Over the next several days we will be migrating this site to Backdrop CMS. Please be patient as we try to survive this process and not lose our minds.
As the year ends and we look back on 2018 as the year that Social Media let us down, it is also a good time to look at the ways we helped leak our own data, and privacy.
Social Media platforms are rife with all sorts of hoaxes. $50 coupon from Costco, $150 dollar coupon from Kohls. Just like our page and share it with all of your friends, oh, and be sure to fill out the form at this link so we can send you your coupon. (Spoiler Alert: They won't send you anything.)
These pages are harvesting information from you and with any luck a bunch of your friends. It must be true if my buddy sent me the link -- or liked the page -- or ...
DON'T, please just don't. These types of scams may seem innocent enough, but somewhere out there are HUGE piles of harvested information. Different information being harvested about you from different locations and all compiled into a big profile. This nefariously harvested data can then be sold, to hackers, to marketers, to a large swath of people you would rather not have your information.
You really don't need to share all of the details of your life on your Social Media profile. Delete that shit. The more you have publicly available, the easier you are to profile by marketers and others.
Are the people on your friends list really friends? Be selective about who you do share your posts with.
Do yourself a HUGE favor and download Facebook Purity. You won't be sorry. Firefox browser also has a Facebook Container plugin that prevents Facebook from tracking you all over the web to deliver advertisements. You can run both of these at the same time and FB becomes instantly more enjoyable.
Happy New Year!
As some of you may have noticed, the site has been down off and on for the last week or so. We have been busy dealing with software updates and a move to a new server. During all of this, we also updated the site from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7.
The site is back, tho still limping a little. There were some of the old features that have to be either discarded or rebuilt to work with the new backbone. We will be back, fully functional, in the very near future, and look forward to a revival. If anybody is interested in helping out, please drop a note using the contact form.
A while back, I'd written a piece called "
Stir of Echoes: Haunted Hearts and Healing Memories" where I listed a set of music tracks that reminded me of Mumsie, of her life and of my care-giving experience, and of her life with my wife.
(An explanation of what portion of which songs means what and why it was included is listed in detail in Musical Deconstruction of the Life's Worth of Memories.
Amazon's got a "widget" that allows me to put excerpts from all the tracks together...thought I'd test it and see if it works.
Lenovo has introduced three new computer tablets that continue to expand their habit of creating stylish, useful personal technology devices.
The three new tablets are:
What caught my eye about the latest release is the ThinkPad Tablet, which sports a Tablet Keyboard Folio Case and has digital pen support.
It's technology I'd love to get my hands on for a full - and ideally long-term - test drive.
What kind of new technology has sprung up in the marketplace lately that's caught your eye? Comments are open...
Okay, I gotta admit it was kinda fun (and a little empowering) to list all those scientific terms in the tags box. The idea of parallel universes fascinates me ... and could explain alot.
A July 19th article by Alexander Vilenkin and Max Tegmarkin in Scientific American makes the scientific case for the existence of parallel universes, multiverse if you will.
The Case for Parallel Universe
Why the multiverse, crazy as it sounds, is a solid scientific idea
If the no-copy assumption is false, then there's no fundamental reason why there can't be copies of you elsewhere in the external reality—indeed, both eternal inflation and unitary quantum mechanics provide mechanisms for creating them.
We humans have a well-documented tendency toward hubris, arrogantly imagining ourselves at center stage, with everything revolving around us. We've gradually learned that it's instead we who are revolving around the sun, which is itself revolving around one galaxy among countless others. Thanks to breakthroughs in physics, we may be gaining still deeper insights into the very nature of reality.
Was there a rift in the time-space continuum that allowed all these Tea Baggers to fall through into our reality ... or did we somehow fall thru into theirs?
The truth is out there.
Sampling of ocean water 30 km off Japan's coast found radioactive "iodine concentrations at or above Japanese regulatory limits," as well as amounts of cesium-137 below regulatory limits. Some of the contamination may be due to recycled sea water used to cool down the reactors and spent fuel ponds. Still, the volume of water thus contaminated suggests that the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant complex has already released massive quantities of radionuclides over the past two weeks. More massive releases are a disturbing possibility, experts say.
Technical Update Experts now suspect a breach in Unit 3's containment vessel, based on an incident yesterday in which two workers stepped into pools of water found to be 10,000 times more radioactive than expected). [The] prime minister called the country's ongoing fight to stabilize the plant "very grave and serious."
Previous radioactive emissions have come from intentional efforts to vent small amounts of steam through valves to prevent the core from bursting. However, releases from a breach could allow uncontrolled quantities of radioactive contaminants to escape into the surrounding ground or air. (AP/Seattle Times, March 25)
Water samples revealed the presence of radioactive cobalt and molybdenum, suggesting the possibility of "routine corrosion in a reactor and its associated piping over the course of many years of use," said Michael Friedlander, a former nuclear power plant operator. (New York Times, March 25) Protective Actions Update Japanese authorities have issued a public request for voluntary evacuation of residents within the 12-18 mile zone where sheltering has been recommended. Sheltering is still the official recommendation for that area, but Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said that, "It has become increasingly difficult for goods to arrive, and life has become harder." That is essentially what I suggested in a diary two days ago (although I recommended evacuating farther out). The change in policy demonstrates that radiation levels should not be the only consideration in deciding protective actions. The complications of Japan's emergency response prompted the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency to comment that current emergency management practice is outdated and "reflects the realities of the 1980s, not of the 21st century." That observation is hardly new, but possibly this time authorities will be prompted to take action. Food Contamination Singapore officials say they have found low levels of radioactivity in parsley, mustard, rapeseed and perilla imported from Japan. China, South Korea and Taiwan are the latest countries to suspend food and agriculture impacts from affected areas of Japan. On Wednesday, Japan's prime minister urged people to stop eating leafy vegetables from the contaminated area. A total of 11 vegetables were found to have contamination above regulatory limits. Samples of kukitatena had "more than 160 times the safety standard of radioactive cesium." Farmers are dumping contaminated milk, and officials are distributing bottled water after tap water in Tokyo was found to have radiation levels more than twice the level permitted for infants. AsiaOne has published pictures of some of the contaminated vegetables on its website for accurate identification. (This is an excellent idea, as many visitors and residents may not be familiar with local produce.) The Japanese government is ordering farmers to destroy some crops, promising to compensate them for their losses. Japan has been playing a dangerous game of catch-up as it attempts to interdict contaminated milk and produce. It failed to immediately establish a precautionary embargo on agricultural products originating in the contaminated areas, and to enforce it through access control points around the food control zone. Photo by Ian Sane, at Flickr
This is bloody awesome. I want one.
(Well, ok -- I want five.) Hat-tip to Devon in Acton for the heads-up.
So, what's your idea of a "monster machine"? And do you have it, or is it a pipe dream?
Icelandic volcano 'set to erupt'
Scientists in Iceland are warning that another volcano looks set to erupt and threatening to spew-out a pall of dust that would dwarf last year's event.
[...click for full article...]
...the only thing that would suck more is to be Bobby Jindal and to have his comment about "something called volcano monitoring" thrown back in his face...again.
See our prior piece for a related story on last year's Icelandic eruption.
Whatever else you may do today, keep in mind: this is an Open Thread.
1 Oddly related because it was a thread about the volcano that led to my digging out the video about the monster machine created with 24 SSD drives. Go figure. :)
As if real science really needs to be defended? Anyways...
But I thought this little bit of communist/socialist tree hugging hippy environmental activism was notable both for its source and reasoning. The Navy is preparing for climate change as a matter of national security:
US Navy preparing for climate change | Politics in the Zeros
The director of the US Navy climate change task force, sees failed states and the Bering Strait being as important as the Straits of Hormuz
The deniers of the real science on this issue, the GOP and their right wing activists that try to pretend they are making a point and are completely disregarding reality? They are endangering the national security of this nation and enabling the worst of the world's ecoterrorists, the corporations that pollute, to continue to hurt the United States of America and the world.
I am only warning you about this now because I don't want you to be scared as I practice some tricks from my "Merlin's Winter Solstice Magic for Dummies" tonight. Anyways...
Tonight (tomorrow morning?), from about one thirty am est until about five thirty am est, the moon will be completely swallowed by the shadows of the earth. The last time a total lunar eclipse coincided with the winter solstice was in 1638, but I was not around to cause that one.
If you are too busy blogging, participating in NASA's live chat or just surfing the net and don't want to put down your iPad, iPod or iPhone to follow this eclipse, there is an app for that. However, if you would prefer to hunt some planets, instead of staying up in the middle of the night to see me magically paint the moon a reddish-orange with my eclipse, there is some less lunar loony news and information on planet hunting for the "citizen scientist" and "amateur scientist" below the fold.