I told you Detroit sucks

Lots of people have heard of Ann Arbor thanks to the University of Michigan, however, not everyone has so sometimes I just say I’m from the “Detroit area”, which is accurate enough. People sometimes ask me if Detroit is as bad as it’s portrayed in movies, TV, news, etc. To which I normally say “worse.” As of now there are over 12,000 abandoned homes in Detroit. The city is hemorrhaging money. Here are some sad facts about a once great city.

  1. It’s the only city in the history of the United States to hit a population of over 1,000,000 residents and then subsequently fall back under that number.
  2. The city has lost more than half of its population since the 1950’s.
  3. Over 30% of the city’s population lives below the poverty line.
  4. Over 36 square miles (58 square kilometers) of land sits vacant, which is roughly the size of the city of San Francisco.
  5. The city tears down between 1,500 and 2,000 homes a year, which only keeps pace with the problem and doesn’t cut into the backlog of the 12,000 abandoned homes.

Things are getting so bad that people are moving their deceased loved ones’ bodies out of the city into other cemeteries.

“Suburbanites are taking the bodies of their relatives out of cemeteries because they’re afraid to come to the city,” Vogel said. “There are about 400 to 500 hundred (being moved) a year which shows you the depth of racism and fear.”

You know your city sucks when even the dead people are leaving.

Two Hicks Escape the Law

Once again I’ve been let down by the media here in the US. As exhibit A I’m introducing the photo to your left. Significant air time and large portions of papers and websites are devoted to these two idiots. Why? Because they managed to escape in a hail of gunfire. That’s it. I’m sure tons of prisoners escape jail each year in some way or another.

But what about the guard they killed? Ah, yes, another dull tool in the shed. You see, it’s mandatory protocol for guards to wear bullet proof vests. You see, Guard Wayne “Cotton” Morgan wasn’t following protocol when he was shot in the belly. In fact, both guards weren’t wearing their bullet proof vests. I’m not sure about you, but if I worked in law enforcement I’d be wearing my bullet proof vest at all times, including when I was in the doughnut shop ordering coffee.

So, when you look back at the “Big News Events” of 2005 you can think about all the time wasted on some drunk girl going missing and these two redneck hick idiots. Just look at that picture and think to yourself, “Wow, I wasted time reading about these retards.” I mean they didn’t even put up a fight when they were captured. They shot up a parking lot, meticulously planned the escape (including multiple escape vehicles), killed a guard and then just said “Ah, screw it, I give up.”?

Meanwhile, we’re fast approaching 2,000 casualties in Iraq and there are rumblings between the US and Iran. Rove knowingly outed an undercover CIA operative. Bush extended daylight savings breaking most of those expensive electronic toys you own. And, to top it all off, I have to put up with news about these two retards every time I open CNN.com.

Indian nicknames

The NCAA has recently imposed a ban on post season displays of mascots that are based on Indian nicknames (ie. Florida State Seminoles). As can be expected, FSU is not very happy about this. The school I attended used to be called the Hurons, however some PC idiots decided to change the name to the Eagles. This, despite the okay from local Huron tribes in Michigan.

Aren’t there governing bodies for these tribes? I suspect this is the case since they are independent nations of sorts with special provisions under US law. If this is, in fact, the case and said governing bodies approve the use of said mascot then what’s the beef? Now, if the name of the team is the “Reds” or “Redskins”, which many Native Americans find offensive, I can see the point.

What the NCAA should do is require schools using Native American mascots to get approval from the governing bodies referred to by said mascot. If the Native Americans are okay with their namesake being used as a mascot then who cares?

Next up? Iran!

The foundation is being laid for invading Iran as we speak. Various news outlets are reporting that various explosives found in Iraq after the second Gulf War were ‘clearly from Iran’.

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Tuesday that weapons recently confiscated in Iraq were “clearly, unambiguously from Iran” and admonished Tehran for allowing the explosives to cross the border.

Combine this with Iran’s pursuit of nuclear technologies and you’re looking at what the neocons will be using as the foundation for invading Iran. It’s pretty clear that we cannot fight wars on three fronts (Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan), which can mean only one thing: bringing back the draft. I’ll be watching this with great interest until March 15th, 2006, which is when I turn 26 and will no longer be eligible for the draft.

Stealing WiFi Access

There has been much talk in the news recently about stealing WiFi from your neighbors. I have a middle of the road point of view on this that I think most of my fellow geeks will agree with. There is much confusion as to what is okay and what is not okay. To help clear up some of this confusion I’ve created a simple grid that you can now reference whenever you come across a WiFi hotspot.

  All Good Totally Uncool
Is it an open access point?  
Is is protected by WEP, etc.?  
Is it located in a coffee shop?  
Are you using it for illegal activities?  
Are you splitting the bill with your neighbor?  
Are you just using it for email while your connection is down?  
Are you sniffing traffic or browsing their network neighborhood?  
Is the SSID NETGEAR and the password “admin”?  
Did you sniff traffic to obtain passwords in order to access the hotspot?  
Is the SSID named “FBI Headquarters” or “CIA HQ”?  

I look at it this way; if you knowingly leave your access point open to the world then it’s perfectly okay for me to use it, however, I should respect your kindness and not use it for malicious activities of any kind. The exception to this is what I call the “Idiot WiFi Hotspot”, which is like picking on the retard during recess. If someone is too stupid to at least change the admin password then they have no idea what’s going on with their WiFi and, while taking advantage of this idiot might be tempting, it’s just not very cool. The only exception to the IWFH rule is is if your connection is down and you want to check your email or read the news.

If you had to sniff packets or crack a WEP key to gain access to a hotspot then you’ve just broken the law and are a total douche bag. I liken this to someone breaking into your cable box and siphoning free HBO.

We’re not talking quantum physics here people. If you knock on someone’s door and they either don’t answer or the sign says “Closed” then you don’t just come on in. Use common sense and the handy reference table above and you most likely won’t be arrested for stealing WiFi.

Flip flops Exposed!

Ran across a rather amusing story today talking about the serious dangers of wearing flip flops. You read that right; an entire article devoted to the serious dangers of wearing flip flops. Researchers, and I use that term lightly, have found a wide range of problems associated with flip flops including the following.

  1. Flip flops can cause accidents by getting stuck under the pedal or “foot slipping off the pedal altogether.”
  2. Toxins in flip flops can cause lower sperm counts in men and are known to attack the liver, kidneys and reproductive organs.

They even have some in-depth first hand experience about just how dangerous this type of footwear can be.

Leigh Purves, gossip columnist for the Daily Star, is among those to have had a close call while driving with designer flip flops. She has told how, while travelling on the M1, her sandal got stuck under the brake pedal and she missed another car “by millimetres”.

I wear flip flops probably every day during the summer. Now that I live in Seattle, I wear them pretty much year round. According to this “research” if I’m are drinking with my friends at the beach I can pretty much kiss my liver goodbye (not that five years in college and a fraternity didn’t help with that effort).

But the ongoing scandal of wearing flip flops doesn’t just stop here. Oh, no, they can lead to international incidents as well! Recently, the Lacrosse team from Northwestern University, caused an international stir when they wore flip flops while attending the White House to meet President Bush.

The entire debacle unfolded after a player’s gay brother (he has to be gay; who else besides a gay man would notice a girl’s footwear in a photo?) sent her an email titled “YOU WORE FLIP FLOPS TO THE WHITE HOUSE?!” Oh the shame!

So there you have it. Flip flops cause car accidents, organ failure, the shooting of proverbial blanks and, quite possibly, the use of a CIA hit squad to kill you.

Cameron and Damien try out for The Amazing Race

Geek friend and fellow blogger (God, did I call myself a blogger?), Cameron Barrett and his identical twin brother, Damien, are trying out for The Amazing Race.

This is one of Lauren and my favorite TV shows. Last year with Rob and Amber was simply some of the most exciting and entertaining TV I’ve seen. Cameron is the type of guy whose mind travels at about 15,000,000 miles a minute even if he’s not saying anything. I wouldn’t even know what to expect if they were to get on the show. But, you can definitely expect that Cameron will have a zany idea or ten and he’ll be moblogging like nobody else on the planet ever has.

Pass this on and blog about it. You can read more about it on Damien’s blog: Help Us Get on The Amazing Race.

Be the best bully you can be!

Looks like Rock Star is looking to rock the proverbial video game industry boat again. It’s not the next GTA, but rather a game titled “Bully” where the object is to be the biggest badass in your boarding school. As can be expected, some people are a upset about this.

Liz Carnell of campaign group Bullying Online says: “This game should be banned. I’m extremely worried that kids will play it and then act out what they’ve seen in the classroom.

Jesus! Would somebody please stand up and ask, “Where are the parents?” Who are the idiots that let their young kids purchase these types of games? Call me old fashioned, but I think parents should be involved in setting and enforcing boundaries for their kids, not the government.

Here’s a crazy idea: How about you actually pay attention to what your kids are doing? How about you play the games your kids do and make sure they are appropriate?

Drinking makes you smart!

From the, “Phew!” Department, comes this story about a study that says having a drink or two a day makes you a better thinker.

An Australian National University study of 7000 people has found those who drink in moderation have better verbal skills, memory and speed of thinking than those at the extremes of the drinking spectrum.

The researchers say it’s a mystery as to why the correlation exists. I guess that’s why college makes kids a lot smarter. It isn’t the hours you spend studying and in class, it’s the time you spend out at the bars with your friends. Of course, this would imply that the guys in my fraternity should be smart as a whip, however the study states that heavy drinking leads to the opposite.

Allegations of US Secret Detention Centers

A recent story has popped up on CNN covering Amnesty International’s claim that two Yemeni men were held in secret US detention centers.

Two Yemeni men say they were held in solitary confinement in secret, underground U.S. detention facilities in an unknown country and interrogated by masked men for more than 18 months without being charged or allowed any contact with the outside world, Amnesty International said Wednesday.

Many of the war apologists say that such tactics are justified because the “War on Terror” is a special circumstance and that they, they being the terrorists, don’t fight fair. Since when do two wrongs make a right?

This is the biggest problem I have with the “War on Terror” and those who support it. They feel that the PATRIOT Act, illegal invasion of Iraq, secret detentions, indefinite detentions without access to any legal proceedings, etc. are tools for winning this war of ideologies. But, when you lower yourself to your cheating opponents level are you any better than they are? The President preaches about “advancing freedom” and, at the same time, keeps prisoners detained indefinitely without access to legal counsel in secret. We hear it all the time about how Saddam had secret prisons where people were tortured and how Saddam used vast intelligence networks to turn people against each other and keep them in line. How is the PATRIOT Act, which allows the FBI to monitor your reading habits, different?

“Land of the Free” my ass. Look in the mirror and say it with me, “I’m a hypocrite.”