Technology of Takings
Yes, the financially destitute state that brought us everything from tax revolts and Ronald Reagan to Hollywood and legalized medical marijuana is exploring the commercialization of license plates.
Bear in mind that license plates on vehicles are required by law, so this hare-brained, soon-to-be-a-stupid-reality plan would thereby make it effectively illegal not to allow corporations the use of private, personal property for advertisements.
Front-end public relations shills managing initial public perception of the scheme are quick to point out that the electronic license plates would also display "public service" messages about such important matters as traffic conditions and Amber alerts, but the unqualified intent of DELPs is to generate revenue for the money-starved, nearly bankrupt state.
Those who do not live in California might think that the DELP technology would never catch on in other states, but that is most certainly wishful thinking, not merely because of the inflow of hard cash any state could earn selling ad space on every car licensed in the state, but also because the DELP technology would necessarily require, at least in its most effective deployment, a national grid to communicate information for the license plates to display. That data would most likely be downloaded via satellite, and other states might find it contrary to their own interests to have California cars driving on their roads earning money for California while cars from their own jurisdictions were not. Moreover, state police in non-DELP states would have to be at least marginally aware of and knowledgeable about DELP vehicles, anyway, which would give one more justification for embracing the technology.
While some commenters are suggesting that this technology is not viable because of the potential for hacking the plates, that is unlikely to be much of a problem given the degree of security with which communications can be transmitted these days. Of greater concern, aside from the obvious "takings" of private property this technology would impose, is the possibility that the electronic license plates would not be mere receivers, but interactive devices, meaning that DELP-equipped cars could transmit location and telemetry data via uplink, either routinely or on command, to roadside or other aggregators.
Notwithstanding privacy concerns, which are quickly becoming a dismissable commodity in modern life, the digital electronic license plate technology is very likely to become a reality for every driver in America within the next five to ten years.
That means your cars, dear readers, will become rolling billboards for corporations, whether you want those ads on your cars or not. Your private propertywhat you paid for with your own money, what you are required to maintain in drivable condition, what you pay the money to fuelwill show advertisements even for products made by companies of which you do not approve, quite possibly like BP, which is paying serious money to search engine companies like Google and Yahoo to show top listings for BP-approved Websites, or like FOX News, which could pump ads for its Right-wing shows to every driver and passenger in America, using your vehicles as its carriers.
Is there anything you can do to stop the eventual deployment of DELP?
Of course not.
This is the 21st Century. You don't matter.
The Price of a Freebie
The problem, despite the FCC's vowed privacy claims, is that it and its two private companies partnering for this service actually are collecting information on you, and it's personal. Even though the test doesn't ask for your name, your IP address is collected, along with information you have to provide about your physical address.
Oh, you say you have nothing to hide?
And even if you really don't (you very strange person), you don't understand how the Internet works. You also don't understand your own computer on a network and what can be done by people with big, powerful computers and the ability to carve through your machine, especially with your gullible permission.
Go ahead and use that FCC broadband speed test. After all, it's free.
So is stupidity.
Obama and His Space Cadet
It is worth noting that Lori Garver used to be an Associate Administrator at NASA. Her stint at the space agency consisted for the most part of being nothing more than a "public affairs officer." She was not involved in engineering, planning, budgeting, or any other hands-on work there. Once she had done her time on Uncle Sam's tab, she started her own "consulting firm" called Capital Space LLC, which is rather hard to track down but seems to be involved in sucking up public funds for private entrepreneurial endeavors related to space transport. One of her consulting gigs involves DFI International, where her job is to "...assist DFI's senior management in strategic planning and business development activities related to the firm's corporate space practice."
Yes, Obama's Lori Garver is a corporate shill of the worst kind: she's a "consultant."
Read that: "lobbyist." Just like countless others, she parlayed a stint in public service to start a "consulting" business so she could rent her little Blackberry of access to government insiders; and given that she now makes her dime with paychecks from the private sector, she has every incentive to interfere with NASA's public space programs because she's a point person for private companies that want to take over what is going to be a hugely lucrative business for the rest of the 21st Century.
Space transport? There's going to be way too much money in that business to let the public sector do it.
Anyway, the folks at NASA really shouldn't be worried about its future manned space program getting canned. The way Barack Obama is promising to spend money like there's no tomorrow, federal budget deficits that are already staggering thanks to years of Bush Administration madness will now go so high that we can just strap astronauts on them and make it to Mars in no time. As Buzz Lightyear would say, "To infinity and BEYOND!"
Oh, yes, one more thing. Obama and his people want NASA Administrator Griffin out. This is the same Obama cabal that has no problem with the likes of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and FBI Director Robert Mueller staying in their positions. Robert Gates, whose unbelievably appalling history is a disgrace to this nation, and Robert Mueller, a man who has shredded any right to privacy Americans might once have enjoyed, get to stay; but the head of NASA has to go.
Yeah. Right. That makes sense.
No, really, it does. But only if you stop thinking Obama's presidency is something other than the Bush Administration with every bit of the arrogance, a whole lot of the corruption, a good dose of the viciousness, more than a hint of the short-sightedness, but not one shred of the incompetence.
The 21st Century, Epilogue, will now continue.
End Time Rescheduled
Despite fears to the contraryalthough it goes without saying considering you're reading this articlethe universe did not vanish in a cascade of monopoles or a goo of stranglets, nor did the Earth get swallowed into a rapidly expanding mini-black hole.
Back to the oars, people.
The Dark Wraith was expecting so much more from science.
Clueville Calling on Wiki Line One
From "Blogging the Code"
I have to bring up [Wikipedia founder] Jimmy Wales, not by name but rather by his Wikipedia site, at least several times every semester when I counsel (actually, when I roar at) students who are under the misimpression that they can use Wikipedia as a legitimate citation in a college-level term paper.
In comments on my article "Mahjongg Associated with Epileptic Seizures in Older Men":
To say I don't much care for Wikipedia is somewhat akin to saying I don't much care for dog sandwiches.
And in response to the question, "What would you pay for google access?" posed to me in a comment thread at BlondeSense, my response, in part:
What would I pay for a subscription to Google search engine services?
I'd pay the same as I would for access to Wikipedia.
They can kiss the wallet in my ass pocket.
My account balance...
Yes, I already said "Zero" at the beginning, but I wanted to find closure by coming around full circle.
The Dark Wraith sometimes gives hints regarding his true feelings about nefarious Internet parasites.
So, what could possibly make me such an ardent detractor of a helpful cyberpop icon of knowledge as Wikipedia has come to be? Could it possibly be the fact that such a huge site with such dense content has no apparent source of ad revenue that could be paying for server space and all the apparent money the founder seems to be making? Could it possibly be that there is no standing independent academic certification of that content? Could it be that even your own dog could be contributing and/or editing content the hordes of Internet factoid mavens quote as God's Word? Could it be the long-standing, unsubstantiated rumors of what kind of people and other entities are actually behind the "non-profit" Wikimedia Foundation that supports Wikipedia?
Or could it be that I am nothing but an out-of-touch Luddite who can't stand the fact that knowledge has finally merged with information, which has coälesced with data to offer the ultimate one-stop stairwell to Final Jeopardy and your very own degree at Online-University.com? That is to say, my long-standing, vocal disdain for Wikipedia could be nothing more than evidence of my own unjustified, inappropriate, pre-Information Age judgmentalism, tainting as it does the credibility of pretty much everything else I assess.
Indeed. For readers' consideration on whether or not my judgment of Wikipedia is worthy, I herewith submit the link to an August 14, 2007, article in Wired News. The title says it all: "See Who's Editing Wikipedia Diebold, the CIA, a Campaign." Read the article. Decide for yourselves whether the fast-track escalator to the Wisdom of the Ages is going anywhere near the hoped-for destination at Quik-'n-EZ Knowledge Central.
Democracy in politics is wondrous: people like George W. Bush can win the popular vote. Democracy in information content is just as wondrous: that dog of yours might be one of the more reliable editors at Wikipedia. In both cases, however, the result is likely to be the same as the service provided by a house of ill repute: the mendaciously desperate doing the unhygienically unseemly to the impenitently detached.
The Dark Wraith must also, and in conclusion, point out that any word beginning with "wiki" is an abomination hated by God.
Courage by the Bottle
Yes, this fine picture would look good on the bedroom wall of any little boy or girl who aspires one day to reach for the Heavens, fearless of heart and three sheets to the wind.
The Dark Wraith does advise that people in airplanes give the space shuttles a wide berth.