Sea of Noise

Thu, 26 Jun 2008

Supreme Court Strikes Down DC Handgun Ban

Today is a good day for the Constitution (though the fight isn't over yet)...

[/life/liberty] permanent link

Mon, 29 Jan 2007

Supreme Court Declines to Review Gilmore v. Gonzales

John Gilmore's petition for writ of certiorari in Gilmore v. Gonzales was denied by the Supreme Court today.

Do you remember when we were busy fighting the Soviets, because they were going to take over the world with their immoral system under which citizens could be arrested under secret laws and held indefinitely without trial? Nah, neither do I.

More coverage here.

[/life/liberty] permanent link

Fri, 09 Jun 2006

Is the "PATRIOT" Act Just a Red Herring, Then?


After the September 11, 2001, attacks, Bush authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on people inside the United States without the court approval usually required for domestic spying:

For several years after the presidential order was signed in 2002, the super-secret intelligence agency monitored the international telephone calls and e-mails of hundreds of people inside the country to search for evidence of terrorist activity, the [New York] Times said in an article on its Web site. ... While many details about the program remain secret, officials familiar with it said the NSA eavesdropped without warrants on up to 500 people in the United States at any given time, the newspaper reported.

So, who needs the so-called "PATRIOT" Act when the government spys on citizens without a warrant whenever it pleases?

[/life/liberty] permanent link

Tue, 01 Nov 2005


Serendipity strikes! Today is the first day of National Novel Writing Month, and the working title of my attempt is Memory's Garden. So, I'm not sure whether I'm vexed or delighted to come across Ethan Marcotte's blog entry about music and memory:

These things we love, then forget, then rediscover to love again--they're inlaid with what they once were to us, which makes them something new, something better. What they were, they will be again...and then more so.

Well, I'm awed, anyway.

[/life] permanent link

Tue, 12 Jul 2005

A Modest Proposal

Think it would be strange to give your newborn son a labectomy? Me, too.

[/life/health] permanent link

Fri, 08 Jul 2005

Cell Phones Considered Harmful

After I totalled my car last week, several people suggested that hands-free cell-phone devices were the answer. According to multiple studies, not so much.

[/life/travel] permanent link

Tue, 05 Jul 2005

X-Day 2005: The Eschaton Is At Hand!

The world ends this morning! Again. Praise Bob!

[/life/faith] permanent link

Thu, 16 Dec 2004

John Perry Barlow Busted, Fights Back

John Perry Barlow got busted at the airport for ("allegedly") carrying a small quantity of drugs in the depths of his suitcase. He's fighting back. Good for you, man!

Now the more authoritarian among you might say that if these searches reveal other, non-terror-related, criminal activity, then so much the better. The 4th Amendment should provide no sanctuary for the guilty, whatever their crimes. But randomly searching people's homes against the possibility that someone might have a bio-warfare lab in his basement would reveal a lot of criminal activity. And it is certainly true that such searches would reduce the possibility of anthrax attacks and enhance public safety. Still, I doubt you're ready to go there. Yet. Given a few exotic outbreaks, you might be. Should that day come, would you still believe such searches should not be precisely limited? This may seem hyperbolic, and of course it is, but it's actually a fairly short conceptual distance away from what's going on in the nation's airports at present.

[/life/liberty] permanent link

Fri, 03 Sep 2004

With Diagnosis and Pharmaceuticals For All

If you get out of line, we can always slap you down with the Patriot Act, but wouldn't it be great if we could medicate you and nip your rebellion in the bud? If "New Freedom Initiative" isn't doublespeak, I don't what is...

The New Freedom Initiative proposes to screen every American, including you, for mental illness. To this end, the president established a New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, to study the nation's mental health delivery service and make a report. It's interesting to note that many on the staff appointed to the Commission have served on the advisory boards of some of the nation's largest drug companies.

[via xauenmurph]

[/life/liberty] permanent link

Tue, 10 Aug 2004

MetaFilter on Forfeiture

The DOJ tried to withdraw some documents related to forfeiture procedure (they backed down) and it actually prompted a very informative discussion over at MetaFilter. Just goes to show that anything can happen.

[/life/liberty] permanent link

Sat, 24 Jul 2004

Has the Atkins Fad Peaked?

I don't know about you, but if I hear the phrase "low-carb" one more time, I'll probably go postal. Mercifully, this fad may have peaked. Check out the summary at metafilter.

[/life/health] permanent link

The Obesity Myth

"It takes a brave man to speak out in favor of flab today . . ."

What happens in these kind of cultural processes is that cosmetic preferences get medicalized and then moralized. So it's not only that we like thinness because it is fashionable but it becomes that thinness is actually good for health. And what's more, if we're not thin, it's our fault and we're bad people. It becomes a moral good.
That process has been going on in the United States for about 75 years and it's produced the current moral hysteria.

. . .

Medicine, especially public health, is a highly politicized discourse. To take the word of the Center of Disease Control or the National Institute of Health on weight without skepticism or any further investigation is equivalent of taking the word of the [Office of National Drug Control Policy] on whether marijuana is bad for you.

[via disinfo]

[/life/health] permanent link

Thu, 22 Jul 2004

Growing the Web of Ideas

Something every blogger, or anyone who works on a project in public, has to decide is, How much do I share? Is it better to maintain your privacy and only allow a tiny window into what you want the world to see? Or should you just turn on the 24/7 webcam and share every thought that comes into your head?

There are lots of ways to think about this issue, and it's one I'd like to explore at more length sometime. But meanwhile Sepp Hasslberger has an interesting essay ("The Spreading of New Ideas: Each One Counts") that sheds some light on the issue from a new angle:

As more and more people play, there is no way to pick out THE individual which, if eliminated, will stop the progressing of a particular idea. And since there is no profit, few if any will indeed be targeted.
Paradoxically, the more we are public, the more we are out there, the less of a target we become, because so many people ALREADY know what we have to say, that there is no gusto any more in eliminating any one of us.
In comparison, if someone has important knowledge and keeps it hidden for fear of exposure, they ARE a target, because by eliminating only one person, the idea can be prevented from taking its course.

[/life/trust] permanent link

Mon, 19 Jul 2004

Stalking the Bogeyman

In "Stalking the Bogeyman", David Holthouse explains why he didn't kill the man who raped him:

I knew that if I gave him time to talk, I might not pull the trigger -- and sure enough, as soon as I exchanged a few sentences with him, I didn't want to shoot him at all, because I saw him as a frightened, damaged man. He wasn't the Bogeyman anymore. He was real. He begged my forgiveness. He swore I was the only one.

Read the followup to find out why the author spent the night in jail anyway.

[via metafilter]

[/life] permanent link

Sat, 17 Jul 2004

See That My Hard Drive Is Kept Clean

Plastic looks at online death rites.

[/life] permanent link

Cough Syrup No Better Than Placebo

A new study finds that over-the-counter cough syrups may be no more effective than a placebo. [via disinfo]

[/life/health] permanent link

Tue, 13 Jul 2004

Artificial Sweeteners May Disrupt Body's Ability to Count Calories

Psychologists at Purdue University may have unconvered a new clue to the growing obesity problem: artificial sweeteners may interfere with the body's mechanisms for tracking calorie consumption and regulating hunger:

"Historically, we knew that our body learns that if the food is thick, such as whole milk, it tends to have more calories than compared to a thinner liquid such as skim milk," Swithers said. "Now, our research reinforces this and takes it one step further, showing that our bodies translate this information about perceived calories into a gauge to tell us when to stop eating."

Although their conclusions are based on studies of rats, they suggest that consuming diet soda and other foods sweetened artificially, as well as the increased consumption of hgih-calorie beverages, may be part of the problem.

[via boingboing]

[/life/health] permanent link

Mon, 12 Jul 2004

John Shirley on Gurdjieff

John Shirley recently wrote a book (Gurdjieff: An Introduction to His Life and Ideas) about mystic, philosopher, and teacher George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff. See also Shirley's essay "The Shadows of Ideas: A Distant Glimpse of Gurdjieff". [via boingboing]

[/life/faith] permanent link

Sun, 11 Jul 2004

Trusting Strangers to Abuse the Trust of Friends

There are many ways in which the C-NET article "For liars and loafers, cell phones offer an alibi" is interesting. But what struck me as truly amazing is that, in order to abuse the trust of friends and associates, people are trusting absolute strangers. My sense is that different kinds of trust are involved, but it's still a bit of a paradox... [via disinfo]

[/life/trust] permanent link

Tue, 08 Jun 2004

Lee Smith on What's Right With Islam

Lee Smith reviews Feisal Abdul Rauf's What's Right With Islam: A New Vision for Muslims and the West:

In other words, contrary to the beliefs of many Western commentators, the Muslim world has had plenty of Martin Luthers; the problem is that so far none of their reformations resulted in anything looking like the E.U. And yet the once-disdained and inclusive creed of Sufism might just redeem the ironic narrative of Muslim reform--at least if Abdul Rauf has his way.

[/life/faith] permanent link

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