Apparently CNC Machines Don’t Exist

Cody Wilson stirred up a lot of controversy when he released designs for the Liberator, a single shot pistol constructed with a 3D printer. Why did a pistol constructed of materials that were guaranteed to fail after firing relatively few shots and couldn’t be scaled up to a powerful caliber? Because most gun control advocates have no concept of how guns work. That leads them to fear imaginary devices such as the mythical Glock 7 from Die Hard, which lead to the passage of the Undetectable Firearms Act. Another reason is that most gun control advocates are apparently unaware that computer numerical control (CNC) machines are a thing:

Even after reading his book, I’m still not sure what he means by this. Sure, plenty of open-source zealots favor software that can be edited, freely, by anyone. However, there is a crucial distinction here: no software, until the one created by Wilson and his followers, has ever been used to create a physical device that fires lethal bullets.

The Liberator was not the first gun created using software. In fact most modern guns are initially created using computer aided design (CAD) software, frequently simulated in software before being created, and sometimes built using a CNC machine. Software has been used to create guns for a while now. What Cody Wilson did wasn’t revolutionary, it was evolutionary. He managed to make a firearm with inferior equipment and materials that provided the most basic requirements to qualify as a firearm. I don’t mean to understate his contribution to firearms manufacturing but his real revolution, in my opinion, was to illustrate how irrelevant gun control is, especially as we march into a future where home fabrication will become easier and be able to utilize better materials.

Technology has always been the death knell of centralized control. While gun control advocates cling to their belief that a powerful central government can make all of the bad things go away the rest of the world is moving on and doing what it damn well pleases. I don’t fear gun control because I realize it’s a lost cause. Cody Wilson helped illustrate that to the world with the Liberator.

Celebrating Mikhail Kalashnikov

While our country is busy celebrating shithead politicians Russia is preparing to throw one hell of a party for Mikhail Kalashnikov’s 100th birthday:

The order states that considering the outstanding contribution of M. T. Kalashnikov to the development of Russian small arms, president accepts the offer of government to celebrate the designer’s birthday. It rules that a committee should be formed, whose duty will be preparation, scheduling and conduction of the main events. It also recommends local government bodies to take part in the process. Reportedly, head of the committee will be Dmitry Rogozin, who is the Deputy Prime Minister in charge of defense and space industry.

According to TASS (Russian news agency) the celebration will cost Russian budget more than 20 billion rubles. That is equal to about $322 million by today’s conversion rates. There are no other details specified in the executive order, but judging from the amount of money they are going to spend, it should be a pretty impressive event.

Unlike politicians, Kalashnikov changed the world. The AK-47 is probably the most pervasive rifle in history. And it’s easy to see why. The AK-47 and other rifles based on the platform are easy to produce, affordable, and reliable. You can literally make the receiver out of a shovel and the various other parts are easily available due to how widespread the rifle is.

What’s more interesting is where the rifle proliferated. Due to the relative affordability of the rifle the AK-47 is a common sight in many third world countries. Just because you don’t have a lot of money doesn’t mean you can afford a reliable rifle.

There are few individuals whose inventions impacted the world quite as much as Kalashnikov’s. If anybody’s 100th birthday is deserving of celebration it’s Kalashnikov’s.

Comcast: Because You Suck and We Hate You

Today’s lack of blogging is brought to you by Comcast. For the third goddamn time this year Comcast has decided to jack up my bill. Why? This time, just as the last two times, they are claiming I was receiving a discount that has now expired. What record do I have of receiving this discount? None. It was never listed on my bill, I was never told about it, and I never received a mailer alerting me to it. Apparently Comcast is in the business of giving discounts without telling you. Or, you know, they’re lying sacks of shit. Either way, I was wasting time on the phone with them and will end up wasting more time on the phone either getting my bill back to the way it was or disconnecting the service and finding another Internet provider (or which I have, maybe, two other options).

To further prove Comcast hates you the company also announced that it will be issuing data caps:

Cellphone users watched with dismay in recent years as unlimited data plans became nearly extinct, thanks to the growing demand for video. Now, many Twin Cities residents will see data caps coming to their internet service, too.

Comcast, in an e-mail to customers Thursday night, said it will place a limit on internet data use for its residential customers in Minnesota, starting Nov. 1.

As a business class customer I don’t believe this will effect me. But I’m sure it’s only a matter of time until this shit applies to business customers as well.

And while the 1TB cap sounds very generous everybody needs to keep in mind that 4K video is becoming more popular and it sucks up bandwidth. 1TB won’t be much in the near future, which Comcast is banking on:

For serious online gamers or 4K video streamers, unlimited data is still available — for $50 more a month.

Otherwise, what happens if you go over 1 terabyte in a month? Comcast will charge you $10 for every 50 gigabytes over the limit, up to a maximum of $200.

What a bunch of gouging fuckers. Let’s all take a moment to thank the State for providing protections to Comcast so it can do this kind of shit without much worry of losing customers to competitors.

This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

The status of Internet provision in the United States is pitiful. Speeds here are dwarfed by countries such as South Korea. Most people, because they’re a bunch of statists, blame this state of affairs on the Internet Service Providers (ISP). But the real culprit is the entity they use to maintain their near monopolies: the State.

Whenever an ISP’s near monopoly status is about to be threatened by a new competitor they run to the State for protection:

Charter Communications has sued the local government in Louisville and Jefferson County, Kentucky, in order to stop a new ordinance that gives Google Fiber easier access to utility poles.

Charter’s complaint in US District Court in Louisville on Friday (full text) is similar to one filed earlier by AT&T. Like AT&T before it, Charter wants to stop Louisville Metro’s One Touch Make Ready ordinance that lets new entrants like Google Fiber make all of the necessary wire adjustments on utility poles instead of having to wait for incumbent providers to send work crews to move their own wires. Charter alleges that the ordinance violates its Fifth Amendment property rights and could cause service outages for its customers if Google Fiber’s installers make mistakes.


Charter’s challenge to the One Touch Make Ready ordinance alleges a violation of Fifth Amendment property rights and state utility laws. The Louisville ordinance gives Google Fiber “a government-sanctioned license physically to invade, take possession of, move, and interfere with [Charter’s] property,” the complaint said. While Charter owns its wires, the poles are owned by AT&T and the Louisville Gas & Electric Company, and wires are placed in public rights-of-way.

These lawsuits are always amusing. It’s always entertaining to see what kind of excuse established ISPs can come up with to keep new ISPs out of their territory. In this case Charter is arguing on the grounds of property rights. What makes this argument laughable is that Charter doesn’t own the poles in question. If anybody has grounds to complain about how the poles can by use it’s AT&T and the Louisville Gas and Electric Company. And even they wouldn’t get mush sympathy from me because they fall under the live by the State, die by the State clause.

The live by the State, die by the State clause is what I use to describe companies that have thrived due to government protections suddenly finding themselves the target of government regulations. AT&T, for example, enjoyed a long period of having a literal monopoly on telecommunications granted to it by the State. It begrudgingly surrendered that monopoly as part of a deal with Congress to allow it to enter the computer market. Today AT&T likes to complain whenever a regulation doesn’t go its way.

Charter, like most ISPs, is where it is today due to government protections. Namely state and municipal protections against competition. Through zoning and utility laws state and municipal governments have artificially restricted the number of ISPs that can operate in their territory. With few competitors Charter was able to rake in more cash without having to provide increasingly better service. Now those protections are being taken away and its crying foul. Meanwhile I can’t help but laugh. I’m not above admitting to enjoying when karma comes around and bites these politically connected companies in the ass.

All E-Mail Providers are Snitches But Some are Bigger Snitches Than Others

E-mail should be a dead standard this day and age. By default it offers no confidentiality or anonymity. Even when you use something like GPG to encrypt the contents of your e-mail the metadata, such as who you communicated with, remains unencrypted. But legacy products like to stick around past their welcome and almost all of us have to deal with e-mail on a daily basis.

This dependency on a legacy product has also been a boon for the State. The snoops working for the State such as the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) love e-mail because it’s easy to surveil. Not only are the messages unencrypted by default but many providers are more than happy to assist federal agencies in their quest to spy on the general population. It was recently revealed that Yahoo has been one of the e-mail providers in the State’s pocket:

Yahoo Inc last year secretly built a custom software program to search all of its customers’ incoming emails for specific information provided by U.S. intelligence officials, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company complied with a classified U.S. government demand, scanning hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts at the behest of the National Security Agency or FBI, said three former employees and a fourth person apprised of the events.

Some surveillance experts said this represents the first case to surface of a U.S. Internet company agreeing to an intelligence agency’s request by searching all arriving messages, as opposed to examining stored messages or scanning a small number of accounts in real time.

Stories like this make me happy that Yahoo has been suffering financially. Most technology companies have at least half heartedly pushed back when the State has demanded all-encompassing surveillance powers. But Yahoo was more than willing to roll up its sleeves and provide the State with everything it asked for. Fortunately, there was at least one decent person in Yahoo during this fiasco. Unfortunately, that person was powerless to stop Yahoo from going through with its dastardly deed:

According to two of the former employees, Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer’s decision to obey the directive roiled some senior executives and led to the June 2015 departure of Chief Information Security Officer Alex Stamos, who now holds the top security job at Facebook Inc.

I’d say he was well rewarded for standing up for what he believed in. Facebook is raking in cash so he’s almost certainly being paid far better. And while Facebook is a major player in the State’s surveillance apparatus the company has at least shown a willingness to provide customers with secure means of communications by allowing WhatsApp, one of its acquisitions, to implement the Signal protocol and even implemented optional end-to-end encryption in its Messenger app.

This is the point where I’d recommend Yahoo’s users to abandon its e-mail service for a more reputable one. But I doubt anybody reading this is actually using Yahoo’s e-mail service. But if you are a statistical anomaly and still using it you should stop. Yahoo has zero interest in protecting your privacy.

At Least He Apologized

Usually officers who use excessive force refuse to take responsibility for their actions. But once in a while an officer will attempt to make amends. Take this shining beacon of conscious. After unnecessarily deploying his Taser into a woman he baked a cake and wrote “Sorry I Tased You.” on it in frosting:

A local woman has filed a civil lawsuit against a former Escambia County deputy who allegedly discharged a stun gun into her chest and neck without provocation, tried to cover up the incident, then apologized by sending her a photo of an off-color cake.

The suit, filed in federal court by Stephanie Byron in May, also names Sheriff David Morgan in his official capacity as sheriff. The suit alleges Michael Wohlers used excessive force against Byron, violated her civil rights, committed battery against her and caused her hardships, including physical injuries, monetary loss, medical expenses, humiliation and mental anguish.


According to court documents, Wohlers later attempted to apologize to Byron by baking her a cake. Byron’s attorney, Alistair McKenzie, clarified Friday that Wohlers sent Byron a text message stating that he baked her a cake and wanted to give it to her. The text message included a photo of a cake with the phrase, “Sorry I Tased You” written on it.

I can’t see why Mrs. Byron is so upset. The officer apologized!

You really have to wonder what runs through some people’s heads. The officer must feel at least a little bit guilty for firing his Taser, which means he probably realized it was entirely unnecessary. But thinking that baking a cake was suitable compensation for battery. Physical assault causes real harm and therefore real compensation (as in monetary). A simple “Sorry, brah.” generally doesn’t cut it in those situations. Still, I’ll give points to the officer for at least acknowledging his fuck up and making some kind of apology. He did more than most of his ilk.

Worshiping Soldiers Encourages the Use of Mercenaries

Mercenaries are a controversial topic. With the government relying more on private military companies (PMC) such as the infamous Blackwater (now Academi) there has been an increase in outrage by the general populace. As it turns out the general populace is totally fine with soldiers killing for king and country but they lose their shit when people kill for profit.

To gain a better understanding of PMCs I started reading The Modern Mercenary by Sean McFate. What I expected to be a fairly interesting read has turned out to be an absolutely fascinating read.

One of the points McFate makes that I found very interesting is that the side effect of the continue beatification of military personnel is an inventive for nations to utilize mercenaries. It makes sense. People loves heroes. People hate dead heroes.

It has become a mortal sin against statism to speak anything less than worshipfully about military personnel. Even as the general populace flips out about the State’s use of PMCs it continues to worship soldiers. Part of this worship is public outrage whenever soldiers are killed. In their eyes it’s not a mere soldier who has been killed by a genuine hero who was overseas protecting our freedoms. But since the general populace reviles PMCs their deaths occur without such outrage. In other words the hero worship of soldiers encourages the State to rely more heavily on disposable PMCs to do its dirty work.

Thus another vicious cycle is born. Due to their worship of soldiers all these people that are championing the use of government soldiers over private soldiers are unwittingly incentivizing the State to more heavily rely on PMCs.

It always amuses me when the religion of the State works against itself.

People are Wising Up

What you’re in trouble who are you going to call? More and more people are saying, “Not the police.”

After news broke that a group of Milwaukee police officers savagely beat an unarmed black man named Frank Jude in 2004, the city saw crime-related 911 calls drop by about 20 percent for more than a year—totaling about 22,200 lost reports of crimes—according to a new study by a group of sociologists at Harvard, Yale, and Oxford universities.

The outcome wasn’t unique to Jude’s beating, the researchers found. Looking at the city’s 911 call-records from 2004 to 2010, they noted similar drops after other highly publicized local and national cases of police violence against unarmed black men.

The findings square with earlier research showing that communities—specifically black communities given recent events—become more cynical of law enforcement after brutality cases. But the new study, published in the October issue of the American Sociological Review, is the first to show that people actually change their behavior based on that elevated distrust. Namely, community members become less likely to report crimes to law enforcement, likely out of fear of interacting with police or skepticism that police will take them seriously and help.

This is the inevitable result of having unaccountable law enforcers. Instead of seeing law enforcers as protectors of the community people are beginning to see them as risks. And they’re right. Unaccountable law enforcers are risks because any profession that lacks accountability tends to attract unsavory individuals. People who want to enjoy having power over others are attracted to careers that allow them to indulge their desire. Law enforcement today is the product of a vicious cycle where a lack of accountability has attracted unsavory individuals and a glut of unsavory individuals in law enforcement agencies has discouraged increasing accountability.

We see this distrust every day in little ways. Companies hiring private security personnel instead of relying on the police. People being afraid to call 911 when somebody breaks into their home. Widespread protests whenever a police officer uses deadly force. All of these are signs that public trust in law enforcement has degraded.

What’s especially ironic is that the cop apologists, who claim to be aligned with law enforcers, are just making this divide worse. By automatically siding with police officers in every use of force situation the tough on crime crowd has been feeding the populace’s fear that law enforcers are generally unaccountable, which further erodes their trust in the police. If the tough on crime crowd really wanted to help the police that too would be demanding more accountability because that is the only way to rebuild trust between the people and law enforcers. But they’re too stupid to realize that their devout worship is actually detrimental to police so they are actually unwitting wrenches in the great law enforcement machinery.