What I’m Reading, October 13, 2014

For Master Thieves, Legos Are the New Uncut Diamonds, Vocativ, Shane Dixon Kavanaugh, August 20, 2014

While Legos aren’t exactly uncut diamonds (they’re not nearly as portable), as far as untraceable commodities go, they’re almost as good. Thieves can sell unopened Lego sets, which are very difficult to track, almost immediately online for as much or more than the retail price. And if they sit on them for a while, it gets even better, because many of the bigger sets rapidly appreciate in value—at a rate much faster than inflation. In other words, they’re money in the bank.

Last week’s back-to-back busts underscore what appears to be a growing awareness among criminals of Legos’ street value. Over the last couple of years, professional thieves and opportunists around the world have turned the Danish building blocks into fat stacks of Benjamins. They’ve included Silicon Valley executives, criminal masterminds in Florida, Oklahoma conmen and even drug dealers in Amsterdam, who have started accepting Lego toys as payment.

Some go for the toy stores, others rob the delivery trucks. Earlier this year, a suspected band of crooks in Australia brandished angle grinders and crowbars to pilfer at least $30,000 in Legos from four different retailers. In England, bandits in Watford Gap and West Yorkshire pulled off Lego truck heists to the tune of $87,000 and $67,000.

The Kraken Is Such A Big Meanie, The Kraken, The Gloomy Historian, October 9, 2014 Continue reading


Porn and Prejudice: The Right Not to Be Harassed, No Matter What You Do for a Living


This is the closest I’ll get to posting anything NSFW on here.

“I’m a Porn Star, and if You Harass Me I Will Punch You in the Balls.”

I couldn’t think of a good opening for this post, so I just used the headline from an article by Stoya, posted on Jezebel on Monday. Not everyone knows who Stoya is, and many people pretend they do not know who she is, so let’s get this out of the way. Stoya makes her living as an adult film actress, a/k/a a porn star. If you can handle reading about concepts of opposing the harassment of women in public, and you can handle it in the context of pondering a person who makes a living doing sex stuff in front of a camera, read on. Otherwise, Disney still has a website.

Stoya provides a direct attack on the idiotic notion that, if a woman has sex on film or video, she must like having sex with everyone, and therefore she’ll have sex with me. A South Park episode once featured Kurt Russell being forced to go through a Stargate-like device, because he once did it in a movie. The point of the joke was that it is absurd to expect a person to do something in real life just because they did it in a movie. Porn actresses do not get that sort of deference, though. When you stop to think about it for more than one second, it makes sense that she ought to be able to have a normal life, free from excess groping, the same as anybody else. And yet: Continue reading