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Hardware Hacking The Military Build Hardware

Revisiting DIY HERF Guns 425

Posted by kdawson
from the scrambled-not-fried dept.
An anonymous reader writes "HERF guns have previously been regarded as nothing more than an interesting project with uses ranging from at-home experiments to malicious pranks. But the deployment of 'morally gray' forms of high-tech crowd control, such as the recent use of a sound cannon against domestic protesters, along with the likely future unleashing of the pain gun on more than just 'foreign terrorists,' creates a new purpose for these relatively easily assembled devices. Could HERF guns become a new method to counter the silencing of protesters via these sophisticated attacks, or is there any other way to prevent such efficient, convenient crowd dispersal?"
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Revisiting DIY HERF Guns

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  • bad idea (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sarduwie (1571169) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @05:29PM (#29559735) Homepage

    I can't claim to know what HERF is without a visit to wikipedia, but compared to protesters, authorities will always outperform them when it comes to weaponry.

  • by siddesu (698447) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @05:32PM (#29559757)

    Yes, there is. Too bad most of the people in countries where it is available think little of it. It is called voting, and it works - although not very often. The idea is, basically, that you vote your friends into your parliament and they pass laws that forbid hi-tech crowd control.

    A serious coordination effort is needed for that to happen, which would have been facilitated by some electronic medium that allows easy and cheap communication over large distances, by wire or otherwise. Maybe someone can build a prototype of such a medium as well?

  • by Brian Gordon (987471) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @05:34PM (#29559767)

    What could possibly go wrong?

  • by ShakaUVM (157947) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @05:35PM (#29559781) Homepage Journal

    >>Then, some aggressive idiot wants to tailgate you, you tap your brake lights to ask him to back off. If he doesn't, you flip a switch under your dashboard and kill his engine

    And possibly killing him as well. Having a car die in the middle of a crowded freeway is not a zero-risk event.

    I think it's kind of a disproportionate response, don't you?

    Personally I'd just like to get one of those scrolling LED text displays mounted to the back of my car. "HEY DUDE, BACK THE FUCK OFF. I'M NOT INTO THAT."

  • by pla (258480) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @05:41PM (#29559813) Journal
    But the deployment of 'morally gray' forms of high-tech crowd control [...] creates a new purpose for these relatively easily assembled devices.

    No, it creates a new purpose for the second amendment to the US constitution.

    Until a few people die to demonstrate that we won't put up with casual torture via tasers, sound cannons, pain rays, and what-have-you, the police will continue to use such technologies on the populace for increasingly trivial reasons. We've already seen them go from "nonlethal defense" to promoting "compliance" to merely enforcing obsequious levels of civility... And now, merely to clear the streets in blatant violation of another of our rights (the first).

    Can't say I have the balls to put myself in the firing line, but I predict another "Kent State" within the next few years.
  • Re:Sounds like... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bughunter (10093) <bughunter@@@earthlink...net> on Sunday September 27, 2009 @05:49PM (#29559873) Journal
    In fact, one of the simplest HERF designs (a hi current coil compressed suddenly by igniting an explosive surrounding the coil) has a dual-lobed bidirectional radiation pattern. So yes, without some sort of reflector or attenuator, it certainly can work both ways.
  • by causality (777677) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @05:53PM (#29559899)

    What could possibly go wrong?

    Again, this is entirely hypothetical. I addressed such concerns for the person with the device by noting you'd probably have to shield your own electronics. For the person tailgating, well, that person is attempting to bully you into driving the way he wants you to drive by threatening you with an increased chance of a car accident. This is particularly true when they have an easy way to pass you and/or when you are already speeding.

    I have little concern for what becomes of people who decide to be aggressive assholes without provocation, to be honest with you. They invite any misfortune they receive. I think it's a shame that they would be this way, and I wish they would not, but there is such a thing as sleeping in the bed that you have made and I'll not deprive them of it. I would greatly prefer that they choose not to be belligerent out of the kindness of their heart, and not because they fear an immediate and certain retaliation, but those are the two reasonable choices.

    Now in reality, I try not to end up in situations where I have to deal with such people. You can usually see it coming, for these are not sophisticated people and such things as subtlety and discretion are all but unknown to them. For the few I do not foresee ahead of time, I am not too proud to pull over and force a tailgater to pass me, for example, rather than engage in a pointless pissing contest or put up with a needless risk of an accident. I don't particularly care if they think that is weakness, for it is actually the self-determination to not to play such stupid no-win games merely because some random jackass wants me to do so. However, I simply cannot deny that if there were a truly effective way to immediately shut down this behavior, there would be much less of it, nor can I deny that this would be a benefit to everyone else.

  • by sqlrob (173498) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @05:55PM (#29559917)

    Tailgating is not a zero risk event. Which is riskier?

  • by grcumb (781340) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @05:57PM (#29559935) Homepage Journal

    Yes, there is. Too bad most of the people in countries where it is available think little of it. It is called voting, and it works - although not very often. The idea is, basically, that you vote your friends into your parliament and they pass laws that forbid hi-tech crowd control.

    My kingdom for a mod point. Human societies often suffer from the Little Red Hen [wikipedia.org] syndrome, wherein everyone wants the bread, but nobody can be bothered to actually help prepare it.

    Democracy is a messy, tiresome, boring, downright infuriating system where one is constantly tormented by the most aggravating invention known to man: other people's opinions. It is, however, the one system that actually incorporates social/political change into its very structure. And that is something that countless people suffering under authoritarian or absolutist rulers find remarkably appealing.

    A serious coordination effort is needed for that to happen, which would have been facilitated by some electronic medium that allows easy and cheap communication over large distances, by wire or otherwise. Maybe someone can build a prototype of such a medium as well?

    The technical means exist. That's never been the problem. The issue here is creating and sustaining a culture of participation. While social networks and other means go a long way to facilitating that process, people still need to actually listen to one another. And that, as I've said, is one of the most exquisite tortures known to man. Except of course for all the other ones.

    By the way - and not coincidentally - the Beck-ification of political discourse is neither accidental nor unplanned. Politicians have known for decades that the best way to subvert democracy was simply to shout it down. It's far, far easier to manipulate a population that's splintered, resentful and incapable of conducting an actual dialogue to resolve its differences or find manageable compromise. The knee-jerk name-calling on either side of every issue, when it's echoed, magnified and given focus by mass media, is specifically designed to subvert the kind of processes that sustain democracy.

    In short: Yes, there are anti-democratic forces at play, and yet we are still our own worst enemies.

  • by magnusrex1280 (1075361) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @05:58PM (#29559941)
    I think the gist of people's interest is the overwhelming concern about the police having access to such technology, without any policy in place guaranteeing that it won't and/or can't be misused. It scares the heck out of me that I could be in a perfectly legal protest, and some officer in charge arbitrarily decides we're "not in compliance", and all they have to do is press a button to force people into submission. And your contention that it should be alright to arrest people for interest in this subject is absurd. Plain and simple.
  • by petrus4 (213815) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @06:22PM (#29560105) Homepage Journal

    Cops are supposed to have an unfair advantage. What do you think about armor piercing bullets?

    Cops are supposed to uphold the legitimate rule of law, as well; not to act as the brute force support system of global fascism. There is a vast difference.

  • Pacemaker (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Improv (2467) <pgunn@dachte.org> on Sunday September 27, 2009 @06:23PM (#29560113) Homepage Journal

    All it would take is some unlucky person with a pacemaker getting near your device and you're in for negligent homicide.

  • by Rix (54095) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @06:23PM (#29560121)

    You can vote for anyone you like to your hearts content, but unless that person has the blessing of a major party they will not be permitted to take office.

    Because only voting for winning candidates has effect, voting for anyone but the majors has exactly the same effect as not voting at all.

  • by Paracelcus (151056) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @06:23PM (#29560123) Journal

    In the US, the "two party system" is a sham designed to keep the real power(s) (in power) and no one could ever have a successful third party.
    In fact, the most successful "third party" presidential candidates (Libertarian & Green) are forbidden entry into the presidential debates (even as audience attendees).
    In many states new laws have been passed which effectively prevent any participation by third party groups by making it impossible to get a candidate on the ballot.
    In the US (IMHO) the government is just a tool of the vast financial interests that are the real masters of the US of A.

  • by node 3 (115640) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @06:25PM (#29560137)

    I have little concern for what becomes of people who decide to be aggressive assholes without provocation, to be honest with you. They invite any misfortune they receive.

    Um, no.

    First off, not all tailgating is the same. Not to entirely justify it, but sometimes a person will pull into the left lane and either maintain the same speed as the right lane (two-lane scenario, for simplification), or so minimally faster that it will take several miles before they pass the car on their right. All the while there is a good 1/8th mile of empty road before the two cars *and* they're both under the speed limit.

    In those cases, it's the fucker in the left lane that's creating an unsafe circumstance.

    However, in neither case does the two parties involved deserve to be deliberately put into danger. The slow-poke in the left lane doesn't deserve to be tailgated, but neither does the person behind him deserve to have his car disabled while driving in excess of 50mph.

    Best way to avoid such situations is to stay the fuck out of the left lane if you have more than about 75-100 ft of empty road ahead of you, you aren't moving appreciably faster than the lane to your right, and you have someone riding your tail. Problem averted, you haven't inconvenienced yourself, and you have diffused a dangerous situation that you are partly responsible for, all without escalating the situation.

    Or, you could just do as you are envisioning, and out-asshole the asshole behind you by deliberately disabling, maybe even damaging his car, and putting those behind him and beside him in mortal danger.

  • by petrus4 (213815) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @06:28PM (#29560157) Homepage Journal

    Can't say I have the balls to put myself in the firing line, but I predict another "Kent State" within the next few years.

    The real problem is simple tactical viability. Not only are the civilian population outgunned, but they are generally out-trained as well. You have a scenario in America now where the Blackwater mercenaries truly love to fight, and are very well trained and equipped for it. That is the entire reason, I strongly suspect, why they were brought in.

    Any viable insurgency is going to need a very large percentage of the domestic population in order to have even a vague chance to succeed; and the civilian death rate would be truly horrific. The current government would fight to the death of the last man in order to retain power; I have no difficulty believing that.

  • by Sabriel (134364) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @06:30PM (#29560181)

    I have no problem criminalizing normal stuff and arresting people "interested" in making them - because it's just plain old simple terrorism.

    Epic fail. Being interested in building a HERF device - or even doing so - doesn't make anyone a criminal, let alone a terrorist. I direct your attention to the concept of "intent".

  • by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted@s l a s h dot.org> on Sunday September 27, 2009 @06:32PM (#29560195)

    The process you're referring to is called "buying" and is done by lobbies. Voting is just a facade, because it does not matter who you vote for. Nearly everyone on the list is already bought.
    The rest is pushed out by not having tons of financed marketing.

    I say: Build your own community. Your own state. And make yourself as independent as possible. Especially from the cattle that still vote those strawmen.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 27, 2009 @06:44PM (#29560267)

    What happens when the tailgating a**hole gets a taste of that medicine and soon turns into an a***hole with a HERF gun who activates it at random times, to have fun (when he's not getting tailgated)... or points it at people trying to pass them and activates it.
    Yeah, no way this technique could backfire...

    In those cases, it's the fucker in the left lane that's creating an unsafe circumstance.

    Yep, and in most cases breaking the law too.

    Many states have a law specifically banning use of the left lane, except when making a left turn, overtaking another vehicle, or when the right lane is congested.

    And to in all cases travel at a speed faster than rigth-lane traffic.

  • "Sometimes, voting is not going to change anything." Whoa there sparky! No offense but this is EXACTLY the sentiment that keeps the corrupt in power. Especially in a country like the United States, the ability of congress, or elected officials in general, to infringe on your rights is proportional to your willingness to accept it. I am from a small town in North Carolina, our local government was using federal authority to condemn property along a projected water works project. It was supported by 80% of our local elected officials. Our High School took it upon ourselves to put an end to this because two of our teachers were losing their family homes because of it. We found candidates who were qualified and AGAINST the use of eminent domain and campaigned for and with them. We managed to replace 75% of our incumbents in a single election, in my town all officials are elected for two year terms, including our mayor. We held public rallies and carnival like events explaining how the government was stealing "Your land" and caused the mass replacement of elected officials. The waterworks project was canceled, and my ex-teachers are still in their homes. The point of this rant is this, the day we stop exercising our right to a democracy is the day we lose it. Sitting on your couch complaining about what is going on achieves nothing! As long as a large section of the population is uninterested corruption becomes ever more common. Democracy works but it requires you to care. Anyone that does not get involved with politics but complains about the outcome is simply asking for others to make decisions for them and do all the leg work, if you want a country where you don't have to worry about being involved with politics try Iran. It seriously sickens me to hear "Vote? What's the point?" Your FREEDOM is at stake fool! Governments rarely destroy liberty overnight, they do it peicemeal, as in "The came for the eggs, they came for the tobacco, they came for the money, they came for the land..." eventually you wake up under a dictatorship. Don't believe me? Look at world history, dictators don't come to power overnight they build a strong political base of loyalists first and THEN take over. Wake up, get off your couch, and make a difference before you have no say at all.
  • by petrus4 (213815) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @06:47PM (#29560287) Homepage Journal

    It is, however, the one system that actually incorporates social/political change into its very structure. And that is something that countless people suffering under authoritarian or absolutist rulers find remarkably appealing.

    a) Genuine democracy does not scale with current population levels. As someone else here said, the American Constitution was originally written for a population of 3 million, which is 1/100th of the population's current size.

    b) Government now has sufficient control of the media that they don't need to play by the rules. They can kill whoever they want, whenever they want, and then call it terrorism, and the majority of the population will not challenge it.

    c) Any attempt to displace the current government would result in unspeakably massive civilian casualties, and you can bet that the government knows that. They would be relying on the domestic population's reluctance to engage in large scale conflict, more than anything else.

    It's also a very safe thing for them to rely on. The contemporary population of the entire Western world has been domesticated more chronically than at any other time in human history. Only very small percentages of that population have actually seen active combat. The rest of them would have less than no chance, and that includes you and me. Training and physical fitness aside, the single biggest problem is probably simply the extent to which we would not have the stomach for it.

  • by xmundt (415364) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @06:49PM (#29560299)

    Neither is driving half the speed limit. The rest of the population should not have to suffer because one incompetent driver refuses to get out of the way. Sometimes tailgating is the only way to convince someone to pull over so the 30 people stuck behind them have a chance of getting where they are going on time.

    Greetings and Salutations...
              Sophistic argument here. There is NO valid reason for tailgating. This is ALWAYS overly-aggresive driving, and, has more to do with the ego of the person following than the supposed lacks of the person in front. There are a few situations where the couple of minutes delay caused by safe and sane driving makes a difference. For example, if you happen to be at the wheel of an ambulance, fire truck or police cruiser, and, are on the way to a life-and-death situation. But then...in THAT case you would also have a honking loud horn and lots of flashing lights to let the slower driver know that you need to get past. YOu might have a female companion in the front seat, in the midst of a difficult delivery. But then...you should have called one of the services mentioned in the FIRST example, to provide the best, safest way of dealing the the situation. You might have a dying relative in the car...again...see example 1. However, in almost every other case, the few minutes of delay that MIGHT occur because of being caught behind a slower driver you cannot pass will not have any negative impact on your life, and, will certainly be better than the far more lengthy delay and impact that being involved in a collision because your unwillingness to give adequate space has caused a bad situation to escalate.
              Finally...I have been driving for many decades, and, I can count the number of times that I have seen tailgaters attempting to push a vehicle driving at "half the speed limit" on one hand and STILL have fingers left over. Those were cases where the vehicle in question was having mechanical problems, and was trying to find a safe place to get off the road. The REST OF THE TIME the situation was that the car in front was driving at the speed limit, and, the cars behind were trying to get them pushed up to five or ten MPH OVER the posted speed limit. Not only is this illegal, but, it is massively stupid.
                And yes...I AM one of those guys that people like you curse at because I am driving at the speed limit.
                Now...just as a suggestion. If you are continually frustrated by drivers that are in front of you and going too slow, I have some alternatives to tailgating. 1) Turn at the next intersection and take a different road. 2) Take a deep breath, and let off the gas pedal until you are a few car lengths behind the slower vehicle, then, enjoy the ride. 3) Take some anger management courses. 4) Take up Tai Chi (or Yoga), as that will help deal with the unbridled flow of negative energies that are pushing you to this foolish and dangerous state.
                Regards
                Dave Mundt
       

  • by Tony Hoyle (11698) <tmh@nodomain.org> on Sunday September 27, 2009 @06:59PM (#29560383) Homepage

    They wouldn't stop, they'd slow down.

    Plus, if you can ram into the car in front if something unexepected happens (which there's a nonzero chance of whenever you're driving) *you're too damned close* and you bring it upon yourself. There's a reason why the card behind is *always* considered to be at fault for insurance purposes.

  • by Ibag (101144) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @07:00PM (#29560385)

    If you truly believe that the two parties are roughly equivalent and that both candidates are equally bad for the job, then, at least in Britain, you aren't throwing your vote away by choosing a third party candidate. No, you're not going to win the entire government, but you will end up with at least some representation. In the U.S., if a national third party were to get 25% of the vote in a years worth of Senate races, spread out roughly equally all across the country, absolutely nothing would come of it. If that happened in England, the third party would have a decent representation in parliament. So while it is very difficult in England for a third party to gain significant power, it is absolutely impossible in America (unless winning the presidency but having no support in congress counts as significant power, which would require a well funded, well connected, and charasmatic candidate, in addition to miraculous circumstances).

  • by causality (777677) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @07:04PM (#29560417)

    However, I simply cannot deny that if there were a truly effective way to immediately shut down this behavior, there would be much less of it, nor can I deny that this would be a benefit to everyone else.

    If you are in the left lane and someone can't get past you, you are impeding traffic. Keep to the right, you have no idea why someone else might be in a hurry and it is the height of arrogance to take it upon yourself to decide.

    I won't dramatize by calling it the "height" of anything, but there certainly is a little arrogance in assuming that you know details of the situation which have not been revealed to you. Since you clearly do not have all the facts and are sorely in need of them lest you continue to portray yourself this way, I'll explain a bit about why I feel this way about aggressive drivers.

    I am not a slow driver, though not a speed demon either. Typically I am speeding just a little, though of course not during bad conditions. I stay out of the passing lane unless I am actually passing someone. When I am passing someone, I don't hang out beside them, I get moving and I (reasonably) quickly pass them so I can get back in the rightmost lane. I do not tailgate other drivers, nor do I needlessly limit their maneuverability (like the folks who hang out beside you and refuse to either pass you or drop back). I signal. When I see another driver having a hard time getting onto a road, I let him in if doing so is within my power and doesn't post an obstacle for others. In other words, I recognize that driving is an inherently dangerous thing to do even when you follow all of the rules and take great care, and so I try to give it the respect that it rightfully deserves. Also, I try to share the public roads, knowing that I do not own them any more than the other drivers.

    In short, I do everything I can do to avoid being part of the problem. Yet, after all of that, if I am still afflicted by a would-be aggressor, you're god damned right that it is unjust and that I am within my rights to refuse to play these silly games. Like I said earlier, most of the time this means getting out of the way because the useless pissing contest is not worth it, though that is not always possible. When that is not possible, I can tell you I will never speed up and might slow down for such a person because I refuse to reward that behavior by giving them what they want. The bottom line is that I am not the aggressor in that situation, and any inconvenience the aggressor should incur is soundly earned. I understand neither the automatic assumption of wrongdoing on my part, nor the assumption of goodwill on the part of the aggressor that some of you seem determined to make.

  • by bky1701 (979071) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @07:30PM (#29560619) Homepage
    If they use those, you'll likely end up with some dead/maimed protesters, which is a great way to give publicity to the protesters' cause. Not to mention the lawsuits against the police force.

    Most 'non-lethal' weapons leave no identifiable marks or immediate, lasting effects. Opening fire with actual guns is a very restricted action, and civilian getting hurt or killed by police guns causes horrible publicity and higher officials into early retirement. But with 'non-lethal' weapons, you can open fire indiscriminately. Going about your daily business? Protesting peacefully? Sorry, but you were deemed trouble makers, and will be hit with short-term torture, which may have long-term effects. Good luck proving that, though.

    When someone DOES die from these weapons (it is not at all uncommon; look up "taser deaths" for just one group of such), the police get off, the officials get off; it was just a "fluke" which they "had no control over". Technically difficulty. The death was an unfortunate accident, nothing more.

    So yes, I would rather they have only guns. There is accountability with guns, and it is a hell of a lot harder to justify firing a machine gun into a crowd than using 'non-lethal crowd control technology'.
  • Re:HERF how (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 27, 2009 @07:43PM (#29560709)

    Following the link from the May 10 Slashdot...

    That was May 10 2003, so it might be more clear to say the article from over 6 years ago. Also, this article has links to the web.archive cache [archive.org] of the pages in question.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 27, 2009 @08:00PM (#29560825)
    You do not have the right to speed for any reason. The speed limit is the law. Anything above it is illegal and will get you ticketed and your insurance will go up. If you don't like it, TOUGH.
  • by Ronald Dumsfeld (723277) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @08:38PM (#29561059)

    It is, however, the one system that actually incorporates social/political change into its very structure. And that is something that countless people suffering under authoritarian or absolutist rulers find remarkably appealing.

    b) Government now has sufficient control of the media that they don't need to play by the rules. They can kill whoever they want, whenever they want, and then call it terrorism, and the majority of the population will not challenge it.

    You have that rather backwards. In all too many cases, it is the media who control the politicians.

  • Re:Sounds like... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Abreu (173023) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @08:39PM (#29561067)

    As the previous poster stated, this can silence any inconvenient camcorders or photo-taking cellphones at the scene of a police action against protesters.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 27, 2009 @08:40PM (#29561075)

    I disagree. "Pace" cars can sometimes be beneficial in heavy traffic in metro areas where knowledgeable veteran commuters intimately familiar with the route and typical traffic conditions make good decisions temporarily on behalf of everyone. There's nothing more annoying than having some jerk try and jump ahead so they can slam on their brakes and bring traffic to stop. I'd rather move at a constant 10 to 15 mph rather than 0 any day.

  • by ekhben (628371) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @09:37PM (#29561419)

    The only way microwave radiation is going to sterilise someone is by cooking their reproductive cells. These HERF devices would have to be pointed right at a crotch, and used for enough time for all the flesh in the area to be cooked, for sterilisation to occur. I rather suspect that even the dimmest of backyard tinkerer might figure out to point the device in another direction when they start to smell the pork.

    To help you understand the large gap between the amount of microwave radiation necessary to harm humans, and the amount necessary to harm electronics, try microwaving your phone for 15 seconds. Then try microwaving some raw chicken for 15 seconds.

    Don't eat the chicken, it's been irradiated. Also, it's raw.

  • by Brian Gordon (987471) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @11:35PM (#29562041)

    Corneas? Unlikely. Pacemakers? Likely.

    If you think reckless drivers are dangerous, try dead drivers.

  • by node 3 (115640) on Monday September 28, 2009 @02:26AM (#29562763)

    random guess

    Let's see how on the mark your guesses are...

    you like to drive fast

    Correct. For context, I am not that guy that zips from lane to lane, nor do I *ever* cut into a gap that is barely large enough to fit.

    and after even a minute or 2 of being forced to drive behind something traveling slower than you'd like

    Hmm... you started out promising. It's not about the time. 10 seconds or 10 hours, it doesn't make a difference. And it's not about "slower than I'd like". I don't begrudge people who prefer to drive slow at all.

    What it's about is people who are in the wrong damned lane. If, under normal circumstances, you are not going noticeably faster than the lane to your right, you are in the wrong lane. Period. I don't mind people driving slow, but I *do* mind them doing it in the wrong lane.

    For an analogy, I don't mind people walking slow down the sidewalk, or in the shopping mall, etc. But when they walk side-by-side, covering the whole walkway, *I'm* not the one who's wrong for being annoyed by it.

    Mr. Slowpoke Left-Lane Driver isn't getting anywhere any faster than were he to stay in the correct lane. By driving in the left lane, he's not gaining any significant benefit, while causing inconvenience to those behind him. You know those phantom slowdowns on the freeway where traffic jams up for no apparent reason? Mr. Slowpoke Left-Lane Driver is at the source of many of them.

    you start to grind your teeth, grip the steering wheel tighter and start acting like an aggressive asshole.

    Completely wrong on all accounts.

    tl;dr: I don't mind if you drive slow, just don't slow the rest of us down when you have a perfectly good lane on the right that's going your chosen speed.

  • by category_five (814174) on Monday September 28, 2009 @02:58AM (#29562867)

    The US and UK have two parties each, and the two parties are basically not very different. Barring a few specific situations, votes for other parties or independents have no effect. If you don't agree with the way things are, you can't stand for the major parties, and I'm not too familiar with the US system, but the UK's "first past the post" system makes it nearly impossible for new parties to go anywhere, as the only way for one to become effective would be for large numbers of people to throw their votes away for several elections in a row.

    Sometimes, voting is not going to change anything.

    I often hear the term "throw your vote away" in reference to voting for a third party. If voting was the same as betting on a horse race or football, then yes voting for the loser is throwing your vote away; however voting is not like sports. You see, even though you may vote for a winner, if the winner doesn't represent your views you are actually losing.

  • Re:Escalation (Score:3, Insightful)

    by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Monday September 28, 2009 @06:58AM (#29563845)
    Exactly what I was thinking.

    1. Encounter electronic Area of Effect weapons
    2. Fire HERF gun. AoE weapon fails
    3. Police draw truncheons
    4. Fail.
  • by pla (258480) on Monday September 28, 2009 @08:25AM (#29564247) Journal
    You have the right to speak. You don't have the right to make yourself a public nuisance.

    I actually meant that to refer to our right to "peaceably assemble", not speech.

    Not in a "free speech" zone, not with a "protest permit", not in a different city - But impromptu and outside city hall when it most embarrasses the mayor to have people holding up signs asking about his 27 mistresses; when it makes the rest of the G20 nations wonder "does our host really speak for his nation?"; when it makes normal life in a city grind to a halt, making that city and others seriously question if they want to host this thing again in the future.

    I will agree that breaking windows and looting goes too far - But we still have an entire legal system geared around ideas of "guilt vs innocence" and "burden of proof". The fact that a few criminals have joined the protest should never give carte blanche to start using weaponry (lethal or otherwise) against the rest of the crowd, or you have a very simple DoS attack against any protest - Pepper it with "authorized" vandals as an excuse to clear them all away (and if you don't think the government uses exactly that technique, I have a bridge to sell you).
  • Re:Countermeasures (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ed_Pinkley (881113) on Monday September 28, 2009 @10:40AM (#29565591)
    "I find your ideas intriguing and would like to subscribe to your newsletter..."

    Seriously, post it when you are done.
  • by maillemaker (924053) on Monday September 28, 2009 @12:08PM (#29566949)

    >What it's about is people who are in the wrong damned lane. If, under
    >normal circumstances, you are not going noticeably faster than the lane to your right,
    >you are in the wrong lane. Period. I don't mind people driving slow, but I *do* mind
    >them doing it in the wrong lane.

    Sorry, you are just wrong.

    The speed limit is the speed limit. By law, no one is allowed to drive faster than the posted speed limit, regardless of whether or not they are passing someone.

    If I am passing someone driving 69 MPH in a 70 MPH zone, you are just going to have to wait however long it takes for me to pass them at 70 MPH.

    BY LAW, I am not allowed to go faster than 70 MPH to pass someone, no matter how long you have to wait for for me to finish passing.

    I will be happy to accelerate up to whatever speed you like, provided you set up an escrow fund to pay any fines and insurance fees should I get caught doing it.

The F-15 Eagle: If it's up, we'll shoot it down. If it's down, we'll blow it up. -- A McDonnel-Douglas ad from a few years ago

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