Sunday, April 8, 2012

Using a shooting for political purposes

Using A Shooting For Political Gain | Real Science
Obama isn’t the first politician to use a shooting as an excuse to escalate racial tension.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Encrypt your data!

Good news for those of us who have things they don't want Big Brother to read ... I hope this either stands or gets to the Supreme Court and is upheld ...

Note to self: Encrypt data, memorize password | InSecurity Complex - CNET News
Summary: Court rules that prosecutors can't force people to decrypt data that could potentially be used against them.
In a case that serves as a reminder to: a) use encryption, and b) memorize the encryption pass-phrase, an appeals court has ruled that people have a constitutional right not to be forced to decrypt data that potentially includes evidence that could be used to prosecute them in court.

TrueCrypt forever!

OTGH you are cautioned that not all Big Brothers will obey the law.
XKCD Security

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Two more strikes against cloud computing

Why would anyone sane want to put ANYTHING which you might not want your favorite government snoop reading "in the cloud"?  Here are two stories I saw just today....

This story was linked to on the Drudge Report this morning, and I was able to read it earlier, but I suspect that the site is overloaded as it no longer loads:
Library of Congress to receive entire Twitter archive -
The Library of Congress and Twitter have signed an agreement that will see an archive of every public Tweet ever sent handed over to the library's repository of historical documents.

"We have an agreement with Twitter where they have a bunch of servers with their historic archive of tweets, everything that was sent out and declared to be public," said Bill Lefurgy, the digital initiatives program manager at the library's national digital information infrastructure and preservation program. The archives don't contain tweets that users have protected, but everything else — billions and billions of tweets — are there.
A Google Search for "Library of Congress to receive entire Twitter archive" shows the story has been copied everywhere, so if you can't read it on the original site, you can read about it elsewhere.

Schneier on Security: Security Problems with U.S. Cloud Providers

Invasive U.S. surveillance programs, either illegal like the NSA's wiretapping of AT&T phone lines or legal as authorized by the PATRIOT Act, are causing foreign companies to think twice about putting their data in U.S. cloud systems.

I think these are legitimate concerns. I don't trust the U.S. government, law or no law, not to spy on my data if it thought it was a good idea. The more interesting question is: which government should I trust instead?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Real Climate Change We Might Want to Worry About

Coyote Blog » Blog Archive » Real Climate Change We Might Want to Worry About
The sun follows an (approximately) 11-year cycle as sunspots ebb and flow. The peak of these cycles, ie the number of sunspots at the cycle’s maximum, is thought to correlate with the strength of the sun’s output. In the past, periods with very low sunspot activity through an entire cycle have correlated with very cold temperatures (e.g. the Maunder Minimum and the Little Ice Age).

Well, NASA has updated its forecast for this cycle and it does not look good:

Current prediction for the next sunspot cycle maximum gives a smoothed sunspot number maximum of about 62 in July of 2013. We are currently over two years into Cycle 24. The predicted size would make this the smallest sunspot cycle in nearly 200 years.

The low cycle 200 years ago coincided with a decade or more of wicked-cold temperatures, particularly in Northern Europe (think Napoleon’s army freezing to death in 1812).

One of the reasons this probably has not gotten much coverage is that climate scientists have worked hard in the media to attribute the vast majority of past warming, particularly in the period 1978-1998, to ppm changes in CO2 concentration. But this same 2-decade period saw extremely high solar activity (as measured by sunspots) and ocean cycles like the PDO in the warm phase. To maximize how much past warming was attributed to CO2, warming alarmists had to take the fairly absurd position that these ocean cycles and changes in solar output had only trivial effects on temperatures...

Read more on the Coyote Blog

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Deaths per TeraWatt-hour

Interesting ... on an IBM page, FWIW.

Many Eyes : Deaths per TWh by energy sources
This visualization compares the energy mix and number deaths related to each of the main sources of energy worldwide - coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear, hydro and biomass. details can be found at

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

U.S. Citizens Have No Obligation To Answer Questions

I am really glad to see this.  I will remember this next time I cross a border.

KNIFE TRICKS: I Am Detained By The Feds For Not Answering Questions
Sherman Oaks, California

I was detained last night by
federal authorities at San Francisco International Airport for refusing
to answer questions about why I had travelled outside the United States.

end result is that, after waiting for about half an hour and refusing
to answer further questions, I was released – because U.S. citizens who
have produced proof of citizenship and a written customs declaration are
not obligated to answer questions.


Principal Take-Aways

1. Cops Really Don’t Like It When You Refuse To Answer Their Questions.
The passport control officer was aghast when I told her that my visit
to China was none of her business. This must not happen often, because
several of the officers involved seemed thrown by my refusal to meekly
bend to their whim.

2. They’re Keeping Records. A federal, computer-searchable file exists on my refusal to answer questions.

3. This Is About Power, Not Security.
The CBP goons want U.S. citizens to answer their questions as a
ritualistic bow to their power. Well, CBP has no power over me. I am a
law-abiding citizen, and, as such, I am the master, and the federal cops
are my servants. They would do well to remember that.

4. U.S. Citizens Have No Obligation To Answer Questions.
Ultimately, the cops let me go, because there was nothing they could
do. A returning U.S. citizen has an obligation to provide proof of
citizenship, and the officer has legitimate reasons to investigate if
she suspects the veracity of the citizenship claim. A U.S. citizen
returning with goods also has an obligation to complete a written
customs declaration. But that’s it. You don’t have to answer questions
about where you went, why you went, who you saw, etc.

Of course, if you don’t, you get hassled.

But that’s a small price to pay to remind these thugs that their powers are limited and restricted.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Seriously disgusting abuse of government power

Back to blogging ... been "AFK" for a while. Will try to post links and more a little more often.

Morning Links | The Agitator
Department of Transportation fines non-profit air ambulance service $30,000 for using the wrong pronoun.