All a man needs out of life is a place to sit ‘n’ spit in the fire.

Author: Jim (Page 1 of 50)

Father of 4, Engineer, Social Worker, longtime blogger, #linux user. Opining on the internet? What else is it for?

Climate Denying – And Why You Should Put that Donut Down

I turned it off after his third logical fallacy. The one that’s easiest to point out is the following:

Because human production of CO2 is minuscule in comparison to naturally occurring CO2, we are not responsible for global warming.

Put the donut down, Steve, and step away from the counter.

I think that’s a formal fallacy called a non-sequitur, that is, the statement conclusion does not logically follow the premise.

Steve is either very ignorant or very dishonest. Since he leads with his numerous academic achievements, I’m going to suggest he is being dishonest, but for the sake of the ignorant, I will explain why he is oh so wrong.

In this case the premise is correct, human activity is minimal compared to natural sources of CO2, but it does not absolve humanity or human activity as the culprit in our current predicament.

That donut you just put in your pie hole doesn’t represent the bulk of your daily caloric intake either, Steve. In fact, it’s just an eighth of the average daily caloric requirement. But if you go over that, by eating that donut, Steve, consuming 250-300 calories or so extra from what would be your normal weight maintaining diet, you’re going to get fat, Steve.

It’s not nature, Steve. You ate that donut.

In a year, one might gain 20 pounds. A steady weight the year previously, is upended when calories consumed exceeds calories expended. It didn’t just happen. That human-made, not naturally occurring donut made of (carbon) upset the balance and made you fat.

You got fat, Steve, because you ate a donut every day.

His other points are equally egregiously wrong, especially the warming for 400 years one. Again, he’s deliberately deceiving the public. He doesn’t believe this stuff; there’s no way anybody could be that stupid.

Unexpected “My Cousin Vinny”

“Breaking 234 years of precedent, the incumbent administration has charged President Trump for acts that lie not just within the ‘outer perimeter,’ but at the heart of his official responsibilities as President,” Trump’s lawyers wrote in the filing. “In doing so, the prosecution does not, and cannot, argue that President Trump’s efforts to ensure election integrity, and to advocate for the same, were outside the scope of his duties.”

“Let me remind the defendant that this court does not work for the administration of President Joe Biden. We serve in the judicial branch which, let me remind the defendant again, is a co-equal branch of government like the li’l ol’ Congress.

“Secondly, election integrity is the purview of the the States. State’s rights, remember those? It was written in the Constitution that elections should be wholly the business of the states.

The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.

Article I, Section 4, Clause 1:

“Do you see the president mentioned there? Now, if the next words out of your mouth are Joe Biden or election integrity, I’m gonna hold you in contempt.”

Why Would Anybody Ever Leave the Pack?

Our dog, Lucy, seems confused and anxious. She’s taken to never ever letting us out of her sight. If we leave the room to go wherever, she follows us. If we leave the house, she whines. She’s aging, so we understand. Maybe she’s just getting a little anxious. I don’t know though. Her behavior seems purposeful and deliberate.

“I think she’s worried about people disappearing,” I said. “Olaia, left for college, and is now on her own. Jaimito is in his third year of university. Javier just left this summer. Our household is down to just Asier, Laura, and me now. There used to be 6 of us, now we’re down to 3. And Asier is at school during the day.

“I think she thinks something is wrong, and she’s worried we keep disappearing. Why would anybody ever leave the pack, she wonders? The pack is where family is. It’s warm and safe and comfortable. It’s where you have your friends. It’s where you get foodies. It’s where you get pets and love. WHY WOULD ANYBODY EVER LEAVE THE PACK?!?!?!

“Someone is taking them!

“So I think she’s worried something is happening to us. There are three people missing. What is going on here?! Where did they go?!?!? I better keep my pack close to make sure nothing happens to them, she seems to say.”

Mark Meadows is Looking for Comfort in the Federal Courts?

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/mark-meadows-in-ga-court-time-with-donald-trump-was-challenging/ar-AA1fSFUE

So let me get this straight, Mark Meadows, Donald Trump’s former Chief of Staff, seeks to change his court case from a wholly GOP controlled Georgia State jurisdiction, to a Federal one. I thought these 50 states were where the GOP found its power, where the rights of the people lived, and where the deep state doesn’t penetrate.

He wants his court case heard at the Federal level because why? Isn’t the Federal government the big bad for these people? Why would he flee his GOP friends at the state level and put his fate in the hands of the “deep state.”

Well, yeah, I know, they don’t believe in the deep state either, but the rhetorical question is just too juicy.

A Person with an Opinion

I was speaking with someone a while back, trying to get to the crux of the wrongness of the assertions that the election was stolen, the covid vaccine is harmful, and the mainstream media is lying about it.

So I told a story. I told the story about how back in 2002/2003, I knew that Saddam Hussein didn’t have weapons of mass destruction. Credible sources trotted out evidence, and the main stream media had agreed. World governments agreed. Saddam could come for the US next with his weapons of mass destruction. That’s why we had to go in and fight a war.

I had watched in the years leading up to this, countless inspectors finding nothing. I had watched the brinksmanship, the back and forth; did they have access; didn’t they have access. I didn’t know anyone on the team. I didn’t know anybody from the intelligence agencies. I had no access to any first hand data about the situation.

I knew in my gut that Saddam had nothing and the war was a lie.

“Without data you’re just a person with an opinion.”

W Edward Deming

My correct selection of “black” on the roulette wheel was no indication of my credibility. It was no guarantee on future outcomes. It was not even an indication of any probable future outcomes.

I moved the needle exactly nowhere. Sure, I made a correct assertion, but with no data, no evidence, and no basis whatsoever.

Practice it with me. Don’t trust me in any capacity. I have no insight. I have an opinion based on nothing. I could be wrong.

The Open Internet is Back. The Fediverse is Here

When Facebook/Twitter/Google+ et al, showed up they published open interchange formats. Facebook’s messenger chat was XMPP, which meant you could use your own IM client to communicate with your contacts.

A company or individual could publish directly to their Facebook page from their website. Then, little by little they closed off all that 3rd party functionality. You now could only publish from their platform. Your own website could no longer be the hub of your communications. You can pull data from social media sites, but you can’t push. These social media sites wanted you engaged on their platform only. And why wouldn’t they. They can’t monetize you if you’re not there, can they?

Now, Mastodon (and others) come along with #ActivityPub. Public utilities, FEMA, weather service, local services etc, could publish to a regional mastodon instance, funded perhaps by the local municipality or province. This interchange format isn’t beholden to one company, and your channel of communications could be funded with public money and be maintained as part of jurisdiction’s emergency response.

I hated that Twitter was the default for important public services.

It’s ready right now. All that is required is some forward thinking agency to set up their own instance.

But it gets even better. There’s even an #ActivityPub plugin for #Wordpress? https://wordpress.org/plugins/activitypub/

WordPress runs 44% of the web. Every single one of those websites could publish on the #Fediverse right now.

What does it mean? It means your website right now could publish to the public Fediverse and be found and followed by any user on any instance in the world without having to repost your information to a private company’s website.

This brings a few benefits. A decentralized platform is infinitely more resilient to censorship and bad behavior by a private corporation. You cannot be monetized of manipulated by corporations and their algorithm.

Are Google/Facebook/Twitter good stewards of privacy? Do they protect the identities of dissidents when their governments come for them? Do they protect you?

I’m telling you, Elon’s meltdown may be the best thing for re-exposing people to what an open internet looks like. Let’s not screw this up again, okay?

To Peel a Mango

This morning, I was faced with the task of preparing a bowl of fresh mangoes. Mangoes are some of the tastiest and finest fruits anyone will ever eat. Yet, I hesitated. I wish they would just appear in the bowl ready to eat. Eating them is the fun part. The effort, it seems to me, is nearly identical to the enjoyment, that is to say, enjoyment nudges out effort by only a smidge. Let’s get to it then, I sighed, resigned to the task.

It may seem simple. It’s fruit. How hard could it be? I assure you, to peel a mango is a difficult thing, so difficult, in fact, that I believe it to be an excellent measure of a person.

I have talked to country folk in Puerto Rico. I have watched Youtube videos. I have tried different kinds of peelers, knifes, and widgets. This is a test, the kitchen’s version of the Kobayashi Maru from Star Trek. How do you function in a no-win scenario?

If you want to see what kind of person someone is, whether they may be a potential mate or friend, ask them to peel a mango. They will fail, and it is in their failure you will find out who they are.

I have been peeling mangoes for 25 years, and I still struggle nearly every time. They are slippery. They are messy. They resist process. They resist technique. The knife must be razor sharp, your fingers nimble, your grip delicate. You don’t know where the pit is. It could be shallow. It could be deep. How could such a heavy fruit have so little flesh? They foil you in unique and frustrating ways EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

If you want to find out how a person is when they fail, ask them to peel a mango.

If you want to see how a person plans, ask them to peel a mango.

If you want to see if a person is open to new things, is curious or adventurous, ask them peel a mango.

If you want to find out if someone is a good sport, ask them to peel a mango.

If you want to see how perseverate a person is, ask them peel a mango.

It is all there, contained within the mango, the truest test of a human being I can imagine.

Also, If you want to find out why is yucca healthier than potato, read on.

Buses Out of Texas

This is the governor of Texas in his own words.

“To help local officials whose communities are being overwhelmed by hordes of illegal immigrants who are being dropped off by the Biden administration, Texas is providing charter buses to send these illegal immigrants who have been dropped off by the Biden administration to Washington D.C.,” he said.

So I have a few questions. I didn’t know it was possible to bus a horde. But, bravo, Gov, I like your can-do solution to being overwhelmed. A bus is cheap. easy, not complicated, and it will get these brave desperate people to someone who can help them.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a press briefing that the people arriving in D.C. have all been processed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, “so it’s nice the state of Texas is helping them get to their final destination as they await the outcome of their immigration proceedings.”

Asylum seekers are not undocumented or “illegal” as they have committed no infraction and are, in fact, in the process of obtaining a legal status.

Penne

Family at the grocery story today.

“Hey Asier, do you think we should get penne pasta for tonight?”

“Ay papi, it sounds wrong when you say it.”

I had said “penne” (from Italian) like the word “pene” (from Spanish), which means penis. Asier picked up on it and let me know.

“Papi, in Italian, you say the double n like this payn-nay.”

“Oh, yeah?” I repeated it. “Payn-nay. Payn-nay. Thank you Asier. You know so much, my little Italian boy!”

Vaccine Spam and Bad Actors

If anyone has any doubt about the veracity of these anti-vaccine conspiracies going around, I can assure you they are pure unadulterated lies. These are not well meaning, but misinformed, people who really believe these things and just “want to help.” These are malevolent forces, bad actors actively trying to sow discord in the US. Probably other places as well, but I can tell you definitively about what I see in the US.

My day to day job is running communications and web infrastructure for a wide variety of clients – email, web, messaging. This means that I am privy to the attacks that happen, the attempts to sell pharmaceuticals, scam you out of bitcoin, steal money, phish identities – you name it, I’ve seen it for going on 25 years now.

Currently, there is a concerted effort to undermine people’s faith in government, public health, and society. I will share one example here in image form, because I do not want to give it any visibility to search engines.

excerpt of the body of a website comment form spam

The rest of the body contains various links to a google drive account with hundreds of meme-ready images to share on social media professing to the myth that the Covid-19 vaccines somehow shed live viruses to other people, something called vaccine shedding. If you want a quick history of this and to see if there is any truth at all, read the wikipedia article.

In short, there are no modern live virus vaccines in use. So virus shedding is not a thing, okay? It was only partially a thing with the oral version of the polio vaccine in the 1950s.

Why are they posting this stuff, you might ask. Why work so hard to hunt down and post contact form, email, website spam?

Why would someone anyone do this?

Let me be clear, these are not concerned citizens “trying to get the word out.” These people, organizations, state actors are paid to spread this misinformation. Based on the webserver logs, I show that between 50% and 85% of all traffic to websites that I host and maintain is coming from China, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and Belarus.

There is no content I host that would interest any individuals in those places. The only interesting bit to them is that these sites are hosted using WordPress, the single most popular content management software in the world. It’s popular and predictable, so it draws in bad actors trying to foment discord and steal money.

This the reason that captchas exist, folks, in addition to all the behind the scenes stuff – mitigation techniques that attempt to weed out automated spam posts. Sometimes, however, it’s just people being paid to post stuff.

And someone is getting paid to do this.

If you are disposed to believe these sorts of posts, please understand that these people are not your friends. They are not aligned with you politically or spiritually. They are manipulating you for nefarious ends. They are attempting to undermine your faith in the rule of law, public health, science. What they gain is a divided country, hobbled both politically and economically.

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