Friday, April 22, 2011

Is 153 mph really that bad?

Here's a sensationalistic news story for you:
"*MUST SEE* Bike Clocked at 153mph Cops Give up!"

What a stupid "news" story. And let's just say that I'm not impressed with the woman in the latter part of the story. She "could have been killed"? Did she notice that two people actually WERE killed?

Interesting to me how these stories never mention who was at fault. Never. She probably pulled out right in front of the bikes. Fine, they were going fast, but did they have the right of way? Let me phrase it another way, just to be obnoxious: If they were speeding, does that give her the right to kill them?

Something similar (much lower speed) happened to me on Tuesday, two blocks from my house. Residential neighborhood, I was probably doing 25 mph. Guy in a pickup truck, on a cell phone, pulled right out in front of me (I had the right of way, he had a stop sign). Never even looked. Not once. Hit the horn, he never even flinched, just kept coming, right into my path.

Back to the story...

I love how they say most cars are at or below the speed limit. Speed limits are a joke. If cars are going below the speed limit then what does it say about those drivers? Hint: It's not good.

As I've said before: Life is too short to be stuck behind a Camry.

One more thing: This story reminds me that I need to get up to North Georgia and RIDE!!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

When will they stop?

Question of the day: Can government ever resist the urge to abuse its power?

Before you consider the news story I'm about to post, please read the following:
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated; and no Warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Does anyone here recognize those words? Anyone? Okay, if you do recognize those words (the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of this country), and their meaning, you probably don't work for government (and it's not just this Amendment, sadly).

With that in mind, consider this story out of Michigan, from
"Michigan: Police Search Cell Phones During Traffic Stops"

Can anyone seriously argue that the contents of one's cellphone, particularly modern so-called "smartphones," are the modern day equivalents of "papers and effects"? And why would police need to extract cell phone information from motorists stopped for traffic violations? Why would they need to search those people or their cars or their phones at all???

The device in question is a CelleBrite UFED. They are specifically marketing this device to Military, Law Enforcement, and Intelligence Agencies. While there may be a time and place for the use of such a device, police should not be allowed to use it to search anything without a warrant.

Click through the Cellebrite website. It can grab EVERYTHING from your phone. From story:
"'Complete extraction of existing, hidden, and deleted phone data, including call history, text messages, contacts, images, and geotags,' a CelleBrite brochure explains regarding the device's capabilities. 'The Physical Analyzer allows visualization of both existing and deleted locations on Google Earth. In addition, location information from GPS devices and image geotags can be mapped on Google Maps.'"

"The ACLU is concerned that these powerful capabilities are being quietly used to bypass Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches."
I completely agree with the ACLU in this case.

Note also that if you have an iPhone you have more reason to be worried. Consider this article from
"Got an iPhone or 3G iPad? Apple is recording your moves
A hidden file in iOS 4 is regularly recording the position of devices."
by Alasdair Allan

"...your iPhone, and your 3G iPad, is regularly recording the position of your device into a hidden file. Ever since iOS 4 arrived, your device has been storing a long list of locations and time stamps. We're not sure why Apple is gathering this data, but it's clearly intentional, as the database is being restored across backups, and even device migrations."

"What makes this issue worse is that the file is unencrypted and unprotected, and it's on any machine you've synched with your iOS device. It can also be easily accessed on the device itself if it falls into the wrong hands. Anybody with access to this file knows where you've been over the last year, since iOS 4 was released."

So think twice before you get an iPhone...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Breaking news: Tom scores 2 goals!

Sorry, I couldn't help it. Actually this is not big news and it's not even hot off the presses. But as a slow, stay-at-home defenseman, it is rare that I score goals. So I wanted to trumpet the fact that I do sometimes score. And this time I have video proof!

While traveling for business in Charleston I found a local ice rink that has a pick-up game on Thursday nights. It is a group with widely varying skill levels, and they call it a Developmental Game. Some of the guys (and girls) play in leagues but I don't think everyone does. It's a mixed group so it wouldn't be right for me to try to dominate the game, so I admit that I took it easy a little bit. Nevertheless, I was surprised how slow we looked on film. Like many other things, it seems faster when you're doing it!

Videos of the Thursday, April 14, 2011 Development Game in North Charleston, SC, posted by primarischaos are linked below. I've added some commentary along the way. Period 3 was not yet available at the time I did this blog post.

DGN 4-14-11 Period 1, Part 1
First some background. The organizer remembered me and set the teams accordingly (put me on the weaker team). He said that he needed me to score some goals. I said I'm more of a passer and defender. He said don't worry about that, just score.

So I go out there to start the game. Puck bounces back and forth a bit. I step up to grab a loose puck. Cross the blue line, skate laterally to avoid the defensemen. They get tangled and I get around them. Fake out the goalie and score, nice move going to my right and shoot on my backhand. 30 seconds into the game. So much for not being a scorer. :)

Seriously, though, my game is about playing defense and making nice breakout passes, like at 6:55 and at 13:10.

I did have a nice rush at 12:20 of this segment, too. Not a great result but notice that I again tried to cross in front of the net, left to right, on my backhand. This will be important later.

DGN 4-14-11 Period 1 - Part 2

Not much to comment on in this segment.

DGN 4-14-11 Period 2 - Part 1

Got my second goal in this segment, starting around 2:20. Usually I try to fake out the goalie, string him out, go wide, then shoot late. In this case I came in almost directly from the side of the net, horrible angle. I went to skate directly across the front of the net. Goalie saw that that was my plan (I had already done that twice in the game so he must have remembered that). At the last minute I saw that he was cheating towards the middle. So I cut back and put the puck in the short side, where I should have had no chance. Always pays to keep your eyes open!

I created a little chance around 7:25 of this segment. Nice breakout pass around 7:45.

The play at 9:10 is one of my favorites, though. Nothing special, but I read the play very well, snuck well into the offensive zone, grabbed the loose puck, and almost got a cheap back-door goal. No athletic skill involved, but it helps to be in the right place at the right time--and to be smart enough to know when and where that is!

DGN 4-14-11 Period 2 - Part 2

Not sure what happened at 3:40 of this video. I defended against one of their better players, and he fell awkwardly. I have no idea how. I watched the video a number of times and it looked like he's grabbing his arm or wrist. I didn't get my stick up so I'm not sure why it looks like he's hurt there, nor do I understand how he fell because we didn't get tangled up in any way. I wonder if I tried to lift his stick and hit his arm instead.

I think the pass I made at 9:00 of this segment was one of my favorite plays of the game. I like making passes in tight quarters (between the defender's stick and skate in this case) and setting up teammates. Unfortunately in this case my teammate was not ready for the pass, he was surprised I was able to get the puck to him like that.

DGN 4-14-11 Period 2 - Part 3

Not much to comment on in this short segment.

Near the end of the game I shot a puck wide, intended as a pass to a teammate near the back corner of the net. Not sure what happened, but the puck bounced off of someone and went in. Maybe a 3rd goal for me if it bounced off of a defensive player, maybe it would have been credited to someone else if it bounced off of a teammate. Doesn't matter, it was the winning goal, as we (the team I was on) won 7-6.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Can Google predict the future?

If you love XKCD (have I mentioned that web comic before?) and you love Google, you'll love this cartoon.

From XKCD:
"The Future According to Google Search Results"

Take a look at what the future holds. Very interesting use of Google search. Although some of those results (okay, a lot of them) look a bit artificial. Or maybe we really are that strange. Hard to tell...

One amusing thing to note: Looks like sex with robots will be possible by 2050 (which, if true, means that some of us--I didn't say me!--will be doing it!). But we won't have domesticated robots until 2059. So for those first 9 years we'll be having sex with WILD robots! Dangerous, but exciting! :)