Assorted Stupidity #86

  • gnome

    The actual gnome (image: Greater Manchester Police)

    The BBC reported recently that concerned drivers called police after spotting a man walking on the shoulder of the M60 motorway in Manchester while carrying a small child. Police found that in fact he was carrying this garden gnome, which I guess might look like a small child if you’re driving by at a high rate of speed (or just high) and think human children wear huge pointy red hats. Anyway, it wasn’t a child, but they arrested him anyway “on suspicion of a public order offence.” Can’t be too careful.

  • “It’s kind of a digital ‘stay off my lawn, you young people with your cellphones,'” theorized a witness to the jamming of cellphones on Chicago’s Red Line by a 63-year-old man, using an illegal device imported from China. He’s apparently been doing this for at least two years because he finds the constant yapping “annoying.” Some would call this a public service, but others call it “unlawful interference with a public utility,” apparently.
  • Ars Technica also reported last week that the San Bernardino District Attorney admitted he had no reason to believe the killers’ iPhone might contain a “lying-dormant cyber pathogen,” as he suggested in support of forcing Apple to unlock it. He did not admit that he totally made up the term “lying-dormant cyber pathogen,” much less that if a phone actually might contain a lying-dormant whatever, you should destroy it, not unlock it. But whatever.
  • I’m not saying you should call a police officer “a freakin’ dick”—in fact, I am saying you shouldn’t—but I am also saying you have a constitutional right to do that. If you reside in the Eastern District of Missouri, and are inclined to ignore my advice not to exercise this right, you might want to print out this February order confirming the above and keep it in your glove compartment.