Dave Stancliff 2012-01-29 blogarama.com

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The World Wide Web: The Good, Bad, and the Ugly…

             Good day Humboldt County!

Let’s take a walk down the road that leads to the “Garden of Eden” of knowledge. Also known as the Internet. The web is a double-edged sword that offers the world’s biggest library, and also offers hackers access to other’s private correspondence:

“Saboteurs stole passwords and sensitive information on tipsters while hacking into the websites of several law enforcement agencies worldwide in attacks attributed to the collective known as Anonymous. Breaches were reported this week in Boston, Syracuse, N.Y., Salt Lake City and Greece.” (article source)

Hacker’s with multiple agenda’s, good and bad, attack government and private web sites because they can. Some view hackers as terrorists. Others as the voices of the people. I think you have to look at each incident in detail to determine who was taking the high road on each story.

For better, or worse, the internet has given most Americans a voice – a collective voice that can’t be ignored at times. For example take this story:

Despite about-face, Komen funding conflict far from overpeople across America responded immediately when the Susan G. Komen Foundation cut off funding to Planned Parenthood.

Then there’s stories like this that are slightly unsettling: 

Related story: Hackers: We intercepted FBI, Scotland Yard callhackers attack cops in retaliation for evicting Occupy Wall Streeter’s.

Sometimes I’m thrilled at what I see, like when Americans nationwide rallied against the proposed censorship of the internet. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was a United States bill introduced by U.S. Representative Lamar S. Smith (R-TX) to expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods. It failed miserably because of the tremendous backlash from blogs, other websites, and social medias like FaceBook and Twitter.

I confess to duel feelings when it comes to the good and the bad aspects of the internet. Perhaps the biggest saving grace to me is the fact it provides ALL AMERICANS with a voice, unlike our news media corporations. I just have to remember that nothing is perfect. When the first bite of the internet apple was taken in the Garden of Eden/Technology all mankind was affected. There’s no turning back. With the knowledge comes power. Given that power, some people tend to abuse it.

It’s the way of the world.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Friday, February 3, 2012

There’s a fungus among us that eats plastic…

Good news for the environment. A safe way to dispose of used plastic products has been announced, and we can thank Mother Earth:

Scientists have not found a single way to break down polyurethane--luckily, nature has found a way on its own. Yale scientists recently found a fungus in the Amazonian rainforest that naturally eats polyurethane.

This is the first fungus species, identified by the Yale researchers as Pestalotiopsis microspore, which exclusively subsists on polyurethane. It can also grow in an anaerobic (air-less) environment, which will hopefully allow it to take root in the deepest regions of our trash heaps. Jonathan Russell, a Yale scientists of the group, has managed to isolated an enzyme the fungus uses decompose plastic. The scientists hope to use the extracted chemical to eliminate plastic trash and to help in bioremediation projects.” (article source)

 

Students discover fungus that loves to eat plastic

“Students from Yale discovered a new type of fungus, called Pestalotiopsis microspora, while on a Rainforest Expedition and Laboratory trip to the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador. While there, the students were tasked with collecting microorganism and plant cell samples, and the fungus became one such sample.

When the students returned, it was discovered this fungus loves eating plastic, more specifically polyurethane, which we use millions of tons of every year. Popular uses include foam for inside furniture, building insulation and flooring, as a sealant, varnish, or paint, for making surfboards and inflatable boats, and it even gets used to make watch straps and garden hoses.” (article source)

2-feet of Snow: Major snowstorm pummels Colorado, closing roads

funny-pictures-will-barnes-online-17-350x262

Wow! Two feet of snow in Denver!

Seriously, snow has come to the high plains and it actually looks like winter now….

“A powerful storm walloped eastern Colorado and western Nebraska with the region's first heavy snow of the new year on Friday, closing schools, disrupting hundreds of flights at Denver International Airport and creating blizzard conditions on the High Plains.

A foot of snow piled up in the Denver metropolitan area, with up to 2 feet reported in the foothills west of the city, said Frank Cooper, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Boulder.”

Website helps raise financial support for ailing loved ones

You never know. This website may make a difference for you or a loved one some day.

       Good Day Humboldt County!

One of biggest financial challenges facing most Americans today is health care costs. They can ruin a family and put them on the streets in nothing flat.

The road to health care recovery in America is riddled with financial landmines and politics that threaten to make things even worse.

I was noodling around on the net and found this website – giveforward.com - and thought it was worth sharing with you. I’m not endorsing the website. I’m merely suggesting it might be worth looking into. According to the website:

“GiveForward pages empower friends and family to send love and financial support to patients as they navigate a medical crisis. Start a GiveForward page today and ease the burden of your loved one's out-of-pocket medical expenses.”

If, by chance, you do use the services provided, would you let me know how it turns out? Thanks

Time to walk on down the road…

 

 

 

 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Fact: In over half of the USA you can be fired for being gay

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In 29 states including Virginia, it is still legal to fire someone for being gay, and in 34 states it is legal to fire someone solely for being transgender.

Related Reading:
VA Lawmakers Consider Gay Adoption Issue
V.A. Board Defies Cuccinelli, Votes for Nondiscrimination
Virginia Board of Social Services Rejects Gay-Inclusive Adoption Rules

Read more: employment non discrimination act, lgbt ENDA, lgbt USA, lgbt virginia, lgbt workplace discrimination

Back Talk: Teen Lives in a world of words in reverse

Try doing what Alyssa does in her head. I bet you can’t unless you write the word down. If you can, then you’d better get on You Tube. People like this stuff.

I just love unique people. Here’s one who stands out from the crowd with her word flip-flopping skills.

Alyssa Kramer can say any word backward.

The 14-year-old from Poteau, Okla., can flip words around and spit them back out almost instantly.

Over 1 million You Tube viewers liked this video. I enjoyed it, despite being baffled how she does it. If you’d like to read more about her go here.

Fear of Robots: We’ve been down this path before…

Click to launch a slide show.Good Day Humboldt County!

Since the term “robot” was first coined in 1921, Americans have been suspicious of their intentions.

In an uncanny parallel to the 1920s, Americans today are concerned about losing jobs, and worse, to robots.

Last year I addressed these concerns in this column: 

I recently ran across this article from Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, the New America Foundation, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, visit the Future Tense blog and the Future Tense home page.

A Robot Has Shot Its Master-The 1930s hysteria about machines taking jobs and killing people.

By Matt Novak

(Excerpt) “What about the 1930s lent itself to a fear of technology that was made tangible through a humanoid robot? Predictions for the future are always a direct reflection of the times in which they’re created. During times of economic insecurity it’s hard not to be filled with anxiety about the future of your country, your family, or your employer—should you be so lucky as to be employed. Just as all politics is local, all futurism is now. Over the last few years we’ve seen Americans of all political persuasions flood the streets; concerned about the future, and more often than not, concerned about their jobs. At the same time, we’ve seen a renewed fear of robots invading the workplace. Earlier this fall, Slate’s Farhad Manjoo warned that even the highly educated—doctors, lawyers, scientists—could find their jobs outsourced to robots in the future; farm workers and warehouse employees are in more immediate danger of being replaced.”  Read the rest here.

Check out a slideshow about the great robot panic of the 1930s in the pages of print media.

Time to walk on down the road…

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

'Veterans For Weed' agrees to name change after complaints

I’m not sure if this is even a real case of veterans posting this logo. Because they call themselves “Veterans For Weed” doesn’t mean they really are veterans.

The Wisconsin-based group does not show names of its leadership or members on its website which seems suspicious to me.

I like the idea of veterans calling for legalization of pot (they have as much at stake as anyone), but question the approach this group has taken.

A group of veterans calling for the legalization of marijuana plans to change its acronym after the Veterans of Foreign Wars sent a cease-and-desist order to the pot group’s organizers. But a controversial logo will remain, the pot advocates say.

The “Veterans For Weed,” a Milwaukee-based group that says “the real reefer madness” is when veterans get arrested for pot possession, has been using the acronym VFW on its website and promotional materials.

The Veterans of Foreign War called the pot group use of the acronym “misleading and illegal,” Stars and Stripes reported.

But the self-described group of stoners refused to take down their "POT POW" logo, which has drawn fire from veterans and military families. The logo is a variation of the iconic Vietnam-era POW/MIA poster showing the silhouetted profile of a prisoner behind barbed wire. The original logo was created for the National League of POW/MIA Families, according to Stars and Stripes, and is not copyrighted.

Still, it is cherished symbol, and the National League of POW/MIA Families has asked that it be taken down from the website.”

‘Mr. President, why isn’t legalizing pot a legitimate topic to discuss?

Obama-Hope-indefdetained

For the ninth time, the White House has solicited the American people for direct input on the issues they cared about, and then, when the resulting answers called overwhelmingly for marijuana law reform, President Obama ignored the will of the American people.

Once upon a time Obama claimed that marijuana legalization was a “legitimate topic for debate.” Apparently that’s changed. Tom Angell, Media Relations Director for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) sent me this email yesterday:

Hi Dave,

Well, the YouTube/White House "Your Interview with the President" livestream just wrapped up, and unfortunately the web giant did not find the time to present President Obama with the marijuana legalization video question from a retired police officer that received, by far, more votes than any other video in the contest.

They did find time, however, to pick the president's brain on pressing national issues like.... late night snacks, singing and dancing, celebrating wedding anniversaries and playing tennis. 

Seriously...”

Related topic: From AlterNet today:

Why is Obama So Chicken, Unwilling to Even Address the Question of Pot and the Failed Drug War?

New pathways to communication: researchers read brain waves

        Good Day Humboldt County!

Today’s new road leads us down a path that may sound ominous at first (shades of Big Brother), but it’s actually a move in the right direction when it comes to treating epilepsy patients. That doesn’t mean this new technology will only be used for good. I foresee another path, a darker one, for this technology. Our military will use it to read prisoner’s minds. For all I know, they’re already doing that. What’s next? Americans arrested for anything having their brains picked?

There’s always two paths to choose from. The road to enlightenment, and the road to destruction, when it comes to technological advances in our society. Now the story:

“Scientists have found a way to decipher actual words from a person’s brain waves, a feat that sounds very much like mind-reading, a new study shows.

The research may sound like scary science fiction -- once a person’s brain waves can be read, will any thought be private? -- but the positive implications are enormous for patients who have lost the ability to speak through damage, such as stroke, or disease.

In the study, scientists worked with a group of epilepsy patients who were undergoing treatment for intractable seizures. Sensors were implanted deep in their brains in an effort to locate the source of seizures, so doctors could remove the malfunctioning tissue, according to the new report published in PLoS Biology.

Researchers ran brain waves through a program they hoped would translate the brain's electronic signals into actual sounds. It worked. Based only on the recordings, the computer was able to pluck out the words spoken to the patients. Previous research has been able to reconstruct what a person is looking at from brain scans.” (Read the rest here)

Time to walk on down the road…

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

So you think it was tough getting up this morning eh? Wait till you hear how one man’s morning started

Michael Sweat woke up with a Beamer on him this morning. Needless to say, it was “sweat and go” for awhile until help came:

“A Connecticut man woke up to a real-life nightmare early Tuesday morning when a car police were pursuing slammed into his apartment while he was sleeping and landed on top of him.

Just after 12:30 a.m., Hamden Police spotted a BMW wanted for motor vehicle violations and attempted to stop the driver. Police pursued the car from Hamden to New Haven, through the Southern Connecticut State University campus and into the Newhallville section of New Haven. Hamden Police made several attempts to stop the fleeing BMW, police said, but the driver lost control, crashed through a first-floor apartment at 91 Winchester Ave. and fled.

Michael Sweat, 34, a tenant, was trapped beneath the car for more than an hour as rescuers attempted to free him. Sweat was taken to the Hospital of St. Raphael with second- and third-degree burns to his lower body and is expected to recover.”

Talk about having a bad day. You’d be hard pressed to beat Mr. Sweat’s day…and to think it’s not over yet!

British tourists become terrorists when they go tweet…tweet…

Good Day Humboldt County!

Sometimes, our path is an airborne one that starts out as a flight of fancy but ends up like a nightmare.

Tweet at your own risk...

According to the Sun and the Daily Mail — daily tabloids published in the United Kingdom — a handful of ominous-sounding Twitter jokes got 26-year-old Leigh Van Bryan and 24-year-old Emily Bunting kicked out of the United States before they could even begin their long-awaited vacation.

According to the Daily Mail, it was because of those tweets that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) flagged Bryan and Bunting as "a potential threat." Upon arriving at LAX, the two pals were "detained by armed guards," explains the publication:

Despite telling officials the term 'destroy' was British slang for 'party', they were held on suspicion of planning to 'commit crimes' and had their passports confiscated. ... Federal agents even searched [Bryan's] suitcase looking for spades and shovels, claiming [Bunting] was planning to act as [Bryan's] 'look out' while he raided Marilyn's tomb.

The two were quizzed for five hours before being "put in a van with illegal immigrants and locked up overnight," writes the Sun. They were then kept in separate holding cells for 12 hours before being put on a flight home!

Time to walk on down the road…

Monday, January 30, 2012

Drone On: of Death, Destruction, and Spying …

Once upon a time, not so long ago, when you heard the word “drone” this is what came to mind:

1) a male honeybee

2) to making a continuous humming sound

3) an idle parasite or loafer, and

4) to utter in a monotonous tone

In our world today, drone has taken on additional meanings: an unmanned aircraft that can bring down death and destruction and that can spy on any country in the world. Here’s two examples of drones in the news: 

“Members of Iraq's government were infuriated by the United States continuing to fly unmanned surveillance drones to protect State Department assets such as the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and American personnel in the country, The New York Times reported Monday.”

(Top Photo) Sr. Airman Nicholas Hart helps guides an RQ-4 Global Hawk Block-20 into its hangar at Beale Air Force Base in Yuba County, Calif., June 30, 2008. (AP Photo/Appeal-Democrat)

Then we have our own drone controversy here at home.

“The Los Angeles Police Department is warning real estate agents not to use images of properties taken from unmanned aircraft, saying the flying drones pose a potential safety hazard and could violate federal aviation policy.

Drones can range from as small as model airplanes built by hobbyists to as large as a commercial jet. Nationally, there has been an intense and growing debate about the safetyThe%20Qube%20fits%20in%20the%20trunk%20of%20a%20car%20and%20is%20controlled%20remotely%20by%20a%20tablet%20computer.%20%28Gary%20Friedman%2C%20Los%20Angeles%20Times%29 of allowing drones to operate in airspace used by passenger aircraft.”

What to know more? Go to link below:

FULL COVERAGE: Drones

Photo: The Qube, a type of drone that might be seeing civilian use, can fit in the trunk of a car and can be controlled remotely with a tablet computer. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

Muppets Take On Corporate Puppets (Fox News) in interview

Here’s another Fox segment that will leave you shaking your head and wondering why they even claim to be a news channel.

In another baffling, mind-numbing, segment of Faux News, we see and hear how they think the Muppets are evil and the Liberal media is waging class warfare.

It’s really touching how Faux defends oil executives and corporations. For a moment, when the host, Eric Boldin, said he remembered the days when people pointed at wealthy oil executives and said, “That’s what I want to be someday,” I thought I would vomit!

I sure the hell don’t remember “those days” at all. Where the hell did Eric live when he was growing up? Oh yeah…I should have guessed. In the home of a very wealthy oil executive, or at least in a wealthy Republican home where 1%er values were instilled from the earliest age. When you grow up using real money in a monopoly game it’s kinda hard to understand why the masses don’t relate well with you.

This video is a step-by-step rebuttal of Fox’s accusations by a blogger.
This second video addresses in detail the various claims made by Eric and his female sidekick from corporate America.

The third video (below) is really funny. That, in itself, makes it worth watching.

Once again it’s rebuttal time, but the Muppets get their chance to speak up in a press conference.

 

The Muppets take on corporate puppets and do a damn good job of it!

The Road Back: Let’s keep ‘walking like Egyptians’ and party hard!

      Good Day Humboldt County!

 You’ve probably heard the old adage “There’s nothing new under the sun,” and when it comes to party animals the ancients set the standard.

Sometimes we need to take a road that leads us back in time to realize how long mankind has been a pleasure-loving species that enjoys altered states from booze and/or drugs.

Today let’s “walk like an Egyptian!”

Summertime fun isn't a modern invention: Ancient cultures liked to let the good times roll as well. Some celebrated with a few drinks. Others partied hard through the night. There were days at the spa, nights at the theater and time to play a little ball. The evidence for the good times in past eras comes from archaeologists who painstakingly dig through ancient remains. The fruits of their efforts help piece together tales showing how today's leisurely shenanigans are just the latest incarnation of cultural customs quite old.

Take the ancient Egyptians, for example. Not only did they drink beer to excess, they had an annual "festival of drunkenness" dedicated to the cause. Participants got wasted, had gratuitous sex and woke the next day to blaring music, according to an Egyptologist excavating a temple in Luxor where the festivities occurred. The debauchery even had a point: re-enactment of a myth about an evil goddess who became a savior after being tricked into drinking mass quantities of beer. The drawing above is based on a wall painting that depicts the festivities.” (Read the story here)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Border patrol agents, cops, declare war against Marijuana prohibition

                              By Dave Stancliff/For The Times-Standard
 If life was a movie.
Opening Scene for “A LEAP of Faith
 A green-and-white Border Patrol vehicle is cruising a primitive road along the international border between Mexico and California, It throws up plumes of dust as the occupants scan the horizon. The sun at high noon is an angry ball in a clear azure sky. Stretches of dirt turn into occasional strips of blacktop melting in the extreme heat. The patrol car disappears in a cloud of dust.
 Dialogue inside the car:
1st Agent
: “I wonder how long we’ll have to enforce this useless prohibition of pot? We know it‘s a farce, and the public knows it, too.”
 2nd Agent: “Better watch who is around when you say things like that, Pete.”
 1st Agent:  “I know…it makes me sick. Last month they called Charlie into Border Patrol Headquarters in Washington and fired him because of his personal views on this losing war against marijuana.”
 2nd Agent: “How did they hear about Charlie’s views anyway?”
 1st Agent: “He was talking about LEAP during lunch with some guys from the night shift. Someone probably passed his words along to his supervisor.”
 2nd Agent: “LEAP?”
 1st Agent: “That’s right. It stands for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.”
 2nd Agent: “ Tell me more about them…”

                         Next Scene a week later:
People
fill the streets from LA to New York in support of members of LEAP. New demonstrations pop up daily across the nation as the common man demands justice. The media is filled with promises of support from politicians who see the writing on the wall. Law enforcement agencies countrywide rally to end prohibition against marijuana. Pot is decriminalized!
Agents and officers who lost their jobs while supporting LEAP have their jobs restored with raises for their bravery. News stories and talking heads publicly thank those who stood up for their rights as Americans and protested a bad policy.
Strains of “America” play as the movie comes to a close with a long shot of fields of amber grain swaying in a gentle breeze.
                             Back to the real world.
There is an organization called LEAP.  Too many people don’t know who they are and what they represent. They are current and former law enforcement officials who are against the prohibition of marijuana. People who have seen it’s ramifications first hand and know they are waging a losing war.
Border patrol agents like Bryan Gonzalez, who was fired for speaking in support of LEAP, do exist. Real people standing up for what’s right. Law enforcement officials who lose their jobs for questioning the war on drugs and fighting back in the courts.
In Arizona, Joe Miller, a probation officer in Mohave County, near the California border, filed suit recently in Federal District Court. He was dismissed for adding his name to a letter by LEAP, which is based in Medford, Mass., and known for its support of the decriminalization of marijuana.
Miller was one of 32 members of LEAP who signed the letter in support of a California ballot measure that would have permitted recreational marijuana use. The measure failed.
Most of the signers were retired members of law enforcement agencies, who could speak their minds without fear of action by their bosses. Miller and a handful of others who are still on the job — including Paul Gallegos, District Attorney for Humboldt County. He signed, too.
How can this support from the very people who have to enforce the draconian pot laws be ignored? They certainly know more about what’s going on behind the scenes than most American’s. They see the futility and the deaths.

An interview with LEAP’s Executive Director, Neill Franklin…

The war against marijuana persists like an old prizefighter unwilling to retire. It continues to take lives and taxpayer’s hard earned money and to stifle the free speech of those charged with enforcing laws they believe are wrong.
LEAP’s views must be heard. If you would, take a moment and go to their website at http://www.leap.cc/  and read up on the group. Hopefully, you’ll consider supporting these officers of the law and their freedom of speech.
As It Stands, I want to thank Tom Angell, LEAP Media Relations Director, for always keeping me informed on the organization’s actions. If you’d like to contact him, phone: (415) 488-6615 or (202) 557-4979. You can also e-mail him at: tom@leap.cc

Websites carrying this column:

1) NAINTELX – North American Intelligence Exchange 

2) National Association of Drug Testing Advisors

3) Marijuana decriminalization – Google News

4) SiloBreaker

5) DankWeed

6) Humboldt County News – Topix

Comments from Anonymous' LEAP blog, some of which bring optimism:

“Despite my current silence, I believe a paradigm shift regarding the drug war is quietly occurring in every law enforcement agency in this country, thanks in large part to the efforts of LEAP.  This paradigm shift is palpable— I can see it, feel it, and on occasion I hear it slip out from fellow officers and even supervisors once in a blue moon.  I firmly believe things are about to change in this country, and when they do, those within law enforcement will be jumping off this drug war rat ship like it was on fire.  And the jumpers will proclaim that they knew the drug war was wrong the whole time.  But alas, I am not here to judge or point fingers at those wearing badges—I wear one too.  I too am riding on that drug war rat ship.  Gladly, I will be jumping off that rat ship with everyone else.  In the meantime, I can point no fingers, except at myself.”