Friday, March 27, 2015

Security Theater in the Air?

In truth, I encounter a similar problem in network security all the time though one has died yet. For some reason, management doesn't want to talk about the nuts-and-bolts of security when we have time to do it with careful and considered planning. However, when something happens, management goes into a panic and demands an immediate fix. If that was not bad enough, the definition of a "fix" is: If we can check it off on a customer's checklist, everything is fine.

Security Theater can be played by anyone but it kills more people when governments do it.

Andreas Lubitz: Knee-jerk reaction to 9/11 enabled mass murder

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Ninth Circus Order En Banc Rehearing in two Important Cases

This just in:

BREAKING: Ninth Circuit Orders En Banc Rehearing in Peruta v. San Diego CCW Lawsuit

History has no side. That is just anthropogenic nonsense from people who have no clue that history is neither inevitable nor self-guided. However, if history did have a side, the Ninth Circuit would probably not be on it.

Stockholders Are Also Owners

Wal-Mart fights bid to curb gun sales

The dispute concerns Wal-Mart’s sales of assault rifles with high-capacity magazines. New York’s Trinity Wall Street church wants shareholders to vote on a resolution calling on Wal-Mart’s board to review management decisions to sell the weapons, as well as other products that could harm the company’s reputation.

A district court sided with Trinity in November and said that Wal-Mart has to include the proposal on the corporate ballots it will send out this spring. Wal-Mart appealed, arguing that the shareholder resolution meddles in regular business decisions and is at odds with decades of guidance from the Securities and Exchange Commission that such affairs are off limits.

I strongly suspect this proposal has little chance of success. If for no other reason than the Walton family owns about 50% of the company stock. This is just some more feel good BS from part of the Christian Collectivist contingent. Nevertheless, they absolutely have the right to try and influence Wal-Mart policies.

When I buy stock in a corporation I become a part owner. As such, I have the right to question how that corporation is run. I never bother because I only own a few hundred shares in anything nor do I have much motivation as a SJW. As long as there are no live boys or dead girls involved, I pretty much ignore corporate behavior as long as the stock makes me money. Still, being a part owner means I have the right to ask other part owners to ally with me to effect a change in policy. Over the years, boards, legislatures and regulatory bureaucracies have tried to limit stockholder influence but that does not change the immutable fact that a stockholder owns a piece of the company.

My advice to Wal-Mart is: If you don't want the owners -- aka stockholders -- of your company trying to tell you what to do then buy back all the stock and become a private company again. Otherwise, suck it up and, for godsakes, stop whining to the government.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Forgive all Student Debt

A basic assumption about debt is that it will be paid back with interest at some predictable time in the future. Debt increases the money supply without an immediate corresponding increase in total good and services. It is only because it is repaid that debt does not debase the currency. Canceling a debt without permission from the investors is no better than stealing it outright.

According to this petition 86% of the $1.3 trillion of student debt is owed to the United States government. The petition encourages that government to forgive all the debt. Not just the public part -- which is bad enough -- but also the 14% that is not public. No mention of consulting the taxpayers who finance it. No mention of how much more the taxpayers will have to cough up to make the lenders right. Just eliminate any possiblity of the debt ever being recovered.

It is no surprise to me that the list of sponsors include the American Federation of Teachers and the Daily Kos. Both of those groups seem to believe that feeding their sick, elitist egos somehow justifies stealing from the middle class. First by wasting our taxes then by inflating the currency so our incomes are worth less.

The cycle of inflation and debasement has ruined civilizations in the past. The rules for that haven't changed; only the names of the criminals varies.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The SPLC Could Just be Run by Stupid People

Frankly, though, I suspect the SPLC will welcome armed resistance by gun owners to a SWAT team. They need fresh blood to fuel their authoritarian (sometimes called "progressive") goals.

SPLC chatter predicts arrests of Spokane liberty activists

Saturday, February 21, 2015

I Don't Think it is Unintentional.

Less Economic Freedom Equals More Income Inequality

The author make some good points but I don't think the process is "unintentional" so much as natural outgrowth of reality in a controlled or managed economy.

Anyone whose livelihood depends on a business -- as an owner or employee -- has an incentive to protect that livelihood. In a country were the government has the power to make or break a business, political influence quickly becomes an essential part of survival. Those with money have greater access which gives them greater influence. It is only natural for a politician to favor his friends.

More-and-more, modern America is looking like an textbook example of Jerry Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy. In such a world, survival, means having influence over the bureaucracy or, as someone once said, "If you are not at the table, you are on the menu."

Friday, February 13, 2015

Get Your Stinking Ape Hands off of My Computer.

As my friend Christopher David once pointed out to me, hackers may be the most important of scumfucks as mankind heads into the future. For those who don't get why that may be true, this article may help you understand. In the process you may gain insight into how all the recent talk of "digital rights management" and "net neutrality" are really an attack on general purpose computing and the open networks -- such as the Internet -- they make possible.

Lockdown -- The coming war on general-purpose computing

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Walls have Ears.

Most of us have heard the above clause as a warning that, without adequate safeguards, a private conversation can be overheard. Samsung is now trying to upgrade that adage to, "The TV has ears."

Be Careful What You Say Around Your Samsung Smart TV

The "feature" can, supposedly, be turned off but the article implies that Samsung is being coy about whether the microphone can be turned back on without the owner's knowledge. Even with such an assurance, there is no protection from a future upgrade or a rogue update that allows the microphone to be turned on remotely.

I don't expect stored conversations will be used against the owner of a Samsung Smart TV (or other devices such as the Xbox which use similar technology) -- not at first. However, anytime digital voice data information is passed to a third party there is a possibility it will be stored. A vague reference to "industry standard encryption" does not assure that Samsung intends to prevent the stored data from being traceable to a particular location. In fact, the latest "privacy policy" specifically allows "device identifiers" to be transmitted with your voice data.

To provide you the Voice Recognition feature, some interactive voice commands may be transmitted (along with information about your device, including device identifiers) to a third-party service provider (currently, Nuance Communications, Inc.) that converts your interactive voice commands to text and to the extent necessary to provide the Voice Recognition features to you. [emphasis added]

An interesting thing about this is that the data is already acknowledged as belonging to Samsung and/or Nuance so it can be accessed it for a fee instead of having to get a pesky warrant.

The American public accepted being leashed by their smart phones, it is unlikely they will object to being further leashed by their televisions. Make me wonder if a dog realizes he is not free just because he has a longer leash than the other dogs.

Here is another article in the same vein: Samsung changes Smart TV privacy policy in wake of spying fears

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Yes, There are Stupid Atheists

Sean Gangol outlines a few of the reasons I rarely associate with mainstream atheism. Too often they let their cognitive biases dictate their political opinions. In doing so they quickly turn politics into war and arguments into amoral soldiers. Victory for their side then becomes more important than accuracy. This attitude stands in opposition to general methods for good decision-making.

The Atheist Experience Folly

Friday, January 16, 2015

News of the Weird

This has to be one of the funniest things I've seen in a while. An all-women, liberal arts college decides to cancel the Vagina Monologues because it does not include women without a vagina. I can think of a few reasons to let the play slip into obscurity but to drop it by applying such sublimely leftist logic is unexpected.

Women's College Cancels 'Vagina Monologues' Because It Excludes Women Without Vaginas