Have a look at analytics.usa.gov. You’ll see statistics for the aggregate of most federal government websites: Number of Visits, Top Pages and Domains, Visitor Locations, Top Downloads, Devices, Browsers, and Operating Systems.
A 2016 HBO documentary, Hacking Democracy, discusses voting irregularities and the ease of hacking the results of electronic voting systems:
It introduces Bev Harris, a 52 year old grandmother who stumbled upon evidence of vote tampering. She went on to create Black Box Voting, a nonpartisan investigative reporting and public education organization for elections.
Apparently these Diebold machines employ a Windows NT operating system. Here’s an excerpt from a Security Analysis of the Diebold AccuVote-TS Voting Machine: “Simply put, many computer scientists doubt that paperless DREs [Direct Recording Electronic voting systems] can be made reliable and secure, and they expect that any failures of such systems would likely go undetected.”
Despite these problems, we believe that it is possible, at reasonable cost, to build a DRE-based voting system—including hardware, software, and election procedures—that is suitably secure and reliable. Such a system would require not only a voting machine designed with more care and attention to security, but also an array of safeguards, including a well-designed voter-verifiable paper audit trail system, random audits and forensic analyses, and truly independent security review.
In this video, Clint Curtis, a Florida-based computer programmer testifies to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee about vote tampering in software:
It’s much easier to audit a paper ballot system. Computers are faster than paper, but, to at least some degree, vulnerable to hacking.
I like Mr. Steyn’s witty observations in this video and his skillful use of language. I agree; multiculturalism is a denial of reality.
Update, in the wake of the bombings in Brussels: In his March 25 2016 article, Mr. Steyn highlights the stupidity of the EU’s suicidal immigration policies (if you can call them that): “Europe would rather destroy itself than retreat from the delusions of multiculturalism.”
I’ve admired retired world chess champion Garry Kasparov for his mastery of the game of chess. Mr. Kasparov broke multiple chess records and met (and lost) a challenge from IBM’s Deep Blue. He’s also an anti-Putin activist, eloquent writer, and thoughtful political analyst.
I thought that Kasparov confined his commentary to the former Soviet Union, but he just published a thoughtful DailyBeast article titled Hey Bernie don’t lecture me about socialism. I lived through it. He’s seen both capitalism and socialism from their insides and I respect his opinion of both. He argues that only capitalism encourages innovation, which enriches everyone.
When I was a young teenager, listening to shortwave radio broadcasts from many countries taught me that the news that’s presented by what’s now called mainstream media (MSM) is rarely the whole story.
Thanks to Twitter, YouTube, and other Internet based outlets, now we can hear firsthand accounts from eyewitnesses without the MSM filters. Here’s one firsthand report on reddit: What really happened at the Chicago rally
By using MyRide to know when the next bus is going to arrive, you can minimize time spent waiting for a bus. You will know when to leave home or the office in order to meet the bus.
In addition to using the dedicated smartphone app, I hope that riders may use universal apps such as moovit to display arrival information.
The system sounds terrific. According to its vendor,
ISR FleetTrack Passenger Information Software is a flexible system for the creation and broadcasting of transit related content to provide dynamic passenger information at stops, shelters, in-vehicle, terminals and any other point of presence such as:
At work or at home – real-time information via the Internet
On the way to the stop – real-time information via cellular phone
At the stop –real-time information on electronic display and by means of audio announcements
On the bus/in the tram – real-time information on electronic display
The information is transmitted from the ISR FleetTrack Server to the SPM (onboard computer) online via cellular communication, then passed on to the information display. This includes information such as:
Route – entire route path and destination stop is represented, not just the next stop.
Journey times – passenger knows how long his trip is predicted to take.
Transfer advice – informs the passenger of the possibilities for changing to different modes of transport.
Transfer times – indication of the next transfer times for buses, trams and trains simplify the journey for the passenger.
On-Board passenger voice enunciation such as current and next stop
External voice enunciation within bus stop and terminal
On-Board passenger route progression or intersecting routes display
Route and destination display on front and side bus signs
Passenger information displays at bus stops
Multi-Route display of next two bus arrivals
I know nobody within the Broward County Transit Authority, so I’m just guessing based upon what I can find on the web. Apparently this kind of system is called an intelligent transportation systems (ITS). It appears that ISR’s ITS is a complete fleet management system that will include
improved bus maintenance scheduling
“CAD” (computer aided dispatch)
security.automated vehicle location (AVl)
real time passenger information (RTIS)
automatic passenger counters (APC)
automatic voice annunciators (AVA)
interactive voice response (IVR) systems
This system — if it works — could be terrific. We’ll see. If it succeeds here and elsewhere, it could help fix our transport mess.
Are you confused by the FBI vs Apple dispute regarding Syed Farook’s iPhone? I am.
In an excellent article published today, Cnet neatly summarized the delicate position in which Apple finds itself, following the issuance of a court order that compels Apple to help authorities unlock the iPhone 5c that was used by Islamic terrorist and mass murderer Syed Farook.
The nugget that surprises me is that the FBI appears to be preparing a brute force attack on this iPhone’s 256-bit AES encryption. This is a daunting task. To brute-force attack encrypted data that’s encrypted with AES-256, you need to try each of 2256 or 116,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000 possibilities. That’s more than the number of atoms in the universe.
If Farook chose a strong passphrase, it could require thousands of years for most computers to decrypt his data. It appears that the FBI has serious horsepower to throw at this task.
I was amazed when Barack Obama declared that climate change is the nation’s biggest enemy. Forget ISIS, Iran, al-Qaeda, murders of citizens by illegal aliens, uncontrolled immigration, jobs outsourcing, factories moving offshore . . . etc. No, Mr. Obama’s delusions convince him that global warming is more important.
Maybe George Carlin can bring some sanity to this:
Next week, the Paris Climate Change Conference begins. It’s basically a waste of time and money because anthropogenic global warming is an imaginary problem. One hidden agenda is the transfer of wealth from developed nations to less developed nations. Another is the transfer of wealth into the pockets of scam artists such as Al Gore. I wish that the conference would listen to, among others, Patrick Moore and Freeman Dyson.
Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace, spoke last month about climate change. Here’s YouTube’s video record of his presentation:
Dr. Moore argues that the earth’s climate has ALWAYS changed, and that carbon dioxide is good for all life on our planet. Broadly speaking, his argument agrees with that of eminent mathematician and physicist Freeman Dyson, who’s studied global climate since the 1970s, while a professor of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.
I don’t know much about Dr. Moore, but I’ve long admired the independent thought of Freeman Dyson. When he speaks, I listen (and watch):
Freeman Dyson’s observations:
“CO2 is so beneficial . . . it would be crazy to try to reduce it.”
“Probably it does us good; the Earth will get greener as a result.”
“The climate models are no good for prediction.”
In a discussion about global warming stupidity, Professor Dyson confesses,
Dear Norman Page,
Thank you for your message and for the blog. That all makes sense.
I wish I knew how to get important people to listen to you. But there is not much that I can do. I have zero credibility as an expert on climate. I am just a theoretical physicist, 91 years old and obviously out of touch with the real world. I do what I can, writing reviews and giving talks, but important people are not listening to me. They will listen when the glaciers start growing in Kentucky, but I will not be around then.
Vladimir Putin, overheard in conversation with colleagues at the recent G20 meeting, referred to an image of Barack Obama on a video screen and laughed, “He’s a child . . . he’s a child!”
Indeed. West Africans use a simplified version of English that includes nouns that succinctly describe personalities. I’ve already identified Mr. Obama as a confusionist. Another apt west African tag is small boy. (In contrast, a true leader is a big man.)
I was puzzled at first by Obama’s refusal to utter the phrase “radical Islam”, his seeming lack of empathy for the victims of Friday’s massacre in Paris by ISIS, and his insistence that the US accept tens or hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees from Syria. It does though make sense when we listen to his own words:
The future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam.
The sweetest sound I know is the Muslim call to prayer.
We will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over the centuries to shape the world — including in my own country.
As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam.
Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance.
. . . etcetera
Putin has it right. Obama’s reign of error is that of a child — a narcissistic small boy avenging his father. Such a neurotic character served Shakespeare well, but is unfit to be president.
Smaller American municipalities are attracting businesses by offering economical broadband service. In 2010, Salisbury, North Carolina began offering broadband service to its residents and business customers. The city created a wholly owned utility named Fibrant. Fibrant’s FAQ page explains:
Q: How did Fibrant get started?
A: The City Council of Salisbury, NC was unhappy with the lack of broadband service provided by incumbent networks. They invested in building Fibrant as a municipal utility to encourage economic development, increase competitive opportunities for our existing businesses and to provide citizens globally competitive access to the world.
Fibrant’s latest pricing is enticing:
Ten gbps (gigabits per second) symmetrical service: $410 per month for business and residential customers
One gbps symmetrical service: $105 per month for business and residential customers
50 Mbps (Megabits per second) symmetrical service for $45 per month
These are fantastic prices for smokin’ fast broadband service. The incumbent Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have lobbied some state legislatures to prevent municipalities from undertaking broadband service provision. Salisbury residents are lucky. This article describes North Carolina’s ill-advised municipal broadband restrictions:
Those clamoring for fiber broadband speeds under the state’s anti-community broadband law will have to move to one of a handful of grandfathered communities in North Carolina where forward-thinking leaders actually built the fiber networks private companies are still only talking about.
I congratulate Salisbury’s city council. Fast broadband attracts business. Watch Salisbury grow. This Salisbury Post article mentions business opportunities.
I love this parody. It’s a humorous advertisement for your own mail server:
Do you run a government agency but hate complying with the law? Then you need DC Matic, the Hillary Clinton-approved email server!
credit: Written and performed by Remy. Video directed and edited by Meredith Bragg
What’s Hillary hiding? Classified emails? Sure. Evidence of her negligence in Benghazi that led to the murders of US citizens? Of course. Security breaches via assistant Huma Abedin’s Muslim Brotherhood connections? Probably. No, the ticking time bomb in this server is bribery. Maybe treason as well. She’s hiding written evidence of her deals that traded State Department help in exchange for large donations to the Clinton Foundation and large fees for speaking engagements by Bill Clinton.
Today’s laughably corrupt Obama regime is life imitating art. Which art? Cinema. Whacked-out cinema. Farce. Namely, 1969’s Putney Swope:
Both Swope and Obama were elected to office by fools who suffer from chronic white guilt.
In 1969, Putney Swope announced:
The changes I’m gonna make will be minimal. I’m not gonna rock the boat. Rockin’ the boat’s a drag. What you do is sink the boat.
In 2008, Barack Obama bragged:
. . . we are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.
Mr. Obama is trying to transform America, alright. Transform it from a prosperous capitalist economy governed by a constitutional republic to a bankrupt socialist economy governed by a corrupt tyrannical dictatorship. Barack is following Putney’s credo, “What you do is sink the boat.”
I did not have textual relations with that server.
Yesterday, the FBI took possession of Hillary Clinton’s private mail server. It provided mail services for the clintonemail.com domain. She, using the email@example.com mailbox, apparently used it for official email while she was Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013. This is a violation of US federal regulations on preservation of government records.
It’s clear that Hillary set up this server specifically to circumvent these regulations. While Secretary of State she set up a tollbooth which collected payments from business and government leaders in exchange for favors from her department and friends. The payments were deposited in the Clinton Foundation slush fund. Of course she didn’t want records kept in the federal archive.
I don’t know the details of this server. Microsoft Exchange is popular, but a pain to configure and maintain. A Linux-based mailserver is also a pain to configure but requires less maintenance. In either case outside I.T. support is required. That party will have worthwhile information.
In March, Hillary claimed,
The server contains personal communications from my husband and me, and I believe I have met all of my responsibilities and the server will remain private.
Her dopey husband accidentally contradicted her twice when he denied ever sending any emails to anyone, ever.
Unencrypted classified emails?
Apparently her clintonemail.com server had no authentication certificate for its first three months of operation. This means that all traffic in and out of that server would have been unencrypted. Chances are good that the Chinese, Russian, or Ukraine government read some of those emails.
I’m curious to see what’s on the server’s backup system’s archived media.
Lady MacClinton’s been skating on thin legal ice for years. Maybe this time she’ll not skate away.
Tom Tryniski has an unusual hobby. Since 1999, he’s been scanning in old newspapers, converting the scanned images to ASCII text, and indexing that text. According to Wikipedia, “As of September 2014, the site has over 28 million newspaper pages.” Tom has done this all by himself.
Tom’s website home page opens with a brief animated movie (a website design no-no), but his site’s wealth of data is worth the delay. Its search function is excellent. I was able to quickly find decades-old information about old friends from New York state.
Or just someone who values accurate communication?
Today I viewed a brief well-done video that gushed about the growth of the Internet. A male voice compared connection speeds today with those of 1984. He mis-read kbps (kilobits per second) as “kiloBYTES per second” and Mbps (Megabits per second) as “megaBYTES per second”. He’s off by a factor of eight. For me, this sort of error is like hearing fingernails scrape a blackboard.
Here’s the video (requires Flash):
I encounter this sort of factual error all the time. I can usually correct the error in my head and forget about it. Occasionally, though, multiple factual errors cascade and obliterate the truth. When this happens, the writer and/or speaker has failed to communicate. All we’re left with is a jumble of mis-applied technical terms, with no clear meaning.
Maybe both possibilities are true. Maybe this cover-up includes the White House, and maybe the conspirators are taking advantage of the I.T. staff’s incompetence. After a year of stalling, this seems not just possible, but probable.
1 August update:
The House of Representatives’ Government Oversight Committee calls for the removal of IRS Commissioner Koskinen. The committee will hold Mr. Koskinen in contempt of Congress and impeach him if Mr. Obama doesn’t remove Mr. Koskinen from office. This video includes an incriminating timeline of one cover-up after another:
Last week, Treasury Department’s Inspector General office discovered 722 backup tapes that contain Lois Lerner emails. According to Judicial Watch’s press release,
This material shows that the IRS’ cover-up began years ago. We now have smoking-gun proof that top officials in the Obama IRS unlawfully harassed taxpayers just to keep them from complaining to Congress about IRS’ targeting and abuse.
It’s obvious that Mr. Koskinen’s IRS has been a weapon used by the corrupt Obama administration to punish its critics and that Lois Lerner was (albeit eagerly) “only following orders”.
This week the New York Post published an excellent article titled Obama has been collecting personal data for a secret race database. Soon after becoming chancellor in 1933, Adolph Hitler initiated a German census, with the assistance of IBM’s German subsidiary. The census used IBM’s Hollerith punch card technology: one card per each person. On this card were fields that defined address, race, religion, and ancestors.
This database probably seemed benign in 1933. A few years later, it powered Krystalnacht and, soon after, the entire holocaust.
After invading Poland, the Nazis immediately began a census. Ditto Holland and France. Again, IBM technology powered these efforts. Tyrannical centralized regimes require detailed demographic data collection and tabulation so that they can select groups and individuals for “special treatment”.
I object to any central government collecting reams of data about its citizens. In particular, I don’t trust this administration. Aside from its dubious motives, it’s proven its inability to safeguard personal data, including fingerprints, of millions of security clearance applicants. It appears that China now has these data.
Last week, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler — who has deep roots in the cable TV and wireless phone industries — proposed a surprise: broadband carriers, both wired and wireless, should be regulated as common carriers under title 2 of the Telecommunications Act so that they provide uniform broadband service to all consumers. In addition, the FCC proposed that the definition of broadband should be upgraded to 25 Mbps. (It has been 4 Mbps.) Consumers will benefit from these actions.
As a compensatory gift to the cable TV companies, Mr. Wheeler proposes that there should be no last mile (the distribution cable from the carrier’s central office to the customer premise) unbundling. (The phone companies were ordered years ago to unbundle their last mile — that’s what allows companies such as DSL Extreme to offer low cost DSL service over the local carrier’s twisted pair.) AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast spend tons of money on lobbyists. They’ll expect to receive favors from Congress in return for their largesse, so Mr. Wheeler’s proposal will be in for rough sledding when it hits Congress.
I listened to an informative 22-minute audio clip titled Going Going Gone by James Surowiecki and published by Wired magazine in 2011. Mr. Surowiecki discusses the rise and fall of auctions on eBay and claims that consumer behavior and expectations have radically changed as a result of the web, eBay, Google, and Amazon. eBay auctions grew like mad through about 2007, then began to lose steam. Auctions comprised only 30 percent of eBay sales in 2010.
I think that one flaw in the eBay auction model is that the time that an auction ends is preset. A real world auction ends only when bidding stops. The eBay auction model encourages “sniping” — waiting until the last second before placing a bid. (I use eSnipe. It works well. Why put your cards on the table early?) Sniping discourages new eBay bidders.
The growth of Amazon Marketplace has hurt eBay. So has Google: shoppers use Google to easily find even rare items across the web.
Like Craigslist, eBay’s failure to police its neighborhood has resulted in a chaotic marketplace. On the other hand, Amazon’s tight control of its sellers has created a relatively safe, stable marketplace.
If you’ve ever bought or sold on eBay, this is a worthwhile listen.
The FCC plans to meet with broadcasters with a view to recovering some radio frequency (RF) spectrum from them. Recovered spectrum would be auctioned to cellular wireless broadband Internet service providers.
From a spectral efficiency viewpoint, this could make sense. Today’s modulation methods conserve spectrum (compared to traditional AM and FM broadcast signals) and the cellular model allows many geographically separated users to independently share one frequency. The packet model leaves each channel available for others whenever data isn’t flowing. From a consumer’s point of view, it allows program content on demand, rather than only when the broadcaster airs the content.
I wonder how much longer the RF broadcast model will make sense?
I believe in recycling. So does Jeff Torkelson, who’s a generous Fort Lauderdale cyclist who additionally believes in giving to his community — and he has acted on his beliefs. Jeff created the Recyclable Bicycle Exchange (“RBX”) in Fort Lauderdale to convert unwanted and/or unneeded bicycles into dreams come true for kids who otherwise couldn’t own bikes.
I first met Jeff in 2013 when he came to the Marino Campus to introduce the students to the Broward B-cycle bicycle sharing system. Jeff is its founder and manager. He gave away free bike helmets; I still use mine almost every day.
He decided he wanted to give back to the community after his father died of cancer five years ago. The idea for the exchange came about when Torkelson started volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County.
“Here were children living lives where it was considered ordinary not to have a bike,” said Torkelson, 47. “I always thought every kid had a bike, that it was part of growing up.”
On the RBX website, Jeff defines the RBX mission:
To supply quality and safe bikes to the kids (big kids too) of South Florida, including the kids of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County (BBBS), as a means of introducing an entertaining activity that promotes an active lifestyle.
I’ve always admired Englishman Alex Moulton’s innovative solutions to thorny mechanical problems. His compact, lightweight, and simple elastomeric “donut” suspension design allowed the BMC Mini car of 1959-1970 to provide amazingly spacious interior room compared to its tiny exterior dimensions. Then he re-thought the humble bicycle, which resulted in a compact frame with tiny wheels and . . . elastomeric donut suspension.
Wikipedia’s biography Like most memorable inventors, when searching for solutions, Alex Moulton returned to first principles. Though Dr. Moulton died in 2012, his Moulton Bicycle Company continues to manufacture his unique bikes.
Here’s a well-done audio program about Moulton bicycles, including Dr. Moulton’s commentary:
I’ve cycled through Moulton’s lovely canalside town of Bradford on Avon (and its surrounding hills). It’s beautiful country for bicycle touring. That’s why it’s remarkable that Moulton bikes are so maneuverable on crowded city streets.
Simply put: No service should be stuck in a ‘slow lane’ because it does not pay a fee. That kind of gate keeping would undermine the level playing field essential to the Internet’s growth.
I’m puzzled. If Mr. Obama favors net neutrality, why did he appoint cable TV and cellular phone industry lobbyist Tom Wheeler as FCC chairman last year? In May, predictably, FCC Chairman Wheeler Proposes Net Partiality, which he couched in terms of “net neutrality”. Curiouser and curiouser.