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Read the subject.
Should have known something was wrong from the sound of her voice when I called as I left the office. The reclusive melancholy I'd left at home this morning could not have been replaced by the perky polite sound coming from my phone. Not so quickly. "What could be wrong?", I asked myself while I held the phone silently listening to her breathe.
The was one of my favorite things.
A warm "Goodbye,...", was followed by the cold unforgiving click of the phone.
"Right..., see you at home in a bit", muttered way too late.
Driving home, I started dwelling on the last six months with Sarah. Drove the long way home through the middle class houses we always swore we'd owned together one day. "What is her problem?!". God I hope she didn't find that website! "Honey! the site has nothing to do with 'goats'! It's just called goatse!" I'll have to deal with the homosexual innuendo, but I'll cross that bridge when I get there.
Climbing the weathered, uneven wooden stairs to our apartment felt harder than it ever did. Inside Sarah stood quiet, but her eyes said that she'd been crying all day. Next to her was her six foot, three hundred pound brother neither of us could stand normally. But I guess having a paid thug for a brother comes in handy sometimes. He had the look of a man who was about to pummel the punk who broke his little sister's heart.
"How could you?!!"
"How could I what? Sarah..."
"Don't lie to me!!!". The neighbors definately heard that one.
"The website..., I swear..., I swear if I knew I'd cause..." I began.
"Oh please! I've knowned about your stupid goatsey website! How the heck did you ever find out you can open your butt so freakin' wide anyway???" she questioned earnestly. A look of puzzlement had temporarily replaced the wretched look of hurt on her face. "Anyway...", she shook her head as if to get out a disturbing image, " I've known about you and my friends at that party! And I've known about your little 'drug habit'!" she quickly added. The revelations were winding up her brother like a cheap tin toy so I really wished she's stop. But she went on for about a good five minutes listing my indiscretions.
"I knew all these things but none of that could make me stop loving you..., but..., but I found this in the mail yesterday!".
Into my face she tossed an opened..., correction, an intercepted letter. The correspondence had shown up a day earlier than I had expected.
"Yes, it's a letter from your broker! You bought SCO stock!..." she said as she was quickly overwelmed with sobs.
"Why you little..." came out of the big man's mouth as he swung his ever-clenched fist into my jaw. I never heard the ending to that slur, being that I was passed out before he ended it. Truth is, I'm not sure he finished it either.
The sound of the door slamming shut woke me from my short nap. Coming to, I hoped that it was all a dream. But the neat form letter showing my purchase of SCOX, a small trickle of blood down the side of my mouth, and the emptiness I felt immediately in the apartment made it obvious this was real.
"Damn you McBride!!!"
My most recent episode was at the 9000 foot visitor station on Mauna Kea. The folks there said that I shouldn't attempt to drive up to the telescopes without a 4-wheel-drive vehicle. So, I went in the parking lot and accosted occupants of the first 4-wheel-drive vehicle that came by. The driver of said vehicle had seen me lecture in San Francisco. I got my ride.
Just by standing at that 9000 foot visitor station, I'd passed through the nerd filter.
Then, a few weeks ago, I happened to come upon a local radio club's ham radio field day operation while hiking in the woods with my wife. An co-worker from 10 years ago walked up. It turned out he'd just gotten his ham license.
This stuff happens all of the time. Of course it helps that I am somewhat recognizable in tech circles, so people who know of me tend to walk up, but on the other hand I am not that well known.
What are your experiences beyond the nerd filter?
"I say we take off; nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure." - Corporal Hicks, in "Aliens"