Friday, December 28, 2012

What Would Jesus Say…To The NRA.

Those of you who know me and read my writings know that I’m an atheist. But I thought it might be fun to have a little thought experiment about what Jesus might say to the NRA if he were real and wanted to have a talk with them. Recently as probably everyone knows there has been another mass shooting at a school that left 27 dead including 20 little boys and girls, whose lives were abruptly ended by a mentally ill young man with a semi-automatic Bushmaster .223 army style assault rifle with high-capacity magazines. What shocked the nation even more, was the response of the NRA.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Moral Question

I often hear from the religious side that morality is objectively founded in the existence of God. In this article I will attempt to put to rest this issue of moral objectivity, as well as the notion of “deity” requirement for moral behavior. I will also try to explain some of the science that helps delineate the source for morality, its nature, and why its important whether you believe in a God or not. It is often a matter of contention that morality without God cannot exist, that atheism per se has no need of morality, an argument I will attempt to artfully disassemble.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

To Secede, or Not To Secede, That Is The Question: Red States, Sore Losers, and Racism

Recently, a petition was created by a Louisiana man requesting that Louisiana be allowed to secede from the Union. According to the rules on the White House website, any petition that receives over 25,000 votes will get a response. Within days the petition had more than 12,000 signatures. Then suddenly other petitions having similar requests for secession began to appear, and as of writing this article, petitions for secession have reached more than 20 states.

What I find to be disturbing is the connotation that secession has, the feelings it brings up, and the old ideas that continue to give rise to amoral behavior. When Southern States seceded from the Union to protect and preserve their way of life, i.e. slavery, it was with the intention of preserving amorality, inequality, and evil, because if ever there could qualify something as truly evil, slavery is that act.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Is Red or Blue, Merely a State of The Mind?

In two studies done on the brain in 2011, one in California and one in London, researchers looking for the same thing wanted to know if political affiliation could be discerned with a brain scan, or a simple test.

Researchers in London tested subjects who either stated themselves as being liberal or conservative in their views. Those who considered themselves as conservatives showed under MRI that an area of the brain called the amygdala, responsible for primitive emotional responses like fear, were quite larger than average.  Under the same kind of MRI scan, those who considered themselves to be liberals, showed a larger area in the brain called the anterior cingulate cortex, responsible for rational cognitive functions, such as decision-making, conflict-handling, empathy, courage, and optimism.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

What The Hell is This Electoral College?

Tuesday night the nation elected its 44th president of the United States: Barack Obama. As it turns out both with a majority of electoral votes and eventually the majority of popular votes as well.

As they say, “So goes Ohio, so goes the nation,” and as it turns out this statement appeared to be true, as once Obama had been declared the victor in Ohio, in a matter of minutes, he was also declared the President of the United States.

What was interesting for me was reading some of the comments I had received from some of the international community who are members of my FaceBook  Google+ and Twitter, and those who email me as well, all asking the question:

“What is this electoral college thing?”

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Inmates Are Taking Over The Asylum: What The Republicans Don't Want You To Know About Their Candidates.

“The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.” – John Wooden

With the presidential election a mere four days away, I wanted to talk a little bit about the two men that the republican party have nominated as their candidates for the white house. Anyone who has read my blog, followed me on Facebook or Twitter, or talked to me for a few minutes, knows where I stand on issues and what I think of the Republican Party. They know how I feel about this election and what it means if Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan ascend to the white house for, seniors, disabled, veterans, sick, dying, gay, women, minorities, etc. All the things these two assholes are not.

I have lived in Massachusetts my whole life, I have seen republican and democratic governors come and go. I have seen the best and worst in both parties, and I like to think I know character. When I was a child, my grandfather instilled in me a set of core beliefs that I live by today.

“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.”

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Some of The Strangest Things in The Universe

I thought in honor of Halloween, I might blog a little bit about the strange but true. I figured it might be fun to discuss some of the wackiest things about our universe that although seem utterly impossible or unlikely, are very true and help to fill this universe with the awe and wonder that will hopefully inspire everyone for generations to come. I've created a list of some of the things I've found very strange, but fascinating about our universe, in no particular order of course.

Monday, October 8, 2012

A War Over States’ Rights

In the first presidential debate of the season, Mitt Romney the republican candidate attacked President Obama on many issues, but none so more than the Affordable Care Act; he referred negatively to as Obamacare. Romney continued to echo the republican view on states’ rights when he sighted that in Massachusetts, his state-wide insurance plan worked, but wasn't right for America. Over and over, Romney continued to poke the viewers with this republican ideal about states’ rights, but just where did this come from? Where exactly does it say that States’ have rights over the federal government? Romney continued the attack and even referenced the constitution and declaration of independence, although incorrectly as I will explain.

So just where did this view on states’ rights come from?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Hypocrisy of Religion

I thought I’d take a stab at something that has been bothering me as of late, hypocrisy. You see religion in general and not just Christianity is full of it. People who see themselves as religious hold some values, but fail to understand what those values truly mean. For example, the issue of people who consider themselves to be Pro-Life. That is, people who call themselves Pro-Life as opposed to Pro-Choice. No more has there been such a divisive issue in the last 40 years, than the issue of abortion. People who feel it’s their place to tell women what they can do with their own bodies. Now this issue brings up quite a lot of hypocrisy, not only by the usage of the moniker ‘Pro-Life’ but merely in their ideology itself.

Pro-Lifers are typically conservative republicans who believe that government is bad, too big, and too over-stepping. People like this believe that government should be reduced to nothing more than a sign that says: Here sits the United States. There is nothing wrong with having an ideology, however outright hypocrisy leads to credibility problems, and such is the problem with the Pro-Lifers. Because anyone who believes government has no business telling citizens what they can do with their healthcare, their money, and their education, loses all credibility if they believe that same government should be legislating what a women should be able to do with her own body.

Friday, September 14, 2012

No Taxation Without Representation, or How The Republicans Intend To Steal The Election With Voter ID Laws

I haven’t blogged in a while because of how I have been feeling, but I thought it would be an interesting topic if I talked about the Voter ID laws going up in more conservative states around the country. The thing about the voter ID laws that gives me quite the chuckle is the fraudulent way in which these laws have been marketed to the American people. Being told that Voter ID laws are needed to stop the problem of voter fraud, a problem that really doesn't even exist.  With over 146 million registered voters in this country, in the last three elections there were just over 2,000 cases of alleged voter fraud. I say alleged fraud, because only about 400 of those cases actually involved voter registration fraud.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Right of The People To Not Be Shot: An Examination of The 2nd Amendment.

"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

Many people will look at this amendment and see that it clearly states that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Others will look at this same amendment and see that well regulated militia’s have the right to keep and bear arms. No matter what side of the debate you are on, I’m going to take a serious look at both arguments and examine why the question should not be “Why are they trying to take our guns away?” and instead be, “Why do you have the right to possibly shoot me?”

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises: A Worthy and Satisfying Conclusion

I've seen a lot of movies based on comic books over the years, and I've learned to spot the good stuff from the crap pretty easily. There seems to be a simple rule when making a good comic book film and that is that you need not only a great director, but a fan of the genre or specifically the hero of the comic the film is going to be based on. This is important, because to do otherwise is to show a disservice to the genre, and the fans who love it.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Why “The God Particle” Needs no God?

In 1964 a British physicist by the name of Peter Higgs along with many others wanted to explain the origin of mass in elementary particles. The Higgs mechanism as it’s called proposes that all particles gain mass through the interaction of a quantum field in space called the Higgs field. The elementary particles that are associated with this field are called Higgs boson.

In particle physics, particles are divided into two major groups, the fermions and the bosons. Fermions are particles that take up space and are often referred to as matter particles. Fermions cannot occupy the same quantum state, which means fermions cannot exist in the same space at the same time. Bosons are particles and are often referred to as force carrier particles and are in direct contrast to fermions because they can occupy the same spacetime.  Bosons are responsible for the interaction of the forces like gravity, the weak and strong nuclear forces, and electromagnetism.

The Higgs boson was proposed as a particle that was responsible for giving other particles mass and would have been responsible for all the matter in the universe today.  For the last 50 years scientists have been looking for the particle with no luck, but recently scientists at CERN in Geneva have announced that they have discovered the Higgs Boson.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thank you Kraft, A Corporation to be Proud of, for once.

In a truly brave and amazing statement Monday, Kraft maker of Oreo cookies posted a picture to their Facebook depicting an Oreo cookie stacked with the colors of the rainbow, the caption underneath reading:  June 25 | Pride.

Almost immediately the picture sparked a controversy, with comments in the thousands. Although most were positive, many of the religious right left comments talking of a boycott. I myself found it a wonderful statement by a corporation for once. I’m so used to seeing and hearing utter nonsense from the corporate world that to hear anything positive like this makes me think maybe it’s not too late after all. Maybe some corporations are worth a little redemption, and even if this is purely a PR stunt, it’s a good one and worthy of our support. For too long have the corporate world stood silent, with very few companies coming out in support of anything unpopular. Let’s face it folks, whether it’s right or wrong, unpopular things tend to leave certain people and companies as pariahs for making bold statements like this one in the past. Companies tend to stay out of this kind of thing because of that, and its high time we ask them to do a little more. Only when everyone who stands for civil rights, including the corporations, stands up against religious persecution from the right, can we as citizens truly live free.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Prometheus continued...

If you have not read my thesis on the film Prometheus, I recommend reading it first before reading this article. You can find it here.

I don’t really like to do this, but I felt it necessary after the comments I received in email, on the web, and through conversations with people. Not in a while has a movie been such a divisive topic of conversation as this one has, and never have I had so many people send me hate mail or praise me simultaneously before. So as I said, I don’t like to do this, but this article will continue my discussion of the film Prometheus.

First I want to say that since I released my thesis, I have received a lot of email on the subject as well as commentary for some things I have said, on this blog and on the web in general relating to the subject. I will try to fit as much of it in this article as I can so I don’t have to create a third part later to continue this discussion further.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Prometheus: An Amalgamate of Mythology, Religion, and Science-fiction, Worthy of a Second Look.

Before continuing, please note that this is a thesis that will contain spoilers to the film Prometheus and if you haven't seen the film yet, (What the hell is wrong with you?) you should see it first and then read this thesis.

A year ago when I heard Ridley Scott was making a prequel to the hit film Alien, I knew it was going to be spectacular. At that point I hadn't known yet what he would call it, but it didn't matter, as anything Ridley Scott makes, tends to be art meets science-fiction. So when I heard the name of the movie would be called Prometheus, I immediately knew that it was going to be something special.

Those who are unfamiliar with Greek mythology might not pick up on it, but the title immediately resonated with me, and I knew we would be seeing a creation story of some sort, though at this point little information about the film was available. So first a lesson on Greek mythology because it bares of some importance.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Corporate Interests, and 14 Years of DMCA Abuse

In 2005, Google submitted to the government of New Zealand a brief discussing that government's proposed copyright law. In that brief, Google noted that since the enactment of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998, 57% of all take-down requests were issued by corporations with competing products, and 37% of all requests were flat out not valid. Since that time those numbers have certainly only increased. In May of this year, Google began publishing it's DMCA take-down data in an act of transparency, with staggering results. Google responds to over 1.2 million requests a month, astounding numbers to say the least, but what should concern you is that more than half of those are invalid claims filed by competitors and more than a third are simply false claims. If we do the math on that, about 684,000 take-down requests each month are invalid because a company is trying to undermine another companies competing product and 444,000 take-down requests are completely false outright, having no valid copyright claim to begin with. These numbers of course are based entirely on the 2005 report issued by Google, although seven years later, those numbers will have surely increased, as all indications is that they would.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Windows 8, Oh How The Blunders Continue...

Just when you thought Microsoft couldn't make any more mistakes, the company has announced some new changes in its products that should make all its customers so much, happier. (Go on, feel the sarcasm!)

Microsoft has announced that effective immediately all products will feature a new End-User License Agreement (EULA) that denies plaintiffs the ability to file class action lawsuits against the company for any damages they might incur. Instead a person who has been wronged may sue in small-claims court, or seek arbitration in which Microsoft will make an offer to settle of $1,000, or pay whatever the arbitrator suggests, whichever amount is actually higher. The XBOX Live EULA has already seen this change made, but the first new product to feature the new EULA will be Windows 8.

It's kind of interesting to me that the first new product to feature this new EULA will be the product most people would likely want to file a class action lawsuit over. Seems like Microsoft is gearing for what they know to be a full on shitstorm after this piece of dogshit called "Windows 8" is released. Of course, Microsoft isn't the only company to feature such an agreement, as you may know AT&T have also included such agreements with their phone contracts. The purpose of class action lawsuits are so that average plaintiffs with a grievance against a corporation can stand a fighting chance. A corporation that is sure to have billions of dollars and hundreds of lawyers would be a daunting task for any average person to take on. Thus the class action lawsuit was designed to allow plaintiffs to pool resources together in order to bring claim against a corporation and stand a chance of winning in a court of law.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Malware 101: My Own Experiences and Successful Endeavors in The Removal of Shitware

I first want to explain that some of this article may contain some technical jargon, and I will try to explain as much of it as possible, and include links when I feel it is necessary. I apologize ahead of time for anything technical that cannot be easily explained or for which I felt no explanation was necessary.

Although the term spyware didn't make an official appearance until the year 2000, accounts of possible reporting software seem to have occurred in the early 90's. In a ZoneAlarm press release, the term found its footing and became synonymous with technology that could be used to report information secretly back to the software publisher. Although many software publishers were in fact doing this as a matter of analysis, the use of such software became a tool of malicious agents soon enough. Later that year, Steve Gibson of Gibson Research Corporation (GRC) found his own personal computer seemingly infected by two pieces of software that he didn't install himself, and could not be easily removed.

Gibson disassembled the software and was able to track it back to two companies Aureate and Conducent. Gibson alleges that these two companies had designed software that was capable of being installed in secret and able to report information about the user, his or her habits and the kinds of data that user kept on their computer, back to the companies. Although no proof of this could be ascertained, the allegations led security firms to begin looking into the problem, and the information world would never be the same.

Although there are many different types of malicious software out there and I will take some time to explain a few of them, none are more pervasive than spyware but for the purposes of simplifying things, I will refer to all of these kinds of software as malware, and only refer to them as their specific class when needed.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Why I am an Atheist (part five)

This is part five of this article, here you can find parts onetwothree and four.

Throughout this article I have tried to show justification for my thought process, through some of the events of my life as well as through some of the conclusions I have reached over the span of that life. I will now continue to show some of the causes for my way of thinking as well as try to sum up the rationale behind them.

Part V: The Perceptive Brain

I can't go about daily life without being bombarded by advertising, someone trying to sell cars, soft-drinks, or medication. We live in a world where someone is always trying to convince someone else to buy into the product they are selling. I understand the rationale behind it, but I fail to see how it is useful in changing a person's mind. I don't often see an advertisement for Pepsi and think to myself, "I'd love a Pepsi right now," or "I do prefer drinking coke, but this commercial makes me want Pepsi instead." I fail to see the reason in advertising products that we all know exist and have an already-established opinion on.

For example, if a person drives a four-door Honda Accord, I fail to see how a commercial advertising a GM truck is likely to make that person consider selling their Honda, and buying that GM. It makes little sense that a person who has driven such a car and enjoys the car they drive, evident by the fact they purchased the car in the first place, would be swayed by an advertisement offering them a different choice. It is certainly possible that a person could become disenfranchised with their purchase and seek an alternate choice, but its not likely that advertising a new car is more likely to sway their decision than simply seeing a vehicle at a dealership or driven by someone about town.

The same is true of many products. For example, I have been drinking coke for a long time and enjoy it, and I prefer it to Pepsi. It is unlikely that any kind of adverting would make me switch from a brand I have enjoyed my whole life to another based entirely on the opinions of someone else, and I believe this to be true of anyone. So it seems to me that any kind of advertising that involves an established product is seemingly useless.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Why I am an Atheist (part four)

This is part four of this article, here you can find parts one, two and three.

Part IV: The Elegant Universe

When I was a boy, I looked up at the sky and wondered about all the amazing things that could be out there, all the life that must fill our universe and how it was only a matter of time before we would find someone, somewhere, who would have all the answers to all the questions I could ever think to ask. Maybe the biggest questions that have plagued us as people, center on questions of our origins. Why are we here? Where did we come from? How can we come from nothing? How can the universe and everything in it come from nothing? These are not new questions, they have been around as long as people have existed.

Long before we had modern astrophysics and cosmology, theologians attempted to answer the questions of our origin. And although the answer invokes little mystery, such are the ways of the faithful. You may have heard the old adage, it takes more faith to be an atheist than it does to be a believer. This, of course is meant to point out a conflict that does not really exist. Believers maintaining that an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, deity creating the universe, betters explains the existence of everything, than the Big Bang, which came from nothing.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Why I am an Atheist (part three)

This is part three of this article, here you can find parts one and two.

Part III: Indoctrination, endemic of a delusional mind 

As children, we are bombarded constantly with an endless barrage of information. We tend to put a lot of trust in our parents as guardians of the truth. As I've said before, for children the world is a much smaller place than the one we as adults come to know. The mind of a child is much like the surface of a sponge, and like water to a sponge, information is the thing that fills the brain. But not all information is good information, in fact most information is probably bad information, and as children we have no real sense of this struggle of good and bad, for children all information has an equal footing.

To a child who has never seen a pot of boiling water, he or she could easily be convinced to place their hand in that pot even as steam is clearly seen emerging from its top. This isn't because children by nature are unintelligent, but rather ignorant to the world they are experiencing. It is incumbent upon us as adults and parents to educate our children to the good and the bad.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Why I am an Atheist (part two)

This is part two of this article, you can find part one by following this link.

Part II: The Imagined, the fantastic, the miraculous and the ridiculous

As a child, I spent a lot of time living in my imagination, as I think most children do. I had a lot of toys when I was young, in fact rarely did a Christmas or birthday go by without receiving a complete set of some kind of toy. One Christmas it was M.A.S.K, another Voltron, and one Christmas I even got the complete set of these little bug guys with antennae on their head, called Sectaurs. It was kind of curious because I didn't ask for them, in fact I had no clue what they were, but I took great delight in the use of them in scaring my mother. There was one bug toy in particular that comes to mind, it was a weird plastic bug thing with a few legs, antennae and pincers.

You would take one of the toy bug people and mount him to a saddle that rested on the back of this bug, and you would insert your hand down a black sock like cloth mechanism that was fitted on the underside and allowed your fingers to be inserted into the back of this bug's head. It allowed you to work the bug much like a puppet and two rings attached on the inside could be pulled to open and close the pincers. As I said, receiving these toys from my mother was weirdly curious, after all, she made no secret her distaste for insects, arachnids, reptiles, or amphibians. In fact, as I recall, if it wasn't human she didn't really like it at all.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Why I am an Atheist

In this article I will attempt to explain all the things that resulted in my opinion of religion, as well as try to defend my view as best as I can with hopefully well thought out arguments. First I want to say, that although I detest religion as it stands, it is a blight on what would otherwise be something special, I believe that as long as I argue for freedom, granting everyone the same rights, as a matter of law, and more so a matter of human decency, people should have the right to observe any religion they choose to, as long as that religion is not harmful.

For instance, if your religious beliefs dictate that once a day you pray to a toaster and eat ice cream while dancing, apart from the possible implications of eating ice cream every day, which include gaining weight, increasing your in-take of fat which could result in premature heart disease and maybe worse, after time a disapproval for ice cream altogether, I have no problem with it. Eat as much ice cream as you like, dance the night away, and pray to the shiniest toaster you can find. However, the second you criticize someone else, cause harm to someone else, or try to coerce someone else, all in the name of your religion, we have a problem.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Constitutional Erosion: Supreme Court rules, strip-search legal for any crime

If you have been reading my blog, you know I like to follow the US Supreme Court rulings very closely. While the highest court in our land is supposed to be the epitome of fairness and justice, never failing to uphold the constitution, this court seems more concerned with politics and partisanship than with the oath they swore to uphold.

"I, __ do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God."

When a Supreme Court Justice affirms this oath, they are swearing that they will put aside personal opinion, personal faith, and personal feelings, to only follow the letter of the law and defend the words of the Constitution of the United States of America. This isn't a joke, and it's not a game. This is the most powerful document this country has ever written, and it holds for all of us freedom and justice from tyranny. The justices of the supreme court are supposed to be the ultimate defenders of our liberties, protecting the rights of individuals, even when their decision to do so is an unpopular one. Being appointed to the Supreme Court is a lifetime appointment so popularity need not be a factor in making their decision, nor should political influence, religious zealotry, or personal bias.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Supreme Court Rules, Human Genes are NOT Property, Therefore Cannot Be Patented

In a landmark decision Monday, the US Supreme Court ruled that patents belonging to Myriad Genetics on genes linked to increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer, must be overturned. At stake was the idea that a company could isolate a human gene and patent it, a practice allowed for more than 30 years by the US Patent Office. But in a stunning decision by our highest court, the court ruled that simply isolating a gene does not diverge enough from what is natural law. The high court sent the case back to the lower courts to have them argue it out further.

Myriad like many companies who do this kind of work like to make the argument that patents are rewards for the research, and money that goes into this kind of work. The problem with this argument is that all the research in the world can go into deciphering the origins of universal mathematics, that doesn't mean that if you discover why Pi is so prevalent in the universe you get to claim ownership on it.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Last Offensive Volley of A Dying Empire

Last week, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced that all of the major Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the US had voluntarily agreed to a deal that would allow copyright holders more control over the ISP's customers. AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Cablevision, and Time Warner Cable, have all agreed to a “graduated response” to customers that are accused of downloading copyrighted works. Under this new system, copyright holders can inform the ISP that a particular IP address was used to download something and the ISP will take action from there.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Copying is Not Theft, its Evolution at Work

Nothing bugs me more than to hear a debate on copyright infringement, because someone inevitably tries to insist that copying is theft and that's why its illegal. You wouldn't allow someone to walk into a Walmart and steal a Compact Disc(CD), so why should you be allowed to steal a song off the Internet. The argument is as flawed as the entire intellectual property system. Copying is not theft, copying is evolution at work.

When we talk about copying, we are really talking about replication. Replication is a process by which something is duplicated, leaving the original unchanged, and allowing the duplicate copy to advance. This process is not to be taken lightly. It's a process which is responsible for all life on this planet, and if life exists elsewhere in the universe, chances are, its because of replication. Replication is as fundamental to the computer as it is to humans.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Yahoo, an Example of Everything that is Wrong with Intellectual Property

On Monday giant tech flop, Yahoo! decided to make good on their threat by suing Facebook for patent infringement. This isn't the first time, and will certainly not be the last time Yahoo! does this. In 2004, Yahoo! sued tech company giant, Google. Google settled the case by giving Yahoo! 2.7 million shares, which Yahoo! immediately sold. Although in 2004, Yahoo! seemed to have a legitimate case against Google, this case against Facebook is considered by most as a huge pile of shit. Yahoo! is essentially claiming that Facebook is infringing on several patents that have to do with ad placement on a web page. I'm not kidding, this is a real case, filed in a California court by Yahoo!, contending that Facebook pay them damages in the millions for placing ads on their site. The worst part is if Yahoo! wins this case, it gives them the legal precedence to go after any site that displays ads on a page. Now personally I hate web ads, so in a way I wouldn't mind seeing this case go all the way with a win on Yahoo!'s side, it would change the way sites monetize, since most of the ad revenue would likely go to pay some kind of licensing fee to Yahoo!, in effect reducing the use of ads altogether. However, another part of me thinks, “this is some retarded bullshit.”

Friday, March 9, 2012

FBI Director Compares Hacker Group Anonymous to 9/11 Terrorists

Well, it was only a matter of time. In 2001, as a response to the attacks on 9/11, your Congress wrote into law a piece of legislation that would be used to slowly erode the rights secured to you under the United States Constitution, called the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act (US PATRIOT ACT). In 2002, they further strengthened their strangle hold on its citizens by passing the Homeland Security Act, forming a Government establishment of control of all parts of law enforcement under one single organization, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This law created under the guise of national security, allows the DHS to enforce upon american citizens oppression like never before. Ordinary citizens can have their freedoms, secured by the US Constitution, summarily violated without probable cause and without a warrant. The Patriot Act allows the US Government to search and seize Americans' papers and effects without probable cause to assist in a terror investigation, a direct violation of the IV Amendment of the US Constitution. It further allows the Government to jail Americans indefinitely without a trial, another direct violation of the US Constitution, Amendment VI. The list goes on and on, but maybe the worst offense is the right of your Government to silence free speech. That's right contained within the Patriot Act is a provision that allows the Government to prosecute librarians or keepers of any other records if they tell anyone the Government subpoenaed information related to a terror investigation. This is in direct violation of Amendment I of the US Constitution, maybe the most important freedom we have, the right to speak freely and openly without Government intrusion or censorship.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Kirk Cameron is an Ignorant Douchebag

On Piers Morgan Tonight, Cameron declares that Homosexuality is unnatural. Of course he must not actually know what that means, or he wouldn't have said it. Human Beings didn't appear one day out of the blue. We evolved over time, coming from...NATURE. 

Yes we humans, in fact, all animals come from Nature, therefore we are natural and anything we do is also, Natural. Natural is defined as existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind. Humans didn't invent homosexuality. I'm sure had someone invented it, it would have been patented and licensed out to people, but that's another issue. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Windows 8 Consumer Preview, Just a Tad Shinier Than The Previous Turd

So hopefully everyone who is reading this has already read my previous blog entry on Windows 8, where I sighted my numerous complaints. If you haven't read it please check it out, its entitled Why Windows 8 Will Fail, at Least In the Desktop Market...

Okay so now that I've gotten that out of the way, yesterday in Barcelona, Microsoft released its consumer preview of Windows 8. Immediately people started scrambling to get the download as fast as possible before the servers get clogged. The ISO is over 3GB, however Microsoft provided a nice little alternative to that in the form of an in-place upgrade install tool. The tool basically looks at what you have installed and only downloads and installs what is necessary to give you the consumer preview update. It's a very small file, took seconds to download.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Social Media Tracking. How the U.S. Government is Spying on You.

We've probably all heard the stories. Don't say certain words on the phone when talking to someone, because the  Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will show up at your door uninvited. Well its not likely those rumors are actually true, though not many would actually test such a thing. It's a little like standing in the mirror and saying "Bloody Mary" three times, everyone gets to the second one, but stops before the third. Why take a chance, you know? Well when it comes to FBI wiretapping, with a warrant, either issued as part of an open criminal investigation, or a FISA warrant requiring you meet certain guidelines of being involved in espionage, this kind of story seems silly. In Katz vs. United States, 1967, the United States Supreme Court ruled regardless of the location, a conversation is protected from unreasonable search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment if it is made with a “reasonable expectation of privacy”. So unless you fall under the two categories I've already specified, you can expect your conversations on the telephone to be private.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Anonymous Hacker Group Announces Plan to Shut Down the Internet on March 31, but Can They?

You may have heard of a group of hackers who hit the seen back in 2003 calling themselves Anonymous. Although much of their time was spent in secret, in 2008 they starting creating a fuss by using distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks to take down major corporate websites. Since then, they have begun a campaign that targets major corporations in a fight against piracy and governments who align themselves with these corporations. On January 19, 2012, one day after the major internet blackout against SOPA, the Justice Department and FBI raided the offices of MegaUpload and shut them down. Anonymous retaliated by taking down the websites of the Justice Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Universal Music Group and Broadcast Music, Inc. Very quickly these sites were brought down with a relentless assault of packets, an attack that lasted days.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Why Windows 8 Will Fail, at Least In the Desktop Market...

Well many of you are probably windows users, in fact estimates are that around 90% of all computers are running Microsoft Windows. Of that, nearly 50% of users are still using Windows XP. That means 50% of users are using Windows Vista, Windows 7, and even older versions like Windows 2000 or maybe something even earlier. If average consumers are anything, its frugal. Most consumers take a "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" attitude, especially when it comes to something that is so expensive. The Operating System (OS) can cost 30% or more of the purchase price of a computer. Early adoption of these OSes by consumers is nearly impossible, most consumers opt to stay with what they are comfortable with, even after support has long since expired. This is probably the reason why most users are still using Windows XP today over ten years after it was introduced to consumers, its easy to use, requires little training, its very stable, and runs almost any application you throw at it. It's also full of security issues, is a major target for attack by hackers and exposes you to the world with almost no protection built in. A firewall was included with it at release but hidden to the average person, and not even enabled by default until a later service pack release. Although still considered a security risk, a well hardened Windows XP machine is still considered one of the most stable platforms to run.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Why I Think Women Make Better Song Writers

I find myself listening to a lot of music and very often my musical taste seems to lean more toward the female singer-songwriters. It had never really occurred to me why, so I started to really think about it for a while.

Music is designed to connect to us on an emotional level, it tends to make us feel things we rarely experience or maybe experience too much. It invokes in us emotions we often don't feel or choose to ignore. Music becomes very personal to each one of us, a song meaning one thing to one person and something different to another. And naturally this is the domain of women, not to say that men are emotionless, far from it.

We all share the same emotions, but social norms accept an emotional female while a male showing emotion is considered contemptuous. Men and Women accept that women are emotional creatures, sometimes crying on a whim at the sight of a new born baby, newlywed bride, or the death of a fictional character in a movie. Women are comfortable with themselves and with their emotions, something most men are not.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Everything is a Remix

Everything is a Remix is a documentary by filmmaker Kirby Ferguson.

In part one of the series he examines bands like Led Zeppelin and hip-hop artists of the 80's who made millions of dollars by sampling or remixing other peoples creative works.

In part two he delves deep into the film industry and shows that most films today are derivative works of the past, copied sometimes scene by scene. He dedicates most of the second part to examining the film Star Wars, which gets most of its material from the old Flash Gordon serials of the 1930's and Akira Kurosawa films. He also talks at some length about modern Hollywood films sticking to the idea of genres.

In part three he talks about how many of our modern inventions are copies of previous works. He spends a lot of time talking about Apple's extensive copying of the works of a company called Xerox to create it's own personal computer and modern graphical user interface.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Ulcers, Ulcers, Ulcers, I Hate Them.

As some of you know I have Crohn's disease. If you're interested in knowing what it is just click on that link. But rather than complain about everything that sucks about that disease, I just want to complain about the one thing that is pissing me off right now. Well actually I have many things happening that are pissing me off right now to be fair, but one in particular that really annoys the shit out of me.

One of the many problems with the disease is it causes ulcerations to the tissue anywhere along the digestive tract, the means from your mouth to your anus. It also can cause them on your skin. Right now I have probably a dozen of them in my mouth and it really is causing me a lot of grief. It's very difficult to eat, drink, or even swallow without causing pain. I have at least one deep in my mouth under my tongue that is really driving me crazy.  I tried to take some pictures of them to show you but its hard for me to get a good shot of them so I'm including some examples of what they look like at the bottom of the page.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Supreme Court Rules Congress Can Re-Copyright Public Domain Works

When I first heard this, I thought it was simply a joke. It makes absolutely no sense.

The court ruled on a petition by a group of orchestra conductors, educators, performers, publishers and film archivists who urged the justices to reverse an appellate court that ruled against the group, which has relied on artistic works in the public domain for their livelihoods.

The court, however, sympathetic to the plaintiffs’ argument said Congress’ move to re-copyright the works to comport with an international treaty was more important.

The works in question became public domain in the United States long ago. In 1994, Congress adopted legislation to move the works back into copyright, so U.S. policy would comport with an international copyright treaty known as the Berne Convention.

Monday, February 6, 2012

How DRM/Copy Protection Do Not Stop Piracy but Hurt Honest Consumers

Sometime ago in a futile attempt to control the content consumers purchased, companies pressured by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and others began including something new with their purchases. They called it Digital Rights Management (DRM). Often this was software that consumers would have to install on their computers with no choice, in order to play the purchased content.

Very often this software is badly written, so bad, in fact that consumers who are not tech savvy are simply unable to use the product they have legally purchased. In some cases, like the famous Sony DRM rootkit debacle, DRM was installed on consumers computers that was essentially malware. It was a a copy protection scheme that could not be seen or removed and made it much harder to play the music people had legally purchased. And because it was a rootkit, it could be exploited quite easily allowing nefarious users the ability to install malware and hide it within the rootkit, creating a security nightmare. If not for the efforts of Mark Russinovich we may have never even known about it.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Collecting Every American's Digital Data For Submission To The Federal Government Without A Warrant Act of 2011

Well apparently Representative Lemar Smith of Texas was dropped several times on his head as a baby, its the only thing that explains the shit he tries to pass through the House of Representatives. You know this guy the one who sponsored the "Stop Online Piracy Act" (SOPA). Well he's at it again with a new bill called and you will love this "Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011" or H.R. 1981. This bill is some serious shit folks, although it purports to help protect children by collecting data on child pornographers, its way more insidious than that. BTW if you think this has anything to do with child pornography you are seriously in what Bill Maher describes as the bubble.

The Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011 (H.R. 1981) is a bill designed to facilitate the enforcement of laws relating to the prosecution of child pornography.

So now we have established that's what they want you to think. What does it really do?

Corporate Sponsored Censorship of Your Internet

You know since this whole SOPA/PIPA thing came about I started thinking about censorship and how it has started to invade our lives. When those who had settled here freed themselves from the Tyranny of British rule, it was with the belief that a free and open society was better than one where a ruler sought to control the freedom of information and of its people's rights. They believed that whatever they did it would have to be better than what they had left behind. 

There have been a lot of arguments from people that the First Amendment is not absolute that the framers would have never intended that. Let's examine that for a moment. Remember that these people were oppressed from speaking the truth in both written form and speech as well they had no ability to petition their government for grievances. People who are generally oppressed this way want something different, they don't want something a little different but usually they want the very things they believe they have a right to as a living being who thinks. 

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