Nice Computer – Shame If Something Happened To It

LabMD is a cancer testing center in Atlanta, GA.  In 2010, someone compromised its security and pulled its medical records. Soon after the break-in, LabMD was contacted by Tiversa, a cyber security firm who offered to sell them emergency incident response services. LabMD refused. Tiversa told the firm they’d notify the FTC unless the company hired its services. Again, LabMD refused.

Tiversa made good on its promise and contacted the FTC. The government agency pursued the measure to its fullest. LabMd was sucked into a lengthy legal battle which eventually bankrupted the company. There’s just one problem with this story: the hack never happened.  Tiversa made the whole thing up….



How Does Fracking Cause Earthquakes?

For the most part, You JoeDog doesn’t get worked up about hydraulic fracking. Quakes and contamination associated with it tend to appear in areas that support it. If you vote for politicians that green light fracking and your water turns flamable and your walls start to crack, then why should Your JoeDog get upset? Cause and effect, motherfsckers.

The epicenter of what-did-you-think-would-happen-when-you-fractured-the-earth-with-lubricants is Oklahoma. The Sooner state — as in “the sooner I get out of here the better” — has been riddled with earthquakes lately. Since the Joad Family said, “We gotta get out of this place” until 2008, the state averaged two quakes per year of magnitude three or higher. From 2013-2014, that number was ninety-two.

Now that could just be a coincidence, amirite? That’s what the energy industry wants you to think. In places like Oklahoma, polticians put their foot on the gas and never looked back. Frack first and ask questions later! Well, those questions are starting to get answered.

The Seismological Society of America sponsored a study whose findings don’t play nice with narratives told by energy companies. In Ohio, hydraulic fracturing activated a previously unknown fault and was confirmed to be the cause of increased seismic activity.

Another study by the US Geological Survey reached a similar conclusion. According to USGS, the seismicity rate changes it examined were “almost certainly manmade.”

As mentioned above, Your JoeDog doesn’t get worked up about this. If you want to wreck your state, he’ll use your cheap gas. Still, the poindexter in him can’t help but wonder, “How does fracking cause seismic activity?” He assumed fracturing triggered a shift.

In a general survey of hydraulic fracturing by the Financial Times, we gain insight from a clear and concise explanation:

Despite a common misconception, the quakes are not triggered by fracking itself, which involves shattering rocks deep underground with a high-pressure cocktail of water, sand and chemicals. Instead, they result from what bursts out of the rock alongside oil and gas: vast amounts of ancient seawater. The water is worthless, so the industry injects it back underground via disposal wells. The problem is that the liquid has unlocked previously stable faults, creating the slippage that triggers a “shalequake”. Such tremors have also been felt in Texas, Colorado, Arkansas, Ohio and Kansas.

There’s nothing about this process that makes Your JoeDog say, “That sounds like a good idea.” Yet it continues because humans aren’t good at long view and there’s a lot of money on the side of fracking to ensure it remains that way. Good luck, Oklahoma. You’re gonna need it.



I Am What I Am

#include <stdio.h>
int main(){int a[]={74,117,115,116,32,97,110,111,116,104,101,114,32,67,\
32,104,97,99,107,101,114,10};int *b=a;for(;*b>0;printf(%c,*(b++)));}



Why Did Linux Become So Successful?

Over at the Var Guy, Christopher Tozzi asks an interesting question:

Why did Linux succeed so spectacularly, whereas similar attempts to build a free or open source, Unix-like operating system kernel met with considerably less success?

Tozzi doesn’t claim to know the answer but he examines several theories.

  1. Linux had a decentralized development model.
  2. Torvalds was pragmatic whereas Stallman was ideological.
  3. The Linux kernel was better designed.
  4. The open source community threw its weight behind Linux.

Your JoeDog is not particularly fond of any of these notions. With the exception of number three, most of what is attributed to Linux could also be said of GNU. Yet the GNU kernel never took off while Linux did. But keep in mind, Linux would be nothing without GNU.

Stallman’s team provided the compiler, the debugger, the shell all the command line utilities. Most of what you think of as ‘Linux’ is actually GNU interface utilities. When you type ‘ls’, you’re executing code that Richard Stallman personally wrote. GNU’s only real failure was its kernel but given all its other success, it’s hard to fault its development model. And they were certainly not without community support.

It’s often said that timing is everything and I think that applies to Linux. Torvalds’ kernel arrived at the right time, with the right license, with the right amount of complexity to satisfy the hobbyist. You could do things with Linux. You could breathe new life into an old 386. So maybe there’s some truth to the third bullet but it depends on the definition of “better.” By computer science standards, Linux was primitive compared with GNU’s kernel yet that simple design help align its timing with the stars.



Tattoo You: Apple iWatch and Ink

Second World War tattooYour JoeDog hasn’t been to the public pool in years but as a child, he was there almost every day of the summer. It was great. He could get a sugar high off Italian ices and chase sexy girls in bikinis. Your JoeDog wasn’t very old back then and his girl chasin’ skills needed refinement. When he saw a one he liked, he’d try dunk her in the water.

This was the 1970s. when the World War II generation was entering its leisure years. The pool was filled with young and old, Boomer school kids on summer break and old people entering retirement. Those little old ladies didn’t wear bikinis but they sure as hell rocked the one piece. Those old guys were covered with dark blotches up and down their arms and torsos. When you got behind an one in the Italian ice line you could see the blotch was actually a Navy anchor or some shit.

The World War II generation was heavily tatted.

Your JoeDog’s generation doesn’t have much ink. If you see a Boomer or an Xer with a tattoo, you can bet they got it late in life. We grew up surrounded by blotchy smears at the public pool. Those Second World War era tattoos may have been hip during the Big Band Era but they looked like a bad case of melanoma by the time of the Oil Embargo. We saw those things and said, “No thanks.”

Old soldiers may never die but at some point they stop going to the public pool. Gen Y and the Millennials never had a chance to see ol’ CPO Miller’s blotched out Navy anchors on a hot summer day. With no reference images of aging tattoos, a new generation was free to cover itself in ink.

Now Your JoeDog doesn’t pass judgement. The girl at the coffee shop has Keith Haring images tattooed on her arms. He thinks they’re neat; they’re just not for him. But as it happens, our generational revulsion toward tattoos has culminated in an unforeseen benefit. The image of aging tattoos at the public pool, set us on a course toward technological advantage. The Apple iWatch works just fine on members of your JoeDog’s generation.

An Apple support document notes that tattoos can also impact heart rate sensor performance.



Carly Fiorina For President? Of the US?

Fiorina For PresidentSo Your JoeDog heard that Carly Fiorina is running for President. Why? She’s Donald Trump without the comb-over.

Or she would be Donald Trump if she had a more successful business career.

With only a failed Senate run on her political resume, her presidential aspirations are tied solely to her tenure at Hewlett-Packard. During her stint at at that company, she laid off thousands, botched a high profile merger, fought with just about everyone until she left on a $21 million dollar golden parachute. If that’s presidential timber then the bar is lower than I thought….

And that’s all the time Your JoeDog will spend on Carly Fiorina. Does he think voters are smart enough to see through whatever bullshit she spreads on the stump? Oh, hell no. He’s confident that big monied interests won’t give her a dime and her campaign will end as soon as it began for lack of funding.



Dave Goldberg: The Cause of Death???

So, um, that whole Dave Goldberg cause of death thingie we told you about? Maybe. Maybe not.

Late yesterday the New York Times reported that Goldberg died after he collapsed on a treadmill at the Four Seasons Hotel in Punta Mita, Mexico. Today a member of the hotel staff said he did no such thing. The general manager told Reuters that Goldberg did not slip on one of his treadmills. He was not even registered in his hotel.

The Times has now revised that report:

Correction: May 5, 2015

An earlier version of this article misstated Mr. Goldberg’s location at the time of his death. He was at a private villa near the Four Seasons Resort, not at the Four Seasons itself

The family continues its silence.

So who knows what happened. The Times’ source is described as a “spokesman” for the prosecutors’ office and maybe they do act in that capacity. But if the “spokesman” can’t get the location right, then you have to question their understanding of the event.

Now Your JoeDog thinks he probably did collapse on a treadmill and call it a day but without a detailed statement from the family he realizes that early speculation will certainly continue.

Was it suicide? Is somebody hiding something?  Your JoeDog waded through several online sewers, i.e., comments sections, to aggregate speculation. A new front runner has emerged. Quite a few people think “Mexico” is Goldberg’s version of the “Appalachian Trail.” Without transparency, we can only guess.

UPDATE: The details of Goldberg’s death remain murky but that doesn’t mean we can’t have scare-stories about treadmills! The Washington Post provides a good read on an ancient technology that we now use as fitness equipment.



Dave Goldberg: The Cause of Death

By now you’ve surely heard that Dave Goldberg “died suddenly.” He was the CEO of SurveyMonkey and the husband of Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook. What you haven’t heard is this: the cause of death. The family chose not to reveal it.

That decision led to a great deal of online speculation. It caused some postulate suicide while others thought it was a heart attack. On Twitter, theories ranged from the inane to the conspiratorial. Goldberg was well-known-ish but that doesn’t change the equation by which you should distribute information. It doesn’t matter if you’re a CEO or a working class joe. When you hoard information, you allow others to seize the narrative. If you know something, share it. Transparency is always best.

Sooner or later, the truth will be revealed. The New York Times now reports that Goldberg collapsed in a hotel gym. Efforts to revive him in both the gym and a hospital failed. Look, Your JoeDog would be embarrassed if he went out like that but that’s no reason for ambiguity. The JoeDog PR staff should let everyone know that a B-list open source douchebag died because his fitness level was lower than his ego level.

As for Dave Goldberg just remember he died doing what he loved best: wrecking your online experience with annoying pop-up surveys.



The Wikipedia Draft

The NFL draft is one of the biggest sporting events in America. Nobody actually plays anything. It’s basically a schoolyard pick up game without the game.  Your JoeDog watched until his team selected the most awesomest player ever, then he went to bed. Looking for updates, he logged into the NFL’s official website but their presentation sucked. All he wanted was a list of teams and players. You know, like Wikipedia has for each NFL draft.

“Hmmm,” Your JoeDog thought, “I’ll bet the Poindexters at Wikipedia are updating that site as it happens.” So he logged in and sure enough: the 2015 NFL draft is being updated in real-ish time on Wikipedia.