Oct 142017

Police arresting nine people a day in fight against web trolls

In Britain, you can actually be arrested for posting comments that “cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another.”

Once again: you can be arrested for annoying someone. Couple that with the BritGuvs determination to crack down on vaguely-defined “far right” speech online, and hoo boy, glad I’ve got that First Amendment thing. Here, when some idiot troll starts causing annoyance, I can simply hit the “ban user” button and the problem is solved. Or, heck, simply ignore them. But in Britain? Call the cops, I guess, someone said something I didn’t like.

No, no, no way in hell that this sort of system could *ever* be abused, nosiree.

An interesting summary of some of the many laws regarding speech and computers in the UK includes a paragraph on the communications Act of 2003:

Sending by means of the Internet a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character; or sending a false message by means of or persistently making use of the Internet for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety is guilty of an offence liable, on conviction, to imprisonment. This wording is important because an offence is complete as soon as the message has been sent: there is no need to prove any intent or purpose.

Say, that’s neat. You can be arrested and sentenced to imprisonment for annoying someone without even having intended to.

Sadly, even Utah isn’t immune from the scourge of the easily offended delicate snowflake. The local news last night had a story about a guy who set up a Halloween display (Halloween is *big* in Utah… I’d say it’s right up there with Christmas in terms of interest, enthusiasm and maybe even money). His original display? I larfed my keister off. Because it’s funny, that’s why:

Having just watched “The Purge: Election Day” less than a week ago, I got the gag. But apparently there are a lot of humorless would-be British-style speechcops out there in Facebookland, and even in the guys own neighborhood.

Utah man says his ‘purge and purify’ Halloween sign isn’t racist or political

People saw the “MAGA” and promptly assumed that the homeowner was promoting racist violence. Oy.

As a result of the online and IRL backlash, the homeowner changed the display, rewording to to be more accurate to the tagline of the movie:

As sad as this tale was here in Utah, imagine if the guy had been living under British laws. He could have *easily* been arrested, especially since the people who were offended – or at least who pretended to be – claimed that the message was right wing.

FFS. If you can’t have fun with murder and bloodshed and horror on Halloween… what *can* you have fun with?

Still, the laws are what they are. One can hope that people in Britainland will start overloading the police with complaints about *everything* online that annoys them. How about online photos of Communist mass murdering psychopaths on Irish postage stamps? Surely that’s annoying to any Brit who suffered directly or indirectly at the hands of communism.

 Posted by at 12:09 pm
Sep 022017

Last few days the local news has been blowing up over the release of body cam footage showing a cop arresting a nurse. In the end, who’s in trouble here? The cop. Oh, boy howdy, the cop. Every bus the governor, mayor and chief of police can find, they’re preparing to throw him under… and for good reason. Here’s the short form:

1: On July 26, there was a high speed pursuit. The idjit being chased managed to hit a semi truck near Wellsville, resulting in an impressive explosion; idjit was killed, truck driver – who *everyone* acknowledges was doing nothing wrong – was injured.

2: Injured truck driver was taken to University Hospital in Salt Lake City.

3: For some reason, detective Jeff Payne decided that he needed to have a blood sample from the unconscious truck driver, and he needed it Right Now. Presumably this was to test for booze or drugs or some such in the truck driver… reason able enough, I suppose, under the circumstances, but his need fr it seems to have been excessive.

4: On-duty nurse Alex Wubbels knew the law and Hospital policy: they’re not allowed to draw blood from a patient for the cops unless:

A: The patient consents – which he couldn’t, being unconscious.

B: The patient was under arrest, which he wasn’t.

C: The police have a valid search warrant calling for a blood sample… which they didn’t have (but could have obtained easily enough)

5: Detective Payne was having none of it, and threatened the nurse with arrest for obstruction of justice.

6: Nurse contacts her supervisor via cell phone with a speakerphone

7: Supervisor tells the detective that the nurse is right, and that he’s making a mistake in threatening the nurse.

8: Detective goes ape and aggressively arrests the nurse.

9: In the end no charges are filed because, duh, nurse broke no laws

10: And then in late August the bodycam footage is released to the public and the detectives career hits a bit of a speedbump.

The truck driver patient is reportedly a reserve police officer in Rigby, Idaho; the going assumption is that detective Payne wanted that blood sample Right Friggen’ Now in order to absolutely clear the reserve police officer of any taint of guilt in the incident (even though, again, there’s no suspicion that anyone but the original idjit was responsible for the crash). The truck river is still in the hospital in serious condition.


Video shows Utah nurse screaming, being handcuffed after refusing to take blood from unconscious victim

And so now…

SLC mayor, police chief apologize for officer who arrested nurse; criminal investigation to follow

Ruh-roh, Raggy.


Here’s the full near-19-minute footage.

Hard to come up with a better representation of detective Payne than this…

Here are some other angles:

 Posted by at 3:34 pm
Aug 222017

Looks like for once I made the right choice: yesterday after the eclipse I launched directly out of Mackay, Idaho, and headed south on 26/84. The traffic was heavy, but not so much so that it stopped things from moving at highway speeds and I managed to get home in about 4 hours. I didn’t take the shorter I-15 route because I figured it’d be swamped. I later heard that other folks who *did* take I-15 made decent time; it wasn’t too busy.

It looks like what happened was that everyone in eastern Idaho also assumed that I-15 yesterday would be a nightmare and decided to wait till today to head south. With the result that I-15 became the parking lot the media had promised, just a day late.

Note that the northbound lane is *empty.*

 Posted by at 7:36 pm
Aug 142017

This afternoon a “human caused” fire in the mountains blew up into an 800-acre wildfire. Somebody’s in a bit of trouble.

Photos taken from my place just after sundown began to unveil the fires, but were nevertheless unimpressive shots.

This dark blue unrevealing photo provides some more info with a little bit of “fade correction” added…

But more impressive photos were to be had by hopping in the car, driving closer and waiting for the sky to darken.

Photos after the break…

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 2:10 am
Aug 132017

Late Friday night I went outside to photograph the meteor shower and was presented with a sky full of clouds. While that’s terrible for meteors, it had compensations.

I wound up taking hundreds of shots of lightningbolts. Most were pretty meh, but some were pretty good. I’ve cropped and resized some of the better ones, a small batch after the break. Click to view.

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 10:14 am
Aug 012017

Nope, not a post about SJW’s screeching about an insufficiency of diversity in STEM fields. Instead… photography.


Your average modern decent camera has a white balance setting that allows you to choose from settings such as direct sunlight, incandescent lighting, fluorescent lighting, etc. The idea is that you can get photos that look right even if the lighting is off.

Trouble is, sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s “right.” Below are four late-night panoramas. The two that look “bluish” use the “incandescent” setting; the apocalypse-orange ones use “sunlight.” The latter are the closest to real, I think, in that the clouds and skyglow are lit up by a vast number of sodium incandescent lights. When the white balance is set to “incandescent,” the horizontal panorama looks ok to me, but the vertical one… well, I’m torn. The bluish one kinda looks better (especially the horizon), but the orangish one captures the colors of the Milky Way better.


 Posted by at 2:35 pm
Jun 292017

So yesterday I wandered down to the WalMart in Perry to get some groceries. As I approached the front doors, a guy dashed out at a dead run, with a WalMart employee hot on his heels… but the employee basically stopped at the door. Seemed likely to me that it was a shoplifter. I didn’t feel bad about not going to chase the criminal down my own self. I wasn’t all that close, and the guy was *fast.* I’d’ve had trouble chasing him down in my car.

So, that over, I went into the store and did my shopping.

About fifteen minutes later I’m on my way out. As I approach the doors, a car zipped past the doors at an unreasonable rate of speed; following close behind it was a police SUV, lights and sirens going. I figured it was a speeder getting pulled over by the cops. Seemed odd to be that far into the WalMart parking lot, but oh well.  A moment later when I stepped outside, I looked off to the left and the car had pulled into a parking spot; the police SUV had pulled in behind it, boxing it in. As I was parked nowhere near that ongoing incident, I gave it no further thought.

I had no more than crossed across the “road” right in front of the WalMart entrance when the same guy I saw earlier went dashing back into the WalMart entrance. With the cop right behind him. Both were moving at speeds that made me feel real, real old.

OK, sez I, this might be worth watching. So I turned around to go back into the WalMart to see what might be going on in there. When I saw through the open doors the same guy yet again, heading towards the exit at a high rate of speed. But this time, before he got to the door the same WalMart employee I saw earlier intercepted him. It was a collision between someone small and fast against someone slow and quite a lot bigger. Speedy McShoplifter hit the ground and the cop was on him like white on rice. As I stood like a damnfool slackjawed toooorist in the WalMart entrance, the police officer managed to get the guy cuffed. That seemed to bring the festivities to an end, took the zip right out of the feller.

After more police showed up and  things settled down, I briefly spoke to the WalMart employee. My first bit to confirm was if that was indeed the same guy I saw earlier; turns out, yup, it was. The short story related to me was that he was indeed shoplifting and was chased out, then led the police on a merry chase around town… and then went back to the very same WalMart, apparently “looking for his girlfriend.”

I have the sneaking suspicion that interesting chemistry might be involved.

Because that’s what all the cool kids do these days, rather than making myself useful I took a few photos with my cell phone. Only one was any good, so here it is. There is almost certainly some interesting video of the incident… when the police officer grabbed the runner, a bodycam hit the floor. The WalMart employee I mentioned picked it up and held it afterwards, pointing it at the cop & the perp. That it came unglued when things got interesting is perhaps not a spectacular sign.

Shoplifters do not have my sympathy. Shoplifters who run back into the very store they just got chased out of? Yeahhh… what’s the *opposite* of sympathy?

 Posted by at 8:10 pm