Let’s start by facing some facts. Superhero movies, and TV shows, are making so much money right now that there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that Hollywood will stop making them in the foreseeable future. The good news is, if you don’t like them, there are many other options. If you do, then you’re golden and need not worry about much else. Well, global politics and famine and stuff, sure, but not movies. This year saw Marvel demur from attending San Diego Comic Con. They certainly had no need to be there. They could, and did, release trailers on Youtube from where ever they happened to be. And, let’s be blunt, I doubt any of them wanted to sit through fanboy theories about how Avengers: Infinity War should end. [Read more…] about Coming Attractions
Archives for 2018
Lilfe’s a funny old thing. You show up, with no input on when or where, you hang around for a while, then you die. Some make the most of their time here on this rock, other’s not so much. But, for some, choices are denied them. Somehow their bodies break down and cause them endless suffering. Yes, I’m aware some people’s brains break down as well, but today we’re just focusing on the flesh. You know, that tacky bag of epidermal tissue that tends to wrinkle and holds your bones and organs in. Anyway, a list of common diseases tend to roam the earth denying people their lives. They all tend to force the person to dramatically alter their lifestyle, eating habits, social constructs, and then they kill the person anyway. Some slower than others, but the end result is the same.
[Read more…] about Living a Little Healthier
Yesterday the World News Center’s official girlfriend and I joined the Center for Inclusivity as part of a group to allow parade participants to pass by a group of protesters without having to hear their hateful speech. And, dear God, was it hateful. This was our second year doing this and it seems to be becoming more important than ever for those of us not directly impacted by their hate to stand up, stand firm, and denounce it. For the record, it worked. Denied the ability to call marchers fags and dykes, admitting they refused to accept transexuals at all, and proclaiming anything else their limited vocabularies could disgorge, they took their megaphones and went home before the parade ended. So score one for the pride people. For that I am grateful. But listening to their litany of perceived affronts became draining after a while. Especially, as they blathered on, it became apparent they had no clue what they were actually talking about. It was just one hate filled fallacy after another. And, worse, it was scattered all across the bile spectrum. They were there to hate gays, of course, but also a laundry list of others.
Like I said, they hate the gays. They also, to a one, had an unhealthy fascination with anal sex. One man, an Indian who seemed unclear what was in the book he was misquoting, repeated this phrase numerous times in his allotted time; “There is a penis, you put it in an anus, are you insane?” He yelled it in case saying it wasn’t clear enough. All of the speakers seemed very concerned with this as well, clearly not realizing that anal sex is really popular with straight people too. If subtle jibes such as these didn’t persuade “the gays” to give up their “lifestyle” they resorted to name calling, body shaming (I lost count of how many people, including my girlfriend, they called fat), and pointing out that ALL homosexuals are severely depressed and kill themselves whenever they get the chance. Yeah, these assholes aren’t getting invited to any parties I’ll ever hold.
But that’s not all. They hate Muslims. With a dripping passion. Calling them animals and inhuman at every turn. You know, 9/11 ya’ll, but nary a word about the numerous people who’ve been killed by home grown terrorists. A number which far outstrips anything that happened on 9/11.
And, don’t worry, they didn’t forget the Catholics. Which was funny to me since the bible they cherry pick hate from is the one created by the Catholic church. Anyway, all priests are pedophiles. As are all gays. Therefore all gays are Catholic.
Got it? Yeah, don’t feel bad, neither did I.
That’s like “dogs scratch their heads when they itch, men scratch their heads when they think, therefore thinking causes fleas.”
I suppose I’d better not tell them about the gay saints Sergius and Bacchus. Not that they could pronounce their names anyway but they have enough on their hate plate for now.
They also added any allies to their pile. Cops who won’t kill gays for being gay? They must be purged. Businesses that serve gays? They must be shuttered. Boy Scouts who refuse to toe their restrictive line? They must be shunned as the moral deficients they clearly are. Religions which actually adhere to the teachings of Christ, who had nothing to say about “the gays” but a lot to say about false prophets, must be destroyed in fire.
These folks are really big into eternal fire. Almost as much as they are into anal sex. Plus they seem fond of guns too, 2nd Amendment Solutions seems to be a trademark of theirs, but didn’t have any yesterday.
Also, good news for the double X chromosomes among us, they didn’t forget women. Even going so far as to have their token representative from the Handmaids’ Tale there to remind women to dress down and be subservient. Or, as the witty one of the group reminded us, women need to get back in the kitchen where they belong. Let’s just say they’re not really enlightened and leave it at that.
Nor did they forget “the blacks.” Accusing them of all sorts of easily debunked myths. The odd part of this rant, which was echoed by all of them, is that black lives don’t matter because black women have abortions. Anyone else, not black, who has one was conveniently left out of their screed.
Thank God racism is dead.
Speaking of God, they thanked Him, conveniently ignoring the biblical Asherah, for presidents Bush and Trump. It is the latter who is helping bring back the moral America they pretend once existed.
I’ll ignore the lengthy litany of facts proving contrariwise here and just move on.
On and on it went, finally devolving into a bizarre form of Kabuki theater. They would ramp up the vitriol, those with us would ramp up the volume, the latter would drown out the former, and the marchers would come by and do stuff just to piss off the protesters. Men would kiss men, women would kiss women, one dude kissed me, many glorious asses, of all gender identities, took a moment out of their busy day to twerk in the direction of the Nazi wannabes, various and sundry middle fingers were raised, and, at the end of the day, all of the people who weren’t Nazi wannabes had a great time.
The thing about the protesters is that they’re not there to accomplish anything. They want a confrontation. They want someone to go off on them. They want proof that the people they marginalize are animals and should be treated as such.
They didn’t get that yesterday. They never have. I doubt they ever will. You see, unlike them, the people they hate are civilized.
The headline might seem a touch off putting but it was the best way I could think of to get the point across. While science fiction has long considered the idea that there could be some sort of mandatory maximum age (Logans Run, Star Trek: The Next Generation and others), the idea seemed ludicrous to most. We barely lived long enough to register as a flutter against the geologic scale of time, why would we happily kill ourselves? Way back in January of 2014 I wrote an article about how science had discovered a set of genes which could impact our lifespans. It was a more innocent time. The article more whimsical than worthy of serious consideration.
[Read more…] about Happy Death Day, Grandma!
Once upon a time your home was your safe place. The locale you could count on to allow you to decompress, relax, maybe sucka brewski and catch up on Game of Thrones. It’s the place where you, and your family, can sit, talk, and compare notes on the day gone by. Homes are, by hopeful definition, happy places. I truly hope yours is. But, as time has gone on, people have added more and more gadgets in their homes. To make life easier, more fun, more secure, or some combination thereof. You can talk to your gadget and it will do your bidding. You can monitor your gadget at your office or on the road to see who is knocking on your door in your absence. You can program music, set times on your lights, and all sorts of nifty things that make you feel as though you’re in charge. I’m sorry to inform you you couldn’t be more wrong if you tried.
Your devices, cool though they may be, are basically designed to let in thieves who want to steal your stuff.
No, I’m not kidding.
I’ll give you an example. Garage door openers. They’re cool, aren’t they? Especially when the weather’s shitty. Just push the little button, up goes the door, and you’re inside safe and dry. In the old days that was all that needed to be considered. Now garage door openers are connected to your home security system, have their own app so you can open, or close, the door from any location, and can provide data on the energy usage in the garage so you can adjust temperatures and so on accordingly.
All great features. But each uses wi-fi to communicate. And, unless you have set up a distinct network for each, which no one seems to do because it’s a hassle and requires unique passwords for each device, you’re home is open to anyone with a laptop and some basic software.
All of this has a name. It’s called the Internet of Things or IoT for short.If you click that link you will find an excellent article by Margaret Rouse explaining how to do the stuff you firmly believe you’ll never have to do. I was going to quote it but I’ve learned that fear is a better motivator than calm advice so, instead, I’m going to tell you how a glorified goldfish bowl brought down a heavily guarded casino.
Yes, this is true. And, yes, it can happen to you.
Oscar Williams-Grut, over at Business Insider, has the whole story.
Nicole Eagan, the CEO of Darktrace, told the WSJ CEO Council Conference in London on Thursday: “There’s a lot of internet-of-things devices, everything from thermostats, refrigeration systems, HVAC systems, to people who bring in their Alexa devices into the offices. There’s just a lot of IoT. It expands the attack surface, and most of this isn’t covered by traditional defenses.”
Eagan gave one memorable anecdote about a case Darktrace worked on in which a casino was hacked via a thermometer in an aquarium in the lobby.
“The attackers used that to get a foothold in the network,” she said. “They then found the high-roller database and then pulled that back across the network, out the thermostat, and up to the cloud.”
Robert Hannigan, who ran the British government’s digital-spying agency, Government Communications Headquarters, from 2014 to 2017, appeared alongside Eagan on the panel and agreed that hackers’ targeting of internet-of-things devices was a growing problem for companies.
“With the internet of things producing thousands of new devices shoved onto the internet over the next few years, that’s going to be an increasing problem,” Hannigan said. “I saw a bank that had been hacked through its CCTV cameras, because these devices are bought purely on cost.”
He called for regulation to mandate safety standards.
“It’s probably one area where there’ll likely need to be regulation for minimum security standards, because the market isn’t going to correct itself,” he said. “The problem is these devices still work — the fish tank or the CCTV camera still work.”
See? That’s the thing. If your stuff works you don’t think about it. The garage door opens, the fish are still alive, your central air unit adjusts your personal climate regularly and correctly, and so on. When you ask Alexa to play three hours of polka classics it doesn’t let you down.
But, and this is important, hackers no longer need to render a device useless to steal your stuff. in fact, the longer it stays active the more they can steal.
“But what can they get from me? My garage door doesn’t know any of my personal info.”
I hear that a lot.
And, you’re correct insofar as it goes. But I bet dollars to donuts you also have an app from your bank on your phone. And, if you’re like many people these days, you also have all your contacts, your schedule, and even more personal information.
If they get into your garage door app they have access to all of that. They will have bypassed your incredible password (usually either password or 123456) and have complete access to everything you carry with you. Given a little more time they’ll also have access to everything on your home computers, which hold the main programs, every time you fire up your computer to check the latest updates on Daenerys Targaryen.
You could easily wake up one morning and find your bank account drained, your friends getting wonderful updates from you telling them about the joys of Viagra, and your family signed up for a variety of expensive things you neither want nor need.
The latter will be items or tickets they will try to get refunded to a clean credit card. It’s easier to do than you might think.
Now you’re broke, turgid, and heartbroken.
And here’s the really shitty part. Unless you have state-of-the-art insurance there’s almost nothing you can do about it. You can stop the bleeding, of course, but getting anything back is nigh on impossible. By the time you discover it your money, and all your info, is in a different country.
And that’s the least of it. They now have your identity, financial history, and personal references. There will be a new you living it up in Moscow by nightfall.
As of this writing over 60% of businesses have no IoT protection. Worse, once in your system they can use it as a starting point to infiltrate your neighbors and anyone else they can cadge a signal from. One such attack shut down electric grids in Europe and America to the tune of $110 MIL.
All that from your garage door opener.