Tuesday, December 13, 2016

UK Spying

The UK government has voted itself a new spying bill that's positively draconian in scope. Nicknamed the Snooper's Charter, it requires providers to keep your browsing history for a year. The information will be available, without a warrant, to the Usual Suspects, plus such important State Security entities as the Gambling Commission.

While this is another step in the lack of privacy landslide in the UK, the US and other countries would be well-served to keep their eyes on its progress. The UK seems to be a testing ground of sorts for Bad Anti-Privacy Laws.

That said, this article features some really good information for everyone to protect their communications, like Signal messenger, Tor, and VPNs. Even if you're not planning to take security seriously, read it and familiarize yourself with the situation.

  • In case you were kept awake at night, wondering what is the cause for male homosexuality, your answer is here. [Hint: ghosts]

I realize 2016 isn't over yet, but this headline is in the running for best of the year: Are White People Promoting Homosexuality as a Means of Undermining the Black Struggle?

  • Speaking of 2016, and I wish we weren't, we bid farewell to some larger than life people in their fields: Greg Lake and John Glenn. Remember the good old days, when rock stars would die of drug overdoses? Now it's cancer. Emerson, Lake and Palmer: and then there was one.

With the rise in Utter Nonsense that is Fake News, remember this: Fake News is anything that particular person does not want you to read. The irony of Hillary warning about Fake News is strong: her administration fed Fake News to the media. In spite of this, Trump won.

  • This morning I asked the dog that since he's so smart, why doesn't he let himself outside and back in. He replied that he's so smart he has us do it for him.  Can't argue.

Do you have a Netgear R6400, R7000, R8000 (go check - I'll wait). If you do, turn it the hell off and replace it or wait til Netgear releases a fix. The article linked will tell you how to check to see if your router is vulnerable. The routers look like little spaceships from some new space-horror movie, with lots of antennae.

  • Important Stuff you missed over the weekend: nothing.

Remember the Colonial Theater? It's the place where The Blob was filmed. It's been totally redone and is a delightful place to see a movie or concert. They just let me know that if I'm 70 or older, my IRA distributions can benefit the theater, but only tax-deferred gifts of up to $100,000. Drat - if I were only 70 or older...

  • I need to stop this entry right now for a very important bulletin: the Opera browser was split off into another one called Vivaldi. In the latest version, you can now select themes! But wait... as if that weren't enough, you can schedule the time for the theme to change! Vivaldi works on most operating systems, for your convenience.

I received an email, asking to evaluate a course I took. They asked fifteen minutes of my time. In acknowledging my time, they said that every tenth evaluator would win a t-shirt with their logo.  I was never a math star, but with their courses starting at $300, I'm thinking of holding out for maybe a t-shirt AND some pocket lint.

  • Kentucky Fried Chicken, hereafter referred to as KFC (or WTF), has admitted that their Colonel's Club has suffered a breach, 'possibly' exposing 1.2 million customers' details. WHAT? Did any of us know that there's a Colonel's Club at KFC? A loyalty program for greasy, heart attack inducing deep fried grease bits? No wonder this country's in trouble.

Speaking of the Irrepressibly Stupid, the UN has declared Wonder Woman as the ambassador for empowering women. As if that weren't Stupid enough, feminist outrage stepped right in, within microseconds, and demanded a stop be put to this travesty for a few reasons: she is a fictional character who wears thigh high boots and exposed cleavage (because Mother Teresa was unavailable for the position), she is too white, closely associated with the American flag, and "not culturally sensitive." This proves that the UN is a ridiculous, useless organization (in case we didn't already know this) and that feminists are a ridiculous parody of themselves (in case we didn't already know this). Perhaps we should all get together, at KFC, and find common ground.

I learned some Good Stuff growing up. My mother did a pretty good job. In grade school, I noticed some of my friends really didn't like black people. This was confusing and low-class to us, even in our mostly white neighborhood. It occurred to me that - hey... racism is learned. I also saw a small amount of antisemitism, also flowing down, but nowhere near as prevalent as the racism. The few Jewish kids in the 'hood were sometimes harangued by the parents of their friends, although it didn't seem to be a problem in school.

Fast forward to The Online Age, where everyone you don't like is Literally Hitler. As a merrymaker, I have seen comics do really funny things with Hitler, especially Monty Python (who could make cardboard hilarious). There were a few features of his that invited poking and I do like to poke.

Everything online is obviously a reflection of Real Life<tm>, to some degree; so I see a lot of Hitler references, 99.9% of them intended to beat down someone's speech or point. With the Hitler references are the Jew references. At first they were kinda funny. Then no so much. After a while I realized that there were groups of people who really, seriously did not like Jews, blaming them for everything from retail sales issues to a secret plot to ruin the world. The 'watchdog' agency, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), may have done some good in the past but right now they're a ridiculous parody of themselves, pointing their finger and screaming "ANTISEMITE" at everything and everyone. Kinda like the Black Lives Matter and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Recently I've run into some really bad examples of humanity online. They don't necessarily leap out, screaming, "JEWS! JEWS! JEWS DID IT!" but they're pretty close. It's a bit unnerving being around these people, even online. I see a lot more of this than overt racism, but it might be the places I visit.

Also popping up is the White Genocide movement. These guys are also a bit different. They seem to feel that movements to let foreigners in the country is white genocide. I think. They'll be the first to say White Lives Matter (all lives matter, even the Stupid). I'm sure they have a few points in their favor but I haven't studied the platform.

My first instinct is to block these people or not visit these sites. But Howard Stern, bastion of civility, taught everyone a lesson. One of his recurring guests was the KKK Guy. Howard kept him front and center and took a lot of heat for it. In my mind, Howard exposed his enemy and kept him front and center, where millions of people could see what he was up to and realize that, yes, this ugliness still exists.  So I no longer block any of this nonsense, preferring to see it for what it is. While the ADL has become a ridiculous parody of itself, I suppose some of it bears watching (by all of us).  And of course, this will be blamed on Trump, as if he personally gave out licenses to these folks. Regardless, we enjoy free speech and I'll fight for anyone's right to it.

Watch where you hang out, virtually or in Real Life<tm>.

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