Teenage girls are giggly

When they are awake anyway.  Xenia and her friends Sara and CeCe came over to the Tri-Cities with me this week.  On the way over they slept most of the time. I have an extra room for them to use so it’s not a big deal for the most part.  I just have to supply transportation (they want to visit some secondhand stores) and a little bit of organizational skills.  It’s pretty entertaining to hear their banter and giggles in the background as I sit in my room.  It sure beats being alone.

You may not want to know how vulnerable you are

From a link on Schneier’s blog.  I never understood it but some people hate it when I start talking about stuff like this:

There are avenues of attack available to relatively poor, armyless terrorist groups that are both more lethal — far more lethal — and harder to defend against than the horrifying crashing of passenger-laden airliners into buildings. One such path became real on South Uist Island in the Outer Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland in the summer of 1998. On that blustery day, a group of men huddled around a van, jacketed against the 25-knot wind. The persistent whistling of the gale would cover any sound the aircraft’s engine might make; they would see it–if they saw it at all–before they would hear it. And it was already overdue on a potentially historic flight.

The small, single-engined aircraft was attempting the first solo flight across the Atlantic. Brown and Alcock were the first to fly across the Atlantic, they shared in piloting their Vickers Vimy. Lindbergh earned fame by doing it with one pilot. This plane was flying itself from one side of the ocean to a particular spot on the other side with no pilot at all: “We” had become “It”. Instead of a compass and stars to steer by, it had a microprocessor and a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver. The men who had built the craft were interested in meteorological research, but if they succeeded, they would also unwittingly demonstrate the futility of president Bush’s National Missile Defense program (NMD), as well as any anti-terrorism measures except direct spying within the terrorist organizations. Just as the Germans easily drove around France’s Maginot line, an impenetrable thicket of defensive bunkers, this small plane would barely be noticed, much less brought down, by anything the Defense Department has in its armamentarium.

I think it is critically important to know what you can defend against and what you can’t.  We spending billions on airport security that would be far better spent on intelligence operations (including “snatch” and assassination efforts).  And so it is with many of our efforts to protect ourselves from our biggest current threat–Islamic extremists.  We would be far, far better off spending the money on search and destroy missions and destroying their extremist culture than harrassing the fireworks industry, the mining industry, and feeling up grandmothers at airports.

California Court Rules Same-Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

This is going to have me giggling for days:

A California judge ruled today that the state’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional, despite social traditions and historical definitions that “marriage” is a union between man and woman.

Judge Richard A. Kramer of San Francisco Superior Court held, in an opinion that will surely be appealed, that “no rational purpose exists for limiting marriage in this state to opposite-sex partners.”

Although the above generally makes me smile, I think marriage is a great institution and should be available to all free and sane people, it’s the following that really tickles me:

Several trial judges around the country have ruled that bans on same-sex marriages violate state constitutions. But despite the intense interest in the issue nationwide, there is no obvious path – yet – for it to reach the United States Supreme Court, since state courts have the power to interpret their own respective state constitutions. But those bans could be put to a federal constitutional test if one state refused to grant legal recognition to same-sex couples who were legally married in another state.

As I have written before this will have many benefits with one of the most important being the “full faith and credit“ issues of concealed carry licenses.

I just invited ‘the enemy’ to Boomershoot 2005

One of the email lists I subscribe to is about biometrics.  One of the most active posters on the list is Henry.  Henry was the main reason I wrote this on ID cards and he was a significant impetus on my airplane security essay.  It was my email discussions with Henry on gun control that finally pushed me to the point of finally writing my Just One Question essay.  If you follow some of the links you can see some of his writings on the subject of ID cards.  He thinks the Federal government should mandate Universal Biometric Identification (UBID) and the use of the UBID should be so pervasive that it would be impractical or impossible to function in society without it.  And, of course, he is proponent of gun control.  And it is no surprise he is from New York City and a lawyer.  In his mind gun owners are insecure and fall back to “primal fears” and use “deadly weapons“ as their “security crutch”. 

Recently Henry posted a pointer to this GAO report on gun control and terrorism to the biometrics email list.  I responded with this:

Assuming they want to keep the contents of the list secret this is a sticky problem.  In the case of the using the list for restrictions on who can fly they can approve the person to fly then put undercover Air Marshals on the flight.  But in the case of the firearms purchase what are they going to do?  Forbid them from buying and hence let the suspected terrorist know they are “the list”?  And if the person is in the country lawfully what is the government justification for denying a guaranteed civil liberty?  They can’t very well deny the liberty without due process.  And if given due process the intelligence data used to put the person on “the list” would come to light and perhaps terminate that source of intelligence.
 
Interesting problem–and as near as I can tell, unrelated to biometrics.
And the discussion was on again.  Ultimately that discussion lead to my inviting him to the Boomershoot again (he declined last years invitation).  The objective is for him to actually meet some gun owners rather than have his perceptions be based on ignorance or worse yet, Hollywood.  The most recent portions of our discussion follow.

From: Henry J. Boitel
Sent: Sunday, March 13, 2005 7:15 AM
To: Huffman, Joseph K
Subject: Chicago Tribune | Gunman kills 7 in rampage

Joe,

Feel free to put this comment on your web site, so long as it is quoted in full. Please advise me if you use it.

Have you noticed that whenever this sort of thing happens ( see today’s article concerning killings at a church service and see also recent stories concerning killings in courtroom and murder of  Judge’s family) the weapon of choice is almost always a gun.  You recently said that there should be no greater controls on guns than on the simultaneous possession of a match and gasoline.  I hear about that combination being used within the United States for intentional homicide very rarely.  In fact, even in societies where gun ownership; is very restricted, in the absence of war or rebellion, there does not appear to be anywhere near as much homicidal and destructive violence as there is in the United States.

So many of our citizens have their constitutional rights permanently terminated or substantially abridged by the wrongful or negligent use of firearms, that a fair and reasonable view must conclude that substantial restrictions ought be placed on the ownership,  registration and tractability of firearms.

In view of the indisputable, very substantial amount of death and destruction that we have experienced on an ongoing basis, it takes a peculiar kind of reasoning defect not to take that harm into consideration when discussing whether there ought be more controls imposed.  Even amongst those who claim that it is a constitutional right to “bear arms” and that such a claimed right allows no restriction on the type or extent of arms any person may have,  it is beyond understanding that those who hold such views will not consider whether there ought be a revision of that claimed constitutional right.   You see, the debate does not simply end on the question of ones view of what the Constitution means, the regular slaughter of innocents compels confrontation with the question of whether such a Constitutional provision ought exist.

Henry
Henry J. Boitel
New York

[Henry included a link to a Chicago Tribune article about several people who were killed in church shooting in Brookfield WI.  That particular article requires registration.  Similar news stories appear here.]

From: Huffman, Joseph K
Sent: Monday, March 14, 2005 11:09 AM
To: ‘Henry J. Boitel’
Subject: RE: Chicago Tribune | Gunman kills 7 in rampage

There is just one question to be answered. 

http://blog.joehuffman.org/2004/12/14/

It takes a peculiar sort of reasoning defect to not take into account all the good that comes from having access to effective personal defensive tools.

-joe-
—-
http://www.joehuffman.org
http://www.boomershoot.org

From: Henry J. Boitel
Sent: Monday, March 14, 2005 11:50 AM
To: Huffman, Joseph K
Subject: Re: Chicago Tribune | Gunman kills 7 in rampage

Joe,

Your effort to control the discussion would be laughable were it not for the many thousands of people who are killed and injured and terrorized each year by the misuse of weapons.  I am happy to see that you agree that the real issue is not what the Second Amendment means, but rather, whether guns have a gross negative impact upon society.  There is a real problem with people who are born into fear or who develop a sense of insecurity such that their primary security crutch is a deadly weapon.  No matter how much one talks about the needless bloodshed, they return to their primal fears.

The gun control issue is not going to go away on either side.  My hope is that those in favor of greater control will eventually organize into an effective movement.

Have a blast,
Henry
Henry J. Boitel

From: Huffman, Joseph K
Sent: Monday, March 14, 2005 12:26 PM
To: ‘Henry J. Boitel’
Subject: RE: Chicago Tribune | Gunman kills 7 in rampage

There are many anti-gun organizations in the U.S.  I could provide a list for you if you wished and suggestions at to which ones are most effective if you wish to contribute to them.  The problem they have is they have lots of tragic stories to motivate their activists, millions and millions of dollars in donations, but they are intellectually bankrupt.  They cannot demonstrate any benefits from their successes or the successes of firearms restrictions in other countries.  Ultimately they stumble when the facts are presented to the legislatures and the people.  The Internet has made the problem much worse for them and they are rapidly loosing ground.

You refusal to address my question would be laughable if it weren’t for the fact that MILLIONS of people each year in the U.S. use firearms to defend themselves from serious injury or death.  The benefits of easily accessible defensive tools far out ways any disadvantages of those same tools being used for criminal ends.  And as one attempts to restrict the access of those tools it appears that one always ends up restricting the availability to the people that use them for good more than from the people that use them for evil.

If the permission to use your email extends to the email below I will use that on my blog.

Thank you.

“The blast” will be on May 1 this year (http://www.boomershoot.org/2005/blast.htm).  You, as always, are welcome to attend.  We are expecting extensive press coverage this year so if you don’t make it out there yourself there should be some main stream media coverage that you can find out what you missed.  And if you wish to get in on the manufacture of homemade explosives without turning over personal details to the government this will be your last opportunity.  See our press release for more details: http://www.boomershoot.org/2005/SafeExplosivesAct.htm

-joe-
—-
http://www.joehuffman.org
http://www.boomershoot.org

From: Henry J. Boitel
Sent: Monday, March 14, 2005 12:48 PM
To: Huffman, Joseph K
Subject: Re: Chicago Tribune | Gunman kills 7 in rampage

Joe,

I am on the way out the door and will be out of town for a few days.  My permission to use what I have written only extends to the emails we have exchanged today, taken as a whole, and not segmented.  If you want me to write a gun control piece as one essay, I would be happy to do so.

I am tempted to come out and observe the roll your own explosives crowd,  Although I doubt I can make it, are you able to ensure my safety from hostile factions? The type that get red in the face and wild in the eye when you refer to their fascination, insecurity and inability to see the danger they promote?  

Best wishes,
Henry
Henry J. Boitel
New York

 
From: Huffman, Joseph K
Sent: Monday, March 14, 2005 1:02 PM
To: ‘Henry J. Boitel’
Subject: RE: Chicago Tribune | Gunman kills 7 in rampage

You would be quite welcome to write an essay on gun control for me to publish on my web page.
 

The greatest physical dangers you would face at Boomershoot would be sunburn, hypothermia (one never knows), and tripping over a clump of grass.  Everyone is there to have fun.  Causing you or anyone else physical harm would at best only be a momentary pleasure and would be bound to get them talked about (adapted from a Robert Heinlein quote).  Your psychological model of gun owners is common but disproved.  I can probably find the research papers if you are interested.
 
Have a nice trip.

-joe-
—-
http://www.joehuffman.org
http://www.boomershoot.org

Underwriter Laboratory issued their final report

Late last year I reported to Underwriters Laboratory a problem we had with three heaters.  I’ve have received several phone calls from them and exchanged email a few times since then.  Today I received the final report:

Hello Mr. Huffman,

I have completed my investigation on the subject product and have the following items to report to you.

  • The product was found to operate within in is rated load (1500 W).  Based on this it does not appear that the product was drawing excessive current or overloading the plug.
  • We conducted a temperature test while the unit operated at the maximum setting.  The highest measured temperate on the plug was under 52 degrees C, the unit was operated until thermal stabilization (approximately 1.5 hours).  
  • I measured the plug blades for compliance with applicable requirement, the blades were found to be within permitted tolerance.

 

  • I dissected the plug and found that the charring does not appear to originate at point where the conductor is crimped to the blade.  The plastic near crimp on the conductor side is lightly discolored but not charred, the plastic on the blade sided of the conductor showed slight signs of charring.  Base on this observation it is not likely that the crimp or electrical connection between the blade or and the crimp is the heat source.  A majority of the charring was near the plug face and reduced as it approaches the crimp.

Base on the information collected through the course of my investigation it appears the heat source is external to the plug.  With this being the case I ask that you examine the receptacle this product was plugged into, do plugs appear to be secure when inserted, or is there some degree of slack or loose connection.  If the receptacle in question is UL Listed let me know and I will opened an investigation on this product.

Please be informed that the investigation has been pursued to completion. However, due to the needs of UL to protect the proprietary nature of the companies it represents, the information released to you may be limited in nature.

I want to thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. I would encourage you to bring to our attention any other situations you may come across in the future, which involve products bearing references to Underwriters Laboratories Inc. Reports from sources outside of Underwriters Laboratories Inc. is a valuable resource utilized to promote public safety and maintain the integrity of our Marks.

Regards,

John Boyles
Engineering Project Handler
Field Report Department
Phone 360-817-XXXX
Fax 360-817-XXXX
www.ul.com

UL now has customer service professionals on hand to handle all your nontechnical matters and deliver fast and efficient service to meet your needs.  They can be reached in the U.S. @ 1-877-ULHELPS (1-877-854-3577) or World-Wide at CustomerService.CAM@us.ul.com.

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I will check the outlets to see if there is any problem with them and if they have been UL approved I will send the information to Mr. Boyles.

Quote of the day–Lysander Spooner

It is a natural impossibility that a government should have a right to punish men for their vices; because it is impossible that a government should have any rights, except such as the individuals composing it previously had, as individuals.  They could not delegate to a government any rights which they did not themselves possess.  They could not contribute to the government any rights, except such as they themselves possessed as individuals.  Now, nobody but a fool or an impostor pretends that he, as an individual, has a right to punish other men for their vices.  But anybody and everybody have a natural right, as individuals, to punish other men for their crimes; for everybody has a natural right, not only to defend his own person and property against aggressors, but also to go to the assistance and defense of everybody else, whose person or property is invaded.  The natural right of each individual to defend his own person and property against an aggressor, and to go to the assistance and defense of every one else whose person or property is invaded, is a right without which men could not exist on the earth.  And government has no rightful existence, except in so far as it embodies, and is limited by, this natural right of individuals.

Lysander Spooner
From: Vices Are Not Crimes