Thursday, March 23, 2017

hacking tractors?

This article claims US farmers are hacking software so they can fix their tractors themselves

To avoid the draconian locks that John Deere puts on the tractors they buy, farmers throughout America's heartland have started hacking their equipment with firmware that's cracked in Eastern Europe and traded on invite-only, paid online forums.
Tractor hacking is growing increasingly popular because John Deere and other manufacturers have made it impossible to perform "unauthorized" repair on farm equipment, which farmers see as an attack on their sovereignty and quite possibly an existential threat to their livelihood if their tractor breaks at an inopportune time.

the article includes an interview with a guy who uses pig manure to power his tractor but had to illegally hack it so he could do this.

and no, don't blame the Russians: It's the Ukrainians who are selling the software hack.

headsup, those libertarian rightwing guys at FR.

Forget the NSA Microsoft Windows 10 is spying on you


I went and fixed the problem. My windows 10 was automatic because I bought my lousy (chinese manufactured Lenovo) computer during the transition.

And I have already removed the Chinese spyware from it (Or the spyware that was found and forced the manufacterers to get a program to remove it).

Now, if I can only stop "sticky keys" from messing up my blog posts

TAKE TWO: Beauty and the Beast

To celebrate, going to court for the 9th time (postponed again until May) we went to see Beauty and the Beast in the afternoon.

It was a wonderful film.

Bring your teenagers, bring your kids, and bring your old grandmother (as my granddaughter did for me).

It is G rated.

The guy who bragged about adding "gay" character should be fired from Disney. No one would have noticed if he hadn't made it an issue: the character is made more sympathetic in the movie, and can and should be seen as a  "Jeeves and Wooster" or a war buddy relationship.

I suspect he wanted to "diss" Christians (presumably for backing the enemy, i.e. Trumpie boy) and send a message to the sophisticated (who disliked the film in their reviews anyway).

No big deal here in the Philippines, where gays are openly all over the place and considered part of the family, and gay characters are common in local films.

But Malaysia and other Muslim and Confucian countries in Asia take this seriously... and I understand they "fixed" the movie by censoring out ten seconds, which sounds about right.

Most of the "added" things add backstories to the characters, and make the movie more interesting.

Gaston was made into a soldier, not a hunter. This makes a lot more sense, about why he would be admired as a leader, and could easily lead the town into war against the beast.

Yes, the scene where he talks to his mirror image about how beautiful he is is funny, but out of character: He is actually "full of himself" for being a hero back from the wars, not for merely being good looking, as is implied in the cartoon.

Emma Watson played Belle as thoughtful and practical. Good casting. She is not stunningly "beautiful", but she underplays the part well... not hysterics. And there is chemistry between her and the Beast

Compare and contrast to  the stunning actress in Cinderella, who I could see making a prince fall in love with her at first sight but couldn't imagine her cleaning up the kitchen, which she does in the fairy tale.

The beast is well played, and yes, he has a backstory too.

the kitchen utensils etc. are CGI and echo the cartoon, The only "backstory" is that at least two of them have spouses who were in town when they were bewitched, so there are reunions at the end (presumably not a lot of time passed between the curse and the transformation).

The "be our guest" music was good, but not as joyful as the cartoon version. However the rest of the songs were fine, and there are even new songs that add to the film.

all the teenage girls at the film sighed when he turned back into the Prince, but I was disappointed: The strong but lovable masculine beast became just a pretty-boy.  Which maybe is why Belle suggests at the end he should grow a beard.

So should you see it? Yes, yes, YES.

And take a handkerchief... or two.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Salon on wikileaks.

One of the most interesting disclosures concerns how the CIA can cover its tracks by leaving electronic trails suggesting the hacking is being done in different places — notably, in Russia. In fact, according to WikiLeaks, there’s an entire department dedicated to this. Its job is to “misdirect attribution” by leaving false fingerprints. If you’ve been at all skeptical about the recent levels of Russia-related hysteria, promoted heavily by U.S. intelligence agencies, alarm bells are probably going off in your head.

more HERE.

Latest WikiLeaks dump reveals CIA can hack computers, smartphones, even TVs


the church of what's happening now

Virtue on line reviews the Shack. Theologically confusing, and gee, that god/godess insists he/she would never punish evildoers (like the guy who kidnapped and killed the protagonist's daughter).

In another chapter, "Papa" corrects Mack's theology by asserting, "I don't need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment, devouring you from the inside. It's not my purpose to punish it; it's my joy to cure it." 
yes, love is never having to say you're sorry... "who am I to judge"... sounds familiar.

"Who am I to judge": "God made me that way and loves me anyway". Yup. Sounds familiar. (Long story, but we are the bad guys for not agreeing).

Uh, reality check: sociopaths don't feel guilt and narcissists can blame the sin on someone else, and "true believers" (aka SJW) only see social sin, not their own sins.

calling Detective Kenda. Calling Detective Kenda.


but as actor Kevin O'Brien laments: This "touchy feel-y we are all good people rah rah rah" idea has spread to a lot of Catholic churches.

the heart of the homily was this: enthusiasm!  We need to leave our water jars behind and go spread the news about Jesus, as the Woman at the Well did.  We won't be able to help it!  When we encounter Jesus we will be so excited that we'll just have to spread the word!  We won't be able to hold it in!  Apparently, we'll just leave our water jar behind go and start to constantly chatter - like the people were doing before Mass started.
Enthusiasm and happy happy happy let's spread Jesus.

 Christ died, people believe, not to redeem us or reform us, and certainly not to call us to a greater and more awesome degree of maturity or completion as human beings, but to make us feel good about ourselves.

A lot more fun than actually serving god in the duties of one's daily life, by changing diapers, cooking and cleaning, or working at a boring job 8 hours a day to support your family.

So I had all these Christians around me happy happy, but only (after many many requests to hire someone) I finally was permitted to hire help to help me get up with Lolo in the middle of the night when he was dying. So excuse my sarcasm.

Yes, I am feeling snarky today.

We are going to try to (finally) get someone else to probate Lolo's will so his daughters and granddaughter get their fare share according to the will, and not allow the one designated to probate it take everything.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Beauty and the beast: good or bad?

Ruby was supposed to go watch Beauty and the Beast yesterday but I think they had to postpone it due to scheduling problems and a crowded cinema.

If she goes at a time when the cinema is less crowded, I might actually go with her to see it, but I suspect I will have to wait until it is on HBO or on sale at the palenke for 50 pesos next week. (The Palenke black market vendors often have hit movies within a week of the opening in Manila).

I read a couple of bad reviews by "sophisticated" reviewers who disliked the remake, but I wondered if they just disliked fairy tales...

In contrast, (Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 70) and K Ru not only liked it but says it answered some of the holes of the plot.


Medieval history stuff (insomnia alert) has a book review about book by the Quennelles.. and how history visualization has changed in recent years.

But they do link to the book A History of Everyday Things in England, at to read on line or download.  Vol 4 Vol 3

They also have  Everyday life in the old stone age

and more at if you search the name, but a lot are from an internet library in India, so you have to check the link which gives  you pdf and torrent files

I usually don't read these books straight through: I browse and check on things I actually am interested in and read that.

Ebooks however are hatd to "browse".

Ah, but I found I can listen to them on my tablet. Even better, I can rip them to MP3's via Balabolka, using a more pleasant voice (Microsoft David) than is available on my tablet, and instruct the program to rip it into half hour segments. I then mix up these with other lectures to play as background noise when I sleep. Hence the title: INSOMNIA ALERT.

I enjoy history that not only includes battles but the background (trade religion culture). I used to have the entire Durant series in hardback but only have three of them with me here., (ebook and some volumes audio at  (and I also brought with me two of Braudels historys, which alas are harder to find free on line but some are on line at Scribd)

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Boobies? We got 'em

from the birdwatching thread at FreeRepublic.

wikipedia article on the blue footed booby

Chuck Berry RIP

Chuck Berry has died. Sigh.

turn up speakers and dance

Mathematical pi

March 14 is PiDay

And here is how you sing it:


Snowflake melting

via Instapundit:

SJW with a degree in feminist/latino studies finds this offensive.

she elsewhere tweets: "as a woman I want to break the glass ceiling".

well, as someone who was a physician when only 8 percent of physicians were women, maybe I should point out that maybe she should persue excellence and knowledge instead of a whining feminism that can't see her ignorance may be the problem, not a hypothetical glass ceiling.

This is, after all, basic history. You know: World War I?

Google is your friend.

And the fact she gets upset at seeing an airplane that has a cross on it shows she is a bigot. True, it is politically correct bigotry, but bigotry nevertheless.

For the clueless, this is one of the Red Baron's planes.

( the biplane is a Fokker CIII Albatross, but he also flew others, including the famous Fokker D1 Triplane).

As in the most famous flying ace of World War I.

You know, the nemesis of Snoopy:

In contrast, Snoopie flew the Sopwith Camel,

why "camel"? 

A metal fairing over the gun breeches, intended to protect the guns from freezing at altitude, created a "hump" that led pilots to refer to the aircraft by the name Camel.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Less crime in the Philippines: Who wudda thot?

StrategyPage has an article on what is going on here in the Philippines, and their essay begins:

March 17, 2017: Since the March 6 thresumption of the crackdown on illegal drugs there has been a lot less violence. The revived war on drugs limits the number of police involved to those who have already been screened and known to be uncorrupt. So far the revised anti-drug tactics have led to about 75 percent fewer arrests per week and 84 percent fewer deaths. Part of that is due to the fact that so many known drug gang members were arrested or killed during the first seven months of the operation. It will take another month or so to determine if the new approach is continuing to reduce the distribution and use of illegal drugs. The initial campaign certainly reduced crime.
they note that only 2512 of the murders in the last year was by cops: most of the others were private payback, vigilante style killings, or drug gangs killings.

and now the emphasis is now on cleaning up the cops.

 Duterte apparently realizes that he has a short period of time to make some fundamental changes before public enthusiasm wanes and his powerful opponents (major drug gangs and corrupt senior politicians and bureaucrats) get organized. 

SP also writes on terrorism, including how the Abus turned to piracy and are now a lot less popular with the locals.

they also have a long explanation on what is going on here with the local Chinese aggression against the Philippines.

they say the Chinese press is openly discussing annexing the Philippines. Read the whole thing.

the takeover of the West Philippine sea is not just about exploiting fishing and natural gas there, but in blocking a major sea lane to Korea and Japan.

and as the Manila Bulletin notes: Australia is worried too.

Americans tend to forget about Australia, who entered the war on terror before the US, after the Bali bombing. They are quietly helping Indonesia in security matters.

One reason Duterte dislikes the US is because he claims the CIA got a bad guy out of prison when he was a mayor. And the US cutting off trade threats after the "Extrajudicial killing" kerfuffle made him even madder, especially since the Mexican drug cartels were moving in and Obama was doing nothing to stop them.

Similarly, he essentially told the European Union do gooders where to go when they went out of their way to try to protect the vixen who was schtupping her driver (who collected the drug bribes for her). At present she is under arrest for drug related charges.

I wrote about the Philippines a few days ago and how the political families were pushing back..Remember, a lot of them are on the take.

the name of the scandal is #LeniLeaks. since a local blogger has posted emails discussing the plot. She is upset, but the article notes she hasn't denied it.

Netizens scored Robredo’s camp for keeping mum about the issue, but the OVP maintained its silence on the leaked emails even amid calls to shed light on #LeniLeaks. Robredo also did not categorically address the supposed leaked emails when interviewed by local media in Iloilo on Saturday.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Stories below the fold

InOurTime podcast discusses global warming: Not not today's global warming but The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum...


After five years without a major hijacking, the Somali pirates did it again... maybe because the international folks stopped their anti piracy effort in December....but then they released the ship and crew, without ransom...

more here.

Back story here: Wikipedia article on Punt.... the Puntland anti piracy effort.  website HERE.
for later reading  LINK

a lot of the sailors who had been kidnapped in the past were Filipino sailors.
UKGuardian story of 26 released late last year


one of the tactics the pirates used was "swarm boat" tactics, i.e. lots of small civilian looking boats in an attack.

Iran is now threatening the same to US boats

 Having A-10s on call, which is quite common in the Persian Gulf, gives the navy another weapon available to deal with any large scale use of swarming tactics in an effort to, for example, close the Hormuz Strait by sinking some large tankers at key points or simply to make a point..

another reason to keep the old but reliable A-10 warthog.

I read somewhere that Kong Island (which with B&tB is playing at our local cinema) is racist because it suggests King Kong is black.

But actually, many in the black community saw this in the original movie: where Kong was made to seem more sympathetic than scary; the character was kidnapped and killed by evil people who wanted him to make them rich, and later when he freed himself in rage for the mistreatment, he was killed by those who exploited and hated him.

Of course, as Tolkien might have pointed out, it was not allegory per se but it was application... like all classic stories it could be read as a story of slavery and/or of the racism of 1930's...


maybe Trump should silence the kerfuffle about importing unscreened Muslims from countries with lots of bad guys pretending to be refugees by importing some of the Rohingye. from AlJ:

More than 90,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar since October when the military launched a crackdown against what it called Rohingya insurgents after an attack on an army post....

Rohingya refugees have been living in Bangladesh since the 1970s. Estimates of the total number vary from 300,000 to 500,000.
less than 3000 were allowed in the US under President Obama last year.


The low tech device to stop being hacked

why worry about hackers (heck, they already have my email password, my federal file) when facebook knows all about you

So what is the way not to get hacked?



Another day, another try by the elites to take back the government

 Lots of stuff about Obama's deep state attempt to undermine Trumpie boy, but today Drudge reports an "impeachment" attempt against Duterte.

Relaity check.

Impeachments (and military coup attempts) are a dime a dozen: there were several against our lovely ex president Arroyo, who never stole a thing but somehow got rich during her presidency, not to mention the "hello Garci" scandal where she discussed stuffing the ballot box.

No serious attempts during PNoy's time in office. He was weak but didn't seem to stp on people's toes.

Ah, but Duterte? He's blamed for every murder in the Philippines: Not just those by the cops but half of the murders listed tend to be "payback" murders, by folks who got tired of waiting for justice delayed or by those who were just trying to clean up the place of drugs on their own...

The "international" types got aghast. No one in the international community dares to attack the Mexican president for the drug related murders there, including those by drug gang wars and crooked cops and politicians.

ah, but even the guy who placed the "impeachment" complain admits he is blaming Duterte for these private payback murders:

Alejano, a former marine officer who was accused of involvement in a failed coup attempt several years ago, denied his complaint was part of an extraconstitutional attempt to unseat Duterte. In his complaint, Alejano echoed rights activists' label of Duterte as a "cheerleader" for encouraging the "summary executions" of drug suspects in violation of their rights to life and due process.
Alejano is one of those who attempted a military coup against Gloria Arroyo

but unlike the others, he is now a patsy for a liberal party takeover of the government.

the sexy vixen and favorite of the international elite is in the Liberal party and probably part of this too.

Like the "deep state" stuff on conspiracy type websites, the Philippines has it's own "deep state": The elite families who are all related to each other

here is an old article (2014)  from the PhilInquirer that outlines how the clans run the Philippines.

and many have deep links with the US and international order. So as soon as Duterte took over, you saw a lot of the same meme "DRUG KILLINGS" all with the same stories and same "statistics" and (like Trump) the same "inflammatory" remarks (usually out of context, or interpreting a humorous/ironic quip as if it were a serious comment).

What is missing? Most people back Duterte because it means the common people are safer. Yes a poll showed a huge number of people who admitted they "feared" a friend or acquaintance might be killed, but hey, we have huge extended families, and we know some of them are druggies or pushers, but since families come first, it's not like we would report them to the (crooked) cops.

The same "yes we want justice but we protect our own" ideas also means that Gloria was freed after the UN said she was jailed for political reasons, and then the Supreme court threw out her case.

Follow the links. GMA was a classmate of Bill Clinton, the "Human rights" lawyer was the "wife" of a movie star who holds fundraisers for Hillary.  And probably more links if I knew more about all of this.

GMA got into office because her father was a popular president, and later she ran as VP, and later threw out ERAP, who was popular, because of "Corruption". in a "people power" uprising II.

The problem? She was even more corrupt, of course, and the backstory of an infamous massacre was that the politician involved stole the election for her and figured he would not be prosecuted.

The American girl was the CIA pick for president, but late in the election cycle, Duterte entered and ended up winning.

But our president and VP are from different parties.

So now we have a VP who got in because her populist husband died in a plane crash. He was populist, but she is from one of the big families.

But Duterte is popular, so the common people won't go for another "spontaneous" revolution. Hence impeachment, using the liberal party who lost the election.

And it will go nowhere. But never mind.

It's better for the MSM to point to drug killings in the Philippines to smear Duterte, not to point out that the Philippines was in danger of becoming another drug cartel state like Mexico, where last time I looked, had seen 20 thousand people killed last year.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Internet free zone

One of the advantages of the internet going out is that I am reading books (not watching a lot of TV since the news is nonsense and most of what is on is junk or in Tagalog, including the Korean dramas that Ruby loves so much). And a lot of the  hype seems repetetive anyway.

David Warren comments on an internet free world:

It takes only three days away from the sources osf anxiety to free one from their iron grip, though much longer to quench the fire they leave burning. I was reminded of this over the weekend, in Ottawa to attend the obsequies for my remarkable friend, Mary Scheer. This took me away from my computer, in which I find the daily news, and upon return to the High Doganate, Monday night, I discovered in myself a decided indifference towards catching up. When I did get around to checking, I saw that there was nothing new in the news: only more “dog shit,” if I may lift a term from a recent Joseph Epstein essay. Why do we waste our consciousness on it? More precisely: why do I?
on the other hand, if China decides to invade Luzon to divert their citizens from the lousy economy, I might like a day or two warning.

For later reading

the internet has been going off in the heat of the day  for the last few days. Something to remember the next time you read all those happy memes about being a cashless society.

lots of political stuff bookmarked so I can read later (the internet often comes back on at sunset)

Spengler on Iran ruining their economy to help Syria.

father Z on nuns pushing fake contemplation. Wasn't she one of those who are pushing the "we are evolving to a higher power" a few years ago?

trump the tweeter: the real story of rolling back unilateral presidential decrees is being ignored.

China again destroys the environment to build a new island to steal land owned traditionally by Vietnam.

FLP podcast: Camille Paglia discusses her latest book mp3

Austin Bay writes the Navy needs more frigates.

What's a frigate?

Though smaller than other line warships, frigates were "built tough and rugged" to operate with the fleet's big ships in all sea conditions. Frigates provided an anti-air and anti-sub "screen" for aircraft carrier battle groups and carried a mix of weapons. Most frigates carried a helicopter and a deck gun (usually 76 mm) capable of rapid fire. The ship had the tools to conduct a solo Freedom of Navigation Operation.

Wikipedia link here.

GetReligion notes that CNN's religion "expert" tends to report on the extreme wackos, not main stream believers...he has smeared Christ and traditional Christian beliefs in his book, and now has a tv program to smear everyone else I guess. Smearing and mis reporting the beliefs and practices is routine for Christians, where we see smears and trumpets of heretical scholars every holy day season. But his smear, portraying a tiny offshoot sect as if they were an example of the beliefs of a billion Hindus is causing protests.