Thursday, September 26, 2013

Meaning of the word "insane".

Insane is a word that gets bandied about a lot these days. You hear it in casual conversation all the time. To the point where its kind of losing its punch.

Example, when I say "drug users are insane" you all said "Duh, obviously!" But lets take a look at the latest drug craze peaking in Russia and just starting in the USA. It will give you a little window into what the word "insane" means.

Krokodil, a flesh-eating drug which first surfaced in Russia more than a decade ago, has reportedly been found in the United States.
Similar to morphine or heroin, krokodil is made by mixing codeine with substances like gasoline, paint thinner, oil or alcohol. That mixture is then injected into a vein, potentially causing an addict's skin to greenish, scaly and eventually rot away.  Dr. Frank LoVecchio, co-medical director at Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center in Arizona, told CBS5 that the first two cases of people using the drug have been reported in the state. He declined to comment on the patients' conditions.

They're not talking about the kind of scaly you get from a sunburn, or a case of athlete's foot here. They're talking gangrenous diabetic ulcer, where the whole area around the injection site -dies-, leaving a freakin' crater half an inch deep or more and a couple inches across. The more they shoot this crap up the more tissue they kill, until they have to have their entire limb amputated. Its like something out of Dante's Inferno. On the bright side, it normally kills them before they lose more than one limb to the ulcers.

In 2010, up to a million people, according to various estimates, were injecting the resulting substance into their veins in Russia, thus far the only country worldwide to see it grow into an epidemic, Time reports.
The drug's sinister moniker — also known as crocodile — refers to the greenish and scaly appearance of a user's skin at the site of injection as blood vessels rupture and cause surrounding tissues to die. According to reports, the drug first appeared in Siberia and parts of Russia around 2002, but has spread throughout the country in recent years.

A -million- people shooting this gunk. A million junkies, my friends. That's like the whole city of Hamilton, twice. They all know they're going to get a huge, bleeding, stinking (and I do mean stinking, gangrene smells like rotting bacon) purulent ulcer, AND a fever, AND the runs, AND the pukes, every single time they shoot up. But they do it anyway. They do it, and they keep doing it until their very limbs drop off and then they die. Horribly.

That's what the word "insane" means. Class dismissed.

The Phantom

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Electronic medical records, worst idea ever now with added worse!

I'm just going to post this, there's no point in even trying to add snark:

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) wants to require health care providers to include "social and behavioral" data in Electronic Health Records (EHR) and to link patient's records to public health departments, it was announced last week.

Health care experts say the proposal raises additional privacy concerns over Americans' personal health information, on top of worries that the Obamacare "data hub" could lead to abuse by bureaucrats and identify theft.

My American friends, you guys are going to end up with bar codes tattooed on your foreheads if you don't bring these DemocRats to heel, I'm telling you right now.

The Phantom

Friday, September 13, 2013

No really, they're datamining your credit cards.

Expansion to my earlier post here, which was about datamining bankruptcy filings. I said they most likely did it to -everything- but had no proof. We now hear that yes, they really do record credit card transactions and data mine them.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau officials are seeking to monitor four out of every five U.S. consumer credit card transactions this year — up to 42 billion transactions – through a controversial data-mining program, according to documents obtained by the Washington Examiner.

A CFPB strategic planning document for fiscal years 2013-17 describes the "markets monitoring" program through which officials aim to monitor 80 percent of all credit card transactions in 2013.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 1.16 billion consumer credit cards were in use in 2012 for an estimated 52.6 billion transactions. If CFPB officials reach their stated "performance goal," they would collect data on 42 billion transactions made with 933 million credit cards used by American consumers.

In addition, CFPB officials hope to monitor up to 95 percent of all mortgage transactions, according to the planning document.

Well that's how many they "hope" to be able to monitor, so it says. How many did they already monitor?

The CFPB strategic plan shows that in 2012, the bureau was able to gain access to 77 percent of all credit cards and hoped to increase that to 80 percent in 2013. By 2014, the agency also hopes to monitor up to 95 percent of all mortgage transactions.

Why do all this? Well, why have a gun registry? So you can know who's got a gun, right? If you can capture all credit card and mortgage transactions, that's a registry of EVERYTHING. You have a record of every fricking thing that everybody in the country owns.
From that you can tell who's got more income than they are showing, you can tell who's got a mistress, you can tell who's a Republican. For that matter you can tell who's pregnant. From such a database its entirely feasible to decide from what books, magazines, clothing, tools, cosmetics, toilet paper or whatever people buy who is politically reliable and who isn't. And then make a list of the ones you don't like and send a DHS armored car around to their house.

Oh NO Phantom, that could NEVER happen! This is the USA! Home of the free lunch!

Lets review, shall we?

Is there any possible legitimate reason a government could have for needing to know all that? No. Not a chance.

Are there a wide variety of nefarious and evil purposes that such information could be put to? Yes indeed.

So friends, as you can see the toboggan ride toward the cliff is speeding up rapidly. Might still be time to stop before y'all go over the cliff, but it'll be pretty hard.

"Shut up!" they explained.

Yes friends, having gotten as much traction and they are going to on gun control, the Dems are now moving along to speech control. Stating by defining a "journalist". Otherwise know as the "Saving the New York Times by killing the Internet" law.

A Senate panel on Thursday approved a measure defining a journalist, which had been an obstacle to broader media shield legislation designed to protect reporters and the news media from having to reveal their sources.

The Judiciary Committee's action cleared the way for approval of legislation prompted by the disclosure earlier this year that the Justice Department had secretly subpoenaed almost two months of telephone records for 21 phone lines used by reporters and editors for The Associated Press and secretly used a warrant to obtain some emails of a Fox News journalist. The subpoenas grew out of investigations into leaks of classified information to the news organizations.

The AP received no advance warning of the subpoena.

The vote was 13-5 for a compromise defining a "covered journalist" as an employee, independent contractor or agent of an entity that disseminates news or information. The individual would have been employed for one year within the last 20 or three months within the last five years.

Now, I should say right here that if the AP thinks that the NSA isn't recording 100% of every damn thing that every single individual at the AP says and does on-line and by phone, from the CEO to the night janitor , 24/7/365, then the AP is living in a dream world. Because the NSA is most certainly doing all of that, at the very least.

What this is about is a fig leaf of legality so the DemocRats can give their good friends in the media a "get-out-of-jail-free" card while going after everyone else with the full weight of the US federal government. Everyone else meaning blogs.

[Senator Dianne Feinstein, D. Ca] said the intent was to set up a test to determine a bona fide journalist.

"I think journalism has a certain tradecraft. It's a profession. I recognize that everyone can think they're a journalist," Feinstein said.

Translation, Dianne Feinstein gets to decide who will to talk and when, not you. So shut up and get back to work, peons.
Watch out for the steep part, kids!

My predictions:
  1. There will be journalism licenses issued in the United States of America before the 2016 elections. Possibly before the 2014 election.
  2. The bill will receive bi-partisan support.
Because I bet you the Republicans want the internet to shut up even worse than the DemocRats do. The Tea Party can only beat the Dems if they stage a revolution in the Republican Party first.

This is why they call it a slippery slope my friends. Because the ride picks up speed quickly as you go along. Then you get to the 100 foot cliff...

The Phantom

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Functioning mechanical gears seen in nature for the first time.

Wheels and gears aren't seen in nature. Until now.

The juvenile Issus - a plant-hopping insect found in gardens across Europe - has hind-leg joints with curved cog-like strips of opposing 'teeth' that intermesh, rotating like mechanical gears to synchronise the animal's legs when it launches into a jump.
The finding demonstrates that gear mechanisms previously thought to be solely man-made have an evolutionary precedent. Scientists say this is the "first observation of mechanical gearing in a biological structure".
Through a combination of anatomical analysis and high-speed video capture of normal Issus movements, scientists from the University of Cambridge have been able to reveal these functioning natural gears for the first time. The findings are reported in the latest issue of the journal Science.
The gears in the Issus hind-leg bear remarkable engineering resemblance to those found on every bicycle and inside every car gear-box.

There's a picture of the structure. It looks like two quarter circles side by side, with meshing gear teeth. Absolutely crazy.

The Phantom Gearhead

Update: I finally figured out what those gears remind me of.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

This is me ignoring Barry and his speech.

From Blazing Catfur, a sagacious suggestion: tomorrow being 9/11/2013, anniversary of the World Trade Center atrocity AND the Benghazi attack last year, why don't we all just ignore Barrack Hussein Obama and his Short Victorious War bullshit for the whole day?

I think this is a genius idea, and I will therefore not mention The One nor any of his works tomorrow.

...and the horse he rode in on.

The Phantom

Yes they DO datamine your credit cards.

From our "Always Pay Cash" file, the US federal government has a whole bureaucracy that datamines your financial information.

Serious allegations are being raised in the legal community that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has recruited the U.S. Trustee Program to collect bankruptcy data on its behalf to aid a controversial data-mining program.

Documents obtained by the Washington Examiner describe efforts by the CFPB to collect a decade's worth of private financial data on the consumer behavior of five million American citizens without their knowledge or consent. The CFPB data-mining campaign has alarmed privacy watchdogs.

Again, this is an effort by some US government alphabet-soup shitheads, working through the courts, to access information protected by attorney client privilege which they are flatly not allowed to look at. And again, this is most likely information that moved over the phone lines at some point in its life, and is archived on the mega-server from Hell at NSA. Don't go bankrupt!

From our "Lying Bastards" file, which at this point has its own warehouse and forklift trucks, NSA lied to the courts for -years-.

The National Security Agency's searches of a database containing phone records of millions of Americans violated privacy protections for years by failing to meet a court-ordered standard, intelligence officials acknowledged Tuesday.

They said the violations continued until a judge ordered an overhaul of the program in 2009.

The revelations called into question NSA's ability to run the sweeping domestic surveillance programs it introduced more than a decade ago in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks. Officials said the violations were inadvertent, because NSA officials didn't understand their own phone-records collection program.

How bad did they lie?

Since the details and the breadth of the phone-records collection came to light through leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, lawmakers and top U.S. officials have defended the program. They have said for all queries of the database, the NSA must show a "reasonable articulable suspicion" that the phone number being targeted is associated with a terrorist organization.

Between 2006 and 2009, however, of the 17,835 phone numbers checked against incoming phone records, only about 2,000 were based on that reasonable suspicion standard, officials said.

About 89% lying, then. Like a Persian carpet, pretty much. They did whatever the hell they wanted, you might say.

Are we getting hacked off yet, Americans?

Sunday, September 08, 2013

New revelation, the NSA can hack Blackberry!

Hey Canada, NSA is listening to your Blackberries!

SPIEGEL has learned from internal NSA documents that the US intelligence agency has the capability of tapping user data from the iPhone, devices using Android as well as BlackBerry, a system previously believed to be highly secure.

Previously we knew that Android and Apple products tracked their users locations, phoning home back to the big Google and Apple servers with that data regularly. Apple updated about every ten minutes and uploaded to the servers several times a day. One of the reasons iPhones are data-hogs. NSA of course has access to all that data because they record EVERYTHING, but according to Der Spiegel they can also just hack and crack your phone.

And your Blackberry!

The documents suggest the intelligence specialists have also had similar success in hacking into BlackBerrys. A 2009 NSA document states that it can "see and read SMS traffic." It also notes there was a period in 2009 when the NSA was temporarily unable to access BlackBerry devices. After the Canadian company acquired another firm the same year, it changed the way in compresses its data. But in March 2010, the department responsible at Britain's GCHQ intelligence agency declared in a top secret document it had regained access to BlackBerry data and celebrated with the word, "champagne!"

The documents also state that the NSA has succeeded in accessing the BlackBerry mail system, which is known to be very secure. This could mark a huge setback for the company, which has always claimed that its mail system is uncrackable.

Just goes to show, nothing is uncrackable if you throw enough cubic yards of money at it.

All I know is, I want a gig selling hardware to the poindexters at NSA. The commission would be... epic!  I could buy a small country!

The Phantom

Thursday, September 05, 2013

NRA finally wakes up, sues over NSA snooping program.

Strange bedfellows, the NRA joins an ACLU lawsuit against the NSA supersnoopers. Interesting reason too.

In a brief filed in federal court, the NRA argues that the National Security Agency's database of phone records amounts to a "national gun registry". "It would be absurd to think that the Congress would adopt and maintain a web of statutes intended to protect against the creation of a national gun registry, while simultaneously authorizing the FBI and the NSA to gather records that could effectively create just such a registry," the group writes.

Well, yeah. That's why they're doing it.

"Under the government's reading of Section 215, the government could simply demand the periodic submission of all firearms dealers' transaction records, then centralize them in a database indexed by the buyers' names for later searching," the NRA writes.

The group claims that Congress could never have meant to authorize such a vast surveillance operation because it has repeatedly rejected proposals to create a national gun registry.

The NRA's brief also claims that the phone record program violates its members' First Amendment rights to associate and communicate freely. The group argues that people could fear retribution for associating with the gun-rights group if they knew the government was monitoring their phone records. 

Of course the truth about the NSA effort is that they can create a registry of -anything-. They don't just have phone call records, they also have credid card transactions, email, IP activity, all of it. If they want to know who bought a couch in a certain floral upholstery pattern on any Sunday in 2004, they can find out. Like, find out in under an hour and have a picture for every name on the list..

If they want to know exactly where every single person on that list is right now, as in right this second, if the people have a cell phone the NSA can do that too. Then turn on that cell phone and listen in to what's going on. Maybe even shut your car off and lock you inside if you have OnStar or a similar service installed.

So yeah, they can and I fully expect DO have a complete surveillance of everybody in the NRA, and everybody who's bought a gun in the last ten years. Plus, does anyone really, really believe that the FBI doesn't keep a complete record of every transaction on their NICS (National Instant Background Check System) even though they -promise- not to? The NSA for sure does, and even if the FBI purges ever bit on the NICS servers, with just a phone call I'm sure they can get the whole enchilada from NSA.

Nice to see the dog finally barking.

Petard, meet hoist. Hoist, petard.

Liberal law enforcement. Take a biiiiig bite, boys.
Righteous, liberal, Greener than thou, fitness freak health Nazi cyclists in New York city have a new problem. No not traffic, that's an old problem. Seems that some of the local misunderstood youths have discovered how much a decent bike sells for.

The NYPD says thugs are beating and mugging bike riders on a popular Manhattan bike path.
The bike path along the Hudson River is popular with New Jersey bikers who take the route and cross the George Washington Bridge to get home at night in the dark.

Who did this dastardly deed against all that's liberal and tolerant and Green and good?

Presently, officers only have a vague description of the men, who are described as being in their 20s.

No kidding, that's what the article says. "Men, who are described as being in their 20s." Which is so totally helpful, right?
So my liberal cyclist friends, if you see some "men in their 20's" on your ride to work, get out your... oh wait, you're not allowed to have a gun are you?
Guess you're pretty well fucked then, eh?

The Phantom

Google: Reading your mail and proud of it, man!

Google's attorneys say their long-running practice of electronically scanning the contents of people's Gmail accounts to help sell ads is legal, and are asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit that seeks to stop the practice.

In court records filed in advance of a federal hearing scheduled for Thursday in San Jose, Google argues that "all users of email must necessarily expect that their emails will be subject to automated processing."

Yeah, whether it comes from a Gmail account or even if it just crosses Google's network. So shut up and get back to work, you peons.
The Phantom

Big Brother will be -driving- your car by 2020.

Old and busted: mass speed control of cars. New sweetness: COMPLETE control of cars.

A Pennsylvania congressman caught a cutting-edge ride to the airport on Wednesday.

Rep. Bill Shuster, a Republican from Altoona, made a 33-mile trip from Cranberry Township to Pittsburgh International Airport at about 11 a.m. in a computer-operated car.

Wow, how high tech! Kinda gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "computer crash" don't it? 

But hey, that's just me. What did Bill Shuster, Republican from Altoona have to say about it?

Shuster said he can now imagine a future where such vehicles enter the mainstream, potentially reducing accidents, fatalities and congestion on roads. But there's also a military angle.

"It's going to be great for our military to able to send vehicles into combat without people in them," Shuster said.

The comments are awesome, as you might imagine.

I like how he immediately talks about using it in war.

I can hardly wait until Obozo's sons get their hands on one. The first fully automated drive-by shooting is one step closer!

 I want a "road rage" option on the control menu of my automatic car.
 Wow...A congressman just sitting there not doing anything. Imagine that.

 That's a great Idea. Now Al Qaeda can hack into the control system and kill us all conveniently on our morning commute.

Personally I think this will be a great thing for law enforcement.  Cops will be able to have your own car trap you, taser you unconscious and drive you to the police station without the arresting officer ever leaving the donut shop.

The Phantom

Bureaucrats find ways to use cool SWAT equipment.

The last couple of years I've been saying that arming regulators with all kinds of special SWAT stuff is a bad idea, because they will find a way to use it. Or make one. Being right all the time is a terrible burden.

When agents with the Alaska Environmental Crimes Task Force surged out of the wilderness around the remote community of Chicken wearing body armor and jackets emblazoned with POLICE in big, bold letters, local placer miners didn't quite know what to think.

Did it really take eight armed men and a squad-size display of paramilitary force to check for dirty water? Some of the miners, who run small businesses, say they felt intimidated.

Others wonder if the actions of the agents put everyone at risk. When your family business involves collecting gold far from nowhere, unusual behavior can be taken as a sign someone might be trying to stage a robbery. How is a remote placer miner to know the people in the jackets saying POLICE really are police?

Miners suggest it might have been better all around if officials had just shown up at the door -- as they used to do -- and said they wanted to check the water.

Well, yeah. Why DIDN'T they just show up and knock on the door the way they usually do?

The EPA has refused to publicly explain why it used armed officers as part of what it called a "multi-jurisdictional" investigation of possible Clean Water Act violations in the area.

A conference call was held last week to address the investigation. On the line were members of the Alaska Congressional delegation, their staff, state officers, and the EPA. According to one Senate staffer, the federal agency said it decided to send in the task force armed and wearing body armor because of information it received from the Alaska State Troopers about "rampant drug and human trafficking going on in the area."

The area is 140 miles from anywhere, and the local law enforcement said:

"The Alaska State Troopers did not advise the EPA that there was dangerous drug activity. We do not have evidence to suggest that is occurring," said Trooper spokesperson Megan Peters.

So the real reason is somebody decided they were bored off their ass, and wouldn't it be fun to go play soldier in the woods with all this cool cop shit we've got.

Somebody needs to be fired, and that guy is the one who issued super duper cop stuff to the Podunk Alsaka EPA branch office.

The Phantom

Monday, September 02, 2013

Big Brother will control your car. Like, by 2015!

I've been on about government running your car by remote control now for some time, and the possibilities are chilling. Well here we have a policy proposal from the European Union that the government will MAKE you drive the speed limit, by remote control.

All cars could be fitted with devices that stop them going over 70mph, under new EU road safety measures which aim to cut deaths from road accidents by a third.

Under the proposals new cars would be fitted with cameras that could read road speed limit signs and automatically apply the brakes when this is exceeded.

Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, is said to be opposed to the plans, which could also mean existing cars are sent to garages to be fitted with the speed limiters, preventing them from going over 70mph.

The new measures have been announced by the European Commission's Mobility and Transport Department as a measure to reduce the 30,000 people who die on the roads in Europe every year.

Governors you say? Cars already have those, they are called "rev limiters" and they keep engine speed below a set maximum. What are they really proposing here?

The scheme would work either using satellites, which would communicate limits to cars automatically, or using cameras to read road signs. Drivers can be given a warning of the speed limit, or their speed could be controlled automatically under the new measures.

A spokesman for the European Commission said: "There is a currently consultation focusing on speed-limiting technology already fitted to HGVs and buses.

See, that's not a speed governor. That's a system that knows how fast you're supposed to be going, and won't let you go any faster. Probably supplemented with roadside RFID tags, radio commands by satellite, cell phone towers and WiFi, plus other means.

Sound far fetched? It isn't. Camera, GPS, satnav, RFID reader and cell capability are all in one little flip phone. The kind they give away when you buy a $25 phone card. Plug it in to the vehicle's computer with a little dongle, and Big Brother runs your car.

With the result that people will, for the first time ever, really be going 40kph in those asinine 40kph zones you find all over the place. The traffic jams will be stupendous I'm sure, but the Big Brains won't care because its all for the children, you know.

If that sounds like not much of a reason to do it, I've no doubt you're right. The real deal is this: With with such a system, you can set the maximum speed in a given zone to ZERO whenever you want. Meaning there will be lots of places people can't drive into, or more to the point, out of. You would also be able to stop one particular car at will. Don't like a particular guy? Strand his ass by the side of the road in a snowstorm, where the plow will get him.

No word on what the plan is to deal with wise guys defacing road signs. 160KPH MAXIMUM will be found all over Europe before you know it. I'm sure people will have stickers printed up, to make the process easier. Rogue radios too. What Big Brother can make, little brother can hack in a weekend. When fast cars are criminalized, only criminals will have fast cars.

DEA makes NSA look like pikers. Oh, and Google reads your mail.

From the overflowing "No, you are nowhere near paranoid enough" file, new revelations indicate that the DEA is using, by subpoena for once, a huge AT&T database of phone call and location records that goes back to 1987. And they've been doing it for six years.

For at least six years, law enforcement officials working on a counternarcotics program have had routine access, using subpoenas, to an enormous AT&T database that contains the records of decades of Americans' phone calls — parallel to but covering a far longer time than the National Security Agency's hotly disputed collection of phone call logs. The Hemisphere Project, a partnership between federal and local drug officials and AT&T that has not previously been reported, involves an extremely close association between the government and the telecommunications giant.

The government pays AT&T to place its employees in drug-fighting units around the country. Those employees sit alongside Drug Enforcement Administration agents and local detectives and supply them with the phone data from as far back as 1987.

I think it would be naive in the extreme to assume, as the author does in the first sentence, that the NSA doesn't have that AT&T database backed up on its server farms. Plus the complete databases of every other phone company and cable company and cell tower company and what have you in the USA. And Canada. And Britain. And most likely all of Europe and most of Asia. Either because they demanded it at gunpoint, they were given it by the local regime, or they stole it.

Now Google and other major outfits appear to be doing the DEA/NSA dudes one better and actually READ your mail, not just store it.

Facebook, Twitter and Google have been caught snooping on messages sent across their networks, new research claims, prompting campaigners to express concerns over privacy.

The findings emerged from  an experiment conducted following revelations by US security contractor Edward Snowden about government snooping on internet accounts.

Cyber-security company High-Tech Bridge set out to test the confidentiality of 50 of the biggest internet companies by using their systems to send a unique web address in private messages.

Experts at its Geneva HQ then waited to see which companies clicked on the website.

During the ten-day operation, six of the 50 companies tested were found to have opened the link.

Among the six were Facebook, Twitter, Google and discussion forum Formspring.

High-Tech Bridge chief executive Ilia Kolochenko said: 'We found they were clicking on links that should  be known only to the sender and recipient.

Note to email users, almost everything that runs on wires crosses Google's network at some point in its travels. And as Snowden revealed, everything Google, Microsoft and Apple know, the NSA knows.

Behave yourselves accordingly, my friends.