[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Sunday, 2005-12-04

Abolish so-called “Daylight Saving Time”

Filed under: Society,Technology — bblackmoor @ 05:01

So-called “Daylight Saving Time” is a conspiracy to waste hundreds of millions of US man-hours every years, setting and re-setting clocks and missing and re-scheduling appointments.

Who came up with this? Was it the Japanese? They seem to want to put clocks in every piece of electronics they make. The Swiss? They are clockmakers, after all, and they’ve been jealous of the USA for years. Benjamin Franklin is credited with the idea, but I think that’s propaganda. No one as wise as Franklin would conceive of such a ludicrous, wasteful notion. Maybe he suggested it as a joke.

The quantity of sunlight shed upon the earth does not change, regardless of what number the clock says. So-called “Daylight Saving Time” accomplishes nothing positive whatsoever. It’s a ridiculous, archaic drain on our entire society, and it ought to be abolished.

Write the President, your Senators, and your Representatives. We can eliminate this nuisance in our lifetime.

(No, I do not seriously think it was a plot by the Japanese or the Swiss. Get real.)

Friday, 2005-12-02

Domain name squatters are scum

Filed under: The Internet — bblackmoor @ 05:05

Domain name squatters are scum, regardless of the domain suffix. They occupy a niche between spammers, virus writers, and head lice. Re-selling domain names for any price should be explicitly forbidden, period. The sooner ICANN makes that a policy, and starts enforcing it, the better off all of us will be. It’s long overdue, in my opinion.

Thursday, 2005-12-01

Sun plugs serious holes in Java

Filed under: Programming — bblackmoor @ 12:56

Sun Microsystems has fixed five security bugs in Java that expose computers running Windows, Linux and Solaris to hacker attack.

The flaws are “highly critical,” according to an advisory from Secunia posted Tuesday. Vulnerabilities that get that ranking–one notch below “extremely critical,” the security monitoring company’s most severe rating — typically open the door to a remote intruder and to full compromise of the system.

All the flaws affect the Java Runtime Environment, or JRE, in computers loaded with Microsoft Windows, Linux or Sun’s own Solaris operating system. This is the software many computer owners have on their system to run Java applications. The bugs could allow an intruder to use a Java application to inappropriately read and write files, or to run code on a victim’s computer, Sun said in three separate security advisories released late Monday.

(from TechRepublic, Sun plugs serious holes in Java

Go to the Sun Java web site, download the current Java runtime environment (or the SDK, if you are a programmer), and install it.

Wednesday, 2005-11-30

Shakira’s Oral Fixation

Filed under: Music — bblackmoor @ 12:50

Shakira, Oral Fixation Volume 2Shakira has released the English language, second volume of her Fijacion Oral (“Oral Fixation”) album. At the risk of appearing Anglocentric, I think this second volume is superior to the first. It’s an eclectic mix of rock and ballads. It doesn’t have the beat-heavy dance hits of some of her previous albums, and personally I would have liked to have had a couple of new songs to exercise to, but even so, it’s a really good album.

Check it out.

Tuesday, 2005-11-15

Congress loves identity thieves

Filed under: Society,Technology — bblackmoor @ 19:06

Earlier this year, I wrote about several major data breaches at ChoicePoint, then LexisNexis. Headlines screamed how thousands–and in the case of CardSystems, millions–of individuals had their names, social security numbers, and other personal information exposed to god-knows-who. These revelations came only because of a California law, SB 1386, which requires companies to inform California residents if any data breaches occur. The Senate is currently considering a national version of the California law, but a weaker House of Representatives bill is rapidly gaining influence in Congress. If the House bill passes and becomes law first, future data breach revelations will be silenced, and data thieves will be free to run amok.

(from CNet, Congress loves identity thieves)

Monday, 2005-11-14

DHS criticizes Sony’s illegal tactics

Filed under: Intellectual Property,Music — bblackmoor @ 10:03

In response to the illegal hacking of customers’ computers by Sony, Stewart Baker, recently appointed by President Bush as the Department Of Homeland Security’s assistant secretary for policy, made a comment aimed directly at Sony and others who would illegally hack into their customers’ computers in the name of protecting their “intellectual property”:

In a remark clearly aimed directly at Sony and other labels, Stewart continued: “It’s very important to remember that it’s your intellectual property — it’s not your computer. And in the pursuit of protection of intellectual property, it’s important not to defeat or undermine the security measures that people need to adopt in these days.”

(from The Washington Post, DHS Official Weighs In on Sony)

What I want to know is where are the criminal charges? Why aren’t these people being arrested? This was a premeditated, wide-scale hacking attempt on a huge number of computers — I want to see people put in handcuffs and taken away to pay for their crime. I want to see large men with shaved heads do to Sony executives what Sony has been attempting to do to us.

Friday, 2005-11-11

Sun Java Studio Creator / Enterprise Free from Sun Microsystems

Filed under: Programming — bblackmoor @ 17:00

Sun Microsystems has Sun Java Studio Creator 2004Q2 (full license) and Sun Java Studio Enterprise 8 (full license) for free via download. This is probably a bit of counter-marketing spurred by the release of .NET 2.0 last Monday. However, Java at any price is a better deal than .Net. You literally could not pay me enough to work with .Net.

Freedom in education

Filed under: Society — bblackmoor @ 11:35

Education. In the long-run, it will determine the outcome of many political battles that are yet to come.

Right now, the civics education that is being presented in our public schools is aimed at convincing young minds that the Second Amendment is neither relevant nor applicable for today.

For example, We the People (a federally subsidized textbook that is being used throughout the country) chips away at our national sovereignty, praises our dependence upon the United Nations, downplays the Founders’ vision on the importance of federalism, and desecrates the Bill of Rights — both ignoring the Tenth Amendment and suggesting that our Second Amendment rights are no longer relevant.

Well, Gun Owners of America, Eagle Forum, and EdAction are hosting a congressional briefing to educate our elected officials on the importance of passing serious education reform.

One of the goals of this briefing is to push the Freedom in Education Act — draft legislation which, among other things, would return education to the localities by cutting off federal funding for all curricula, including the We the People textbook.

Federal funding, for too many years, has meant federal control. And federal control has resulted in the dumbing down of America’s school children, who have been led to believe that so-called “rights” as defined by the U.N. are more important than the rights listed in our own Constitution.

The Freedom in Education Act would provide a good, first step in the right direction. And it would do so without adding more federal control. Just the opposite… this bill removes federal control over an area that is vital to the preservation of our liberties.

“You’ll have people say, well this is not the proper role of the federal government, to insist that local jurisdictions show us whether or not children are learning. I reject that argument,” President Bush told the National Conference of State Legislatures in March 2001.

It has been said that the principles taught in the classroom in one generation will become public policy in the next. That’s why reforming education in this country is so important.

You can go to http://www.gunowners.org/fs0306.htm to read a more in-depth analysis of the problems in the We the People curriculum. And then, please take action.

Please ask your Representative and two Senators to attend the congressional briefing a week from today that is being sponsored by GOA, Eagle Forum, and EdAction.

You can visit the Gun Owners Legislative Action Center at http://www.gunowners.org/activism.htm to send your Representative and Senators a pre-written e-mail message.

Thursday, 2005-11-10

Beware the use of tinfoil hats

Filed under: General — bblackmoor @ 19:25

a scientist in a tinfoil hat

Among a fringe community of paranoids, aluminum helmets serve as the protective measure of choice against invasive radio signals. We investigate the efficacy of three aluminum helmet designs on a sample group of four individuals. Using a $250,000 network analyser, we find that although on average all helmets attenuate invasive radio frequencies in either directions (either emanating from an outside source, or emanating from the cranium of the subject), certain frequencies are in fact greatly amplified. These amplified frequencies coincide with radio bands reserved for government use according to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). Statistical evidence suggests the use of helmets may in fact enhance the government’s invasive abilities. We theorize that the government may in fact have started the helmet craze for this reason.

(from On the Effectiveness of Aluminium Foil Helmets: An Empirical Study)

I suspected as much.

Tuesday, 2005-11-08

Yahoo helps imprison a Chinese journalist

Filed under: Society,Technology — bblackmoor @ 10:21

Yahoo has been complying with the Chinese government’s requests to help it censor and oppress its citizens for several years. In 2002, Yahoo voluntarily signed the “Public Pledge on Self-Discipline for the China Internet Industry”, agreeing to abide by PRC censorship regulations. Searches deemed sensitive by the Chinese authorities, such as “Taiwan independence”, retrieve only a limited and approved set of results in the Chinese Yahoo search engine.

But the ante has gone up. Now Yahoo is helping the Chinese authorities actually imprison political dissidents — or even those who admit that such dissidents exist.

This journalist, Shi Tao, was sentenced in April to 10 years in prison for the horrible crime of passing on a memo via Yahoo Mail saying that the Chinese government was worried about unrest during the 2004 anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. […]

I’m not sure what it will take to make companies rethink their “whatever the Chinese government wants, it gets” policies or to raise public consciousness enough to cause change — probably something on the level of a public execution followed by officials thanking the company that helped them nab the dissident.

You may also want to read the report from Reporters Without Borders.

What does this mean here in the USA? You may not think it means much. After all, even if companies like Yahoo are heartless mercenaries, our government would never ask companies to help spy on us, censor us, or oppress us. Right?

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