Monday, October 27, 2014

Ebola America: its not just stupidity anymore.

Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

This can no longer be explained by stupidity.

The White House pushed back against the governors of New York, New Jersey, Illinois and other states that instituted procedures to forcibly quarantine medical workers returning from West Africa, deepening an emotional debate brought on by recent Ebola cases in the U.S.

A senior administration official said Sunday that new federal guidelines under development would protect Americans from imported cases of the disease but not interfere with the flow of U.S. health workers to and from West Africa to fight the epidemic there.

"We have let the governors of New York, New Jersey and other states know that we have concerns with the unintended consequences... [that quarantine] policies not grounded in science may have on efforts to combat Ebola at its source," the official said.

Now, for any of my readers out there who don't know, a quarantine of 21 days duration is the only sure way to prevent the Ebola virus from being transmitted by people returning to the USA from West Africa. Health care volunteers who go to Africa and work in the outbreak region should be VOLUNTARILY quarantining themselves, knowing as they do the risks involved in letting this bug get out.

What are they doing instead? Taking taxis, flying on domestic aircraft (with a fever!), going on the New York City subway system, going bowling, going shopping for a wedding dress, hugging the President of the United States... and THEN discovering they are Ebola-positive.

Ladies and gentlemen of America, you have two problems. First, you have a bunch of self appointed martyrs going to do Holy Work in Africa by Healing the Sick... but then they refuse to take even the most basic common sense measures to avoid killing their friends, relatives and neighbors back home. Which is flatly insane at best.

Second, you have a President who has decided that his political needs are more important than containing the possible spread of a disease which is contagious and 70% fatal. The White House is deliberately forcing state governments to -stop- doing the only known thing that can stop an Ebola outbreak for certain. Quarantine.

Those are some serious problems, next to which anything being talked about in the press or by the politicians is as nothing. Vote accordingly, while you still can.

The Phantom

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Why we will get robot cars and more gun control.

This is something I wrote as a comment on this post here in response to some cogent thoughts from two readers. I think it deserves its own post.

Consider the following: How useful would it have been to Ottawa police yesterday if they could have entered a code at headquarters yesterday and immobilized every car in Ottawa? You can see them totally going for that, right? It wouldn't change the outcome at all, but it would make things so much easier during the Official After Action Clearing and the Official Checking Everything Out To Make Sure Its All Good.

You can see them today loving the idea of an invisible fence that won't let any car drive up onto the Parliament Hill grounds. Even better, a system that won't let you drive up there, but if you try anyway it locks the car doors and drives you to the armored police station instead.

You can see them salivating over the idea of a system that identifies every individual driving a car by biometrics, then reports their position constantly. Then locks the car doors and drives to the cop shop if a particular code gets entered, allowing all the shooter's family and associates to be effortlessly gathered in.

These are the kind of things that give government officials a major woodie. So easy! Just press a button and the guy you want to pick up gets delivered to you. Using HIS car and burning HIS gas to boot.

And Cpl. Cirillo would still be just as dead.

What would have CHANGED the outcome yesterday?

 There's a picture of Cpl. Cirillo after he got shot, with two middle aged ladies and the ambulance crew working on him. Those ladies, given half a chance, would have killed the shooter in a heartbeat. If they had guns on them, and they knew it was their responsibility as Canadians to protect that kid when he couldn't protect himself, they'd have waxed that shooter prick before he got five steps from the shooting site. Or somebody else would have. For sure.

For that matter, since Cpl. Cirillo was in a militia regiment, he would have been carrying his own gun with his own ammunition in it, and he'd have stood a fighting chance. And so would his fellow militiamen, all standing right there next to him. You'd have to be utterly mental to start anything with that bunch.

And ShooterBoy would KNOW that. He would chose some other form of self expression than an attempted mass shooting, because it would be suicide.

That's how concealed carry works.

In places where concealed carry is tried, the number of shootings -decreases- along with the crime rate. It decreases a lot. Between 10% to 20% in most American states that implemented "Shall Issue" CCW.

That means the criminals don't get shot by CCW gun toting rednecks, and they don't get shot by cops either. They just stop doing crimes because its TOO FRACKING DANGEROUS. Its too dangerous to do crimes when -anybody- could be the guy that kills you for robbing them.

But!

That's the kind of thing gives government officials cold sweats and nightmares. People they can't control wandering around loose? "Aieeee! What if somebody snapped?" You can hear them thinking it, can't you?

This is why we will get robot cars, more surveillance, more regulation, more gun control, more taxes, more corruption, more, More, MORE! unless we defund and disempower the government.

This cannot be accomplished by some bullshit revolution either, it has to be a cultural shift where every Canadian stops buying the hype and starts demanding their freedom back. Loudly. Politicians need to know that if they run on robot cars and gun control they'll be out of their sinecure jobs immediately.

The Phantom

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My Canada.

Two pictures for today.

First, the fallen soldier at the Ottawa Cenotaph getting CPR from the ambulance crew and two apparently random ladies who happened to be walking by, DURING an active shooting.


Second, the scene at the James Street Armories in Hamilton, putting out a cross of flowers for their comrade who fell today.

That's my Canada.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

"Let's Fix It: Lets End Human Driving!"

Behold, the real push behind robot cars. Liberals with a tech fetish. Sam Shank is the CEO and Co-Founder of HotelTonight, and obviously an uber tech geek and liberal.

I've long been fascinated by the idea of technology replacing human drivers.

Let's be honest: people aren't always great drivers. They get distracted, tired and make mistakes. Technology can simply do a better job. This is a subject I've thought about deeply for the past 20 years. I believe it will have as much impact on the world as the switch from horse transport to automobiles.

The consensus opinion is that safe and reliable driverless cars will be available within a few years. Tesla just announced "Autopilot," which will be available soon via a software update, and will allow for autonomous driving on freeways – an amazing first step.

Here's what I think will happen next: the initial use of drive-anywhere autonomous cars (I call them AutoCars) will be with companies like Uber or Lyft rather than individually owned. They will rapidly gain acceptance because they'll save people time (imagine all you could do with that time currently spent behind the wheel), will lower the costs of getting from one place to another, and will be way faster while also being safer than human driving.

Here's what I think will happen. A bunch of big tech companies like Google and Apple etc. will get their buddies in the various legislatures to get them a Special Deal indemnifying them against fault when robot cars inevitably crash and kill people.

Which the robot cars will then do, a lot. Because, among other things, every cabbie, truck driver, delivery guy and union thug alive will be out to kill those things like you won't believe.

Also because the technology these things run on is extremely complicated and not particularly well understood. Similar to the situation at the beginning of the last century, when automobiles were cranky, unpredictable and dangerous machines no one understood. Just for comparison, by the year 1900 automobile technology had been around almost a hundred years. It does give one pause to think of it.

 It's 1896 and Mr. Shank would like to replace all the horses out there with Benz Motorwagens. Surely nothing bad could happen, right?

But Mr. Phantom sir, what about the consensus opinion?!!!!  Who are you, a mere schlub, to question the consensus opinion? Hmmm?

Well, lets talk about the consensus opinion. When faced with a consensus opinion, where experts tell you "Trust us, we know what we're talking about, we're the experts", it is always useful to do what I like to call the External Reality Check.

In External Reality, as in the big wide world, you know what I don't see these days? I don't see robot wheelchairs. I do not see commonly available, reasonably affordable self-guided machines being used to scoot sick people around hospitals, nursing homes, or on their own errands out in the outdoors. I see very expensive Human nurses pushing those people around in manual chairs, at who knows how many billions a year in lost productivity.

You know what else I don't see? Robot forklifts. I do not see self-guided, driverless forklifts whipping around in lumber yards, factories and warehouses. I see normal forklifts driven by very expensive union thugs, at a cost of who knows how many billions a year.

If there was an affordable technology available to drive a 2000lb car with four people in it down a road at 50 mph with zero failures, don't you think there'd be technology to drive a 200lb wheelchair with one person in it at 5 mph down the straight, flat, smooth hallway of an office building or a hospital?

Thus do I question consensus.

The Questioning Phantom

Monday, October 20, 2014

Your Mac is still Phoning Home. So is your PC.

Big Data still hasn't learned that people generally don't like eavesdroppers. Max OSX Yosemite is phoning home lots of data back to Apple, and it doesn't matter how you configure your Mac, apparently.

DuckDuckGo for Privacy

Having read DuckDuckGo's privacy statements, you might decide to switch Safari's default search to DuckDuckGo. If we enter a new search in Safari, we can then search the logged data to see who the search terms are actually sent to.

The logs show that a copy of your Safari searches are still sent to Apple, even when selecting DuckDuckGo as your search provider, and 'Spotlight Suggestions' are disabled in System Preferences > Spotlight.

Non-Cloud Mail Account

When setting up a new Mail.app account for the address admin@fix-macosx.com, which is hosted locally, searching the logs for "fix-macosx.com" shows that Mail quietly sends the domain entered by the user to Apple, too.

Tres uncool, Apple droids.

However if you think you're going to escape by using a PC, Slashdot says y'ain't.

From WinBeta: "One of the more interesting bits of data the company is collecting is text entered. Some are calling this a keylogger within the Windows 10 Technical Preview, which isn't good news. Taking a closer look at the Privacy Policy for the Windows Insider Program, it looks like Microsoft may be collecting a lot more feedback from you behind the scenes. Microsoft collects information about you, your devices, applications and networks, and your use of those devices, applications and networks. Examples of data we collect include your name, email address, preferences and interests; browsing, search and file history; phone call and SMS data; device configuration and sensor data; and application usage." This isn't the only thing Microsoft is collecting from Insider Program participants. According to the Privacy Policy, the company is collecting things like text inputted into the operating system, the details of any/all files on your system, voice input and program information.

This means they are collecting what you type into your own PC. Like, your passwords. Which I really don't think is a "service" I want to pay for, right?

Definitely worth looking at Linux if Apple and Microsoft keep doing this crap. Or just re-installing that old copy of XP we all have kicking around in the closet. It still works. According to my experience, using XP on this exact box I'm running Win 8 on right now doesn't slow down what I do every day. I'm sure some things are faster with Win 8, but I don't -notice- them being faster and so I don't really care. If I need FAST I can stick an off-line compute server in a corner and feed it by sneakernet with thumb drives.
Dear Apple and Microsoft, my files, my keystrokes, my stuff generally is none of your business. If I have to finally bite the bullet and learn Linux to keep your sticky fingers out of my PC, I will. And if I will, millions of other will too. Anything you corporate wankers can make, we users collectively will jailbreak, hack, pervert, fold, spindle and mutilate.

And if you piss me off I'll switch my phone back to a Blackberry. If for no other reason than RIM is Canadian.

The Phantom

Here's something you don't see every day.

White kids rioting.

Students who participated in riots near the Keene State College campus Saturday night could face serious consequences, including expulsion for the worst offenders, according to a statement from the college president.

We see kids rioting all the time lately. Not a new thing. What you don't see every day is the words "expulsion" and "offenders" used in the same sentence by a university official. Hell, she even threw in the word "consequences". We never see that. Normally we see something like "working with the community to reduce violence" or "more sensitivity training for staff".

I speculate that this case is different because these are WHITE kids, and are therefore supposed to know better. Otherwise known as the "soft racism of low expectations". Except this is the flip-side, where the book gets thrown at them because they's White and there's no political reason not to kick their asses like they deserve.

Dear Commie Pinko educators: maybe if you stopped giving certain groups a Special Deal and throw the book at -everybody- who riots, they'd all do better, hmmm? Just a thought.

The Phantom

Sunday, October 19, 2014

NY Safe Act: 34,000 New Yorkers dangerously insane.

What happens when you set bureaucrats to decide who is sane in a society? They err on the side of caution, obviously. Because  they're bureaucrats. Ass covering isn't second nature to them, it DEFINES their nature.

The NY SAFE Act, part of it banned "Assault Murder/Death/Kill Weapons!!!", but the other part created a board who decides who's too crazy to own a gun in NY state.

So far, 34,000 people are too crazy.

A newly created database of New Yorkers deemed too mentally unstable to carry firearms has grown to roughly 34,500 names, a previously undisclosed figure that has raised concerns among some mental health advocates that too many people have been categorized as dangerous.

The database, established in the aftermath of the mass shooting in 2012 at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and maintained by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services, is the result of the Safe Act. It is an expansive package of gun control measures pushed through by the administration of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. The law, better known for its ban on assault weapons, compels licensed mental health professionals in New York to report to the authorities any patient "likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to self or others."

But the number of entries in the database highlights the difficulty of America's complicated balancing act between public safety and the right to bear arms when it comes to people with mental health issues. "That seems extraordinarily high to me," said Sam Tsemberis, a former director of New York City's involuntary hospitalization program for homeless and dangerous people, now the chief executive of Pathways to Housing, which provides housing to the mentally ill. "Assumed dangerousness is a far cry from actual dangerousness."

Take home quote is "That seems extraordinarily high to me" from a mental health expert and government guy.

But that's because the point was not to make New York safer. The point was to get the mental health camel with his nose in the tent. Now the nose is in there, and as we can see the rest of the camel is coming in behind it. What they really want is a regulation that brands you insane if you apply for a gun license, and as we can see from this 34,000 number they are well on their way. By next year they'll be up over 200,000. Anyone who has so much as said the words "I feel kinda depressed" to a physician will eventually be on this list.

See, the people who campaigned for this law consider ALL gun owners to be dangerously insane. Just wanting to own a gun makes you a potential killer in their book. These people are liberals. One of their most fundamental beliefs about people is that everyone in the world is only one bad day away from becoming the Long Island Train Killer. Or the Son of Sam, or Ted Bundy. Liberals think human beings are dangerous, murderous animals one thinning synapse away from snapping and killing everybody they can reach.

Those are the honest liberals. The dishonest ones who MADE the law just want to make sure you can't shoot back when they finally come for you at 3AM. Because they're not liberals, really. They're fascists.

The Phantom