Jun 242016
 

Credit card skimmers appear to be pretty simple electronics. A bit disturbing how easy they are to produce and emplace.

ADDENDUM:

While looking at some YouTube vids about skimmers (see the comments), an ad popped up that was no doubt selected via some context-analyzing algorithm. But *you* decide what to think of it…

skimmer

 Posted by at 6:59 pm
Jun 242016
 

More than 30 people burned in Tony Robbins’ hot-coals walk

Fire-walking is the easiest stunt out there. Simply rake out some glowing coals, put a damp pad at the front, a damp pad at the back, take off your shoes and socks and walk across. Don’t stop, keep up a brisk pace, make sure to wipe your feet at the end to make sure you don’t have any coals between your toes. That’s it. It impresses the rubes because ignert people think you’re actually doing something more impressive than demonstrating that charcoal has a really low rate of thermal conductivity. A good scammer can trick people into thinking it’s “mind over matter” or some such rubbish.

So how do you screw it up? The article doesn’t say, but I can only assume:

  1. Stupidity
  2. Malice

So, how do you make a fire walk actually dangerous? Any of these will do it; any could arise from dumbassery, but some might be more likely attributable to intentional nastiness:

  1. Walk across an actual fire (rather than just glowing coals)
  2. Mix the coals with something like rocks/pebbles/metal bits. You never see someone walking across hot *rocks,* do you.
  3. Mix in something like sugar or plastic. That’s be like walking across *napalm.*
  4. Mix in something like broken glass. All the burningness of rocks, now with sharp jaggedness.
  5. Stop.

CSB: Back in my college days, one semester I found myself coming up short in credit hours (calculus as a pre-req, and my inability to wrap my head around calculus, played havoc from time to time). So I had to take a “filler” course to stay a full-time student and to help jack up my GPA. The course I took was some sort of sociology course on magic or witchcraft or some such. I had hoped it would turn out to be a rational course on the history of bullshit, how it has affected history, blah, blah, blah. What did I get? The “professor” was a white guy. Normally not something I have a problem with. But the white guy was a shaman in some African tribe, complete with slideshows of him Over There in his village doing the Great White Savior Among The Noble Savages Thing. Worse: rather than him just scamming the natives and going along with their superstitious rubbish, he actually bought it and believed it (could well be they were running a line of BS on *him,* and the moment he was gone they laughed their asses off at the dumbass hippy).

I generally just kept my head down and snickered to myself. But one day he brought in one of his buddies, an elderly reject from the 60’s who bought into magical thinking. To this guy, fire walking was truly a magical thing; you had to be damn near a Jedi to be able to pull it off. To him, the supernatural was the only possible explanation. And since he did it on a virtually daily basis without injury, that proved that he was Something Special. And then he dared us to do it with him, that he could teach us his Magical Ways. This was approximately the only time I spoke up in class. I had no interest in firewalking; not out of fear, but because it’s a waste of time. I challenged the firewalker to a special challenge: I would believe that maybe, just maybe, he might have something to his belief in his magical specialness if he walked halfway across the field of coals, *stopped,* stood their motionless as I walked across, and only continued after I got to the end.

Oddly, that challenge was not accepted.

UPDATE: this news item has more info, including a pretty good clue as to what the problem was…

“From my observation, there was someone in front of us and someone behind us on their cell phone, taking selfies and taking pictures,” said Jacqueline Luxemberg, who completed the fire walk. “[She asked others] to video record for her, so I think that that has a lot to do with it.”

So… MORONS. Didn’t just burn themselves by stopping, but quite possibly also caused a traffic jam.

 Posted by at 9:47 am
Jun 242016
 

Who would the USA exit from? I suggest from the federal government. Behold:

There Are Now More Bureaucrats With Guns Than U.S. Marines

The “Militarization of America” report found civilian agencies spent $1.48 billion on guns, ammunition, and military-style equipment between 2006 and 2014. Examples include IRS agents with AR-15s, and EPA bureaucrats wearing camouflage. … Open the Books found there are now over 200,000 non-military federal officers with arrest and firearm authority, surpassing the 182,100 personnel who are actively serving in the U.S. Marines Corps.

I’m sorry (no I’m not), but the government doesn’t get to have temper tantrums and demand that the people should be disarmed while at the same time loading up on the very same arms they say we can’t have.

Whenever there’s a gun control debate, you almost always see the one guy pop up with “Yeah, ok, so what about nukes? Should regular folks be allowed to own nukes? Huh? Should they? Gotcha!” I’ve suggested before that a simple rule of thumb on what arms the civilian populace should not be barred from having is this: I get to buy whatever the internal policing system in the US gets to buy. If the EPA gets to have assault weapons, so do I. If the IRS wants main battle tanks, I should be allowed to buy ’em too. If the Food and Drug Administration gets theater ballistic missiles, so do I. If the Small Business Administration gets weaponized smallpox, then I get the selection of plagues and poxes of my choice.

Don’t want me to have a particular class of weapon, Representative Trigglypants? Then why do *you* get them?

 Posted by at 8:35 am
Jun 232016
 

So pretty much all day today I’ve been dealing with getting a book assembled. It’s of unusual format (11 inch-high pages about 40 inches long) and of only 27 pages length, but it cost enough to have printed that I only got ten. And so today I ran my butt 40 miles down the road to the print shop to get it (and a few other things that were printed), and once I got home I’ve spent the rest of the day dealing with these project. After many hours futzing around, I have a grand total of one copy of the book all assembled.

WP_20160622_002

Anyway, I was busy all day today. While driving home I heard something on the radio that made me think someone was playing a little joke, and then forgot all about it. So when I finally finished that first book, I turned on CNN to find that the House Democrats have lost their tiny little minds and have been having a childish temper tantrum all day. If you’ve somehow failed to hear, they’ve been having a “sit in” in the House preventing work from going forward because they lost votes on their initial ideas about restricting the civil liberties of American citizens without due process. Take, for example, Senator Diane Feinstein explaining that it is up to Americans to prove their innocence, a complete reversal of more than 200 years of American jurisprudence. She then goes on to say that that’s just the first step; next comes banning the average civilian firearm.

And the floor of the House looks like it has been invaded by an army of Trigglypuffs, shouting their inane slogans: “Why do you want to let terrorists buy a gun?” “No bill, no breaks!” And other such nonsense, like a bunch of idiot campus causehead protestors. At the same time they’re yapping about wanting a Real Debate, they’re shouting down anyone with an opposing view, like Louis Gohmert pointing out that the Orlando terrorist attack was, in fact, a terrorist attack:

Bah.

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At left, Rep. John Lewis. He made his name in the 1960’s working for civil rights; now he’s working to curtail civil rights.

The reason I turned on CNN in the first place was to see the Libertarian town hall in hopes that maybe, just maybe, the Libertarians might give me hope this time around. But it was pre-empted by coverage of the Democrats House whine-in. It’s very unlikely, but just barely possible enough that maybe there was some thought in advance to scheduling this childish display in order to wipe out one of the few opportunities the Libertarians have of reaching the public.

And apparently Nancy Pelosi is sending out fundraising emails. Even the talking heads on CNN generally agreed that this was “gauche;” the Dems claim they’re doing this to protect families and children and puppies and baby unicorns, but it’s really just a craven and monumentally cynical publicity and fundraising stunt.

Even Raedthinn can’t stand these idjits, and he doesn’t even watch CNN.

WP_20160621_005

 Posted by at 12:06 am
Jun 222016
 

Everyone who reads this blog with any regularity should be aware by now of “Universe 25,” an experiment carried out more than 40 years ago to create a “utopia” for lab mice that quickly turned into a pretty good approximation of hell. In short, the mice were provided every thign they needed… food, water, clean air, other mice for socializign with. A *lot* of mice. A *vast* number of mice. The mouse population exploded, since mice do what they do; but after a while the population crashed. Not because they all starved or caught some bacterial or viral infection; they simply turned into weeny hipster mice, lost all enthusiasm and stopped breeding. It’s a cautionary tale about not only overpopulation and overcrowding but also welfare states. But that sort of thing couldn’t happen to humans, right?

A day or two back a comment in another post linked to a website “The Worst Room.” This site collects Craigslist and other listings for apartments for rent, Air BNB, that sort of thing, in places like New York City and London. While it doesn’t seem to have been updated since December (maybe 2014), there are a number of listings shown that are worth looking at if for no other reason than to feel relieved that you don’t live in that sort of urban mouse-hole. Or if you *do,* it’s time to realize there’s a better way. There are “rooms” listed that are the size of a closet and cost more than my mortgage.

Next time you see some urban fanboy extolling the virtues of dense-pak living and urban efficiencies and whatnot, just remember: this is how they’re expecting you to live in *their* dreamworld.

 Posted by at 4:36 pm
Jun 222016
 

Brazil Just Shot and Killed Its Own Olympic Mascot

Specifically, “Juma,” a 17-year-old endangered jaguar that was trotted out like a prop for a torch ceremony. When returned to its zoo, it escaped, wandered around for a bit, got shot with four tranquilizer darts, and when that didn’t knock it down they upgraded to “solider with a rifle.”

Tell me that this Olympics just looks like a barrel of fun:

Times like this I’m glad I don’t give a rats ass about sports, or otherwise the prospect of having to decide to wander on down to Zikaville to watch some games surrounded by a nation on the brink just might give me heartburn.

 Posted by at 8:02 am
Jun 152016
 

Today’s launch resulted in the Falcon 9 first stage hit the barge hard, apparently due to inadequate thrust on one engine. However, it was entirely successful in putting its payload into orbit.

Good launch & flight vid, suck landing vid:

Just the landing, such as it is:

 Posted by at 4:42 pm
Jun 152016
 

Obviously Hillary and Trump are out. I’d been considering Gary Johnson, even though he’s pretty lackluster. But now… all I have are people to vote *against.* Why? Behold:

Gary Johnson Shoots Himself in the Foot: Throws Out Austin Petersen’s Gun

Short form: after clinching the Libertarian nomination, Austin Petersen, another Libertarian candidate, gave Johnson a replica of George Washington’s flintlock pistol. A little odd, but I guess a nice gesture. But hotel guests saw Johnson dumping the pistol into a trash can, fished it out and returned it to Petersen.

Weak. Weeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaak.

 Posted by at 12:05 am