Thursday, April 26, 2018

The failure of the Public Schools

Even NPS is noticing that a lot of kids don't need to go to College, and can do very well by not going to College:
Like most other American high school students, Garret Morgan had it drummed into him constantly: Go to college. Get a bachelor's degree. 
"All through my life it was, 'if you don't go to college you're going to end up on the streets,' " Morgan said. "Everybody's so gung-ho about going to college." 
So he tried it for a while. Then he quit and started training as an ironworker, which is what he is doing on a weekday morning in a nondescript high-ceilinged building with a concrete floor in an industrial park near the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. 
Morgan, who is 20, is already working on a job site when he isn't at the Pacific Northwest Ironworkers shop. He gets benefits, including a pension, from employers at the job sites where he is training. And he is earning $28.36 an hour, or more than $50,000 a year, which is almost certain to steadily increase.
 His attitude towards his College bound High School friends?
As for his friends from high school, "they're still in college," he said with a wry grin. "Someday maybe they'll make as much as me."

The Public Education system is selling education to students.  It's terribly expensive - destructively expensive - education, but why not?  After all, that's what they sell to the students' parents.  You need to invest in your kid's education.

It's a scam.  Caveat emptor.

You hear a lot about how much more college graduates make compared to their non-college graduate peers, but it's funny how Colleges don't break that down by major, or compare it to non-College work by industry and job classification.  Gosh, I wonder why they don't do that.  /sarc

If you have a High School age kid, get them a copy of this:

World War II Navajo Code Talker reports for final muster

Roy Hawthorne dead at 92:
Navajo Code Talker Roy Hawthorne, who used his native language as an uncrackable code during World War II, died Saturday.
At 92, he was one of the last surviving Code Talkers.
Hawthorne was 17 when he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and became part of a famed group of Native Americans who encoded hundreds of messages in the Navajo language to keep them safe from the Japanese. Hawthorne served in the 1st Marine Division in the Pacific Theatre and was promoted to corporal. 
Semper fi, Corporal.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

A Blogroll Add

Had Enough Therapy?

He's prolific. There's over 700 posts in 2017. He's verbose. I thought Borepatch liked to use some words, but Mr. Shneiderman puts him to shame. But he gets a nod because he hammers the subjects right on the head time after time.

Here's a historical post from December of last year. The topic is the rise of Nazism and the way the U.S. press and the Roosevelt Administration ignored what was happening and painted a rosy picture of civility.

And one more, a recent post on political correctness in medical schools and what it means for the future of health care. 

And if that is not enough, one of his favorite movies is Kirosawa's Ran.

I have spent  a couple of hours in his archives already.

NSA discovers that oft evil will shall evil mar

The International Standards Organization has rejected two NSA developed encryption ciphers.  It used to be that NSA ciphers were considered the gold standard, but there is a wide perception that if there aren't explicit backdoors that at least NSA knows how to crack the ciphers (i.e. the cipher is "broken as designed").

In a sense, this is a shame, since the ciphers were designed to be usable by low power processors on the Internet Of Things.  The IoT can use all the security help it can get, but ISO looks like they're not convinced that NSA is actually helping.

And FYI, this is the second time NSA has tried to push through these ciphers, and the second time they've been rejected.

Hat tip: Bruce Schneier.

Why do you need an AR-15

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

How Are We Picking Them, Anyway?

Since the development of the primaries, the expansion of television, and now the internet, how are we picking Presidents? On both sides, the major parties seem to be selecting candidates on very thin credentials. Since 2000, we have been presented with:

1. the Goreacle Vs. Dubya
2. the Winter Soldier Vs. Dubya,
3. the Chicago Community Organizer Vs. Maverick
4. the Chicago Community Organizer Vs. the Massachusetts Republicrat
5. Monica's boyfriend's wife Vs. The Donald

How were we ever supposed to make a rational decision about who is going to be the Leader Of The Free World with choices like those?

The sacrifice of the children

There was in their city a bronze image of Cronus [Ba'al] extending its hands, palms up and sloping toward the ground, so that each of the children when placed thereon rolled down and fell into a sort of gaping pit filled with fire.
- Diodorus Siculus (1st Century BC)
Ancient Carthage was founded by Phoenicians, who brought their religion of Ba'al with them.  You may be more familiar with their Canaanite cousins: Beelzebub from the Bible is the Hebrew's view of the same deity, and they roundly condemned its worship.  In particular, they wrote of the practice of sacrificing infant children to the god.  The Carthaginians continued this practice, seemingly even after their conquest by Rome.

In addition to many ancient written sources that discussed this sacrifice, there is archaeological evidence.  The site of Carthage has cemeteries full of urns.  The urns contain the charred bones of infant children, and even children as old as two years.

Image via El Wik
Tertullian, writing around 200 AD tells of how a Roman governor had priests of Ba'al crucified for continuing this practice.  Even as ruthless and stoic a people as they blanched at this ritual slaughter of the innocent.

Oh, for modern-day governors cut from that same cloth.  Children are still being sacrificed on the alter today, only this time it is the altar of socialized medicine:
Alfie Evans, the severely ill toddler whose life support machine was switched off on Monday, could immediately be flown to a children’s hospital in Rome for treatment if a last-ditch appeal succeeds, a solicitor involved in the case has said.

The child’s parents were granted an emergency hearing before a high court judge on Tuesday afternoon after they said the 23-month-old boy had been breathing unassisted since his life support was removed.

His father later said that water and oxygen had been restored.
Read that last sentence again, if you have the stomach to.  His father later said that water and oxygen had been restored.

Doctors cut off water from a baby.  How could that have happened?

The religion of socialized medicine rules the land that used to be Great Britain.  That religion has a priesthood, trained in the Universities and ruthless in their demand to be appeased.  They control the purse strings of the hospitals, and therefore the doctors.  Their sacred writ (the "Liverpool Pathway") is enforced - and they pay cash money for sacrifices, to the tune of millions of pounds sterling each year.

The priesthood's rule is so complete that the parents were forbidden to take their baby out of the country, even though there were other countries willing to take him.  Italy made Alfie a citizen, entitling him to healthcare in that land.  The Pope himself offered free hospital care, and appealed personally to the priesthood in the British Isles.

We shall see how this plays out.  It played out badly last year for little Charlie Gard, a baby in the same locale who met a bitter fate on the altar of Ba'al the NHS.  Because that god is a cruel one, with an unending appetite for human sacrifice.  How very odd that Progressives think they're inventing new and better paradigms, when they are merely reverting to the old and discredited.

Remember, these people look down on you as incompletely civilized.  With me, the feeling is mutual.
He [Cato] never gave his opinion in the Senate on any other point whatsoever, without adding these words "And in my opinion, Carthage should be utterly destroyed". [Delenda est Carthago]
- Plutarch, Lives of the Noble Romans
UPDATE 24 April 2018 19:05: Word:

Why Civilizations fall

This is a very interesting, short discussion by Sir Kenneth Clark on why the ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome fell.  It's well worth a listen, and will make you think about the current assault by the "Intellectual Class" on our own civilization's self-confidence.

Quite frankly, it's Exhibit A in the case of the People v. the Universities, and strong evidence in support of the proposition that we should entirely de-fund higher education.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Once again, with feeling: do NOT use your fingerprint to unlock your devices

Police in UK arrest a man based on a fingerprint seen in a photo he posted online:
A pioneering fingerprint technique used to convict a drugs gang from a WhatsApp message "is the future" of how police approach evidence to catch criminals. 

An image of a man holding ecstasy tablets in his palm was found on the mobile of someone arrested in Bridgend. 
It was sent to South Wales Police's scientific support unit and helped to secure 11 convictions.
It's just a short step from a photo to a 3D printer, and then you have something that someone can use to get into your stuff.  Let's review the security badness in this strategy:

1. You probably don't know if you've posted photos with enough detail for someone to make your fingerprint.  In more formal security-speak, you can't tell if your fingerprint has been compromised or not.

2. The first rule of passwords is that if you think it may have been compromised, you change the password.  If you use your fingerprint as a password, you can't change it.

And I'll keep beating the drum that I've been pounding on:

3. In some jurisdictions (example: the USA) the authorities cannot compel you to tell them your password (in this case, due to your 5th Amendment protection against compelled testimony against yourself).  However, there is no restriction on them taking your finger and running it across the scanner to unlock your phone.  Or presumably taking your fingerprint (which they do as a matter of routine) and 3D printing one that they use to unlock your device.

To be perfectly clear: stop using your fingerprint to unlock your devices.  Srlsy.  Right now.

Yes, Electric cars are *so* impressive

It's funny because it's true.

Hat tip: American Digest.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Gun control protip

Alessandro Rolla - Violin Concerto in B-flat major

Alessandro Rolla was an Italian classical composer mostly known as the teacher of Paganini.  He really deserves better, as his music was in some (albeit limited ways) groundbreaking, and was published all over Europe.  A virtuoso on the viola, he composed a great deal of music for an instrument that had mostly been in the shadow of its better known cousin, the violin.

His reputation was such that he was appointed conductor of the orchestra of La Scala.  The French under Napoleon had conquered Italy and the new governor wanted the orchestra to showcase the greatest virtuosos available.  Rolla's success there was such that when the French were expelled after Napoleon's fall he remained conductor until retiring in 1833.

Bootnote: It was surprising to discover that in over 250 weekly Sunday Classical posts, I have never done one on Paganini.  I'll have to correct that oversight next week.

Pieces of History - A Brigid Guest Post

In the declining season of the year, I'll make a stop at some of the local thrift and antique shops, looking for various tools and things that might be useful in the coming winter, or just perusing items that people have discarded as part of a big Spring and Summer clean.

There's often some junk, valuable only to the person that originally purchased it, for reasons unknown. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder they say, and for every Popeil Pocket Chainsaw (with Cap Snaffler), there's someone that would buy one. There are also treasures, marked up accordingly, there are small things, that only a certain individual will be drawn to.  There are things that were once worn, things that once graced a home, things in small jars, the buyer peering into them, as if inspecting some curious small life form preserved in alcohol.

In my kitchen are a number of things from such places, a bread box, a scale, glasses and some dishes.  In the shop, even more so, things that previous generations used as they cleared and planted the pitiless earth, crafting what they needed to survive out of the materials at hand, doing so as they endured, the tools, straight, yet nicked and worn, much like the men the held them, twins of the same travail.
So much of what's left in my kitchen, and likely yours, is new, shiny, useful perhaps, but NEW.  It likely will not work as long as the appliances I have, like grandmas stand mixer at Dad's house, still working after 60 years.  When I downsized, I donated a ton of stuff to AmVets but not everyone does.  A lot of people simply "pitch it.  Looking at the many little things that remain, I wonder, fifty years from now, when I'm gone, will it grace another home, or will it be discarded in piles of trash and forgotten?

I came back from a short trip a lifetime ago to find a housecleaning had occurred, during my absence, not of the dust bunny roundup, but the purging of "things", of which there really weren't very many in a young couple's home.  But things of value were suddenly missing, or in the process of being hauled away, including a baby grand piano that I bought before we'd even met with a small annuity I got when my Mom died.  My husband at the time was overseeing it  being hauled off on a farmer's old truck with other things.  Things that would bring money that would pay off the debts of one who gambled, not just with dice or cards, but with generous nature of man or machine, taking risks that could prove costly, and typically losing.  The $8000 piano that was my Mom's only legacy sold for just a five hundred dollars
I watched quietly as the doors to the moving truck opened up, filling the air with the smell of cold and impending snow, the piano itself sitting there, as if rooted to the ground, in the grip of some dreadful inertia.  Or maybe that was me. 

I wanted to speak out, knowing I would only be met with the voice that had that quality at once, both dismissal and coldness, as though it had no interest in what you would say, or what the words even meant.  Speaking up meant consequence upon soft flesh, bruises hidden under a stiff cloth and within a stiff heart. I kept quiet, breath simply taken in, a small gesture of self-preservation, but a part of me left that day on that truck, next to a garden that filled with darkness.
I don't have much now, by choice, but what I have means a lot to me.  Notes from grad school, the chronicles of the disintegration of the human body, what it can endure and what it reveals, the legacy of flesh, the hardness of bone. Carefully crafted gifts from my husband of five years, roses made from duct tape, a wedding garter that contained Ninja throwing knives.  There are  Mom's cookbooks, some of Dad's books, on history, on warfare, this big rock with fossilized shells Big Bro found target shooting with Mom and I as kids, which he kept, kept for 40 years, then gave me not long ago.  It had been hidden in a little spot in Dad's workbench.  He knew I wanted it then, he knows I still was fascinated by such things, and I pretended it was allergies when he gave it to me 30 years later.

There are things I have that others would look at and simply scratch their head.  A Lollipop with a dried scorpion in it, an old beaker, a small stuffed Hedgehog, a blue uniform type shirt that hangs in the closet, a tiny ceramic skunk. An old violin, one that pales in comparison next to Partner's, one he played in a symphony orchestra in Austria when he was a young man.  It's like sitting a 1986 Saturn next to a Lamborghini.

Yet that cheap violin was the first one I played, albeit badly, and in the playing came healing, and I again braved a piano bench, an accompaniment of trust as the notes of a violin rose, crystal sounds of loss and hope that swelled up out of the frozen night.
Then, there is the gun safe, lies pieces of history, protectors of our future, blued and oiled and maintained with slow deliberate pride.  There are revolvers and semi-autos, an old Mauser or two, a Garand perhaps, pieces of the past, things taken up, when an individual rises out of their fear and passivity and takes hold of their future, one that is safer for that possession.

They are important to me, for reasons beyond the value of their form, the appreciation of their worth. Without them I am still strong of spirit, grown that way through time and adversity, yet against the evil of man, there in the dark, outweighed or outnumbered, I'm simply the flame of one small match and as weak, under a unforgiving moon.
Also there in the closet, various uniform pieces including the taupe colored ones known as "pinks",  Dads uniform of the 8th Air Force, as crisp and ready for donning, that the almost 70 years that have passed, are but a single note.  On the collar, the little wings with a propeller, still shiny, golden. How they must have glinted on that day he came home, bruises of body and heart hid underneath stiff cloth, the intake of breath as he saw my Mom for the first time in four and a half years, self-preservation giving way to hope, there in a garden that is filled with light.

In your home, as well perhaps, as in mine, uniforms of those that went before, carefully maintained, to be passed down, to along to those who will remember.

Where these things are a hundred years from now is not so important as that their stories remain,  notes on night air as laughter again fills a home, the report of a rifle, cleaving the air with the same testament to freedom as when it was first fired.  It's small trinkets and toys that make a child's eyes light up, things that uphold and repair.
It may be fifty years from now, it may be a hundred or more, the land giving birth to new people, old faiths, the blessings and curses of each passing year, bitter winters and golden days unsullied by rain,  those ever-changing changeless days that look both at the past and the future.  Someone will pick up that object, just as you did, hefting it up to themselves as they quietly whisper,"I will live forever".

Next time you clean out your closet, your garage, that trunk in the attic, look carefully at what you have, what it might mean to someone.  If it has no emotional connection and is functional, there are many organizations that will cherish it, finding it a use among those that need it. There are students that need instruments, museums that would love the artifacts of war for those with no family remaining sheltering organizations that need household goods. But don't just throw it, out there in that moment when the match is lit and before it might be blown out, there is a small moment of history, one that someone may cherish.
 - Brigid

Saturday, April 21, 2018

The Kentucky Assault Pistol

Why, oh why do we allow these killing machines on our streets.

I mean, I can't even.

Hat tip: The People's Cube.

Hitler deletes his Facebook account

I mean, you don't get to be fuhrer of a thousand year Reich by being careless with your personal data ...

Friday, April 20, 2018

Cool story, bro

Seen on  All the cool kids hang out there.  It's like Twitter without all the censorship.

Happy 4/20 Day!

Party on, Garth!  I recommend this to wet your whistle:

SweetWater 420 IPA, probably my favorite IPA.  It isn't pasteurized (maybe the reason I like it so much) so you might only see it in the south and the east coast.

Or you can kick back with Muddy Waters and have you some Champagne and Reefer.

Bootnote: I've never been one to partake of the evil weed, myself.  But I'm told that today isn't just Hitler's birthday, it's also a holiday.  Of sorts.  The kids tell me that.  I'd tell them to get off of my lawn, but there's grass involved ...

UPDATE 4/20/2018 17:18: I see it's not just me:

Blogroll update

A long time buddy has started a blog, Minds Of A Feather.  Blogrolled.  Go check him out.

The Latest Sanctuary County

Effingham County Illinois has become the latest sanctuary in the nationwide movement of local governments standing up to State and federal governments and refusing to enforce laws that the locals think are wrong or unconstitutional.

By an 8-1 vote, the Effingham County Council voted to declare their county a sanctuary for gun owners and to direct county employees to not enforce any gun control laws that they felt violated the 2nd Amendment.

“The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed.”
--Alexander Hamilton