gone down by nearly a quarter in the last few years. Given that at current rates, the 2004 budget deficit is predicted to be about $590 billion, and given that corporations only chip in $144 billion in taxes annually, it's pretty clear who's going to get stuck paying that. So… congratulations to the corporations that somehow tricked Joe Sixpack into voting Republican and volunteering to pay way more taxes so big business can get more powerful.

Getting back to war, if you're still in school, prepare to be drafted into the Bush Youth. Schools don't give student lists to anyone — church, colleges, no one. However, a recent law forces schools to hand over to the military names, addresses, and phone numbers of all students for recruiting and drafting purposes. The good news is that it's “voluntary” (not that they tell you) — if you are in highschool, and you don't want to get drafted, let me strongly urge you to wander down to guidance and make sure they take your name off the list that gets submitted (you have that right).

I have enormous respect for what Israel has achieved. I am ethically opposed to a lot of what has happened, but Israel represents and incredible act of will and self-determination for the Hebrew people, and no matter what happens, it will be remembered as something remarkable. I also am aware that just as the average American abhors war, even though their nation as a whole is patently bloodthirsty, the average Israeli is moral and kind. I can't even begin to imagine what I would do if I was in that situation, and I don't think I can say I wouldn't fight ruthlessly and wish for Arab genocide in the region.

But that doesn't make it right.

I am very concerned that Israel is extending a nuclear presence into the Mediterranean Sea, especially given their repeated statements that they are willing to use these weapons. But, given that we as a planet seem to have accepted that a nation has the right to very powerful internationally roving armies (which I disagree with), I'm not sure that I can protest. However, what I have a big problem with is the re-stated threats against any US company that refuses to do business with Israel. So far $26 million in fines have been handed out to companies that won't do business with Israel for ethical reasons. Is this not a free society? Why should a private corporation — or even an individual — not be permitted to take part in a boycott?

Let's say I'm a gunsmith in the US that makes sniping rifles. If the Israeli government contacts me, and I tell them that I am taking part in a boycott of sales to them, they can report me to the US government, in which case I'd be significantly fined and risk losing my export license. Of course, you won't hear most corporations complaining given the tax cuts I've mentioned above. Look at the big picture; see who does what and why. It's not hard if you read the news regularly and actually think about the connections between stories. The world's a weird conspiratorial place where nothing is quite what it seems until you step way back. The farther back you step, the bigger a conspiracy you see; everyone's got an agenda and a game, and the pyramid scheme of conflicting manipulations does a very good job of hiding the path we're taking.

And we're definitely on a path as a planet, or at least as a species.

As Microsoft asks, “Where do you want to go today?”

If the answer is hell, you may be in luck.

Voice

The voice interface design is coming along well, and I've started reading over the various TAPI documentations and similar things… I'm still very rusty on all that, but it shouldn't be too hard. You'll have full access to the IM system, both send and receive. There's partial access to the forum system, including posting, and then of course the ability both to post to your own page as well as reading the pages of others.

All of this happens over a voice line. All of it. No special hardware required. You can even call from a payphone. I'll be integrating text messaging, WAP, and email access as well, so no matter where you are, you'll be able to stay in touch. I also am keeping an eye on some of the new IM protocols that are coming out and I'll try and tie into that, which if I'm reading the specs right will allow for decent interoperability between iam.alive, AIM, ICQ, etc.

Bad news…

Damn… I popped my front driveshaft out of the differential last night… Everything looks fine, except the pinion gear may be a little bent. But I'm not really sure, I've only really glanced at it and I don't have any tools unpacked right now. So as long as I don't jump off a bridge in the next couple of days, fixing that (or at least taking it apart to confirm what's wrong) is my weekend plan.

The truck runs fine by the way, through some miracle I didn't total the transmission with the dumb stunt you'll notice I haven't mentioned the specifics of. As long as I leave the front hubs unlocked it still rolls along without complaint.