Monthly Archives: September 2004

Arr, ye be visiting glider's page!

Well, my hatred of talk like a pirate day (yesterday) is no secret — I find it incredibly irritating and annoying. However, my love of gags and strange software behavior is also no secret, and of the two, that's the one that won out in the battle of September 19th. Below are some of the gags that the server had built in for those that didn't see them.

I was really inspired by something the Lizardman said when he was interviewing Steve-O, and I've tried to do the same in my own life. I'll repeat it here:

   The Lizardman: I really like that just by walking down on the street I turn everybody's day surreal. They may be driving to work and all of a sudden, “What the fuck was that?” It breaks them out of that mindset where they go to work, eat, sleep, die.
   Steve-O: Yeah, some people just hate in their day or they're having a shitty ass day, and they watch half an hour of me doing dumb shit and after that first half hour they didn't have their shitty day, and life's not a problem any more… But as much as I like doing the live tour, it's historical significance I'm after. You know?

I really like the idea of introducing code and writing that knocks people just very slightly outside of normal reality. I think it's one of the healthiest and most positive punches you can give someone, and I hope that the change brightened a few days and I also hope that it left a few people wondering if it had always been like that, and why…

Not that I want to distract you from reality.

Getting back to reality in Iraq (it sucks), as you know well over a thousand Americans have now died in combat to say nothing of the 17,000 casualties that have been medically evacuated from Iraq due to “non-combat” injuries (more). That doesn't include people who were injured but are still in Iraq of course — when you add those numbers in, you're looking at a demoralizing 25% injury rate which is wrecking havoc with young people in the war (more).

"My whole opinion of the people here has changed. There aren't any good people... We're out here giving our lives for these people. You'd think they'd show some gratitude. Instead, they don't seem to care. We're not taking any chances: Shoot first and ask questions later. We're a lot more dangerous now. I'm not going home in a body bag, and neither is the person next to me."

Marines — who've taken the heaviest casualty counts — are describing playing with Iraqi children (more), giving them candy, and talking on a friendly level to their parents… feeling like they really might be winning the hearts and minds, but then only to be attacked by those same people the very next day in an ambush. This generation of Iraqis doesn't love Americans (for good reason), and I don't think ever will.

Fact: Arab culture does not recognize the same civil liberties and ideals that we do in the West, and likely won't for a generation. I do not believe we can force democracy on them because on the whole they simply don't get it and won't until they break the bonds of religion. Religion and democracy are fundamentally incompatible. Yeah, America is a “Christian” country (ignore the Satanic Founding Fathers), but don't think it gives a fuck about God. America is no more a Christian country than Greece worships Zeus. It's symbolic at best, and a marketting tool at worst. In any case, what I'm saying is that Iraqis have got to figure out human rights on their own. This isn't a victory we can give them or win for them. They have to do it on their own.

Oh yeah, and by “on their own”, I really mean “on their own” totally. That means we stop propping up the dictator of the week and stop fucking with their economy.

Here's another fact: America doesn't have the troops to attack Iran, as is being debated as Iran goes nuclear (more), in ironic part due to the threat of a US attack. There is only one way to strike Iran if it comes to that, and it's a border to border airstrike that levels the country. And when that starts, we'll have to level Syria, Egypt, and who knows what other countries, and it'll be enough to spark up the Chechnyan region to genocidal levels as well as regions of Africa. This is all on the verge of escalating to the level of this planet aint big enough for the two of us (or “two cultures enter, one culture leaves”).

And, as I've said before, it's all bullshit. Murdering every Arab on the planet (or every American if you think that's the way the war would end) is an inconsequential crime in comparison to what we're doing to the ocean. Read: The Starving Ocean.

Janine, Condoms, and Oil

So, as you probably know, there have been a few disease scares in porn rescently with HIV outbreaks, scary staph infections, and so on. To make the ObBodMod requirement, I'll mention that it's that outbreak which forced Janine Lindemulder to shoot her first boy-girl scene with the fascinating Nick Manning, rather than the slightly less fascinating TT Boy (sorry to gonzo fans). I put up a new Janine entry in the encylcopedia too:

Because of all those outbreaks, California (which is one of the hotbeds for production of this type), is starting to fine companies who shoot porn without condoms. That's right — $30,000+ a pop. Because body fluids are potentially contagious, worker safety laws require that condoms be used. So basically they're using OHSA rules to kill free speech. It's perfectly legal to fuck without a condom on, and as much as people want to pretend it's not the case, sex with a condom is terrible and it's just not what a lot of people fantasize about. Make it illegal to shoot condomless porn in America and it'll just be shot somewhere else — but still be sold in America, thus, as is too often the case, siphoning money out of the country. The market won't change, but the money flow will.

Using backdoor approaches like this to attack artistic — or non-artistic — free expression is fundamentally wrong in terms of civil rights, and as I've just explained, backfires as an economic policy. This is not the same thing as worker safety laws and overtime laws and so on. This is a specialty industry with people who are experts in their field choosing to take risks. It should be no more illegal than professional sports which certainly has had its share of death on the job, especially when you include racing and extreme sports. Should we ban everything that could endanger someone?

While I'm complaining about things that are fundamentally wrong, let me explain about oil pricing and how the greed of the Arab nations is going to do us all a great deal of harm. Oil fields are not all the same. Some are very easy to pump — you just drill a hole and oil sprays out. Much of the Middle East is like that, and America was until it drank almost all its oil. Other fields are hard to process like the Alberta tar sands, and others are difficult to get at such as deep ocean oil and arctic oil. Thus the cost of producing a barrel of crude is radically different from producer to producer…

Instead of OPEC oil being cheap because of their cheap production costs, they elevate their prices to match the most expensive methods in use. Thus all oil, including “cheap oil”, is sold at the high cost. One of the big problems with this (outside of the financial screw-over) is that it means that the “difficult to get” oil gets exploited just as quickly as the “easy to get” oil — which means that in terms of peak oil, we have a plateau and then a crash, rather than a decline in supply and a gradual ramp in pricing.

Better go dust off your old Big Wheel.

Time for alchemy

Guerrilla Fleet Management

I've been doing some work on a project that uses networked cams to do guerrilla fleet management (that is, software that allows you to track someone else's vehicle fleet — for example, this could tell you where all the police cars in a given geography are). It's an interesting problem technically, and of course it's interesting in terms of power structure and surveillance culture.

Here's how it works. Cam data comes in the form of a series of timestamped images (or just a video stream, which is basically the same thing), as well as a location (which may change from frame to frame if the camera isn't mounted on a stationary point). This datastream is run through an OCR-type process which does both vehicle tracking and vehicle identification (both in terms of license, make/model, and type — police, cab, courier, and other “marked” service vehicles are easiest to see), as well as interframe and intercam comparisons to track motion and predict paths.

This data can be collected and using Markov and other statistical analysis, herd behavior, clusters, and other behavior patterns can be analyzed for efficiency, weak points, controllability, and so on. Anyway, it's an interesting tool that can empower interesting things.


I don't think I'm doing well at interacting with the general public today. I pull up to a coffee shop and I notice that the couple sitting on the sidewalk bench are staring at where I'm driving as I pull up, slowly moving their heads in sync with the vehicle. It's a little fitness model-type and her lightly tattoo beefy bodybuilder boyfriend. As they continue to stare — at this point I'm parked and walking into the store — I ask them, “What, did I run something over? What's the problem?”

In an Austrian accent he says to me, “no man, we just like your car — what do these cost new?”

“A bit under eighty thousand I think.”

They don't say anything at all, so I'm not really sure what to say. Anyway, then as I'm driving home, I have to pull onto a side street which involves me driving through pedestrians. I wait for a gap and drive through, but some old lady in front of me inexplicably stopped her car in the middle of the road so I couldn't continue down the street. A woman and her daughter who'd crossed behind me knocked on my passenger window so I rolled it down.

“Don't you look where you're going!?!”

“Sure, I do.”

“Didn't you see us?”

“Yes, I saw you.”

“You almost hit us.”

“Yes, I know. So what?”

“You almost hit us!”

“Emphasis on 'almost'. If I wanted to hit you, I'd have hit you. So unless you were planning on leaping as you crossed, you were at no risk of being hit by me.”

“You almost hit us!!!”

“Oh, were you planning on jumping in front of my car? I'm sorry, I had no idea that was your plan.”

“You almost hit us!!!!!!”

“Look, I didn't hit you, I knew where you were, and I don't care what I almost did. So unless one of the two of you is planning on jumping in front of me right now, fuck off.”

I sort of think they were expecting an apology, but I'm not so good in that department. I don't “almost” or “could have” anything. If I want to kill a pedestrian, I'll do it, and I won't miss them. If I want to blow up an airliner, I'll blow it up, and no search is going to find the bomb. Luckily I have almost zero interest in doing either of those things.

New stuff

First of all, some good news for all you frotteurs out there. Airlines are now expected to search your genitals, especially if they seem “unusually bulky”… Anyway, I was clearing my log of older shirts and some newer ones as well and sent the whole lot of them over to Ryan's archive. If you'd like BMEshop to print any of them, let them know in the BMEshop forum.

Hopefully I haven't spelled anything on these shirts wrong… for a change.