log (2009/09/18 to 2009/09/24)

I love the American legal system. Not, at the moment, because of it being the cornerstone of civilization or anything, and not overlooking that there are also things to dislike about it. But, at least this morning, I love it because it involves thinking, because it involves smart people thinking about things and writing carefully-conceived arguments about things and then making them available to everyone to read. Even when not strictly required. Case in point follows.

Unlike the American legal system, Orly Taitz is not something that I find it easy to love. As the most visible face of the absurd "Birther" movement, she is basically full of shit (if you'll pardon the expression). You can find videos of her all over YouTube; every one is a self-parody. In terms of her relationship to objective reality, and her ability to completely ignore the fact that she is basically completely wrong about everything, she is right up there with the Income Tax Protesters who claim that they don't have to pay income tax because there was a miscapitalized word on one copy of one of the documents used to ratify the 16th Amendment.

Recently she has been getting members of the U.S. armed services to bring lawsuits (with herself as the attorney) claiming that they don't have to follow their deployment orders because the Commander in Chief has not proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that all of the documents proving that he was born in the U.S. were not forged by evil Democatic time-travellers from the future.

Here is the judge's decision, which not only finds against her, but also warns her that if she brings the same sort of idiotic case into the same court again, the judge will not be pleased.

Tying this to why I love the American legal system, note that the judge did not merely say "your argument is full of shit". First there is a significant bit of scholarly examination of the conditions under which the civilian legal system may appropriately interfere in military decisions (like deployment orders), which concludes that this is not one of those cases. Then there is a discussion of the conditions under which preliminary injuctions (which is what this plaintiff was asking for, to avoid being deployed to combat zones) are appropriate, which concludes that this is not one of those cases.

And only after a nice thorough treatment of those issues does the judge cap the decision by saying, basically, "and even if it wasn't for all that, your argument is full of shit."

So I liked that. *8)

In other news, the fancy new birthday laptop has come (even though it isn't my birthday yet), and it is quite the screamingly fast and large capacity thing! It isn't any heavier than the Lenovo thing that it's replacing for work (as far as I can tell), which had been one of my big worries, so that's good. It's taking me awhile to get used to the new and different keyboard, which actually has a numeric keypad, but doesn't have a TrackPoint, and therefore requires me to reprogram lots of my finger-macros. But I'll get used to it.

And it's really really fast! I used to have to plan my excursions into Dalaran in WoW carefully, and stay zoomed in and looking at the ground as much as possible, because I hardly ever got more than 0.5 fps there, and would frequently crash and/or entirely hang the computer. With this thing, though, I get like 60 freaking fps in the middle of downtown Dalaran, with all the video features turned way up, including dynamic shadows and 8x multisampling, while on wireless. Which is Teh Awesome.

(I don't actually run with 8x multisampling on 'cause it looks sorta weird; but 2x is nice.)

I also get consistently at least 20 or 30 fps in Second Life, often quite a bit more, with the graphics settings on Ultra. (I do turn view distance down to like 64 sometimes if I want the closer-by things to rez more quickly; that's limited by my internet connection, not the computer's speed.)

And it also runs Blue Mars at a useable fps, although I'm not doing that much lately because there's not much to do in Blue Mars at the moment. I might get more interested once the Content Developer NDA is lifted and I can take a closer look at the Content Developer program. But so far I can't imagine finding any virtual world (or any "technology platform" for virtual worlds, which is what Blue Mars calls itself when people complain about how little content it has for a virtual world) being as interesting as Second Life when your average Joe and Mary Resident can't just build on a whim, but have to join the Content Developers Program and learn some offline 3D content tools.

(Note the rather baffling current contents of Blue mars dot com, while we're on the subject.)

Strange Japanese Video o' the Day: Ronald McDonald brainwashed the VOCALOID. Absolutely!

Now that's a Rickroll!

Headline o' The Time-interval: Bizarre newt uses ribs as weapons. (No, not Gingrich! Silly.)

Free Cory Doctorow Short-short SF Story o' the Day: Printcrime. Not bad at all.

Grammar Noir. "Editing's a mug's game."

So there I wrote some stuff, and I gave some links! I've been writing more over in the Second Life weblog, as usual, and also in the Blue Mars forums. And I've been playing WoW and Second Life and also (woot!) The Sims 2, which there's now room for on this machine. It's great to see the Raptors and the Danverses and everybody again. *8) I wonder if I'll go back to posting Sims stories...