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The worst he could really do is paint graffiti on the Post Office.
If that's not a failure of imagination, I don't know what is. Young, "powerless" people are the ones blowing things up.
I'm glad the EFF has taken up this fight. To me there's no symbolic difference between the code controlling the digital throttle in my xB and the cable doing the same thing in my 24 year-old Tercel... except that the Tercel does it better. I'm not sure, but I think the values that represent my throttle pressure aren't as smooth as they could be, and it might be due to it not being a float value.
Wonky throttle values aren't exactly unknown to Toyotas, as Wozniak discovered with his Prius. I probably would be unable to fix this bug, but he could. It's also possible that the somewhat rough transition between super-light pressure and the notch above that is actually a developing issue with my engine (it's not that noticeable, so the nuance leads me to believe it isn't physical - or at least that it could be improved in code).
So what if I could kill someone by editing the code in my xB? I could kill someone by working on my Tercel too. The legal responsibility rests with me either way. There's no real difference except that there exists precedence for controlling what people can do with the code in their gadgets. Perhaps in some crazy parallel universe, not only could automakers argue that the code isn't yours, they could argue that the whole car isn't yours to do with as you please either. I can imagine the same kind of EULA you agree to in software being applicable to the entire vehicle, listing off all the things you can and cannot do to with "your" brand new car. If they say you must go to the dealer for all repairs, then you must do it, and in the event of tempering, they can revoke your license and take your car back from you.
It's really the car analogy come to life. I have no doubt this argument has been made before. It's just that in the past, computers were computers, cars were cars, and if your car had a computer, it was just an 8-bit micro-controller that managed your vacuum control valves and fuel pressure.
A good example is the Affordable Care Act. Because you're alive, you are compelled to do business with private health care insurance companies. If you don't want to pay health insurance, you can either pay a fine or get in trouble with the IRS. ERs had to service everyone by law. A several years later, this became economically unsound and patients had to buy health insurance. Like gays, sick patients are a bullied minority and frequently taken advantage of, and like sick patients, there can be an economic impact based on the choice the state makes on the issue.
No matter the choice, you're using a law to enforce some sort of outcome if the thing ever comes to trial. In pro-gay states, gays win in court. In anti-gay states, gays loose in court and are discouraged from even trying. The only thing that matters to me is what people want, and what economic impact it has. Does a society feel they need to protect a group or protect the people who hate or take advantage of a group? Which is least harmful to an economy? They can then find the right answer and work from there.
It has the potential to be a little worse than that.
Because of its character-based nature, any effort to figure out who's gay is going to go over about as well as finding the "Communists" did during the HUAC days. If business owners really care about keeping gays out of their Christian establishments, we'll find out pretty quickly when perfectly straight people start getting kicked out for simply having lunch with their friends.
Truthfully though I don't think it'll come to that. Already restaurants and other establishments are either putting up pro LGBT stickers or doing nothing different. I'm sure we'll have the odd ball BBQ shack in the woods show up in the news from time to time, but I'm beginning to doubt that these bills are anything more than for show. Republicans are saying, "Look, we get it! We're Tea Party. We're the new kind of conservative!", in an effort to reinvigorate the base.
If they really wanted to push gays out of society, they have a ready-made method for that, which they use on convicted sex offenders. Maybe we should reserve our freak-out for when they try to pass new sodomy laws.
In the past, serving a black customer anywhere other than the back door could cause you to lose all your white customers. I can imagine a similar situation, where a baker may be unwilling to advertise that she worked for a gay couple for fear of losing business from religious couples and good standing with the local churches.
But only in the deepest darkest South.
Arkansas also has one of these Religious Freedom bills, as well as similar southern conservative cowboy type things, and I think this is a natural progression after years of voters being told by the conservative media that our elected conservatives weren't conservative enough, weren't religious enough, and too open to compromise with the left, and too slow to respond to issues regarding immigrants and terrorists. Add to that a general sense of failure or lack of inspiration in the left regarding their own leaders, and we leave a wide open door for this sort of thing.
I believe the response in Arkansas was the creation of a sticker that businesses began putting on their windows, saying that they welcome LGBT customers. This is where we are now... I suppose we should be thankful they haven't decided to simply force businesses to comply to "religious conscience" the way they're forcing universities to accept guns on their property.
I had your example scenario happen to me a couple years ago, except it was a Crown Vic. I was turning left onto a 6-lane street in my little Tercel (it was my light). The Crown Vic comes barreling through the intersection just behind me at 80 mph (speed limit is 50). His light was red. Cars to the left of me, cars to the right of me, I had no choice but to speed up until there was space for me to change lanes because he was not slowing down. I think he was riding my bumper for a while before I could get out of his way and let him barrel down another red light ahead. The brakes on that car aren't the best, so I probably shouldn't have done that, but at the time it made sense because I had plenty of space ahead of me and there were no intersections for another mile.