Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Radio Silence

Sorry for the pause in posts lately.  Since Posterous was shuttered I've struggled with a way to make quick simple posts.

Never fear I'll get it sorted...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Series that Gets it Right.


I originally got interested in this show because of the BBC's excellent Sherlock.  I admit, I was initially put off - mostly due to the stars. Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu.  I'm happy to say I was wrong.  Turns out they were perfect choices.  In fact this is the first thing in which I've actually liked Ms. Liu.  Truth be told - in this role I think I would actually say I love her.   She was seemingly born to play Watson.

But that's not why I'm gushing.  In the last episode the show earned my loyalty.  In one scene a cop related that "it's all public key encrypted.  We can't break that.".  FINALLY!!!  actual technical competence!  No star "breaking" 256 bit encryption in 30 seconds with a gun to his head while he gets a blowjob.  (I'm looking at YOU Swordfish)

Then later in the same episode Sherlock (Miller) picks up a phone and says something like "this is the same model of phone we found with .....  It's been rooted and an open source OS has been installed".  Fantastic!  Two correct technical moments in one episode!

Well done CBS!  I'll definitely be looking forward to next season.  Thank you for hiring actual technical advisers.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Congressional Research Service says States can Legalize Weed.

Interesting.  Very interesting.

Originally found on the Cool Tools blog: (oddly, the post seems to have been deleted)

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is part of the Library of Congress, and it provides “policy and legal analysis to committees and Members of both the House and Senate, regardless of party affiliation.” This month the CRS issued a report that says Colorado and Washington (where cannabis is legal, according to state laws) can’t be coerced to enforcing federal cannabis laws. “While the federal government can ban what it wants,” reports Reason, “the Tenth Amendment allows the states to opt out of participating in the law or assisting in enforcement in any way, leaving federal officials to do the heavy lifting themselves.”

The original CRS document can be found here:

I find this interesting in that several states have also either considered or enacted legislation that would exempt them from any federal gun laws.  Also raise your hand if you remember the days of the 55mph federal speed limit when many states bucked that trend - at least until they felt the loss of federal highway funds.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

No ads allowed in Google Glass, better protection of user data | Muktware

Monday, April 15, 2013

DPRK The Land of Whispers

So,  Saturday night I watched very interesting film on Youtube thanks to a link from The Pirate Bay.  DPRK The Land of Whispers.  It's a documentary of a vacation in North Korea by a young filmaker that goes by the handle Etherium Sky.

Today (Monday) I went to post about it and share,  but the video is no longer linked from TPB and  seems to no longer be available on Youtube even though the page is still there.  Not sure what's going on here.  I'll update as I find out.

Anyway here are the Youtube links that used to work:

UPDATE:  Looks like it's pretty much just me having the issue.  Not sure of the cause as yet.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Quit yer Bitchin Penguin Boy!

Warning: This post contains the F word (and other "color").  If your panties get yanked up to your neck when you see it then go somewhere else.

This goes out to all of you Linux wonks that still whine about Ubuntu's Unity UI.  KNOCK IT THE FUCK OFF!

Seriously!  I really hated it too when it first came out too. I bitched and moaned with the best of them.

Have you tried it since 11.04 or do you base your entire whiny ass opinion on trying a beta once upon a time?

I use Unity on pretty much every production workstation I've got.  I have one laptop at home that still runs Gnome and Docky.  You know what?  I fukin hate Gnome now.  I hit the super key or the Alt key about 100 times a session and then go "shit!" and then slog through the menus...  Feels like digging a ditch.

Being that it's a laptop with the shitty laptop video res I also have the indicator bar (and docky) set to autohide.  They drive me frikin nuts poping up in the way all the damn time.  I'm telling you Gnome sucks ass after you make the switch to Unity.

Since I've started to use the the dock and the HUD regularly everything else seems clunky and outdated.  Canonical leapfrogged over every other OS out there - including Apple - with the elegance and power of Unity.  (W$ users are still confused if it doesn't blue screen, or require me to load drivers)

I know we all get sick of the dickhead W$ users complaining that Linux doesn't work just like W$ and run the exact same software, so therefore it sux.  Well, you Unity whiners are exactly the same as those morons.

Newsflash!  It's not Gnome!  It works differently!  Get the fuck over it!

Do yourself and the rest of us a favor - load a copy of 12.10 and try doing things by hitting the super key for a day.  You will never go back.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Polaris Reveals All-New Indian Thunder Stroke 111 Engine - News


Well - If I didn't want a modern Indian before I just might now. Kinda torn with the choice to use push rods but then add hydraulic valve lifters... I guess they just wanted to have a reason to fit those pretty chrome rod tubes.

Posted via email from ninjahippie's (pre) posterous

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

You Can't Make this Stuff Up...

Seriously.  In the weirder than screaming goats category this week comes this announcement on The Pirate Bay's blog:


The Pirate Bay has been hunted in many countries around the world. Not for illegal activities but being persecuted for beliefs of freedom of information. Today, a new chapter is written in the history of the movement, as well as the history of the internets.
A week ago we could reveal that The Pirate Bay was accessed via Norway and Catalonya. The move was to ensure that these countries and regions will get attention to the issues at hand. Today we can reveal that we have been invited by the leader of the republic of Korea, to fight our battles from their network.
This is truly an ironic situation. We have been fighting for a free world, and our opponents are mostly huge corporations from the United States of America, a place where freedom and freedom of speech is said to be held high. At the same time, companies from that country is chasing a competitor from other countries, bribing police and lawmakers, threatening political parties and physically hunting people from our crew. And to our help comes a government famous in our part of the world for locking people up for their thoughts and forbidding access to information.
We believe that being offered our virtual asylum in Korea is a first step of this country's changing view of access to information. It's a country opening up and one thing is sure, they do not care about threats like others do. In that way, TPB and Korea might have a special bond. We will do our best to influence the Korean leaders to also let their own population use our service, and to make sure that we can help improve the situation in any way we can. When someone is reaching out to make things better, it's also ones duty to grab their hand.

What have we wrought?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Chinese Hackers

Every goram' day the news is full of Chinese hackers this, and Chinese hackers that....  Well how about this then.  An Internet blockade.  If the US and her allies and anyone else sick of this crap just started refusing to route any IP block out of China - at a backbone level -  What then big red?

China doesn't seem to want to play nice with the rest of the world Internet wise anyway.  They have their own search engines and mail services and only allow their people a tiny, highly filtered, window on the rest of the world anyway.  The only apparent use the Chinese government seems to have for the interwebs is to hose with the rest of us.

I know, I know, they would just proxy their garbage through other routes but they would become increasingly more and more narrow. Once you have the major routes out of the country shut down and start to squeeze the proxies what then becomes the priority for the government?  It starts to get difficult and costly.  Maybe they decide it's in their interest to play nice.  Maybe they decide to say the hell with it and disconnect.  Either way is a win in light of the current situation.

China has turned into that asshole that no one wants to hang with.  I say it's time we all decided to ditch the jerk and not let em play with our toys.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Why College Campuses Should Allow Concealed Carry

The news is saturated with stories and opinions on guns, and the attention on the issue is heightened with this past year’s dramatic

shootings in Aurora and Newtown. Understandably, the response to these horrors involves great emotion. However, in our dialogue about violence and gun ownership, we need to set aside our fears and biases and look at where the facts lead us.

Here in the Bay Area, the general response to gun ownership is an automatic “no,” and the Stanford campus is no exception. Our campus sees minimal violence and our main exposure to firearms is through the news, where killings are stories rather than the cases with peaceful endings.

This anti-gun bias is reflected in campus policy and state law. On its website, Stanford University Department of Public Safety (SUDPS) states that “all [firearms] are prohibited on Stanford Campus … except for sworn police officers,” and California has mandated absolute firearm bans on all college campuses. These policies assume that guns are fundamentally harmful. Remembering that a weapon is simply a powerful tool that can be used for self-defense as well as for harm, we need to reconsider Stanford’s “Gun-Free Zone” policy.

Gun-Free Zones: A monopoly of force

Absolute bans are ineffective, as criminals carry weapons regardless of their legality. Worse, Gun-Free Zones are uniquely attractive targets, as a monopoly of force is in the hands of whoever is willing to break the law, and police response is often too little and too late.

Seung-Hui Cho shot his first two victims at Virginia Tech in 2007, the police unsuccessfully searched for the shooter for two hours. Cho remained in public spaces on campus for that entire time and even went to the post office to mail writings and recordings to NBC News. He then walked to a building of lecture halls at the opposite end of campus, chained the three main entrance doors shut, and killed 30 people in a second attack lasting roughly 10 minutes.

The rampage ended with Cho’s suicide. With over 200 rounds left, “he was well prepared to continue,” said State Police Superintendent William Flaherty. Unarmed, the victims had no hope but to make barricades and wait for the police to arrive, which happened well after the massacre was over.

The shootings at Columbine and Sandy Hook also ended in the perpetrators’ suicide, not police intervention. According to a U.S. Secret Service study into 37 school shootings, “Over half of the attacks were resolved or ended before law enforcement responded to the scene. In these cases, the attacker was stopped by faculty or fellow students, decided to stop shooting on his own, or killed himself.”

It is wrong to disarm an individual when effective protection cannot be provided in compensation, and relying on police officers and security guards has proven to be insufficient. When targets of violence, people have the right to options beyond waiting for help to come.

The right tool for the job

It is generally agreed that self-defense is a valid response to violence. However, when faced with an armed attacker in any situation, fighting back with nothing but your fists is the worst option. Victims need a tool that can level the playing field against all sorts of attackers.

According to a 1997 study of National Crime Victimization Survey data by PhD criminologist Gary Kleck, “robbery and assault victims who used a gun to resist were less likely to be attacked or to suffer an injury than those who did not resist at all or those who used any other methods of self-protection.” The probability of serious injury to a female victim is 2.5 times greater when no resistance is offered and 4 times greater when resistance is offered without a gun. The same study showed similar trends for male victims, though the magnitude of the statistics was diminished.

As a 5’ 3” girl, I am going to need a better tool than my fists if I get grabbed one night on the way home from my physics lab. Some friends of mine carry mace or Tasers for this very reason. While they are better tools than wrestling, they can be ineffective and even counterproductive. Pepper spray can rebound into its user’s eyes to disable his along with his assailant; one-use only, Tasers are ineffective against more than one assailant and don’t work through thick clothing; and both have a very limited range.

With the limitations of other options in mind, a concealed handgun is a much more effective tool for self-defense. Along with overcoming the technical weaknesses of pepper spray and Tasers, guns pose a much greater deterrent to criminals. Many incidents involving a victim with a gun end without a single shot. When someone draws a concealed gun in self-defense, the criminal simply retreats 55.5% of the time, according to Kleck.

Before discussing concealed carry permits, it is crucial that I am clear on what they are and, more importantly, what they are not. Concealed carry permit (CCP) holders are not vigilantes with the duty to protect; in fact, it is strictly against laws and their training. There are consequences for acting unless they themselves are in immediate danger. Extending to campuses, the right to carry would simply allow CCP holders the same abilities and responsibilities they have in most other places.

More Guns, more crime… right?

While faculty, staff, and students deserve the same rights to self-defense in their place of work and study as others have, it is an understandable concern that allowing concealed guns would lead to more accidents and crime. Fortunately, this concern has not been realized.

After a combined total of one hundred semesters, none of the twelve colleges across the country–Colorado State University, Blue Ridge Community College in Virginia, and ten public colleges spanning 30 campus in Utah–that allow licensed individuals to carry on campus has seen a single incident of gun theft, accident, or violence, including threats and suicides. In addition, all Utah educators have been able to carry concealed weapons to work for the past 12 years, in which there have been no accidents or shootings in the schools.

CCP holders are statistically a very law-abiding group. According to each state’s Department of Public Safety, .007% of Florida CCPs over the last 25 years and .005% of North Carolina CCPs over the last five years were revoked due to a firearm-related crime. The felony rate of CCP holders in North Carolina is .017%, more than 20 times less than the national rate of .35%.

Not only are people who carry concealed weapons less likely to commit crimes, they can also prevent and stop them from happening.

In a mass-shooting, the perpetrator is looking to have complete power. “They’re the puppet master,” said Dr. Mary Ellen O’Toole, a retired FBI profiler. “They’ve got the control, the power, the weapons.” If potential targets are armed, they are far less tantalizing. The Aurora shooter had a choice of seven movie theaters within 20 minutes of his home. The one he ultimately chose wasn’t the closest, but it was the only one that that banned concealed handguns. Holmes chose the theater in which his victims were most vulnerable.

In isolated attacks when the attacker’s motive is a more tangible gain–a mugging, for instance–the possibility of an armed target will cause the attacker to rethink. A wallet is not worth the risk of being shot.

Beyond preventing these crimes from happening in the first place, there are countless examples of CCP holders ending attacks early and widening the timeframe for escape and police response. Here just a few examples of mass-murders ending early due to armed victims: in 2007, a shooter was stopped by a CCP holder in a Colorado church after killing two people; in April 2012, a knifing spree in a Salt Lake City mall was stopped by a CCP holder when he drew his gun and told the attacker to drop his weapon; and just a few weeks ago in early December, a shooter at a Clackamas mall stopped his spree and killed himself when he saw a 22-year-old CCP holder pull his own gun. Stories of isolated self-defense from the past month alone include: an Ohio gas station clerk shooting a robber; an AutoZone employee scaring off a robber with a gun; and a pastor pulling a gun on a burglar who broke into his church.

Violence elicits particularly strong fears and emotions. When discussing the role of guns in our society, we need to rein in those fears and emotions, base our decisions off of facts and statistics, and remember that guns are tools that can save lives, too.

Posted via email from ninjahippie's (pre) posterous

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Gun Wars (and what it's like standing between opposing forces)

A long time ago, in a galaxy...

No? Okay I won't go there (anymore).  I know this blog has not been very tech, motorbike etc related as of late (and I promise to get back there someday) but this seems to be the water cooler topic just about everywhere.  As what I like to call "a realist" politically I find myself in the middle of the battle and I think that both sides could use a time out and a little advice.

Pro-Gun folk:
Calling the other side things like "idiots" and (my personal peeve) "libtards" is just simply offensive and supports the other side's assumption that you are a toothless hillbilly that likes to yell "heee haww" as you fire your fully automatic black evil rifle at innocent kitties and duckies.  Most of the truly liberal friends I have are under the impression that you can waltz down to wally world and buy a full auto 50cal and cans full of belt fed joy to go along with it just like Arnold and Sylvester do in the movies.  They need your gentle, rational explanations of what is actually real.  You know backed by experience, facts and quotable sources not just made up statistics in photos on the interwebs.

Anti-Gun folk:
When you form an opinion on a subject based solely on emotion and what you have seen in movies and then call the pro-guners uninformed and ignorant is, well, just that.  You most definitely have a few friends that are gun owners and probably even enthusiasts.  After all, statistics show that 8 out of 10 American homes own firearms so it shouldn't be a difficult search.  Ask them to explain "assault weapons" to you. (hint: they don't actually exist) and why they fully support the idea that gun free zones are actually a really BAD idea.  In short - stop assuming you have the full picture and get an education before you form an opinion.

Now I'm going to make you hold hands and talk like adults.  If you are good maybe we can all go for ice cream when you're done.  

In short - There are things we can do that actually have a chance at decreasing violence and they cannot be discussed until the Peirs Morgans and Alex Jones's of the world STFU and act like reasonable people.

Posted via email from ninjahippie's (pre) posterous