Monday, January 18, 2016

This is not the least bit racist.

Portland college decides April is White Shaming month. April Fools, parents of students!

"'Whiteness History Month: Context, Consequences, and Change' is a multidisciplinary, district-wide, educational project examining race and racism through an exploration of the construction of whiteness, its origins, and heritage," PCC states on its website. "Scheduled for the month of April 2016, the project seeks to inspire innovative and practical solutions to community issues and social problems that stem from racism."

The WHM site makes clear that the project is not a "celebratory endeavor" like heritage months, but is rather "an effort to change our campus climate" by "[challenging] the master narrative of race and racism through an exploration of the social construction of whiteness." ("Challenging the master narrative," PCC explains, "is a strategy within higher education that promotes multicultural education and equity.")

Remember that name my friends, Portland Community College. You will want to know where not to send your young sprouts when they get to post-secondary ed.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Nice article on 'Cultural Appropriation"

SJWs and Progs generally like to bandy about this cultural appropriation thing. A favorite is white girls with dreadlocks. White girls are not allowed to have dreads because dreads are a "black thing".

Now, for my money dreadlocks aren't a thing at all, because black or white they make you look like a haystack and make you smell funny. Dirty hair is not a nice feature, ok?

But never mind, I'm a curmudgeonly old man. I believe in stick shifts on cars too.

Intuitively, anyone with a brain immediatly understands there's no "white things" and "black things". There's things, and we use them or not as it suits us.

Cultural appropriation doctrine as preached by the Progs means that as a white man, I am not allowed to sing songs like "Kumbaya" because that is a Negro Spiritual, and I'm not to be appropriating that for my own use. Only black people are allowed to sing that, it's their song.

By this logic, Indian people are not allowed to make pizza, and Spanish people are not allowed to go to sushi bars.

This article here goes into the logic fails underpinning cultural appropriation as a concept rather nicely. It's worth a read.

Smart phone tethers, now chips.

Finally, somebody decided the time is right to push implanted chips for security at airports.

A man who implanted a microchip containing his airline booking details into his hand was able to use it to pass effortlessly through security to his flight.

Andreas Sjöström, vice president of digital for technology consulting company Sogeti, had the near-field communication chip (NFC) about the size of a grain of rice injected into his hand with a syringe, before using it at Stockholm Arlanda Airport to pass through security and board his plane.

The technology has been used before to make digital payments, control a mobile phone and unlock doors, in the same way contactless payment cards work. All it requires is a scanner to link up to that is compatible with the NFC.

There is going to be a BIG push for this. It's just soooo attractive to a certain kind of mindset to be able to easily scan and identify everybody who walks through a door or past a post on the street. They get all warm at the very notion. Lots of companies and organizations are going to try their best to make this verrrry attractive.

I suggest y'all resist the temptation. Cutting one out is going to suck a lot more than having it put in.

The Phantom

Toldja: Cell phones listen to what you're watching on TV.

Little Brother is getting to be more of an asshole that Big Brother, if you ask me. Big Brother listens to criminals and political agitators, Little Brother listens to ME.

Wait, what? It's using the microphones on cell phones to listen? Who's it listening in on?

The company behind the technology is called Symphony Advanced Media. The Observer spoke to its CEO Charles Buchwalter, about how it works, via phone. "Our entire focus is to add insights and perspectives on an entire new paradigm around how consumers are consuming media across  platforms," he told the Observer.

Cool, but is Symphony listening to viewers without their knowledge?

Short answer: pretty much no.

Symphony collects data with a similar strategy to Nielsen, by inviting users to opt-in to specific monitoring. Nielsen has the set meter and its paper diaries. Unlike Nielsen, Symphony uses a less direct strategy than a box on top of a TV to track what a viewer is watching, because not all the viewing is on TVs and not all the broadcasters want to be tracked.

For the privacy-conscious, Symphony's app isn't hidden inside other apps with permissions buried in user agreements no one reads.

Symphony asks those who opt in to load Symphony-branded apps onto their personal devices, apps that use microphones to listen to what's going on in the background. With technology from Gracenote, the app can hear the show playing and identify it using its unique sound signature (the same way Shazam identifies a song playing over someone else's speakers). Doing it that way allows the company to gather data on viewing of sites like Netflix and Hulu, whether the companies like it or not. (Netflix likes data)

So, this time you have to agree to be listened to.

That is not always the case. Chrome apparently tracks pretty much every click and mouse movement these days, AND harvests your cookies. Meaning the guy who has your Facebook cookie can log in to your Facebook account. Or your gmail account, or any other service you use that has an "instant log-in" feature that remembers you are logged in. You know that little "remember me" box? That works by cookies.

There are other things in Chrome that allegedly turn on your microphone without telling you. I don't have time to verify that right now, I'm just going to assume it's true. We know for sure there are apps like Shazam that work by using the microphone, and Siri uses the microphone.

I do believe there is a shitload of money to be made in a SECURITY APP that shuts off the ability of people to spy on you through your phone. I'd pay $500 right now for an app or service that locked down all my stuff and kept Google, Apple and every other government or non-government asshole from surveiling my behavior.

Next killer app is security. Count on it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

You must have this.

This is the coolest thing. On sale for January, an AR15 lower with the Monster Hunter International logo laser etched on it.

Those of you who are unfamilliar with MHI, go to and download the first one for free. Sweetness awaits.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Phantom reviews Star Wars! (no spoilers!)

Went to Star Wars The Force Awakens last night, Christmas Eve.

It did not suck! Amazing! Worth the ticket price.

That said, there have been better movies. There were a few clunky bits, and poor old Harrison Ford was on-screen way more than he should have been. The guy just looked tired and sore, particularly compared to the bouncing ball of energy that is Daisy Ridley. That girl was on freaking fire in this flick.

My movie companion was moved to tears when Carrie Fisher came on the screen. It's really sad how old and busted that woman appeared. I hope it was all movie magic, because damn. She moves like it hurts. A lot. Worse than watching Arnold Schwarzenegger try to run. Don't get me wrong, it works for the movie. But it'll make you cry if you're a Princess Leia fan.

Mark Hamill finally looks like a f-ing ancient Jedi ass-kicker ought to look. Age is better to some than others.

 Finally, Canadians will laugh when the bad guy takes off his helmet. No spoilers, but you're going to say "Don't I know that guy?"

All things considered, it was everything one expects from a Star Wars movie, without the lameness of George Lucas directing. JJ Abrams got a good performance out of all of them. Well done!
Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

This is the next Lefty scam: water scarcity.

USA Today: Oh Noes! We are running out of WATERZ!!!!

Time is running out for portions of the High Plains Aquifer, which lies beneath eight states from South Dakota to Texas and is the lifeblood of one of the world's most productive farming economies. The aquifer, also known as the Ogallala, makes possible about one-fifth of the country's output of corn, wheat and cattle. But its levels have been rapidly declining, and with each passing year more wells are going dry.
As less water pours from wells, some farmers are adapting by switching to different crops. Others are shutting down their drained wells and trying to scratch out a living as dryland farmers, relying only on the rains.
In parts of western Kansas, the groundwater has already been exhausted and very little can be extracted for irrigation. In other areas, the remaining water could be mostly used up within a decade.

Cue the Greenies, with their hair tearing and garment rending, their sack cloth and ashes, to blame Consumerism for this Crisis.

One question, what group thinks it's a good idea to burn corn as ethanol?

That's right kids, Greenies!

Look for this one to start getting pushed good and hard, as Glowball Warmening begins to falter after the 2016 election.

The Phantom Forecaster

Monday, December 07, 2015

Obama "Is my face red?" dept.

Yesterday, Obama gave a speech saying that Americans should not be able to buy gun if they are on the "No-Fly" list.

Today, we discover 72 Department of Homeland Security employees are on the "No-Fly" list.

Really. I couldn't make something like that up.

The Phantom

My comment on the San Bernadino attack.

1) I'm very sorry that people died and were badly hurt because California liberals are afraid of guns. Perhaps if gun-free zones were outlawed this kind of atrocity would be a thing of the past.

2) From Market Watch:

"Shares of the two publicly traded gun makers rallied on Monday, a day after President Barack Obama gave a prime-time address calling for a modest reduction in the availability of firearms."

That is about all there is to say, I do believe.

The Phantom

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Told you: FBI reveals depth of information requests.

Further to the SHUT UP!!! they explained post , the FBI 'requests' for information amount to the complete internet history of any named individual, no warrant required.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has used a secretive authority to compel Internet and telecommunications firms to hand over customer data including an individual's complete web browsing history and records of all online purchases, a court filing released Monday shows.

The documents are believed to be the first time the government has provided details of its so-called national security letters, which are used by the FBI to conduct electronic surveillance without the need for court approval.

The filing made public Monday was the result of an 11-year-old legal battle waged by Nicholas Merrill, founder of Calyx Internet Access, a hosted service provider, who refused to comply with a national security letter (NSL) he received in 2004.

Merrill told Reuters the release was significant "because the public deserves to know how the government is gathering information without warrants on Americans who are not even suspected of a crime."

What's bullshit about this is not that the FBI can get all that without a warrant. No, the true bullshit, the real lie, is that they need to ask. ALL that data plus a lot more is already in NSA databases, and they do share it with the FBI.

The FBI sends these letters to provide a fig-leaf for use in court, not because they require the cooperation of the ISPs and the phone company. They already have your complete web history on call, on a whim. The letters are so they can admit in court to knowing things they are not supposed to be able to know.

Anyone not wondering how big the FBI porn stash of sexy selfies has grown is an idiot. I will bet dollars against donuts that any good-looking woman who thinks her 'secret' photos remain secret is dreaming in technicolor. My advice, if you want to take sexy selfies, use a Polaroid camera.

The Phantom

SHUT UP!!! they explained.

The process -is- the punishment. Government appealed a court decision to lift a gag order for 11 years, lost every single time. Kept it up anyway. No particular reason, just because they could.

For years after receiving a national security letter from the FBI, he was an anonymous litigant and unnamed op-ed writer, barred by a gag order from revealing that he had received a warrantless demand for customer information. Now, Nicholas Merrill's gag order has been lifted in full, and – apparently for the first time – an NSL recipient can speak openly without fear of punishment.

Merrill, owner of now-defunct Calyx Internet Access, provided Internet service to about 200 customers when he received the order in February 2004. He refused to turn over the records of the targeted customer and went to court with American Civil Liberties Union representation. 

Merrill won the right to identify himself in 2010, but could not say what the ultimately withdrawn letter said. In August, a federal judge ordered the associated gag order lifted, with a 90-day pause to allow the Justice Department time to appeal, which it chose not to do.

I'd be fascinated to know how much that cost, and exactly who thought that expenditure was reasonable. Like, with names and faces.

The Phantom