* Posts by FriendInMiami

16 publicly visible posts • joined 15 Sep 2015

We need a Library of Congress – but for the digital world


Old warfare still kills and injures

Various militaries used the software of their day for such things as directing where bombs might be intended to be dropped, where mother bombs might disperse bomblets or small land mines, where ships might rendezvous, and much more. They archived data for software that ran on equipment where no one publicly has any of the old equipment and the data is in effect in limbo, if maintained at all. Yet for purposes of making land safe for the inhabitants, or for finding the odd old wreck, perhaps with human remains, this kind of tech needs to preserved, too. The problem is, of course, that a lot of the "work" done reflects very poorly on the reputations of the governments engaged in overseas warfare at the time. E.g.,

Addressing Unexploded Ordnance

Ordnance Dropped Estimated Percentage of Ordnance that Did Not Explode Casualties

(Injuries and Fatalities) Land Contaminated by UXO and Cluster Munitions

Cambodia 2.7 million tons, including 26 million cluster bomblets 25% 64,931 people 176 sq miles

Laos Over 2.1 million tons 33% 25,000 people Surveys confirm at least 3,270 square miles, with estimates much higher

Vietnam 8 million tons 10% Over 100,000 people 23,670 square miles


What could possibly go wrong? Sublet your home broadband to strangers who totally won't commit crimes


Comcast has / had a problem today - I got this email


My Account >

xFi Advanced Security is currently unavailable

We're writing to let you know that xFi Advanced Security is currently unavailable. We’re working to fix the issue and will email you again when it's been resolved. In the meantime, you may want to turn on Protected Browsing. You can find it in the Connect section of the Xfinity app.

You can continue to use all your other xFi features, including parental controls and the ability to pause WiFi.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

# # #

Someone's getting a free trip to the US – well, not quite free. Brit bloke extradited to face $2m+ cyber-scam charges


Re: It's only money...

Re the child separation practices - under Pres. Obama, the children went immediately into healthy, safe well-staffed centers where processing to release them into the US was accomplished as swiftly as possible. Under Pres.* Trump, the children have in many cases literally been in cage-type enclosures, often cramped together, with intent to deny them entry into the US. Others were held in massive detention centers without visitors or local oversight of the staffing (no real screening to weed out people who might actually be unsuitable) - like the one near me in Miami, FL. I went to many protests outside that facility, before they closed in it the face of an increasing hurricane season for which they had no plan to cope with over a thousand children who might need to be evacuated. Under Pres. Obama, the non-governmental agencies who worked with the children were fully supported. Under Pres. Trump, information is denied to these agencies about the children. Under Pres. Obama, every effort was made to identify and keep in touch with children's families. Under Pres.* Trump, no effort has been made to keep any kind of accurate list. Losing children has literally been a goal, it appears. So the cruelty and capriciousness, illegal and immoral actions of Donald Trump contrasts mightily with that of Barack Obama.

It's a billion-ton, 14-million-mile long mysterious alien formation – and Earth is heading right into it


Re: Science, all part of the fun.

RE: "On the plus side, there's so much carbonate in the oceans that there is no climate emergency around 'acidification'.

Well... disagree. "The oceans are growing more acidic, and scientists think the change is happening faster than at any time in geologic history...." https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/oceans/critical-issues-ocean-acidification/

Is your computer doctor secretly a racist? Two US senators want to find out the truth


Re: You need actual data on the incidence of medical conditions and risk factors

The United States has created and maintained divided populations sufficiently that in certain populations some diseases are much more prevelant. For instance, "sickle cell" blood disease. From the U.S. National Institutes of Health website:

"Sickle cell disease affects millions of people worldwide. It is most common among people whose ancestors come from Africa; Mediterranean countries such as Greece, Turkey, and Italy; the Arabian Peninsula; India; and Spanish-speaking regions in South America, Central America, and parts of the Caribbean.

Sickle cell disease is the most common inherited blood disorder in the United States, affecting 70,000 to 80,000 Americans. The disease is estimated to occur in 1 in 500 African Americans and 1 in 1,000 to 1,400 Hispanic Americans."

Florida man won't be compelled to reveal iPhone passcode, yet


Re: Files are not testimony

Files may not be testimony, but a police agent seeking access to a phone may not have warranted reasons to search the phone, either. Our US Customs and Border Patrol will take away phones and laptops at airports without articulating why. If an explanation of what is sought cannot be made persuasively to a magistrate judge, sufficient to authorize a warrant, then certainly a traveler should not be compelled to unlock a device. That is why the fingerprint-unlock or facial recognition-unlock is so fraught with peril - search can be made by a cop who wants to look and see if anything is arguably criminal, without knowing in advance what could likely be there. Let a cop walk in your unlocked front door, and see what he finds walking through your house, without needing a warrant...

US spies hacked our phones over the air, claim pipeline protesters


If the Cornish people rose up to block a pipeline through Cornwall...

Explaining on your side of the Atlantic what the Standing Rock confrontations meant over here in the colonies is daunting. It was a series of confrontations, some simultaneous (and some, like court battles and trials of arrested people, are still ongoing). The Native Americans presented themselves as "Water Protectors," a stand which resonated with both indigenous nations and the majority of us, I believe. Water Protectors physically at Standing Rock were mostly indigenous persons of different nations. This literally international cooperation and the presence of representatives of indigenous groups from other countries - and continents - took this into the realm of a great awakening of Americans to the problems of pipelines and a great awakening of indigenous nations to global cooperation against multinational corporations. Nationally and in Canada, new similar protests and confrontations over pipelines are on-going. Those at Standing Rock who physically stood in the face of pipeline crews until militarized police dragged them away made a lasting impact on church and social justice organizations, not just in the USA. Public posted disagreements with the major corporations putting in this one pipeline over a river next to a reservation (reserved Indian land) - a pipeline previously routed away from its original path to cross the river upstream from a city (Bismarck, like Cornwall's Truro) in North Dakota - turned into nation-wide divestment actions, as people began pressing banks to stop funding pipelines and coal mines and other carbon-to-atmosphere transmission systems. Some of these have been succeeding. Social media, especially Youtube and Facebook, has been essential to sharing what is going on. Confronting the federal regulatory agency over pipelines, and acting in the courts at the same time, and going into local courts over arrests, mean that the attorneys (many volunteers or on some kind of stipend) were very busy - and many still are. In such a focused site under international scrutiny, the massive federal and private surveillance and the cross-state marshaling of police forces into this little area of North Dakota takes on a new perspective - here, the powers-that-be for a little while met their match. People on horseback stopped bulldozers. The administration of President Obama signaled a desire to appear less committed to pipelines over people. President Trump's election and his agency-head appointments both signal that there will be an ongoing battle with the federal forces who are now clearly on the side of more, more, more carbon extraction - water and air pollution and global warming be damned. Unfortunately, it is our children and their children who will live in the hell that is being created by millions of carbon emissions. We are now in the days of increasingly extreme climate change.

The curious case of a Tesla smash, Autopilot blamed, and the driver's next-day U-turn


Think of the Tesla Autopilot as enhanced cruise control

Cruise control is helpful because it allows me to drive distances without subconsciously accelerating or decelerating at intervals - consequently, the car travels a bit faster and, more importantly, we save on gas. I assume the autopilot would allow economical driving on a scale to make a significant difference in a month's commuting expenses. And when using cruise control, we of course must keep hands on the steering wheel and pay attention to the road. The autopilot could also help one slow enough for school zones and other places where tickets might be issued for failure to slow down.

Conservative manifesto disappears offline – then mysteriously reappears


So what part of your taxes has been buying warfare in the Middle East?

I'm in the US and we pay heavy taxes for our wars-everywhere system, consequently we have no money for infrastructure repair, or public health, food and housing welfare, higher education... Look up what Chinese billionaire Jack Ma said at Davos about the trillions the US has flamed away since Sept. 11, 2001, creating death and destruction while ignoring the decline of Middle America. So what is the British system like? How much do you have bleeding out to keep the Sunnis under control or at least keep them killing people England approves of killing? What is your chunk of NATO and its dance around the Baltic Ocean hemming in Russia? As Reuters reported Sun. 18 June 2017, "U.S. and British troops have carried out the first large-scale NATO defensive drill on the border between Poland and Lithuania, rehearsing for a possible scenario in which Russia might try to sever the Baltic states from the rest of the Western alliance. ..."

Machine vs. machine battle has begun to de-fraud the internet of lies


Consider the source(s) of your beliefs about Syria and Assad

Friend of mine, Nicholas S.J. Davies, who is author of a work on the Iraq War, points us to the analysis by retired Col. Patrick Lang (formerly of the US DIA - he was a whistle-blower on Iraq's use of chemical weapons against Iran when he worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency in the 1980s.) If you Google for Col. Lang and Syria and "analysis" it should give you the link to the piece he wrote about this whole episode.

I had heard something about uncertainty that the poisonous gas was sarin. Col. Lang writes: "We know it was not sarin. How? Very simple. The so-called 'first responders' handled the victims without gloves. If this had been sarin they would have died. Sarin on the skin will kill you. How do I know? I went through 'Live Agent' training at Fort McClellan in Alabama."

The rest of the article is convincing enough (to me) to create doubt that the US is telling us the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Trump, Brexit, and Cambridge Analytica – not quite the dystopia you're looking for


Re: In the original Foundation trilogy

Buried in the details - the constructed "news" postings that attract the interest of the supporters also have ads that attract their attention. Just viewing a webpage with ads can generate funds back, and if any of the other "news" articles in the sidebar generates more clicks, then the ads for those web views will also pay off for the posting corporation, the hosting corporation and the media in general. It becomes possible to generate funds to expand the work in progress, and to refine and elaborate on the work. These companies turn profits doing this work generating public support for Brexit, for the current POTUS, and for Western European white nationalism. That's my belief from reading about these corporations in different sources. If that makes them a good investment, they will also enrich players on the stock market, further cementing their positions in the status quo - they are becoming the "new normal news source" for millions of people on the Internet, who are also increasingly unlikely to trust or believe the major newspapers or television networks. The public stream of attention is being divided, without discussion, and then the new stream is being focused in support of certain policies and practices. It has now demonstrably worked at scale.

Make America, wait, what again? US Army may need foreign weapons to keep up


Re: Military-industrial 101

"War makes for good business" for only some of the world. Own a war materials company, own the stocks of war-making companies, yes. Live where manufactured components are "materials-heavy, labor-light," or where the waste from the factories gets dumped or spewed, or where the bombs and missiles are landing now - not such good business, in fact terrible for business. Our world is too interconnected now for all the destruction of a disintegrating nation not to spread across borders and inconvenience every other nation ultimately. And if you are in a land under the gun, it is more than an inconvenience, it is the destruction of the next generation, and maybe the one after that. When will Afghanistan, former British Empire country, reclaim what has been pounded out of it? But the billionaires of blowing up infrastructure and smashing history to rubble will not ever pay the taxes to rebuild cities, universities or hospitals, let alone pay the reparations due.

Bill Gates joins $170bn climate change investment club


It's the practice, not the theory, that makes nuclear options bad or worse

I live near Turkey Point in southern Florida USA. There are two nuclear power plants there. They are operating past the original projected time when it would be safe to operate them. (In the middle of their operation, they required extensive unpredicted and massively expensive repairs. There is a sense that this rebuild and retooling might have extended their lives. There is also a sense that the power company would rather chance it and keep rolling rather than replace them as sources of electricity - the government underwrites insuring them and comes in for the lion's share of evacuation costs in case of major accidents.) There is now quite an accumulation of used fuel rods there, sitting in pools of water with cooling water circulating continuously - because we have no agreed-on operational long-term storage for these lethally contaminated objects. Meanwhile, our sea level here is rising relative to the land, so "king tides" are starting to impact inland properties along this coast. Few places now, more later in the next few years, many more in 50 years. Did I mention we get hurricanes, and Turkey Point sticks out into unprotected waters? And these are typical nuclear plants, differing from each other. They are all different. Look it up. The US doesn't do the supervision of the implementations well, and has not solved all the problems the technology brings about in use. Those are some of the reasons we are not building more nuclear power plants. Meanwhile, in parts of the world the costs of solar electric are going below the costs for coal electric. Nuclear power has been described as making a bad power saw to cut butter - really expensive, with tricky plumbing, longlived radiation, and vulnerabilities to engineering failures and natural disasters, all to boil water to make steam to turn turbines. Forgive us if we taxpayers and rate payers would prefer other ways to light our bulbs and charge our phones.

RIP Vale Sheri S.Tepper


My favorite

Started with the 9 books of the True Game series, as I could find them as they were coming out. Started with the Mavin Manyshaped ones, actually. I have given away copies of many of her books to others to read (of Beauty, and of The Gate to Women's Country, mostly). She really had seen her end coming and wrapped up a series fairly well - to crib from Wikipedia it began with A Plague of Angels (Bantam, 1993), continued with The Waters Rising (Eos, released August 31, 2010) and wrapped up a couple of years ago with Fish Tails (2014). And Fish Tales brought back in people from the True Game, putting a bow on her work.

As wonderful as her writing was, her life also involved service to humanity - she directed a regional office of Planned Parenthood in Colorado, admirably well. And for those of you given to mysteries rather than scifi/fantasy, she also produced many books under other names. I have bookshelves of Tepper, and do reread ones from time to time. Some tend to stick with one - Northshore and Southshore lived with me a long time, and as I think back I was especially fond of The Revenants and have reread it most. Thank you El Reg for saluting her departure.

Burn all the coal, oil – No danger of sea level rise this century from Antarctic ice melt


Someone needs to explain to the Mayor of Miami Beach

Over here on the left side of the Atlantic, we've noticed a suspicious bulge in the ocean waters - seems sea level rise is not uniform around the basin, and so this side is going to start going under before your side. Seems academic, might take years - except even now the City of Miami Beach is having to prepare for far more, and far greater, inundations than previously experienced. Can't stop the tide - but they've already spent millions on pumps to push water back out when rains flood the streets. As the tide goes the other way, there is a place to pump water - unless tide and rain coincide, along with a rise in the seas. You see, we have these pesky events, Atlantic hurricanes, that tend to bring in storm surge and torrential rain, all at the same time. And it isn't just Miami - you may have heard what Hurricane Sandy ended up doing to New York City.

Over on the other end of this country, Alaska is baking, and burning, along with parts of the Pacific Northwest. Soot from fires in the US and Canada comes down on the Greenland icesheet and to a certain extent on the polar ice, and we are seeing faster than ever warming in the warm months, and huge icebergs sliding off to sea. Some of this is likely to affect the Atlantic currents that bring warmer water to England and northern Europe. It will be unhappy news if that Gulf current diminishes because of global warming, but it may. And I do accept that the human activities which contribute to so many kinds of greenhouse gases being emitted are indeed playing an increasing role in pushing our global climate to warm more than it would left to nature. Again, if human-caused warming piles onto an already-occuring natural warming, the net result will be some part of Earth becoming inhospitable to us. Over time, more of the edges by the oceans will be eroded or otherwise off limits to humanity. That will be a great and expensive sadness.