Monday 20 October 2014
Authoritarianism + Constitution + Law enforcement + LE
Too. Fucking. Bad.
Apple has recently presented its latest Mac OS X operating system for desktop and laptop computers, encouraging its customers to use FileVault disk encryption technology to keep their data secure. The tool would also prevent NSA or FBI from having access to phones and computers.
Google said it wanted to follow suit with its Android operating system and “encryption will be enabled by default.”
If a customer does not decline the encryption offer, his or her computer or phone will be locked.
This means that the companies will not be able to unlock a phone or a hard drive to reveal photos, documents, e-mail or recordings stored within.
“Criminals and terrorists would like nothing more than for us to miss out,” Comey said, adding that encrypted information on “a bad guy’s phone has the potential to create a black hole for law enforcement.”
“Justice may be denied because of a locked phone or an encrypted hard drive,” he said.
When you abuse trust, this is what happens, asshole. So please kindly go fuck yourself.
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Saturday 16 August 2014
Economy + electronic cigarettes + Government + health care + Regulation + Science + Vaping
Foreseen consequences are NOT unintended.
Public health officials and regulators who have battled for years against smoking may be inadvertently bolstering the tobacco market with their strong stand against e-cigarettes, some financial analysts say.
While certain experts view the products as a potentially game-changing safe alternative to smoking, many health organizations have warned of their possible dangers. Canada’s federal government effectively outlaws nicotine-containing versions of the devices.
The drum beat of opposition seems to have picked up in recent weeks, with public-health agencies in Ontario and B.C. recommending crackdowns on e-cigarettes, worrying they could normalize smoking or act as gateways to tobacco itself.
That kind of “highly suspicious” approach may be having unintended consequences, suggests a new report to investors from Germany’s Berenberg bank.
It’s all part of the plan.
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Tuesday 10 June 2014
Authoritarianism + Dumbassery + Economy + electronic cigarettes + Government + Regulation + Science + Vaping
I highly doubt that the science verifying the efficacy of using e-cigarettes as a far more healthy form of ingesting nicotine than traditional cigarettes, and a legitimate means to quit smoking analogs will have any bearing whatsoever on the FDA, which has vowed to hang its looming regulation of the industry on the frame of science. The media surely hasn’t allowed science to trump the narrative passed on to them by their government masters. Spinfuel Magazine:
Since these proposed regulations were disclosed [by the FDA], there has been a surge of news stories published and run on national television regarding the industry that have been…well, rather uneducated and downright harmful to smokers who might have otherwise already quit smoking for vaping.
While a large portion of the electronic cigarette (Vaping) community has been passionate about education, we have seen countless articles and news reports by national and local news agencies twisting the facts and publishing biased “articles” that simply seem like propaganda to the most educated on the issue.
This manipulation and creative interpretation of the scientific evidence is just as the media and their government benefactors would have it: using the perceived credibility of the media as an independent body in order to further the government’s agenda by doing what it can to strengthen the case in favor of government regulation. Unfortunately it’s working despite dozens of scientific studies which show that vaping is orders of magnitude safer than smoking (if not vitually harmless) and the ability to use vaping as a means to quit smoking traditional cigarettes.
And it’s not just the media licking the boots of government, but also NGOs that are funded primarily from government sources and serve their masters well by vomiting up unsubstantiated claims about both the health and social dangers of vaping. Dr. Tom Friedman, director of the Center for Disease Control has expounded his “personal belief” that vaping is little more than a means to get kids hooked on smoking traditional cigarettes. He denies the efficacy of using electronic cigarettes as a means to quit smoking, despite scientific evidence which strongly suggests that not only can vaping help smokers quit smoking, but that it may well be the most effective way of doing so, thousands of anecdotes at places like The #IMPROOF Movement which show real-world success stories, and the market explosion of vaping in the form of vape shops opening in droves throughout the country over the last two or three years (if smokers weren’t switching to vaping, why on earth would the market indicate that people are spending a shit-load of money on vaping?). Scientific studies, thousands of people, and the market clearly making
smoke vapor signals that show people WANT to vape rather than smoke isn’t sufficient for Tom Friedman, yet somehow his own “personal convictions” are enough to convince him that he’s right, and set him on a quest to do everything in his power to make sure the government will have the last say regardless of the scientific evidence available to us all.
And yet it’s Tom Friedman and his ilk that fly the banner of science.
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Friday 25 April 2014
Authoritarianism + Dumbassery + Economy + electronic cigarettes + Government + Journalism + Regulation
How government kills a nascent industry and ensures that small, independent competitors have a massive barrier to entry in to the market:
The federal government wants to ban sales of electronic cigarettes to minors and require approval for new products and health warning labels under regulations being proposed by the Food and Drug Administration.
While the proposal being issued Thursday won’t immediately mean changes for the popular devices, the move is aimed at eventually taming the fast-growing e-cigarette industry.
God forbid we have an “untamed” industry that’s providing jobs by the thousands and a route for smokers to quit fucking smoking.
But don’t worry, small eLiquid and hardware makers, these regulations aren’t real regulation. These are just a rules designed to set up regulation.
The agency said the proposal sets a foundation for regulating the products but the rules don’t immediately ban the wide array of flavors of e-cigarettes, curb marketing on places like TV or set product standards.
And of course we have the pretense that science, and not the largest players in the electronic cigarette industry, will be what guides our fair saviours at the FDA in their decision making process.
Any further rules “will have to be grounded in our growing body of knowledge and understanding about the use of e-cigarettes and their potential health risks or public health benefits,” Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg said.
You know, the same players who are cheering on the regulation and are clamoring for more.
The proposed rules were also viewed by industry insiders and analysts as benefiting the sector’s current leading companies who have already adopted restrictions on sales that anticipated the regulations, including a suggested ban on sales of the nicotine vapor devices to people under age 18.
And they also said rules won’t hamper Big Tobacco companies’ ability to expand market share in the e-cig category, which could help offset the threat that e-cigs represent to sales of traditional tobacco cigarettes.
You can bet that the government will completely ignore the science that shows e-cigarettes as virtually harmless to both users and bystanders (those who are involuntarily exposed to vapor):
By the standards of occupational hygiene, current data do not indicate that exposures to vapers from contaminants in electronic cigarettes warrant a concern. There are no known toxicological synergies among compounds in the aerosol, and mixture of the contaminants does not pose a risk to health.
[. . .]
In summary, analysis of the current state of knowledge about the chemistry of contaminants in liquids and aerosols associated with electronic cigarettes indicates that there is no evidence that vaping produces inhalable exposures to these contaminants at a level that would prompt measures to reduce exposure by the standards that are used to ensure safety of workplaces.
[. . .]
Even when compared to workplace standards for involuntary exposures, and using several conservative (erring on the side of caution) assumptions, the exposures from using e-cigarettes fall well below the threshold for concern for compounds with known toxicity. That is, even ignoring the benefits of e-cigarette use and the fact that the exposure is actively chosen, and even comparing to the levels that are considered unacceptable to people who are not benefiting from the exposure and do not want it, the exposures would not generate concern or call for remedial action.
In fact, the science has not only shown exposure to contaminants in vapor to not be an issue at all, but that virtually every concern about it has either been completely fabricated from thin air, or, at the very least, speculated without any data to support their claim, or data that is intentionally fabricated with bad science or misinterpreted:
• There is no serious concern about the contaminants such as volatile organic compounds (formaldehyde, acrolein, etc.) in the liquid or produced by heating. While these contaminants are present, they have been detected at problematic levels only in a few studies that apparently were based on unrealistic levels of heating.
• The frequently stated concern about contamination of the liquid by a nontrivial quantity of ethylene glycol or diethylene glycol remains based on a single sample of an early-technology product (and even this did not rise to the level of health concern) and has not been replicated.
• Tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNA) are present in trace quantities and pose no more (likely much less) threat to health than TSNAs from modern smokeless tobacco products, which cause no measurable risk for cancer.
• Contamination by metals is shown to be at similarly trivial levels that pose no health risk, and the alarmist claims about such contamination are based on unrealistic assumptions about the molecular form of these elements.
• The existing literature tends to overestimate the exposures and exaggerate their implications. This is partially due to rhetoric, but also results from technical features. The most important is confusion of the concentration in aerosol, which on its own tells us little about risk to heath, with the relevant and much smaller total exposure to compounds in the aerosol averaged across all air inhaled in the course of a day. There is also clear bias in previous reports in favor of isolated instances of highest level of chemical detected across multiple studies, such that average exposure that can be calculated are higher than true value because they are “missing” all true zeros.
Being in close contact with various small-time players in the thriving new eLiquid and hardware markets, I can assure you that the industry is NOT “thrilled” about this regulation, despite the claim by the media that it’s being cheered on by the entire industry and that there are no worries about how it might affect both small manufacturers and vendors.
Make no mistake: this proposal is about providing solutions to a problem that doesn’t exist and providing a toe in the door so that the government might pave the way to clear most of the smaller players out of the picture, handing the entire segment of a booming sector of the economy over to the largest players in the industry. There has never been a recorded death from e-cigarette use, and the industry, by and large, adopted the practice of refusing to sell electronic cigarette products to minors years ago. I’ve personally been witness to not only e-cigarette vendors denying sales to minors, but them actually refusing to allow them to even stay in their store. They don’t want to sell vaping products to kids. All they want is to help cigarette smokers get off of tobacco.
Yet the media, those self-proclaimed champions of freedom, is cheering the government on, providing copious amounts of propaganda in favor of regulation, making it seem as if the entire industry is in favor. Time Magazine:
E-cigarette makers have hailed the Food and Drug Administration’s proposed regulations for new tobacco products—including electronic cigarettes, pipe tobacco and hookah, among others—as fair and moderate and a sign of a business-friendly approach
“It’s a great day,” says Christian Berkey, CEO of Johnson Creek, a leading maker of electronic cigarette liquid based in Wisconsin.
Berkey was referring to the FDA’s issuance Thursday of proposed federal regulation of electronic cigarettes, a nascent industry that has grown to nearly $2 billion a year in U.S. sales. The move extended the FDA’s authority to regulate new tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, pipe tobacco, and hookah, among others.
Of course the big guys want the lion’s share of that $2B, and the government is there to help them get it no matter how much it harms both current e-cigarette users and smaller vendors. The government is not out to help the general public, but to help themselves and those that pay for their services.
Fuck the FDA in the ass with a rusty chainsaw. All I want is to quit and stay off of cigarettes. I’d fucking appreciate if they allowed me to do that without creating barriers based on the very misguided idea that they are protecting me.
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Thursday 6 March 2014
Authoritarianism + Dumbassery + Education + Firearms
Zero tolerance policies and the nomenclature used to enforce them belong in The Onion:
Ten-year-old Nathan Entingh doesn’t understand why he got suspended from school for three days.
According to his father, Paul Entingh, one moment the boy was “goofing off” with his friends in fifth-grade science class, and the next the teacher was taking him out of the classroom, invoking Ohio’s zero-tolerance policy.
The offense? Nathan was “making his fingers look like a gun, having the thumb up and the pointed finger sticking out,” said Entingh, describing the February 26 incident.
“He was pointing it at a friend’s head and he said ‘boom.’ The kid didn’t see it. No other kids saw it. But the teacher saw it,” he said. “It wasn’t threatening. It wasn’t hostile. It was a 10-year-old kid playing.”
The next morning Paul Entingh escorted his son Nathan to the principal’s office, where they met with Devonshire Alternative Elementary School Principal Patricia Price.
“She said if it happened again the suspension would be longer, if not permanent,” said Entingh, who also received a letter explaining the reason for Nathan’s suspension as a “level 2 look alike firearm.”
A “level 2 look alike firearm?” Really? Extending your finger out and your thumb up is a level 2 look alike firearm. Whoever came up with this insanity needs to go to the nearest closet and hang himself so as not to contaminate the rest of society with his very severe case of stupidity.
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Friday 14 February 2014
Dumbassery + Economy + Environment + Science + Teh Science!
When 95% of your models are wrong, it’s time that you revise the theory that drives the models, and it’s time to stop warning about the end of the world with the information you get from the models. Dr. Roy Spencer:
I’m seeing a lot of wrangling over the recent (15+ year) pause in global average warming…when did it start, is it a full pause, shouldn’t we be taking the longer view, etc.
These are all interesting exercises, but they miss the most important point: the climate models that governments base policy decisions on have failed miserably.
I’ve updated our comparison of 90 climate models versus observations for global average surface temperatures through 2013, and we still see that >95% of the models have over-forecast the warming trend since 1979[.]
[. . .]
Whether humans are the cause of 100% of the observed warming or not, the conclusion is that global warming isn’t as bad as was predicted. That should have major policy implications…assuming policy is still informed by facts more than emotions and political aspirations.
And if humans are the cause of only, say, 50% of the warming (e.g. our published paper), then there is even less reason to force expensive and prosperity-destroying energy policies down our throats.
I am growing weary of the variety of emotional, misleading, and policy-useless statements like “most warming since the 1950s is human caused” or “97% of climate scientists agree humans are contributing to warming”, neither of which leads to the conclusion we need to substantially increase energy prices and freeze and starve more poor people to death for the greater good.
I too am weary of being told that the only way to save the earth is for my electricity bill to be substantially raised, and that poor people worldwide need to just buck up and stay poor.
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Friday 14 February 2014
What is it with greenies and their being okay with killing birds? First mass deaths via wind turbines and now the scorching tower of death. Cassandra Sweet at The Wall Street Journal:
A giant solar-power project officially opening this week in the California desert is the first of its kind, and may be among the last, in part because of growing evidence that the technology it uses is killing birds.
[. . .]
BrightSource wants to build a second tower-based solar farm in California’s Riverside County, east of Palm Springs. But the state Energy Commission in December proposed that the company instead use more conventional technologies, such as solar panels or mirrored troughs.
One reason: the BrightSource system appears to be scorching birds that fly through the intense heat surrounding the towers, which can reach 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
And when the plant burns an endangered eagle to death, nothing will happen.
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Thursday 30 January 2014
“The biggest problems that we’re facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all. And that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m president of the United States of America.”
– Senator Barack Obama, March 31, 2008
Agreed. Too bad President Obama no longer agrees now that he’s the one concentrating power in the executive and doing everything he can to bypass Congress at every turn.
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Monday 20 January 2014
Authoritarianism + Communism + Dumbassery + Economy + Education + Government + POTUS + Socialism Doesn't Fucking Work
“Dear beautiful America, please, stop moving Forward.”
I now live in Northern California, in the heart of the Bay Area, thousands of miles away from my homeland.
And yet the poison of Soviet propaganda seeps through college dorms just as it did in Soviet classrooms.
Stop a random youth on the street and you’ll find out what he thinks about capitalism (bad!) and communism/socialism (good!). Their favorite news programs are the “Daily Show” and the “Colbert Report,” where comedians reinforce their brainwashing via short, catchy clips.
Walk through Berkeley and you will see wall graffiti of the same hammer and sickle that adorned the big red flags of the Soviet era.
This doesn’t extend to just youths. People of all ages, even acquaintances that I otherwise respect and admire, are like this. They support the “progressive” leader Barack Obama, worship the nanny state, and believe in equality of outcome rather than equality of opportunity.
They badmouth capitalism and complain that only one percent of the American population has the “American dream.” They buy into the class warfare rhetoric hook, line, and sinker. They want artificially raised minimum wage, government handouts, and believe that Obamacare is the greatest thing since the invention of pockets.
I look at them and the red ties materialize, familiarly, around their necks.
There are “academic” speakers now who advocate that having too many choices is “bad for you.” Too stressful to choose, you see.
Living in the Soviet Union, being bombarded with similar nonsense, we had nothing to contradict it. When we walked outside the school, the everyday reality had no traces of the wealth afforded by capitalism. We lived in the grayness and that grayness was all there was.
Americans leave school to go home and they drop by a mall to buy something from an incredible selection of wealth and choice afforded by capitalism. They drop by a small corner store, which could probably feed a savvy Soviet village for a month (dog food is food, too, you know), and they pick up some “entertainment food” that did not exist in the USSR, in quantities that weren’t affordable for an average Soviet family.
Then they go home and write essays on their expensive iPads about how they don’t have the American Dream.
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Friday 17 January 2014
Communism + Dumbassery + Environment
Communism: shitty for people, shitty for the environment. Colin Grabow at The Federalist:
In addition to being an advocate for an ideology directly responsible for tens of millions of non-war deaths and untold human misery, Myerson has revealed himself as something of an ignoramus concerning communism’s shocking record on environmental issues. Not only a blight on the human condition, communism’s impact on the planet’s ecology has proven consistently ghastly.
When the Berlin Wall came down and the Iron Curtain was finally lifted to expose the inner workings of communism to Western eyes, one of the more shocking discoveries was the nightmarish scale of environmental destruction. The statistics for East Germany alone tell a horrific tale: at the time of its reunification with West Germany an estimated 42 percent of moving water and 24 percent of still waters were so polluted that they could not be used to process drinking water, almost half of the country’s lakes were considered dead or dying and unable to sustain fish or other forms of life, and only one-third of industrial sewage along with half of domestic sewage received treatment.
An estimated 44 percent of East German forests were damaged by acid rain — little surprise given that the country produced proportionally more sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide, and coal dust than any other in the world. In some areas of East Germany the level of air pollution was between eight and twelve times greater than that found in West Germany, and 40 percent of East Germany’s population lived in conditions that would have justified a smog warning across the border. Only one power station in East Germany had the necessary equipment to clean sulphur from emissions.
Sten Nilsson, a Swedish forest ecologist who was kicked out of East Germany in 1986 for his efforts at collecting data on the health of its forests, said in April 1990 that many forests were “dead, completely” and described the country as “on the verge of total ecological collapse.” The environmental policy of the communist government, according to then Environment Minister Karl-Hermann Steinberg in 1990, “was not only badly designed but didn’t exist.”
And the damage isn’t isolated to East Germany. Poland, Russia, and former Soviet Bloc Countries all over Europe and Asia had an environmental record that was ghastly. Air, drinking water, forests, and animals were decimated under communism. The state could scarcely afford to feed the population, much less act as responsible stewards of the land. The only way to ensure that there is a strong enough impetus for land and animal conservation is via stringently enforcing private property rights which create a system of incentives such that caring for the land is necessary.
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