Friday, December 19, 2014

FBI is investigating Gamergate.

"Oh, that's so SEXIST! Somebody call the FBI!!!"

The tempest in a teapot which was GamerGate is now getting official attention from the FBI.
Rejecting a request for the FBI's files on #Gamergate and its affiliates, the bureau stated that, while they have responsive documents related to the loose coalition, those files are part of an ongoing investigation, and release "would interfere with law enforcement proceedings." Who or what is being investigated remains an open question.
A number of individuals, including Anita Sarkeesian and Brianna Wu, have reported death threats after being targeted by Gamergate.
The response letter is a standard form letter from the FBI, generally used anytime there is a related open investigation on the subject in question.
This is an interesting development from a political perspective. For the FBI to get involved in something as stupid as GamerGate, aka name calling on Twitter, somebody important must have decided they want to make an example of the politically non-correct segment of the game industry.

The wiki article here.

An interestingly non-congruent to wiki article here. Seems like wiki has picked a side. FBI has picked the same side, most likely.

There is nothing the New Fascism will not try to bring under the Iron Thumb of Control.

The Phantom

We know they listen, this is how.

Big Brother's Big Ear.
German researchers reveal major "flaws" aka eavesdropping tools in cell phone security.

The flaws, to be reported at a hacker conference in Hamburg this month, are the latest evidence of widespread insecurity on SS7, the global network that allows the world's cellular carriers to route calls, texts and other services to each other. Experts say it's increasingly clear that SS7, first designed in the 1980s, is riddled with serious vulnerabilities that undermine the privacy of the world's billions of cellular customers.
The flaws discovered by the German researchers are actually functions built into SS7 for other purposes – such as keeping calls connected as users speed down highways, switching from cell tower to cell tower – that hackers can repurpose for surveillance because of the lax security on the network.
 So it isn't a bug, its a feature.
The researchers did not find evidence that their latest discoveries, which allow for the interception of calls and texts, have been marketed to governments on a widespread basis. But vulnerabilities publicly reported by security researchers often turn out to be tools long used by secretive intelligence services, such as the National Security Agency or Britain's GCHQ, but not revealed to the public.
"Many of the big intelligence agencies probably have teams that do nothing but SS7 research and exploitation," said Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist for the ACLU and an expert on surveillance technology. "They've likely sat on these things and quietly exploited them."
I'd go further and speculate that the big intelligence agencies ARRANGED this as far back as the 1970's, forward to today.

Just my tinfoil hat speculation.

The Phantom

IRS: "Stick 'em up, America!"

When Congress tells the IRS they get a budget cut this year, what does the IRS do?

In the recent budget deal, Congress cut the IRS budget by $346 million to $10.9 billion — $1.5 billion less than the administration asked for. The IRS' budget has been reduced about $1 billion since 2010.

To elucidate, the Congress has reduced the IRS budget from ~$12.2 billion in 2010 to $10.9 billion in 2015. That's $1.2 billion reduction over five years. In other words, they got cut 10% in total at a rate of 2% per year.

2% per year. Doesn't sound like much, does it? Didn't your taxes go up two percent this year?

IRS response is to stage a stick up.

"People call it furloughs; I view it as: Are we going to have to shut the place down? And at this point, that will be the last thing we do, … but there is no way we can say right now that that wont happen," Koskinen told reporters at a Thursday press conference on the upcoming tax season. ...
Koskinen says there is no more fat to cut at the IRS.

In other words: "No tax refunds for you, America. We've got your damn money, if you want it back you better bring these Republicans to heel. Back to work, slaves."

And people wonder why there's a Tea Party.

The Phantom

Monday, December 15, 2014

Sydney: The known, the unknown, and that which shall not be mentioned.

Well, it seems that Australia joins Canada in having Islamic nuts killing people for no reason. The Sidney Australia nut took 17 people hostage yesterday at around 10AM local time, the cops raided the place at just after 2am local time this morning in response to gunfire from inside the location.

40 sexual and indecent assault charges, conviction for sending offensive letters to families of deceased Australian soldiers, on bail with a murder charge pending, now he's a dead guy.

Details here.

There's a long list of things that the paper says are known and a shorter one of things that aren't. I won't reproduce that here, just go visit the link.

There are a few things conspicuously absent from the lists, however.

First, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot's behavior is interesting. From the paper:

This despite the fact that:
  • A black flag with an Islamic creed written on it in Arabic was displayed in the windows.
So the Lone Gunman obviously considered it an act of Islamic terrorism, but the Prime Minister... doesn't.  Interesting, yes? Stephen Harper decided the Ottawa Cenotaph shooting was terrorism and said so before they even got all of Michael Zehaf-Bibeau's blood off the tile at the House of Commons.

Second, how does one lone nut take 17 people hostage? Answer, GUN CONTROL. Unmentioned in the paper anywhere, this is Australian gun control working as it was intended to do. 17 people can't be held against their will for almost 24 hours by just one guy unless their government has made them helpless first.

Third, not to be a Monday Morning quarterback or anything, but how many times do you have to shoot a guy before he's no longer a threat? Apparently a lot, given the number of muzzle flashes in the video from Sidney. Indeed, in Ottawa the Sergeant at Arms and his men shot Bibeau 12 times before he fell down, and new info indicates the guard on the front door managed to nail Bibeau one time as he ran through. Got him square, didn't seem to slow him at all. Pistols suck. Maybe consider switching to .308 hollow points for home defense.

Fourth and finally, just like Michael Zehaf-Bibeau in Canada, this gink Man Heron Monis was -extremely- well know to Australian police. They knew every damn thing about this guy down to how he likes his eggs in the morning. They couldn't possibly have had more intel on him. And yet, well known, under surveillance semi-coherent nutcase and out-on-bail criminal Monis was able to get himself a gun and a "machete", and then pull this suicide-by-cop standoff. In Canada the shooter Bibeau was part of a fricking RCMP outreach program that exists to try and talk these freak Mooselimb radicals out of doing anything crazy. Major fail, outreach dudes.

Plus the cherry on top, both of these situations happened in the capital cities of both countries where there's cops and frigging cameras all over town. A squirrel can't take a dump on the sidewalk without being photographed from at least three angles.

This proves two things I've been saying for years. Gun control doesn't control guns, much less crime. Ubiquitous surveillance by police doesn't deter criminals, much less terrorists.

Gun control and ubiquitous surveillance are there to control the populace, not to reduce threats against the populace. That's because as far as the police and the government generally are concerned, the populace IS the threat.

You are STUPID. You must be CONTROLLED. Now get back to work paying those taxes, serfs.

The Phantom

Thursday, December 04, 2014

What Thomas Sowell is too polite to say.

I spotted this on Drudge today.

Thomas Sowell, author of "Basic Economics," argued that increasing the number of foreign workers in the US "will keep down the wages of American workers" and that "you would have to get a psychiatrist" to explain the GOP's support for increased foreign labor on Thursday's "Laura Ingraham Show."
"The competition will keep down the wages of American workers, I mean, this is not a new principle. I mean this has been known for hundreds of years," he stated.
When asked why the GOP would support such a policy, he responded "you would have to get a psychiatrist or someone like that to explain that. There are cleaning women who say 'I don't do windows. I don't explain Republicans.'"

Well, Thomas Sowell is being polite in implying the Republicans are crazy. They're not crazy. They're selling America for a bowl of potage.

I think a decent accountant could explain exactly why the Republican leadership is supporting Obama's idiot immigration policies. Just let him alone in a small room with their tax returns and their donor lists for a couple hours, and he'd be able to lay it out for you.

Its the same reason Obama has the policy in the first place. Huge, gigantic, stupefying amounts of money are being made on the backs of illegal immigrants, and some of that titanic wad of cash rubs off on the politicians who let more illegals come in.

See, big industry doesn't want more legal workers. Because legal workers are expensive. There's regulations that make it prohibitive to hire any legal worker even at minimum wage.

They want to hire "contractors". The "contractor" then hires illegal workers, who do whatever the job is and save the big industry from having to follow the regulations.

That's why Obama's "amnesty" is such bullshit. Nobody is going to go for it. they'll stay illegal unless or until they get pinched by La Migra, THEN they'll take the amnesty.

The Phantom

Monday, December 01, 2014

What goes around, comes around.

Coming home to roost. Its a biiiig one!
In a shocking, simply shocking twist of fate, the journalist who published Ferguson ex-policeman Darren Wilson's home address has been calling the Chicago PD non-stop. Because some dastardly terrorist published HER address.

The New York Times journalist who published Darren Wilson's home address wants police protection and has been calling the police nonstop, has learned.
Julie Bosman "keeps calling the 020th District station complaining about people harassing and threatening her," our source told us. She's also "complaining about numerous food deliveries being sent to her residence."
Chicago police department sources alerted about the glaring double standard on Friday.
300lb chicken coming home to roost, huh Julie?

Wouldn't it be simply AWFUL if poor little innocent Julie Bosman had to quit her job and leave town because nassssty people kept threatening her? Like what's happening to Darren Wilson, for example? Oh the Humanity!

The Phantom

Oh look, Culture DOES matter.

Turns out, two tier justice and single parent families are worse for you than living in Nigeria.

Led by Dr. Kristen Mmari, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, the survey assessed health challenges faced by 2,400 15- to 19-year-olds from impoverished areas in Baltimore, Shanghai, Johannesburg, Ibadan and New Delhi, as well as their perceptions of their environments.

The researchers found many similarities—in all five cities, adolescents were exposed to unsanitary conditions, substance abuse and violence—but the differences between each area were especially compelling. Overall, teenagers in Baltimore and Johannesburg, despite being located in comparably wealthy countries, had far worse health outcomes and tended to perceive their communities more negatively.

Really? How terrible! Who did that to these poor children?

According to Mmari, one could point to a combination of environmental and social factors, including the exposure to violence and a lack of social support, which were found to be less prevalent in the three other cities.

Wait, Baltimore has less "social support" than Nigeria? How is that possible?

Adolescents in Baltimore and Johannesburg also had relatively lower levels of "social cohesion," a phrase used to describe the emotional support provided by one's family and neighbors. In Baltimore, many poor teens grow up in single-parent homes and have a father in prison, while those in Johannesburg tend to lose their parents to AIDS.

"In those cities, kids were much more likely to live in a one-parent household," Mmari says. (Or, as a youth in Baltimore described it, "The kids are being raised by themselves.") "Whereas in Delhi, most of these kids are still living in two-parent homes, so they are getting much more support."

Free welfare money and a general "if it feels right do it" culture is -worse- than living in the crappiest part of Nigeria or India where just getting food is a major challenge.

In other words, Liberals did it to them.

Like I've been saying, all cultures are not created equal.

The Phantom

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The LP record makes a comeback.

Remember these? They're baaaaaack!

Here's an interesting datum. The long assumed dead vinyl record from the Ancient Times when TV was in black and white and dinosaurs roamed the Earth sold one million albums in England this year.

In 2014 you'd be forgiven for thinking the music industry is all about online charts and digital downloads, but the latest figures released by the Official Charts Company reveal a corresponding boom in vinyl record sales which have reached an 18-year high.
More than one million records have been sold in the UK so far this year – a number which is expected to rise even further by the end of Christmas. We haven't bought that many since 1996, back when cassette tapes were still considered technologically advanced...
Sales have been driven primarily by the Arctic Monkeys (whose LP AM is the biggest selling vinyl of 2014), Jack White and Pink Floyd, with Oasis, Status Quo and David Bowie also contributing to the impressive figures.
The Ancient Vinyl  is still only 2% of the total UK music biz, but this is an unexpected major increase in the sales of a presumed dead technology. Vinyl is (slowly) gaining sales as regular popular music is losing sales.

Once upon a time I used to work with high fidelity speakers, and I learned then that CDs and other digital recording mediums can't come even close to the sound fidelity available on vinyl. Only two channels, but the frequency response and more importantly the dynamic range and signal to noise ratio possible with top end record players and diamond stylus phonograph cartridges is much higher than you get with even BluRay audio. MP3s sound like crap next to a vinly record played through a decent stereo, there's no comparison at all.

Add to this the habit of sound engineers to record things "loud", and you get sound like singers yelling into a pillow on your iPod. Its all kind of mushy and fuzzy, like it was being played through a sock.

Positive signs that people may be starting to give a rip how their music sounds.

The Phantom

Thursday, November 20, 2014

#Shirtstorm continues: Malcolm Winter "explains" why Dr. Matt Taylor had to grovel.

As posted yesterday, the nice lady who made That Shirt defended herself and Dr. Matt Talor of Comet Landing fame on her blog.  Most of the comments on that blog were positive, but there were a few from the troll I smashed yesterday, assorted other SJW apologists and other random idiots.  Consensus of opinion seems to be we'd all like to buy one of Those Shirts please, so we can get on with annoying the SJWs. If Elly gets busy, she can make a tidy sum of money off this Shirtstorm farce.

But then there was this one, by Mr. "Malcolm Winter", hopefully not his real name but one never knows. Quote:
Pavel Bansky - I'm honestly curious. Would you protect a KKK member's right to don KKK regalia?
OBVIOUSLY in a free country we do protect the right of the KKK to play dress-up. The United States has always done this. Canada's record is a bit more checkered, but the general rule is yes, we protect people and groups we find disgusting in the name of Free Speech."Mr. Winter" made several comments which I will cherry pick some snippets of to reproduce his "argument", such as it is.

Surely I can't make judgements on Matt based solely on his wearing of a shirt that many found offensive (myself included) or on Elly for making it. It seems obvious that Matt and Elly (like most people who make mistakes) are good people with good intentions. However, my issue is not with those actions but with how they and others have responded to how others have *experienced* those actions, regardless of intention.

This is EXACTLY why there aren't more women in STEM. Because when women raise legitimate concerns about the way they're being treated, instead of taking some time to think about how one's actions affect others who have very different histories and life experiences, one instead attempts to justify those actions by saying that any other perception of the action is illegitimate.

"STEM" is Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine careers. The stalking horse here is that women are fewer than men in these careers.

Mr. Winter says that's because White Men that run everything in STEM are mean, and they just won't LISTEN, and the women just don't get an even break. And that's why Dr. MAtt Taylor was asking for a full court international internet pillory for wearing Elly Prizeman's shirt. He didn't think about how his actions would "affect others who have very different histories and life experiences".

Other commenters were having none of that, and pointed out the obvious holes:

Winter, there are men being offended because women are not covering their faces in public. Does it make it alright, then?
If you are prescribing Dr. Taylor's dress code you are inevitably agreeing with men prescribing dress codes for women. Is that your intent?

Winter replies:

Pavel Bansky, I think that prescribing dress codes based on double standards that reinforce the oppression of (and violence toward) women is very different (and actually the opposite) of prescribing dress codes that send the message that reinforcing the oppression of women is NOT acceptable.

Yes, he really did say that HIS dress codes are proper and correct because they reduce oppression, where as Mooselimb dress codes are bad and wrong because they increase oppression. Zero awareness, zero thought that maybe -any- prescribed dress code is an oppression and an abridgement of basic freedom.

Also this:

I think maybe you are all making the same assumptions about my argument. However, my argument is about structural oppression, not individual oppression, although the two are certainly related.
I left [STEM] because of the lack of critical thought in STEM. I found that the rigid definition of critical thought as only whether something has scientific validity, accuracy, and/or precision as a deficient one.

Wait, what?
I've spent nearly three years of my life travelling and working in over 30 countries, most of which are "developing." I have seen a fair share of "real oppression" (whatever that means) and I find covert oppression just as insidious to society as overt oppression, perhaps even more so since it is so much harder to fix something most people can't see.

Dude must have been really hauling ass to live and work in over 30 countries in just three years. And he can see things that are invisible! Wow.

By "critical thought," I think perhaps Tracy Ore defines it best by including the identification and challenging of cultural assumptions, awareness of our place and time in our culture, searching for alternative ways of thinking, and developing a reflective analysis. All of this is something I never found in STEM and I know now that that's one of the many reasons I left.

Yes, engineers and programmers are not known for "including the identification and challenging of cultural assumptions" when trying to determine if the bridge will fall down or not. They're much more about validity, accuracy and precision. Because bridge falling down = bad.
I believe that gauging others' responses to my behavior as a result of my privilege and adjusting that behavior when I can is an important part of being a contributing member to society.

Yes, you are clearly a saint in your own mind. Except you and your little friends made super genius Matt Taylor grovel on international TV. So I'm thinking maybe you don't look so saintly from where I'm standing. You look more like the guys who throw acid on girls in Afghanistan.

See Malcolm, the point of a Free Country is that people are free to do what they want. Most particularly, people are free to do stuff that you don't like. Unless you can prove that their actions and expressions have harmed you personally. Which means they physically injured you or they cost you money.

Lucky for you, hurt feelings don't count. Because if they did, you and a lot of other Social Justice Warriors would owe Matt Taylor and Elly Prizeman a shitlocker full of money.

You, Mr. Malcolm Winter, are an enemy of freedom. Consider your sins, and repent.

The Phantom

Monday, November 17, 2014

The woman who made Mankind's first comet landing all about her.

Rose Eveleth, professional Offended Person.
Her name is Rose Eveleth, she works for The Atlantic magazine, apparently. This is her Twitter feed. She was offended, simply Offended I tell you, over The Shirt.

Dear Rose, fuck off.

Ladies shield your eyes!
This is the scientist wearing The Shirt. With video of him apologizing in tears. Which is just heart wrenching, to me anyway. On his biggest day of his career, he's saying sorry on international TV about a friggin' shirt.

Not what I would have worn to a press conference, but then I didn't land a space-robot on a freaking comet either. If I was that big a boss, I'd wear whatever the hell I liked.

This is the woman who made the shirt. Custom shirt for the scientist who's team got that robot down on that comet, because she's a friend of his. She's sticking up for herself and her friend in no uncertain terms. That makes her a Class Act in my book, and honorable.

Also she doesn't look like the kind of woman skinny ass Rose Eveleth should be pissing off. We're talking really short cat fight here.

This was suggested as the appropriate shirt to wear for Feminists to be happy.

Uhm, do they have legs? Or hair? And where's the ray guns?
'Nuff said.

The Phantom

Update: Welcome According To Hoyt readers and other Monster Hunters!