work is an intrusion to home

Every human needs a sanctuary, a place where they can unplug and not be accountable to anybody but themselves or their immediate family.

For the white collar worker this evil virus has eviscerated that line.  Yes, it’s been dulled for years as high fliers or big shots checked their work e-mail at 12:31 in the morning just to keep themselves in the game, but now it’s in overdrive.

For blue collar workers who are either out of a job or have to expose themselves to the virus every day on the jobsite this is a good problem to have though.

I’m now on week two of online conferences and courses for work at home and it’s extremely jarring.  I don’t want to hear big shot #43 run his mouth about how awesome he is while I hear my washing machine go.  It’s an intrusion on my castle.  It feels odd.  It feels wrong.  Honestly, I’d just rather be at work.

A few publications that aren’t busy (still) playing politics have begun to ask very important questions about where society will be after the first global pandemic in a century.  My worry at this particular moment is the work world and the your world will be essentially blended from now on.  You did it for months, so why can’t your boss ask you do to work at home whenever the hell they want?  At whatever time they want?

This isn’t normal and it isn’t human.  But whether we like it or not, maybe it will become the new normal?

DuckDuckGo flies from the top rope

Long time readers of this degenerate blog will know I take data and internet privacy issues pretty seriously.  But I guess this will be the first time I state that for over a year I haven’t used Google for internet search.  I use DuckDuckGo, who’s been around a long time, and makes it a point not just to not track you but help you understand who is tracking you and how they’re doing it.

In the year I’ve used DuckDuckGo, I haven’t noticed a decrease in my capability to internet search.  It’s widely acknowledged Google has the most proficient search algorithms in the business, but what do I care?  I’m not searching for details of obscure string theory research by some mad scientist in Belarus.  DuckDuckGo finds what I need like 99% of the time.  When they fail, I don’t go to Google, I try Bing next.

Now DuckDuckGo is making their tracking data more public, so you can see who are the real big time data offenders.  No points for guessing who the two worst assholes are:

most-common-trackers-on-websites3

You might be surprised to see Adobe on this list, but remember they own/operated Adobe Flash Player and have been in the imbed business a long time.  This graphic confirms what many in the privacy business are coming to realize, an established consensus, that anything Google touches, to include Android, essentially functions as spyware.

Enjoy your day!

your car knows when you’ve been bad or good

As we’ve written previously on this degenerate blog, it’s in your interest to read most of what Geoffrey A. Fowler writes. Your smartphone has your DNA on file. Amazon knows what toothpaste you use. Google has a complete list of things you have nightmares about. Now your car is in on the game.

When I renewed my auto insurance policy Allstate tried to get shovey with me and do the driver monitoring program. Supposedly if you drive safely (I don’t) you get a discount on your insurance bill. The discount is probably like $5 a month. In exchange Allstate (and other auto insurance companies doing the same thing) probably go ahead and sell all your personal data for $15 a month. Naturally, I declined.

But all these auto insurance programs run via the app on your smartphone. In the future, it’s the car itself that will spy on you.

Fowler wanted to determine how much data and what kind of data a car was collecting. This (of course) was not an easy task:

But for the thousands you spend to buy a car, the data it produces doesn’t belong to you. My Chevy’s dashboard didn’t say what the car was recording. It wasn’t in the owner’s manual. There was no way to download it. To glimpse my car data, I had to hack my way in.

That’s right folks! The law is so loose and the Giant Octopus is so brazen that the only way Fowler could figure out what personal data was being pulled and sold was to hack the freaking car.

They also hacked another car computer they bought off the Internets:

For a broader view, Mason also extracted the data from a Chevrolet infotainment computer that I bought used on eBay for $375. It contained enough data to reconstruct the Upstate New York travels and relationships of a total stranger. We know he or she frequently called someone listed as “Sweetie,” whose photo we also have. We could see the exact Gulf station where they bought gas, the restaurant where they ate (called Taste China) and the unique identifiers for their Samsung Galaxy Note phones.

Maybe we should all just get it over with and let the Giant Octopus put the monitoring chip in our brains? It’d be quicker in the end.

The only other option is regression. Want a car that doesn’t spy on your without your knowledge? Buy a 1995 Ford. Want a fridge that doesn’t track what tasty food is contained therein? Buy one of those neato 1940’s fridges from the movies.

We’re doomed. We work for the Giant Octopus and most folks don’t even know it, or care.

Enjoy your day!

car.png

a discovery process that is actually easier than attempting to read and understand a privacy policy

beware the Internets

More and more the Internets can turn into a nightmare.  Granted, it’s like being hit by a car.  For the most part, everybody goes online and it’s just fine, you get to see happy cat videos.  But if you get your identity stolen or your bank accounts drained (while your circumstances are rare) it’s an absolute nightmare that can temporarily ruin your life.

I’ve personally known folks who had their data ripped which resulted in ruined bank accounts, they couldn’t use a credit card, buy a car, do their taxes, etc, etc, etc.  It’s a nightmare folks.  You could see the daily stress on their faces.

When the Washington Post isn’t busy shaming itself and mortgaging its remaining credibility by banging on the incessant defeat Trump at any cost bandwagon (regardless of impartiality or honor) they still do some no kidding real hardcore journalism.

I don’t normally do this here, but you dear blog reader need to read everything that Geoffrey A. Fowler writes for the Post.  He knows the Internets, he knows how to get into the face of questionable Internets companies, and he knows privacy values.  You can find his latest piece on browser extensions here.  I don’t use browser extensions for these very reasons, but apparently millions of people do.  If you personally do, stop, please get away while you can.

Be sure to click on his author name too and read some of his other Post pieces.  You can then indulge in the true mess of the Internets where you (the customer) are basically just a doomed farm animal as bad people make money off of spying on you without your knowledge or consent.

There might be a reckoning, eventually, for all of this.  I say might because asking Congress to accomplish anything useful is like asking a rabid panther to walk your dog safely.  But there might be movement, witness Facebook’s disastrous introduction of its evil Bond villain digital currency recently.

But, until then, it’s truly the Wild West out there folks.  You can’t arm yourself with a revolver, so you’ve got to do it with knowledge.  Learn.  Protect yourself.  Beware the Internets.

selective morality, reality, and values are the best morality, reality, and values

all corporations that lose our data to hackers are evil and greedy vs. giving the audio data in your own home free of charge of a corporation via a live bug is hip

your dog demands the most pristine of kibble vs. will eat garbage wood off the grass and pout when you don’t allow this

cigarettes are so awful they need to be banned from Netflix vs. marijuana is perfectly cool to smoke and is beneficial to your health

magic mushrooms are also beneficial and will soon be legal in multiple jurisdictions vs. soda with sugar is horrible for you and requires severe regulation

plastic straws are wasteful and worthy of a ban vs. drinking an extra tall latte out of a one use disposal and non-recyclable coffee cup is trendy

squirrels hoard all the nuts and acorns because they need them to live vs. squirrels hoard guns and explosives because they need them for the forthcoming purge

Weinstein is a depraved sexual deviant who should be erased from the planet vs. Jackson’s music is still awesome and regularly played at festivals

your boss is angry that you’re late with your assigned task vs. your boss is never own time with any assistance you’ve ever required from them

the detention centers used by Trump’s goons are abhorrent vs. the exact same detention centers used by Obama’s goons were not abhorrent

labeling the opposite side as racist instead of thinking things through vs. labeling the opposite side as racist instead of thinking things through

alcohol is the cause and solution to all of life’s problem vs. alcohol is so tasty

gasoline powered cars crush the planet’s health and are on their way out vs. charging electric cars from coal fired power plants

gasoline pumps want your money vs. gasoline pumps require the selection of 11 different options before allowing you to pay them money for gas

animal kept in captivity is immoral and the zoo will soon be banned vs. dressing up your dog/cat in a furry X-Mas costume is a sign of sophistication

everybody in the workforce requires $15 an hour vs. advocating for such issues at rallies arrived courtesy of Uber driver making half that amount

manufacturing jobs needs to come back to America vs. establishing tariffs and trade policies so abstract as to require the bailout of soybean farmers

our future alien masters promise us bliss and saving ourselves from each other vs. will blanket 1/3 of the planet in fusion fire to introduce their benevolent, wise rule

chronic obesity problem that will bankrupt the health system by 2049 vs. electric bikes and scooters are so much fun and avoid the need to walk or pedal anywhere

wave of the punk future where virtual coin will set the human free vs. coin mill farm corporations with enough size and electricity to power a medium sized nation

religion is the source of all evil mind control and should be banned from any public sphere vs. 1.3 billion likes on Instagram for the latest celebrity selfie

machines will be our masters, artificial intelligence is so error free cars will drive themselves vs. have you ever tried using [insert any software program here] without errors

innocent until proven guilty vs. they publish a mug shot online before anybody’s been found guilty and the federal justice system convicts at a stasi-like 99% rate

the magical meth elf promised you happy times if you burned down a shopping mall vs. all you got instead was a felony arrest warrant and the elf never showed up again

natural gluten is evil is requires expungement from the diet vs. generating artificial fake meat in a lab is wholesome

blogging is a healthy experience that allows the author to get things of their chest in a safe environment that informs others vs. blogging is a narcissistic act that only informs the reader that the author is somebody who needs help, and maybe a puppy/kitty or two

 

 

weather alerts are stupid

It’s going to thunderstorm tonight or this afternoon.  As in, it’s summer (essentially).  When I was growing up this was just a thing, like scenery.  We lived in a neighborhood that overlooked an agricultural preserve on a lower hill.  So we could watch the thunderstorms, thunder, and lightning for miles.  It’s weather folks, it happens on most days.

That was then, but today it’s bubble wrapped humanity!  And in a world where everything is a big deal, or controversial, or worthy of stupid hype, now your local cell phone provider spams your phone with weather alerts.  To include the alert warning squeals you normally only used to hear during a tornado warning.  Just for a stupid thunderstorm.

What kind of weak stupidity is this?  Here’s your forecast folks, go look up at the sky.  Or go outside and feel the temperature.  We don’t need our hands held to the point a cell phone company has to tell you a storm’s a coming.  How stupid do they thing we are?  (very, very dumb => internet search American cell phone competitive comparisons with whole planet)

Cell phone alerts are strictly limited and appropriate for the following scenarios ONLY:

– Tornado

– Nuclear attack

– Blimp attack

– Bear attack

– You’ve been rendered redundant by your honorable employer

– Your fridge has no beer in it

– Elves

– Hurricane

– Supernova

– Alien attack

– Coked out celebrity is bashing your car and/or mailbox with a baseball bat

– Your childhood crush of a celebrity is at your door with a bottle of alcohol and/or a kitty or puppy

– Whiteout level blizzard

– Imminent asteroid strike

– You won the lotto

– You won the presidency of a small Eastern European mafia-like nation state

– Flash flood

– Avalanche

– A lawyer is spotted in your building

– Forest fire

– Nuclear meltdown

– Somebody, somewhere is using a plastic straw

– Your pet is currently robbing a bank teller at gunpoint

– Tsunami

That is all.  Please carry on.

iuX0X6FP31.jpg

OH DEAR GOD!!! Nobody has ever seen this before.  In all of Human History!  Sound the alarm!  Man the barricades.  Panic!

evil Bond villain unveils plans for Opticon One Moon base

It must be nice to be the world’s richest man (until the divorce paperwork clears) because you can come up with all kinds of harebrained schemes. Going to the Moon is awesome, I find it offensive to humanity that we haven’t been there in five decades, but do we really need to go there? Probably not. Maybe all of that money should be better spent curing malaria.

But Bezos (hereafter Scaramanga) has an ego the size of Saturn. It’s rumored he finds it personally offensive that SpaceX and notorious emo nutcase Elon Musk are considered the better bet for space travel. Scaramanga’s Blue Origin builds smaller rockets, has less clients, and in general was considered less ambitious in its goals. No longer. Now it’s the Moon baby!

Scaramanga seems to think he can meet the US government’s deadline to get back to the Moon by 2024. This is the NASA deadline favored mostly by Mike Pence and previously announced. It’s also a fantasy deadline because the plan relies on a rocket and space vehicle that do not exist and likely will never fly, ever. In other news, NASA is a joke.

SpaceX is focused on the more mundane (and actually profitable) business of launching satellites into space. This leaves plenty of room for Scaramanga to lose money on his vanity project. And so if Scaramanga is serious, and the technology is viable, he sure does have the cash to make this happen. It’s probably humanity’s best bet for getting back to the Moon.

Don’t get me wrong, I wish the best for this. Humanity needs something awesome to do other than the latest version of the iPhone. It’s just weird that the potential arm of humanity that will take us back to the Moon after all this time is Scaramanga, funded by a company that’s ruthlessly trying to take over every aspect of human life to the point they’ve even conned millions to put a live listening device in their own homes. Amazon is the Giant Octopus.

And so, here’s what Scaramanga really has planned for his Moon Base, code named Opticon One:

– Death ray (of course)

– Space based delivery drone concept that takes moon rocks and delivers them to your door (for a nominal fee)

– Shameless harem of the world’s most gorgeous women who wanted to go to space (don’t judge, the man is now single)

– Subterranean strip mine of Moon minerals worked by non-union slave labor (we’ll throw some poor cute kiddies in there too for good measure)

– Second death ray (you don’t build your own Moon base without being ridiculous)

– Amazon Web Services cloud servers capable of storing knowledge of all humanity (such knowledge is needed for Earth’s new citizens)

– Conveyer belt of spheres filled with weaponized nerve gas capable of wiping out all human life (and kitties too, one of them scratched Scaramanga when he was a child)

– One ordinary average employee who works in quality control (and happens to have steel teeth)

_106897704_blue-moon1

Bond: You’ll never get away with this, Scaramanga!

Scaramanga: [laughs] Oh no, you’ll see, you can’t stop me, Mr Bond. For you see, when I’m finished, humanity will … [dramatic music] purchase household cleaning goods online at 13% increased profit margins to my fulfillment centers! [uncontrollable raging laughter]

Bond: …

Scaramanga: …

[bond shoots Scaramanga in forehead; rescues kiddies and harem]

“modern culture gives us the right to criminal stupidity,” claim parents of poor unvaccinated kiddies

You know the thing about the hierarchy of needs is once you take away the hardest ones of rent, food budget, Netflix, running water, booze, etc the list becomes pretty short.  Do you really need a doggy or a kitty?  No, but a lot of people do it because it feels good.

But also, the absence of any hierarchy gaps can get pretty destructive.  Do people really, really need to bathe in national politics as much as they do?  No, your local mayor is way, way more important to your daily life, but folks will swim all in the Mueller report today because they can afford to.  After all, it’s not like they’re worried about sleeping tonight without HVAC available.

And when the hierarchy is almost entirely addressed, I do believe modern culture also allows people to go down the path of the criminal insanity.  Circa 1437 you could die from just about anything.  The idea of a measles vaccine would have been the equivalent of planting a rocketship in your sheep pasture.

Yet because one goon scientist published a report that said MMR is bad for you (a report that’s now been completely and utterly disgraced) it’s spawned one of the most bizarre movements in modern human history.  It’s like these people want to take their hierarchy backwards.  Once, you could be vaccinated against an untimely death.  But who wants that?  You can just do without it!

So, I guess, you can also do without:

– Cleaning drinking water: There are chemicals in their tap water, they probably cause cancer, or autism.  Sure, billions of other folks on the planet have to drink filth water and they don’t.  But still, better safe than sorry.  Their best bet is to only drink water straight from a mountain stream.  Don’t filter it in advance either, those filters probably also cause cancer.

– Shelter: Death from exposure is underappreciated.

– Science: The anti-vaccine crowd seems to be an amalgamation of both wacko ends of the political spectrum.  And so: To the anti-vaccine left, what do you think science says about global warming?  And so: To the anti-vaccine right, what do you think science says about the ability for certain chemical reactions to induce explosions that kill ISIS terrorists?

– Polio vaccine: FDR didn’t get it.  And he’s considered one of the greatest people in human history.  What’s not to like?

– Cars, trains, buses, bikes, etc: Technology, progress, etc are things to be rejected, apparently.  So just to be safe everybody can/should only walk anywhere they need to go.  But this will be difficult to accomplish as since nobody has any vaccines their bones will be dust by age 27 ala Circa 341 BC.  But it’ll be worth it!

– Electricity: There was once a time in human history (say 4800 of the last 5000 years) where nighttime was so dark, so dangerous, so unproductive that humans had to live with the concept of “second sleep“.  Since electricity has been tied to any number of dangers, such as cancer, autism, mind control, appendicitis, night elves, high cholesterol, etc, we should break all our light bulbs and live by candlelight only.  But, so you know, candles also cause cancer.  Sorry.

– Clothing (of any kind): Cancer.

– Agriculture: Have they tried to live the life of a true hunter-gatherer?  If they haven’t, they’re missing out on all the fun of a grinding, unspeakable struggle where if they fail at even one day’s hunting and gathering, they’re finished.

– Blogging: Someone, please, help me!

7KW3T2DBJII6TPZE3NFZ7NRKUI_wdp.jpg

Sheltered enough to permit raw stupidity (poor, poor kiddies)

Notre-Dame matters and it doesn’t

Notre-Dame de Paris has stood for over eight hundred years.  During that time, Paris has been sacked, occupied, or bombed four times.  During the Hundred Years War, The Revolution, the Franco-Prussian War, and the Nazis.  Notre-Dame had rough moments, but essentially stood firm.  Now’s it’s gutted by flame.  What society and culture could accomplish and protect over eight centuries, we cannot.

In separate but unrelated news, the Washington Monument’s reopening was delayed until this August.  It was damaged in an earthquake in 2011 and has been mostly closed since.  It took America less than four years to win the Second World War.  It will take over twice that length of time to repair a single monument.

Here are two clear shining examples of the failures of modern society and government.  We have fancy little smartphones in our pockets, we can access all the knowledge of humanity, but we can’t seem to do anything right anymore.  This is more than just failed government, it’s society’s failure in general.

Does Notre-Dame even still matter?  I think like probably 13% of French attend church each week.  I wonder how many Americans beneath the age of 25 could write say one page about George Washington and why he’s important?

We’ve lost the big picture, we’re without purpose.  Notre-Dame defined a civilization.  The smartphone is ours: and it’s shallow, baseless, and ultimately nothing more than future environmentally damaging landfill.

In this sense, Notre-Dame matters because it reminds us of what we lost, and what we can no longer even protect.  But in another more dark sense, Notre-Dame doesn’t even matter.  Let it burn to the ground, and in the end sadly nothing about us is going to change.

_106469308_hi053453863