Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Dem Bones

JERUSALEM — Hailed by some as the most significant of all Christian relics but dismissed by skeptics amid accusations of forgery, misinterpretation and reckless speculation, two ancient artifacts found here have set off a fierce archaeological and theological debate in recent decades.

At the heart of the quarrel is an assortment of inscriptions that led some to suggest Jesus of Nazareth was married and fathered a child, and that the Resurrection could never have happened.

Now, the earth may have yielded new secrets about these disputed antiquities. A Jerusalem-based geologist believes he has established a common bond between them that strengthens the case for their authenticity and importance.

Findings Reignite Debate on Claim of Jesus’ Bones

If true this would offer serious evidence that the tradition of Jesus as the unmarried, only child of a virgin mother is wrong. On the other hand, it would also be solid evidence that Jesus actually existed. You pays your money and you takes your choice.

What it will not do is cause any crisis of faith in followers of the various flavors of Christianity. Some will reject it out of hand. Some will ignore it as irrelevant. Some will just adapt their theology. Mormonism survived the revelation that much of its holy book doesn't correspond to New World archeology so I suspect few Christians will have much of a problem with this.

In the end, I doubt many minds will be changed. Still, it would be pretty neat to know the truth.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Warrant Canary is Illegal in Australia

For those who don't know, a warrant canary is the periodic transmission of a statement along the lines of, "We have not received any warrant demanding your data." If the message stops being sent then the recipient(s) can assume such a warrant has been served. The idea behind this is that the gag-order that often accompanies such demands from law enforcement cannot prevent a person from not speaking.

Until now. In Australia.

Australian government minister: Dodge new data retention law like this

Warrant canaries can't be used in this context either. Section 182A of the new law says that a person commits an offense if he or she discloses or uses information about "the existence or non-existence of such a [journalist information] warrant." The penalty upon conviction is two years imprisonment.

In truth the warrant canaries were unlikely to work for long. In the current, fear driven environment there is little reason for law enforcement to restrain itself from coercing the target of a warrant into sending false canary messages. By outlawing even the attempt to use a warrant canary, the Australians are just being more honest about being a bunch of progressive schmucks.

I anticipate similar wording will be added to US law.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Quebec: Stuck on Stupid?

Generally, I try to understand the peculiarities of other cultures and I get that firearms may scare people who learn about them from television and video games. However, this out of Quebec strike me as just plain stupid. The Canadian government already wasted over $1 billion on a registry that, allegedly, lists less than half the legal firearms in the country. Now, in a classic example of the Sunk Cost Fallacy, Quebec wants to throw good money after bad.

Update: Quebec will create its own long-gun registry.

The article includes this little gem:

Thériault was careful to add that a provincial registry wouldn’t be designed to limit hunting activities or to crack down on lawful gun owners.

Only "lawful gun owners" will register their firearms making them the only people a registry can be used against.

There have been credible allegations of corruption in the administration of the registry so maybe some Quebec politicans just want to keep the gravy train rolling. OTOH, maybe it is Global Warming causing a brain eating bacteria to proliferate in the province.

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 god's sake, 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