Drones Over Berks

This story is amusing me greatly: Activists Drone Shot out of Sky for Fourth Time Their argument is that “canned hunts” are somehow unethical and unlawful. I think the obvious counter argument is that there’s nothing wrong with canned hunts anymore than a farmer walking up to a canned cow and shooting it in the head with his captive bolt gun. It’s just how farms work. If farmers actually gave the animals the same chance as the birds, they’d cut the cow loose in a field and have to chase it down. The birds are actually doing better than the livestock. Why don’t the cops seem to care? The reason is because the SHARK idiots are in violation of the PA state law. Chapter 34 Statute 2302 concerns Interfering With the Lawful Taking of Wildlife. The answer is – “You’re doing it”. One drone landed on the property, almost all the other drones enter the airspace of the club. If the club is wingshooting, there’s no difference between this and driving an ATV into a deer herd. More on the point the drone obviously comes down near the operators, but if there actually is someone in the woods, then the drone is out of control by their own admission and nearly hitting people. If it was a car, it would be reckless endangerment. Here’s the video they posted:

What’s conspicuously missing? The cloud of shot and the wadding. I would expect to see one (or both) on the videos. It’s more damning to them than the gun club to post this, so I took the liberty of mirroring it locally so I can repost it if the link goes down.

But the real comedy gold comes at the 2:42 minute mark (video quality is poor because they only uploaded at 480p)…

Does that look like a wire that’s been shot? Nope, you can clearly see the copper stranding, which is much thinner than the insulation, which means it wasn’t covered in insulation to begin with if the stranding is all exposed in different directions. My guess is they bought the drone at a yard sale for losers and just twisted the wires together (hence the stripped insulation) and when it fell out of the sky they decided it had to have been shot down. Then they spend three minutes yelling at nothing in the woods, and post it to youtube. Hur dur.


The Party of God

This is one of these things which is righteous and interesting, but not for the reasons I think people bandy it around for. The Republican convention had a Seikh open with a prayer.

Think about that for a moment – that is a huge gesture. The prayer wasn’t Christianized either, it was probably how a seikh would pray. (I suspect most seikhs meditate, but whatever). The detraction is “Oh ok that’s a nice gesture, because that temple just got shot up”. No it’s much bigger than that, it’s the problems the Democrats have had for the longest time. The Republicans have the three Gs cornered (Gold, God, Guns). When you ask what the Democrats have in terms of religion – well, they don’t. Dolan is offering the closing prayer but frankly he should have told both parties to go fuck themselves with the moderate stance on abortion. Biden is anti-abortion, but being VP it doesn’t really matter. Romney is a rule-of-law person (he has to be since he lives and dies by tax code) so he’s a RvW guy. Both of these positions are offensive to the Catholic church. The Mormons go slightly easier on the topic and say:

In 1973, the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released the following statement regarding abortion, which is still applicable today:

The Church opposes abortion and counsels its members not to submit to or perform an abortion except in the rare cases where, in the opinion of competent medical counsel, the life or good health of the mother is seriously endangered or where the pregnancy was caused by rape and produces serious emotional trauma in the mother. Even then it should be done only after counseling with the local presiding priesthood authority and after receiving divine confirmation through prayer.

That’s a fairly centrist position as far as the religious go. But it’s also an important point: Romney is a Mormon.

What the Republicans are doing, very clandestinely, is becoming not the party of Christ, but the party of the spiritual. Some of them might even be religious. Sure there’s going to be fringe objections to this – the Republicans have to deal with the collapse and re-integration of the Tea Party the same way the Democrats have to deal with their fringe Green elements – but they split off before and they can split off again. From the sound of the Ron Paul supporters at the RNC, I suspect it’ll happen. That being said, we’re actually watching an interesting paradigm shift. Will the elections after this one be held on spiritual grounds rather than economics?

Update – Now With Video:

The View from the Top

I quit ebay (GSI) last week. It was a tough decision. The whole problem was largely due to how they handled the merger. They reset everyone’s time off and basically screwed people who had been with the company far longer than me out of quite a bit of money by doing that. When the company (GSI) started, people were given guaranteed options and vesting. Ebay reset that when they bought us. They also rolled out a new policy where you don’t get paid for time off you don’t use. Basically, it looked like they were setting us up for layoffs. From a technical perspective, it started out with “We’ll make you our east coast datacenter!” Then it became “We’ll make you a colo with a back-haul!” Finally it turned into “We’ve given you a laughably small budget to do this, so just make sure your oracle stuff makes it over here”.

The writing was on the wall. It sucked. I loved the people, I thought the acquisition was going to be my ticket into ebay, and frankly after putting in a crapton of time over and above 40 hours a week, I really felt like we were getting dumped on. More on the point I had only been there a brief amount of time. What if I was one of the guys who was there eight years?

Well, turns out they quit too. In fact, everyone who really knew anything about the system quit. Theres still good people there, but the problem is they’re a scarce commodity. The bigger problem is that the backfill sucks. People know ebay didn’t give the remaining people a very good deal, so the talent isn’t coming along. Finally the worst problem is the customers themselves are packing up for greener pastures. Customers were with GSI because they weren’t ebay/amazon. I won’t go into details but suffice the say putting GSIs review on glassdoor.com on the front page of slashdot the day we were featured was the nail in the backfill coffin. For me personally, the nail came when – after working with the teams for several weeks to upgrade a core product failed – they announced “POP THE CORK, IT WORKS!”

We know it doesn’t work. I would have been happier if they just punched me in the dick. At some point you just have to say, “Help isn’t on the way”.

Needless to say I’m much happier at Comcast. They gave me a top end macbook pro (solid state 128GB drives are fucking fast) and while the commute sucks (although part of it is my inexperience in riding the trains), the facilities are much nicer and the people seem pretty solid. Have some highrez pics of philly from the cafeteria.

Gays, Women, and the GOP – Rant Roundup

More and more I’ve been seeing posts about “The GOPs War on Women”. Which is sort of funny because gays have less rights than women at the moment and if you’re a gay woman, god help you. Generally it goes something like “Limbaugh said something, look at it!” and it’s a video of Rush or someone saying something inflammatory. I usually just post back the Bill Maher video.

But, something more recently dawned on me. People don’t get it. People, if they bother to respond at all to the Maher video, usually defend it with “oh but it’s humor”. On the face of it, Rush too hosts a program which is just humor, or just commentary. The issue goes a little bit deeper than this, it’s not that the GOP or the Republicans or the Democrats have a war on women, it’s that you wouldn’t say these things in the workplace. (I actually had someone yell at me for posting the Maher video to their page in response because they did watch it at work, with the volume up, completely ignoring the warning in the first 5 seconds). This isn’t particularly about a “war on women”, from any particular side, this is about the permissiveness and moral decrepitude of the average voter. I wouldn’t make a racist joke at work anymore than I would make a joke about a woman at work. If you wouldn’t make the joke at work, why is it then OK to make these jokes about women from either political party? Call misogyny as misogyny and realize these are two sides of the same coin. This means both parties engage in this sort of things.

On the issue of gay rights it actually is even more subtle. The Republicans are the traditional boogeymen of gay rights, but has a Democrat President actually made gay marriage legal? So much anger and noise is invested in making a boogeyman for people to direct their rage towards that no-one has noticed the Democrats have done absolutely nothing for the gay rights issue. The best we’ve come up with is moving it to a states rights issue. This is a band-aide at best because we’ve otherwise codified the idea of marriage at the federal level (tax code). Really the only politician who has carried the Gay Marriage idea to the logical conclusion as it stands today is Ron Paul. If we got rid of the tax code, it really would be a states rights issue. This is the point of the entire rant though – neither party has worked to actually affirm or deny gay rights at the federal level.

On the idea of religious freedom for those of us who roll our own theology, this is another great place to point out the Democrats doing nothing for us. The Democrats have taken the separation of church and state to the point where any showing of religion is treated poorly. By the same token, the Republicans have embraced religion, but it’s usually ascribed as “Christianity”. Funny thing is though, three decades ago it was Catholicism. Now it’s “Mainsteam Christianity”. Now they’re talking about running a Mormon, and the only people who seem to have noticed he’s a Mormon are the Democrats. In terms of progressive religion, the Republicans are more open about discussing theology than the Democrats. You would think the party who was offended by the G word (God) would have already helped out with the other G word (gays) but when it comes time to put their money where their mouth is, it hasn’t happened. Instead they’re happy to accuse other people of being religiously motivated, but then they can’t execute when they’re supposedly “free” from such hangups.

The biggest problem here – a government which doesn’t want to acknowledge the divine – is that laws become inherently secular. What secular states have we seen in the past? The south before the civil war. World War 2 Germany. Can we cite any examples of states which allow for religion without being religious? Sweden comes to mind. It’s possible to find a middle ground here, but it’s also possible to be too far right or left. To be too far right subscribes to religious dogma and things would probably look like the Middle East, and to be too liberal results in comments from politicians comparing women to animals. Of course they’re animals – if you work from a worldview that there’s nothing particularly special about humans then we’re just particularly bald apes. The middle ground is to acknowledge that people are religious without espousing a religion. We can’t do that if we vote for the party that doesn’t talk about religion at all. (Actually this is the paintbrush of the Democrat Smear Machine. Don’t talk about religion so that anyone who even listens to Dishwalla’s “Counting Blue Cars” can be questioned).

On that theme of acknowledging things for what they are, we must also seek to understand things completely. A frightening number of people simply didn’t read the recent Georgia abortion law proposal about transvaginal ultrasounds. Instead, they reacted to a soundbite or the hilariously bad Huffington Post op ed on an op ed. “This person said women are animals!” isn’t thinking about the path this person took to get there, it’s simply an animal reaction to a comment without realizing that the apex of subscribing to evolution and denying the divine is that people are ultimately just very clever animals. This is where we know where people are married with kids, or pregnant. The unmarried, reactionist people operating on an animal level say “I wouldn’t want that in me!” But this is really the point. This medical tool didn’t spring gestalt from the pages of the proposed bill, whirring and throbbing veins intact. This medical tool (a transvaginal ultrasound device) has a legitimate purpose in pregnancy and it’s used by doctors all the time for pregnancy situations which might require surgery. What is abortion if not surgery? Do you really want the doctor grabbing around in there blind?

This previous paragraph is mostly for naught. If anyone had actually read the proposal, they would have seen the text included an opt out for this particular part of the procedure provided there was not a medical necessity to use the device for the protection of the mother during the course of the procedure. You can read HB 954 here. Also included was the objection that anesthesia drove the cost of the abortion up out of reach of “low income unprivileged women”. Lets think about that for a moment – why anesthesia? Because doctors who perform fetal surgery during and after the 2nd trimester know the fetus feels pain and that it will abort if it’s not anesthetized. So think about that, we’re performing abortions on fetuses, who we know from the medical establishment feel pain. Just because you can’t hear or see the pain doesn’t make it any more right than it wouldn’t be murder if I taped your mouth shut and dumped gasoline all over you. Why didn’t anyone bring this up? Because to acknowledge that the fetus feels pain and should be anesthetized because it’s the decent thing to do also acknowledges that the fetus is a person who has rights and we should be decent to our fellow people. But you can’t say that. We would rather call it a child in surgery and a fetus in an abortion setting so we can save a few dollars.

How do we fix this?

The average American voter won’t read the bills. Why anyone would participate in the political process without actually reading the results of the process is beyond me. How do we assess the performance of the governance of the state without reading the laws and proposals? To fix this situation, people need to actually start reading house bills and proposals rather than reading Fox News and Huffington Post. It’s fine to use them as a jumping off point, but half the things posted to Huffpo, for instance, wouldn’t pass muster on Wikipedia. If your source is an “anonymous doctor” and the blog “deletes stupid comments”, not only are you not getting a balanced discussion, but you’re not getting an article anyone would take seriously. Why would you base your political opinions on that?

Read the house bills. Read the proposals. Finally, remember that politicians should be judged both on what they are doing but also on what they’re not doing.

The Internet is a Cellphone

The last post I wrote was a lament that the internet-as-a-cellphone wasn’t being fully explored from a technological standpoint.

Today we have the opposite problem: The internet-as-a-cellphone is being legislated as a cultural standpoint. Specifically, Domain Seizure has become the tool of choice to shut down “infringing content”. What is this content? Movies, games, pirated apps, etc.

How did we get here?

The old mode of piracy required a fair bit of infrastructure. A person would typically mail some money though the snailmail and they would typically get a stack of CDs or floppies in return with cracked apps and games on them. Things plunked along this way for a good while as the popularity of usenet declined due to AOL and eventually things went viral to the point where IRC was the mode of distribution. The IRC bots evolved to the point where if the bot didn’t have the software you were interested in, groups had agreed to cross referencing to other bots. The decline of USENET and the rise of IRC corresponded roughly from RadioShack and Circuit City not selling software or parts anymore to advertising software being pre-loaded on the pirated applications.

The movies thing I don’t think anyone saw coming. VHS piracy was as simple as going to blockbuster and renting whatever you wanted for $1 and then going home and wiring up the VCRs. As media moved into the digital realm, it meandered back to mail order DVDs (or the guy on the street corner selling questionable copies in strange languages), CD-Video (popular in asia, never here), MPEG copies on IRC, and the unfortunately named DivX video codec. DIVX players attempted to stem the tide with their dial-up DVD service but I would guess most of them ended up cracked.

Let me digress for a second and point out we forget who or what came before. The chinese looking to circumvent the firewall could learn oodles from the old US piracy market. How many books fit on a DVD? Actual text, I’m talking about, not ebooks. How many cameras come with an SD card now? Who checks all these things versus how much electronic stuff moves in and out of china? The great firewall doesn’t currently censor email as I recall, what about a wget service or a newsnet service with UUENCODED files? This is how the US used to do it and people wrote special mail handlers to reassemble these files, it would work in china. Its how it used to work. I had a DXR2. I bought it after my alpha died with which I used to rip DVDs. Nostalgia.

Somewhere along the way someone figured out the space requirements even for compressed, pirated materials (movies, games) was somewhere around 4GB.  Things plodded along at the 4GB limit for a bit and the movie industry responded by packing “HD Content” into 9GB DVDs with double layers, and finally the whole weird push to blu-ray and HD-DVD came around and blu-ray won because Sony’s pockets are deep enough to pay for a loss leader like that.

Suddenly, things came full circle. TV stalled. Gimmicks for TVs haven’t impressed consumers much because who cares about 3D content if it’s not on demand. Movies suffer the same problem. The issue is the world simply got busier. No-one has a two hour chunk of time to go to the theatre anymore. We don’t even have time to take books off the shelf. Why should we? We read books on our laptops, then the laptop became a tablet, than the table became an ebook reader, then the ebook reader stopped existing and became software on a cellphone. We scaled up the cellphone screen to a tablet again, but these new tablets had enough bandwidth and CPU to do something interesting – they could surf the web, and they could watch video. How big is the new HD AVATAR? 1.2GB. How big is the new HD INCEPTION? 1.4GB. This for full, 1080p content. Samsung said as much with it’s cellphones with the screen, but more importantly the line-out to your actual TV.

This is the other side of the convergence that the new internet is a cellphone.

Now we look at Megaupload and GMAIL and such and 8GB is the norm. 8GB used to be just under what it took to store a DVD. Now 8GB is just enough to store 7 full movies. What’s important is that it’s the norm. It’s an artefact from a time when things were bigger and they could be bigger because we weren’t trying to consume content down small pipes. The movie companies know this but how could they legislate how much storage a particular user has? YouTube doesn’t even care. GMAIL? Why should they make it smaller? MegaUpload? 200MB, but how hard is it to keep a list of 5 URLs to unpack a RAR of a movie? Therein lies the problem. This is basically a bandwidth problem versus a content control problem. Since they (the MPAA/RIAA) can’t control the bandwidth they’ll try to control the content. What’s the best way to do that? Take away their cellphone. One man’s ZIP is another man’s video-codec, what’s the difference between cat and zcat? Compression, but they work the same way. The MPAA/RIAA already subscribes to this new model where the internet is a cellphone, and so everyone crying FREE SPEECH over the whole seizure of URLs doesn’t get it.Taking away a sites URL is like taking away their cellphone. It doesn’t impinge on their free speech, it just takes away the radio tower. Get another cellphone, learn the IPs. Your OS has a hosts file for a reason. It’s no biggie.

Just for reference: I do believe the megaupload files were seized improperly. I think everyone who was using it as a legitimate document repository should sue. I just don’t think the URL seizure is illegal nor amoral and reveals a profound misunderstanding of how the internet works.

Yahweh, Jehova, Adonai and the Meru Foundation

This is just wild as a mental game. If you’re familiar with the idea that numbers are letters (“music is math”) then this is going to be fun. The entire thing was posited from the Meru Foundation. We’re going to do this backwards and give you the big reveal first. Most people don’t know what they have in hand until they get that ah-ha moment and realize they knew it the entire time. Disclaimer – My Hebrew sucks. Want to play along at home? Take the mental model and correct my Hebrew. I only recently became interested in this stuff.

This entire piece does not vindicate the Jews, nor any other religion or race. If anything the principal laid out by the rabbis holds – “The [Torah] was written 2000 years before creation”. The spiritual world is a garden, and we tend to it by meditating on spiritual things. There are Jews who have this, Christians and Muslims too, and they don’t even understand where words come from. They have not the faintest idea that the secret of Islamic holy thought is that AL LA – All and Nothing. The Alpha and the Omega. This is the thread of esoteric thought.

For the people who are looking for the bite sized version, here’s a video:

Now the long version… I got interested in the entire thing from Puscifers “Sour Grapes” video. I had played with the idea, mentally, forever. It’s one of those things where the mirror isn’t important. You just need to know it’s a mirror. This existentialist idea blows you away the first time you get there. It’s not a mirror. Its you thinking about a mirror.

Remember that their front man is Maynard James Keenan of TOOL. TOOL is one of the rare, so very rare groups that have peeked behind the veil. TOOL suddenly look a weird trip into space with the release of Lateralus. They hinted that they knew something was up and that the next album was going to be about the Sacred Geometry but they didn’t say what, if anything, they intended. You can do the research on your own regarding TOOL, it’s been posted to here and back before.

TOOL is probably most people’s introduction to both Enochian thinking and the Kabbalah. Enochian is nothing more than the Kabbalah reinvented and entire books have been written about the mechanics with little regard to why. Now that 90% of you have stopped reading, we can discuss what Sour Grapes means. Sour Grapes is typical Maynard. He doesn’t ever hand you something. On the face of it, you can write it off as Maynard making fun of religion. The song sounds like a black evangelical church and you can just imagine the GOD HATES FAGS signs waving around.

Listen more closely, he’s trying to tell you something.

Watching the video shows us space. Then in space there’s a line. Then the line becomes a circle. Then the circle becomes a cell. Sound familiar? In the beginning were the heavens and the earth. Wait, it doesn’t say that, what does it say?

Righteous are those
Who look up and sway with the wind,
Who look down and dance with the shifting of the soil,
Who swim with the movement of the tides

Hm, doesn’t seem like chuch now does it? Maybe we should listen closer…

In the background it starts off with a hallelujah chorus. Sounds fine, it echos through the first verse. Wait, maybe it doesn’t. Right before the transition there’s a (barely audible) stumble in the back which sounds an awful lot like Ha-Le-Ha. It is not the words of the next part. The next part of the background vocals sings Jehovah, Yahweh over and over again. I think there’s a tell here. The background vocals for just one moment are vulgar hebrew – Hei-Lamed-Heh. What’s missing? Yod. Where do we find it? Yahweh.

Or rather, he hands it to us, but Maynard doesn’t say the trick out loud. It’s a secret, you see and it’s hidden in plain sight. After Hei-Lamed-Heh, the chorus background turns to Yahweh, jehova. What is this? This is the tetragrammaton – The Name of God. YHVH, JHVH. The transition here is incredibly important how it was executed. Missing from the language is Yod. Assuming Maynards Hebrew is as bad as my own, he said HVH, or “I will be”. Yod comes first to make this YHVH. Yod becomes Veh in the future, or HVH becomes YHVH. This is part of the message, no doubt in my mind. Yod represents the anchor of creation, the contraction of God’s energy to spark all of life. YHVH therefor is the post-creation name of God.

Where do we get Jehovah or Yahweh from then? We know we’re supposed to be playing games with Hebrew. In typical esoteric thought fashion, you must know the word to be the word. The word is vulgar, but in it is the truth. Once you understand the meaning of The Word the words you use to express it are entirely incidental. YHVH isn’t something you’re going to render in English without some vowels. We weren’t looking for YHVH, Sour Grapes is about Adonai. Adonai is the name of the vowel subtext in YHVH, yAd-hOn-hAi. This is Hebrew as it is read, Qere, as opposed to how it is written, Ketiv.

Hows it supposed to be read? In English. How is Sour Grapes about Adonai? Ezekiel 18 says:

1 The word ADONAI came to me: 2 “What does it mean, that you keep quoting this proverb in the land of Isra’el ‘When parents eat sour grapes, their children’s teeth are set on edge’? 3 “As I live,” says Adonai ELOHIM, “I swear that you will never again quote this proverb in Isra’el.

The four levels of the song reflect the four levels of Kaballistic thought.

Pershat – The “direct interpretation”. The first go of the song is a bunch of bible thumping conservative Christians. My wife accused the song of being scary because it quoted the boble.

Remez – “Hints”. Reading the lyrics give us a hint as to the meaning of the song. We read the lyrics and realize that this is a religious song in the context of the direct interpretation of listening to the song without hearing the lyrics, then we listen to the lyrics.

Drash – “To seek”. We read the lyrics and think about what they might mean. Obviously thing is a song which requires us to not examine the obvious lyrics but the less obvious lyrics. Hallelujah, HVH, YHVH, JHVH.

Sod – “The mystery”. Or not even that. The entire song is setup to make people go from bible thumping fundies to taking a serious think about the universe. The mystery is made plain by concentrating on the sublime.

The word was written before creation, in the subject of this post before the post was written…

Your kid is racist part 12


We had taught Alex to make the “funny face” when people say funny face or make faces at him. He tilts his head back, half closes his eyes, scrunches up his nose and laughs while sticking his tongue out.

I was at the center city (norristown) Burger king for whopper Wednesday and everyone was saying hi to him. A sekh in a turban and huge beard comes up to him and says “hello there little fellow”

Alex freezes, the gears grind for a minute and he tilts his head back and makes the funny face unprompted.

Posted while trying not to laugh out loud at the poor Guy.