Thursday, July 17, 2014

ExxonMobil to spearhead industry efforts to combat global warming

ExxonMobil, long a leader in the petroleum extraction and processing industries, is emerging as a frontrunner in the industry's push to confront global climate change.

Citing a preponderance of peer reviewed studies indicating that humanity is on the fast track to catastrophic global warming, a company insider told surprised members of the press today "While other companies stand by and do nothing but continue to promote the unabated consumption of greenhouse gas producing fuels, ExxonMobil has launched an impressive initiative to offset the expected effects of global warming."

The representative went on to elucidate a number of innovative climate change abatement programs by the multi billion dollar petrochemical giant, including "biodegradable sponges, to help mitigate rising sea levels", "lightweight yet surprisingly waterproof" tyvek paper coveralls to "maintain morale during increasingly frequent and intense tropical weather events", and portable battery operated fans with a built in water spritzer (shown above).

"Were especially proud of the spritzer-fan!" the executive emphasized, going on to say that "it represents the absolute state of the art in personal climate change mitigation".  The ExxonMobil Spritzer fan is "the convergence of several innovative green technologies", including evaporative cooling, and the comforting effect of tiny amounts of gently moving air.

While the prototype was powered by a regular disposable battery manufactured by a wholly owned subsidiary, the company representative warmly opined that consumers could simply "throw away the included battery, and use rechargeable batteries that they supply themselves, charging them using increasingly inexpensive solar cells".

"In addition to hitting global warming head on, literally in your face" the executive went on, "our product also helps address rising income inequality in a tangible way." After pausing a moment for murmurs in the collecting crowd to die down, the ExxonMobil representative continued "By merely substituting inexpensive Perrier mineral water for regular tap water, consumers can enjoy some of the benefits normally reserved for the C-Suite crowd". "It's not a real Perrier pool, but it doesn't come with that kind of maintenance overhead, either " he continued "it puts a little of the good life right in the palm of your hand, and unlike the typical Perrier pool, you can take it with you anywhere, even to your cubicle."


Thursday, May 02, 2013

3d Printing membrane structures with FDM printers, a primer.

When printing very thin (1-4) layer structures with FDM printers, special issues are sometimes encountered.


It is often helpful to use a slightly higher (3-7 deg C) than normal temperature for the first layer to enhance print leveling, reduce nozzle pressure, and to improve adhesion. Be careful not to raise the temperature to the point where decomposition of the thermoplastic begins, as this can cause nozzle clogging and degraded print quality.


An adhesion void in an otherwise ideal 
single layer print. This small defect 
will be reinforced by the second
 layer, so a reprint will not be 
necessary in this case.
You will need a bed surface with good adhesion qualities. It must be flat, free of skin oils, and clean. For ABS, Kapton tape cleaned with CPVC-PVC-ABS pipe cleaner compound works well. For PLA, Kapton adhesion is often poor, and can be improved by dissolving a small amount of ABS filament with the solvent swab and wiping down the bed surface with the resulting mixture. Beware that this process will result in extreme adhesion for ABS prints.

First layer height:

The first layer height must be adjusted either physically or in software to give .5 to .8 of the normal layer height. Software settings should be made in the print profile to reflect this. This will allow good print leveling characteristics. Layer height and percentage should be adjusted to achieve a print line with approximately 1.25 - 1.5x nozzle diameter, with a flat profile and straight edges.

Bed flatness:

Many times, the print bed is not perfectly flat. Compensation must be made within the first layer to achieve good quality thin prints. This imposes certain constraints on the process, depending on the relative irregularity of your print bed.

Localized sieving cuased by a gap
in the tape surface of the bed.
Any variation in bed height within the work footprint should not exceed .5 of your first layer height (layer height x first layer multiplier). Compensation can sometimes be made by increasing your slice layer height within the available constraints. Prints can also be constrained to a more regular area of the bed, or the bed surface can be replaced with a flatter bed.

Bed flatness problems are characterized by variations in print quality depending on its area on the bed, with some areas showing surface curling or stringing while other areas print correctly. Some minor variation may be unavoidable, and often defects will be buried under a following layer if they are not too extreme.

Surface Defects:

Minor curling caused by insufficient nozzle height.
In this case it was not too severe, but artifacts can
sometimes block the motion of the nozzle,
ruining the print.
Surface defects include surface curling and sieving. Surface curling is characterized by a ribbon type defects along the fill print lines, resulting in a rough, higher than layer height print profile.

Surface curling indicates excessive nozzle pressure. It can be remedied by increasing the physical first layer height (adjusting the end stop), or reducing the software first layer height percentage.

Sieving, here caused by a low spot on the bed.
Nozzle height should be adjusted to give a
 workable compromise between the high
and low areas on the print bed.
        Sieving is characterized by fill that is not bonded to the adjacent filaments and is sieve like and not fully contiguous. This is regularly accompanied by poor adhesion and poor structural characteristics. sieving can be remedied by decreasing the physical first layer height, or increasing the software first layer percentage.

The favored mechanism for correcting first layer defects is to set the software first layer percentage to .7 of your layer height, and adjust the physical first layer height (end stops) to achieve the desired print quality. Final tuning can then be done in the software setting.
Sometimes print defect types will vary over the surface of the print. This is an usually an indication of poor bed flatness or adhesion problems.

Nozzle Pressure:

It is helpful to be aware of nozzle pressure, especially when printing membranes. High nozzle pressure causes surface curling, poor edge definition, point blobbing, corner artifacts, and stringing artifacts. Insufficient nozzle pressure results in poor adhesion, intermittent voids, and sieve like membranes.

Low nozzle pressure results from excessive physical layer height, improper filament / extruder calibration, or filament drive slippage. Sometimes low temperature can mimic low nozzle pressure by causing drive slippage.

High nozzle pressure results from insufficient physical layer height for the software settings, low temperature, poor filament / extruder calibration, or nozzle blockage.
Elasticity in the printing system, especially on bowden type (indirect) drive extruders can cause artifacting when the conditions causing the pressure buildup are temporarily relieved, such as when the head is lifted.

When printing first layers on an imperfect bed, nozzle pressure will rise as high areas are encountered, restricting flow from the nozzle. System elasticity will then cause excessive plastic to be extruded when this pressure is relieved, such as when a lower portion of the bed is encountered or the nozzle is lifted, sometimes causing gobbing or poor line definition.

In some ways this automatic flow adjustment can actually be helpful, as it creates a leveling effect, extruding less plastic on the high spots, and filling in the low ones with the surplus. The goal is to achieve the best compromise of leveling and print quality, to provide an ideal foundation for the second (and often final) layer in your membrane print.

Elasticity effects can be reduced by reducing the hot area as much as possible by cooling the extrusion barrel, using low elasticity components in your drive and extruder systems, and by careful control of filament retraction parameters.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Rise of the Gargoyles....Gargoyle Glass, that is.

The Product...Is You.

Reminiscent of Niel Stephenson's Gargoyles, from his 1992 novel Snow Crash (rumored to be the inspiration for Google Earth, Quake, Second Life,and other tech projects) , more and more people are roaming the streets wired for surveillance. From smart phones to the newly launched Google Glass, we are increasingly entangled in an ever tightening net of surveillance tools. Ostensibly, these tools function at our disposal, but with the ever present threats of malware, onerously permissive application access requirements, and a free pass for government agencies, can the average user really be sure that his device is not spooling off to some state or corporate datacenter at any given moment?

Show me someone who lives in a glass house with no curtains and an always on PA system, and I will show you someone who perhaps, actually, has nothing to hide.

With the exception of the significant convenience to users of always online communication and sophisticated photo, audio, and video recording capabilities, the average user, far from reaping the benefits of their participation in the new surveillance society, is forced into the role of unknowing agent for big surveillance.

We are told that our data is private, that we shouldn't be worried about it if we have nothing to hide, and that we are paranoid. Meanwhile, Path text messages all of our contacts at 6 AM, our private photos get sent to some other users Google plus account, our data is sold between businesses without our knowledge  and governments and any capable hackers get a free pass into our innermost thoughts and private moments. 

As it stands, big data, uncle Touch Me TSA, and whoever manages to pry your device open for their own malicious intent are the primary beneficiaries of the new surveillance society, but must it be so?

Shouldn't we have a marketplace where we can sell our relevant surveillance to the highest bidder?

With such pervasive sensing and recording technology, why should we, the users, the mules, be relegated to giving it all away for free?

I see a new golden age of casual espionage, where all accidentally or intentionally captured data can be searched, indexed, categorized, bought, sold, and requested, over global, secure, anonymous protocols...If we are to have no privacy, at least lets get paid!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

In the context of a universe with dimensions, I like to think of it like this........

Imagine a 0D universe, a single point, or the lack there of. Orthogonal to this singularity ' or perhaps to itself, or to nothing, exists a dimension, a line, extending in two opposite vectors. Now imagine, a similar line, orthogonal to the first. Now imagine another, parallel to this line, also orthogonal to the first line. Now add more of these parallel lines...

Along the first line exists an infinite, or perhaps arbitrarily large - if space is granular - number of lines, each with properties analogous to the first orthogonal line, creating a membrane. Each of these lines within the membrane represents a single instance, a Planck frame, of the 1D universe. Note that by manipulation through this membrane,  any point within any 1D Planck frame may be brought adjacent to any other.

(We use the term Planck frame somewhat loosely here – it would normally refer to a snapshot of the 3 dimentional unverse taken at a 1 Planck interval (the interval of time beneath which no change can occur), but here we use it to describe an n dimensional snapshot at an n+1 dimensional 1 Planck interval)

Now imagine another line, or vector pair, orthogonal to the first two. Along this axis is stacked an arbitrarily large, if not infinite, number of membranes, or Planck frames, of the 2d universe. Similarly, any point on any 2d membrane can be brought adjacent to any other, by folding through a 2 dimensional membrane within this 3 dimensional construct.

These are the 3 dimensions with which we are familiar....but, the universe does not appear to be 3 dimensional, but rather 10 dimensional, at least by our best estimations.

At this point, it is wise, I think, to remember that the 3 dimensional universe as described above is not only a vector, or a line, but is the sum of all the prior constructs, a 3-space, the sum total of all the Planck frames of the 2-space, which itself is the sum of all the 1d Planck frames. A single instance of this 3-space can be described as a 3-space Planck frame.

Now, try to imagine a line, somehow orthogonal to the first 3, along which is found all the 3-space Planck frames. This collection of all the 3-spaces, is 4-space, or Spacetime. It would be easy at this point to infer then, that the 4th dimension, orthogonal to the 3-space, is time, but this is not strictly correct. The 4th dimension, the axis along which exists the dependent subset of all 3-space Planck frames, is not time, as popularly described, but rather duration. This is an important, if seemingly fine, distinction.

Time, as we experience it, is a direction along a vector. It has a nonspecific “velocity”, as the very notion of “velocity” includes a reference to time. Our motion along this axis is expressed in the recurrence of predictable events, such as orbits of the sun, rotations of the earth and moon, the ticking of a clock, or the decay of radioactive elements. These are things that occur within time, entropic events, and are evident to us as observers due to our motion along this vector. There is no definitive quality of 'time', and indeed, we have determined that the passage of time is entirely relative to the observer – observed relationship.

I would propose that we experience “time” because we are driven in one direction along the axis of duration by entropy.

We, as observers, are entropic entities, which exist as cognizant observers by virtue of entropic chemical and electrical processes. Without the progression of entropy, which is the underpinning of all of our existential processes, we cannot observe. Thusly, we are inexorably driven along this vector of time (vs say, anti-time, along which anti-entropy flows for antimatter), and we are powerless then to directly experience anything outside of this entropic flow, by virtue of our inability to observe outside of our own context.

So, if time is the movement along the axis of duration in the direction of entropy, and anti-time is the movement along this axis in the opposite direction then In any case, time is an expression of motion, not of the axis itself. This , I think, is crucial to a deep understanding of our universe, but is frequently overlooked.

Another simple epiphany, useful when studying relativistic physics, is that light, as a quantum entity, exists in a time state unavailable for experiences no “time” as we understand it, self referentially leaving and arriving simultanously. Therefore, the “speed of light” is not a speed at all, but rather a measurement of the amount of time per space in space-time.....1 second of entropic process for every 299,792,458 metres.

Remember how any two points in the 2-space can be brought adjacent by manipulation through 3-space, by “folding”, if you will? Notice, however, that we cannot arbitrarily fold 3 space through 4-space, due to our anchoring in the progression of “time”… but we do manipulate the 3 – space, by leveraging our motion through the axis of duration, “time”, our constraining entropic flow within the 4th dimension : We simply pick up an object and move it to another location, over time...using time as the vehicle, on which we conveniently ride for free, to move the object from 3space point a to 3space point b. The unavoidable motion on the axis of “time” is an unfortunate side effect of our constraint in this dimension, and is why instant teleportation is a difficult proposition at best, and one which we are unlikely to directly observe any time soon.

OK, so now we have space-time, the 4 dimensional construct of Einsteinian imagination. What about the other 6?

This is where I go off into left field, but you are welcome to follow if you wish. I have reached these ideas through thought experimentation, a la the Einsteinian train.... this is very much a work in progress, and may be entirely rubbish. Feel free to disagree, but please do so with your own well thought out reasoning, with a thought experiment with which to test your ideas, or better yet, with an actual experiment that could be used to support or disprove these ideas. One day, If and when I become more confident in the experimental durability of my ideas, I will publish a more complete philosophical exposition on the subject.

In short, I propose that dimension 5 is to probability as dimension 4 is to time.

This is the realm of the quantum activity that seems so baffling at first, but makes sense once we accept the notion of negative probability – similar, I think, to anti-time. The quantum world is where we learned that nothing is exactly anywhere, and in fact everything is a little bit everywhere, just really really, really, mostly right where it appears to be....We learned that our eyes do not perceive "reality", but rather a really close approximation, statistically speaking, on the macro scale.

Further, I propose that dimension 6 is similarly a superset of the properties of causality.

 Dimension 7, it seems, is a fixed point of a flag manifold containing the superset of all possible causality constraining factors, the underpinnings of which become evident in non referential constants...the specific numbers that have to be used to make the universe "work", which if changed much, would result in an environment not conducive to observation by creatures similar to ourselves.

8, 9, and 10....? I have, at this time, no idea whatsoever.

So why cant we manipulate probability and causality (5 and 6) with ease like 1, 2, and 3? …. well, we do, in fact. More probability than causality, for reasons I will soon explain.

For example, If we want to limit the probability of our keys being motivated by gravity to fall to the floor, we simply put them on the table instead of releasing them in mid air. Thusly we utilize 3 dimensional constructs, navigated within our constraints of entropy, to invoke the supportive effects of the “solidity” of the table, which are present due to certain universal constants dictated by our position on the 7space, which constrains the available Planck frames within the 6-space to ones which the probability ("position" in the 5th dimension) of the keys falling through the table, through a failure of the notion of solidity, are effectively zero.

Note that we cannot apparently fold through the 7-space, as we are constrained to either a single point or a small collection of points (loophole, anyone?) within dimension 7.

It appears to me that, lacking any particular reason for constraint, such as exists within entropy on the 4th dimension, we should be able to traverse and manipulate within the 5th and 6th dimensions in much the same way as we manipulate within and traverse with relative ease the first three. Note that we have limited abilities within these 3 as well, constrained by entropy as we are, but nonetheless our mobility seems significant from our referential context.

Interestingly, we are rapidly gaining the knowledge necessary to build machines that are not constrained by entropic processes, at least at their core. These are “quantum” machines, that operate within the a realm free of observation, necessarily isolated from entropic flow (this is one of the hard parts, by the way) so that they may remain in superposition, with no particular vector in time prior to observation.

This allows them to theoretically accomplish previously impossible computational performance. It is worth noting that In thought experiments at least, it might be possible to harness this freedom from constraint in the 4-space to facilitate an otherwise improbable binding of conventional causality in order to directly manipulate the probability within a targeted entropic system to achieve very specific, and otherwise ridiculously improbable outcomes....or maybe more practically, easily attained ones, like not having your car crash on the way to work. Ever. No matter what. No more seat belts, no more airbags, just no significant probability of an injurious change in velocity or structure, thanks to a little black box on the firewall that warps "reality" by binding the possibility of a dangerous event to a impossibly low probability of occurance.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Hollywood 2.0

Image from

YC has declared war on Hollywood.....sweet.

If ever there was an industry ripe for disruption, it is the media content industry. Don't get me wrong, disruption is underway, as clearly evidenced by the industry's spastic power grabs and hysterical fits. They know their days are numbered, and they just want it to go back to the way it was, before the VCR.

Ironically, the solution is simple. We don't even need copyright reform to fix it. A new licence for media content needs to be developed (or may already exist) that allows exclusive use for say, 10 years, with clear provisions for allowing the remix culture, broad fair use, and reverts to a creative commons licence after a fixed period. Other ideas, to reduce piracy issues would be concurrent free release licence at a lower resolution or frame rate, so that "cam's" would be irrelevant, or other similar limited free release provisions.

Make the licence as convenient as possible for content users, and provide a simple, inbuilt mechanism for upgrading the free content to full versions for a reasonable price.

With a good shot of investment capital, start alternative recording and film houses that release their works under these licences. Leverage technology and lean principals to reduce the cost and fixed overhead, and make sure that the artists are compensated better and retain more rights than in traditional models.

Distribute through traditional (theaters) and digital channels like Netflix, iTunes, and similar paid content services. Provide promotional services to aid fledgling stars.

You get the picture: Use 2.0 paradigms, a reasonable licence, and treat creators well. Lower the barrier to entry, choose a role of highway builder rather than gatekeeper for content. By treating the producers and consumers of media like human beings, and creating channels rather than barriers, entertainment 2.0 will prevail.

Viva la evolution!

MPAA's Chris Dodd publicly threatens congress in temper tantrum - Support the petition to launch an official inquiry


The offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of something of value for the purpose of influencing the action of an official in the discharge of his or her public or legal duties.

The expectation of a specific voluntary action in return is what makes the difference between a bribe and a private demonstration of goodwill.

Chris Dodd, in the wake of shrinking support for SOPA / PIPA in Washington:

"Those who count on quote 'Hollywood' for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who's going to stand up for them when their job is at stake. Don't ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don't pay any attention to me when my job is at stake,"

Could this be an admission of bribery ?

It seems close enough that a reasonable person would understand Dodd's statement as a clear quid pro quo.

If you find the idea that our laws should be written for the highest bidder objectionable, you can take action on this at, where there is a petition to investigate Dodd and the MPAA for bribery. 

I urge you to sign the petition - it is time that we said enough is enough. We all want vitality for business and the economy, but the United States of America is a Democratic Republic, not a Corporakleptocracy. The blatant purchase of legislation has to stop, not only in the entertainment business, but in all segments of industry. An investigation, even if unsuccessful, will send a strong message to lobbyists: You can tender favor, but you cannot buy legislation.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

sleep deprived airport rant....

Chicago, Ohare.....

As I sit patiently awaiting my flight, a cascade of ignorance pollutes my thoughts... Wave after wave of meaningless drivel bleats down upon me from the overhead monitors, the caricatured faces feigning emotion in the teleprompted ritual that is morning television. I feel as if my eyes are going to bleed. Issues of grave importance are  homogenized with the trivial in a soothing rhythm of hypnotic oration, a translucent veneer of humanity bluntly imparted by the flesh puppets speaking through curiously adhesive cakes of cosmetic filler and paint. The paint, I am reminded, is to simulate a sexual flush, in an attempt to capture my attention, while the filler hides imperfections in texture or shade that might be construed as disease or a less than ideal genetic compliment.... but this morning, the monkey within is unusually numb to this type of subtle manipulation.

Today I am pondering the difference between understanding and information. In artificial intelligence, this critical divide forms the focal point of study....but in organic intelligence the distinction is too often ignored, at our collective peril.

Watching television, for example, informs me. Because I am aware that I am being informed by a source that is projecting a manifestation of its financial agenda, I understand what i am being told within a context of bias, and consider the information accordingly.

Similarly, In the context of my role in security theater, I also am informed that ionizing radiation  damages cellular structures, including the critical code for cellular replication. This information is backed up by repeatable observation and theoretical analysis. I consider it to be reliable.

I am informed that backscatter x-ray technology uses 'soft' x-rays that  reliably impact organic structures  instead of x-rays that pass through soft tissue, mainly revealing bony structures and dense masses. I know this because I understand the theory of operation of backscatter x-ray imaging. I consider this information to be credible by virtue of demonstration of a functioning apparatus based on the theory.

Because I understand these things, I can calculate that the entire dose of radiation received by a person from this machine would be concentrated within about 1kg of dermal tissue....making the common dose / body mass calculation that is given to support the safety of the devices off by two orders of, I choose not to voluntarily receive a radiation dose of 100 airline flights into my dermis over a 1 second period. (if the quip about being equal to the in-flight dose is to be believed)

Knowing this, I wonder how many people around me have anything more that an opinion about this, given to them by someone that they accept, having failed to consider, as a reliable source.

I fear for humanity, lest we be overcome by the stupid, wafting forth from every imaginable media orifice, engineered to sooth us from away from the impulse to think, to examine, to carefully consider.

For many, who do not make a habit of forming their own opinions, this is a succulent nectar of security, of effortless knowing, of wonderful clarity and simplicity. A sickly sweet mixture, like aspartame,   1000 times as sweet as any naturally occurring sugar, but decomposing into toxic byproducts -- the soothing cadence of teleprompted bobbleheads is insidiously hypnotic.

This is not some giant media conspiracy. This is merely the natural product of commercial entities, furthering their commercial agenda through the production and distribution of their product. This is not evil...this is what we want .... or at least what we are choosing with our dollars.

In the shadow of this false ambrosia of half-truth, the uncomfortable uncertainty of examination, the struggle of  analysis, of careful and critical consideration, these bittersweet products of knowledge -- simply cannot compare. Like processed food, preprocessed information, pre-opinionated and reconstituted in commercial form, is, for some, simply more compelling.

It bears remembering that, by definition, about half of the population is in the possession of cerebral equipment of sub average performance. It truly falls to those of that are able, to think with efficiency, accuracy, and clarity, not only on our own behalf, but for the entirety of humanity. We ignore this burden at our peril.

Our task is not simple, nor easy. It is a fundamental flaw of democracy that one only needs to convince the simplest 40 percent of your audience, as the middle ground will be divided, so that even if all of the brightest see with clarity, idiocracy will prevail.

There is no danger greater than laziness of mind.....those who do not exercise their right to think,  understand, analyze and choose risk loosing the right of voluntary action, not only for themselves, but for all of us.

Something to consider.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Testimony on internet piracy?

(Spoiler alert....if tl;dr, at least skip to the bottom!)

Mr. VALENTI. I am merely coming to start off by talking about the American film and television industry, not as an economic enterprise, but as a great national asset to this country, to the U.S. Treasury and the strength of the American dollar. And I am not just talking on behalf of people whose names are household words, like Brad Pitt and Megan Fox. I am speaking on behalf, as he is, as he will no doubt tell you on behalf of hundreds of thousands of men and women who without public knowledge or recognition, who are not besieged by fans, but who are artisans, craftsmen, carpenters, bricklayers, all kinds of people, who work in this industry, not only in this State but in the 50 States where American films are shot on location. And they deserve no less, Mr. Chairman, than the concern of the Congress for the preservation of their industry.

But more than that, which I think is paramount to the national interest, the preservation of a huge trade asset. American films and television dominate the screens of the world and that just didn't happen. It happened because of the quality and caliber and the imagination and the way people construct fragile imaginings that we call the American film.

But now we are facing a very new and a very troubling assault on our fiscal security, on our very economic life and we are facing it from a thing called the Internet and its necessary companion called the computer. And it is like a great tidal wave just off the shore. The Internet threatens profoundly the life-sustaining protection, I guess you would call it, on which copyright owners depend, on which film people depend, on which television people depend and it is called copyright.

Now, my first card, Mr. Chairman, deals with what I consider to be one of the essential elements that you cannot ignore and, indeed, you must nourish. The U.S. film -- and I will read this -- "The U.S. film and television production industry is a huge and valuable American asset." In 2009, it returned to this country almost $12 billion in surplus balance of trade. And I might add, Mr. Chairman, it is the single one American-made product that the Chinese, skilled beyond all comparison in their conquest of world trade, are unable to duplicate or to displace or to compete with or to clone. And I might add that this important asset today is in jeopardy. Why?

Because unless the Congress recognizes the rights of creative property owners as owners of private property, that this property that we exhibit in theaters, once it leaves the post-theatrical markets, it is going to be so eroded in value by Internet piracy, that the whole valuable asset is going to be blighted. In the opinion of many of the people in this room and outside of this room, blighted, beyond all recognition. It is a piece of sardonic irony that this asset, which unlike steel or silicon chips or motor cars or electronics of all kinds -- a piece of sardonic irony that while foreign industry are unable to duplicate the American films by a flank assault, they can destroy it by promoting and profiting from Internet piracy......

.... Nothing of value is free. It is very easy, Mr. Chairman, to convince people that it is in their best interest to give away somebody else's property for nothing, but even the most guileless among us know that this is a cave of illusion where commonsense is lured and then quietly strangled. That is what it is all about.

Now, these file-sharing websites are advertised for one purpose in life. Their only single mission, their primary mission is to copy copyrighted material that belongs to other people. I don't have to go into it. The ads are here. Here is the Pirate Bay, advertising a million free downloads.

Now, Mr. Chairman, how many people would go to these file-sharing websites if there weren't any copyrighted material on it. The site would be useless and this is what the Ninth Circuit said. They advertise their site blatantly and deliberately saying the way to use it is to copy somebody else's copyrighted programs. ..........

.......The permission of the copyright owner is required for the use of their programs in all markets. Now, I those markets include theaters, cable, pay cable, pay television, network television, syndicated television, video discs. Every one of those markets is going to be competing for Mr. Cruise's new film "MI4" They are going to license that film at a negotiated price.

Now, we cannot live in a marketplace, Mr. Chairman -- you simply cannot live in a marketplace, where there is one unleashed animal in that marketplace, unlicensed. It would no longer be a marketplace; it would be a kind of a jungle, where this one unlicensed instrument is capable of devouring all that people had invested in and labored over......

......Now, that is where the problem is. You take the high risk <that a film will not recoup its investment at the box office alone>, which means we must go by the aftermarkets to recoup our investments. If those aftermarkets are decimated, shrunken, collapsed because of what I am going to be explaining to you in a minute, because of the fact that Internet piracy is stripping those things clean, those markets clean of our profit potential, you are going to have devastation in this marketplace.

Now, is this all? Is it going to get any bigger? Well, I assure you it is. …...... We are going to bleed and bleed and hemorrhage, unless this Congress at least protects one industry that is able to retrieve a surplus balance of trade and whose total future depends on its protection from the savagery and the ravages of the Internet.

Now, the question comes, well, all right, what is wrong with the Internet. One of the Internet lobbyists, Mr. Ferris, has said that the Internet-- well, if I am saying something wrong, forgive me. I don't know. He certainly is not MGM's lobbyist. That is for sure. He has said that the Internet is the greatest friend that the American film producer ever had.

I say to you that the Internet is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone.

Now, for a reality check...., everything in bold has been changed from the original text. Where it says Internet or Internet user, put in VCR or blank tape. For download, substitute record. For file-sharing website, put in VCR manufacturers. For China or foreign industry, put in Japan. For a date, put in 1982ish. For star 'x' put in Clint Eastwood and co. For 12 Billion, put in 1 billion. It would appear that the VCR didn't hurt their growth that much....
The certain destruction of the entertainment industry and the loss of countless american jobs, circa 1982
You see, this is a redacted, but not otherwise edited except as noted above above subset of a hearing before the house on the Home Recording of Copyrighted works, circa 1982. That bill didn't pass, and there was no VCR apocalypse. They are using the same tired arguments, but this time to wreak havoc on an economically critical industry infrastructure that brings in hundreds of times their revenue, not just pesky Japanese VCR makers.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Obama Administration to close Guantanamo bay, end extrajudicial detention!

Oh, wait....that was before he got elected.

"A lawful nation, especially in a contest against the lawless, must act within the law, and to the greatest extent possible, be above reproach. To do otherwise is to lose the war, even as we win our battles. What is at stake is nothing less than the future of the world."

"ON Wednesday, America’s detention camp at Guant├ínamo Bay will have been open for 10 years. For seven of them, I was held there without explanation or charge. ...." excerpted from NY Times, follow the link to read more of this alarming cautionary tale of justified injustice...

Undoubtedly, some of the most wanted, heinous criminals from the losing side are in, or were in detention at Guantanamo Bay. Undoubtedly, some of these people are guilty of countless killings, and crimes against humanity. Undoubtedly, they should not be set free.

However...there are also, undoubtedly, people in detention that are innocent, or guilty perhaps, of much much lesser things. These people also will not be released....about 90 of them, whom we (the USA) have cleared for release, but because of the stigma of Guantanamo bay, or the political status of their country, or some other extrajudicial reason, can not go home.

The problem here is the very existence of extrajudicial detention. Regardless of the circumstances, once the fight moves off of the active battlefield, we must observe some kind of well conceived due process, to operate within a transparent framework of law. To do otherwise is to abdicate our responsibility as a proponent of human rights, a lawful state, and a protagonist on the global stage.

The end does not justify the means - thousands of years of history bear this out.

Facebook Hates People with Disabilities?

Apparently in an effort to get their new years resolutions off to a good start, Internet giant Facebook took a stand against people with disabilities and elderly, asserting that a helper program that assisted people by minimizing the complex (and sometimes painful) clickthroughs required to play many of their online games violated their terms of service.

One saddened user comments:

"Thank you for running this as long as you could. Makes me sad it has to stop. I won't be playing any FB games anymore, I have serious typing injury and every click hurts, you saved me so many clicks. FGS was the only reason I played any games still and even dropped $5 here & there on them sometimes."

A volunteer who declined to be identified for fear of reprisal against her Facebook account, commented:

"I work with differently-abled clients on a daily basis, and the Friendly Gaming Simplifier was instrumental in our technology exposure activities. Many of our clients just won't be able to play now, and an important part of the services that we offer will be hampered by this shortsighted policy. I even had this set up for my grandmother at home, she has really painfully arthritic hands so it's hard to use the mouse, but with the Simplifier helper, she really used to enjoy social games.... she lives alone, you know."

More reports of people with disabilities or chronic pain are rolling in...:

"I also am disabled & FGS has been the only way I could advance in this game without spending lots of real money which on my limited (SSD) income I can't do. All that clicking is just too painful & I am too slow in my reactions to collect most stuff anyway. I think Zynga doesn't realize just how many disabled & homebound are on their sites. Taking FGS away will more than likely make many of us quit. I've loved the game & made many wonderful friends around the world. Why punish us for being longterm players who needed the gift that Flies has given us?"
"In my personal experience, the browser extension offered by "Flies" has been the mitigator of tendonitis pain, among other things. It has also allowed me to participate in the game(s) in a fair and equitable manner, given the number of "neighbors" required to proceed in these games."

To make matters worse, Facebook even banned the talented developer of this groundbreaking accessibility work from developing any more Facebook applications, or even signing into facebook - ever.

Wow, Facebook.

"disabled" and "handicapped" replaced with "people with disabilities" , more testimonials added

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

De-spinning the NDAA

KA CLUNK, KA CLUNK, KA CLUNK - thats the spin cycle, getting a little out of on....

So we all (hopefully) know that the NDAA has been signed into law....but the spin would have you believe that the Obama Administration was reluctant to sign the bill due to the provisions on indefinite detention (aaaawwww...isnt that adorable!)....but that is really only a fraction of the story.  If you -read- the official Obama Administration response to the NDAA, you would probably come to the same conclusion that I have...which is that the administration was hesitant to pass the NDAA as written, not because it codified indefinite detention (which has already been made de-facto legal, as shown below) but rather because it specifically classifies these detainees as “Military Detainees”, thus giving them Geneva Convention protections.

Excerpts from the administrations response :

(STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY S. 1867 – National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2012 ):

“Section 1031 attempts to expressly codify the detention authority that exists under the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40) (the “AUMF”). The authorities granted by the AUMF, including the detention authority, are essential to our ability to protect the American people from the threat posed by al-Qa'ida and its associated forces, and have enabled us to confront the full range of threats this country faces from those organizations and individuals. Because the authorities codified in this section already exist, the Administration does not believe codification is necessary and poses some risk. ”

“The Administration strongly objects to the military custody provision of section 1032, which would appear to mandate military custody for a certain class of terrorism suspects. This unnecessary, untested, and legally controversial restriction of the President's authority to defend the Nation from terrorist threats would tie the hands of our intelligence and law enforcement professionals. ”

To their credit, the administration goes on to raise questions about the military detention of American citizens, which by my reading of the bill is pretty shaky anyway, though it does carry provisions for citizens engaged in hostilities in concert with Al Queda / et al (pretty vauge, really - not good) .

As stated in the Administrations response, the concern is that the Geneva Convention will restrict the handling (or mis-handling) of these detainees, and the protections could hinder the techniques that we have become accustomed to using (extraordinary rendition, anyone?), and would also bar things like summary execution, which was being pushed for earlier in the case of confessions, as a way of dealing with the "what do we do with them now?" problem. Also, Military detainees can only be held until the “end of hostilities”, not forever, which means that if / when we end the “war on terror” we would have to set them free. Also, the holding of inmates would have to meet specific conditions, and could be subject to international, check it out, and decide whether or not you have been spun! 

I have a copy of the administrations response here :
Please Dl it and read it in its entirety for yourself!!!!

 I also addressed NDAA Issues here before the bill was signed, so follow this link for more analysis and information...

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Citizens legal 068

....What every person should know before graduating high school.... But very few of us do.

Set aside a little time and watch this video.  If you do, you will problably learn something...and may save yourself or someone you know a great deal of trouble someday.

Friday, December 30, 2011

The surveillance state of social networking

Social networking sites and tools, are above all, surveillance tools.

You use them to surveille your friends, and in exchange you agree to be surveilled by them and the service provider, and whomever that they share your data with.

This has changed the social landscape from a world of closed doors and drawn curtains, into an age of glass houses, and transparent thoughts. This unprecedented, pervasive surveillance is proving to be a boon to corporate america and government, and has the potential to both increase and undermine our freedoms. the question is, who is driving this train, anyway?

Barring a satisfactory, reassuring answer, I would encourage my readers to look carefully at their social networking decisions. We now have the tools to own our social networking existence, as well as our data. Check out .... they even have Facebook integration, to ease you into self ownership until you can decide to throw away the chains for good.

With Diaspora, you own your profile. You choose where to host it (for free) or you can host it yourself even! You own your data. You can download, store, archive and delete your data, and it is actually gone if you delete it. You can move it to another country (mine is in the Netherlands on , check them out) , but it doesn't matter where it is at, all the "pods" act as a single social network.

Diaspora is alpha, so there are bugs....but this is our best shot at taking back our privacy, and we need to vote with our feet, so to speak - the more users they have, the more strength they will carry forward.

Join me in instantiating social self ownership, and vote against pervasive surveillance - Join Diaspora, and if you are a Facebook addict, use diaspora's Facebook integration to access your Facebook friends.

The product....

The you.

People that know me know that I started saying this when the web was young, and it has never been more true than it is today.

I am speaking to the users of free web services - services like Facebook, Google Plus, and to a lesser extent blogger, gmail, MSN, and any of thousands of others for which there is no user paying revenue model. (yes, this includes me).

One thing users of these services need to are not the customer. You are the product. You, your content, your relationships, and your surfing habits, your history, your purchases, your discussions....this is the stuff that millionaires are made of. This should not be big news for many of my readers, but what we often fail to ask ourselves is, what is the real cost of being the product?

Lets look at some generalizations that apply, in varying degrees, to some popular "free" web services

Value propositions:

  • Utility - email sure beats sending a letter, and checking your wall is an easy way to check up on what your friends have been doing.
  • Entertainment - Who doesn't like to play a game now and then?

The price:

The privacy cost, personal -

  •  You can expect that someone, somewhere, has access to a profile of most of the sites you visit, for how long, and what you do while you are there. This data will be used for marketing, then aggregated, warehoused, and sold. Security research shows that although your data may have been "anonomized", it is a trivial exercise, given a large block of data, to personally identify users, even out of multiple users on a single computer. Given a month of "anonomized" web history data from most household PC's, I can likely easily extrapolate how many users, their names, their approximate ages and sex, their home address, their individual preferences in a variety of things, their political views, their social status, their work habits, and often much, much more. I can say that from personal experience that with "anonymized" web history alone, I could make a pretty good play at blackmail with a significant fraction of users. As anyone who has done tech work on home computers can attest, TMI is a regular work hazard. 
  • Banks, insurance companies, employers, and law enforcement organizations have been keen to harness the power of this new information source. It is now a common policy to review social networking content prior to approving loans, paying out claims, underwriting patients, and hiring new employees. 
  • Harnessing this trend are a new breed of surveillance aggregators that build personal profiles in advance (kind of like a social credit score) identifying health, risk, market, or and behavior data, attaching that data to a personal profile that includes tax and other public records, and proactively selling this information to marketers, employers, investigators, insurers, and lenders. Yes, it is on your permanent record. No, it doesn't matter if it was deleted, it has been cached. All your base are belong to us.

The privacy cost, public-
  • Do we value our privacy? The bar for privacy is ever pushed downward by the normalization of total disclosure. The problem with this is that when any of us does this, it pushes the bar down for everyone - sort of like littering, a personal action that has public consequences. 
  • Trivializing privacy normalizes pervasive surveillance. Is this really what we want for our future?

Opportunity cost, private-
  • We are all painfully aware that each of the 365 days of the year carries 24 precious hours. Of those, about 10 are needed for rest, hygiene, and eating. You may work or go to school for 8 hours - add the commute, and that leaves maybe 5 hours a day for discretionary activities. A recent study of social networking users shows that 95% of social network users who logged in at least once a day used the site for 1 or more hours, with nearly 20% using the site for more than 4 hours a day. What type of value was generated for these users? What else could they have been doing in the social, personal, or educational realm that might have yielded more tangible results? What is the social "payback" of chats and wall posts Vs. a cup of coffee with a friend, or a even a well thought out email?

Opportunity cost, public-
  • While the enhanced networking facility of computer facilitated social networking certainly makes connections in the world of commerce and governance easier and more transparent, what are the costs to society of this type of connection versus traditional friendships? It certainly is possible to maintain a brood of internet buddies, while failing to establish any real friendships. 
  • Friendships are an important part of our social fabric, literally the glue that forms a cohesive society. These social contracts, especially the implied, unwritten ones, are what makes the world a basically friendly place. 
  • What is the collective cost, as a society, of investing our emotional currency in ethereal,  relationships, event though it may be  with people we really know? If it weren't for social networking, would we chose to spend that much time writing to distant friends and relatives? Shouldn't we rather be visiting, talking to, or sharing activities with nearby, real-world friends and neighbors, who provide us with our real world support network? 
Please think this over, and leave any relevant comments or feedback below....

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Friday, December 09, 2011

National defense authorization act...Torture Much?

Daily life in extralegal detention,
circa 2003, Abu Ghraib detention facility
It seems that the senate has passed s.1867, a bill that would, according to the ACLU, give the government the power to detain US citizens accused of (yes, just accused of) "beligerent acts" indefinitely, without any sort of due process.

I, frankly, do not see how that can be read from this bill, and that rather extreme interpretation has me a little baffled, although I do agree that some of the language is dangerously vague and subject to mis (or dis) interpretation.

Read it (the controversial section)  for yourself:


(a) In General – Congress affirms that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40) includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons (as defined in subsection (b)) pending disposition under the law of war.

(b) Covered Persons – A covered person under this section is any person as follows:

(1) A person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored those responsible for those attacks.

(2) A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.

(c) Disposition Under Law of War – The disposition of a person under the law of war as described in subsection (a) may include the following:

(1) Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

(2) Trial under chapter 47A of title 10, United States Code (as amended by the Military Commissions Act of 2009 (title XVIII of Public Law 111-84)).

(3) Transfer for trial by an alternative court or competent tribunal having lawful jurisdiction.

(4) Transfer to the custody or control of the person’s country of origin, any other foreign country, or any other foreign entity.

(d) Construction- Nothing in this section is intended to limit or expand the authority of the President or the scope of the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

(e) Requirement for Briefings of Congress – The Secretary of Defense shall regularly brief Congress regarding the application of the authority described in this section, including the organizations, entities, and individuals considered to be ‘covered persons’ for purposes of subsection (b)(2).

(a) Custody Pending Disposition Under Law of War -

(1) IN GENERAL – Except as provided in paragraph (4), the Armed Forces of the United States shall hold a person described in paragraph (2) who is captured in the course of hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40) in military custody pending disposition under the law of war.

(2) COVERED PERSONS – The requirement in paragraph (1) shall apply to any person whose detention is authorized under section 1031 who is determined–

(A) to be a member of, or part of, al-Qaeda or an associated force that acts in coordination with or pursuant to the direction of al-Qaeda; and

(B) to have participated in the course of planning or carrying out an attack or attempted attack against the United States or its coalition partners.

(3) DISPOSITION UNDER LAW OF WAR – For purposes of this subsection, the disposition of a person under the law of war has the meaning given in section 1031(c), except that no transfer otherwise described in paragraph (4) of that seciton shall be made unless consistent with the requirements of section 1033.

(4) WAIVER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY – The Secretary of Defense may, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, waive the requirement of paragraph (1) if the Secretary submits to Congress a certification in writing that such a waiver is in the national security of the United States.

(b) Applicability to United States Citizens and Lawful Resident Aliens -

(1) UNITED STATES CITIZENS – The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.

(2) LAWFUL RESIDENT ALIENS – The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to a lawful resident alien of the United States on the basis of conduct taking place within the United States, except to the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States.

It seems to me that this states that :

Persons involved in the 2011 WTC attacks, specific organizations, and their affiliates are subject to detainment in military custody, if they are not US citizens or legal residents.

Military custody is imprisonment subject to the protections of the Geneva convention. If anything, this bill offers greater protection to foreign combatants, but does not extend this privilege to citizens and residents engaged in belligerent acts connected to specified acts and organizations: but maybe I read it wrong? 

(1) A person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored those responsible for those attacks.

(2) A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.

Notably, I notice that no broad new classes of persons are made eligible for detention under 1031, except that citizens and residents to which 1 or 2 above apply may find themselves in a legal vacuum.

Interestingly, the Obama Administration has stated in this policy letter that they do not support the bill, but this is not a happy warm fuzzy Obama is protecting the nation moment.

The letter text makes clear that the administration does not want to be hobbled in their ability to perform indefinite, unsupervised, unlimited detention and "interrogation" (Torture much, Mr President?) that clearly would not be permissible under the Geneva convention.

I would like to make it abundantly clear at this point that I am a firmly against state-sanctioned torture. Torture should always be illegal, and if performed, performed under the duress and urgency of the situation for which the torturers are willing to risk their freedom or lives to perform. If discovered, perpetrators of torture should be subject to severe punishments in federal criminal proceedings, possibly including the death penalty. I believe that this is the only way that this monster can be kept in check. I also believe that indefinite detention without any framework of charge, legal recourse, review, or appeal is certainly torture, in itself.

That said, I can see the argument against affording terrorists the protections of the Geneva Convention, as this international treaty assumes a context of nation vs nation warfare within the context of other treaties on the conduct of war. Clearly, terrorist organizations do not adhere to these treaties themselves, and arguably then, should not be protected by treaties to which they themselves do nod abide.

Nonetheless, if the United States is to stand for the rule of law and the right to peaceful existence, then we must not openly hold anyone, no matter how despicable, in absence of a valid legal framework that we would endorse for global use. We must publicly renounce torture in all of its forms.... and we should keep our secrets secret.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

The order of things.....and where is ET, anyway?

Second Order
First order organisms: Organic or artificial organisms that either evolved or were constructed, more or less as they are. In so far as they may undergo changes over the course of generations, these changes are neither intentional nor directed.

Earth is a planet of first order organisms. We are first order organisms. This is about to change.....

As a species, our comparatively high intelligence has only fueled a desire for more intelligence, better decisions based on more complex analysis, and an ever increasing thirst for higher and higher cognitive resolution.

It is, of course, not strictly required, to efficiently process information about your environment to survive - plants, trees, and an ocean of phytoplankton bear silent witness to this obvious fact. Nonetheless, there is a benefit accrued by those creatures who would assimilate and calculate based on environmental information. Sensors of various types evolved along with the first mobile creatures suggesting that information about ones surroundings only carries benefit insofar as one can react to that data, or perhaps suggesting that the ability to act without useful information is pointless.

We are perhaps twenty to one hundred years away from the capability to endow ourselves or a creature that we create with the capacity to perform significant intentional self modification, resulting in a new or improved species. It is very likely that such optimization will center around intelligence, as it is intelligence that will permit further success in self modification.

At this point we will have either become or created a second order life form - one capable of intentionally engineering itself or its offspring.

Second order life forms are likely to undergo a period of recursive acceleration - exponential increases in intelligence, right up to the point where some physical law steps in to say that more improvements are impractical (or perhaps unnecessary). This could easily result in a ten order of magnitude (or more) improvement in our data processing capability, such that an organism so endowed could conceivably experience centuries of man-thought-hours in every passing second. (Of course, this type of improvement would not likely be possible within the limiting framework of organic biology - we will probably need to incorporate other types of technology)

A creature of this nature would be as dissimilar to us as we are to ants - both able to process information, Turing complete, so to say..... but we could literally have nothing of interest to say to such a being, as even in finishing our first sentence, they would have experienced a the passing of mental millenia.

It is interesting to note, that this evolution or genesis will have transpired within 5000 years of the dawn of modern civilization, and within 500 years of the first complex machines. This is a tiny slice of time, even by mere geologic scales.

In the timescale of the universe, such a period is hardly worth mentioning. If our situation is representative of intelligent life forms, such that they might quickly develop ways to reduce or transcend their limitations, then by far the most likely creature to find at large in the universe will be a second order, intentionally evolving being.

This begs a walk down the rabbit hole, where we might field some interesting questions.

If we assume that:

  • Our level of technological prowess is a very short, fleeting stage in the evolution of intelligent, technically oriented species, that will quickly be eclipsed entirely as we move on to second-order existence, unless we suffer a cataclysmic setback.
  • Planets capable of supporting advanced life forms number it the trillions within the observable universe
  • Advanced, intelligent first order organisms are a predictable outcome of evolution on at least a significant fraction of these planets
  • A significant fraction of technologically oriented first order intelligences will be driven towards the development of or the incorporation of second order feature sets
  • The sweet spot for life varies from system to system by a few billion years

Then we can infer that:
  • Civilizations at our level of technological development have a high probability of evolving into second-order creatures before they manage the complexities of "superluminal" interstellar travel
  • There are probably countless civilizations that have moved on to or generated second order life forms, which have had ample opportunity to spread throughout the universe, but relatively few civilizations at our exact level of development.

So where are they?

First, we have no clue as to what a fully evolved second order creature would be like. We can guess that they might be quite small, as the speed of light will constrain the size of their brains, at least at first. We can guess that they will probably be both very efficient and highly consumptive, at least in bursts. (my back of the napkin calculations show that a foreseeable human enhancement might dissipate 15kw + during fully loaded thought)

They might predictably be energy oriented, and well adapted to life in space, where resource acquisition is less problematic than a quickly exhausted planetary resource.

Second, how will we know one if we see it? Well, since we are just now coming to terms with the high intelligence of octupi and dolphins, it is clear that we are highly biased to assume that intelligent = similar to us. This, of course, is rubbish. Remembering that a second order being would have centuries of thought for every human second, it is useless to imagine that we would have any meaningful interaction with a second order life form, much less that they would exhibit anything but an infinitesimally fleeting curiosity about us.....if curiosity as we know it is even a trait of a second order being.

They could be so small as to be hard to detect, and they could operate on quantum principles that would make them seem, to the observer grounded in particle - land, as inert objects, upon first observation.

So, in short, we might see them (if we even notice them) as being enigmatic creatures with extraordinary capabilities, but we are very unlikely to directly recognize any evidence whatsoever of their intelligence. We could not hope to comprehend or interpret the thoughts or actions of millenia over the span of a few seconds. We could literally be surrounded by them and have no clue, except that maybe they could do things that seemed impossible, if we even noticed them at all.

Furthermore, such beings, if they exist, might not be concerned at all with place, much less have need of a home-world. It seems to me quite likely, that space around all the stars could be inhabited already. I naively imagine them like space - jellyfish....infinitely intelligent by our standards, impossible to "kill" in the conventional sense, yet easily (if temporarily) disintegrated by a passing sweep of a hand - if they permitted it.


At any rate, it is worth an introspecive moment.......


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Please, wikipedia, please......make it stop!

I can't get any work done. My sides ache, and I have fallen out of my chair twice. It never gets old. Please, Wikipedia, Make it stop!

Please move the picture to the other side of the frame, for the love of all that is good, and world productivity....For every day this is up, the world loses at least a billion dollars of production....soon, the lights will go dim, and all will be lost....

How to look for carrier IQ rootkit on your Android phone

CarrierIQ can be seen on your Android handset by installing an app from the Market called AnyCut. Create a new shortcut, select activity, and you will be presented with a list of applications, including the hidden ones on your device.  Look for  IQRD and IQAgent, which are both parts of the CarrierIQ system.

Carrier IQ is not limited to android phones. It can be found as well on blackberry devices (rumored, not confirmed on Iphone) and some other smartphones.

More information (technical link)

Please post in comments if your phone (carrier, region) has it....

ACS (Alaska) reports not found (so far)....

ATT (Alaska) reports not found (so far) (ATT confirms that they do deploy CIQ)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Quantum waves real? SOPA reality distortion field?

Eugenie Samuel Reich
17 November 2011

At the heart of the weirdness for which the field of quantum mechanics is famous is the wavefunction, a powerful but mysterious entity that is used to determine the probabilities that quantum particles will have certain properties. Now, a preprint posted onlineon 14 November1 reopens the question of what the wavefunction represents — with an answer that could rock quantum theory to its core. Whereas many physicists have generally interpreted the wavefunction as a statistical tool that reflects our ignorance of the particles being measured, the authors of the latest paper argue that, instead, it is physically real.

read the full article below....

It is interesting to note ...  what is SOPA were law today?

If the author of the above quote (or someone claiming the intellectual rights, no actual proof required)  filed a complaint with the domain holder of (Google) that I had exceeded their intellectual property guidelines, and Google failed to respond within 5 days by removing my post (quite possibly not enough time to investigate the legality of the post or the 1st amendment ramifications), the filer could have the domain banned in the USA, administratively, without judicial review, and with no process for reinstatement.

Wow, that's good business sense.

Note: in this case, I am abiding by the intellectual property guidelines of the rights-holder, who's online payment calculator determined that I was liable for 0.00 cents to republish in this way.

RIAA lobby tries to hold internet hostage, darkweb squishes out between toes...

A Secure, Alternate, Anonymous, P2P DNS.....

this + bitcoin + tor hosted services / or other layer 7 applications = economicaly viable darknet...bye bye oversight, hello stupid!

This is where the USA, now benefiting from defacto control of the internet, loses its grip, and any tiny nation that wants to be the next global nexus steps up and says "internet freedom, we love you!" and gets all the interwebs. bye bye trillions of dollars, hello oops, we didn't really mean it, really! We are still interwebs friendly! really! come back! hello? Helllooooooo......o.....o.....o.....o?

But, the internet doesn't forget...the internet is operated, at its core, by millions of nerds....with good memories, and a lifetime of pent up nerdrage....and the collective intelligence to apply their will, backed by trillions of risk-averse dollars whose collective motto is burn me once, your fault, burn me twice, my fault.

All because Lars cant get a new gold shark tank?

Excerpted from South Park:

Shiut up!! [the boys jump in their seats, then look down, chagrined] You downloaded a lot of songs! Says here you even downlaoded Judas Priest? That's hard time you boys are lookin' at. You got anything to say for yourselves?
Kyle:[rubs the table a bit] We d-didn't think it was that big a deal.
Detective:[pissed off] Not a big deal! You think downloading music for free is not a big deal?! Put your couts on! I'm gonna show you something! And I don't think you're gonna like it!

This is the home of Lars Ulrich, the drummer for Metallica. [they approach a bush] Look. There's Lars now, sitting by his pool. [he's seen sitting on the edge of a chaise longue, his face in his hands, softly sobbing]
Kyle:What's the matter with him?
Detective:This month he was hoping to have a gold-plated shark tank bar installed right next to the pool, but thanks to people downloading his music for free, he must now wait a few months before he can afford it. [a close-up of Lars sobbing] Come. There's more. [leads them away. Next seen is a small airport at night] Here's Britney Spears' private jet. Notice anything? [a shot of Britney boarding a plane, then stopping to look at it before entering] Britney used to have a Gulfstream IV. Now she's had to sell it and get a Gulfstream III because people like you chose to download her music for free. [Britney gives a heavy sigh and goes inside.] The Gulfstream III doesn't even have a remote control for its surround-sound DVD system. Still think downloading music for free is no big deal?
Kyle:We... didn't realize what we were doing, eh...
Detective:That is the folly of man. Now look in this window. [they are at another mansion, and they look inside a picture window] Here you see the loving family of Master P. [He's shown tossing a basketball to his wife while his kid tries to catch it] Next week is his son's birthday and, all he's ever wanted was an island in French Polynesia. [his mom lowers the ball and gives it to the boy, who smiles, picks it up and drops it. It rolls away and he goes after it]
Kyle:So, he's gonna get it, right?
Detective:I see an island without an owner. If things keep going the way they are, the child will not get his tropical paradise.
Stan:[apologetically] We're sorry! We'll, we'll never download music for free again!

Never fear, SOPA is here!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Stop SOPA?

(or don't, that might actually be more interesting)

After all, rights that you have because the government lets you have them aren't rights at all, just privileges....

Harvard Business Review:

Send a physical letter to congress:

or, let it all come crashing down, and then.... about a new network layer, that provides for encryption, persistence, and anonymity, with a creative commons / open source / specifically limited copyright TOS for all content transmitted into public spaces with it......and we build a new web on top of we have a "free" darkweb, (still can run adverts and charge for services), with a p2p decentralized DNS so that DNS is not a weak point.... hmmmm...lots of work, but we may need to head that way if congress has its way.

...from a comment on boingboing...

Here's the congressional money trail from SOPA supporters in entertainment and publishing.
How will they vote?

Top recipients for ALL supporting interest groups

Amount Received

Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV]

Sen. Charles Schumer [D, NY]

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand [D, NY]

Sen. Barbara Boxer [D, CA]

Sen. Michael Bennet [D, CO]

Sen. Patrick Leahy [D, VT]

Sen. Robert Portman [R, OH]

Sen. Mark Kirk [R, IL]

Sen. Ron Wyden [D, OR]

Sen. Patty Murray [D, WA]

Rep. Howard Berman [D, CA-28]

Rep. Bruce Braley [D, IA-1]

Rep. Michael Capuano [D, MA-8]

Rep. Patrick Meehan [R, PA-7]

Rep. Allyson Schwartz [D, PA-13]

Rep. Eric Cantor [R, VA-7]

Rep. John Barrow [D, GA-12]

Rep. Gary Peters [D, MI-9]

Rep. Nancy Pelosi [D, CA-8]

Rep. Carolyn Maloney [D, NY-14]

Just in case you were under the impression that politics was primarily about government, not just the money....