California Traffic Tickets 
Tuesday, June 26, 2007, 05:46 PM
I've just located a site that renders my Traffic Ticket project moot. I'm not sure whether or not I'll continue developing it. In any case, the site has some excellent words on enforcement of red light cameras, and points out that two separate portions of California law render illegal evidence collected using a red light camera.
Automated enforcement systems are illegal speed traps because their sensors measure the speed of your car as you cross a measured distance in the road (two sets of inductive loops). A speed trap is defined in 40802(a)(1) as: "A particular section of a highway measured as to distance and with boundaries marked, designated, or otherwise determined in order that the speed of a vehicle may be calculated by securing the time it takes the vehicle to travel the known distance." So clearly, automated enforcement is an illegal speed trap.

In a chapter of the California Vehicle Code appropriately named "Illegal Evidence", code section 40801, Speed Trap Prohibition, states: "No peace officer or other person shall use a speed trap in arresting, or participating or assisting in the arrest of, any person for any alleged violation of this code nor shall any speed trap be used in securing evidence as to the speed of any vehicle for the purpose of an arrest or prosecution under this code."

Ticket Assassin further goes on to point out that even if speed traps were legal, the way many of them are operated is illegal:
Though not mentioned in the recent article, automated enforcement's San Diego incarnation is also illegal under CVC 21455.5, Traffic Signal Automated Enforcement, which states: "Only a government agency, in cooperation with a law enforcement agency, may operate an automated enforcement system." The system in San Diego is operated by Lockheed Martin IMS, a private for-profit corporation; certainly not the "government agency" called for in the statute. In fact, all the automated enforcement systems in California are being illegally operated by private corporations.

My cousin recently received a ticket in Emeryville, CA and if I remember correctly, the system there is also run by a private corporation. After all, contracting out all aspects of government is the newest fad.
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Coast Guard Enlistment Bonus 
Monday, June 18, 2007, 12:58 PM
This is just a rumor right now, but the word on the street is that DHS is mandating that the Coast Guard no longer dole out enlistment bonuses.
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Charlie Foxtrot 
Wednesday, June 13, 2007, 01:14 PM
A major item that was supposed to get shipped from a Navy facility in Bremerton, WA to San Francisco, CA instead was sent to Baltimore Maryland. How did this happen? Someone swapped the "from" and "to" addresses. The item, shipped from a government facility said it was from Ron Bain, BAE Systems San Francisco Ship Repair and to Z52500, CO, USCG ELC. The Z number is tracking number for outgoing shipments. Anyways, now the propeller hub is going to be trucked back across the country. These little incidents are what serve for excitement in my day. Pathetic.

It seems surreal... I enter things into the computer and money is spent, parts are ordered, and then shipped somewhere. I make phone calls and people ship stuff around the country, cutters get underway or doing get underway. I never see any of it. Someone somewhere is doing tangible work -- it just isn't me.
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A 12 Year Old Tried To Hit Me In the Head With a Baseball 
Saturday, June 2, 2007, 05:19 PM
I was headed out of my apartment complex to Sports Authority to buy some tennis shoes when I heard a group of kids shouting in what I thought was an argument. One of the kids was shouting "Open the gate!" Annoyed, I headed on hoping they wouldn't get me involved by asking me to open the gate. As I passed them clustered at the gate to the pool, the eldest of the four, who was probably between 10 to 12, approached me and asked if I had a phone (there was no adult with them). Eventually it came out that they had been sitting in the hot tub, across the pool area, when someone had started shooting at them "with a pellet gun." The smallest, probably around 6, was in tears. They asked if I would collect their clothes and toys for them; I obliged. Walking around, I could see that it had been a paintball gun -- the green splotches stood out in the cement. I walked across the street into a building but I couldn't find the shooter.

Eventually I made it to Sports Authority, which is conveniently located across the parking lot from my apartment complex. After selecting two pairs of shoes, I remembered that for months I had been meaning to buy a tennis racket. While I perused rackets a group of young kids, similar in age to the ones I had just helped by the pool, ran around me playing. They were taking items off the shelf, playing with them, and then just leaving them wherever they pleased. I remembered back to when I was growing up -- my mother didn't tolerate me running around the store on my own, I was not allowed to just grab things off the shelf, and she certainly would have made sure I put it back where I found it. As I stooped over to inspect a racket, I could hear the kids talking about scattering: "I'll go this way" and "Okay, I'm going this way." Seconds later a hardball crashed into the display rack right next to my head. I turned around and they were all gone.

These two experiences together made me angrier than I've been in a while. WTF is going on with society when someone shoots at a 1st grader with a high power paintball gun and reduces him to tears? How does that make you feel good? What sort of 12 year tries to hit someone else in the head with a baseball, let alone someone who's 24 years old and could give him the beating he so obviously deserves? For the latter group, I was angry most of all at the parents. Here's the point where I mention the race of the people involved and start getting hatemail. Both group of kids were African American. In the former case, the kids are obviously innocent victims trying to have fun on a lazy Saturday. In the later case, I think it's indicative of a great problem with African American culture.

Every ethnic group in this country, to varying degrees, creates a distinct sub-culture. Asian do it, Latinos do it, and various segregated Caucasian groups do it also (visit the South). African American culture, however, differs from mainstream culture to a great degree than any other ethnic group. You follow the natural path of a 12 year old with a lack of parental control and a propensity for violence towards strangers, and it ends in incarceration. Racism still exists today and it certainly plays it role in "keeping the Black man down," but I think racism is dwarfed by the damage the African American community inflicts on itself. In some states, one in four African American males is a convicted felon. That's not racism. That's a deep-seated, self-propagating cultural problem. Look at the type of speech, the music, the misogyny, and the manners that African American culture produces. Tell me that's not self destructive.

There are those doing a noble, if overzealous, effort to eradicate racism. If half that effort were directed towards correcting cultural deficiencies the average African American youth would have a much brighter future.
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Cubicle Life 
Thursday, May 24, 2007, 03:02 PM
A lifelong dream of mine has been realized, as I now occupy a cubicle at MLCP(vr-2). Yes, I've also adopted the sweet shore side office code lingo. I'm in 378' cutter support, which means I'm providing logistical support for the same class of cutter I just came off of. I also have a direct phone line: (510) 637-5822. Call me!
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Code of Conduct 
Monday, April 9, 2007, 11:18 AM
I am an American, fighting in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life...

No, not that code of conduct. A Blogger's Code of Conduct. Tim O'Reilly, the publisher, has proposed a Code of Conduct in his blog along with Jimmy Wales, the creator of Wikipedia.

I'm not sure if a code of conduct is the answer to incivility on the web, but I do agree that something should be done. I especially agree with the idea that owners of a blog should be able to delete comments that are patently abusive. Some people's ignorance regarding the English language causes them to believe this is censorship -- it's not. You're free to shout "Peter is a moron," but I'm not going to afford you the opportunity to do so in my apartment. In the same way you can write "Peter is a moron," but I'm not obligated to give you space to do so on my blog, on my web server, which I'm paying for.

Freedom of speech means that for the most part you can say whatever you want. It DOES NOT give you the right to say it wherever you want.
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Time Enough 
Friday, March 23, 2007, 08:55 PM
I heard you say
Underneath your breath
Some kind of prayer.
I heard you say
Underneath your breath
That you never want to feel this way
about anybody else.

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Sunday, March 4, 2007, 12:09 PM
As part of my application to the MBA program at UC Berkeley, I was required to create a resume. A copy of it is posted here.
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One More 
Saturday, February 24, 2007, 04:34 PM
One more week in San Diego until we head home. We'll be underway from Monday afternoon until Thursday evening; Friday afternoon we leave for the transit up to Alameda.

I'm still working on my application the MBA program at Haas (UC Berkeley). I have yet to start my personal statement, and the application is due at the end of the month. My goal is to attend the evening and weekend program while I finish out my last three years in the Coast Guard.
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To Do 
Sunday, February 11, 2007, 09:50 PM
If you haven't done so already, you should pick up a copy of Marisha Pessl's book Special Topics In Calamity Physics. It's an intriguing novel, cleverly written, meticulously put together, with a rather humorous first person narration. To get a taste, visit the website here, which is worth the trip in and of itself.

The table of contents is a list of classic works, each serving serving as a title for a chapter that approximates its theme. A good number of them I was forced to add to my ever growing reading list.
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