News avoidance lurches right along. Mix of nooz and think pieces today.
New software (so far W*nd*ws only) aims to help activists detect and foil government surveillance. Get it here. Can’t say how effective it’s going to be, but it’s endorsed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Amnesty International, and other big-timers in the field. (H/T MJR)
Along the same lines, Let’s Encrypt aims to bring SSL/TSL to the masses by taking the difficulties and mysteries out of those pesky web site certificates. (Remember: Encryption is subversive! Or so our masters claim. Which is, of course, all the more reason to do it.)
If you were talented enough to play in the NFL, would you quit to become a farmer? Jason Brown did.
Holleee freakin’ cr*p! The shooter who did this was lucky he didn’t (in the famous words of Ralphie’s mother) “put his eye out.” His (or her) eye. Or face. Or hands. Or parts of the guys standing next to him at the range. Just looking at that photo is mind boggling.
Which dietary supplement claims are backed by evidence and which aren’t? Interesting chart. But also not the be-all and end-all of truth. Much is still unknown.
Just in case you ever wanted to become a crooked psychic/fortune-teller/medium … or in case you’d like to explain to a gullible relative how not to be so easily conned, here’s how cold reading is done.
I don’t intend to make this the all-Ebola all-the-time blog because I do think the fear is overblown (for everyone except medical personal). But here’s some plain common sense for avoiding exposure to infectious disease. And for those who really feel the need for hardcore protection (and have the money and time to go for it), here’s that, too.
And hey, if you’re really going to buy moonsuits and the kind of respirators (scroll down that page) needed for real Ebola protection, please don’t forget to use my Amazon links. Those could generate some very nice commissions — unfortunately for anyone who really needs such gear.
Not confirmed yet. But if true this could be a sweet lesson for those meddling “Moms” who believe in trying to get every open carrier SWATted. Will keep an eye on this. I’ve searched a couple of times today and found no further information.
Claim: cold fusion may have been verified by third-party researchers. I’ll believe it when I see it. Just posting as an item of interest for now. But oh my, if this ever turns out to be for real, it changes everything — and not just in tech or power generation.
(H/Ts: MJR and MtK)
ADDED: Sigh. It’s possible both of these might turn out to be scams. Per Sam in Oregon, here’s the latest on the Anonabox.
Already got a reality check on the cold-fusion device below.
ADDED: A comment by a friend who works in the power-generation field:
I downloaded and read the paper on the cold fusion device, called E-Cat.
Disclosure: I would like for this to be true. It would improve the health and wellbeing of mankind at least as much as the mastery of fire.
Rossi has been making these claims for years. One of the common elements in all of his experiments is that he uses complex means to measure the energy.
This paper is no different. They have to estimate the energy losses for no fewer than 3 different physical effects. One of those, radiation, accounts for more than 100% of the observed “excess” heat.
That’s a red flag right there. A competent analysis would have predicted how the heat would manifest itself: so much to radiation, so much to convection, so much to conduction. Then they could have checked their results against this prediction.
But they didn’t do that. They didn’t even test their “control” at the same power and temperature levels. Another red flag.
Radiation is a very difficult way to measure energy production. The power goes as the temperature to the 4th power, so a 5% error in temperature gives a 22% error in power. Then the alumina they used has a big change in emissivity as a function of temperature, and the temperature of the tube is far from uniform.
Bottom line; the most likely explanation for the “excess heat” is a sum of small errors in the measurements.
There are also claims of isotopic shifts, but those are tough to measure with the equipment they used. The absence of any radiation means we would have to throw out most of what we know about nuclear physics.
I’m not at all against throwing out theories that don’t work. The problem is that nuclear physics works pretty darned well. Nuclear reactors, nuclear weapons, nuclear medicine, solar physics, cosmography, all of these things require detailed calculations of nuclear reactions and rates, and all of them get answers that are pretty much exactly right. There are always questions at the edges, such as solar neutrinos, but there isn’t any suggestion that the physics is wrong.
The process of throwing out older theories for better ones always follows the same path. The old theories work well enough for a while. Eventually we push the edges enough that the calculations start producing answers that don’t match what we see. A fair amount of data is collected showing that we have a problem. Then some smart person proposes a new theory that explains all of the old stuff AND all of the new stuff.
That isn’t happening here. There isn’t a collection of hints that we have a problem in nuclear physics. Quite the opposite. The further we push, the more confirmations we get.
So I don’t buy the claims of isotopic shifts.
Then there is the question of the complex experimental setup.
The excess power they claim is equivalent to nearly 2,000 watts of excess heat being produced. That’s a lot. If there really was that much heat, it would be easy to measure directly, without the trouble and errors of trying to calculate power from radiation.
Just one idea, to show how straightforward this could be.
Immerse the thing in wax, or lead, or salt. Make the container big enough that it is clearly impossible to melt the contents from the electrical input power alone. Then run it until the container is full of melted whatever. That’s proof. No fancy measurements required. A bit of engineering math in advance, build 2 or 3 to run controls before and after, and you have a bullet-proof demo.
This isn’t a bullet-proof demo. It’s not even a demo. I don’t know if Rossi is running an elaborate con game or if he believes this stuff. It doesn’t matter; I’m pretty sure there is nothing here. I’d be more than happy to be proved wrong.
A new phone application invented by some crafty teenagers will help citizens to keep track of incidents of police violence. The app called “Five-O” allowed users to record and document interactions with police, submit ratings of law enforcement, and allow people to see how their departments compare to others. Users can also rate specific officer’s behavior and ratings are public for everyone to view.
Inventor Ima Christian spoke to Business Insider about her invention: “We’ve been hearing about the negative instances in the news, for instance most recently the Michael Brown case, and we always talk about these issues with our parents,” she said. “They always try to reinforce that we should focus on solutions. It’s important to talk about the issues, but they try to make us focus on finding solutions. That made us think why don’t we create an app to help us solve this problem.”
“Five-O” also contains a “Know Your Rights” section, where users can gain access to vital constitutional rights information in order to protect themselves during interactions with police.
Gives ya hope for the kids growing up today. And for freedom.
You may have been hearing about it since yesterday: the new way of profiling your computer (and, with enough other data, you) without leaving either traditional cookies or flash cookies on your system.
Those cookies you can get rid of. The new “evercookie” you can’t even see — although your own system created it on orders from a site or sites you visited.
Using TOR apparently helps, but not completely. Firefox’s wonderful NoScript add-on does the trick. It prevents a nasty little company called AddThis from executing its scripts on your device. However, I’m not clear whether other sites you’ve previously marked as trusted can execute the same script on you even if you’ve blocked AddThis.
Lots of big sites are using the evercookie technology. They then sell the info to advertisers — apparently even if you’ve set all kinds of “do not tracks” and opt outs. Some sites (Hey, we’re talking to you, WhiteHouse.gov!) use the technology counter to their own stated privacy policies. Yes, they’re lying to you. What a shock, eh?
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has developed a countermeasure called Privacy Badger and is asking people to help them test it. They also recommend Disconnect as another possible method.
Of course, we know by now that merely having privacy settings on your computer makes you suspect. And we know that you can create your own unique fingerprint merely by having privacy software and settings, using non-standard browsers, etc.
Still … just one more thing to know about beware of.
A different way of fighting addictions. Article is a little vague on whether these newish ways are more effective than the old. But it’s certainly good to see the old “you’re helpless, forever sick, and dependent only on a higher power” model of treatment getting some competition.
Obama The Great. Or why he thinks he is and is expects us peasants to acknowledge it. (Presidents do tend to be a scurvy lot, but I don’t believe we’ve ever had one more narcissistic than this guy.) UPDATE: G**gl* cached version, H/T. M. Original article has slipped behind a paywall.
It figures. There are actual scientists studying that great (and I really mean it) problem of modern life: why the heck all those electrical cords tangle into Gordian knots just by being left lying around.
Via jed: Order restored to universe as Microsoft gives back all those other-people’s domains it managed to crash.
I thought the Hobby Lobby decision was the right one. I also think the owners of Hobby Lobby appear to be flaming hypocrites on the subject of contraception.
Right from the moment of legalization, Washington state authorities have treated cannabis use with gentle good humor. The latest: a series of ads about things that it’s now legal — but not necessarily smart — to do while stoned.
It might be no surprise the Microsoft security people just broke a chunk of the Internet The surprise (to me at least) is why the fedgov would give one private company control over another private company’s e-turf in the first place.
The way various govs have been treating Uber and Lyft is such a perfect example of the real agenda of government: protect the cartels.
So apparently Chris Christie still thinks he has a shot at running for president. He’s playing pro-gun this week.
As of this afternoon, JPFO has a F*c*b**k page — and it’s all thanks once again to the Amazing Nicki.
JPFO lost control of its old social media feeds late last year for reasons too grim & complicated to go into. It took social-media whiz Nicki no time at all to get new ones going. Now, of course, comes the long slog of winning back all those JPFO Twitter and FB followers — and there were thousands. So please … spread the word.
I swear, just watching Nicki work wears me out. I think I’ll go have a Bloody Mary to recuperate.