The Internet’s Under Attack

Bush gave us the Patriot Act.  Obama brought us Indefinite Detentions. And now… *drum roll*… Jay Rockefeller of West Virgina proposes an internet take-over!  Leave it to Jay Rockefeller to propose legislation to take over the internet in the name of “security”.  It’s always “terrorists”… terrorists!  terrorists!  terrorists!

terror-alert

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!  A possible  “CYBER-ATTACK” that hasn’t even happened yet, and probably never will?  OH NOOOOOOOO!!!!!   The Whitehouse needs all “critical” networks to send their content and information to be monitored.  We have to make sure the information doesn’t pose a threat to the nation, after all.  We must protect ourselves from the eerie possibility of a cyber-invasion!

Internet companies and civil liberties groups were alarmed this spring when a U.S. Senate bill proposed handing the White House the power to disconnect private-sector computers from the Internet.

They’re not much happier about a revised version that aides to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, have spent months drafting behind closed doors. CNET News has obtained a copy of the 55-page draft of S.773 (excerpt), which still appears to permit the president to seize temporary control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency.

….

Probably the most controversial language begins in Section 201, which permits the president to “direct the national response to the cyber threat” if necessary for “the national defense and security.” The White House is supposed to engage in “periodic mapping” of private networks deemed to be critical, and those companies “shall share” requested information with the federal government. (“Cyber” is defined as anything having to do with the Internet, telecommunications, computers, or computer networks.)

“The language has changed but it doesn’t contain any real additional limits,” EFF’s Tien says. “It simply switches the more direct and obvious language they had originally to the more ambiguous (version)…The designation of what is a critical infrastructure system or network as far as I can tell has no specific process. There’s no provision for any administrative process or review. That’s where the problems seem to start. And then you have the amorphous powers that go along with it.”

Translation: If your company is deemed “critical,” a new set of regulations kick in involving who you can hire, what information you must disclose, and when the government would exercise control over your computers or network.

Source:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10320096-38.html

A bill filled with vagueness giving the government the ability to unplug people’s servers from the internet and lawful control of private computers.

That director of the Senate Commerce Committee acted like these authorities would only be used in an emergency, but that’s so stupid.  How is that strategy going to secure anything?  We already have data security companies.  There’s already ways to secure networks and computer data.  We don’t need this overarching Whitehouse authority over the internet.

How many times in history has this same sort of “I have to take your liberties from you for your own safety” ploy been pulled?  And it works time and time again.  Some guy in the comments was like, “I actually agree with this.”  Makes me sad.

Benjamin Franklin, a founding father of the United States, and one of the smartest men who ever lived, wrote a book called ‘A Historical Review Of The Constitution And The Government Of Pennsylvania‘.  In that book you’ll find this quote:

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
– Benjamin Franklin

You’ll also find this in Poor Richard’s Almanac:

Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power.
– Benjamin Franklin

Please.  Think it over.

Time Really Flys

About a year ago I sent a letter to a girl I know, who I’ve admired and liked for a long time.  In the letter I confessed my feelings to her, and that was pretty much the first time I’ve ever done anything like that.

That was a year ago.  Time really flys.

Somehow, I don’t feel much different than I did then.  Outside of a few emails back and forth, I’ve pretty much lost touch with her.  Even so, even after a year, I feel exactly same.

Unrequited love is something else.  It’s certainly one of the cruelest things that happens in this world.  It leaves you dizzy and tired as it happens, and downcast when you think on it, even a year after the fact.

At one point I used to tell myself that if you don’t think on something, eventually it will leave your thoughts, and you’ll no longer desire the thing in question.  I think I was mistaken on this issue.

I think all that amounts to is filling your mind with different things.  Since it is only able to process and handle so much information at a time, thoughts on the particular thing you’re indirectly avoiding get pushed away into some sort of storage area.  Your mind is just temporarily occupied thinking on something else, for the time being.

If you genuinely admired something, or someone, years ago, and if you’re honest with yourself, and don’t give yourself to hatred and denial, chances are you feel the exact same way still today.

My grandma died about a year ago, and I was at the dinner table, alone with my grandfather.  He told me about a girl he fell in love with back 1950-something.  And no, it wasn’t my late grandma.    This was a girl who he referred to simply as “the beautiful thing”.

He was 18 years old, just out of school, and working in a cafeteria just prior to joining the U.S. Navy.  One of the waitresses there had a younger sister who visited the restaurant from time to time.

He mind seemed to leave the room as he retold the account of the “beautiful thing’s” entrance through the restaurant’s back door, and his nervous approach.  There was a pause, a smile came over his face, another pause, then he simply said, “And then we had coffee.”  I suppose the between events are embarrassing, even 50 years after the event.

Then he stopped the story, and assured me that he always loved my grandmother.  Always has, and always will.  I didn’t doubt him a bit.  I saw how he treated her, everyday.  He’s always been an example of how a good man should treat his wife.

I suppose you psychoanalysts out there could say he was regressing to a past time now that he’d lost my grandmother.  Maybe.  But if you ask me, I’d say he’s always loved the “beautiful thing”.

At some later point he visited the “beautiful thing”  and she told him to never come back.  He said from time to time, when he would lie in bed, he wondered what happened to that girl.  Was she doing well?  Was she happy?  And later, was she still alive?

So almost sixty years later he made contact with her.  Her former husband had died a long while ago, she was a widow for a long while, and now has recently remarried to a Baptist minister.

Sixty years later… Wow.  Still thinking of her.  Now that grandma is gone, he no longer has to suppress the thoughts.

Will I be telling my grandkids, or possibly students, about my own “beautiful thing”, and my experience with her, fifty to sixty years from now?   That’d really be something.

As for my own “beautiful thing”, I’m sure she’s off  somewhere, and I’m sure she’s still amazing.   I’m sure she’s still beautiful. I’m sure she still speaks her mind, is dependable, intelligent, and is still really kindhearted down inside.

Some fall in love with an ideal in their own mind and project that onto another.  Those people love themselves, not the other person.

Some think and daydream on a thing until the thought process becomes habitual, and linked to each day to day activity.  These people suffer from an obsessive-compulsive disorder, and mistake it for love.

Some have cruel events happen to them, and throughout the experience come to learn how much the person they left behind means to them.  These people regress to an earlier, happier time, in search for a now missing security.

Some are lonely or desperate.  Some are just running from their problems.  Some are looking for a provider.  Some marry so they can have children.  Some get sucked in by sex appeal.  Some mistake sympathy for love.  Some look for a mate to complete them.

None of these describe me.  I suppose I was guilty of wanting to get to know her  better.  Still am really.  Well, and mayyybbbbeeee just a lliiitttlleeeee guilty of finding her absolutely gorgeous.  I’m human too.  Heh.  🙂

Enjoy the good times, and remember the good memories.  Life’s way too short to worry about everything that goes wrong.

Get Ready For ANOTHER Depression

Obama’s bail-out of trillions to bankers kept deflation away, and for the moment kept the economy from tanking into oblivion. I’ll give him that. I can understand why he did it.  If he wouldn’t have taken any action, things would have been bad.  To them, it seemed the lesser of two evils to bail out the bankers.  Ok.  I knew it was evil.  Didn’t like it.  Didn’t agree with it.  But, I sat back and said, “I can see the reasons, as long as he regulates the markets after he bails these guys out.”  If the administration wouldn’t have taken any action, our debt based economy would’ve went through a really nasty correction.  In my opinion, that correction was very much needed.  This bubble needs to be further DEFLATED and rebuilt on a sound foundation, not REINFLATED, but whatever.

Instead of letting the people who were financially ignorant reap the fruit of their own stupidity (the bankers, and those who buried themselves too deep in debt), the burden was instead heaped mostly onto the responsible middle-class.  Their savings and retirements are being inflated away with printed money to save the economy and we’re all going to be suffering from rising costs for everything.  Taxes are being raised on those who make more than $250k.  So basically the bail-out amounted to handing sane people’s hard work and money to bankers.   The corrupt bankers ran off with their spoils, and laughed all the way to their Swiss banks.   And the ignorant have mostly been able to stay in homes they can’t afford, and their big screen TVs and furniture have not been repossessed, yet.

And now the government is trying to get people to buy a new car they don’t need, with cash for clunkers, to “stimulate” the economy.  More debt.  Debt financed prosperity.  Printed money funding the “stimulus”.  Print money, hand it in huge wads to bankers, and then have them rehand it to us again in more credit card loans.  They want us to go out and hit the malls, and get back out there, shopping.

That’s the worst possible advice to give Americans.    That’s not what we need.  Not one bit.  We need to CUT BACK on spending.  We need pay off our debts, and save some money.

This will inevitably lead to some businesses losing some money.  So be it.  Retail sales will continue to decline, as they have been recently.  They have to.  Retails stores were given an artificial boom when we all gorged in our debt financed mania.  Now we no longer have the money.  If that leads to some short-term unemployment, so be it.  In the long term, we can’t live like this.

These policies benefit the government, and big business.  They don’t benefit us.  Businesses want to sustain their prior profits, even if they’re unsustainable and completely debt driven.  They can’t bear the idea of having to take a profit cut, but they sell these policies to us with the threat that, “If we don’t make our huge profits, we’ll have to cut some workers, leading to unemployment.  You wouldn’t want that, would you?”

But what do they expect the government to do?  Deny that business cycles exist?  Deny that debt financed booms can only last for a season?  My God, how much greed is there?  Isn’t making huge profits during the boom enough?

I think a lot of people in the government actually believe these policies are helping avert unemployment, but I’m sure a lot of them know a certain unspoken truth:  the government plays along with this ploy because they want to print up more and more money to alleviate their massive debts, which they’ve run up with their war machine in the middle east, and other programs.

They ran up a huge bill with these wars, and they find it quite convenient to print up huge wads of money, which erodes away the debts they’ve ran up.  It’s a win win for them and their buddies.  Big business profits, banking, and big government military spending.  The inseparable trio.

As for the middle class, all of this will only bury us further and further in debt, costs will rise, taxes will increase with no real benefit, savings and retirements will erode away, and the purchasing power of our wages will continue to decline year after year.

None of these policies are real stimulus.  They’re just an erosion of one person’s wealth so it can be squandered by others and further bury them in debt.  It’s selling the American consumer a heroine syringe and a set of shackles.  Dope them up one last time (new car loan, credit card extension), then lock them to the wall.   Sane and responsible Americans are forced to purchase the syringes and watch their neighbors shoot up.  The bankers (drug dealers) run off with their huge lending-scheme profits.  Then they’ll fasten their debt-laden customers (addicts) in financial shackles (addiction) and continue to earn themselves a nice steady income stream from interest payments.

Instead of everyone learning from their mistakes, cutting back on spending, and learning to save and be responsible, people are continuing their over-consumptive lifestyle.  They’re going right back to what they were doing, and continuing to do all the things that drove us to this mess to begin with.

If we try to bail this system out we’re only diving headfirst into a black hole.

The first bail-out didn’t have to be passed so quickly.  There was no reason whatsoever for that money to be handed to them with no strings attached.  That’s just stupidity, and evil.

Giving a chance for someone to change is what we should offer, but with bankers I wouldn’t hold my breath.  Bankers have never been honest.  History tells us that.  Making the public finance credit extensions…  That’s like giving their neighbors drug money so they can shoot up one last time.   If these banks, and the public won’t change, then they should have never received any assistance to begin with.  I’m not sure how you’d change the American public, but we could have at least regulated the financial industry.

The main problem is the Federal Reserve’s loose credit policies, and Congress’ removal of regulation over the past years.  That’s the REAL  problem.  Congress gutted the Glass-Steagall Act which was the big financial regulatory package passed after the Great Depression.  Then much worse legislation was pushed through – the Commodity Futures Modernization Act.  This basically gives financial institutions the ability to self-regulate themselves, with little to no oversight at all.   And the Fed has pumped up this huge bubble far beyond what would’ve ever taken course naturally.  And we all know the result of this wonderful combination.

But here’s the big news.  Everyone, get ready for round 2! I told you months ago this would happen, but now it’s finally being reported… It’s confirmed… The banks are back to the same practices they were before. They’re packing up their bad debt into complicated investment packages, and selling them off with high ratings.

Wall Street may have discovered a way out from under the bad debt and risky mortgages that have clogged the financial markets. The would-be solution probably sounds familiar: It’s a lot like what got banks in trouble in the first place.

In recent months investment banks have been repackaging old mortgage securities and offering to sell them as new products, a plan that’s nearly identical to the complicated investment packages at the heart of the market’s collapse.

“There is a little bit of deja vu in this,” said Arizona State University economics professor Herbert Kaufman.

Read the rest for yourself:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/24/up-to-old-tricks-wall-str_n_267066.html

And after this, the article lets a bunch of worthless economists give their view on the matter.  These complicated financial packages are nothing but bad news.  Risk and financial speculation will save us?  We as Americans have really sunk to a new low.

This reminds me of a drunkard who has wasted his son’s college funds on wild living, drugs, and alcohol.  He has a small wad of money left, so he goes on the river boat, and tells his son, “Don’t worry!  I’m going to make it right.  I’m going to win big.  I’ll get your college money back.”  But we all know what will soon happen.  In a few hours he’ll lose it all, and come back with nothing.

I’m going to tell the world something no one wants to hear.  You all ready?  Every successful economy in world history, and every superpower the world has ever known are all PRODUCERS.  They produce things.  They keep some money saved away for rough times, and operate in surpluses.  Excessive consumption, and not enough production is always the downfall of every nation.  ALWAYS.  Without exception.

There’s no magic wand for the Fed to wave.  There’s no fancy  government policy for Obama to act which can save stupidity.  Deficits, debts, higher and higher taxation, printing up money, rising inflation, rising unemployment…   These are all signs that the economic policies being executed are no good.  Every red flag is firing off saying, “Stop!  Stop!  Stop!”

Go on.  Keep preaching printed money.  Keep preaching government spending cures all.  Keep preaching deficits don’t matter.  Keep on doing your thing.   But don’t come begging to me for money when none of it works.  And it won’t.  I’ll be in my study working on my Physics studies.

Personal Update August 2009

Lately I’ve been spending near all my time studying books.  The past several months I’ve done very little “work” to earn money at all.  My studies have been mostly science related.  I’m about 3/4 of the way through an astronomy textbook, which I’ve been working on.  I’m finishing up some final studies in electromagnetism — which I probably should have already finished, but haven’t yet.  I started studying a bit of quantum mechanics, but then decided to wait until I finish the electromagnetic studies.

All of these studies are time consuming.  I see months and months go by, and slowly make it through one book.  The thing about studying physics is all the mathematics.  It just takes a lot of time and effort to study it all, but I find it all very rewarding.

After recently writing that big post on greed, I learned I need to do a lot of studying related to the development of the human species, and our base drives.  There was a lot of subtle questions I didn’t quite understand leading to some off-base conclusions.  Greg gave me a call, and we started talking about some of the issues and he gave me some good information.

One of the questions I didn’t understand was why we as humans are so particular about hygiene, and why we waste so much time beautifying ourselves.  Why we’re always taking showers, women taking so much time with make-up, and all the time we spend styling our hair.  That sort of thing.  Why would we evolve to waste so much energy?  What benefit does that serve us as a species?

Then Greg explained to me that I was missing a few key factors.  Most notably, he explained the concept of “fitness indicators” to me.  Take a lot of birds for instance.  They’ll develop these flashy, fluffy, colorful feathers to impress a mate.  We look at that and think, “What in the world!”  It’s beautiful, but why?  Why do they go through all these mating rituals, flashing big tails, and all of that.  The reason is to show that they have extra energy to waste.  They are healthy, so they have all this excess energy to waste building this colorful tail, and wasting time with all those rituals.

So when humans fix their hair, style themselves in clothing, clean themselves, and more, they show how much energy they can waste, and still be ok.  That’s why we pre-judge a person with long straggly hair, and unshaven, as a dead-beat.  Unconsciously our minds tell us, “This person hasn’t had extra time and energy to waste maintaining their appearance, therefore they must be struggling to survive, and are unhealthy.”

Strange to think that way.  Encounter a cute girl at the store while waiting in line.  You think a thought, “Her hair is really pretty,” which is really just a reaction from your unconscious mind which is saying, “See how symmetric her hair is?  She must have had a lot of time to waste this morning styling it.”  It’s an indicator of excess energy to waste — a fitness indicator of health and prosperity.  Combine that with other fitness indicators, such as being fit (not fat – she could catch prey), breasts (to nuture children with  milk), youthful (not aged and old – she’ll live long enough to raise the children), and other indicators, all combine to say, “She’s a suitable candidate to spread my genes, therefore I’ll secrete the proper chemicals and make sure you’re attracted to her.”

These fitness indicators are also the reason youths will do harmful things to themselves in front of a social crowd, trying to impress them.  They’ll be at a party, drink a huge bottle of strong alcohol and say, “See, I can hold my alcohol!”  That’s a fitness indicator, showing how much damage they can do to their body, and still be ok.  They’re trying to show us they’re a suitable mate.  They’re attempting to prove their worth and strength.  “See, my body is good and strong.  I’m very fit and able.”

Greg gave me a list of six core factors like this, and showed how all human behavior can be broken into those six factors.  He referred me to some books, which I’m going to be purchasing and reading here soon.   Those sorts of studies are what I’ve been lacking for a long time.

Besides those books, I’m going to be ordering a bunch of books on anthropology.  I’m going to spend a lot of time studying humans and their origins.  It’s sad when I’m watching some crazy conspiracy theorist on the internet, and thinking, “Huh, that sort of makes sense.”  I don’t like to tell someone their ideas are “crazy” unless I can give them a rational reason why they must be wrong.  After hearing that guy, I couldn’t tell him a single reason why he was wrong, and that made me think, “I need to study more about humans, our anatomy, and more in-depth biology.”  I’m sure a lot of the questions I’ve been wondering will be explained.  I like it when things are broken down to base instinctual drives, and evolution.  That’s when things make the most sense.

Take one of the factors Greg was telling me about:  Openness.  Openness is how willing you are to change and accept new ideas.  Are you willing to try anything new, or are you a person rooted in tradition and wanting to keep things the way they’ve always been?  The core factor scientists have discovered which determines this trait is based on your immune system.  Depending on how your immune system is structured will determine how “open” you are.  There’s a lot of details.  I’ll write on all of this at a later time, when I dive into it all more heavily.  It’s interesting to find out that these things are genetic, and can’t be helped.

I have a lot of questions about things like that though. How much of it is social conditioning, such as events happening to you, and how much of it is genetics and your immune system?  How do they combine?  How strong is each influence?  It’s a combination of both, I’m sure, but how do the details  play out? I don’t know.

So that’s pretty much it.  I’ll be studying quantum mechanics, astronomy, cosmology, biology, and anthropology.  That’s pretty much what I’ve been doing, living off money I made quite a while ago, keeping my expenses down to almost nothing, so I don’t have to waste time working.

I also have been wanting to buy a series of books on economic history.  In-depth books on economic policies, studying individual countries over time, and the effects of those policies.  I’ve ALWAYS wanted to study that.  Studying their currencies, their banking systems, their regulations, and other details of their economies.  Man, that’d be great.  But how am I supposed to have time for all this?  Arrggghhh. I have literally all day to study, but still can’t fit it all in!

Today I’m studying neutron stars, which originate from Type II supernovas.  The past week I’ve been studying star formation, and their processes.  Before reading this astronomy text, I was under the impression that all elements were forged in the cores of stars during nuclear fusion, but I was wrong.  All elements of higher density than iron actually form from Type II supernovas.  Reading that though, I have to take what they say at face value.  I didn’t understand some of the nitty gritty processes which go on, even with all the physics I’ve studied.   When getting into things like the Pauli Exclusion Principle, I haven’t studied that level of quantum mechanics yet.  When it comes to quantum physics, I’ve just barely scratched the surface with my studies.  I only know the basics of the basics.

I also wish to get some textbooks on geophysics, and meteorology.  I just love learning this stuff.  The astronomy book I’ve been reading was going into the root origins of various weather patterns on planets, and I just loved it.  I wanted to learn more, but all that was there was one chapter.  I read all that and thought, “Wow, this is awesome!  I never knew how all this worked.”  I’m sure years from now I’ll get to those subjects too.  For now, they’ll have to be put on the shelf.  Too many other studies are higher priority, for the time being.

I guess that’s it for now.  Hope things are well with all you guys out there!  I tried emailing some of my old friends I haven’t been in touch with for a while.  If you haven’t got the emails, or if I didn’t respond to you, it MIGHT be due to email problems with the server.  Greg recently switched my domain, as well as some other site domains over to a new server, and it has some sort of SPAM guard system.  We were getting a lot of SPAM so he upped the protection settings really high.  It MIGHT be deleting messages before I even get them.  I don’t know.  I’ve somewhat suspected that, but maybe not.  Also, I now send my email through this same server, whereas I used to send email through my ISP.  So stupid.  Sucks living in a small town.  ISP has no idea what it’s doing, and decided it wouldn’t relay email messages anymore for its customers.  Now I have to worry about whether or not my server’s IP is blacklisted, and other stuff like that.  It’s a pain in the butt these days just to send email.  Sometimes email isn’t even delivered to people.  At one point I think my domain was blacklisted, for some reason.  Maybe some low-life hacker got in and started relaying SPAM through the server?  I don’t know.

I hate techie crap these days.  Worrying about whether emails are delivered.  Spyware.  Viruses.  The other day my Vista computer got a virus, and I literally wasn’t doing anything.  I was just sitting there and then all the sudden a window came up which said, “I’ve detected a virus!”  Then crap appeared in my systray, and pop-ups galore came up, and I just shook my head and thought, “Sorry Microsoft.  My next computer will be a Mac.  I’m not dealing with this anymore.”   Greg’s also switching to a Mac.

I tried out several virus programs for Vista, to try to clean it off.  They kept detecting crap, scanning for hours, claiming to clean it off.  I’d tell it to do what it needed to do, then it’d say, “I can’t delete this process why the computer is running, shall I scan upon reboot?”  So I say yes.  It then scans for literally 6 hours or more prior to boot.  Hard drive crunching away.  Windows comes up.  I log in.  Detects more viruses.  Wants to reboot and do that scan over again.  This same sort of thing happened with several anti-virus programs, and spyware software.

So yeah.  I’m done with Windows and PCs.  Probably going with a Mac laptop of some sort.  I’ve never even used a Mac, but who cares.  I’ll learn.  I’m not dealing with this stuff anymore.  Computer wasting tons of resources.  Getting viruses and spyware.  No more.

My Vista installation is so hosed right now.  I tried to uninstall the anti-virus program, and it wouldn’t come off.  At one point I tried AVG, because I’ve seen ads for it.  I installed it.  Ran scans.  Didn’t do anything.  Flailed away at the virus but couldn’t remove it.  Tried to uninstall it, but it wouldn’t come off.  Then I installed another anti-virus, Avast.  Ran it.  It cleaned the virus, but now I have two anti-virus things running.  These programs scan my web browsing, slowing it all down.  I hate this stuff.  Can’t even uninstall it either.  And I don’t want to format.  The computer has too much stuff on it.

As for my PC, I installed Linux on my computer, and have been running that lately.

I’m able to read PDFs, surf the web, and watch videos online.  I can type documents in MS Word, running through Linux’s WINE emulator.  That’s all I need.  It’s nice not worrying about viruses, or my base operating system using over a GIGABYTE of ram, not even doing anything.  Base operating system uses a gig of ram.  Vista uses A GIG OF RAM.  Linux uses a little over 100 MB, runs faster, is more customizable with its interface… It’s just too bad there’s not much software for it, besides a lot of these shoddy open-source programs.  Some of them are good, such as GIMP, OpenOffice, VLC Media player, and their PDF and DJV viewers.  Other software though, was junk.  I can still use Firefox to surf the web, and plugins work.   The Flash player for Linux is considerably slower though, which disappoints me.  A flash ad can come up on a webpage and max out processor usage.   I don’t like that at all.