Yet another candidate throws his hat in the ring. I wish.

Many years ago, I made up a “Cthulhu- Why vote for the lesser of evils?” campaign poster. It was intended for one of the prezzy popularity contests, but darned if I recall which one. By the next mid-term cycle, I realized it was still usable with no edits. I’ve been recycling it ever since.

No more. I knew it was coming, but I pushed the joke for a while.

Sadly, Cthulhu has been relegated to a distant second place probably third place. Or lower.


TL;DR: Do not use the allegedly forthcoming “OpenBazaar” unless you like security and privacy vulnerabilities.

So there’s an outfit backed by some venture capitalists supposedly creating an open source P2P client for private, secure online purchases (think “distributed version of Silk Road). Interesting idea.

Until you hit their web site. It absolutely requires lots of javascript and Flash to work.

I can tolerate some javascript. Depends on where it’s coming from. But any site that requires Flash is an instant no-go. It doesn’t instill a great deal of confidence in the privacy and security of the OB client. Sure, being open source will let people look for vulnerabilities. But the demonstrated preference for web hazards doesn’t bode well for them minimizing vulnerabilities in the first place, or fixing them in a timely matter in the second place.

Great Ghu…

I sent an email explaining those objections to all those vulnerabilities. I just received a reply from “Brian Hoffman”:

“Ok peace. You can go get the client from GitHub directly and avoid the marketing site. Your style of browsing the web isn’t the only one so we’ll continue to do things the way we see fit, but thanks for the heads up. Everyone is free to do what they like and so are you.”

Apparently he doesn’t get “But the demonstrated preference for web hazards doesn’t bode well for them minimizing vulnerabilities in the first place, or fixing them in a timely matter in the second place.”. My problem isn’t the marketing site. It’s what the marketing site tells me about the nonchalant security attitude of people professing to build a private, secure product.

So I replied to Hoffman:

My “style of browsing” (i.e.- Linux, Pale Moon, NoScript, Flash blocking, etc) is exactly what is used by tech-savvy people, who would want a secure, private OpenBazaar client, use. Except the ones who go even farther with dedicated machines running through multiple proxies, and so on and so forth.

The Internet Exploder users who don’t care about Flash and scripting (and security and privacy) aren’t looking for an OB product. They’ll just use Etsy, eBay, Craigslist, and Cousin Charlie’s girlfriend’s best friend’s contact. You should probably take another look at your targeted demographic.

Hoffman’s answer:

Our product is not just targeted at the niche audience that is anarchic, libertarian, highly technical users.* Sorry to disappoint you. Probably want to look elsewhere.

Well, yeah. That I won’t be looking at his little security violation was my point.

I gather that Hoffman is a programming type. Maybe those VCs should provide somemone with a better grasp of public relations to screen email. Not to mention someone with a clue regarding demographic targeting. And while I might be a little sensitive to rudeness and cluelessnes, Claire Wolfe was also… impressed by Hoffman’s shortfalls.

OB might turn out to be a decent product, despite some incredibly questionable security decisions by the developers. But I doubt it. If it does, it will only be after months to years of vetting by the anarchic, libertarian, highly technical open source community; most of whom just might look at this and decide its simply to risky to even bother vetting.

* OB is based on Bitcoin. Pretty much by definition that severely limits OB to highly technical users interested in privacy and security.

Normally, I’d consider that advice to be bullshit


But in the case of a dumbass burglar taking time to pry open an apparently unlocked glass door/window with a big honkin’ crowbar…

…then maybe putting a dead bolt on your flimsy, near-cardboard, hollowcore closet door would work.


Consider also putting a lock on the inside of a closet, such as a deadbolt.

But then, they also expect you have electrical outlets and power strips in that closet:

Charging your phone in a closet is also a great way to hide all those pesky cords—(think about charging your kindle, your iPad, your power drill in there too).

And by Ghu don’t defend yourself:

3. Unless you are a trained professional, don’t grab a weapon. This includes firearms, baseball bats and pepper spray. They all sound like a good idea, but again, we don’t know how the burglar will react to seeing an armed person.

I’ve got a fair idea how a burglar encountering me with a gun will react. Either immediate total surrender, or pain, profuse bleeding, and likely death (maybe he’ll bring a cell phone, too, so he can make a proactive call for his ambulance).

Surprise: This is a company trying to sell you an alarm system, so naturally they advise an alarm system so you know when to cower, hide, and run away.

(Hat tip to Of Arms and the Law.)

Coming soon to Obamacare

I hope I’m kidding.

Detecting disease in beef cattle using ear tag units
Revolutionary ear tags may aid producers in catching cattle diseases at their first signs

The devices are able to detect the most sensitive of motions, from the number of steps taken during a morning walk to the number of jaw movements during a heifer’s morning meal. In fact, some dairy producers use these devices to measure feed intake, detect heat and notably, identify sick animals.

“We know that rumination and feeding patterns change in diseased animals long before they visually show clinical signs,” said Dr. Karin Orsel, Associate Professor at the University of Calgary.

“Doom and gloom”

Yesterday, in a Claire Wolfe blog post — the premise of which is how the administration is incrementally banning gun ownership without actually banning guns — I was criticized in comments for espousing “doom and gloom” for noting details of how the administration is incrementally banning gun ownership without actually banning guns.

I drafted a response, then spent the night deciding whether to post the comment. In the end, I thought better of turning Claire’s blog into a potential screaming match. But I still thought what I wrote needed saying.

With a little additional editing, here ’tis. Those who wish can talk about in comments. I choose not to participate further. Have fun.

You need to take up the doom&gloom issues with the folks doing it, not the ones pointing it out.

1. The feds did implement background checks.
2. The feds did expand the database.
3. The fedsdid mandate expanded state reporting to the NICS database.
4. The feds did start adding veterans to the NICS database without real adjudication, for alleged mental incompetence based on using assistance with bills.
5. The feds are now expanding the same VA-style reporting to SSI disability recipients.
6. The feds are now assembling a mortgage database. The stated purpose of forcing diversity on neighborhoods is bad enough. Given the way the aforementioned Social Security program has been expanded insanely beyond what it supposedly was for, I think the possibility that mortgage database applications will likewise expand is a reasonable guess.

(The PoA bit was just to make a point of how far this could theoretically be taken, but we are dealing with a federal government that is currently bragging about expanding government support (“welfare,” etc) to include 1 in 5 residents “incompetent” to support themselves.)

True, I’m guilty of hypothesizing an extrapolated scenario that’s only consistent with what the feds have been doing for a couple of decades. I suppose I could stick my fingers in my ears and chant, “La la la, the state doesn’t exist, I’m free;” and rip into folks who even mention the defunct constitution (which was never exactly perfect, but beat the heck out of anything else in the world at the time*).

Tell me which part of my hypothesis is inconsistent with the government’s actions (which, rainbows and unicorns aside, does exist even if it shouldn’t), or that any of the current batch of demublican megalomaniacal campaigners wouldn’t be happy to leave in place for their own agenda.

What the feds are currently doing violates their own supposed rules. They aren’t stopping. And I don’t see the general population rising up to stop what’s been going on for decades.

They came for the convicted felons, but I wasn’t a felon so I said nothing.
They came for the misdemeanor domestic violence offenders, but my wife hadn’t reported me for intimidating her by yelling so I said nothing.
They came for the Section 8 residents, but I wasn’t on Section 8 so I said nothing.
They came for the veterans, but I wasn’t a veteran so I said nothing.
They came for the disability recipients, but I wasn’t on disability so I said nothing.
They came for the mortgage defaulters, but I didn’t default so I said nothing…

* Not counting the Articles of Confederation, unlawfully tossed out in the Constitutional Coup, but that’s another discussion.