Month: November 2014

Reading: Alan Turing: The Enigma

So the book was first published in 1983. But it’s an interesting read and I’m only a few pages in at the moment. But the book doesn’t dance around the fact that a) Alan Turing was a brilliant mathematician b) Alan Turing and his Turing Machine  are the father of modern computing and c) Alan Turing was in fact homosexual.

The book is also the inspiration for the current movie “The Imitation Game”. So It’ll be interesting to read the book first then see the movie. See how closely it hews to the book.

But the book covers all of Turing’s life – from birth to death and details his accomplishments prime among them cracking the Nazi encryption codes. And he did it by hand at first but soon realized an automatic means was necessary hence the Turing machine and Colossus.

On the exoneration of Darren Wilson

That’s the cop who killed Michael Brown. A few things I’d like to note about the case.

1) The photos of Wilson don’t show what I consider any serious trauma to the cop. If a slight redness under the chin is his claim I call bovine effluent here. Wilson is 6’4″ tall and over 200lbs. So it was a pretty fair matchup between Michael Brown and the cop.

2) The unidentified police sergeant in the testimony says he didn’t hear any calls on his radio because he might have been out of range. Now let me clear I hold both my amateur radio and commercial radio licenses so I know a thing or two about radio propagation.

The town of Ferguson, MO is about 12 square miles. Now the sergeant says his handheld radio is a 5W unit. Now I work in Cambridge and can hit the 145.230Mhz repeater on 5W with no issues. This is over hill and dale mind you with quite a few tall buildings in between. Now Ferguson  – sure 12 square miles but the terrain is mostly flat. So the sergeant was telling a fib.

Another thing I find REALLY interesting. During the protest in front of the Ferguson Police Department – people were surging forward toward armed and riot suited cops. That’s quite different.

National Grid Sucks

There I said it. They should be broken up post haste.

For example they want another double digit increase in the price of electricity in Rhode Island. They say it’s restricted gas supply from the two pipelines that supply us. I call bullshit as the Port of Providence gets regular deliveries of Compressed Natural Gas.

So try again National Grid. I’m lobbying my elected representatives to take another look at re-regulating you guys at National Grid. And I’m encouraging friends to do the same. I want SERIOUS regulation of the incumbent power provider.

But I think the real reason for your rate increases is due to the adoption of clean energy projects all over the state. For example – I see a number of wind turbines up as I drive along I-95 between Providence and Warwick, RI. Each of those turbines produces approximately 1 megawatt. There are about a dozen of those babies now dotting the highway, the biggest installation is the three turbines at Fields Point sewage processing plant.

Plus I see a lot more solar going up on houses. This all chips away at National Grid’s revenue stream. So much so that the leading investment houses see a very dim future for incumbent power providers like National Grid. I guess National Grid is in a tough spot – declining revenue and declining investment spell fire sale sooner than later.

And I have to say it, the “Here with you, here for you!” campaign is only so much bovine effluent.

So in the end I want to see National Grid fully regulated. It may be the only way they can stave off their own demise.

The Louisiana Literacy Test from 1964

So I was on Digg and there was a link of a group of Harvard students trying to take the Louisiana Literacy Test from 1964. I’d heard of such a thing in the past but never actually seen the test.

The test is effectively ludicrous! No wonder they thought they could stop poorly educated aka black people from voting. Hell, I’m pretty well educated and the test makes no sense to me.

http://www.crmvet.org/info/la-littest.pdf

Try it out for yourself. And here’s the video of the Harvard students trying to take the test.

And it’s interesting – one of the students correctly identifies the modern equivalent being Voter ID laws.

What National Grid Sucks Part XXVII

So before I got this job things were tight. To the point where natural gas service was cut off with an $1,100 balance. I’d paid that off but trying to get National Grid to re-connect the service is proving to be an exercise in pissing me off.

And actually when they cut the gas off now – they just turn the valve to the off or vertical position and then insert a tubular lock through it.

So I’m waiting to see when the next gas bill comes – if they charge for the re-connect and they didn’t connect it. Becuase I have paid the $47 and ordered the tool used to open the tubular locks. And I can turn the gas service on by myself.

Plus National Grid scheduled the re-connect for a Friday. Yeah you know what wasn’t going to happen. Be a fun call as I’ll give them one more chance to turn it back on or as I said, I’ll do it my damned self.

Add to the fact that I couldn’t contact National Grid on Friday evening – so now I have to wait until Monday morning to call and bitch them out.

But I’m going to go further – not only am I going to write my legislators about perhaps removing the deregulation legislation from electric and gas providers, but also implementing penalties for non-service. Have a little fun with it.

A meme on Facebook

So there’s this meme – goes along with I’m the Soul of x, the heart of y, and the spirit of z. With x, y, and z replaced by things like gypsy, angel, etc.

Me I roll a bit different:

I have the soul of a Dragon.

The heart of a Lion

And the spirit of a demon.

Chew on that one if you will.

The Roosevelts on PBS – and what’s wrong with politics today

So I’ve been watching the PBS Series on the Roosevelt family. And one part of it struck me.

Both Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt came from old money  and understood the concept of noblesse oblige. In fact the last time we saw similar in the United States was John F. Kennedy. Everything after that not so much.

So the problem – is the Nouveau Riche – or more to the point their descendants today. I’m speaking of course of the Koch brothers and others like them in congress. They come from their parents money and so have no sense of noblesse oblige. Instead it’s that 80’s mindset of greed is good, of the Paris Hiltons, and the brats of the rich. It’s all about them and fuck everyone else. That is exactly what’s wrong with the United States. And of course the corporate interference in government vis a vis money is speech is a big problem too.

But the thing to keep in mind about the rich brats – there are a whole lot more of us than there are of them. It’s just how do we motivate the rest of the population of the U.S. to rise up against them? At this point they’ve no captured both houses of the legislature at both the federal and local levels.

And of course the Tea Bagger/Tea Party is being lead along by corporate interests – and will in fact vote against their own self interest.

Why is that the case? I’ll explain – we don’t really educate kids in the U.S. One thing we leave out is the critical thinking skills. Fortunately for me – I received a pretty good education in Catholic schools for the first twelve years. And it included what I would call back then subversive critical thinking skills.

But I am aware that public schools in the United States are controlled by political whim. And it is in the interest of the Plutocracy to keep the kids just smart enough to do the job, but not smart enough to wonder why. So I think at the foundation if we want to get the country back, we have to start with education. Give kids the ability to see through political double speak and the corporate plutocracy will end.