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Don't Fly During Ramadan

NiteShaed Re:Why is almost nobody questioning this account? (1233 comments)

Yeah, if only he had some outlet where he could get that kind of a request out...like, a blog maybe, perhaps one that 's getting thousands of hits from Slashdot alone right now. But no, you're right, there's no way he could do something like that. I guess if we were in crazy-fantasy land he could talk to someone who's job it was to write stories about this kind of thing, who had resources to verify information, some kind of person who reports on things of interest, but no, no such thing as that either I suppose. Yep, you've got me, the only alternative is to take him at his word without any verification and start pissing ourselves with impotent rage against the machine.

1 year,25 days
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Don't Fly During Ramadan

NiteShaed Re:Why is almost nobody questioning this account? (1233 comments)

The only brow raising moment in the whole article is that they failed to figure out that Hindu is not the same as Muslim, but based on their track record, I can believe that, too.

One TSA agent, sure. Maybe even two. But the agents, their supervisors, the NYPD (the officers on the scene, plus the ones who authorized searching his apartment- TSA didn't do that, they're glorified security guards not field agents), the Jet Blue ticket agent, probably her supervisor...this isn't some tiny rural airport in the middle of nowhere, it's NYC. I have a hard time believing that out of the entire cast of characters presented, none of them know the difference between a Hindu and a Muslim.

1 year,25 days
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Don't Fly During Ramadan

NiteShaed Re:Why is almost nobody questioning this account? (1233 comments)

So why was the search a secret? They didn't have to go to the bother, they could have kicked in the door and just said "National Security" afterward, and possibly "oops". In your own story they just did what they wanted. So, why the almost perfect secret search, with the glaring exception of taking the only picture he had on the walls? What would be the point?

1 year,25 days
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Don't Fly During Ramadan

NiteShaed Re:Why is almost nobody questioning this account? (1233 comments)

Maybe for "evidence"?

Evidence of what? According to the account, they questioned him, they found nothing, they acted like jerks, they let him go. Why would they keep looking, for fun?

But let's say that they did. They went to all the bother of sneaking in, putting everything back exactly as it had been, but took the single most obvious thing in the room with them? And if they found their incriminating prints or residue or whatever, what then? If they didn't have a warrant, it's useless in court. If they did have a warrant, they could have simply kicked in his door torn the place to pieces as he watched. And this is all because he has dark skin and tried to fly to L.A.? Why would they go to that level of bother for this guy? If they were concerned about what he was up to, they could have made him vanish for as long as they wanted, there's really no need for some kind of elaborate black-ops spy game. Hell, if we want to go all out evil-empire, they *could* have just shot him in the head at the airport and said he was resisting arrest. For some reason though, everyone is happy to accept that we went from "You're brown and can't fly" to a shadowy conspiracy by secret police agencies that are both nearly magical in their abilities but absurdly incompetant at the same time.

1 year,28 days
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Don't Fly During Ramadan

NiteShaed Re:Why is almost nobody questioning this account? (1233 comments)

Good point. Standing up for yourself and proving your accusations is hard, so let's just take everyone's word for anything they say, regardless of whether they can support it or not. Great idea.

1 year,28 days
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Don't Fly During Ramadan

NiteShaed Re:Why is almost nobody questioning this account? (1233 comments)

So if I told you that I was kidnapped by the NSA last night, tortured in a secret location in a way that left no visible injuries, and returned home before sunrise while my neighbors were sleeping, you'd just take my word for it?

but he did manage to sneak in some text messages when given the opportunity.

So he says. Claiming to have sent three messages to anonymous friends tells me nothing. While the NSA was torturing me last night, I sent texts to my friends Fred, Janine and Ernesto. Does make my story more plausable to you?

The government apparently/allegedly took him to a private location. They hold the burden of proving what happened by providing us with their own uncut footage recording everything.

You have only his word for this. If it never happened, how do you propose they provide the footage you require? And if you just want footage of the area, have you tried asking for it? If you get it and it shows nothing, what then? Will you be satisfied, or will you just say it's faked because it doesn't show what you think it would show?

If your burden of proof is so low that you'll simply take anyone's word for it that an event happened as long as it fits your expectation of reality, then what stops you from believing my NSA story above, or for that matter believing every ghost story, bigfoot sighting and alien abduction account that comes along without proof?

1 year,28 days
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Don't Fly During Ramadan

NiteShaed Re:Why is almost nobody questioning this account? (1233 comments)

Yes. Start filing complaints anywhere and everywhere possible. Start legal action against Jet Blue for their obviously discriminitory behaviour, naming the ticket agent as well. File a police report of the "break-in" (he assumes that his apartment was searched by the government, but has no proof of that, it might have been his landlord or a thief who has an affinity for religious pictures). Announce what time/day/flight number this took place before, maybe someone else will remember seeing him being led away. If his memory is so staggeringly good that he can recall all of these conversations verbatim, perhaps he also remembers a badge number, file a complaint with the CRB against the officer that trampled on his rights.

So, yes, there's probably at least a couple of things he could try to do to verify his story.

1 year,28 days
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Don't Fly During Ramadan

NiteShaed Why is almost nobody questioning this account? (1233 comments)

An uncorroborated story, retold in amazing detail (he remembers almost everything said to him so clearly that he's comfortable using quotation marks for dialog), complete with a clever protagonist who's at the mercy of idiots (the Jet Blue agent who, despite working at one of the busiest airports in the US seems never to have encountered anyone who isn't a WASP, the TSA drones who think they're working in the Hotel California, the cops who can't read dates on an ID card and mistake venture capital with capitol one credit cards because, y'know, they're a bunch of blue-collar dummies. Luckily though, our protagonist is clever enough to be able to guess their source of confusion immediately). Then, the chilling conclusion, where he returns home to find almost everything exactly in place, except for the missing photograph. Why would whatever shadowy TLA actually take a photograph off the wall? If they were interested in what it showed, might it not just occur to them to, I dunno, take a picture of it themselves? Then there's the procedural inconsistencies...the NYPD officer can't even be present when he's patted down "because when we pat people down, it’s to lock them up." Really? NYC, the focus of the "Stop and Frisk" controversy actually has officers who believe they can't do a pat-down unless it's during an arrest? And going back to the uncorroborated nature of the story, he would have at least had some voicemails from himself during this ordeal, except once again the universe conspired against him and when he called his parents, "Unfortunately, my mom’s voicemail was full, and my dad had never even set his up".

I'm not going to go so far as to say that the blogger here is lying, but there's more than enough here to make me very skeptical.

1 year,28 days
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North Korea's Twitter and Flickr Accounts Hacked By Anonymous

NiteShaed Re:How can you tell North Korea was hacked? (212 comments)

Big fan of BadAnalogyGuy are ya?

Yeah, in the same way that when I flick someone off on the freeway, that's the same as making a terrorist threat to blow up every car on the freeway. And let's not even get started on how many times I've murdered people in my mind... I'd be a serial murderer. :P

No. The freeway analogy here would be: In the same way that when I point a rocket propelled grenade launcher out my window at other drivers screaming "I'm gonna blow you straight to hell", that's the same as making a terrorist threat to blow up every car on the freeway. Which, it is.

about a year and a half ago
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Iceland Considers Internet Porn Ban

NiteShaed Re:fuck you iceland. (684 comments)

There's a huge difference between having sex (or even just appearing naked in front of people) and cleaning a toilet, to a lot of people.

Indeed. There are plenty of people who find the idea of cleaning up someone else's shit an unthinkable career choice, whereas being naked or having public sex isn't as big a deal to them as it appears to be to you. That said, lets assume that it's easier to make money by gettin' nekkid for the camera than it is to get a janitorial job. You've now implied that they took this option because all the "good" jobs like maid or McDonald's fry-o-lator operator are out of reach for them, so if you take away this job option, what are the people who rely on doing it going to do instead? Or is it a case of letting them die before letting them "dishonor" themselves?

about a year and a half ago
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Three Low-Tech Hacks for Phones and Tablets

NiteShaed Really? These are "hacks"? (286 comments)

"Get a spare battery" is a hack now?

OK, now before everyone starts shouting "DUH!", I can tell you that I was at a conference right before New Year's, and every day from about 11 a.m. onward, I heard people saying that their phones were about to die, that they would either about to drop off the grid or would have to spend the next half-hour shackled to an outlet via their phone charger, etc. I never once heard anyone mentioning swapping in a spare phone battery, and according to my own survey of my friends, none of them have ever tried it either.

Yeah, I'm going to shout DUH anyway. The reason people don't bother with spare batteries/portable chargers is that both of those things are one more thing to carry around that you're almost never going to actually use. Nobody wants to carry extra batteries around on the off-chance they'll die before they can recharge (which is why most iPhone users don't care about removable batteries), and in the case that someone actually predicts that their battery will die before they can recharge they do actually buy a cheap portable charger, or, more likely, they just say screw it I'll live until I can charge again. In the case of the former, it probably gets used once (maybe), and then tossed in the junk drawer never to be seen again.

As for the "furniture hacks"....dear god. We used to call this kind of half-assery "jury-rigging", which pretty much implied an ugly temporary fix that lacked elegance but got the job done. "Temporary" is the key word here. If you're going to use one of these solutions on a permanent or semi-permanent basis, put a little effort into the damn thing. Using wood-clamps to hold your furniture together might work, but it's hardly something to proudly show off to the world.

I appreciate a clever hack as much as anyone, but the battery thing isn't a hack, it's obvious, and the furniture stuff is really just sloppy, lazy jury-rigging for someone who doesn't want to put in a minimal amount of work for something just a touch less trashy. If you're okay with this kind of stuff in your house, that's fine, I don't care and if I came over I doubt I'd give it a second thought, but to showcase it on Slashdot? I don't get it.

about a year and a half ago
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Kentucky Lawmakers Shocked To Find Evolution In Biology Tests

NiteShaed Re:Another perspective (1218 comments)

Unless *all* the religious alternatives are discussed though, they're running afoul of the Constitution. I don't think you'll find a whole lot of places where teaching creationism in science class is a priority that are willing to give as much time to the Muslim take on creationism. This battle is usually pretty specific to "I believe", not "other people believe".

more than 2 years ago
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Kentucky Lawmakers Shocked To Find Evolution In Biology Tests

NiteShaed Re:Another perspective (1218 comments)

It doesn't prevent teaching about religions.

Teaching about religion is not the same thing as teaching religion. If your comparative religion class says "And Christians believe all life was created by blah blah blah" you're teaching about religion. If your science class says "An alternative possibly to evolution is that God created all life blah blah blah", it is teaching religion. Nobody will stop you from teaching *about* Christianity, so long as it's presented neutrally and within the context of other religions. As a wise man once said, "There's a time and a place for everything", science class is neither the time nor the place for people's creation myths.

more than 2 years ago
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Artist's Catcopter Causes a Stir

NiteShaed Re:PETA (360 comments)

...is going to have a field day...

Are they though? I mean, sure, they want people to treat animals well (by PETA standards) while they're alive, and they definitely don't like it when people turn live animals into dead animals, but doing weird stuff with an animal carcass that was already dead when the guy got it? I'm not sure it fits in with their general focus...

ADDENDUM: Okay, after typing that, I had the idea to google for "peta position on eating roadkill". Yes, they actually have one. I'm thinking the catcopter may actually be okay by PETA standards....

more than 2 years ago
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MIT Researchers Invent 'Super Glass'

NiteShaed Re:Forget tablets & phones... (199 comments)

If its as hydrophobic as they claim, I want a glass bottom boat made with it. It'd be awesome- just like a mag-lev, but on water!

more than 2 years ago
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Neal Stephenson Takes Blame For Innovation Failure

NiteShaed Re:hooray for a global military dictatorship? (448 comments)

Then why during the Dominion War did Starfleet officers have to try to stage a coup to take control of the Federation, and then get arrested and jailed when their plot was revealed? If they were in charge all along, they'd just do what they want and the puppet president would have gone along with it. Admirals certainly wouldn't have gone to prison for attempting implement martial law if the civilian government wasn't actually in control.

Did you once see the president or any other democratically elected figure even participating in them, much less leading them?

Sure, at the conference at Khitomer in "Undiscovered Country". Kirk and friends have to prevent the president's assassination during talks with the Klingons.

No, you didn't, because it was always admirals or some other higher-ups from the Navy/Starfleet.

Except for when it was ambassadors or other representatives. C'mon, the galaxy is a big place, the president can't be everywhere (not to mention, it's a TV show, it's more interesting to watch Picard do things on screen than have a new political representative on every week that Picard just follows around saying "Yes Mr. Ambassador" to over and over).

So while there may be a token civilian democracy in the Federation, it's really the military that exercises all the executive power. How could you miss that?

I didn't miss it, it's not there.

more than 2 years ago
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Neal Stephenson Takes Blame For Innovation Failure

NiteShaed Re:hooray for a global military dictatorship? (448 comments)

same for the other rights that suffer when all of space is controlled by a military dictatorship, aka, 'the federation'

You fail at Star Treks. The government is the United Federation of Planets, which has an elected President and representitves. It's not much different than today's democratic governments. Starfleet is the military/exploration arm of the Federation. Please turn in your geek card.

more than 2 years ago
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T-Mobile Exec Calls For End To Cell Phone Subsidies

NiteShaed And will this benefit the customers? (355 comments)

Carriers have built a market structure in which consumers gladly accept a new bauble every 18 months in exchange for paying for text messaging (which literally costs carriers nothing) and overage charges in which 300MB of data for $20 is a fair market value."

Why do I suspect that under this interesting new vision, the above would all still be true with the addition of a hefty cost for the bauble. The carriers will give up their long term lock-ins and overpriced data/text when you pry them from their cold, dead hands.

more than 2 years ago
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The Future of Protest In Panopticon Nation

NiteShaed Re:Yes, accident (566 comments)

That was the Democratic party platform. The Republican party was founded on abolishing slavery.

...before the two parties went on to essentially switch positions, as demonstrated by "The Southern Strategy"
"From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don't need any more than that... but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That's where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats." -- Kevin Phillips, Nixon political strategist.

more than 2 years ago
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88-Year-Old Inventor Hassled By the DEA

NiteShaed Re:Constitution is 2/3 as good as what we have now (757 comments)

Isn't marijuana a Schedule 1 drug according to the Feds? Which would essentially ban it? But states can then override it (see California), correct?

No, the states can not override federal law. Medical marijuana may be left alone by state authorities in California, but the feds can swoop in any time they like and shut down any MM operation they want and prosecute them in federal court. For a while, it seemed that they were backing off of this sort of "unwelcome enforcement" in Cali, but recently word is that they're about to return to business as usual.

State laws are always trumped by federal laws.

more than 2 years ago

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