It’s true, you can’t touch this

When I see things like this, I have to admit that I feel a glimmer of hope for the human race. Do you want to know why God created Man? Because zebras and chimpanzees don’t do things like this. Umberto Eco is wrong. God laughs, and most of the time, He’s laughing at the infinite lunacies of Man.

The trickle-down effect

I wonder if all of the fearful conservative water-boarding enthusiasts would be so keen on it if they understood that if it is deemed to be an acceptable government investigative tool, there is no reason it cannot be used for domestic purposes. As, it appears, has already happened in Britain:

Metropolitan Police officers subjected suspects to waterboarding, according to allegations at the centre of a major anti-corruption inquiry, The Times has learnt. The torture claims are part of a wide-ranging investigation which also includes accusations that officers fabricated evidence and stole suspects’ property. It has already led to the abandonment of a drug trial and the suspension of several police officers.

If waterboarding is nothing more than an accepted means of official inquiry, then the British police officers’ logic is correct and there is no reason it shouldn’t be legitimately used in drug, tax, and other criminal investigations.

Apple and brand identity

Gizmodo laments Apple’s surrender to the class-flatteners:

A leveling of class distinctions in Apple products is going to sting people who valued the affectation of elitism that came with using Apple’s top-of-the-line products. Even subtle differences—like the premium paid for the matte black MacBook over the otherwise identical shiny white one, were signals, beamed out to the others in the coffee shop, declaring who was “da boss.” You know, the guys who wore the white earbuds with pride five years ago.

Since I regard the Cult of Apple with contempt and pay about as little attention to Apple’s products as it is possible to do and still remain technologically current, the angst of those Scalzi describes as “status-seeking beta monkeys” strikes me with a certain sense of schadenfreude. I don’t have any thing against Apple itself, you understand, and I have a tremendous regard for Steve Jobs. I have fond memories of my Apple IIe as well as my original Macintosh, it’s just that Apple now builds its business on certain target markets, none of which apply to me.

It’s not that I’m unaware of the way in which brand identity serves as a method of social communication. I quite enjoy taking my massive Dell XPS M1710 and its glowing cobalt-blue lights that make it look as if it is powered by a nuclear reactor to conferences and sitting down in the midst of a gaggle of weak-wristed executives and their ultra-thin, ultra-light Macintosh notebooks that won’t strain their spaghetti-thin arms. They always look at me with a mixture of fear, alarm, and awe; yes, I am your Notebook Alpha, bitches!

A freaky liquid-cooled Alienware machine would be even better, but Alienware is owned by Dell anyhow, and besides, when I’m asked about my monster – as I always am – I like to pretend that I went with Dell because it’s such a great corporate computer. I can usually get them to buy into it right up until I start playing MAME or Call of Duty…. Anyhow, it’s important to maintain your perspective and keep in mind that using Apple products doesn’t make you a better person. That’s what Linux is for.