Thursday, April 22, 2010

World Lupus Day (UPDATED)

Jules Sherred would like you to know that she has lupus. But more than that, she'd like you to be aware of what Lupus is and what it does to the people who have it. So much so that she's started a virtual gallery to bring awareness to lupus.

Those of you who know me know that I don't jump headfirst into every cause... I pick my battles with care. And I'm picking this one. Not only is Jules a good friend, but my sister also has lupus. And it's a nasty, painful, persistent thing. So I'm going to ask you to follow the links above, educate yourself a little about lupus, and maybe get involved in some of the very neat projects that Jules and friends have planned for the event.

Even if you don't take part in the event, you'll have learned something new, and that's always a very cool thing. Do it, please.

Y'know, I've decided that just spreading awareness isn't good enough. I want to do something tangible. So here's my project for World Lupus Day. I mentioned above that my sister has lupus. So she's getting some "get out of chores free" cards that she can use on a day when she's just really not feeling up to it. Here's a copy of the card, in case you want to use it to help out your own friends with lupus. Click on the card to make it bigger and print a copy (I made it fit on a 3x5 card at 300dpi, but you may need to scale it
Click on the card to make it bigger and print a copy (I made it fit on a 3x5 card at 300 dpi, but you may need to scale it to your printer. The ones I printed have my name and phone number on them, but I've replaced that with lines here so you can write in your own. If you want to edit the card, then here's a link to the original graphics. You'll need the GIMP to edit it. (don't worry, it's free).

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sex Offenders Aren't Allowed To Read This Blog

I suspect I'm about to offend a lot of people. A lot of well-meaning, law-abiding, God-fearing, and hopelessly intolerant and illogical people. And it won't take me long to do it.

The topic is sex offenders (and, more broadly, crime in general). Today I received a Facebook request to join a group called "Keep Registered Sex Offenders from Joining Facebook".

I ignored the group. Why? Because I'm very big on justice and the very premise of this group is unjust.

Let's start with some facts.
  1. I'm not condoning, supporting, or defending sex offenses in any way whatsoever. If you respond with such an accusation, then I will not even give your argument a cursory hearing, because you're not listening, and I won't bother to listen to you if you can't be bothered to listen to me.
  2. Registered sex offenders are "registered" because they have been convicted. They have been told to do so by a judge, and that's part of their punishment. In every case they have served whatever portion of their sentence they were directed to before being released back into society and having their name placed on such a list.
  3. Punishments for crimes are determined by law. Such punishments are imposed to exact justice. That's justice, not revenge, not everlasting punishment.
There are many, many laws constricting where and how a "sex offender" can live or work. In some areas these restrictions are greater than others, and sometimes it doesn't matter what the nature of the offense is. In California, for instance, "annoying children" can be a sex offense (a rule which, if applied consistently, would see almost all teachers behind bars eventually).

Nevertheless, you will never, ever, ever find a shortage of civic-minded individuals who do not trust in the rule of law and who do not agree with the sentencing imposed by judges under legislated guidelines.

People, the way the law should work is this... if you commit a crime, and you are convicted, you pay a debt to society. This may be a fine, it may be restitution, or incarceration; but in every case, when the debt is paid IT IS PAID. Now, if you don't agree with that statement, read it again very carefully. And if you still don't agree with it, it's because your brain isn't working properly and you are very, very wrong.

There are certain long-lasting or permanent repercussions to committing some crimes. Felons may not be allowed to own a gun, or vote, or run for public office. Sex offenders are registered and typically aren't allowed to work in jobs that require them to come in significant contact with children, and may not be allowed to live within a certain distance of schools. In every case, with every crime, these persistent restrictions are for the protection of the public. They are never there to satisfy your outrage.

There are misguided individuals who insist on piling punishment upon punishment, ad infinitum, until prison looks pretty good by comparison. These individuals apparently believe that they are "doing something" to make their world a little safer, and don't seem to realize that they are very often working at cross-purposes to that goal. Do you want to know how to turn an offender into a repeat offender? It's really easy: you simply take away all hope, all friendships, all socializing, all chance of a normal life, all chance of being able to move on. You establish gulags and ghettos for these sex offenders because nobody anywhere wants them to live in their neighborhoods. You establish petitions to keep them off the Internet because God forbid they might actually type into the same forum you do. If you detect that they might actually have a friend or two that they would like to keep in touch with... well, you nip that in the bud and keep them isolated and friendless and dissatisfied and yearning for anybody's company... anybody's at all.

In other words, you do exactly what the misguided individuals I mentioned advocate.

The usual reasons given for the neverending cycle of punishment are the severity of the crime and that sex offenses are an addiction that cannot be overcome. For the first, I call B.S.... for example, in the U.S. we do not have a "registered murderers" database. We're clearly not talking about the severity of the crime; rather it's the emotional baggage attached to it. I also call B.S. on the second reason. There are many addictions, and we do not hang a permanent stigma over any other type of addiction. Even heroin use can be overcome. There are former substance abusers all over the globe who want their recreational drug, yet choose not to have them. Beyond the matter of denying an individual's constitutional rights, we're faced with the rather dangerous situation where people desire to treat the addiction itself as a crime rather than acting on the addiction. By comparison, being addicted to heroin is not a criminal offense in any jurisdiction; using heroin is. Certainly it's possible that some sex offenders cannot be rehabilitated, but it has never been shown that this applies to all, and to paint all people with the same brush is simply unjust, illogical, and even unconstitutional.

Now, there ARE incorrigible criminals, and the law recognizes and allows for that with life imprisonment and even the death penalty. If you really and truly believe that these sex offenders are completely incorrigible, and that they cannot under any circumstances be rehabilitated or control their urges, then stop being a wimp. Hypocrites piss me off. Stand up and advocate that they be locked away for life. But don't add to the problem by showering them with pissy little micro-annoyances that in the long run do nothing but add to society's problems.

Monday, April 05, 2010

NatGeo: When The Earth Stops Spinning

I apologize in advance for the harsh language in this review, but I cannot help myself.

As I write this, National Geographic is airing a program called Aftermath:When The Earth Stops Spinning. It postulates what would happen if the Earth, over a FIVE YEAR PERIOD, stopped spinning.

This is the most retarded sack of bovine excrement I've ever seen aired on this supposedly "science" channel. The primary supposition hangs over all of the speculation like the sword of Damocles... namely, WHY? What could possibly cause the Earth to slow that rapidly? The show does note that the Earth is gradually slowing down, about two seconds every 100,000 years. It does not mention why. For the curious, the reason is gravitational tidal forces. Our moon slows our rotation, as does, to a lesser extent, gravitational "friction" from the Sun. But this slowing is extremely slight because in the absence of an external force, Newton's laws prevail. An object in motion remains in motion. For the Earth to slow as rapidly as this turd of a program suggests, a positively MASSIVE amount of external force must be applied, and that force must be something other than the pre-existing gravitational fields of the Moon and the Sun. There is exactly NO other explanation whatsoever. So what is that postulated force?

Apparently, magic. That's right: MAGIC.
National Geographic provides NO other explanation.

The ignorant fucktards who wrote this piece of crap literally forgot Newton. They forgot physics. The forgot physiology (real physiology like the actual fact that people above the Arctic Circle routinely survive 6-month-long days, not the made-up crap they're using to suggest that this isn't possible). They forgot that the application of the external force applied to slow the Earth (and I'm talking about a real, scientifically explainable physical force) would be instantly recognizable, and would cause more commotion than combined effects of the rest of their speculation. They forgot everything actually scientific that they ever might have been taught, leaving them with this.... nothing.

The writers are so astoundingly stupid that they cannot even figure out how to desalinate ocean water even when provided with 6 months of uninterrupted sunlight. The failure of the electrical grid has them stumped.

This is not a science program. It is fear-mongering, ignorant, unscientific shit, and it should never have been allowed to air on this channel. I am so incredibly pissed-off at the producers, the network, and even the dumbass announcer who agreed to lend his annoying voice to this crap. There is ONE statement at the end of the program that reveals the program is an exercise in utterly pointless programming:
"It will never happen like this."
No shit. This is followed with:
"But still it reveals the delicate balance that keeps this planet alive."
No. It reveals nothing of the sort. There's nothing "delicate" about magically stopping the rotation of the entire fucking PLANET. It reveals one thing and one thing only: This was written, produced, and aired by a bunch of unmitigated morons of the worst character.

I don't think I'll be watching anything on NatGeo for a long time. They've squandered their yearly supply of credibility.