You should try Florida. Just Kidding. Think it’s Russia.
~Steve~ H/T Hujonwi
Peninsula Daily News: A resident says the city has warned that her electrical power could be shut off if a wooden box she and her husband fastened over their electric meter to prevent the installation of a new wireless “smart” meter is not removed.
“I feel threatened. I feel harassed. I also feel afraid of what the city is going to do with us,” Virginia Leinart told City Council members at Tuesday’s meeting.
Leinart — who has lived in Port Angeles (WA) with her husband, Tom, since 1980 — said the couple returned from a trip last week to find a letter from Rick Hostetler, city customer service manager, saying the box, built from an old wooden drawer, must be removed.
“The city requests that you immediately remove the obstruction for access to your electric meter to ensure the safety of our staff as well as maintaining the electrical integrity of your home,” Hostetler wrote in the Feb. 27 letter.
The letter did not say the Leinarts’ electrical power would be shut off, though Virginia Leinart said Hostetler told her over the phone Tuesday that service could be stopped in 10 to 15 days if the box is not removed. “This wasn’t a threat to install a smart meter right away,” Leinart said in later interview.
Craig Fulton, city public works and utilities director, said shutting down power won’t be considered until after a city electrical inspector meets with the Leinarts, perhaps as early as this week.
He said one other household has erected a barrier to its meter and has been sent a letter. He did not want to reveal the names of the residents until city officials have spoken with them, he said.
Leinart said she and her husband screwed the box to the wall last June to prevent the city from replacing her analog meter with a digital smart meter that can be read wirelessly from City Hall. A hole covered by a baker’s cooling rack allows the meter to be seen but not touched.
Fulton said the box was brought to Hostetler’s attention in December.
Leinart is one of 49 residents who have asked the city to refrain from installing new smart meters on their homes, Fulton said.
City staff will contact people on this list before any smart meter is installed, Fulton said. “There is no reason to block their meter for any reason,” he said.
Leinart and others say the meters violate their right to privacy and pose dangers to human health through the wireless signals they use to transmit data. Between 60 and 70 people attended a September council meeting in opposition to the project.
City officials maintain the meters will collect only utility usage data to be sent to City Hall and pose no greater risk to human health through their wireless signals than cellphones.
City code requires that utility staff have “free and safe” access to meters in the event they need to be accessed quickly during an emergency, Fulton said, adding that cutting off service is always the last option.
The access requirements are also for the safety of city staff, Fulton added. “Upon request, the customer shall correct any condition that limits or restricts free and safe access to or operation of the Department’s meters or service,” city code states.
“Failure of the customer to comply within a reasonable time specified, as determined by the Director, shall subject the customer to disconnection of service.”
Fulton said a city electrical inspector will meet with the Leinarts about what can be done to make sure they’re compliant with city code, adding that staff would give the Leinarts at least 15 days to comply and not shut power off immediately. “They [would] have plenty of notice,” Fulton said. “No clock has started.”
Leinart said she plans to decide in the coming days what she’ll do with the box covering her electric meter. “I just hope this is resolved in a happy way,” Leinart said.
“I like working with the city, and I think they’re trying to work this out.”
Under a $4.9 million contract with Atlanta-based Mueller Systems, 2,080 smart electricity meters and 1,200 smart water meters have been installed on residences and businesses. All are still being read manually. A flurry of software problems have delayed full installation by at least a year and a half.
A report presented in February by West Monroe Partners, a city consultant hired to evaluate the stalled smart meter program, detailed significant changes Mueller will need to make to complete the project per city specifications, saying the company’s shortcomings had placed the smart meter project in “imminent failure.”
Tests of batches of the 2,080 smart electricity meters and 1,200 smart water meters installed on houses and businesses have failed to consistently send accurate usage data from the meters to city servers, the report said.
In January, the city declared Mueller in breach of contract for failing to meet “crucial benchmarks” for the project.
Fulton said Mueller has responded to the city’s breach-of-contract notice. City staff members are reviewing the response and are expected to brief council members on it at a council meeting later this month or in April. “There’s a lot of internal analysis we need to do first,” Fulton said.
Both the Clallam County Public Utility District — which serves all areas in the county, including Sequim and Forks, that are outside Port Angeles — and the Jefferson County PUD have electricity meters that can be read via radio signals, but they cannot receive information from public utility staff and so aren’t smart meters.
We all have a dominant side of the brain – and this shapes our personality:
The idea is that certain bodily functions are assigned to either the right or left side of the brain. The brain’s right hemisphere controls the muscles on the left side of the body; while the left hemisphere controls the muscles on the right side of the body.
In general, the left hemisphere is dominant in:
The right hemisphere is mainly in charge of:
However some critics say there is no such thing as left-brain or right-brain dominance, and that it’s all nonsense.
Regardless, click here to take a 30-second short quiz to find out whether you’re left-brained or right-brained.
My results: I’m left-brained (75%); right-brained (25%). No surprise to me, since I’m very analytical.
Feb. 24, 2014 10:44am Elizabeth Kreft
Apple’s security protocol breach is nearly as bad as handing your credit card straight to a hacker rather than making them steal the information through the magnetic stripe readers.
The flaw in Apple’s iOs and OS X platforms essentially allows a hacker to get in between the initial verification “handshake” connection between the user and the destination server, enabling the adversary to masquerade as a trusted endpoint. This means the connection which is supposed to be encrypted between you and your bank, email server, healthcare provider and more is open to attack.
Security experts across the web recommend updating iPhones and iPads with the available iOS patches now, and using browsers other than Safari for OS X systems without an available Apple fix.
Usually to achieve encrypted web traffic, a handshake is accomplished through a Secure Sockets Layer — SSL for short — or more recently, Transport Layer Security, or TLS; both are Internet protocols that provide a secure channel between two machines operating over the Internet or an internal network.
The full severity of the security flaw has yet to surface, but the duplicated line of code which is causing all the ruckus has been in place since September 2012. This means theoretically that if you’ve been using the flawed iOS or OS X systems since then, a hacker on your shared network could have captured all your data that should have been SSL- or TSL-encrypted for the past 18 months.
Think of all the banking, online dating, email writing and Internet purchases you’ve made in the last year and a half.
(The duplicated line of code that caused the Apple fail is shown here, and now dubbed on Twitter as #gotofail. (Image via Gizmodo))
The SSL/TLS effort requires nearly zero interaction from us — the users — but you may be familiar with the little lock icon that appears on the browser, indicating a secure connection has been achieved. This is where the Apple flaw comes in; anyone using the same network connection — the person sitting next to you at the coffee shop or at work right now — could fake the secure connection and intercept communication between your browser and a site.
Even worse, the flaw allows for modification of the “data in flight,” meaning a hacker could deliver exploits to take control of your system, according to Crowdstrike. And other applications that you may not immediately associate with Internet browsing are affected as well.
Apple released a fix to the flaw housed in iOs 6 and 7 authentication logic, but the company only says the OS X fix is coming “very soon,” according to Reuters. This means Mac desktops and notebooks are still vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks.
Apple’s support page says the company will not “disclose, discuss, or confirm security issues until a full investigation has occurred and any necessary patches or releases are available,” but describes the fail was addressed by “restoring missing validation steps.”
Apple did not immediately respond to TheBlaze for clarification on how soon fixes for Mac desktops and notebooks will be available.
~Steve~ H/T The Blaze
John Walsh reports for The Independent, Jan. 29, 2014, that H. L. Mencken once defined the conscience as “the inner voice which warns us that someone may be looking.”
For centuries we thought that the conscience was just some faculty of moral insight in the human mind, an innate sense that one was behaving well or badly. Some religions say the conscience was given to us by God, to give humans a choice between sin and Paradise.
Now, thanks to neuroscience, we’ve found the actual, physical thing itself.
Scientists at Oxford University recently made a startling discovery: they found a region of the brain that makes you wonder if you’ve done something wrong, and whether you’d have been well advised to do something better.
That region is called the lateral frontal pole. It’s the size of a large Brussels sprout and it’s unique to humans: monkeys and other primates don’t have it.
Scientists already knew that the brain can monitor decisions it has made. It tells itself: “I have chosen to follow this track in the forest and it’s turning out to be a sunlit pathway/sodden jungle”, but it registers no more nuanced reaction than that.
What this newly discovered region does, however, is to identify other paths that it might have been better to take. ”This region monitors how good the choices are that we don’t take,” said Professor Matthew Rushworth, who led the research, “How green the grass is on the other side.”
The lateral frontal pole, in short, informs us that we’ve made the wrong choice.
This is about good and bad, right and wrong. This is about the brain’s connection to morality. This means that the Oxford scientists, without apparently realizing what they’ve done, have located the conscience.
Humans have two lateral frontal poles! One above and behind each eyebrow!
But why would we need two consciences? Maybe they’re our good and bad selves — the angel and devil traditionally thought to reside on human shoulders.
Science has suddenly become exciting. By next week they’ll probably have discovered the exact whereabouts of the soul. Can you imagine the look on famous atheist Richard Dawkins’s face if they did?
Most people today think it improper to discipline children,
so I have tried other methods to control my kids when
they have had one of ‘those moments’.
Since I’m a pilot, one method that I have found very effective
is for me to just take the child for a short flight during which
I say nothing, and give the child the opportunity to reflect
on his or her behaviour.
I don’t know whether it’s the steady vibration from the engines, or just the time away from any distractions such as TV, video games, computer, iPod, etc.
Either way, my kids usually calm down and stop misbehaving
after our flight together. I believe that eye to eye contact
during these sessions is an important element in achieving
the desired results.
I’ve included a photo below of one of my sessions with my son, in case you’d like to use the technique.
It’s a joke people. Don’t get your knickers in a twist.
~Steve~ H/T Brother Joseph.
Interesting article by Michael Snyder:
Would you like to have an RFID microchip implanted under your skin? If you are anything like me, you would never allow such a thing to be done. But many others, especially among the younger generations, see things very differently. RFID microchip implants and other forms of “wearable technology” are increasingly being viewed as “cool”, “trendy” and “cutting edge” by young people that wish to “enhance” themselves. And of course the mainstream media is all in favor of these “technological advancements”. For example, the BBC just published a piece entitled “Why I Want A Microchip Implant“. We are told that such implants could solve a whole host of societal problems. Identity theft and credit card fraud would be nearly eliminated, many other forms of crime would be significantly reduced, children would never go missing and we wouldn’t have to remember a vast array of passwords and PIN numbers like we do now. We are told that if we just adopted such technology that our lives would be so much better. But is that really the case?
As our society becomes “digitally integrated”, technologists tell us that it is “inevitable” that wearable technology will become as common as smart phones are today. And the BBC article that I just mentioned is very eager for that day to arrive…
Ultimately, implanted microchips offer a way to make your physical body machine-readable. Currently, there is no single standard of communicating with the machines that underpin society – from building access panels to ATMs – but an endless diversity of identification systems: magnetic strips, passwords, PIN numbers, security questions, and dongles. All of these are attempts to bridge the divide between your digital and physical identity, and if you forget or lose them, you are suddenly cut off from your bank account, your gym, your ride home, your proof of ID, and more. An implanted chip, by contrast, could act as our universal identity token for navigating the machine-regulated world.
And for some people, that day is already here. In fact, at some technology conferences people actually line up to get chipped…
This month at the Transhuman Visions conference in San Francisco, Graafstra set up an “implantation station” offering attendees the chance to be chipped at $50 a time. Using a large needle designed for microchipping pets, Graafstra injected a glass-coated RFID tag the size of a rice grain into each volunteer. By the end of the day Graafstra had created 15 new cyborgs.
How creepy is that?
In addition, scientists have now developed batteries that are powered by the human body that could be used to provide a permanent power source for implantable technology. The following is a brief excerpt from a recent article by Kristan Harris entitled “Scientists Develop Human-Powered Battery For RFID Implantable Chips“…
A group of United States and Chinese researchers have collaborated to created a tiny implantable batteries that feed off of human energy. These thin, flexible mechanical energy harvesters have had been successfully tested on cows. The process uses what is known as conformal piezoelectric energy harvesting and storage from motions of the heart, lung, and diaphragm.
It the future, they say, it could be used to power a range of gadgets. Will it be long until you will charge your I-phone by plugging into your own body?
Of course RFID microchips don’t actually have to be implanted to be useful. In fact, they are already being used to track schoolchildren all over the United States…
Upon arriving in the morning, according to the Associated Press, each student at the CCC-George Miller preschool will don a jersey with a stitched in RFID chip. As the kids go about the business of learning, sensors in the school will record their movements, collecting attendance for both classes and meals. Officials from the school have claimed they’re only recording information they’re required to provide while receiving federal funds for their Headstart program.
And over in the UK, RFID microchips are being used to track children wherever they go all day long…
For those who think the NSA the worst invader of privacy, I invite you to share an afternoon with Aiden and Foster, two 11-year-old boys, as they wrap up a Friday at school. Aiden invites his friend home to hang out and they text their parents, who agree to the plan.
As they ride on the bus Foster’s phone and a sensor on a wristband alert the school and his parents of a deviation from his normal route. The school has been notified that he is heading to Aiden’s house so the police are not called.
As they enter the house, the integrated home network recognizes Aiden and pings an advisory to his parents, both out at work, who receive the messages on phones and tablets.
We are rapidly entering a dystopian future in which it will be “normal” for technology to monitor our movements 24 hours a day. Most people will probably welcome this change, but it also opens up the door for an oppressive government to someday greatly abuse this technology.
Another type of “wearable technology” that is rapidly gaining acceptance is “smart tattoos”.
Normally, we are accustomed to thinking of tattoos as body art. But that is about to change. Just check out this excerpt from a recent Gizmodo article…
Everyone from neurologists to biohackers is reinventing the very idea of the tattoo. With the right technology, tattoos can do a lot more than just look beautiful or badass. They can become digital devices as useful and complex as the smartphone that bounces around in your pocket. It sounds wildly futuristic, but the technology already exists.
In fact, a company called MC10 is working on a wide range of “smart tattoos” that will be able to do some pretty wild things…
Materials scientist John Rogers is doing some pretty incredible work with flexible electronics that stick to your skin like a temporary tattoo. These so-called “epidural electronics” can do anything from monitoring your body’s vital signs to alerting you when you’re starting to get a sunburn. Rogers and his company MC10 are currently trying to figure out ways to get the electronics to communicate with other devices like smartphones so that they can start building apps.
And Motorola actually has a patent for a tattoo that will take commands from unvocalized words in your throat…
The tattoo they have in mind is actually one that will be emblazoned over your vocal cords to intercept subtle voice commands — perhaps even subvocal commands, or even the fully internal whisperings that fail to pluck the vocal cords when not given full cerebral approval. One might even conclude that they are not just patenting device communications from a patch of smartskin, but communications from your soul.
They are calling it “wearable computing”, and what we are witnessing now is just the tip of the iceberg.
What we will see in the future is probably far beyond anything that any of us could imagine right now. The following is from a recent Computer World article…
But imagine a future where anything you might want to know simply appears to you without any action or effort on your part. You could be eating in a restaurant, and Google Glass could, for example, tell you that it’s the spot where your father proposed to your mother. Or that your friend will be late because of traffic, the salmon got bad reviews online, your parking meter will expire in 20 minutes, or the bathroom is through the bar and up the stairs to the right. Imagine that such knowledge could simply appear into your field of vision at the exact moment when you want to know it.
That’s where wearable computing is going.
All of this may sound very “cool” to a lot of people.
But what happens if we are all required to have “electronic identity tattoos” someday?
What happens if an oppressive government uses this technology to watch, track, monitor and control all of us 24 hours a day with this technology?
What happens if you are not able to get a job, have a bank account or buy anything without “proper identification”?
I think that you can see where I am going with this.
Technology is truly a double-edged sword. It can do great good, but it can also be used for great evil.
So what do you think about all of this? Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…
About the author: Michael T. Snyder is a former Washington D.C. attorney who now publishes The Truth. His new thriller entitled “The Beginning Of The End” is now available on Amazon.com.
Headline news on Drudge Report this morning:
In an exclusive, Michael Hausam reports for Independent Journal Review, Feb. 13, 2014, that an impressive weather satellite picture shows the major winter storm now impacting the United States.
But there is something especially weird about the pic . . . .
Let’s take a closer look by zooming in on the unusual cloud formation . . . .
world renowned scientist global warmist ManBearPig Al Gore!!
H/t FOTM’s Wild Bill Alaska
At 92, Andrew Marshall has been the first and only Director of a little-known office in the Pentagon for 40 years — longer than any U.S. president.
Originally posted on Consortium of Defense Analysts:
He is not a 4-star general, or the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, or the Secretary of Defense.
The Daily Caller calls him “likely the most influential person in American national security affairs whom you have never heard about.”
The most powerful — but largely unknown — man in the U.S. military is a 92-year-old man named Andrew Marshall, who was first appointed as director of the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Office of Net Assessment (ONA) when the ONA first came into being in 1973 during the Nixon Administration.
More than 40 years later, Marshall, now 92 years old, is still and has never stopped being the ONA director, having been reappointed by successive U.S. presidents, Republican and Democrat.
Wikipedia calls the ONA “an internal think tank” for the Department of Defense. The original main task of the office…
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