• Category Archives Deep Thoughts
  • Not Dead Yet

    No, not dead yet. Just in stasis. Job change, am no longer running to DC every day not working in a vault all the time, and much better company, some neat operations. Maybe more later. Lots of new vehicle news, some big projects. House-work, some camping…

    But for today – HOMEWORK. Decide if my arguments are valid or not!

    1. AntiFa = Nazi: Both are nominally left-wing offshoots of Marxism. And the recent political problems stem from the desire to denigrate or disown one over the other, if you don’t want to be branded a Racist or some other irrelevant term.
    2. Universal Basic Income = Sports Participation Award: Show up, have a pulse, get free stuff saying you’re great and deserve recognition. It’s the next step after taxpayer-supported health care, except with the health care, you don’t need a pulse. Or to vote either, for that matter.
    3. Tearing down monuments of Confederates/slaveholders (not always the same) = ISIS: ISIS decided to tear down historical statues/monuments/carvings because they didn’t like them (nominally religions reasons). Someone (next paragraph) thinks it’s a good idea to tear down long-standing monuments (think Stone Mountain), statues, and carvings, because they represent something they don’t like (Southern independence or slavery). In the meantime, they’re actively trying to change history. Interestingly, it’s their own history they’re destroying. See Democrats, Reconstruction, KKK, etc.
    4. Corollary: There are a number of former legislators who were on the side of the KKK and other terrorist-like organization (used terror to achieve political goals). Are the Democrats/Media/AntiFa/etc. willing to disown them, tear down their monuments, rename their buildings, etc?
    5. (Referenced 3) Just who is it that’s decided that all of these statues/monuments/carvings are suddenly an anathema to common sense and a threat to their freedom? The only folks I’m seeing who don’t like these are a few scarce politicians and the talking heads of the Main Stream Media (foo, spit). And some of the crazies in Q.1.

    Assignment submissions are due next Monday by noon.

    Till then, have a good weekend and keep your head down!


  • Long Silence

    Sorry for the lack of posting, it may keep up for a while.

    I started blogging on a dare, and kept it up as a form of therapy. Job and personal frustration taken out in an expressive form.

    But life always changes. We have a new President, with lots of potential (and not the baggage of the competitor).

    The job I took in March has evolved and I’m eyeball-deep in technical work and travel. I may actually accumulate enough points flying to get some free trips at this rate.

    Health is very good now a year post-surgery. Weight is a stable 170 lbs and I feel great.

    The Zombie Truck is doing fine, nothing exciting there. The RV is also doing well, Wife and I are spending another weekend out on the road. More on that later. And I think I’ve finally gotten the BMW beaten into submission. Big problems were caused by mis-wired oxygen sensors. Harness was swapped left-for-right. But that fouled the catalytic converters, throwing another code. Rebuilt the driver’s seat using parts from three seats. Good seat pads, motor/frame assembly, and leather skins.

    But with all the work and travel, blogging will be infrequent from here on out. Don’t be surprised. But don’t give up, I’m still out there lurking on your blogs (but not commenting), reading your new books, and staying behind the scenes keeping up with life in general. And you’ve got an open invite to visit if you wind up in the DC/Maryland area…

  • No Penalty Clause

    One issue of a long drive to/from work is time to think. Lots of thinking every day, about three hours or so. And after all the hooraw going on, I’ve come up with another Deep Thought.

    A lot of our social and political problems nowadays are caused because there is No Penalty Clause. Think about it. At a high level, those of us who’ve had or dealt with kids: what happens when you do not impose immediate and meaningful punishment on a child who has misbehaved? You only encourage more of that behavior. And the child expands their behavior to see what else they can get away with. Same with animal training – you reinforce the behavior you want, and punish for inappropriate behavior. It works, trust me.

    So now:

    We do not punish people who have children out of wedlock – we encourage it with subsidized abortions and abortifacts, and give good money and other freebies to those who do carry to term but cannot afford or won’t work to support that child.

    We have given up on punishing people who treat their bodies like chemical waste dumps – we do everything socially and medically to extend their reduced and painful lives.

    We do not punish the people who encouraged and abetted high-risk home and auto loans – we bail out the lending institutions and allow refinancing of the loans with government backing.

    We do not punish the auto manufacturing companies that could not compete in the market because of their debts to the unions (that they voluntarily crawled in bed with) – we bail them out with taxpayer money and short the company investors. Which also allows them to escape massive recalls which they avoided prior to their reorganization.

    We do not capture and punish the morons who drive off-road motorcycles and quads on the city streets – we do not chase them because it’s too dangerous (to who is it dangerous?). However, if there’s a car chase, we’re all about showing it live on TV.

    We don’t punish the protestors that block the highways and freeways, destroying businesses like a swarm of locust – we encourage them by withholding the police (that they are protesting) and giving them “safe places” to protest.

    We don’t go in and punish the splodey-dopes – we give their country more money and/or encourage more of them to come into our nice countries because theirs is such a sh!t-hole.

    We do not punish those who refuse to use government email accounts (they’re too complicated) and lie about why they’re used – we encourage them to run for President.

    We do not punish those who run their political party into the ground, badmouthing the candidates who are not favored, and supporting those who are not favored – we give them better jobs (think Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, ex-DNC Chair, now a Clinton employee).

    We no longer kick our unloved politicians from office to return to their practice/farm/business (at least not one that sucks off the taxpayer’s teat) – those individuals are now Government Employees With Agendas with near perpetual hands in our pockets, if not as a legislator, as a consultant or lobbyist.

    And the pundits wonder why Bernie and The Don have made it this far. We’re fed up with the status quo and want real Change, not the change left in our pockets from the last umpty-dozen years of politicians who don’t leave office when they’re done.

  • July 4th, Independence Day. July 5th, the Day it Died

    My Wife and I are P-O’ed. My one or two readers know that I work in some strange areas, like others that I’ve associated with in the blog-world. Wife does similar work. So we’ve had clearances out the wazoo for a long time. There’s a lot of trust that has been given us over the years, the government trusts us to protect some of our Nation’s most valuable information. We’ve given up a number of our freedoms when we accepted the responsibilities.

    But today, all of that has been thrown away, thanks to Hillary Clinton. Somehow, the Director of the FBI, James Comey, twisted multiple laws to state that Hillary did not “intend” to put the information that she and her gang of thieves had access to, at risk of theft or misuse.

    Sorry, it doesn’t wash. So, let the memes begin:

    The drunk driver did not “intend” to hit the car full of orphaned children.

    Ted Kennedy did not “intend” to drown Mary Jo Kopechne when he failed to rescue her from his drunken crash into the creek.

    The truck driver in Arizona watching porn on his tablet while driving did not “intend” to kill the folks that he hit.

    OJ Simpson did not “intend” to kill his ex-wife.

    The list goes on…

    When will the madness stop?


  • Father’s Day

    Hi Dad. Happy Father’s Day.

    Yes, I miss you. It’s been over two years since you passed away. I hope you know that I was planning on stopping to visit only a few weeks before you died, and I regret missing the opportunity to see you.

    I want to thank you for the opportunities that you gave me, my sister, and step-brother, and hope that we’ve made you proud.

    I want to let you know that I think of you often, especially when I go to the garage and use the tools that I saved from your shop: tools that you used many times and have worn a patina on.. And when I walk by your old work desk, and china cabinet full of your old shooting trophies.

    Yes, I miss you. And hope that you are happy and at peace.

    Happy Father’s Day, one and all.

    And OldNFO, thanks again for letting me post about Dad on your blog. I’ve grown up and got one of my own now, but thanks anyway…

  • Decision Time

    Well, time I must make a life-altering decision. I’ve got five resumes that are up for review for Government positions at various places around the US as well as an opportunity to rejoin an old company I left a few years ago, doing the same work as previously, but in a different location in the Midwest US.


    I just got a call from a company I know of, had worked with their employees previously. Interview next Friday. Have been recommended for the position by the GS-15 that I used to support from several years ago. And the office does some REALLY NEAT STUFF.

    The work: The Gov jobs would be mostly doing what I’ve been doing – Information Assurance (IA) for DoD systems. The new opportunity would take me out of IA and into a more challenging field doing more system security analysis, working with lots more people, lots more travel.

    The locations: Four of five Gov positions would be out of state (NC, TX, AZ, NV) along with the Midwest one (about two hours away from OldNFO and others). One Gov in DC area, and the new one in DC as well.

    The stimulation: Where I’m at is a non-player. Not stimulating at all. The Gov positions would be more stimulating, more challenging. The Midwest job would be back to a grind I’d left but new area. The new opportunity – big challenge and learning curve.

    I’ve wanted to move out-of-state but Wife has just started in DC area, good money, excellent position, but a long commute for her.

    Option for us to split households is there, but I hate to do that to my Wife, and it crimps the budget some.

    I’m tired of waiting for Gov positions to decide, but if I went Gov, I’d have the option of recovering time I’d spent in USAF towards retirement, and other Gov benefits (Big BX?). Contractor position pays more than most of the Gov positions.

    I’d love to get out of Maryland, but it’d be a tougher commute from NoVA to the new site.

    My initial inclination is Suck It Up, move closer to DC, take the new position doing more challenging work, and quit kvetching about Maryland.

    But turning down the benefits of Gov, that’s the killer if one ever came through. Taking this new opportunity and then bailing would burn some serious (GS-15 level) bridges.

    And I’m too old to keep jumping positions, I need to settle down and plan towards retirement (10-15 years or so).


  • Veterans Day 2015

    Well, Veterans Day this year was uneventful, in that I went to work to bank the holiday time for a later date. But I made some breakthroughs on my email server external connections.

    The big thing I think of this day is my family’s service in the military, of which I am very proud. All of my family members that have served, served in the US Army. I’m the oddball having served in the USAF. Oh well.

    Of my kids (through my wife’s first marriage), two of the three served in the Army. Our older son did six years working electronics and tank maintenance. Our daughter recently retired from the army after 19-1/2 years (medical with full bennies), and her husband is still in the Army doing special stuff. One of my wife’s siblings was killed in Vietnam two weeks before coming home, also US Army.

    My paternal grandfather was old enough to have served in WWI though I don’t know where or what capacity. My father served in WWII in the European Theater toward the end of the war, and I’ve discussed home both here and on OldNFO’s blog (when he passed away). I have a number of my father’s mementos, including medals and a gen-u-wine German Navy high-ranking-officer desert campaign hat in near-perfect condition. My maternal grandfather stayed in the States during WWII, but he was a MD and worked in the hospital patching up the Soldiers coming back for repair. Unfortunately, I don’t have any of his mementos, though I need to check on that.

    Years ago my Dad made me a beautiful wooden case that holds three generations of dog tags: His dad’s WWI-vintage circular tag on top with a hole in the back of the case to see the back of the tag, Dad’s tag in the middle, very much like our modern tags, and my tag at the bottom of the three. I’d love to post a picture, but as you can imagine, just a little too much personal information there.

    Lots of folks have posted about Veterans Day. All I can say is Thank You for what you have done, and hope that you remember the Oath that you took when you entered the service. It may mean a lot in the future.

  • Another Insurance Thought

    So, I’m recovering nicely from bariatric surgery, down nearly 15 lbs since the operation. I’m fortunate that though I was technically morbidly obese, it was just barely morbidly, more like significantly obese. A combination of weight, family medical history, and encroaching diseases weighed in the favor of insurance paying for the surgery as a weight control method and to stall further disease.

    My wife, on the other hand, was truly morbidly obese, heavily diabetic, and was dealing with a large number of diabetes and weight induced problems. And was taking a huge number of medications to stall the inevitable necrosis, loss of eyesight, and dialysis. At the time, my employer was partly self-insured and would not pay for her bariatric surgery, so we went out of country. The procedure went quickly and was much cheaper than in the US. And thankfully, she’s now literally half the woman she was five years ago, diabetes and other medical issues now gone.

    One major side effect of any major weight loss is the leftover stretched skin. As mentioned, I’m not that obese and stretched and should be lucky enough that I won’t have the sags. Maybe a small case of the “moobs”. Unfortunately, my wife does have the baggy skin and it’s a real mental issue for her. I won’t say just how bad it is for her mentally, but it’s bad for both of us in that respect.

    Which brings me to the real topic of this post: My wife, without therapy, is having huge issues with the amount of skin left hanging around her middle, her arms, and her legs, not to mention other “fatty tissues” which aren’t as perky any more. Insurance will not willingly pay for the cosmetic surgery that would alleviate her of the added weight and stress of this leftover stretched skin. She must suffer ulcers and rashes of her leftover skin for months, documented by doctors, before insurance MAY cover the surgery. On the other hand, Obamacare forces insurance companies to cover gender-change hormones and surgery. In this case, both patients, my wife and Jenner, are having issues with their body, issues that can be remedied by something close to cosmetic/plastic surgery. In this case, my wife’s problem is brought about as the result of a medical condition, whereas for Jenner and his/her ilk, the problem is strictly a mental condition which does not effect their lifestyle to the degree that it effects my wife. Why won’t insurance pay for my wife’s surgery but the same company is forced to pay for gender-change/reassignment?

    Besides that, leftover skin can be used as grafting material for burn victims. What use is a used willy once it’s removed from its owner?

  • ObamaCare Ripoff

    As people are (slowly in some cases) learning, everything that the President says either has an expiration date or is the opposite of what he’s truly planning to enact. Witness Syria (or not). No boots on the ground. Period. What about the Operator just killed there, and now plans to, heaven forbid, send troops there. OTOH, ObamaCare was a blatant lie. There’s no way in God’s Green Earth that his plan (not that it was really his plan) would do anything other than raise the cost of health insurance.

    Earlier today the company that I work for had a series of meetings explaining our 2016 benefits. We have less than two weeks to decide on what insurance to sign up for for the whole of next year. We don’t have as many choices as we had last year, and the choices that we are given are more expensive than the same thing last year. So what’s the chaser? Another insurance company is offering plans that fork over money for such things as Critical Medical Emergencies, Out of Work periods, and such craziness. So in effect, we now pay more for lesser policies and can buy more insurance to fund the gap in what what we receive. Even weirder, my wife’s company is offering more comprehensive policies, more choices, and her company is not much bigger than mine (I think). But it’s a different insurance company, one of the few that’s remaining after all of the consolidation that’s going on.

    The representatives from our company and the insurance company rep didn’t have any good things to say about ObamaCare. Even funnier, they all talked about how doctors have “fired” them as patients for contesting billing, and how opaque health care prices truly are. How can one expect to try to save money on health care when there’s no way to compare prices? The insurance companies are throwing the burden of saving money on us without the tools to do the job.

    And who gets hurt? The lowest income, always. Even with the credits and such, there’s little incentive to invest in insurance, much less preventative measures.

    Worst thing? You can’t even quit the health care system without being charged more and more. Make the stupidity STOP!

  • Stardate 102620151411

    Well, home safely and comfortably after surgery. Some major pain caused by the trapped gas, in both my stomach/intestines (inflate them looking for leaks) and my abdomen (blown up for laproscopic surgery). Not taking meds any more, and getting some liquid nutrition finally. Going slow, haven’t gotten nauseated or sick, two effects if I eat too fast with my new tiny stomach.

    They had to shave my belly to do the surgery. It’s gonna itch like a son-of-a-gun in a few days:IMG_0192

    But it’s given me time to do some thinking and TV watching, while missing the BlogShoot. Go check out the sidebar for OldNFO, Miller, Lagniappe, and others’ photos of the shoot.

    I’m not sure how many people are aware, but Google has  made some interesting corporate changes recently. They’ve bought a robotics manufacturer, making military-grade robots and exoskeletons. They’re working on autonomous self-driving cars. They’ve made a major push into the medical informatics field, providing electronic medical records software and support. They’ve dropped their corporate motto of “don’t be evil”. In the last few weeks/months, Google has incorporated an AI into their search system. RankBrain is their AI that is being used to resolve non-standard ambiguous queries. Business Insider has a story about it. And they’ve formed a corporate umbrella company named Alphabet to help restructure their operations. — Then the shoe dropped: Anyone remember a recent series of movies about an evil biochemical company that dabbled in DNA, that had a ubiquitous anonymous name of Umbrella Corporation? How about Resident Evil! Ring any bells, have any similarities?

    Other news:

    Fitbit users beware. They use Bluetooth and have a major vulnerability! Fortinet has the writeup.

    According to Gallup, Tea Party membership has been dropping. Well, no shirt sh!tlock. The IRS targeted them, the main culprit Lois Lerner will not be charged, and the investigation has been dropped. In the meantime, the IRS is still holding up paperwork for conservative groups, and the IRS can manipulate your cell phone calls on top of it all.

    Love my country, fear my government. That’s just wrong. Stay safe out there.

  • Never Forget

    A little late to the deal, it’s been a busy work day. Much like any other work day, except that this is the 14th anniversary of an event that changed the US, and by extension, the world. The US was attacked by Muslim extremists, killing nearly 3000 people, wounding untold more. Because of this (and other things going on in the world), we reformulated our national security infrastructure, brought  war to several nations that had supported that attacks and attackers directly and indirectly, and came to realize that a large percentage of the world population hates enough to commit such heinous acts. In the short run, our reactions created fear in the hearts of a number of Muslim radical groups. Fourteen years later, those groups have morphed and have lost their fears. Where once these groups respected our strength, we now cower in fear of attack for simple things such as drawings and criticism of the “Religion of Peace”. We’ve moved from a position of strength in their eyes to a position of weakness. Just this week our Congress voted, and have by default, allowed the President and the Secretary of State to form an agreement with Iran. The same country that has held our citizens hostage at various times, threatened the US and Israel with destruction, supported various Muslim extremist groups throughout the world, and enjoys the support of Russia.

    Never forget what happened, and pray that we can, at some time in the future, build ourselves back up to that position of strength and respect. Leaders do not cower or bow to the enemy.

  • Getting What They Want

    I’m a little frustrated right now, seeing what’s going on in politics. Two things come to mind in particular: the war on Law Enforcement (LE) and the changes in migration in the US, internal and external.

    Folks who seem to most want a Race War are getting what they want. LEs around the US are in a pinch: recruitment has dropped off, and retention is falling precipitously. Same factor in both: It’s Just Not Worth It. Constantly being pursued by lawyers and malcontents for doing their jobs, feeling physically threatened whenever in uniform, and now out of uniform. Nominally sanctioned attacks and killings on police officers. No wonder many are saying “It’s not worth it any more”. So the Race Wars begin, promoted in part by our feckless leadership in the White House and his cronies, along with La Raza (The Race), and other groups. If the US LE population drops below a threshold, will federal LE forces form up and take over? Historically, it’s happened before in other countries…

    Internal and external migration is the other issue of concern. The US, in the last 10 years or so, has seen mass movement of people: Some coming into the US, along with a major shift of population internal to the country. Katrina was a huge internal shift of population – large numbers of people un-assed Louisiana and made their temporary move to Texas a permanent move. Political, business, and personal environment in the bluest of states have encouraged mass migration to the more prosperous red states. I’m looking at you, California, New Y0rk, New Jersey, Maryland, etc. And the poor schlubs on the receiving end: Texas, Colorado, Virginia, etc. This mass migration does not change the politics of the migrants, just gives them room to practice the same policies that failed their original state. The migration of people from outside the US to inside the US only exacerbates the problem. Legal migration provides a controlling method for immigrants. Mass-importation of peoples as refugees, and mass illegal migration does not provide the control, and significantly throws off the balance of powers, with no checks-and-balances. The Government decides where these migrant populations wind up, not the folks who are already in the area.

    So, the biggest question: Is this planned? If this is such a bad thing, why aren’t our “conservative” representatives pushing to change these policies – punishing those who threaten LEs, and enforcing existing laws regarding illegal entry and residence in the US? (Realizing that internal moves cannot be controlled)

    I feel sorry for what my kids and grandkids will be inheriting.


  • Welcome to Our Surveillance Overlords

    Anyone read the works of Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle? Especially their universe that includes Tales of Known Space, and particularly The Long Arm of Gil Hamilton?

    Part of the universe is near-future. The UN is now the world-wide and near-Earth police force, with a birth-right lottery (China anyone?), organ-theft-for-transplant (organ-legging) (Planned Parenthood anyone?), and most interesting: drone-based surveillance and crime-stopping. In their stories, the drones have an anti-gravity unit, remote control, cameras, and a stun beam. Not very big, somewhere between softball and soccer ball, IIRC. For sport, the hood-rats would try to knock them down and strip them for parts.

    Why mention this? This story. Police-weaponized drones using “less-than-lethal” systems. Not entirely unexpected that personal/hobby/sport drones would go there, just a matter of when.

    So much for personal space. If a homeowner cannot legally shoot down a drone that’s scoping out his teenage daughter at the pool, what privacy do we have left?

  • Somebody Call Me a Doctor

    So, early this morning at the Volunteer Rescue Squad, after only one early-morning interruption, I had an interesting discussion with my upcoming-shift Crew Chief (CC) who works full time in the same Emergency Room (ER) that we take our patients. And spawned the though for this post.

    The discussion went something like this:  CC has a young child. CC is very familiar with how ER works, it’s her job. CC or child has a cold/not feeling well. CC calls her Primary Care Physician (PCP) or Pediatrician as appropriate. Staff answering PCP’s phone offers an appointment weeks to months from current date. As an alternative, PCP’s phone staff recommends going to the ER. CC politely tells staff that she will be bringing her child and her illness to the office post-haste, find an appointment or she will discuss this with the ER medical board for abuse of ER resources.

    I’ve had the same problem, so has my wife, and I’m sure that a butt-load (something less than a metric shit-ton) have had the same thing happen – PCP has no time today, this week, and probably next, go to the ER.

    <Rant ON>

    Which then overloads the ER with BS cases that should have been handled by the PCP IF THE PCP WASN’T ALREADY OVERBOOKED. Why is the PCP overbooked? Not their choice. Most Docs and NPs want to spend time with their patient, not pumping info into a computer. And same Docs/NPs are forced by their medical group/Medicare/Medicaid to see as many patients as possible. And Doc/NP has to comply, as the “negotiated rates” are so stinking low, that the Doc/NP must replace quality of visit with quantity of visit to make ends meet, and to meet organizational metrics (boo, hiss, metrics).

    The one medical person most intimately familiar with you is now unable to take the time to treat their patient when they most need the care. And if you aren’t persistent with PCP’s office staff, you’re off to the ER, or if you’re lucky, an intermediary-level “Doc-in-a-Box” like what Walmart and others are doing. Urgent Care or some-such. The folks who know diddly-squat about your history other than what they glimpse in their (hopefully available) electronic medical records.

    Is this planned, or an unintended consequence of our medical insurance and government health care system? Is there a fix short of overturning the apple cart? I do read occasionally, like on Maggie’s Farm of Docs who operate on a no-insurance basis. Cash or credit, no insurance. And another story about “Uber for Doctors“, where the doc can to a phone consult at any time, or if necessary, do a house call. All for a fixed fee, no insurance involved. Tie this into a catastrophic insurance policy instead of the “Health Insurance” that we are forced to buy into, and you have a workable alternative. If you don’t want to pay cash, you are stuck with an insurance plan to defray costs, which might be better for those more prone to illness/disease/injury. But for those who rarely see a doc, don’t want to see a doc, don’t want to call an ambulance, tie up critical ER resources or join the rest of the neighborhood at the Urgent Care facility, it’s a reasonable alternative. I like and would use if our little tail-end-of-nowhere offered such.

    <Rant OFF>

    A little back-story: My grandfather was a well-known and trusted General Physician in the large city where he was born and lived. He kept office hours, did in-home visits, did general surgery, accepted payment in cash, chickens, bread, car service, etc. Saved my life when I was diagnosed shortly after birth with Pyloric Stenosis. Didn’t have electronic medical records, paper only, which my Mom helped file, visited his patients at the city’s Very Famous Medical College pre- and post-op. But didn’t spend all day shuffling from exam room to exam room seeing a mess of patients, to the point that he could not take care of the ill or injured patients who he knew needed his care.

  • Interesting Thought on Medieval Travel

    Long ago there were people who traveled great distances. People like Marco Polo. There were very long trade routes established through some incredibly uninhabited territory. And maps of the time, if there were such things, and if the traveler could read the map, would probably say something like “Here Be Dragons”.

    Let’s take a moment and map out another thought: The Internet was designed to be based on a multiply-redundant routed protocol. When data packets are sent through the Internet, there is no single route built in advance to send the data, and there is no single system that knows all of the routes through the Internet. Enter the concept of routing protocols. Each router discovers the next router that they are connected to, build a table of those connections, including the throughput and capacity of each connection, and share the table with its neighbors. Very simplistic, but basically accurate. When a packet is sent, your home (or work router) sends the data to the gateway, which sends it to the next higher router, and these routers start exploiting those router tables to forward the data to routers that they know in their “neighborhood”. If a router is “down” or a link is broken, the routing tables are altered and re-shared between working routers. And that break or malfunction is bypassed. Some more complex protocols are more efficient and can build multiple hops.

    So, back to traveling without maps. See the connection? You, the intrepid traveler, with your crew, are going from Portugal to China overland to trade and explore. Since you don’t have a handy-dandy end-to-end map, GPS, or Interstates, you simply head west from your town/village/homestead/castle. When you get to the next village, you ask for the best route that will take you closer to the destination. And go to the next village, where you add to your route. Maybe hire someone who knows how to get you farther than the next village, but they don’t know the entire route, so you wind up asking “how do I get to the next village from here”. You build up a table of each hop between villages/towns/castles/oases/monasteries. If there is a bridge down, or the local barbarian horde has burned the next village, you backtrack to the previous village and ask for an alternate route (update the routing table). Even in the trackless beyond, someone knows how to get from one village to another, even hundreds of miles away. So step-by-step (or hop-by-hop) you make it to your destination. The beauty of this process is that you don’t have to return via your outbound route! You can do the same village to village hopping headed east, and will most certainly return via a different path.

    Works for me, unless you are going across the ocean. In which case you either hugged a coastline until you ran out of coastline, or if you struck out across a great body of water and hoped for an island or continent before you ran out of supplies. Eventually, the compass, the sextant, and the spring-wound clock improved the process by allowing the creation and use of latitude and longitude coordinates. Which lead to LORAN, GPS, and some neat technologies out of SPAWAR. But that’s for another day.

    So the difference between Internet routing/long ago travel and transoceanic travel? Relative versus absolute references. Just like your VisiCalc spreadsheet.

    End training session for today. Ice cream has been spotted around the corner. Or not:

    melted ice cream truck

  • Death of a Religion

    Based on TFA, will we have the opportunity to witness the end of the Religion of Global Wormening? It’s been shown that CO2 is a lagging, not a leading indicator of temperature change.  Here, here, here. There’s others.

    But solar activity in the form of sun spots has been waning for the last few years, which goes along with the (unadulterated) stabilization of global temperature. Which points to something observed last in the late 1600/early 1700s: The Maunder Minimum. Remember all those pretty pictures of people skating on the rivers and lakes in Great Britain and the Netherlands. Rembrandt and others, IIRC. That was a Maunder Minimum. Which means that we’ll need to have more energy for heating, our crop production will shift south, not north, and we can expect a mass extinction of many species that suffer in the cold, if they don’t move. Iceland will become ice again, Greenland will not be green, and all of those suffering glaciers will grow significantly. We might even have an island or two tip over from all of the accumulated ice, not overpopulation.

    So all of the magazines from the ’70s that predicted Global Cooling might have been right after all. Like the stopped clock…

  • Online Bullying

    Here’s a thought: Years ago, when we were kids, bullying was different. OldNFO, I realize that the Persians were the bullies when you were a kid. But even then, bullying was different. Your bully had to confront you in person to perform their insane act of torment. Nowadays, bullies can be anonymous, remote, literally anywhere on the planet, and still reach out and pick at their victim of choice. Sarah Hoyt “Of Pigs, Fights, and Life” has a good reason to come out of the closet about bullying, having been picked on by her siblings and relatives. And when the Sick/Rabid Puppies came to the fore in the last two years’ Hugo Awards, she felt compelled to speak up. And get hammered by absolutely everyone with a chip on her shoulder and access to the Internet.

    It’s happening everywhere, and the Internet is the enabler of this new-ish form of bullying. Cyberbullying is the catchphrases, but it’s more like Anonymous Faceless Bullying. Just as anyone can be dog online, anyone can be a bully online. Reference Larry Corriea’s Internet Troll for fun.

    Heh. Even Science has proven that: Psychology Today: Internet Trolls are Narcissists, Psychopaths, and Sadists. Can’t argue with science, it’s Proven, right? So Psychology Today’s report proves what we’ve known all along about bullies, Internet or otherwise.

    And the cure for bullies, unfortunately, calls for contact. Intimate, painful physical contact. Worked for Manuel Noriega, Muammar Gaddafi, and any number of other bullies. ISIS/ISIL hasn’t had their nose bloodied yet. Hamas hasn’t learned their lesson from Israel yet, but the PLO has, that’s why the West Bank has been relatively quiet.

    But back to the topic, Internet bullying and how to deal with them. IMHO, it’s nearly impossible to stop, just like spam, 409 ripoffs, pop-up advertising, etc., particularly because it’s anonymous and nearly impossible to prosecute unless it rises to the level of three-letter agencies, who seem to ignore the problem. Or become part of the problem if they are the Department of Justice or IRS. The government does not like competition.

    Maybe someone in the NSA could help and winkle out these cyberbullies, they’ve got the tools, manpower, and connections… Bueller? Anyone?

  • Jamming the Gears

    Co-worker of mine had an interesting thought today. How to jam up the gears, along the lines of my previous discussion of the noise threshold.

    How do agencies find and filter information that they collect online and find the usable stuff? Open-source thoughts: Filtering for words and concepts, rating the results, pick the top hits, and dump the rest in the Big Bit Bucket with the rest of the dreck. Analyze what remains for Intel, then prosecute as deemed fit. So if you include a bunch of buzz words in your online traffic (email, blogs, comments, purchases, etc), you get picked for more scrutiny.

    Why not take the opposite tack? Fill posts with hidden (micro-font or “white-on-white” text) that is spam-y. The text would not be readily visible, Google would ignore it, and filters would probable dump the info as junk rather than usable Intel. Use stuff that you see in spam comments, Nigerian 409 scams, Canadian medicine ads, etc. Same thing that Search Engine Optimizer (SEO) companies do. Sprinkle each message with some “magic powder” text and see what happens. Basically, you are now hiding in the internet “noise”. To find you, the agencies would have to change their filters, turning down the squelch, and having to either become more intelligent, or look at more junk. 


  • Flash Thought

    The US GOV has agencies whose responsibility is to audit computer systems and ensure that they meet security and operational requirements. Why isn’t there a Tiger Team to go in and fix those systems found deficient? As posted recently, Department of State FISMA ratings have been dropping for years. Why not hold the budget (wait, what Budget) and redirect money from projects to the Tiger Team to fix these problems instead of depending on the good will of that agency’s management team to push the issue along.

    Take away from their operational budget, fix the darn problem.

    Where I used to work (a few of you know), if you had poor ratings or failed your inspection, you were SHUT DOWN till you got it fixed. No questions, no “mother may I”. Shut down. Denial of Approval to Operate, DATO. And then we would send a team out to put a microscope where you didn’t want it, looking to see what else you failed to do correctly. Why isn’t this happening here?

    Deny, obfuscate, shift the blame…