Month: September 2012

So my aunt really is a clueless clod

She posted this on Facebook:

I’m going to take it point by point and use citation to prove her wrong where applicable.

A few reasons why I won’t vote for Obama.


First President to apply for college aid as a foreign student, then deny he was a foreigner.

The President is NOT a foreigner despite your best efforts at birtherism. He was born in the STATE of Hawaii. Hawaii is part of the UNITED STATES of America.

First President to have a social security number from a state he has never lived in.

He was born in and resided in Hawaii for a few days at least. Your SS number is based on where you were born. If you knew more about the system you wouldn’t make such obvious idiotic statements.

First President to preside over a cut to the credit-rating of the United States

He did not preside over it so much as the brinksmanship being practiced by Republicans caused it in the first place.

First President to violate the War Powers Act.

Go look here. You might learn a thing or two. It’s not legally clear that he did so.

First President to be held in contempt of court for illegally obstructing oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico .

This one is actually true. One out of how many?

First President to require all Americans to purchase a product from a third party.

I’m not even going to dignify this one. It’s a ding against the Health Care Reform Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.

First President to spend a trillion dollars on ‘shovel-ready’ jobs when there was no such thing as ‘shovel-ready’ jobs, nor shovels. As he has admitted, to.

Shovel ready wasn’t termed by the President. However I saw quite a bit of action here in Providence. Sidewalks replaced, new ITS style traffic lights installed. All in furtherance btw of Rapid Bus Transit corridors.

First President to abrogate bankruptcy law to turn over control of companies to his union supporters.

This is another one that doesn’t require any research. The federal government bailed out the auto companies. That is true. However to say the unions had control is a complete and utter falsehood.

First President to by-pass Congress and implement the Dream Act through executive fiat.

You know what – yes he did it by EXECUTIVE ORDER which the author so nicely denigrates as ‘fiat’. And know what, I think someone who came here as a young child and who was educated here, works here, they should be granted a path to citizenship.

First President to order a secret amnesty program that stopped the deportation of illegal immigrants across the U.S. , including those with criminal convictions.

First of all there’s nothing secret. They have not stopped deportations, if you need proof just pick up a fucking newspaper and read the horror stories of families with businesses being separated.

First President to demand a company hand-over $20 billion to one of his political appointees.

Now this is interesting. I googled “What company handed over $20 Billion”. All the links, and I mean ALL of them are circular references to this list that I’m debunking right now.

First President to tell a CEO of a major corporation (Chrysler) to resign.

This is another one that is a circular reference. Here, go look for yourself.

First President to terminate America ‘s ability to put a man in space.

You can actually blame the Bush Administration for that. The Shuttle program was getting very long in the tooth. But at the same time the Bush Administration in it’s first term decided that wasn’t a priority. And in case you didn’t know the Orion program is still active. And in fact NASA is working on an FTL (Faster than Light) transport method. Warp drive – only instead of requiring the mass of Jupiter all they need is 1,000 pounds of reaction material.

First President to cancel the National Day of Prayer and to say that America is no longer a Christian nation.

As I go through this list it’s pretty obvious this is a Tea Bagger Hit Piece. America has NEVER BEEN a Christian nation. And as far as canceling the day of prayer the President did no such thing. He simply did not attend.

And the 1st President to institute, “Muslim Prayer Day”, and shortly after he wipes away National Prayer Day.

This one covers both this falsehood and the one above.

First President to have a law signed by an auto-pen without being present.

Oh this one is rich! He did it because he was traveling and it’s LEGAL! Imagine that, and not to mention it saves OODLES of cash.

First President to disregard, morning Intelligence Briefings. He has not attended over 80 of these and hasn’t been to one in over 6 months

This one is easy to debunk. It’s quite simple – they don’t have them any more. President Obama is briefed daily.

first President whose Administration has not created a National Budget for nearly 4 years, and counting.

Um – this one is wrong on so many levels!

First President to arbitrarily declare an existing law unconstitutional and refuse to enforce it.

Don’t need a link for this one. The DOJ refuses to defend Section 3 of the federal DOMA – Defense of Marriage Act. And they are correct in doing so as DOMA IS unconstitutional.

First President to threaten insurance companies if they publicly spoke-out on the reasons for their rate increases.

First President to tell a major manufacturing company in which state it is allowed to locate a factory.

First President to file lawsuits against the states he swore an oath to protect (AZ, WI, OH, IN).

First President to withdraw an existing coal permit that had been properly issued years ago.

First President to actively try to bankrupt an American industry (coal).

First President to overtake a US private company (GM), and declare he is trying to save this American institution. But he refuses to relinquish the US gov’s majority stake in this private company. Even after the CO. requests it.

First President to fire an inspector general of Ameri-Corps for catching one of his friends in a corruption case.

First President whose Attorney General, has been found to be in Contempt of Congress.

First President to appoint 45 czars to replace elected officials in his office. I think it’s a little higher now.

And the above proves, he’s the First President who has tried to RULE the nation instead of LEAD the nation.

First President to surround himself with radical left wing anarchists.

First President to have only %5 of his Administration, hold a private job, other than being part of the Ivory Tower.

First President to golf 73 separate times in his first two and a half years in office, 102 to date. And, probably still have a hard time breaking 100, on the score card.

First President to hide his medical, educational and travel records.

First President to win a Nobel Peace Prize for doing NOTHING to earn it.

First President to go on multiple “global apology” and “insult our friends” tours.

First President to go on 17 lavish vacations, including date nights and Wednesday evening White House parties for his friends paid for by the taxpayer.

First President to have 22 personal servants (taxpayer funded) for his wife.

First President to keep a dog trainer on retainer for $102,000 a year at taxpayer expense.

First President to repeat the Holy Quran & tell us the early morning call of the Azan (Islamic call to worship) is the most beautiful sound on earth.

First President to tell the military men and women that they should pay for their own private insurance because they “volunteered to go to war and knew the consequences. Then he was the First President to tell the members of the military that THEY were UNPATRIOTIC for balking at the last suggestion.

First President to say to the private business’ of the country, “If you built a business, you didn’t do that on your own. You’ve had help [implied, government help] in doing that.

First President to side with a foreign nation over one of the American 50 states ( Mexico vs Arizona ).

The first President to claim for 16 years, that he was not born in the USA and then for the last 5 years (just before his run for President) begins to state that he was born in Hawaii.

The first President to claim he was born in two different Hospitals; his first admission was that he was born at Queens Medical Center. Then, his second birth statement says he was born at Kapi’ olani Medical Center. And these two Hospitals are on opposite ends of the island.

And so, Obama is the first President who does not know where he was born.

First President to state that there are 57 States in the USA.

First President who is attempting to over turn the law which banishes Felons, from voting in any election for an Elected Official.

How is this hope and change working out for you?


Ok – I’m sick of debunking. You can clearly see that this is a Tea Bagger inspired hit piece. As the list progresses a lot of ad hominem is evident.

Fucking insects

2012 is a banner year for insects in RI and in fact all down the east coast.

When we visited North Carolina this past May, we set out early in the morning on our last day there. When the interior lights on the car came on a swarm of insects decided then it was time to get in the car too. One of them hitched a ride with us all the way to Maryland.

But even at home I’m noticing insects we’ve never seen before. A lot of it probably has to do with the lack of winter last year. Seriously, we never really got a deep freeze and precipitation was almost nil. Hopefully we’ll get more winters like that.

But the bugs – we have moths and crickets. The moths of course are attracted to light. Crickets don’t like light.

We’ve cedar bagged and done all that to keep the moths out of the teas and clothing. But they still want to occupy the house.

I suppose we’ll just have to get used to the fact that they’ve moved in.

How to combat the anti-gay shit in the Catholic Church

So now we have the Pope himself saying we LGBT people aren’t fully human.

I commented on the Facebook post about it and said “If the Pope wants to talk sub-human, perhaps he should look in the mirror every now and then.”

But then an idea came to me. I know a lot of Catholics who support full equality for the LGBT community. So here’s the idea – if they are still practicing Catholics I.e. they still attend church I said they should purchase a small gay flag. Once they receive communion just lay the flag on the rail and walk away. If enough people did this the message would be sent LOUD and CLEAR to the church.

The U.S. Drought and its effects

So I was watching a clip today about the drought conditions in middle America, the breadbasket so to speak.

Of course on of the biggest crops is corn. Old King Corn – it’s used as animal feed, as sweetener and as fuel though the energy required to make fuel from corn is rather excessive and therefore makes ethanol based fuels kind of stupid.

But one effect of the lack of corn is that the people who raise cows and pigs are slaughtering younger animals which is flooding the market with meat right now. But later on you’ll see a scarcity of those very meats. If you have the means and a deep freezer I suggest you stock up.

But there is one silver lining to this. The sweetener I talked about, that’s corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup. That benefit is that the scarcity of corn is going to drive the price of HFCS up. Be on the lookout for carbonated beverage manufacturers to be switching back to sugar soon enough. The trade barriers to imported sugar are still up in the U.S. no thanks to Domino Sugar! But there are moves to remove the barriers which will make real sugar cheap enough so that sodas, baked goods, etc. will more likely than not start using sugar again.

I know, the evidence on HFCS says it’s no different than sugar. But I’ve lost a whole lot of weight when I cut HFCS to an absolute minimum.

So I won’t be sorry to see it go.

Not one for ads but Samsung is nailing it

ObDisclaimer: I own a Samnsung phone. I love it.

So they have a new ad out – it’s like people are standing in line waiting to get the new iPhone 5 and they’re talking about the jack for audio being on the bottom, and all this. But it turns out they’re talking about the Samsung Galaxy S3. Too funny.

Like I said, props to Apple for making the iPhone 5 easier to service and all that. But in my opinion, when I compare it to my nearly two year old Samsung SCH-R910 Indulge – it is seriously lacking.

Tony Perkins of the FRC is a fraud

I’ll tell you why. He falls back on the fact that he was a police officers.

Well the truth is sort of muddled. He was a RESERVE police officer in Baton Rouge, LA. And he had to resign from that job because of a little episode around anti-abortion protests.

This came up because I’m re-reading Max Blumenthal’s “Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party”

There were massive anti-abortion protests going on around the Delta Women’s Clinic and Chief of Police Greg Phares had ordered the erection of a chain link fence to separate anti-abortion protestors from pro-choice forces. Phares also called in Sheriff’s Deputies and prison guards to shore up manpower at these sites.

A logical move on the part of Chief Phares in my opinion.

Well – Tony Perkins violated department policy by writing a commentary in the local newspaper that was openly critical of the Chief’s activities.

Better yet the fucker knew that there was a plan made by anti-abortion proponents to break through the police barricades and rush the abortion clinic.

Yet Perkins, though he was required to do so, failed to inform his superiors in the police department.

Perkins was then suspended and had to surrender his reserve commission for six months. And once the suspension ended, Perkins resigned.

So I have to ask, why is he deferred to as such an expert when surely he was a piss poor cop?

Making Butter

So I was on YouTube and I saw a video on how to make your own butter.

Basically take a seal-able container and fill it about 1/2 way with heavy cream. Now agitate aka shake for 15 minutes.

What you’ll end up with is unsalted butter and buttermilk.


How cool is that. fresh unsalted butter. Of course the buttermilk isn’t that cultured crap.

What does it take to become a computer programmer

So this thread on Slashdot got me to thinking.

A few years back I was doing program reviews for the State Department of Education. It was an eye opening experience I’ll tell you that. By and large most of the teachers I had interacted with were on the ball, but there were a couple that had I the ability, I would have terminated immediately.

One was a class in which they were learning about the Microsoft Office suite. A laudable goal I suppose. But me being the never happy with the minimum type had a sour taste on this review.

Why? Because on the day we were there the class was working on a payroll spreadsheet. But what really caught my attention was the fact they were using a tax lookup sheet, a physical piece of paper that showed the tax for a given amount.

So I asked the teacher if she had anything planned to use VBA or Visual BASIC for Applications.

The teachers answer was that you needed all sort of math to program a computer and my response was “If you have a semester of Algebra I you can get by.”

In fact I’ll clarify, all you need to do is understand Boolean logic.

There are several constructs in Boolean:


Believe it or not, you learned about this in Algebra I. Yes you did, because Boolean math aka Logic is part of it.

I’ll take it one by one. But first know that for an evaluation to be true the conditions particular to the operation need to be met.

In the case of AND, both inputs need to be true in order for the output to be true.

In the case of OR, only one or both of the inputs need to be true for the output to be true.

In the case of XOR (Exclusive OR), only one of the inputs can be true, not both, for the output to be true.

In the case of NOT, the input is inverted. If a true condition is the input the output is false.

As for mathematics themselves, if you know about integer operations such as modulus, absolute value, and a few other tricks you have the skill set to learn a programming language.

All you have to do is learn the syntax of a programming language. The BASIC language is fairly forgiving. But PHP, Python, and a whole slew of languages, even the overly verbose COBOL use plain English in most cases.

Sure, in some there are constructs like:

if(a && b = 1)

Which translates to do something “if both a and b are true”.

Yeah that simple.

A loop:

Translated that means execute a loop using variable a as the index. Continue to run the loop while a is less than or equal to 10. The final part that ‘a++’ says to increment a.


That’s C style above.

BASIC is even easier.

if x=y then

Whatever follows the ‘then’ keyword is executed if the test x=y evaluates as true.

So let’s say x=1 and y=1 – that would evaluate to true because X=Y.

The for loop:

for i = 1 to 100

Use variable i as your index variable. Loop through until 100 loops.

Hope that demystifies programming just a little bit for you.

Brain Tank Mini Con 2012 wrap up

Wow – this was quite an interesting mini-convention.


And yes, the above is my Staff badge from the event.

The Laser Maze was cool, so too the Lock Pick Village.

The presentations were fantastic!

Stand outs:

Evolutionary Bias in Social Engineering: An Anthropologist’s Perspective presented by Randy Rose. He went into some detail about genetic propagation and even touched on the fact that the game is rigged. Rigged because women are born with all the eggs they’re ever going to have whereas we men keep making more sperm.

I should have voiced that while men continue generating sperm, the quality of said sperm decreases with age which to me kind of makes sense.

Appropriate Technology – Making for Emerging Markets presented by Peter Haas was interesting too. He explained how he worked for a company that essentially translates inventions for use in the non-developed world.

Electronic Cyber LLC Hi-Jacking presented by mudsplatter told the tale of how his LLC got hijacked in Florida. An LLC is a Limited Liability Corporation. He also told us how using a fake ID (Which btw, are still fairly easy to come by!) you could take out credit in the corporations name to the tune of about $50,000, do it to ten companies and you’re talking half a million dollars. I did make the comment that this is a common method that can be used in just about any state.

Drink all the booze. Hack all the things. presented by Conrad Constantine. This one was an enjoyable meander through Conrad’s philosophy on things.

Dining Cryptographers: a protocol for anonymous message broadcast presented by Christian Ternus of Akamai was cool too. It had to do with passing messages among 3 or more parties without being detected. Neat little algorithmic explanation.

Information Security Awareness (In 14 Minutes or Less) presented by Roy Wattanasin. This one touched on several tenets of good infosec. After all this was sort of an infosec mini-con.

RFID for Idiots presented by mudsplatter – this one should scare the ever loving daylights out of anyone with a card that has embedded RFID. This includes things like credit cards, passports, etc. Of course there are ways of disabling the RIFD in a card – things like a camera flash circuit hooked up to a 13.56MHz transducer with the card underneath will work. There’s a slight chance of fire though. His best solution, locate the chip and put a nail through it.

Infrasonic Wave Resonance and Human Perception presented by Frank Feeley. Now this one dealt with low frequency sound at high power. The demo after the presentation was quite unpleasant. Maybe next year I’ll build my microwave zap gun and give the amplifier a good slug should he decide to present again.

“So you want to be a wireless hacker…” presented by Casey Dunham. This was an interesting talk about WiFi security. Please keep this in mind – you are responsible for securing your own network. Dunham brought up how he helps out businesses that he frequents when they have wonky WiFi security. But I brought up a point. I said that I knew that Cox and Verizon both push routers configured with easily crackable WEP out in the field. Dunham couldn’t give an answer to that – but I could. You have to EMBARRASS both Cox and Verizon somehow to get them to change their corporate screw ups.

All in all an interesting day. I almost can’t wait for next year.

And I have committed to the regular Brain Tank meetings, we’re going to drill on the amateur radio General and Extra pools. And we should all have Volunteer Examiner credentials. I did it, why the hell can’t we all do it, it isn’t that hard. When I think about this I have a very Borg like attitude – they will be assimilated.

The iPhone 5 fawning on facebook

Ok, I’ve already made a few comments on it. Friends are crowing about it’s fast, thinner, lighter.

So I made comments like “Unless there’s been an advance in battery technology that I missed I can’t see this having better battery life.” and “The battery life must be around 300 milliseconds.”

In the past I’ve dinged Apple’s iPhone because:

1) You cannot change out the battery.

2) Charging via that crappy dock connector

3) You cannot extend the memory

4) Apple blocks a lot of 3rd party apps that let you tether, sling, etc.

So if you want to fawn at the cult of Apple go for it. Just shut the fuck up about it already.


A Happy Android user.