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Living Freedom by Claire Wolfe. Musings about personal freedom and finding it within ourselves.

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.



Archive for the ‘Computers’ Category

Claire Wolfe

Midweek links

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015
  • Chortle. Mexicans (presumably Mexican yuppies) are now importing pot from the U.S.
  • Sigh. I really thought the Buddhists were better than this. Okay, it’s not Buddhists. It’s the gummint of Myanmar, so not exactly the heart of enlightenment. But still people, get a clue. If you have to force others to respect your holy men, it’s clear you don’t actually think your holy men are worthy of respect on their own.
  • The GNU Manifesto turns 30 this year. (H/T jed)
  • Raising up a whole new generation of shooters. Of course, it’s all the fault of the eeeevil gun industry. But still an encouraging article. (Tip o’ hat to LA)
  • Another powerful one from Mike V: “The E.N.D. Game and the End of Games.” While I hope it never comes to shooting, certainly the nabobs are better targets than their almost endlessly replaceable minions.
  • How it happened in Detroit: one home at a time. Very sad, very well-told story.
  • Two from TZP on the awful doom once again looming over Europe’s Jews: first my take on a recent, must-read Atlantic article; then Y.B. ben Avraham says a shofar is calling Jews home.
Claire Wolfe

Survival thumb drives: A reminder from Greylocke

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Last month I blogged about those bootable Knoppix thumb drives containing files of preparedness info.

Greylocke, who’s now making the drives (from unopened, buyer-supplied USB sticks), asked me to post a reminder.

Seems only a handful of people have so far taken him up on the offer. And it is for a limited time, so if you’re interested, check the instructions, then go for it.

He’s hoping somebody else will step up to take the project over from where it was left when his colleague Scott died. He also writes: “I am hoping to bring some more capability to the project by finding someone to write an app for android phones so they can be used as a packet ham radio station with a ht like the baofeng uv5r. That way you can have somewhat secure digital comma with the least amount of gear just a ht a cell phone and a cable to connect the two. Maybe a fold up twinlead j-pole to increase the range.”

Um … if you understand what he just said (and don’t ask me!) and you’re interested, please use the link above to get in touch with him.

Even if all that was as Greek to you as it was to me, the bootable drive with survival files is still a good thing to have. And believe me, it doesn’t require much technical knowhow to use.

Details and contact info here.

Claire Wolfe

I knit a dragon while attempting to stay sane

Sunday, March 1st, 2015

You know how last week I went off in a huff, unable to endure the stupid that blasts from the ‘Net these days like an old-fashioned Texas gusher?

Well, I decided for sanity’s sake to knit a dragon. This dragon.

Here it is on day one. That’s its head.

DragonHeadScarf-01_022315

And. I was back online an hour after I huffed away. Sigh. Can’t win.

‘Cause this dragon, though probably only of intermediate knitting difficulty, was beyond me and right away I had to look up how to do some of the stitches. (Books tell this, too, but I left the excellent Knitting For Dummies with Joel when I left the gulch back in ought-10.)

So much for offline resolve. It’s as Ellendra noted in comments: love the peacefulness, miss the resources. The Internet: can’t live with it; can’t live without it. Now double that for anybody who makes a living on line.

But anyhow, I got my dragon done today. Here it is.

DragonHeadScarf-04_Finished_030115

I’m thinking about giving it “fire breath” if I can find some flame-colored yarn. Could be a fun gift for a little kid.

And here it is being worn. Sorry for the blurry pic.

DragonHeadScarf-03_Finished_030115

Not quite sure what I’ll do next to stay sane.

OMG, what if I run out of sanity-maintenance ideas?

Claire Wolfe

Friday links

Friday, February 27th, 2015
Claire Wolfe

This is just wrong in so freakin’ many ways.

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

beelertoon-FCC-regulation_c

(Source.)

So if you haven’t heard by now (and there’s been surprisingly little coverage), the FCC is about to v*te to regulate the Internet. ‘Cause, you know, the ‘Net is just precisely like the telephone system in the 1930s and now there are all these terrible, terrible unfair things going on like people not being allowed to express their opinions big traditional media companies triumphing over blogs and social media … well, like something. Whatever it is, the fedgov MUST save us from it!

Not only that, but tomorrow’s big v*te will be on a 300+-page secret plan that you and I (e.g. the alleged beneficiaries of regulation) aren’t even allowed to see.

Despite three of the five FCC v*ters (ah, the magic of democracy!) being Dems, the plan may yet choke. One of the Dems is reportedly just a teensy bit restless about the whole matter. And even if the Big Five v*te themselves the authority, court challenges could drag out for years. But as usual We the Peasants have no say in the situation, one way or the other. (Did I mention ah, democracy!)

Even one of the big forces supposedly looking out for “our” side has gone over to the other side.

And (ah, justice!) they’re already regretting it, despite not quite understanding why. MtK, who sent me the link in that last paragraph noted that the Electronic Frontier Foundation has become the NRA of ‘Net freedom.

You ask for federal regulation? You support federal regulation? Then you’re shocked, simply shocked! when you get federal regulation — and it turns out it benefits the feds more than you? Oh, you pooo widdle baby! Such a surprise! Who could possibly have predicted that?

Oh wait … anybody who’s been standing on the outside watching could have predicted that. Heck, we could have predicted it even before there was such a thing as the Internet to regulate. Because that’s just the way it works.

How is it that only those who so desperately cherish their “seats at the table” during fed dealmaking (and incidentally, we’re talking to you, Mr. Gottlieb, with your notorious seat-at-the-table on Manchin-Toomey, as well as the formerly principled folks at the EFF) are somehow the only ones who can’t see the inevitable result of playing footsie under that table with the fedgov?

—–

SIDENOTE: How is it, also, that the big gov faction always comes up with the good memes? I mean “net neutrality” and “open internet” — what kind of villain could possibly be opposed to those? Being against neutrality and openness would be like hating kittens. Never mind that “neutrality” and “openness” are just verbal Halloween costumes disguising government control. And this has been going on for a long time, clear back to when the noble slogan “one man, one v*te” was used to shift all political power from rural areas to urban centers. How come freedom never gets the good memes?

Claire Wolfe

Dear Internet: Is is time to break up?

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

Dear Internet,

I loved you from the moment I laid eyes on you. I saw your potential when you were just a raw young thing, before you even knew yourself.

I was wowed by your intellectual promise as early as 1987, when you helped me upload an article to a magazine editor (oh, that 300 baud brainpower!). You seduced me with your charm when a single funny FidoNet remark about “being in Claire’s shoes” led to a long romance. I remember my first glimpse of the real, mature you, when a client said, “Hey, you’ve got to see this. It’s this thing called Netscape that gets you on to something called the Worldwide Web.”

Oh, those were the days!

You and I were destined for each other. It was clear.

You were so gallant at first. Without you, my first book would have disappeared into underground press obscurity. You kept that from happening. You introduced me to entire new communities of friends. And what friends they were! Bright, committed, liberty-loving people who would never have found each other — if not for you. You were the great personality who drew us all together. You were the charismatic leader, the spark that lit the bonfire, the grand beating heart of something new and awesome. You made it possible for us all to experience and explore things we’d never dreamed.

You were the center of the world. You still are. But something’s changed.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Claire Wolfe

Knoppix Thumb Drives from Mark (aka Greylocke)

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

A bit over two years ago, I blogged about the wonderful project made possible by two readers of Living Freedom: Mark’s (Greylocke’s) files of survival info installed onto a bootable Knoppix thumb drive by Scott (The Fat Man).

The device gives portable access to a wealth of preparedness info. It can be carried in a bug-out bag and the files accessed from whatever USB port is handy. (It will be bootable only on devices capable of booting from a USB drive, but that’s pretty common these days.)

Mark describes the contents:

The Knoppix Thumb Drive Project … contains a full reference library with the Third World Technology Files know as CD3WD and some extra files of many US Military Manuals on things ranging from Survival, Medical, Water purification and Sanitation to Construction.

Unfortunately, Scott was being treated for cancer at that time, and though he was expected to make it … he didn’t. Mark told me this week about Scott’s death; we both learned belatedly, to our shock and sorrow.

The ready-to-go drives haven’t been available for a while.

Now, for a limited time, you can send Mark an unopened 32 GB thumb drive and a self-addressed stamped return envelope (see details here) and he’ll send you back your own KTD with the survival files.

This service is FREE. Given that each drive takes a couple of hours to process, it would be nice it you sent Mark a few bucks, but that’s not required. He’s not doing this to make money; only to get the information out there. Just follow the “details” like above to find out more.

This could be an essential resource in a time and place where you have no Internet. I highly recommend it.

Mark’s also hoping someone else would like to take over the project and says he’ll help get things started.

Claire Wolfe

Friday links

Friday, January 16th, 2015
  • Seems that Joel and the rest of the gunblogosphere aren’t the only ones who think Liam Neeson is even worse than the usual Hollywood anti-gun hypocrite. A company that supplied weapons for his films has a thing or three to say about it.
  • Ding-dong, Google Glass is dead. Well deadish, anyhow.
  • A simple explanation of what Swiss bankers just did. And a slightly more complicated one. I’m sure some of our resident money gurus will have views of their own. If you haven’t been watching, Switzerland threw the entire world into a financial tizzy yesterday. (Though IMHO, their real screwup was when they pegged their franc to the euro, not when they suddenly pulled the peg.)
  • “That Tree.” To help himself recover after an injury and to meet a friend’s challenge, professional photographer Mark Hirsh found 365 different ways to shoot photos of a single tree — with an iPhone — over the course of a year.
  • Finally, your awwwwww story for the day: cat saves abandoned baby from freezing to death.
Claire Wolfe

Sunday links

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

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.)
  • What if age is nothing but a mindset? (Tip o’ hat to ML)
  • 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.
  • 10 instinctive decisions you will regret forever.
  • It’s astonishing and discouraging how a cheesy, corrupt, lying, hustler can be considered “respectable.” And speaking of cheesy, corrupt, lying, downright embarrassing hustlers who nevertheless keep landing on their feet: Marion Berry, RIP.
Claire Wolfe

Thursday-Friday links

Thursday, October 16th, 2014
  • 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.
  • Wow. Sometimes using stupid passwords could be a good thing. Might have saved this young woman’s life. (But ohboy, OnStar, what a fail!)
  • The Centers for Anything But Disease Control. Michelle Malkin lists just a few of the “diseases” the CDC has spent its billions on.
  • 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.
Claire Wolfe

Tuesday links

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014
Claire Wolfe

If these two things work …

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Tiny, portable box adds TOR to every Ethernet connection. And everything you do online.

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.

 
 


 
 

 
 
 
 
 
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