Thursday, May 26, 2005

"Sure had a wonderful time last night, leastways they tell me I did"

Guru Plinck had his first annual Pencak Silat Serak workshop this weekend. It always sounds like paid advertising for a student to talk about his teacher's events, so I won't say much. It went well. We didn't forget anything important. Everyone went away looking like he had drunk out of a fire hose. People didn't just work out with their normal training partners. And who knows? We may yet seduce an Aikido player over to the Dark Side.

In other words, we had a great time but have been trashed the last couple days.

We had a very surreal moment Sunday night. Terry stayed at our house. After the workshop the cameraman came by to drop off some equipment I'd left at his house. The two of them got to talking, and it turned out they'd both been part of the same strange subcultures in Denver a few lifetimes ago, hung out at the same places, maybe dated the same women, done Silat and had heard of the other but hadn't met. There were a couple "You?! You were the ones who did that?" moments. Very strange but a lot of fun.

I truly believe that my friend is an honest man, but to hear some of his stranger experiences confirmed stretched my sense of reality. Tiel might give up writing fiction because she can't make up anything half as bizarre as what these guys have lived through.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Working with Poser

I've been playing around with a new copy of Curious Labs Poser 6 and some props and textures from DAZ 3d.

Friday, May 13, 2005

More on the RealID Act

It passed the Senate Tuesday 100-0. There wasn't even a single abstention. Congress never read the Patriot Act before voting on it, and it's obvious they didn't read this one either. Ars Technica was the first to point out that it has a really appalling power grab. The Secretary of Homeland Security has been granted the right to waive any law he wants to in pursuit of building roads and barriers in a specific part of California and to be free of all judicial review.

Courtesy of The Electronic Frontier Foundation's analysis of the Bill:

H.R. 418 [the Real ID Act of 2005] would provide additional waiver authority over laws that might impede the expeditious construction of barriers and roads along the border. H.R. 418 would require the Secretary of Homeland Security to waive any and all laws that he determines necessary, in his sole discretion, to ensure the expeditious construction of barriers and roads under IIRIRA § 102...

Section 102 of H.R. 418 would amend the current provision to require the Secretary of Homeland Security to waive any law upon determining that a waiver is necessary for the expeditious construction of the border barriers. Additionally, it would prohibit judicial review of a waiver decision or action by the Secretary and bar judicially ordered compensation or injunction or other remedy for damages alleged to result from any such decision or action.

Now, I don't care too much about roads in San Diego. Roads in Portland are the ones I have to drive on every day. It's the part which says that he is completely free of any sorts of judicial checks and balances and that no relief of any sort is allowed - no suits for damages, no injunctions, nothing. We can only wait and see how far this will be extended to other executive powers.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Thibault's circle on the Atkins diet

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Fourth mysterious diagram

Another strange symbol with a hidden meaning.

Third mysterious diagram

It's a square. So why are there all those extra lines?

Second mysterious diagram

What do these lines mean?

First mysterious diagram

Skeletonized pyramids? Bumper cars? They are for something

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

It has been a while, hasn't it?

Life has been getting in the way of blogging, but there here's something that just need to be shouted or screamed from the rooftops.

The first is RealID. Because of the paranoid fantasies of one Congressman, James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, the US has adopted a national ID card. Twenty years ago this would have been dismissed as a paranoid fantasy. Within 24 hours it will be law. RealID mandates that all state IDs and drivers licenses conform to a single federal standard, be registered in a single federal database and contain a hell of a lot of personal information. With a "common machine readable format" it would allow every bar and convenience store to harvest your name, permanent address, age, social security number and description. In short, it would automate identity theft.

The supposed rationale for this is to prevent terrorism and illegal immigration. This cuts as much ice as a soap hacksaw. The 9/11 terrorists all had legitimate ID. Most illegal immigrants drive without state licenses. All it will do is bury another freedom we used to take for granted, the freedom to walk down the street without having someone say "papers, citizen".

Bruce Schneier's Blog has an excellent analysis of the idiocy of this measuer from a security perspective. UnReal ID has more background and a free fax service so that you can tell your Senator what you think of the soon-to-be-law.