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Thursday links

  • You are committing a crime. Right now. By reading this page. Really. (H/T MJR)
  • This is from earlier this year, but the message is timeless. Always, always trust your dog’s impressions of people.
  • Google’s driverless cars are programmed to obey all traffic rules. But oops, the people they attempt to navigate among … not so much.
  • Yeah, you already know it, but Heather Wilhelm says it well: D.C. is America’s biggest busybody neighbor.
  • Seems the big food companies suddenly like Michelle Obama now that they’ve figured out whole grain and low-fat junk foods are bringing in the profits. Yet another example of entirely predictable unintended consequences. And here you thought the kiddies were going to be getting fresh, wholesome veggies.

Finally: Are you on the verge of a mental breakdown? Job getting you down? Relationships going sour? Longing forward to the Apocalypse just to have something interesting to do? Well, then, this just might be the prescription for what ails you.

And I say that despite my notorious distaste for the stuff. Can’t say I agree with the “non-harmful” claim, though. Not. At. All. (H/T MJR)


  1. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal September 3, 2015 2:20 pm

    I’m fairly sure Nature is illegal around here. If not, they have still managed to get rid of it and replace it with artificial nature- also known as cropland. Yeah, I know it’s necessary, but it does nothing to prevent withdrawal from the real thing.

  2. jed
    jed September 3, 2015 3:38 pm

    Meh. A web server on a public IP address? Not unless the pages in question are protected by some sort of secure interface, even if it’s just http basic authentication.

  3. Bear
    Bear September 3, 2015 6:10 pm

    “You are committing a crime. Right now. By reading this page.”

    Think ‘three a felonies a day’ and you’ll see statists view this as a feature, not a bug.

    jed, the point is that Auernheimer was convicted of exactly that: reading unsecure, open pages on an open web server. I’ve even seen it argued that spammers spidering sites for email addresses, who ignore the noindex, nofollow meta tags should be tried and imprison under the same law.

    Remember: When dealing with government’s potential for abuse, it’s always already worse than you thought.

  4. jed
    jed September 3, 2015 7:28 pm

    Bear, yes, initially, he was convicted. That was a miscarriage of justice, which wasn’t completely addressed, but the Third Circuit vacated the conviction (using Wikipedia here).

    While the judges did not address the substantive question on the legality of the site access, they were skeptical of the original conviction, noting that no circumvention of passwords had occurred and that only publicly accessible information was obtained.

    Ok, so I won’t claim that as a solid precedential ruling.Ars Technica quotes the court:

    … we find it necessary to reach only one that has been fundamental since our country’s founding: venue,

    which choice of wording implies, somewhat, that they just used the easiest legal lever they could find, rather than spending time diving into the more comples issue. A legal shortcut to quickly get to the result they felt was proper? So, that doesn’t serve the principle well in the long run. Well, that sucks.

    The nofollow etc. tags are an interesting thought. Could they be construed as the equivalent of a meatspace No Trespassing sign? But they apply only to search engines and spiders, and not to us mere humans surfing the web.

  5. Bear
    Bear September 3, 2015 8:15 pm

    Jed, allow me to remind you of a phrase common in the criminal law (and read that term as you wish) field: The process is the punishment. No doubt the man’s financial burden and imprisonment somehow don’t count ex post facto once the appellate panel reversed. “Our bad. Bummer we bankrupted you, eh?”

    The is no pro-freedom precedent established. The panel didn’t reverse on any merits of the applied law, or lack thereof. They didn’t say web browsing stuff in the open, that the company was too damned stupid not to put on the net, is OK. That’s all in place still.

    “[W]e find it necessary to reach only one that has been fundamental since our country’s founding: venue

    They only argued over which court should have gotten to screw him.

    Note that Spitler did the same thing as Auernheimer, in terms of accessing pages. He was convicted. If that was overturned, I missed it.

    Anyway… nofollow:

    “But they apply only to search engines and spiders, and not to us mere humans surfing the web.”

    The theory I saw is that spiders/crawlers/slurpers are just tools of the humans using them (which is the dangerous part, because they start with a self-evident truth): “Your Honor, I wasn’t trespassing. I sent my drone to take videos of the under-age girl nude sunbathing behind the hedges and privacy fences on her family’s property. I never once walked past the sign, so it’s all good.”

    Of course, that ‘private area’ argument is the fallacy. The spiders ignoring nofollow aren’t drones flying past no trespassing signs on private property. They’re reading all the notes posted on the grocery store bulletin board for all to see.

  6. Tahn
    Tahn September 4, 2015 6:08 am

    Thanks for the Nature RX ad. That was great and true but I wonder if I have OD’ed since I “take” it 24/7. Oh well, nice way to go!

  7. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau September 5, 2015 9:19 am

    That Nature RX ad was wonderful. Now to actually give it a try… 😉

  8. leonard
    leonard September 6, 2015 5:22 pm

    Well I work in Nature and have found it generally tries to kill me quite often. And besides that it is generally to hot, to cold, high winds, mosquitoes, other bugs, bad terrain, brush, steep ground and a few other things.

    I have quit my high altitude climbing days so at least I only have to deal with ordinary work in Nature.

    When you are out in it all the time, it loses some of the flower child stuff.

  9. Claire
    Claire September 7, 2015 11:12 am

    “When you are out in it all the time, it loses some of the flower child stuff.”

    I’ve never had to work in it for long, but I share your view about nature being generally dangerous, uncomfortable, and inconvenient, dirty, and too frequently deadly.

    Still, the flower-child stuff isn’t all unicorns and fairy dust. For those of us who work and live mostly indoors, small doses of nature coupled with exercise can be better than drugs for curing a lot of what ails us.

  10. leonard
    leonard September 7, 2015 4:08 pm

    absolutely agree. There are sublime moments. Some I’ve had I wouldn’t trade for anything.

    Complaining aside I’d still rather be 20 miles east of Mina, NV than in any cubicle /office in the world.

  11. leonard
    leonard September 7, 2015 4:10 pm

    Well maybe not in August as I was three weeks ago.

  12. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau September 8, 2015 10:46 am

    [Well I work in Nature and have found it generally tries to kill me quite often]

    That does not mean it is lacking in value. 😉

    Let’s not forget how humans got to be where they were – they lived through the Pleistocene era. That was a very tough time. Humans are not happy unless they are struggling with some crisis or difficulty. The easy life is no good for us; we get fat and dumb and listless. That’s my theory anyway!

    Also, it is all too easy to be killed by not-Nature as well. From vile governments down to your occasional free-lance criminal, or even just bad habits, one has to look out…

  13. jc2k
    jc2k September 8, 2015 12:00 pm

    When I saw that the first link was about Andrew Auernheimer, my first thought was “first they came for the a-holes, and I did not speak out, because I was not an a-hole…”

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