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Isaac Clerencia
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Attended University of Zaragoza
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Isaac Clerencia

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"Stochastic terrorism" is a concept in the theory of war. It refers to putting out open calls for terrorism, and trying to incite specific acts of terror, without knowing who (if anyone) will take you up on it. It's one of the principal tactics of ISIS outside its home regions: this is why we hear of "ISIS-inspired" terrorists, who had no particular funding, backing, or material support from the organization, but who were simply acting on a call to arms put out by the terror group to go out and kill infidels. (Or other Muslims, or whoever else ISIS feels like killing that day)

It's not a legal concept, and in fact our laws have no good mechanism to handle it. "Vague threats" are deliberately not threats, under the law; you can't be imprisoned for saying "I'm gonna kill that son-of-a-bitch," or for "Someone oughta do something," unless one can show that in the context it was said, that's something that would cause someone to fear for their life. (It's actually even more complicated than that, but that would be a whole long article in its own right. +Ken Popehat wrote a short summary relevant to today's news here: https://popehat.com/2016/08/09/lawsplainer-no-donald-trumps-second-amendment-comment-isnt-criminal/)

In general, this sort of narrow law is wise; we don't want people being rounded up and imprisoned for anything that sounds vaguely angry. However, it creates an opening for groups like ISIS to actively try to radicalize people around the world.

In the specific case of ISIS, of course, there's a workable solution, one which involves the liberal application of high explosives. However, not all terror threats so conveniently live in places where we feel free to engage in open warfare.

All of this brings us to today's news. Remember that just a few days ago, Trump "suggested" that the election was rigged, and that if he loses it, people should reject its legitimacy. Today, he took that a step further, "suggesting" that, if elected, Clinton should be murdered. That is to say, Trump has rather pointedly rejected the most fundamental principle of democracy: that elections should be the mechanism which decides who is in office.

(People often say that elections are the basis of democracy, but that's not quite true. Syria has had elections for decades, in which you could vote for anyone you wanted, so long as it was Hafez (or later Bashar) al-Assad. The crucial thing which defines a democracy is that after an election, the losers step down. The preconditions for people to feel safe doing this are complex, and have a lot to do with why democracy is working better in some places than others)

Beyond the obvious problems of an American Presidential candidate openly preaching against democracy is the issue we just discussed: this was not merely a thinly veiled call to overthrow a potential US President, but a textbook example of stochastic terrorism.

As this article put it:

Stochastic terrorism, as described by a blogger who summarized the concept several years back, means using language and other forms of communication "to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable."

Let's break that down in the context of what Trump said. Predicting any one particular individual following his call to use violence against Clinton or her judges is statistically impossible. But we can predict that there could be a presently unknown lone wolf who hears his call and takes action in the future.

Stated differently: Trump puts out the dog-whistle knowing that some dog will hear it, even though he doesn't know which dog.

h/t +Lev Osherovich.
Donald Trump engaged in so-called stochastic terrorism with his remarks about "Second Amendment people" and Hillary Clinton.
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People just race to see who bends themselves over backwards first in defense of the 1st Amendment.
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Isaac Clerencia

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It's hard to look at the headlines when you're facepalming. But I see my Facebook feed alight with various opinions on the election, all of which are wrong – so rather than screaming OH, FOR FUCK'S SAKE at all of you individually, let me pull you into the corner and have a brief but ...
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WTF indeed
 
What. The. Actual. Fuck.

"All those protesters last night, they turned around and ran the other way expecting the men and women in blue to protect them. What hypocrites!" an audibly emotional Patrick said.


Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick called protesters who ran away from the hail of bullets that rained down on Downtown Dallas on Thursday night "hypocrites" during an interview Friday on Fox News.
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Stupid is as stupid does
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Isaac Clerencia

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Nothing more enraging than seeing all the hateful bigots "send their prayers". You are part of the problem, assholes.

Those are people who are getting loads of cash from the NRA:
https://twitter.com/igorvolsky/status/742023702573764609

That attended a rally by a pastor who asked for LGBT people to be killed:
https://twitter.com/slackmistress/status/742007185115209728

And that have repeatedly voted against gun law reforms.

Also, if I hear this week (or ever) that "trans people on bathrooms" are a public safety issue, I am going to flip out.
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I despair of what is continuing to happen in the early 21st century. We should be able to see a better future, but it looks like half the population is determined to step backward into the 19th century again.
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Isaac Clerencia

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My grandpa just passed away

While I was growing up my parents were incredibly busy working their asses off to make sure I had food to eat and clothes to wear, so I spent a big amount of time with my grandparents.

My grandpa had a small estate in the hills in Calatayud, Spain, with a yard that held a couple of cows, a mule, some chicken, cats, and a few trees. I spent countless days with him, playing by the trees, hugging the cows, and in general getting in the way of my grandpa while he tried to work. It was basically a huge, fun playground with live animals.

He would put up with me while I excavated “canals” to see water flow on them, and entertain my every wish. Once I insisted on planting an almond, although he was skeptic about it growing with so little thought put into it. Against his expectations, an almond tree grew out of it. My grandpa still mentioned it every time I would go back to visit.

We would go on small hikes to the nearby castle (perks of living in Spain, you can literally live a 5-minute walk away from a castle). On those hikes we would often get some sticks and stones and play tic-tac-toe on the dirt. Despite his injured knee, he would always be up to take me on any crazy adventure that I’d propose.

At dusk the crickets would start chirping and my grandpa would tell me “Do you hear that? Time to go back home!”.

I was his only grandchild and he loved me more than anything. On my last visits he would try to tell me about some of those moments we shared during my childhood but he would just start crying.

He was 95 and lived a long life. Tonight I’ll drink a glass of wine in his memory.
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this picture is amazing. I have a few similar ones myself. My grandparents too passed away. It's hard to feel like a child again after you lose your grandparents. But I appreciate the memories I made with them.

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Isaac Clerencia

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Some guy in the Bay Area threatens to kills Muslims, and an explosive device is found at his place, allegedly to be used on an Islamic Center, and he gets sentenced to ... 90 days in jail?
Celli was arrested after yelling "I'm going to kill you all" outside an Islamic center in California.
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And I'm guessing in 100 days we'll be wondering how he was allowed to be released to kill countless people. :sigh:
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Isaac Clerencia

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We’re introducing Family Library, a way for up to six family members to share purchases on Google Play. When you buy an eligible app, game, movie, TV show, or book in the Play Store, you can now share it with your family—across devices—with no additional fees → https://goo.gl/XgCOMq
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Let's take the counterfactual but very similar "In Defense of Military Unions."

Doesn't sound like a great idea, does it? The reason is simple: militaries and paramilitary organizations like the police are coercive instruments of state power. Since at least the 1500s, It's been recognized as fundamentally important to stability that that coercive power remain in the hands of the state. And since the Roman republic, it's been recognized as critically important to democracy that that power be utterly subordinate to democratic institutions.

This is why the military offers recruits only two options: take the terms which are offered or remain a civilian. It's why the military severely curtails soldiers' civil rights. Because everything we care about in our society depends on the consensual illusion that political power comes from somewhere other than the barrel of a gun.

Police are less dangerous, but not much less. Police unions create contractual relationships with the state. Those contractual relations have the force of law. And that private law supervenes on democratic attempts to create police accountability, because -- in criminal matters -- the management of police departments is the very authority to which the police are accountable.

In all other labor organizing, labor and management are negotiating over the usual subjects of contracts: how much is labor paid; what are the conditions of retirement or disability; how many hours are worked, and when. But the primary subject of negotiation between police unions and city governments is policing strategy and citizens' civil rights.

It is utterly impermissible for governments to negotiate with private parties about civil rights in a way that actually supervenes on public law.
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These are snippets from the new, post- #Brexit United Kingdom. They are originally from a huge Facebook album, and I am resharing them here because some people can't access that album.

https://www.facebook.com/sarah.leblanc.718/media_set?set=a.10101369198638985&type=3

Now, some of you might think I am posting this to make an "anti-British statement. But really, I am not.

Instead, I want to make a statement how close xenophobia and racism are slumbering under the surface of society, and how easily they can emerge.

Because I suspect... no, I know damn well that the same could happen in my native Germany. There are already significant groups pandering to hate, racism, and intolerance. PEGIDA. The Alternative für Deutschland party. And if more mainstream politicians feel that they must pander to these, baser instincts - if they indicate that displaying xenophobia is something socially acceptable - then racist incidents will surge just as much in Germany as it is now happening in the United Kingdom.

This could be us.
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Apparently the gene that determines racism also determines spelling ability. Maybe geneticists can find a treatment..
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Isaac Clerencia

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Salkantay Trail and Machu Picchu

No matter how beautiful some of the pictures I took were, they don't even begin to describe my experience on the Salkantay Trail and Machu Picchu.

You start hiking uphill on the first day, feeling the high elevation take away your breath, and surrounded by a group of strangers.

By the time you reach the first camp, you have talked for hours with some of them. The lunch food tastes like the best food you have ever had.

A few hours later, it's dark, nearly freezing and next day is the hardest, with 23km (15 miles) ahead, reaching an elevation of 4,600m (15,000ft), so things look a bit gloomy ... until you sit on the table for dinner and start chatting away with your new friends and everything starts looking up.

No one lingers around after dinner as it's freezing by now, but the starred sky is breathtaking and takes away the cold for a a few seconds. Soon after you are in your sleeping bag, which hopefully is warm enough to protect you from the cold and offer you a good night of sleep.

Next day you wake up by someone saying "coca tea", who hands you a hot cup as soon as you wake up. You feel refreshed and ready to take on anything. After a quick breakfast, we start climbing up the remaining 700m (~2300ft) to the Salkantay Pass. My fingers and chin start going numb with the cold, but after the first half hour of hiking up, we warm up. We walk over a frozen stream for a while, and see how the mules carrying some of our stuff easily overtake us on the way up.

On the pass we take some pictures, admire the greatness of Salkantay and the other peaks surrounding us. Our guide points out how climate change is severely affecting the region, quickly melting all those glaciers that had been around for centuries and that are the main source of water for the nearby villages.

From this point, we have a few hours of downhill hiking. First we stop for lunch in a beautiful prairie in the valley. I take off my hiking boots for a while to dip my feet in a nearby stream and then take a short nap while the rest of the group arrives. A playful dog comes to get a scratch and see what I am up to.

After lunch we keep going downhill and the mountainous terrain is replaced by a more tropical one, with lush valleys and waterfalls. A bit earlier than expected we make it to the new camp. We have gone down to 2900m (9500ft) and the temperature is much nicer, being able to take off my hiking boots and wear flip flops for the rest of the night.

While waiting for dinner I buy a bottle of wine and share it with some of my fellow trekkers. The mood is much more festive as the hardest day is behind us and the facilities are much nicer, including the chance of getting a hot shower!

Next day we keep going down into the jungle and enjoy some tasty and refreshing local fruits on the way, while enjoying the company of countless dogs and kittens.

After lunch we get into a bus to go to Santa Teresa ... at this point the group splits as some people are only booked for a three night trip. It feels like have of our family just disappeared :(

The bus is packed to the brim and the atmosphere is amazing, with music, singing, smiles, great views through the window, ... I fall asleep feeling quite exhausted and incredibly happy.

Then we have the most relaxing moment of the whole trip, the hot springs in Santa Teresa, where we just chill out for a couple of hours, and spend 15 minutes trying to get an underwater group picture/video. We don't succeed, but have a lot of fun trying.

Back in the camp we have a bonfire, music, drinks and dancing. I get introduced to Gato box wine, probably the most "bang for your buck" drink alcohol-wise, tied with the 1 sol ($0.30) inka tequila shots. We stay up until midnight and I am so tired that I pass on unpacking my sleeping bag, sleeping straight on the mat.

Next day we go ziplining in the morning, crossing a beautiful valley repeatedly with ziplines 1km long (0.7 miles). Quite thrilling, flying at high speed a few hundred feet over the valley.

Afterwards some more walking along the railway paths, with our first glimpse of Machu Picchu and arrival at Aguas Calientes, which feels like a metropolis after our days in the mountains/jungle. On the way there we meet some of the people who had split the previous day and happily catch up and give another farewell.

The next day is finally our time to see Machu Picchu. We wake up at 4am to be the first ones before the bridge opens. Then we climb the stairs to the top in the dark. The first sight of Machu Picchu is truly breathtaking. It's still completely empty and it puts a grin on my face for five minutes.

Even if it quickly fills up with tourists, it's still possible to get lost on some of the less popular areas and be alone for a while. The hike up to
Huayna Picchu is the cherry on top, with an incredible view of Machu Picchu and the surrounding mountains.

Back in Aguas Calientes it's time to say good bye, as we are booked in different trains to Cusco ... hopefully our paths will cross again and we'll share some other adventure soon :)
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Thugs
"Without the video I would be in prison. There is no doubt about that."
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The person in question would have suffered consequences of said perjury, had they committed said perjury. They haven't, so it's clearly not an exception.

Is this how logic works?
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Education
  • University of Zaragoza
    Computer Science, 1998 - 2003
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Software Engineer
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  • Google
    Software Engineer, 2010 - present
  • eBox Technologies
    2008 - 2010
  • Warp Networks
    2005 - 2008
  • University of Zaragoza
    2005 - 2007
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Mountain View
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San Francisco - Dublin - Zaragoza - Bellingham
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All the BBQ pork was delicious, as was the salad, fried rice and everything else. I wouldn't come that often because I couldn't stop eating, but definitely recommended.
Public - a month ago
reviewed a month ago
This place is hands down the best place to go out in Mountain View. It's tiny and cash only but it's the only place that doesn't have a horrible "fit as many people as possible" atmosphere in Mountain View. The jukebox and the nice corner places to seat are great.
Public - 4 months ago
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Nice hotel in a great location in Paris. 5 minute walk to Notre Dame and many cafes and restaurants. Clean modern rooms and accommodating staff who checked me in a couple of hours early.
Public - a month ago
reviewed a month ago
Public - 4 months ago
reviewed 4 months ago
We stopped twice in the Yosemite Lodge lounge during the day. They were crazily busy (President's weekend + Valentine's day), so service was a bit hectic, but still both times were enjoyable. Good lemonade and espresso and the food was decent too. A welcome place to catch a break on a very busy day.
Public - 6 months ago
reviewed 6 months ago