And now, we have longer cattle lines, for your own Safety and Security

Posted On: Saturday - August 15th 2020 11:18AM MST
In Topics: 
  US Police State  Americans  Liberty/Libertarianism  Healthcare Stupidity

(Note: Not taken of our line. We had a more convoluted path, everyone wore masks, and then there was the magnificent plexiglas mile.

We ask the reader to please skip to at least the 2nd portion of this post if you've read this before (somewhere?), as this is basically an addendum to COVID / TSA twin peaks of stupidity post from over 2 months back. This post describes our experience at the TSA line in a different location from that at which we encountered the pleasant experience described 2 days back in Thank you, TSA guy!. Instead of just our family and the one guy (that was the beauty of it, as I think nobody was nearby enough to watch him), there were thousands.

Let me digress just a bit to inside the airport terminal, by which I mean on the flying side of the security lines. (Actually some of this is outside too.) Go back about 20 years, and, yes, one would hear about "the FAA advises this" and "the FAA requires that" when it came to luggage handling, plenty of rules on-board the airplanes, of course and this or that procedure. I want to mention 2 things:

1) I do know that much of the Nazi/Commie-like behavior of gate agents and flight attendants (especially) is due to out-of-control FAA rules, making these (wanting-to-be) customer service type individuals into cops. I can tell you from experience that were a F/A to know there are no company, FAA, or any other tattletales in the cabin, she would be much more relaxed and congenial. "Don't want to put the seat-belt on. Fine, I'm not gonna make a Federal case out of", she might think, not say, on occasion.

2) The FAA, being involved in actual, real, sometimes acute safety issues, with plenty of technical decisions to make, are a group composed of fewer AA/Dieversity hires than most government agencies. They've got lots of White men, in other words, making decisions. This is a good thing. Since I mentioned that, I'll note that I have actual high regard for the NTSB, a different outfit, because they are engineering/technical types. I have personal experience even.

OK, but that's going back 2 decades, almost. Go back 1/2 a year, or slightly more, through 18 years, and you will remember that you'd hear "the FAA this/that" AND "the TSA this/that" around the terminal, telling you what you must do to "be safe" and "for your own good". Yeah, I guess we are used to that enough to where our brains completely block it out. (I wish I could say the same for CNN in the terminals. )

Here's the latest agency we may hear from forever, the way the Kung Flu Panic-fest is going - the CDC. "The CDC recommends...", "The CDC requires ...", etc, is what you have blasting at you along with the commands from the other two organizations. Yes, put your money in noise-cancelling headsets, people! That's my stock tip. I sincerely hope it will make up for the tip that most readers hopefully missed in February to "get all your funds out of the floor sticker sector! It's going to bottom out!" Hey, this is not a financial-advise site, and (due to, cough, cough, our following our own stock tips, cough...) WE ARE NOT WORTH SUING! [Thank you - PS Legal]

Because there are these twin peaks of stupidity at the airport terminal, the War on Terra and the War on Germies, the American experts and authoritahs have worked out a system. We need to screen EVERYBODY because, fairness and shit. We also need to keep everyone 6 ft apart and not spreading germs even through the face masks that we require them to wear, because pandemic! Therefore, there was a long, long stretch of cattle-pen type line, bordered by 8 ft sections of ~ 7ft tall plexiglas with metal support. Let's not worry about any Covid-cooties going up and above or below, or through the breaks. We hope they have not mutated to be that smart yet.

Subtract the expected throughput (yes, that's the terms they use, as in a production line - you are the input and you minus your toothpaste, gerber tool, and bottled water are the output) from the rate of entrants to the terminal during the peak times, multiply that by 6 ft, and you get an idea of how long the line must be. There were multiple hundreds of sections of plexiglas that wound around like the line to the best E-ticket ride in Disneyland. Hey, we didn't mind the walk actually. It was only about 5 -10% of the number of steps we'd done on our long hike*.

No, it's the indignity of it all that really pissed me off. Some may reply to me that, yes, that's what we have to put up with, but I say that firstly, it's NOT a necessary indignity. The Kung Flu healthcare theater is ridiculous and the security theater is ridiculous. Both are for show, and I don't like being turned into a cattle/sheep-like creature for this show. Both of these worries could be better handled by individuals and private companies (the airlines in the case of both worries).

Lastly, and this is the point that'd I'd asked readers sick of this TSA-posting to come read. The problem we got, as described by some blogger who I can't recall many years ago, is this: Americans come from an organized people. The British Founders especially, but also Germans, Scandinavians, etc. are good with organization. OTOH, we have this unConstitutional and Police-State type behavior out of governents-gone-wild.

Now, you do down to S. America, and yes, they have lots of stupid, arbitrary rules too, and lots of hype too. However, they are not good at organization. So, the rules are in place, but people are too lazy and/or incompetent to really enforce them correctly**. There is the corruption aspect (that could probably get your pocketknife through the line, because, "hey, my Dad works for ...")

Our people do the best they could to comply with all recommendations by the experts and the letter of the law. So, you've got your floor stickers, your plexiglas sections by the hundreds, your face shields on the TSA guys (that's gotta suck, I don't care who you are, and no, if you work there I don't care who you are.***) so that we can all be SAFE when they ask you to take the mask off to match your face with your ID card, your touching of the ladies behinds by ladies only and little kids by ....

Oh, as a last thought here (I promise), when the cattle chute got within 100 ft or so of the entrance to finally get screened, well, people get anxious, you know, so ... they all bunch together. At that point we were back at normal, or what is now "non-social" distances apart. A lot of damn good this all does!

* Totally off-topic, but thanks to the nice backpacker who lent our 9 y/o the toilet paper! We were 2 1/2 hours from anything resembling a bathroom, and, though I used to have a pack with the required and emergency stuff for day hikes that might turn into overnights, we don't have a family of preppers exactly, right now. That needs to change. The wife is FINALLY catching on that thing are getting worse here. (The kid wouldn't have gone another 5 minutes, much less 2 1/2 hours!)

** The bad thing that comes from this is that anyone not in good standing with any authoritah can be taken in for any one of these rules that's only enforced when said authoritah damn well wants to.

*** Actually, I shouldn't be so harsh. A post coming sometime will be about that "I just work here. I don't make the rules" business.

Adam Smith
Tuesday - August 18th 2020 10:56PM MST
PS: Some mysterious rich guy like Satoshi Nakamoto?

Blockchain is not unhackable...

If someone gains 51% of a crypto network they can alter the blockchain. (This is just one example of a way to hack a crypto...)

The protocol of a blockchain system validates the record with the longest transactional history. If the attacker has more than 50% of the processing power, they will have the longest transactional history. This means that their incorrect blocks will be the valid ones. Smaller networks are especially vulnerable to a 51% Attack. If trust is lost in a network, then the currency might crash.

Admittedly most of the "hacks" are not hacks on the blockchain itself, but more like simple bank heists by hacking the exchanges. (I think we will see more hacks on the chain in the future as more people gain insight into the code and try novel things.)

I always wondered from the beginning, right after I read Satoshi's white paper, what would prevent someone from cloning a memory stick full of bitcoins thus multiplying them.

Cloning the wallet is the easy part. The tricky part is spending the coins simultaneously, sometimes called "double spends", essentially creating a fork in the blockchain.

I've never messed with it, hell I didn't even take the time to secure the few litecoin I had. If I knew how valuable bitcoin would become I would have been properly motivated to figure it out. (Securing the coins, not creating a fork.)

But there are inherent flaws with blockchain and cryptocurrencies that led to my initial and continued skepticism. Everything involving technology will one day be hacked. I'm still not sure who is really behind bitcoin (it could be the federal reserve for all I know) and I'm not convinced that the plug could not be pulled one day. Even without pulling the plug, the coins could be devalued by the people who run a given crypto if they so desired or a hack could lead to people loosing faith in a cryptocoin leading to a "currency collapse".

The luddite in me prefers something more tangible.
I suppose that's why I built a mining rig instead of "investing" in crypto.

Tuesday - August 18th 2020 9:18PM MST
PS: We may not have been hearing from you here, had you made your $12 or $600 million, Mr. Smith. As to the cryptocurrencies, yes, they are great for transactions. As a store of wealth, even with a less-raggedy wallet, what I worry about is some bright mathematician finding out that, no, the blockchain is not unhackable (or whatever the word would even be). We'd never find out who he was, probably - it's just that our money would be worth less, as some mysterious rich guy seems to have an unlimited amount.
Adam Smith
Tuesday - August 18th 2020 9:24AM MST
PS: I could have been an early adopter...

But I prefer something that I can put in my hand like silver or gold... Or a mining rig... Or tools, or whatever.

I could have bought 1000 bitcoin for $100 when I first learned of the scheme...

That 12 million currently...

If I could go back in time I would tell myself to buy $5000 dollars worth as that is an investment I could have easily made at the time.

That's 600 million dollars...

I guess sometimes gambling pays.

However, plenty of people had their bitcoins stolen...

I mined 7 litecoins with the mining rig I built when litecoins were worth just a couple bucks a piece.

The litecoins were stolen, mostly because I was lazy and I left them in an online wallet. The mining rig I still have.

So who knows how it would have actually worked out.

Sunday - August 16th 2020 7:32PM MST
PS: Actually, Adam, I was telling everyone else to get out of the floor sticker sector in the same way the Warren Buffet tells people to sell, when he needs the price down to buy. ;-} I could be just like Warren Buffet if I only had about 10,000 times the audience. It's not yet time to put Peak Stupidity out on the Big Board.

Don't feel bad about the bitcoin deal. You sound like an "early adopter" otherwise, but you did the right, conservative thing. Unfortunately the country is no longer conservative. I am not a gambler myself, but that seems to be the best way to get ahead these days.
Sunday - August 16th 2020 7:24PM MST
PS: Mr. Anon, great rant! I mean that in the best sense of the word.

Is it OK to still hang those colored Christmas tree thingies that are supposed to make the car smell good for weeks on your RV mirror? I'm done with AAA, by the way, They and the AARP can go stuff themselves.

Could you terminate the Sirius service, or is there some multiyear contract that comes with the car, Mr. Anon? I still have an ipOd-like device that can hold a couple of hundred albums worth of music on it, but you do want variety sometimes. I know a little bit about the DJ business of the old days, so that was fun to read. Yeah, the DJ's of old would time the intro. and finish the weather report right when the voice started. They were good at it. But, that was for AM, not FM, and not XM. They don't do it right anyway, from what I've heard.

I respectfully request membership in your GFY party. Where's the first caucus gonna be? OK, don't tell me GFY.
Adam Smith
Sunday - August 16th 2020 2:13PM MST
PS: Afternoon...

Unfortunately I did not miss your thoughtful advice to "get all your funds out of the floor sticker sector! It's going to bottom out!"

It was right around the time I decided to cash in my holdings of acrylic sheet manufacturers so I could buy oil and airline stocks.

Reminds of the night I learned about bitcoin, when it was 8 cents a coin and I could have mined some on any old laptop. Oh, that's interesting I thought to myself... I wouldn't want anything that I can't hold in my grubby little paw.

What's that saying about foresight as clear as hindsight?

Mr. Anon
Sunday - August 16th 2020 12:34PM MST

The Corona Freakout has seemingly given license to every blue-nose, busybody, and scold to lecture us about every single casual everyday thing that people do. Wash your hands! Don't touch your face! Wear your mask! No, not that kind of mask, that kind of mask is only for health-care heroes! Stay 6 ft. apart! (In Europe they tell people to stay 1.5 m apart, which is only 4.9 ft. - I guess COV is different in Europe, huh?)

I recently heard a new one. You've probably seen cars with the masks hanging from the rear-view mirror. Well, it's a convenient place to put them, why wouldn't you. You see it all the time now. The AAA wants you to stop. It can block your view; it's a safety hazard.

I'm also getting pissed off at the DJs on Sirius XM, who work the COVID propaganda into thier broadcasts. I was already pissed off at the fact that they even have DJs. I'm paying for Satellite radio in my car, so I don't have to listen to DJs talking over the song intros. So what does Sirius do? Put on DJs to talk over the song intros. They don't even need DJs. It's not like their spinning platters anymore. The songs are all sound files queued up three days deep on a server. But I draw the line at their exhortations to wear your mask, stay apart, yada, yada, yada.

F**k all these people! What this country needs is a new party. Not the DNC. Not the GOP. But the GFY! party
WHAT SAY YOU? : (PLEASE NOTE: You must type capital PS as the 1st TWO characters in your comment body - for spam avoidance - or the comment will be lost!)