Sunday, April 14, 2013

Siri Can't Find Asia Café

In the Heights area of Houston is a restaurant with the not-very-innovative name "Asia Café".  Ask for it by name while within a mile of it, and Siri says "I can't find things in Asia. Can you be more specific?"

If you get more specific by explaining that you are looking for a restaurant called Asia Café, it tells you about a Jade something-or-another, which is an Asian restaurant.

Ask Siri how to get to the intersection of I-10 and Bingle, and she says, "Got it." But Siri doesn't get it. And as Steve Jobs once said of Microsoft's lack of taste ... I mean that in a really big way:

(The actual spoken words were, "How do I get to I-10 and Bingle?"  It's an intersection big enough that Interstate 10 passes overhead on a bridge, and there are marked exits for it in each direction.  It's not some unheard-of stealth destination chosen for confusion.)

Slavery Alive and Well Today

I was recently speaking to some kids whose school left them with the impression that slavery was "over". As mentioned here before, slavery is alive and well in the modern world both abroad and in the U.S. Recently, two teen girls were busted for keeping a stable of sex slaves in Canada.

People need to understand that the Civil War didn't end slavery, it merely led to its illegalization in the U.S. Like theft and murder, slavery itself is still going strong.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Snipes Released After 3-Year Misdemeanor Tax Sentence

The definition of a 'misdemeanor' used to be a crime for which punishment could not exceed a year. So it's with some surprise that I read Wesley Snipes was just released following completion of a 3-year federal sentence imposed following a criminal failure to file or pay taxes. No, I wasn't surprised a person could be locked up for nonfiling – I was merely surprised that the 3-year sentence arose from a misdemeanor conviction.

On closer examination, the conviction turns out to be three convictions for the same charge – that is, one year per conviction – plus a year of probation. One charge per failure to file. The sentence, handed down by a judge, followed a jury's decision not to convict Snipes for any of the felonies with which he was charged.

Occasionally, when you hear the United States has a "voluntary" tax system, think of Snipes.