Privacy is a thing of the past, better get used to it

But default on your car payment, and you can expect to have your car repossessed almost immediately. How is this possible? In a word, technology. The modern repo man uses a number of devices to find, track, disable and reclaim automobiles:

Subprime loan underwriters often require borrowers to have their cars equipped with a device that allows the lender to remotely disable the ignition. GPS technology in the devices also lets a lender track a cars’ location and movements. Knowing where the vehicle is, and being able to remotely disable it, makes repossession a snap.

Photographs are taken of “millions of plates a day, with scanners mounted on tow trucks and even on purpose-built camera cars whose sole mission is to drive around and collect plate scans. Each scan is GPS-tagged and stamped with the date and time, feeding a massive data trove to any law-enforcement agency—or government-approved private industry—willing to pay for it” according to Car & Driver magazine. The license-plate acquisition system called Vigilant, adds 100 million photos a month.

License-plate-readers, or LPRs as they are known, are now commonly found at mall entrances, mounted on utility poles, parking lots, toll plazas, and at major highway entrances. According to the site Consumerist, the database of scanned license plates contains “over a billion sightings of individual cars ready for companies to mine.” One company, MVTRAC, has 8,000 fixed cameras, and many more mobile cameras mounted on vehicles, constantly scanning plates.

Some repo companies are using drones to track vehicles and repossess cars; they also can track drivers via their own mobile phones…

This isn’t the first sign of the death of our privacy. HIPAA is a joke and our medical records are passed around like after-dinner mints. And it goes without saying that these technologies are easily abused and hacked into — not only by the government, but also by insurance companies and individuals looking to cause personal harm.

I’m sure some people think, well, I have nothing to hide. And if we can catch terrorists, then a loss of privacy isn’t a big deal.

Until these technologies are used to discriminate against you…

The minds of teenagers

I’ve previously blogged about the skate park near my home:

In front of the park is a piece of art:


It’s not my favorite piece of artwork in the city, but it is colorful. Hard to get a good picture of it.


A kick flip is a move in skateboarding.


When I was driving by, I noticed some dickhead had damaged the artwork, so I stopped by yesterday to take some photos. Sometimes, graffiti is just plain stupid…


If you’re a real artist, you wouldn’t mess with another artist’s work. It’s called respect. Do I need to spell it?


I can’t even interpret this crap.


Behind the skate park sits the football field and the school. These two photos are from last year:



This photo is from yesterday:

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I see Homer Simpson, who appears to have a cough.

These are also from last year:

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Some of these messages are easier to decode.

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Seems like bud lovers are, shall we say, more artistic. Do you see the piece of pizza? (Pizza, yum.)

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I like the tongue, but it’s sad to see that gay is being used as a slur.

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Somebody doesn’t like bud.

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And somebody likes mushrooms.

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Religion is represented.

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And the spiritual.

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Somebody’s wishing for patience.

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Old person unable to decode this one…

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Does it say rad? Probably just a tag.

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I think the aliens did this one. Looks very… interstellar.


From Google:  “Spear chucker or Spearchucker can refer to: An ethnic slur for people with African ancestry.” Major bummer.


Someone is using a chicken to spell cock, which is rather clever, right? 🙂

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Skate or die. Typical teenager. And I suppose if you’ve been harassed by the police, you might want them to fuck off.

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These might have been something interesting:

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A Prophecy Misread is a “MetalCore” local band.

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What is so important to say that one must climb a pole to say it?


Oh, look, I think it says Me & Mom. Sweet, but maybe a little weird.

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What do the kids in Albuquerque drink?

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Alcohol (with cigarettes), not surprising. This seems to be a popular brand of alcohol, so it must be cheap. (These photos were taken yesterday in the parking lot of the park.)

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Looks like ketchup. I just hope it’s not blood.

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These bottles are plastic, not glass.

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This one says it’s imported. La tee da.

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Wow, “Belgian-style wheat ale brewed with citrus peels and coriander.” Almost sounds healthy. Is this something a hipster would drink?

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This also looks very hipster-ish. Is this a bottle of alcohol or ginger ale?

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The American diet, from a very early age. (Sure could use some french fries right about now.)

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I found this sign in front of the park, and although I tried to set it upright, I wasn’t strong enough to make it stand up in the dirt. Yes, I did a Google search, and what do you know, there’s a photo of this house on the internet. Looks way too nice for me.


I can only hope that the person who wrote “kill me plz!!!” has gotten some help.

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I don’t know what it’s like to be a teenager these days, but it seems to be a lot more depressing than when I was growing up. With all the upheaval in the labor market, I’m not sure what young people have to look forward to.

Instead of criminalizing drug users, maybe part of prevention efforts could be to create adequate job programs. Stable jobs with benefits. Affordable housing and healthcare. Give these young kids something to look forward to, give them a chance, and maybe they’ll bypass drugs. (Really, most of them will, even if some of them experiment once or twice.)

Why is this so hard to implement? Vote for me for President! (Hey, that rhymes.)

You’re very kind to have read this far. Gracias. 🙂

Another Day In Paradise

In my search for an apartment, I’ve driven through some very sad parts of town. Boarded-up businesses. Pay day loan sharks. The homeless. This is the music I’ve been listening to:

“Another Day In Paradise” by Phil Collins

She calls out to the man on the street
“Sir, can you help me?
It’s cold and I’ve nowhere to sleep,
Is there somewhere you can tell me?”

He walks on, doesn’t look back
He pretends he can’t hear her
He starts to whistle as he crosses the street
Seems embarrassed to be there

Oh think twice, it’s just another day for
You and me in paradise
Oh think twice, it’s just another day for you,
You and me in paradise

Just think about it

She calls out to the man on the street
He can see she’s been crying
She’s got blisters on the soles of her feet
She can’t walk but she’s trying

Oh think twice…

Oh lord, is there nothing more anybody can do
Oh lord, there must be something you can say

You can tell by the lines on her face
You can see that she’s been there
Probably been moved on from every place
‘Cos she didn’t fit in there

Oh think twice…