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Tinfoil Hat House 896

An anonymous reader writes "A family in Sacromento has covered the side of their house with aluminum to keep the radiowaves from their neighbors at bay. The city has given them one week to remove the life saving shielding or face charges."
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Tinfoil Hat House

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  • weird but illegal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by indy_Muad'Dib ( 869913 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:03PM (#12619983) Homepage
    easy fix, just line the inside of the house with foil.

    love the antibot text field btw. same i cant read the fucker.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:06PM (#12620007)
    I'm sure there will be plenty of Tinfoil Hat Jokes and other posts, but after reading the article I'd say they need lithium, not aluminum. That is to say, the "radio waves" deal is typical in schizophrenic patients. Other common variations are people using radio waves to listen to what their thinking, people using high-tech devices to spy on their homes. The end result is a bunch of variations on the sheet metal siding. Those people that aren't familiar with metal and radiation commonly use cardboard boxes to cover all openings and windows.

    A misdemeanor charge isn't what's needed, a visit from a social worker probably is. There's a difference between being unique and unusual, and having mental issues.
  • by bstadil ( 7110 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:08PM (#12620033) Homepage
    Liberals that want to force everyone to conform to their way of life

    And this kind of thinking is anathema to the Religious right. ;-)

  • by bgog ( 564818 ) * on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:11PM (#12620048) Journal
    I agree. If it's their property let them be protected from the aliens. Who cares. And don't give me crap about it looking nice for the neighbors. I believe in freedom. If my neighbors want to paint their house with pink polka-dots then so be it, none of my buisness. People spend far too much energy worrying about what other people are doing. The officials should worry about stuff that is actually harming others.
  • Help not Ridicule (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bl968 ( 190792 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:11PM (#12620049) Journal
    Should we be poking fun at the serious issues being raised by these simple folk. They sincerely believe what they are saying about the intentional bombardment of their home with radiation. Instead of ridicule, some kind hearted geeks should be going out there with various forms of detector equipment and identifying the source. Where's Egon Spengler when you need him?

    Who knows the Door Keeper and Key Master might be heading that way already to do the dirty deed and finally let the traveler loose into the world of men!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:15PM (#12620079)
    Sorry, dude, just use the word "politicians", the difference between the Right and the Left evaporated sometime in 2001.
  • f'ed up neighbors (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bobalu ( 1921 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:15PM (#12620088)
    there's nothing liberal about trying to keep some looney bin neighbor from bringing down the local real estate values.

    or, if there is, then i'm all for it anyway.

  • THE FOOLS! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:16PM (#12620098)
    From the picture, it looks like they've got a satellite dish on their roof. Don't they know that that's just concentrating the radio beams from outer space, and then mainlining them through a coax right straight into their newly built echo chamber?

    But seriously, with that jumble of jagged strips forming a bunch of slot radiators, it's possible that certain resonate frequencies in their house have actually been significantly amplified above background levels.

  • by flawedgeek ( 833708 ) <karldnorman@g m a i l . com> on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:17PM (#12620103)
    But why in the fuck is it illegal?

    Because it's in California. Any other state and they'd merely be shunned by their neighbors and harrassed by annoying teenagers.

    btw, anyone else think this image verification thing is annoying?
  • by YrWrstNtmr ( 564987 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:18PM (#12620111)
    I agree that there's far too many silly rules about houses (damn HOA's), but there are construction standards for a reason. Some of this crap blows off and hits a neighors house, or a neighbor, and I think there will be a few problems.
  • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:29PM (#12620190) Homepage Journal
    Not only are you not a Californian, but you've obviously never owned a house -- or owned one that was worth so little, you didn't obssess over things that might affect the value of your property. In most of urban California, you have to sell your soul in order to afford a house -- which makes people insanely aware of anything that might lower property values. People will hassle you just for parking a rusty car in front of your house. And of coursethey pass zoning laws that minimize any and all activities affecting same. So forget about raising chickens in your back yard, or painting your house a funny color. And you damn well better take good care of your lawn, if you value your freedom!

    In that context, a strong reaction to a house covered with metal foil is most predictable. The only suprise is that the neighbors took the time to call the code enforcement people, instead of rounding up a lynch mob!

    If your situation is any better, don't feel too smug. Housing costs are going up everywhere, and the same obsesssion with property values is spreading like a disease.

  • by Penguinoflight ( 517245 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:30PM (#12620195) Homepage Journal
    Absolutely. Any time you're having a problem with your neigbor make sure you talk to him/her first. Not only is it the polite thing to do, you have the ethical responsibilty to go to your friend/opponent before seeking legal protection.

    If the fence is really important to him you might be able to work out a deal to your own financial gain. Keeping communication open will require that you respect your neighbors directly.
  • by michaelbuddy ( 751237 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:32PM (#12620206) Homepage
    If you own a house an somebody does this in your neighborhood, I'd think you'd have an opinion about it. Life in the suburbs kinda sucks, but at the same time it makes sense. Your house is your property and it's affected by surrounding properties. "Hi, prospective home buyer, let me show you the garden..Oh don't mind the neighbor with the billboard in his front yard advertising his church. Oh and across the street is my neighbor Phil. he decided to pave his entire front yard so he could park his two RVs and his boat all year. Gotta love this place!"

    that kinda crap doesn't wash. Life is supposed to look normal, well trimmed, green and conforming. If for some reason what they believed was true, if they can't stand their rights being trampled on, they can put sheet metal on the inside of the house, between the brick and insulation.

    Most of the time this kind of transgression starts with several written and in person warnings, notices and then you're slapped with the misdemeanor or fine.
  • Re:Legalistics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dtdns ( 559328 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:35PM (#12620224) Homepage
    +2 Informative? Spilling cool-aide on some kids rare comic book has nothing to do with this situation. This would be more like taking your crappy comics and putting them next to his nice ones. Sure, it may not look nice, but the ACTUAL value and quality of his comics are not affected in any way. As soon as you take your nasty comics away his look nicer again. In order for your analogy to be correct, these foil people would have had to put the sheet metal on their neighbors house instead of their own. Frankly, I find the whole "they're making my house worth less" argument to be ineffective unless you are actively trying to sell your house. Thanks for playing.
  • by khallow ( 566160 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:41PM (#12620270)
    btw, anyone else think this image verification thing is annoying?

    Not half as annoying as the incredible crapflooding it just stopped. :(

  • by poor_boi ( 548340 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:42PM (#12620276)
    Why not just re-do the house in aluminum siding?

    Because that would be hard. Leaning sheets of aluminum against your house is easy. Redoing siding (if you've ever done it) is hard.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:42PM (#12620278)

    Some people are still laboring under the impression that this is a free country.

    Silly rabbits.

    Or should I say, sheep.
  • Re:Hmmm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kfg ( 145172 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:42PM (#12620279)
    . . .why don't they just seek proper psychiatric help?

    Because if they knew they needed it they wouldn't need it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:49PM (#12620306)
    whether or not it's touching the house/fence next door, it would probably still be a code violation. in portland you have rules like this: =38058 []
    (see B & C, probably more).

    Basically you have to be able to see from your windows and have proper natual light come through. I'm sure there are quite a few other violations. However, I'm also positive that if you wanted to pick nits you could find something wrong with every house in portland (according to the strict rules, especially if you want to talk about interior building codes and whatnot).
  • Re:Wow... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:52PM (#12620333)
    The walls on some types of single family homes are not very strong at all by themselves. Codes are different for every area but a normal wall on a split foyer home from the inside out consists of paint, 3/8 or 1/2 inch drywall, fiberglass insulation to fill the area between the 2x4's, a moisture barrier/foam insulation (like you described above) and then vinyl siding. Notice the absense of wood sheets? Some homes have a 2 4'x8' sheets of wood added on the corners for stabilty but some designs apparently do not even require that. A razor knife would allow you entry into the house in about 30 seconds provided you could fit between the 16 in spaced studs. Again codes are different for every area but I've seen many house like this.
  • Re:welcome to /. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:55PM (#12620345)
    And why not? They have every right to do what they want with their house. Nobody is dying or being hospitalized because of their oh-so-dangerous tin-foil.

    Seriously... It should not be anyone's business what they're doing to their house or property as long as it isn't a serious health risk.
  • by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @12:00AM (#12620388) Journal
    Any other state and they'd merely be shunned by their neighbors and harrassed by annoying teenagers.

    Where the hell do you live? I want to move there so I can quit being harassed by my homeowners' association for having my antenna in the "wrong place". It was "hurting the value of their investment", not that the mandated ugly gray and brown houses are all that great anyway.

    Anywhere where there are no associations has to be a better place to live than here, even if the house isn't a "great investment" without a bunch of old biddies who take hundreds of dollars of my money then can't even afford to pay a bored neighborhood kid $20 to mow the yard for the old woman down the street that they've been harassing as well.
  • by Adrilla ( 830520 ) * on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @12:21AM (#12620492) Homepage
    Who says they haven't? But perhaps they weren't taken seriously, look [] at [] how [] 'seriously' [] they're being taken here. []
  • by ONOIML8 ( 23262 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @12:25AM (#12620509) Homepage
    Yeah because gods forbid anyone who owns property or a home should be allowed to do as they please with it just because they own it. They must be forced to conform with government approved standards. If they can't handle that then perhaps some time in Siberia will teach them a lesson. If they offend a second time then the neighbors should be allowed to lynch them.

    But only neighbors who are party members in good standing.

    Who are these assholes who insist on acting like individuals anyway? Fucking Americans.

  • Re:Wow... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by utexaspunk ( 527541 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @12:28AM (#12620521)
    our house has aluminum siding and an aluminum roof. does a great job keeping the radio waves out, as evidenced by the really lousy cell phone reception inside.
  • Wow. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MasterSLATE ( 638125 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @12:34AM (#12620547) Homepage Journal
    In other news, people from California are crazy.
  • by CurlyG ( 8268 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @01:40AM (#12620812)
    Erm, you *are* kidding aren't you?

    'Space blankets' are AFAIK absolutely standard hiking/camping gear - you'd be an idiot to go away without one.

    They're compact, light, and they could save you from hypothermia.

    I mean yeah, you could concievably rig your grow-room up with mylar over the walls, but is it really going to help that much more than the white plastic sheeting used by most of the grow-rooms I've seen?

    Are you seriously suggesting that every hiker or camper who buys a space blanket in the US is going to get reported to the DEA? I don't live in the US, but if so, that is so ridiculous, so utterly pointless, so far out of control, that I'm just kind of staggered.
  • by SacredNaCl ( 545593 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @02:08AM (#12620926) Journal
    No, unfotunately I am not joking. Many of the stores that sell garden lights openly tell you they share their customer list with law enforcement, a few of them have signs on the door. The police used to tail people who would go to the garden center and pull them over...etc That behavior got it institutionalized here, so they got the hardware stores involved and started offering cash to employees who would phone in on larger orders of certain supplies. Buying a mess of mylar at the hardware store is enough. Buying a single space age blanket probably isn't going to raise an eyebrow though.

    I'm not sure how much better the mylar is for that purpose, I've been told that it reflects different spectrums of light more effectively than just flat white paint, and slightly more effectively (total lumens) than the plastic sheeting. The plastic sheeting is lot cheaper.

    Of course just because they come to your door doesn't mean you have to let them in, but the mere fact that they are at the door because you made a purchase from the hardware store is very disturbing.

  • Private property (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stuce ( 81089 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @02:48AM (#12621085)
    I'm sorry. They might be as crazy as SCO but private property is private property.

    If the neighbors or the city really has something to gain with their house looking good they should either offer to pay for more attractive tin foil or offer to buy their house from them. Forcing a private property owner to decorate their home a certain way at gunpoint is not part of a free society.
  • by csk_1975 ( 721546 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @02:54AM (#12621105)
    I knew this guy who was given millions and a large shareholding in a public company by his father. He had to play by his father's (and stepmother's) rules which he wasn't doing and he seemed to think it was funny to aggravate them. So they hired some spooks to follow him and eavesdrop on him. He was never the sharpest knife in the draw and years of ADD drugs didn't help. So when he started getting paranoid and having "dellusional fantasies" about people spying on him and his house - which they were actually doing - this was the proof used to incarcerate him in a mental institution. Last time I saw him he was on drugs that had completely extinguished his mind. I am sure people much more qualified than I would testify that he was really schizophrenic (and they did when he was incarcerated) but its pretty sad that the proof of someone's psychosis can be engineered by simply spying on them and then telling them that they are paranoid - how do I know he was being spied on? His stepmother warned me off and offered photos showing that I had also been under observation.

    Obviously someone putting tin foil all over their house is a fair indication that their mental state should be questioned. But malicious people can (and do) take advantage of the common perception that paranoia about being spied on is proof positive of schizophrenia for the own nefarious purposes. Never underestimate how mean spirited and avaricious some people are.
  • Re:welcome to /. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jim_Callahan ( 831353 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @03:02AM (#12621130)
    Buy a house in an urban or suburban area of California. Your opinion on the importance of property value will change in approximately 1.5 seconds... if you have an exceptionally strong will.
  • by moranar ( 632206 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @03:28AM (#12621220) Homepage Journal
    Stallman said "Your freedom to throw your fist ends at the tip of my nose". Building ordnances are there for a reason, the same that forbids you from tanning in your underwear in the front lawn.

    You can't build whatever just because it strikes your fancy if it brings down the value of other people's property.
  • by lxs ( 131946 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @04:09AM (#12621345)
    So your idea of a free society is one where everybody is allowed act like an asshole? There is a difference between not decorating your home a certain way and turning in into something that wouldn't look out of place in the favelas of Rio. If you live in a street with other people, you have to make some allowances to common taste. If you want to live like a bum, buy a piece of farmland, line it with trees and go nuts inside.

    Didn't you people ever watch Sesame street? Working together and respecting your neighbors that's what living in a civil society is about, not pissing off the entire world just because you're a freaking nutcase.

    It's called courtesy. Look it up sometime.
  • by SgtChaireBourne ( 457691 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @05:16AM (#12621537) Homepage
    how come polititians and regulators wont change the building codes to allow you to have rooms without natural light?
    Because then landlords will rent out rooms without natural light. There is also health and safety issues. With a window, you can theoretically get fresh air or escaping a fire or after an earthquake.
  • by mtrichardson ( 531417 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @05:38AM (#12621596) Homepage
    American ideals are such that (ideally) you can do whatever you want without harming other people. These people are certainly harming their neighbors due to the lowering of property values which, in an area like this, can be an intense, obscene amount of money. Nobody is stopping them from doing anything that doesn't affect property values, after all. There's not going to be anything happening for the tinfoil-like beds and the lining on the inside of the house. It's just the stuff that's harming other people.
  • by Vince Mo'aluka ( 849715 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @06:33AM (#12621760)
    A misdemeanor charge isn't what's needed, a visit from a social worker probably is.

    How about just leaving them the hell alone and minding your own god damn business? Am I the only one here who respects freedom more than arbitrary "social standards" imposed by some central planning agency?

  • by Zak3056 ( 69287 ) * on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @08:15AM (#12622108) Journal
    So let me get this straight: you knew/know for a fact that he was sane, actually being followed, and that all of this was quite possibly engineered to end in the way it did... and you did nothing about it?

    With friends like you, who needs enemies?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @08:28AM (#12622190)
    Well there is a trade-off with moving outside of an area with an HOA. Unless you can afford to buy enough land to seclude yourself, the nice house you buy or build will be surrounded by trailers and shacks and all sorts of junk. Some people may not care, but most don't want to build their 'dream home' in the middle of what looks like a garbage dump.
  • Buy a dictionary. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Gruneun ( 261463 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @08:35AM (#12622219)
    Yes, it's a community code. It means the community got together and a majority decided that they wanted to live in an area with certain rules. Nobody is forced to live in the community and that same community can act to modify those codes whenever they please.

    This has nothing to do with race, national pride, or an unchecked autocracy. Therefore, the fascism label simply doesn't apply. I suggest you learn the meaning of a word before you start throwing it around.
  • by CarrionBird ( 589738 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @08:38AM (#12622245) Journal
    Your property value is your problem.
  • by BHearsum ( 325814 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @09:32AM (#12622625) Homepage
    So anytime anydoes something to impact your property value you're going to tell them to stop it? That's fucking stupid. It is THEIR property, unless they are doing something negative directly to yours, you have no grounds whatsoever to sue them.

    I have a friend who lives in a very high class neighborhood, inherited the house. She has a tough time paying the bills because property taxes are so high. I think she should sue all the neighbors for keeping their houses and property in such great condition -- it's causing a negative impact on her pocket book.
  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @09:50AM (#12622826) Homepage
    Unless we're talking about an encorporated municipal entity here a mere "majority" is insufficient to support these shenanigans. Either a contract is required AT TIME OF PURCHASE or a UNANIMOUS consent is required.

    A portion of the neighborhood can't just suddenly decide one day to play busybody with the rest of the neighborhood.
  • by bigbigbison ( 104532 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @09:53AM (#12622864) Homepage
    What a busy body. Except for the parties, I don't know what this guy is complaining about. He complains about the neighbor's mailbox (it's a frickin' mail box, get over it) and then when the neighbor redoes it, all he can do is complain "he can't put the flag down!" Oh no! "There's a statue on it!" whoopie. And what's the deal with "stolen 2x4's" and "stolen bricks?" How the hell does he know if the neighbor stole the stuff or not? Where the hell would you steal that many bricks anyway?

    Most of the stuff the guy is complaining about is in the back yard. Maybe if he wasn't so busy looking in teh neighbor's back yard, this stuff wouldn't bother him. I wonder why that guy decided to move? It wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that his neigbor is an asshole, would it???
  • by FuturePastNow ( 836765 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @10:46AM (#12623377)
    I live in a neighborhood without a HOA. I'm pretty sure none of my neighbors live in shacks or trailers. Looks out the window...nope. No junk, either. Just fresh-cut grass and parked minivans. What fuckwad modded you insightful?
  • by ChrisMaple ( 607946 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @10:48AM (#12623394)
    A room with no windows is unsafe.

    Closet. Basement. Commercial theatre. Attic. Having multiple exits is good, but having windows is unnecessary.

  • by g051051 ( 71145 ) * on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @10:52AM (#12623421)
    If you saw a neighbor laying on his lawn in a puddle of blood, would you just "mind your own god damn business"? Or would you try to get them help? These people are obviously disturbed, and need help.

    As far as "arbitrary social standards" are concerned, that's really the definition of civilization, isn't it?
  • by phlinn ( 819946 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @11:33AM (#12623845)
    I think you misunderstood him. If I am understanding the post correctly, he didn't think the newly implemented policy was implemented with a democratic process and was then fought by several home owners. He didn't say that the suit was undemocratic.
  • by JonKatzIsAnIdiot ( 303978 ) <[a4261_2000] [at] []> on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @11:43AM (#12623973)
    It means the community got together and a majority decided that they wanted to live in an area with certain rules.

    Awww - they're so cute when they're young and idealistic, aren't they?

    These days, rules aren't decided by the majority. Rules (laws) are passed in order to pacify small groups who are very adept at making a lot of noise and attracting attention to themselves and their cause. The majority of people just want everyone else to leave them alone.
  • by djrogers ( 153854 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @01:39PM (#12625255)
    HOA Covenants, Conditions, Regulation and are willfully entered into upon purchase of a home in an HOA. In fact, you have to sign a few documents stating that you have been shown the CC&Rs, and that you agree to abide by them. The reasons for wanting ot live in an HOA should be obvious to anyone who's had a neigbor like this destroy the 'feel' of a neighborhood.
    The way I look at it is this - if a bunch of like-minded individuals want to agree to a set of CC&Rs, why shouldn't they be allowed to?

There's no such thing as a free lunch. -- Milton Friendman