Catch Up with DEFCON

Hey Kids, I’m back from catching up with my work load in the wake of Rock Beyond Belief and the recent 4 day holiday. The feeling of a clean inbox is a satisfying one indeed. Regular updates will resume tomorrow but, I wanted to highlight an interesting speech from DEFCON 19. My current obsession is learning about the latest and greatest stuff happening in the computer security world, especially after I recently realized how much my script kiddie skills have degraded over the past year. So I present to you Richard Thieme.

The Worst Company in America

The Consumerist awards the 2012 Golden Poo.

Oh Internet, I love you and your rampant hate speech, terabytes of malware, and your silly little polls.

What company is the worst in America, dear reader? Is it oil companies and their nasty habits of employing PMCs to inflict violence in the third world or their less than stellar environmental record? Is it the banks and financial products markets that pushed consumers towards houses they could not afford and then delivered robo signed foreclosure notices (sometime to people who actually paid their loans)? What about the general government contractors who continue to rip off the taxpayer? [Read more...]

The Effects of Social Media on Trayvon Martin

Why The Blaze’s story makes me sad.

“However, if genuine, these Tweets may give us more insight into Martin’s enigmatic life and character.”

That last sentence from this article at The Blaze troubled me. The article is expressly about how Trayvon Martin had a twitter account and that some of his tweets appear juvenile (because he was a kid, after all) . The intent of the article is clear in my mind, it has that faint whiff of racism. What I take issue with is that many people say dumb stuff over social media, use it for dick jokes, or post obscene content; regardless of race. Yet the tweets cited by The Blaze mostly point towards a well known stereotype.

There is nothing enigmatic about a teenage boy’s social media hangouts, kids are kids. I believe the Blaze is just trying to impart a bit of bias into its readership. The most important thing about the Social Media habits of Trayvon Martin is that they have absolutely no bearing on this case. Unless Trayvon was explicitly threatening violence against Zimmerman and Zimmerman was aware, which did not happen. What were are left with is a picture of a youth expressing many of the styles of the culture he was immersed in and who might have also smoked Pot, but then again so did the President and the world’s best Olympian. His tweets serve no purpose in this case, more so because The Blaze itself has (at times) been calling on this case to  be handled through legal challenges only. [Read more...]

Use at Your Own Risk

Anonymous unveils its own OS.

As a person who heavily mods his Operating System, I am not too thrilled about the new AnonOS. Created as a platform to enhance privacy and piracy protections, aid in cyber attacks, and veil internet traffic through the now crack-able TOR networks; this OS seems to be geared to your average /b/tard who still can’t triforce and who’s power level is nowhere near 9,000.

This OS is infinitely hack-able and some Anon actors have been known to release products into the community that can turn PCs into slaves. Usually these attempts are a sort of “level check”, ensuring that user has enough skill to avoid the malicious code, and thus prove their skill level in the community, or is blissfully unaware that someone has just recruited their computer. [Read more...]

Homophobia in The Gaming Community?

Critically Acclaimed Mass Effect 3 sees its Metacritic score tanked by Homophobes.

Many of us in the gaming community see the expanding roles of video games and their impact on popular culture. The gaming industry is, capital wise, as big as the movie industry. With the greater amount of investment cash poured into gaming, I feel that better products are being created to reach a more diverse audience. Videogames are fast becoming much more that mindless diversions; they are becoming art and excellent story telling vehicles.

But the gaming community has a lot of maturing to do. [Read more...]

I Love my Uncle but, Newt Hates Him

Medina Valley Independent School District settles prayer case, Republicans surprise no one by flipping out.

 

My Uncle, Federal Judge Fred Biery, is a badass. Last June, he waded into a particularly religious area of small town “Real America” Texas and smacked down the overt proselytizing that had pervaded the Medina School District. Yet, as Fred executed his duty to uphold the tenants of the constitution, members of the political right used his completely unsurprising ruling to fan the flames of Christian “repression” ( Help, Help, I’m being repressed).

Newt “Moon Base” Gingrich was especially blood thirsty as he tried to reassert his conservative credentials, trying to keep his election hopes afloat despite the rising tides of Santorum after the results in Missouri, Colorado, and Minnesota.

Newt called Fred an “anti-religious, dictatorial bigot.” Which makes complete sense as Fred continues the proud tradition of the Biery clan. A family that has done nothing but turn out District Attorneys, Federal Judges, civic servants, teachers, and combat veterans since WWII. So clearly my family is a bunch of hippie, communistic shitbags. I am getting a little sick of having my family name, which is not too common, being said with vehement disdain by the likes of Beck, Gingrich, Rush, et all. [Read more...]

A Foxhole Atheist Story

Thanks to the Soldier who allowed me to reprint his story, originally posted in the February issue of ISO Lehti.

Resilient Reflections: On Atheism, Service and Cooperation across faiths.

By A. Stringer.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and not those of the United States Army, the United States of America or any outside organizations mentioned or discussed.

A week ago I was sitting on a bus in Yongsan Garrison, when someone in a seat nearby started talking about the Religious Retreat Center, the only one of its kind in the Army. He was telling his friend about the change to a ‘Resiliency Retreat Center’, as a part of the Army’s move towards ‘Comprehensive Soldier Fitness’.

Sometimes you get the see the fruits of your labors.

Though it’s hard to pinpoint just when it began, it’s become apparent that over the last few years the case for secularism has made itself more and more distinct in the Army. Though it doesn’t by any means signal an end to religion in the force (more on why religion is not bad, later) it begins to break away some of the stigmatism that is associated with atheism and the military, and atheism in general.

Despite the cultural and societal advances of the 20th and 21st centuries, atheism is still regarded as a small and untrusted minority. Religious and political figures use the ‘secularists’ as snarl words in their campaigns, recent polls show us to be as untrustworthy as rapists in the eyes of most Americans,  and atheist advertising, from billboards to nativity scenes, continues to be the target of unpunished vandalism. The often vocal majority continues to peg atheism, and atheists, as devoid of any moral compass or usefulness in society. [Read more...]

The Operators

Michael Hastings covers the unwinnable Afghanistan.

Recently my buddy clued me into to another light colonel who “Hackworthed” or sacrificed his career in the hopes of raising consciousness about an unwinnable fight.  LT. COL Daniel L. Davis wrote a scathing assessment of the War in Afghanistan as the conflict pushes steadily into its second decade. Sadly, I believe the brass has learned from the mistakes of how it handled the public face of wars since Vietnam. By fostering an all-volunteer force, our country has effectively fostered a Solider Caste, ensuring that the effects of war are neigh invisible to the broader public. Political sentiment and the pure ignorance that is “American Exceptionalism” keeps any criticism of the war from being voiced. To do so is political suicide. Even Obama, who has handled the war like the smelly bag of trash it is, (a thing to be removed as soon as possible) has to step lightly through a minefield of critics to get out to the dumpster.

The most common response I get from friends outside the Army when the subject of Afghanistan arises is usually a variation of “I didn’t know we were still there”. The Army, like always, is almost single minded in its focus, the Army wants to win. The military is a very goal centric organization that places mission accomplishment as its number one priority.

We are told that the Surge and Counter Insurgency won the Iraq War, beat terrorism, and that it will soon be the same in Afghanistan.

However modern history does not jibe with the reality of twenty first century warfare. [Read more...]

Sign This Thing Right Meow!

Paradise Valley High School wants signatures? Then FINE we will give them signatures!

Update, the preamble of the petition has been updated:

“I’d like to thank everyone for their support. I never imagined that the petition would gain so much attention. However, this whole situation has been a large misunderstanding between myself and the administration.

I never meant to shed Paradise Valley in a negative light. PV is an accepting community of diverse students and staff. I have met with my principal and this situation has been resolved.

The misunderstanding was completely on my end of things. Again, thank you all for your activism and support.”

So the requirement seems to be a case of miscommunication but, in the end the kids are getting their club, huzzah. [Read more...]

The Google Age Game

How old do you act online?

While doing my daily troll of Gawker, I came upon an article about how Google calculates ones age. And you can figure out how old and what gender Google thinks you are by following this link.

Apparently due to my interest in Business, Aerospace, Defense, Space Technology, Government, Government – Legislative Branch, Legal news, Politics and elections, people and society, and casual apparel and T-shirts; Google thinks I am a 55 to 64 year old man. I am 27… Though Google thinks my iPhone is owned by a 45-54 year old man, which I can only attribute to a lot of time spent on the /b/.

I can only assume Google thinks PZ is a 176 year old demonic lord.

What about you, dear readers?

(Source: Gawker)