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Jim Lippard
Lives in Phoenix, Arizona
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Jim Lippard

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Books read in 2014
Not much blogging going on here lately, but here's my annual list of books read for 2014: James Altucher, The Choose Yourself Stories Nate Anderson, The Internet Police: How Crime Went Online, and the Cops Followed David V. Barrett, A Brief History of Secre...
Not much blogging going on here lately, but here's my annual list of books read for 2014: James Altucher, The Choose Yourself Stories; Nate Anderson, The Internet Police: How Crime Went Online, and the Cops Followed; David V. Barrett, A Brief History of Secret Societies: An Unbiased History of ...
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Multiple pieces of evidence suggest that the driver of this car is a jerk.
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kind of looks like a dollop of shit in what could otherwise be a parking place for two cars...could be the color translation...
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Donald Prothero discusses some recent highs and lows on the battle over science and climate change.
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Also noted on site:

You missed one point, Don.

One reason Antarctic sea ice likely is expanding is precisely because of global warming.

Warmer air holds more moisture, thus Antarctica may be getting heavier snowfalls. And, deducting ice sheets that have calved off their ends into the Southern Ocean, interior Antarctic land ice may well grow first, for the same reason.
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A brand new ‪#‎skeptic‬ group blog called INSIGHT launched today. It is edited by +Daniel Loxton and features a ton of great writers (and friends of mine) including +Robynn McCarthy, +Blake Smith, +Eve Siebert, +Donald Prothero, +Jim Lippard, +Laurie Tarr, +Barbara Drescher and more!  http://bit.ly/skep_IS
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Cybersecurity as Realpolitik by Dan Geer presented at Black Hat USA 2014. Dan is always worth listening to, whether you agree with him on any given point or not.
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Jim Lippard

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What movie was Nixon describing at 17:48-?
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Jim ... can't find one ... sounds like Shearer was riffing on an actual 1992 movie described here. http://internetisinamerica.blogspot.com/2013/05/b-movie-review-mikey-1992.html
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Summary of 1994 CSICOP conference
I just stumbled across an old Usenet post of mine which summarizes the CSICOP conference held in Seattle June 23-26, 1994 ( PDF of conference program ; PDF of conference announcement mailing ) with Robert Sheaffer's reply: Path: bga.com!news.sprintlink.net!...
Tuesday, October 14, 2014. Summary of 1994 CSICOP conference. I just stumbled across an old Usenet post of mine which summarizes the CSICOP conference held in Seattle June 23-26, 1994 (PDF of conference program; PDF of conference announcement mailing) with Robert Sheaffer's reply: ...
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"He began by saying that he didn't bring any slides, but if the whole audience would just look at the screen, research shows that about 2% of us would see things on it anyway."

Love it! Reminds me of the kind of stuff we used to cover in SITP London around 1998. This seems so tame now because, perhaps, the focus is more in really toxic crazes like antivaccination movements and the really horrible American laws that permit people to pray over their dying children instead of calling a doctor.
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An in-depth report and analysis of behind-the-scenes goings-on in the 1993 airing of Sun International Pictures' _The Incredible Discovery of Noah's Ark_ on CBS.
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Ahh, my dad was big into a lot of this, including the claims that Chinese ideograms had secret Christian meanings and such.
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It's good for letting me know I'm not the only rational being alive, and thus good for keeping me from going stark raving bonkers.
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This is a profoundly disturbing editorial. It's an op-ed written by a police officer in the Washington Post, and its message is very simple: 

"If you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you. Don’t argue with me, don’t call me names, don’t tell me that I can’t stop you, don’t say I’m a racist pig, don’t threaten that you’ll sue me and take away my badge. Don’t scream at me that you pay my salary, and don’t even think of aggressively walking towards me. Most field stops are complete in minutes. How difficult is it to cooperate for that long?"

I wish I could tell you that this article betrayed a sense of the absurd, or that it was meant in some kind of satirical fashion. It isn't. His argument is simple: you have no idea what's going on for that cop or what the cop is going through. The cop has the right to use whatever force is needed. So if you don't want to get shot, do everything the cop says, never argue, never object. Later, he says, you can "ask for a supervisor, lodge a complaint or contact civil rights organizations if you believe your rights were violated."

To list a few of the exceptionally obvious things which this ignores:

(1) All of the arguments that you don't know what a cop is going through, that this "routine traffic stop" is actually very dangerous for them, and so on, apply just as well to the person being stopped. In fact, especially if you don't look white and upper-class enough, that routine stop is even more dangerous for you than for the cop: the cop doesn't know if you're armed and willing to become violent, but (by Dutta's own admission) you do know that the cop is. Saying that people being stopped need to be respectful and do what the cop says, but that the cop isn't under any such obligation to anyone else, is an invitation for violence.

(2) These post facto remedies which he suggests are incredibly limited in their value. Go ahead and lodge a complaint; it will promptly be filed in the appropriate place. Under the POBOR (Peace Officers' Bill of Rights, a California law) and similar laws elsewhere, you get all sorts of guarantees here: for example, that if a decision is made in regards to your complaint, you will be notified of that decision within 30 days. It does not guarantee, for example, that a decision will actually be made, and in fact it guarantees that if a decision isn't made within a year, the officer will face no consequences from it. The police have a tremendous degree of immunity, and outside of very exceptional situations, are investigated only by an internal system.

(You can read the text of the POBOR here: https://www.cslea.com/legal/pobor . Other states have similar laws, but you should check your own state's laws for the details)

(3) If a police officer does something wrong during a stop, it can have serious consequences for you, which will not be redressed no matter what. As far as the police are concerned, an arrest isn't a "consequence," since the courts can easily throw it out; but go ahead and explain that to your employer when you're telling them why you didn't come to work. Being threatened and harassed every time you walk out the door in your neighborhood isn't a "consequence," because if the cop didn't have a good reason, they wouldn't have done anything.

Knowing that you might be publicly bullied and humiliated, in front of your children, your spouse, or your employer, that you may be searched, beaten, or arrested at any time -- and that such things happen routinely to you and everyone around you -- is something acceptable, in the view of this editorial, because you have the right to file a grievance later with the same organization which has decided that this behavior is, at a baseline, OK.


My purpose here isn't to say that people should be rude or threatening to cops. I'm saying that the obligation of police and citizens is a reciprocal obligation. It is absolutely true that the work of police is dangerous and complicated, and they require certain allowances in order to be able to do their jobs; however, if you translate that to "they must be granted unlimited authority over the citizenry, and must never be challenged, except after the fact and in very limited ways," then the police have been set up to become villains, not heroes. 

Dutta's attitude is profoundly corrupted: he has taken the real and reasonable fears of police about doing their jobs, and expanded it into a notion of the police as being a class above the public, with tremendous powers of force and coercion, and subject to not even contradiction. If you heard this sort of statement from soldiers, you would think you were living in a military junta; if you hear this from police officers, you wonder if they think we are living in a junta.

h/t +Xenophrenia for the link.
It’s not the police, but the people they stop, who can prevent a detention from turning into a tragedy.
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Oh, and don't get me started on the glorification of professional firefighters in our culture! Talk about blowing job safety perceptions completely out of proportion!
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Phoenix, Arizona
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Tucson, Arizona - Clovis, New Mexico - Indianapolis, Indiana
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Knowledge worker
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Permanent student of history & philosophy of science & technology.  Background in philosophy (especially epistemology, critical thinking, symbolic logic, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of science), cognitive science (cognitive & social psychology), and science studies.
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