Monday, August 29, 2011

Probability of god making an earthquake and hurricane?


Tell yourself whatever you want. For the record, the probability of a hurricane arising within 1 day, 1 week or 1 year after any arbitrary point (in this case, after an earthquake) is exactly the same, given seasonal adjustments. When events are close together, we notice. Had these two events been a year apart it would be a different story for the christnuts.

Back to homework.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

LifeNet Autonomous net

Apparently my idea does exist, though it is in a quite broken-down and seemingly abandoned way. I would think that the source for that project could be branched and modified to do what I had proposed earlier. Find it here: LifeNet


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I just had a 9/11 flashback..

It was really about the earthquake. I just saw it out of the corner of my eye, and had an "oh fuck, not again" moment for about 1/2 a second. Terrible shot.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ad-hoc autonomous wireless network for mobile devices

Dictatorships, and oddly BART have practiced shutting down of cellular networks to quell protests and dissent. It is clear that something needs to be done to remove this powerful anti free speech weapon. I've thought about this all last week, but have no time to write the software, but I will outline it in hopes that someone will do it (or let me know if someone already has)

The network should use both Wifi, and Bluetooth technologies.
It will work in a fashion similar to how Samba systems "elect" the controller (within the software).
Simple "multicast" type messages will be used to find neighbors, and use a common messaging protocol that requires nothing other than a private IP address (
Network splits should be dealt with by having another intermediary relay messages between newly autonomous segments.
IP addresses should be randomly assigned in such a way that there will not be collisions between segments.. Address should use a class-A private address (10. etc).
All traffic destined to the internet should be encrypted by the sender with a destination to be safe-server somewhere in the world with stable government and free speech laws.
The server host will remain neutral, and ensure the secrecy of all encryption keys, with a complete revocation infrastructure incase of compromise.
Should one of the participating mobile devices suddenly get internet access, it should be immediately shared, and use adaptive throttling.
If multiple devices have access, a delegation system should be used to distribute the load.
Internet sharing should be mandatory, but with a pre-set limit of usage (eg. "I'll share up to 50MB of my connection when I get access")
Any queued messages (that would be distributed on the network for later delivery) will be delivered by at least two devices, if not all to ensure integrity.

A network working like this will de-fang any cut off of internet/cellular access, as participants will still be able to communicate among themselves. The technology we currently have is capable of doing this with no physical modifications, and a moderately sized application. The application will probably require root/su access to the device, as the device will have to switch to access point mode. Devices that are not capable of ad-hoc will be used as Wifi to BT proxies.

Make it fucking happen, now.


** Added:

... for information to start moving out to the internet should take nothing more than ONE node gaining internet access. Since all messages (outgoing, and a log of internal messages) will be distributed to ALL nodes, all messages should eventually see the light of day. In the case that the primary relay-to-internet server is taken down, there should be fall-back machines. Since the messages leaving the network will be encrypted there will need to be some kind of central repository.

It is important to note that local messages in the network (not with the final destination of the internet) will not be encrypted in the local network, only encrypted on their way out. This will disallow tampering. The key for encryption for distributed outbound messages will be encrypted with the senders key. It will also be important to have everyone informed that all messages will eventually see the light of day. Though they (the messages) should be anonymous, the eventuality of them being out in the open will allow, theoretically, for some self policing -- If a group is cut off from internet access, uses this software and is found out to have been coordinating some kind of violence, everyone will know.

I would suspect that the safe-server would use some kind of application that posts the messages to twitter and other similar places, but also replicates them to other machines (post-encryption) to ensure their "liberation".

Not only does this have the potential to deal with internet cut-offs, but also to deal with emergency situations where cell service is overwhelmed, or destroyed. The idea arose from my interest in the historic, and recent use of ham radio in catastrophic situations.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Stephen Hawking's The Grand Design

The book The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking just became available to me via the Hennepin County Public Library (in ebook format). I suspect this will be a provocative book:
...Philosophy is dead. Philosophy has not kept up with modern developments in science, particularly physics. Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge (Hawking 14).


Security through obscurity

Security through obscurity is nothing but a false sense of security. Ma bell learned this with the advent of Phreaking, and a 2600Hz cracker jack box whistle. Countless others have learned this the hard way as well. I have a long time customer who insists on using the 4D platform, which stores confidential customer information in a not-so-awesome way. I've been pressuring him for a long time to move on to something better, but he is in a endless loop of the sunken cost blues. He says "I've got all this money in it already" which he says to only convince himself that he must put more money into it. You know the drill. Anyhow, I'll use this as an opportunity to plug my latest favorite large scale web application: Magento. Yes, it's written in PHP. I'll forgive that (Drupal is written in PHP as well, and is fairly sound).

I am spending some somewhat serious time learning this platform so I can move my current and future clients away from their archaic ASP/4D/ColdFusion garbage (not to mention the other proprietary garbage that good salespeople shove down unknowing CEOs throats.) Know anyone who needs a new webstore? If they have 6 months to wait, I will set one up at a deep discount for a chance to set up my first production ready Magento.


Well, that was fun

My new topic is something that I've been tossing around in my mind for about a year and a half, and I am working up a strategy for attacking it coherently. My thesis is along the lines of: "The rapid progression of technology, specifically since 1995, mirrors the drawn-out progression of human civilization". Stay tuned.

I have to mention the past few posts, emails and a few Google+ messages I've been dealing with:
Though I'm a strong proponent for metaphorical equine abuse, I will end my last string of posts with a bit of nuanced sarcasm mixed with some serious observation. I've learned some things in the past two or so weeks: a) I am really not afforded much space for an opinion on race matters without expending great energy on fending off straw men attacks, even from some very unexpected corners (I can only interpolate a reason from the messages I have received: this is because I am i)white ii) male. I am sure this will be parsed, twisted, and beaten nearly to death, but this is purely observation, and I've confirmed it's objectivity.) b) Discussion on race is an onion with an incredible number of layers that must be traversed before even thinking of any kind of open inquiry. c) I am now interested in taking at least 2 more upper division ethnic studies classes.

Oh, and for good measure: fo guck yourself. ;)


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fuck, I need to re-work my last post.

I re-pasted some bullshit

Well, you see folks..

White privilege is purposefully ignored in my dialog, not because of its non-existence, but because of its being a given. I understand this, and reflect on it quite often. I am reminded of it every night I spend at N. Highschool working with H.S. dropouts (various reasons, but a lot of the dropouts have informed me that they dropped out because no one cared about them in their schools. I'm not going to parse out why minorities are concentrated in the city, hopefully you all understand this.) and immigrants from very terrifying places. I was reminded of something like it (maybe more of a American-privilege) by one of the Somali women who I've shared some very exciting moments of realization with. One day about a month ago she asked me "When did YOU learn to type", well of course I learned to type when I was very young. I've been a computer geek my whole life. She responded "Well when I was [very young] I was running from men with machine guns". It is because of the reality of "white privilege" that I devote a few hours a week to help make someone else's life better.

What's missing here is that the original G+ ginger post was meant to provoke the exact response that it finally did. I have largely avoided racial discussion in any public forum, despite my deep interest in it. A deeper understanding of social psychology and its impact on the world in which we lives fascinates me. I feel like I've entered some kind of bizarre parallel to a conspiracy theory: If I say I am not offended by a comment (I'll use the ginger comment for example) I am either secretly deeply offended, or I proclaim to not be offended as a way to "show that I am above it" (or somehow belittle the impact on people who are in a minority group through an arrogant display of "I am better than you"). If I were to be offended, I would also be belittling the effect of racial comments/attitudes/etc directed minorities. I did not realize that this dilemma would arise before I started this experiment (This is a byproduct of my approach I believe). I find this interesting and telling.

The original post was meant to be as vague as possible (check it again; it really is pretty vague), and allow for people to insert their own biases, but I didn't quite think it would end up being as much about me as it was. And no, I don't think I am in any way unbiased or better/worse than anyone involved. Just curious. "Curiosity killed the cat" you say? Good thing I am not a cat. (Thanks House.)

To respond to someone who's opinion I value greatly:
'The worst interpretation is that those were some ungrateful negroes, how dare they do something like that with you being all nice and all not oppressing them anymore. Indeed, in this post, you appear to be playing on that as well, that you are taking the high road and allowing these slurs without reacting, because “turnabout is fair play”'.

The post was meant to start a discussion on "reverse racism". Nothing more, and absolutely nothing less, and it appears that it was highly successful at doing so; so successful in fact that I am finding myself psychoanalyzed (which is intriguing in itself) by 5 individuals. The first responses to the initial post infuriated me, they were mostly pats on the back in the form of "Don't worry about it; it's ok". I wasn't looking for that. There are only a few things in this world that are capable of making me feel bad, and I assure you if someone had found one, no one would know about it -- least of all the person saying/doing it. These are cards I hold very close, for obvious reasons. "Turnabout is fair play" is an acknowledgement of typical human reaction; not a justification for anything, or a realization that allows me to assign myself a 'cookie' (or expect anyone else to). Is it not fair to expect that if you beat the hell out of someone, that this particular person wouldn't return the favor? Some will, and some won't. Some of those who don't will declare the moral high ground. Others (myself included) will let it quietly pass, not because I am trying to "be the better person", but simply because I have serious problems with violence.

My neighbor across the street, who recently moved away, was severely racist. He was unaware of this really, and I tried my hardest to help him understand the situations properly: "Yes, A., it is partially because they're Black that they're on welfare, but only because of a white supremacist atmosphere that has consistently applied downward pressure on the financial, mental and educational well-being of Black people." To which he would respond "Yup, cuz they're black." Very frustrating.

What was pointed out to me was something that I shamefully had overlooked: my response to the neighbor incident was a result in search of a problem. I am a little more self aware from what was a drunken response to my online musings. But nonetheless, it is true that racism exists and comes from both the majority and the minority. Does it demean the sufferings of minorities by the white supremacist majority to point out cases of racism against it? I don't think so inherently, like I have previously said; it's the USE of this recognition of "reverse discrimination" that will be the weapon. It is wholly intellectually dishonest to ignore the patterns of racism directed by anyone at anyone. I've kept this discussion to a small group of people intentionally to not give more anti-minority propaganda to conservatives who would surely abuse any findings. It is because of the possibility for acknowledgments to be used wrongly (aka, diminish the reality of majority to minority racism) that I have perused this with caution.

My "concern trolling" is perhaps that, but I don't take anything as given. My list of three reasons why "racism is bad" is part of an ongoing internal desire to dismiss, out of hand, that anything is considered inherently bad. This is not so that I can be excused for doing something wrong, it's purely a selfish personal search for some kind of objectivity in morality, whether possible or not. I do not believe in any kind of god, supernatural power, or anything of the sort. Morality needs to be derived from something, and the best ideas I have found so far has been Sam Harris' discussion of morality based on well being. It is full of holes, but it's the best I've found after looking for a very long time, and maybe I like it because it reaffirms something I've always intuited.

I think I would be more of a concern troll if I said what I am thinking right now: "I could get in trouble with the wrong people if I keep externalizing my exploration of race relations".

One can argue both sides of psychological evolution. I agree that it is hard to disprove most of it (the key to something being scientific is the ability to for an idea to be falsified), but not impossible to test in theory. I've read both sides on the issue of the alleged progression of rape in natural selection. I think that both sides are lacking in the area of free inquiry. I can see how both sides have co-opted an interesting fact-finding discussion for their own ends. I, personally, am on the fence. Dawkins and Sagan's arguments are very strong, and neither had no visible motive for having them, simply vigorous debate of important questions. It is important to know that I am not on the fence about things I see as morally right or wrong, only on the fence about why. And should I find that a moral position is wrong through vigorous internal and/or external debate, I am not afraid to flip flop.

The self-declared purpose of my life is to learn everything there is to know. This is an impossible goal, but the journey is full of exciting twists and turns, good and bad self realizations, course corrections, deep personal insight, and every once in a while, life-changing realizations. I take into consideration all criticism.

So, after all this nonsense, I'd like to explore "reverse racism". Clearly it exists. Clearly it's bad. Clearly it's nowhere near as socially negative as "forward racism" (I am going to grant this, although this deserves discussion all by itself). HOWEVER: Why does it exist? What are it's ends? Is it an in-kind response to received racism. Is it intended to be used as a dehumanizing weapon in the same way it's used by a majority? Is it something else? Is it built-in? (I have a strong belief that it is, and this is somewhat backed up with scientific inquiry, although there are some variables that are difficult to remove). These are important questions, because without answers to these questions, I think, we will not overcome racism in all its forms. In another post, eventually, I will continue the exploration that I started in my previous post.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Reverse Discrimination

I'm already posty tonight, and I've been thinking about this all night. It's quite a dangerous topic -- I am aware -- but I just assume that my audience of 5 people is interested enough in free and open inquiry to a degree that any honest discussion is on the table.

That said, "Reverse Racism" does exist, but it's not inherently bad. In my recent Ethnic Studies class, it was explored to fairly a deep level, enough that I felt my thoughts on the matter were somewhat objective, and had nothing to do with the conservative facile definition of such. I want to explore a few things on it:

Minorities in the United States (and everywhere else I would easily grant myself) show social grouping based on race, which is to be expected: I will avoid discussion of the reasons why, but it's a very common and well studied social phenomenon, and like all other "cliques", outsiders are not generally given "the benefit of the doubt". Indeed, this is the cause of a lot of white racism towards minorities -- this goes both ways, obviously. The danger around the observance of "reverse discrimination," is that it ignores the presence of "forward racism". Actually the terms reverse/forward discrimination/racism are really all the same thing - racism.

I believe that the purpose of a lot of acknowledgement/"calling out" of "reverse racism" is to all-out ignore the existence of racism directed by the "majority" to the "minority", and if called to task, I am fairly confident I could show this in argument. This is manifest in the ongoing (and fairly successful) push to eliminate all affirmative action, at least in the U.S., the purpose of which is (maybe "socially Darwinistic" but not in it's historical meaning, more in a meaning of an actual application of natural selection to self-categorization theory) to keep the dominant/majority race in their position (dehumanize people, and they see themselves as less human) or at least, status.

Any Darwinism is to be applied post hoc, and is intended to be a way of understanding, not as an "excuse" for any action (For a very nuanced argument of why, see Sam Harris' The Moral Landscape -- this isn't explored directly, but is easily concluded). I felt I needed to clear that up to avoid some terrible labels.

We're all racist (No, I am not saying that to excuse anything, it's merely a fact. I'd link you to the compelling study involving hand skin color, but I can't find any useful links), but this is another survival mechanism (10,000 years ago, I'd be afraid of a group of people looking different than me, especially after the other group that looked different from me killed everyone in my village) we've acquired along our evolutionary path; and awareness is key to the defeat of its prevalence in the same way "wanting to have sex with someone" isn't necessarily bad, but rape is, in all of its forms, absolutely morally bad (however from an application of Darwinism, explicable and productive.)

I understand why minorities can be "racist" (in the "bad" sense of the term), I also understand why it's bad:

1. It perpetuates the conservative pseudo-dialog on race relations
2. It's hypocritical
3. It feeds an endless loop of escalation

But I empathize because:

1. I catch myself racially generalizing
2. Minorities receive it all day, every day
3. Turnabout is fair play

Minorities shouldn't be expected to "just take it" and not respond in kind, this is the whole "turn the other cheek" thing (something that is not bad, but nearly impossible to always do), instead we should all be expected to accept the fact of inherent racism (A side effect of natural selection), acknowledge it, and attempt to suppress it in the spirit of its defeat. People can say whatever the fuck they want to me, I'll take it and then think on it later. Once racism is defeated by the majority, I would assume the minority would follow suit.

I don't get upset by the microscopic amount of racism I receive, it just reminds me that it exists, and people suffer from it all the time. This breaks my heart. It really breaks my heart that "white people" direct hatred to minorities, and the same goes vice versa. I've glossed over the other types of discrimination in this, however, it should apply the same in most/all cases of discrimination (sexual, sexual preference, religious, etc).

If we didn't have eyes, we'd discriminate by sound, feel, taste (weird) or (not an exclusive or) smell.


This site will (after updates push through) be accessible from (www)

The search term had brought a few people here (I used it as a post title a while ago), and I figured I'd see if it was available (Spoonerisms rock, and that's one of my favorites), clearly it was. I am very excited, for some unknown reason, that I was available to get that domain. Weird.

Anyhow, fo guck yourself.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

jQuery wildcard selector, and input mask on Rails 3

For my big project I wanted to be able to load one jQuery partial in my view (to have content_for a :jQuery_ui yield), and find elements with IDs containing certain things (Like *phone*). I searched high and low and finally came across comments in a blog somewhere (the link is long gone). *= works as a wildcard, surrounding whatever you put in with wildcards. This is significantly better than having to install a regexp plugin for jQuery (and all the overhead that comes with it)

I used masked-input-plugin, a simple jQuery plugin. My form contains something like:

<%= f.text_field :phone_number %>
(outputs [model_name]_phone_number)
and later

<%= f.text_field :postal_code %>
(outputs [model_name]_postal_code)

and this code applies the masks accordingly:

//Select anything with "phone" in it, and apply mask. '9's mean numbers only.
  $j('input[id*="phone"]').each (function(){
      $j(this).mask("(999) 999-9999");
  //Select anything with "postal_code" and apply mask
  //The '?' means anything following the '?' is optional.  In this case, the +4 on 
  //the postal code is optional.  Even though this is called postal code,
  //it's really only for a zip, since Canada (for instance) uses alphanumeric codes,
  //which will be disallowed in the input.
  $j('input[id*="postal_code"]').each (function(){
  //Select anything with "max" (for instance my_max_users) and apply mask.
  $j('input[id*="max"]').each (function(){
      $j(this).mask("9?99999", {placeholder:""});

Any non-numeric input is ignored with the 9s, another sanity checking bonus. Now, as long as the user has javascript turned on, I can expect MOST of my input to be sanely formatted.

This was a very exciting find, and is really here in case I need to figure it out again in the future. Hopefully someone finds it who's trying to do the same thing -- that's why the title is so verbose.