jc blog - tales of a modern-day nomadic hunter-gatherer

Follow jcomeau_ictx on Twitter This is the weblog of Intrepid Wanderer. You never know what you might find here; graphic descriptions of bodily functions, computer programming secrets, proselytizing for the antichrist, miscellaneous ranting and kvetching, valuable information on living off the land... if you don't share my rather weird interests you may want to try slashdot instead.

You can consider my Del.icio.us links an extension to my blog, as are my LifeTango goals and my other to-do items. My to-buy list is also public, but only for sharing any useful ideas that might be there; I'm not requesting charity, neither do I offer it.

You can find me easily in google searches, as jcomeau, jcomeau_ictx, or jcomeauictx. There are lots of other jcomeaus, but AFAIK I'm the only jcomeau_ictx out there so far.

If you want to comment on anything you see here, try the new Facebook comments, reachable by clicking the "[comment]" link at the end of each post. If for some reason that isn't working, go ahead and email me, jc.unternet.net. You know what to do with the first dot. Make the 'subject' line something reasonably intelligent-looking or it goes plunk! into the spambasket unread.

This page generally sucks less using Mozilla Firefox. RSS Feed

2014-04-19-2356Z

cornstarch really does make a good "dry shampoo". hair detangled pretty well, and it feels silky and clean to the touch. finally found it at the Ley supermarket the other day, the aisle actually had "Maicena" written on the end placard. why they keep it separate from flour, baking soda, and the like is beyond my limited powers of comprehension. [comment]

2014-04-16-2206Z

tensions are running high. sides are being chosen. the revolution is starting, whether or not we're ready. the fourth turning has begun. scary and exciting times. here's hoping cooler heads will prevail, everyone gets out of this alive, and we can evolve into a better world where individual sovereignty is balanced with respect for the commons. [comment]

2014-04-16-2001Z

I often see this kind of sentiment from so-called "progressives", but almost always as anonymous or pseudonymous comments on web forums. this is from a friend of a friend on Facebook, as a comment on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC hit piece on the Bundy Ranch incident. [comment]

2014-04-15-2328Z

Bill Conroy comes through with the latest on Zambada Niebla, whose revelations about the ties between the Sinaloa cartel and the CIA caused the latter to invoke CIPA 3 years ago, delaying the trial. now he's cut a plea deal and we may never know all the details of what happened. hat tip to Molly Molloy for covering this in her Frontera list newsletter. [comment]

2014-04-15-1757Z

jimcooncat sent me this. I trust his research and, to a large extent, his analysis.

The Heartbleed bug has been big news. The mainstream media embellished the story and got parts wrong, of course. It wasn't as widespread as they tried to make it, but a few big names, notably Yahoo!, were caught using bad software on public facing systems. Here's the inglorious scoop from what I've read over the past few days, likely not all true, share if you like, and more than you want to know:

Heartbleed is a vulnerability in the load balancing portion of OpenSSL, server software that negotiates encryption when a client (usually a web browser) requests a file over https. An attacker would be rewarded with a big packet of the server's raw memory, which might contain anything but very likely nothing interesting if it can even be discerned among the garbage. Advanced attackers do have access to big computing power that they can use to sift through the mess.

Heartbleed, or more correctly the Heartbleed bug, is not any special program or hack that someone made. It was simply some bad coding that one of the contributors to the OpenSSL application had published. Some hackers found that the bad code was exploitable, and a company of one of these hackers made up a logo and branded the exploit when sending along their findings.

Heartbleed only affected newer versions of some Linux and BSD distributions, and the bad OpenSSL was installed only for a few months, not the two years ago since the vulnerable portion was written. Here's the scary part: anyone could have reviewed the code anytime, but no one did, even though most techs thought someone with resources would have (such as IBM) after a small problem surfaced a couple years ago in the Debian distribution.

The original programmer's really sorry and doing his best to help, but this could end up causing big damage to the free software community. He was allowed to commit his work without supervision. He had chosen to bypass a standard memory function because it didn't work correctly on OpenBSD, arguably the most secure modern operating system available. The maintainers of OpenBSD are livid, because they were now distributing the bad OpenSSL, and say that when the programmer's original code didn't run correctly on their operating system that should have given him a clue that it wasn't secure. Many hackers are upset and have been messing with websites the programmer's associated with.

The stodgier institutions like many online banking services I deal with weren't affected, because they run proprietary Transport Layer Security packages. Neither are websites who run free software that hadn't upgraded in the last year or so, and many haven't because the distributions are still supporting the older versions. Microsoft, whose products weren't affected, hasn't jumped on this yet with it's PR machine.

Passwords are very difficult for an attacker to exploit on any system that uses the standard security for them, which doesn't actually store them in clear text. If customer service can't give you your password but instead has to reset it, they're doing it right. An attacker to exploit passwords stored this way has to use slow, expensive methods so they usually try to choose their targets.

But even if its difficult for an attacker to exploit passwords, a very good one can steal the website's security certificate. (This wasn't thought possible through Heartbleed until published yesterday.) Now, if they can wedge themselves between the customer and the website they would be able to spoof it, now capturing anything the customer entered. Once again, it's difficult and expensive, so they would choose targets like a bank manager's login, not an individual customer, so they could steal and sell account numbers and let others try to exploit.

Many in the tech community are not giving Heartbleed much attention because they feel the entire security certificate structure has been subverted for years due to a lack of oversight by providers like Verisign and Thawte. They believe these types of exploits have been happening all along because of bogus and stolen certificates.

Another type of software is also vulnerable because of this bug, and I'm glad I never implemented it. This is the OpenVPN package that many companies use for remote access to work. Likely this part might not make it to mainstream news, but many larger companies are exposed.

[comment]

2014-04-15-0208Z

over the years, off and on, I've made many attempts at trying to bake things on the stovetop, using various contraptions to hold in the heat. I finally baked a tiny loaf of bread, about the size of a hamburger bun, using some inch-thick pieces of broken tile on the bottom of a porcelain-coated steel pot, with a pyrex bowl on top of the tiles with the dough, and the glass top of the pot with the steam vent covered with a stainless bolt and nut. heated it for 15 minutes on high, turned it off, and went out for maybe a half hour in case the pyrex exploded. came back and it was baked through! success! I should be posting at WikiHow eventually. [comment]

2014-04-14-2102Z

some good analysis in Alan Korwin's Page Nine newsletter. if you don't subscribe, I'd suggest doing so here.

An insightful analysis of background checks, by Page Nine reader Bryan Potratz in Wyoming, and reviewed by the Uninvited Ombudsman and gun-rights attorney Dave Hardy, has received little attention before now. It makes it clear that if a Prohibited Possessor lives anywhere, no one else who lives there can have free access to firearms or ammunition. This has gone basically unreported, even though it is in effect.

If you can't prove that your security measures are satisfactory -- to BATFE's unwritten standards -- YOU become a felon for providing contraband to a prohibited person. Even if they never touch anything.

Even a single round of ammo out in the open would put the prohibited person in violation of 'proximity to guns or ammo' (a red-tape concoction that is a looonng stretch from the law as passed, which talks about "possession"). This is the same standard they use for drug busts, technically called "constructive possession," enabling them to arrest everyone in a house where drugs are found (or planted). Courts have backed up this method completely.

The government, as it always does, takes the most restrictive view it can take: If freedom is at stake, drive a stake through freedom, even if it's just a little. Mere presence in the same home meets their definition of possession, and creates the violation.

"If freedom is at stake, drive a stake through freedom." --government SOP

The real downside is that this now creates Prohibited Households -- entire private homes where you cannot have a readily available gun for emergencies, or even for cleaning or showing to friends. Everyone in the house is (technically) disarmed by the presence of one person on the NICS Index.

The anti-rights people probably don't mind a bit -- it's like a four-for-one sale on gun bans for an average-size family. And it's unlikely the antis actually worked this out ahead of time. It is a boost though for the forces of darkness, because for every person they can get on that NICS Index, that's a multiplier for people they've disarmed. Five people in NICS, figure 10 to 20 or more denied their rights at home.

Bryan goes on to predict that the NICS Index (the prohibited persons list) could be cross-referenced with hunting license, CCW, FOID or similar databases, to identify addresses where violations might be occurring. This sort of cross-checking is routine police work. He also suggests, "BATFE will be able to claim that such correlations are de-facto probable cause for a warrant to check for/arrest a 'prohibited person in possession of firearms or ammunition.' " He continues, quite rationally, that, "We know how subtle BATFE can be when prosecuting such warrants."

This threat to the right to keep and bear arms has not hit the radar of any of the national gun-rights groups, at least not publicly. But millions of people nationwide are suffering under it right now.

ACTION ITEM: The concept of "constructive possession" regarding firearms is an affront to freedom and The American Way, http://www.gunlaws.com/TheAmericanWay.htm and should be abandoned in favor of actual physical possession with deliberate mens rea (criminal intent). Prohibited Households is a miscarriage of justice, and anyone attempting to prosecute such a case should be brought up on charges themselves, in an overdue application of 18 USC ยง241 et. seq. (denial of civil rights under color of law, look it up).

[comment]

2014-04-14-1623Z

when cops who want to kill you with your own gun are your allies, and a Republican candidate for senator of the Free State joins Holder and Obama in promoting less effective guns, you may be living in a world gone mad. [comment]

2014-04-14-0619Z

today I bent a piece of 1/4" rod into a zigzag, clamped it into my drill with the battery removed and a voltmeter hooked up to the battery terminals. I was able to crank it up to 5VDC easily, and by going as fast as I could, could sometimes break 10V. this was all with no load, though. plus I had to hold the trigger all the way in.

still can't figure a way of driving any of my available wheeled devices with the drill. can't get enough of a "bite" against the wheels with anything that doesn't also chew it up. [comment]

2014-04-12-1818Z

there are lots of conclusions to be drawn from the Bundy Ranch incident, but I'm still in the process of digesting them. I've been tearfully grateful for about an hour now. I felt it was the wrong battle to pick, but a leaderless resistance picked it anyway, and trickled in by ones, twos, and small groups, until larger groups like OathKeepers got involved. and it worked; the behemoth backed down, most likely (IMO) because one of the ruling class got on the horn with Obama and said to cool it for now.

this can work. we can win the battles, and win the war, and we won't necessarily have to fire a shot. no longer can the naysayers say that American patriots (and I'm not talking flagwavers here, I mean those who believe in the freedoms that the antifederalists tried to preserve) keep shifting their "line in the sand". they said "no more free Wacos" and they meant it.

no doubt most people were unaware, or vaguely aware, of what was happening and believe that I'm indulging in my usual hyperbole. perhaps, but I've been following events for years now, and I am pretty well convinced that this is the first major battle that was voluntarily entered into by a diverse group of freedom-loving Americans who weren't afraid to die for what they believe. I say this is huge; this is epic; this is the beginning of the end for the tyrants. [comment]

2014-04-12-0244Z

smoked the pipe for about 10 minutes tonight, still no noticeable buzz, then threw it out. I don't want to have tobacco breath when my lady comes back.

had some cheap Mexican box wine with my burger dinner tonight. yuck. tastes like kool-aid with a little industrial alcohol added. I'll stick with beer.

the Bundy ranch looks to be the first skirmish of the 2nd American Revolution. kinda sorry I'm not there, but I've got promises to keep. I'll still have my chance I'm sure. the war won't likely be all over before I get back. [comment]

2014-04-11-1635Z

the bread came out chewy and weird, but it did seem to have cooked all the way through. I ended up heating it two more times, once for 10 minutes and once for 15. the pyrex bowl handled it no problem. next: some whole wheat bread? [comment]

2014-04-11-0613Z

bunch of goddamned cops came in here shining their flashlights all over the place and asking questions. apparently there were two robbers nearby and they made some pretense of believing they were here. it's possible they were just scouting out the place to rob themselves, or more likely have some family come and do it. I don't trust these pigs any farther than I can throw their fat carcasses. [comment]

2014-04-11-0504Z

drank most of my banana beer tonight, used the rest in a bread experiment, flour and mashed cooked plantain in about 50-50 proportions, with a little coconut oil and salt. the plaintain provides the sugar and already had the wild yeast. I just put it, not in the oven, but in the pyrex bowl inside a porcelain pot lined with chunks of thick tile on the bottom. when I turned the stove off I put the laptop bag I use as a "haybox" on top. after the stove cools off a bit I'll put the whole bag over the pot to hold in the heat. might have to reheat a few times before the bread bakes all the way through. if it ever does with this totally untested method.

also put one of those cones of raw sugar (I forget what they're called) in the rest of my agua de jamaica and it started bubbling in short order: it had already picked up a yeast! but I added some of the mashed platano as well, just to make sure. I'm gonna have stuff fermenting all over the place here. [comment]

2014-04-10-2326Z

pissed off a friend today with a netmeme about the nazi gas chambers showing the fingernail scratches of the victims on the metal walls. I'm insensitive and disrespectful to those who survived those horrors. that may well be true.

however, who is more worthy of respect: those who saw the writing on the wall, and got the hell out? or those who kept saying to themselves that "it can't get much worse than this" right up until the end? something tells me I'd rather be in that first group, whether or not it has the moral high ground.

my physical myopia pissed off another friend once. she drove me to the grand canyon, and to me it was just another arroyo. the magnificence was lost on me, not because I didn't respect it for what it was, but because I had seen the same thing on a much smaller scale many times, and had already experienced the magnificence. that myopic conflation of scales might be characteristic of my whole pattern of thought; the minor injustices I've experienced, seen, and even perpetrated over the course of my life have already been extended to infinity and back, over and over, in my mind, and though I'll tear up when I hear of the travails of another, somehow I've experienced it on some level already. [comment]

2014-04-10-2250Z

now that's what I like to see in my logs:

00000000c88e2ead5d94a0a9f9909ed944c61edbd2e25f6af58dff717f027a6e
00000000bd73faa6bca7aa815e38f9719dcac764f3f16107ddd068e48794b967

my banana (actually, plantain) beer, that I'd put in a bottle and poured a little coconut oil on top as an airlock, wasn't doing anything so I added a few drops from the mashed platanos I'd had sitting in the kitchen. last night I noticed it was starting to bubble, and today the fermentation is going crazy.

jogged out to Starbucks this morning and got a couple pieces of 19mm plastic conduit to make my sail. wish me luck on the bending. [comment]

2014-04-10-1807Z

the Oath Keepers make a good point. although I and Ann Barnhardt may be right about the Bundys, the line has to be drawn somewhere, and the bullishness with which the feds are treating the patriots already there is cause enough for action. [comment]

2014-04-10-0218Z

made some chilaquiles out of leftover corn tortillas, roasted green pepper salsa, and jamaica (hibiscus) blossoms left over from the tea I made. also put some slices of pepper jack on top. not bad at all.

just went out and smoked a bit more of that N. glauca in the carrot pipe, which has lasted well in the fridge. pothead technology to the rescue. they and crack addicts have probably done more for DIY pipe tech than anyone else in the world. I made it a point to inhale the smoke, because I want to see if the nicotine buzz is strong enough to make gathering the leaves a viable source of income in a post-apocalyptic world. so far nothing. [comment]

2014-04-09-2218Z

the gold bears' looking at COMEX prices without also paying attention to the west to east flow is like the AGW skeptics looking only at surface temps and not the massive buildup of heat in the oceans. [comment]

2014-04-09-1841Z

not sure what to think of the Cliven Bundy incident. ranchers destroy native habitats; the desertification of the southwestern New Mexico grasslands was reputedly due to over-grazing. to me, the Bundys are crying "muh freedoms!" when they might actually mean "muh entitlements!"

nevertheless, if I get to pick and choose what constitutes a "new Waco", I might miss the chance to fight back while it's still possible to do so. [comment]

2014-04-09-1806Z

so here's the story behind the voltages I was seeing coming out of my motor the other day: CEMF. old Lenz messing around with my circuit. [comment]

2014-04-09-1724Z

some thoughts on the school stabbing in Pennsylvania this morning. I'm not going to post a link because every goddamned one I tried locked up my fucking browser. fuck all you fucking "news" sites and all your shit javascript, subscription popups, and ads.

now, back to the stabbing. thanks to the people who actually did something: pulling the fire alarm, stanching the bleeding of your fellow student, tackling the stabber, calling the ambulance. not that I'm blaming the majority who ran around in a panic. you were trained to be sheep, and with a wolf present and no shepherd nearby you do what sheep can be expected to do.

this is what must change. no amount of laws controlling weapons could have prevented this. if he hadn't had a knife he'd have sharpened a screwdriver. on the contrary, if enough students had been legally armed, this would have been nipped in the bud early, had the stabber even attempted it at all.

we need to stop being a nation of sheep. public schools aren't all bad. I got a pretty good education from mine back in the 60s and early 70s in Maine. but some more useful skills need to be taught, like situational awareness and self-defense. and perhaps most importantly, young people need to be assured that each one of them means something as an individual and not just as a cog in the machine. a society of sovereigns is hard to handle, yes. but there really is no workable substitute. [comment]

2014-04-08-1716Z

wrote a little script to get a rough balance of my current cryptocurrency holdings. if you're way richer than me there's still some room to extend some of the fields on an 80-character line, or you can use a bigger terminal width if you're a gazillionaire. [comment]

2014-04-08-0442Z

sliced and boiled up 5 platanos (machos), not green but not very ripe, in water to try and make some wild-brew beer. last time I cooked them the liquid fermented spontaneously, I'd like to see if it happens again. I did finally buy some commercial yeast but would rather avoid using it. [comment]

2014-04-08-0421Z

took a few puffs of that Nicotiana glauca, tree tobacco, that I've been drying for a few months now, after making a rudimentary pipe out of a carrot. next time I'll smoke a little more, wasn't sure what to expect and didn't want an unpleasant buzz. it didn't really do anything though. but it sure did taste like tobacco. [comment]

2014-04-07-2125Z

so I'd been worrying my 245W Kyocera panel was a dud, because every time I hooked my drill to it and pulled the trigger, it (the drill) just made a barely audible high-pitched squeal and the voltage dropped from the nominal 36V open-circuit reading to zero.

so today I took it out into full sunlight, and tried again. not only did the drill start merrily running, the voltage reading climbed up, up, from 36 to 45, 55, 70, 80, even approaching 100. it fluctuated, for sure, but the longer I had the drill running the higher the peaks went. I don't know how to explain this. I stopped because I was afraid something was going to fry at those voltages, after all the drill is only rated for 18V. [comment]

2014-04-07-1712Z

in a recurring dream I've got hundreds of thousands of dollars, sometimes to the good, but most of the time in debt. early this morning was one of the bad ones; I was outside a Wells Fargo bank, and remembered I hadn't made payments on a credit card for years, and was debating whether or not to go in and find out how much I owed. in the dream I had once given them the address of a house I had bought and never moved into, so I hadn't received any of the bills.

then I was a passenger in a car, and a certain someone was driving backwards on a grassy area built up hundreds of feet above ground on concrete, like a dam. I asked something like "are you sure about this?" and got a reply like "don't worry" just moments before hitting a bump, going over a curb and down, down to the hard concrete below. my first shout was "I told you! and you didn't listen", but then thought better of it and yelled "I love you _______!" but she apparently didn't hear me, she had already crossed her hands over her chest and her face had relaxed into a pose appropriate for burial. I couldn't get back to sleep after that. however, I know better than to equate dream-people with the corresponding real-life people. they are not the same, and more often than not, completely opposite in one or more characteristics. [comment]

2014-04-05-2030Z

the other morning I had a dream which included a huge, two-story wooden winery "car" on which I was a guest. can't remember much about it other than it was being driven over (necessarily) wide, flat streets.

the batch of agua de jamaica is still good to drink after all these days, that thin layer of kahm yeast apparently being sufficient to keep out other nasties. [comment]

2014-04-01-1909Z

stepped on some pea gravel and went down hard. couldn't have landed much worse, took it on my right wrist and knee. [comment]

view blog for 2014-03
view blog for 2014-02
view blog for 2014-01
view blog for 2013-12
view blog for 2013-11
view blog for 2013-10
view blog for 2013-09
view blog for 2013-08
view blog for 2013-07
view blog for 2013-06
view blog for 2013-05
view blog for 2013-04
view blog for 2013-03
view blog for 2013-02
view blog for 2013-01
view blog for 2012-12
view blog for 2012-11
view blog for 2012-10
view blog for 2012-09
view blog for 2012-08
view blog for 2012-07
view blog for 2012-06
view blog for 2012-05
view blog for 2012-04
view blog for 2012-03
view blog for 2012-02
view blog for 2012-01
view blog for 2011-12
view blog for 2011-11
view blog for 2011-10
view blog for 2011-09
view blog for 2011-08
view blog for 2011-07
view blog for 2011-06
view blog for 2011-05
view blog for 2011-04
view blog for 2011-03
view blog for 2011-02
view blog for 2011-01
view blog for 2010-12
view blog for 2010-11
view blog for 2010-10
view blog for 2010-09
view blog for 2010-08
view blog for 2010-07
view blog for 2010-06
view blog for 2010-05
view blog for 2010-04
view blog for 2010-03
view blog for 2010-02
view blog for 2010-01
view blog for 2009-12
view blog for 2009-11
view blog for 2009-10
view blog for 2009-09
view blog for 2009-08
view blog for 2009-07
view blog for 2009-06
view blog for 2009-05
view blog for 2009-04
view blog for 2009-03
view blog for 2009-02
view blog for 2009-01
view blog for 2008-12
view blog for 2008-11
view blog for 2008-10
view blog for 2008-09
view blog for 2008-08
view blog for 2008-07
view blog for 2008-06
view blog for 2008-05
view blog for 2008-04
view blog for 2008-03
view blog for 2008-02
view blog for 2008-01
view blog for 2007-12
view blog for 2007-11
view blog for 2007-10
view blog for 2007-09
view blog for 2007-08
view blog for 2007-07
view blog for 2007-06
view blog for 2007-05
view blog for 2007-04
view blog for 2007-03
view blog for 2007-02
view blog for 2007-01
view blog for 2006-12
view blog for 2006-11
view blog for 2006-10
view blog for 2006-09
view blog for 2006-08
view blog for 2006-07
view blog for 2006-06
view blog for 2006-05
view blog for 2006-04
view blog for 2006-03
view blog for 2006-02
view blog for 2006-01
view blog for 2005-12
view blog for 2005-11
view blog for 2005-10
view blog for 2005-09
view blog for 2005-08
view blog for 2005-07
view blog for 2005-06
view blog for 2005-05
view blog for 2005-04
view blog for 2005-03
view blog for 2005-02
view blog for 2005-01
view blog for 2004-12
view blog for 2004-11
view blog for 2004-10
view blog for 2004-09
view blog for 2004-08
view blog for 2004-07
view blog for 2004-06
view blog for 2004-05
view blog for 2004-04
view blog for 2004-03
view blog for 2004-02
view blog for 2004-01
view blog for 2003-12

Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional

Valid CSS!