Life is Too Complicated, Series III, 43rd edition

Last evening, my wife found a new series (I think on Netflix) called Vice. It began with a female reporter interviewing ISIS members. I did’t pay much attention, but I caught enough to be appalled.. The next item was about something I never heard of, called “SIM swapping”. That got my full attention. Apparently, someone who has hacked your mobile account credentials (which they say can be obtained for a $100 bribe from an unscrupulous mobile phone company employee), a hacker can call the company saying they are you and request a new sim card for YOUR phone number. They can then use it as second factor access to your accounts with most anybody. As if there isn’t enough to worry about. This is a big enough problem that AT&T Wireless is being sued for  over $200 million over this issue. Their defense is that they are not in the security business. It’s not their fault you use your phone to identify yourself.

The program interviewed several victims whose entire life savings disappeared – without recourse in most cases, as it is near impossible to catch these guys. They even interviewed one still-functioning perp, whose identity was electronically masked, and he was quite proud of himself for being able to “make” so much money. An articulate monster, he assiduously avoided the word “steal”. The victims were shown addressing one of the rare perps who had been caught (only because he bragged about his feats on social media) in court after his sentencing to 10 years in prison (of which they expected him to serve 4) and explained that he would be out at age 24 and they were pretty sure he had over $4 million hidden in cryptocurrency which they couldn’t find. I found myself saying to my wife that were I that victim, I might be telling the guy he could reliably expect me to make my presence known to him immediately upon his release… We call this justice today: steal someone’s life savings, make $4 million in exchange for 4 years minimum security incarceration.... [Read More]

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Isolation Skills: How to Make Sourdough Bread

Homemade, Sourdough-Risen, Caraway and Onion Rye.

Today, President Trump extended the federally recommended period for isolation against the Wuhan virus until the end of April. In light of that extension, I’d like to share some personal, practical knowledge with as wide an audience as possible.

Ten years ago, I actively sought out a low-tech, hands-on hobby – something that I could do to fully unwind from a stressful day working in I.T.. I eventually settled on baking bread. Two years into that hobby, I grew and used my first sourdough culture. I have never looked back.... [Read More]

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Vietnam’s Ministry of Health

In an animated music video from an unlikely source, Vietnam’s Ministry of Health may have unwittingly delivered the epidemic’s anthem — a catchy three-minute tune that sounds like it belongs on Top 40 rotation reminding citizens to wash their hands vigorously, avoid touching their faces and stay clear of crowded places.

... [Read More]

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This Week’s Book Review – The Eastern Orthodox Church: A New History

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday.... [Read More]

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Short Story Review: “Staking a Claim”

“Staking a Claim” by Travis J. I. CorcoranTravis J. I. Corcoran’s Aristillus novelsThe Powers of the Earth and Causes of Separation, are modern masterpieces of science fiction, with a libertarian/anarcho-capitalist core that surpasses Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress in showing how free people can turn a wasteland into prosperity for all who seek liberty and defend itself against the envy and greed of those who would loot what they had created and put them back in chains.  The two novels in the series so far won the Prometheus Award for best novel in 2018 and 2019, the first self-published novels to win that award and the first back-to-back best novel winners in the four decades the prize has been awarded.  They were jointly fiction winners of my Books of the Year for 2019.

One of the factors which contributed to the success of the anarcho-libertarian lunar settlement at Aristillus was the origin of the crater in which it was founded, which, in the story was, 1.3 billion years before the present, by the impact of a 1.4 kilometre metallic asteroid in the eastern part of Mare Imbrium.  The portion of its mass which did not vaporise on impact was thrown up into the triple-peaked mountain at the centre of the 55 km crater, where its payload of iron, nickel, and other heavy metals differentiated as the magma solidified.  The Moon’s crust, formed from a mix of that of the Earth and the Mars-sized impactor (sometimes called “Theia”), is impoverished in heavy metals, which had already sunk to the cores of the impacting bodies and were not disrupted in the collision, so the impact which formed Aristillus was fortuitous, creating a concentrated source of material otherwise difficult to obtain on the Moon.... [Read More]

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Looking Out My Office Window and Taking In the Scene

So here I am, musing and wondering.

It has been a heckuva week. The dental products business was beginning to blossom and now has hit a stall due to dental offices being closed. My other main income source is construction in the state below where the Governor issues cryptic edits which leave business owners confused. I had the owner call me looking for advice on how to handle an employee who faked having Coronavirus.... [Read More]

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TOTD 2020-3-29: A Tale of Two Cities

I was reminded this morning of this quote from Charles Dickens.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.... [Read More]

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Deck-orations

These are individual photos, via iPhone 11, of my better half’s plantings that live on our deck for our joy and amusement whilst sipping the fruit of the vine, listening to classical music, and totally ignoring the meretricious current news.  With even Tucker Carlson firmly seated in the exaggeration and fear mongering train, it’s time to meld with the natural world’s bounty.  Pix are from yesterday; Ma Nature is definitely waking up!

An overview from my perch.
Our totem guards the Wa.
Koi-themed succulent group.
My Bonsai, half pruned.
Yabu, our latest adoptee.
Gwinnie views it all from warm comfort.

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Book Review: Collapse

“Collapse” by Kurt SchlichterIn his 2016 novel People’s Republic, the author describes North America in the early 2030s, a decade after the present Cold Civil War turned hot and the United States split into the People’s Republic of North America (PRNA) on the coasts and the upper Midwest, with the rest continuing to call itself the United States, its capital now in Dallas, purging itself of the “progressive” corruption which was now unleashed without limits in the PRNA. In that book we met Kelly Turnbull, retired from the military and veteran of the border conflicts at the time of the Split, who made his living performing perilous missions in the PRNA to rescue those trapped inside its borders.

In this, the fourth Kelly Turnbull novel (I have not yet read the second, Indian Country, nor the third, Wildfire), the situation in the PRNA has, as inevitably happens in socialist paradises, continued to deteriorate, and by 2035 its sullen population is growing increasingly restive and willing to go to extremes to escape to Mexico, which has built a big, beautiful wall to keep the starving hordes from El Norte overrunning their country. Cartels smuggle refugees from the PRNA into Mexico where they are exploited in factories where they work for peanuts but where, unlike in the PRNA, you could at least buy peanuts.... [Read More]

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Birx

Dr. Deborah Birx is making quite a name for herself at the Daily Coronavirus Briefings.  She is poised, knowledgeable and professional.  No wonder; she is a former Army Colonel who studied HIV/Aids for the Dept. of Defense at Walter Reed.   She is winning many fans.

Mass media, you know, the Enemy of the People, aka Talking Snake Media, all seemed to notice her today.... [Read More]

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Associated Press falsely fact-checks Trump

A.P. FACT CHECK: Trump Falsely Says Ventilators Coming “Fast”

That headline is currently featured at the Google News aggregator. The lying liars at Associated Press are saying that Trump is lying. The only evidence they give amounts to them guessing that, when the new ventilators start arriving, then the Associated Press will judge that the amount of elapsed time, whatever it is, will not qualify as “fast.” ... [Read More]

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This Week’s Book Review – Catastrophe at Spithead

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday.

Book Review

‘Catastrophe at Spithead’ examines loss of warship Royal George

By MARK LARDAS... [Read More]

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