Wednesday, January 4, 2012

This could end badly.

A couple days ago, Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act.  Ok, that's been signed every year, no problems.  But this year, extra provisions were sneakily thrown in by John McCain and Carl Levin.  Basically, section 1031 codifies the ability of the military to indefinitely detain american citizens without due process or trial.  It's kind of like the house, senate and president were all like "fuck that silly constitution we swore to uphold.  Let's poke as many holes in it as possible.  Ha ha, those silly peons think they have rights."

It's not even one of those "oh, you have nothing to worry about, if you're not doing anything wrong" kind of things.  

Some of the things that can get you tagged as a terrorist - loitering outside of pet stores, wearing a warm coat that's deemed "out of season," shielding your laptop screen when using public wifi (because only terr'ists want privacy,) look up biological information, purchase paintball equipment, shopping at a feed store that's not local to you, buy large amounts of MREs, or gadgets like night vision.  No matter where you're shopping, apparently paying with cash is suspicious.  And we've known for almost a decade now that daring to protest, whether it's protesting how we handled Iraq, joining the Tea Party, or Occupy can easily get you on a watch list.  

On a slightly related note, this week's case is a dairy cattle toxicology case, where a huge number of cattle started dropping dead in hours, and almost 1/3 of the herd ended up dying over a couple weeks.  Which means that even though everybody in our class has found the published study of the actual case, we still need to look up theoretical possible differentials that are possible or likely.  We also need to look up every toxin that was tested for in the case, and be able to explain the mechanism, and how it differs from the the toxin responsible for the deaths.  Now, I do have some textbooks I use, but I also rely on websites, google scholar and journal searches a pretty fair amount.  That means that in the course of researching this week's case, so far, I have done internet searches for aflotoxin, anthrax, botulism, cyanide, nitrates, organophosphates, strychnine, and tetanus,  among other things.  

I hope my internet searches for school don't get me flagged for suspicious activity.  But I guess if it does, Guantanamo Bay's probably pretty this time of year.  

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