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May 23, 2005

I want my name back...

Our government seems to think it is unaccountable. Despite laws on torture, we still torture people. I never said this was ok, not I nor most of the population, which happens to agree with me. And for good reason - the idea pushed forth last week that discussing what we're doing and admitting it's wrong is the cause of the recent backlashs is, well, naive. Had we never done such horrible things, horrible things that the military refuses to document success in using, then there'd also have been no backlash.

I want my name back.

What's really sick about all this, is that it's all happened before. Very bad men have done this in world history, and world wars were the result, to try to stop them. Only, this time, our administration has learned from the past. We're not torturing and killing people on our own soil. We're doing it in marginal, confusing-ly legal places not on our soil. Which makes it much harder for the opposing forces to invade us to stop it. And Guantanamo is much smaller, and easier to protect. Even more evil, if no one's going to invade us, they're certainly not going to invade Uzbekistan to try to stop the tortures going on there, also in our names.

I recently commented on an extremist's blog. He responded. He starts off wrong to begin with: “All I did was agree with Ann Coulter”. Hello? Has he done any critical thinking at all about what Ann Coulter says? Let's just say that she's misinformed and alarmist. Bringing the level of discourse one level lower (She thinks the best way to talk to liberals is with a baseball bat). Uh huh. Thanks for participating in the discussion.

Let's continue. QC suggests that I'm a pacifist, and that I think we should all just sit down and take it. I don't. I agree that we should fight for just causes, but torturing people doesn't fall into that list. Wide-spread acts of violence don't solve the problem, either. Not only do neither solve the problem, it makes people angry -- making the problem we're trying to solve, worse. If we want to do something constructive, we need to follow our own laws, or else those against us (and there are a lot more of them than there are of us) will prevail, as purely a matter of numbers.

More should be said on this subject, and if QC or anyone else wants to continue the discussion, please do. I'm moving this week, so I've put less into this post than I'd like to, but I will pick up the baton if it gets passed back to me.

May 20, 2005

Fun with gas....

So, having now put gas into my Typhoon 16 times, I have a small rant to express, another of the problems of gas scooters that never occur (the same way) with electric.

Gas scooters get decent gas mileage vs. cars, yes. But they still burn gas. The 2005 Piaggio Typhoon has about a 1.5 gallon tank. It starts showing the “fuel” light, and “E” on the fuel guage when it's burned about .9 gallons of gas, maybe even sooner. This is probably not such a bad idea, given that you can only go another ~30-50 miles on the remaining gas, and that's been the typical “safe warning” distance I've seen cars use in the past. Though there should be effectively another 1/2 gallon of gas left, the gauge rapidly gets to the extreme of “E”, so you need to fill up right away or you have no further way to tell you're going to go dry.

All of this is fine, although, riding it as heavily as I do (~930 miles in 2.0 months), that means getting gas a lot. And here I get to my rant:

Gas stations, as a rule, don't do well dispensing small quantities of gas. Further, many of them have elaborate anti-spill mechanisms that are tuned to car fill-ups, but fairly wrong for teency scooter capacities.

What this means is that I'm always fighting the system. Twice now, I've lost big time - slightly overfilling. This is a horrible, terrible, no good, very bad thing. I'll leave it at that. Also bad is the couple of times that I've had troubles getting the pump to work at all, presumably because of the difference in vapor/pressure/fuel depth for my small tank. Last night was the worst, dispensing only a half gallon of the necessary ~gallon. I just couldn't get more to pump. If this were the norm, doubling how often I need to get gas, it would be an entirely unworkable situation.

Meanwhile, Joy smugly comments that there'd be no such troubles if I'd bought another electric bike. And, she's right. Once you get over the hump of having power at wherever you park your bike (a far-from-trivial problem if you live in an apartment complex), you won't have to worry about it. You “fill up” anytime you're home, and your scooter always has a “full tank” when you head out.

I may end up getting a gas can, which has even more trade-offs, but would at least avoid the many trips to gas stations for small bits of gas.... but storing gas on your own premises is even less desirable, if it's even within the terms of my rental agreement. sigh

Look for an upcoming post on “Piaggio 1k day”. Took about 8 months for the eGO, which will never make it to its 2k day, so almost 4x as many miles are going on the Piaggio per unit time, on average. More commentary then, but you can guess what I'm going to say (besides apologizing to the environment for the increased point-source emissions!)

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May 12, 2005

Amazon Waste: Why we have a trash problem in the first world

Dude, this is absurd. I ordered a Memory Stick Pro Duo 1Gb from Amazon, to use with my PSP.

It comes, in a huge box. Here's a set of photos to describe how absurd this is.

Unopened box from Amazon A selection of what was inside... The actual packaging of the Memory Stick The delivered products Perspective with box