“Strong” Passwords?

When I logged into my email today, as usual I checked my spam folder first, to make sure there wasn’t anything good in it. The only thing in the folder was a notice from WordPress that my “login credentials were recently discovered in a list of compromised accounts published by security researchers,” and therefore my password was reset.

Not sure if it was genuine or not, I went to my WordPress account. Sure enough, I couldn’t get in. So I clicked “Forgot password?” (NO! I did NOT “forget” it!), and then opened my password spreadsheet. I used to keep all my passwords in my head, but password rules have gotten so complex in the past few years–or even assign you strings of unrememberable random letters and numbers–that I’ve resorted to keeping a password list. Especially when a site forces me to create a password by rules that violate my password rules.

I won’t say what my rules are, because if you’re a brute-force attacker, it would eliminate a big chunk of combinations you’d have to go through. Of course, complex password rules also eliminate a big chunk of combinations that have to be tried. To a computer, saying you have to have an uppercase letter and a lowercase letter and a number and a symbol is like saying, “Guess a number between 1-1,000, but don’t bother with anything between 200-900.”

The passwords that I commit to memory are referred to simply by a reminder or which one I’m using for a site. That used to include WordPress. But when I changed to memorized password #2, WordPress rejected it as “too easy to guess.” Memorized password #3 it rejected as “too common.” That left password #4, which is only semi-memorized because there’s variant ways to write it, and I don’t always remember which way I wrote it for a given site, so I have to write it out in the password log.

Having to write it out in the password log means I can’t get to it when I’m not logging in through my own computer. It also means that anybody who gets a hold of my computer can get into all the sites that have complex password rules (including WordPress, now), but still wouldn’t be able to get into the sites that are only logged with reminders of memorized passwords.

For all the 30-odd years I’ve been entering computer passwords, I never considered using significant dates. But with these complex password rules, I may start. 11September2001! may be far more guessable than the passwords WordPress won’t allow me to use, but most complex-rules password systems would be happy to have me using it.

 

Oh, yeah, and my password was compromised by “an external site or service that you also use being hacked and their user data leaked by the attackers.” (My guess is that means a site that uses WordPress for its comments.) In situations like that (which I believe are the most common way for the bad guys to get your password–more common than all other ways combined), it makes ABSOLUTELY NO DIFFERENCE WHAT YOUR PASSWORD IS!

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Unbelievable: “snowflake meltdown” after riding jeep with replica gun at parade

“Why was that necessary, sir? My child didn’t need that today. Don’t care what your position is on second amendment that is completely unnecessary.”

–Pastor Johnny Lewis of Shawnee Community Christian Church, Kansas

What would this snowflake think if he learned that the first firearm I ever held was at just such an event?

Around my neck of the woods, the biggest parade all year is the Bonduel 4th of July parade, and the “picnic” that follows. The highlight of the picnic is the fireman’s fights (popularity varies directly with the temperature), but there’s plenty else going on.

This includes a display put on by the Clintonville National Guard. One year, when I was around five or six (and my big sister was relatively new to the Army Reserves), they let kids have a chance to shoot an M16. Back then, the M16 was still a bit exotic; I think all civilian weapons were still wood stocks and such back then (you know, what today’s gun-grabbers think the only tolerable civilian guns ought to be). We waited in line, and one by one, a Guardsman would have us get down on one knee, put the gun in our hands, show us how to hold it, let us aim it at something above us (they were set up under a tree with lots of convenient leaves to target), and pull the trigger. Then go find the shell.

I was too young and naive to understand or care that only gas was coming out the muzzle, I had it in my head it was the shell that came out and remember thinking when I found it that it was an odd place for where I had aimed. I poked it onto a leaf and carried it by that leaf until it was cool enough to hold directly.

I still have that shell today. (Along with a shell from the color guard of the parade that I participated in as State Miss Poppy.) Sometimes I wonder if the Guard still does stuff like that, or if/when they stopped. (Since I haven’t been to the Bonduel parade in years, I don’t even know if the National Guard is still invited, given the snowflake anti-gun climate that’s developed since the 1980’s.)

I will say, as I’ve said in other posts, that a good chunk of the reason people are so paranoid about having guns around is because they’re not exposed to them as children. When are we going to do something about that?

 

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/06/04/kansas-gubernatorial-hopeful-calls-out-snowflake-meltdown-after-riding-jeep-with-replica-gun-at-parade.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+foxnews%2Fpolitics+%28Internal+-+Politics+-+Text%29

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Deaths of Despair and Natural Selection

Economists Angus Deaton and Anne Case have discovered a rising trend of “deaths of despair” (suicides, alcohol abuse, and drug overdose) among middle-class American whites.

They look at Europe and don’t see the same rise in middle class deaths, nor do they see it among non-white Americans.

They wonder what is causing this, and offer several possibilities: the loss of jobs among the middle-aged, when it’s hard to start all over again in a new career; the (adjusted for inflation) decline in income among people with only a high-school diploma; and the breakdown of the social fabric as possible causes.

They don’t look at evolution.

American colonists from Europe were coming to a relatively unknown world, with little technological and material support. Co-dependents and people happy with the gentry “taking care” of them wouldn’t have gotten very far. To survive, they had to develop “Yankee ingenuity” and a strong independent streak, traits passed to the modern American White. (And, incidentally, greatly reduced among the Europeans.)

Arrivals from Africa faced a different situation. Most of them arrived in chains. They arrived from overcrowded ships of disease and malnourishment to be auctioned off to people who held power over every aspect of their lives–and deaths. Independence and individuality are not survival traits for a slave. The ones who survived to foster the modern American Black were the ones most receptive to having their lives managed.

And what do we have today? Big Government licensing itself to manage more and more aspects of our lives today. Compared to what negro slaves endured in past centuries, it’s still glorious freedom. Compared to the pioneers, modern society is the very embodiment of what their ancestors willingly left behind.

I grew up reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books. In the later books, you find people who are moving west to avoid the encroachment of “civilization” and all its rules and taxes. Well, we reached the ocean several generations ago. The fiercely independent streak cultivated in our ancestors has nowhere to go.

Save death.

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Fix “The Problem” or at least a problem

(A response to “Safe Spaces, Toxic Masculinity and Guns” in Manward)

First of all, “The Problem” didn’t stem from any one thing, and isn’t going to get fixed with any one thing. So, let’s talk about a step to fix a problem. Since we’re mentioning Las Vegas and safe spaces, an obvious problem is guns.

Trivia for you: What do the Boys Scouts and the National Rifle Association have in common?

Answer: They were both founded by war veterans who were disgusted with the shooting ability of soldiers: the NRA by Union veterans after the Civil War, and the Boys Scouts after the Spanish-American War. The logic being, the US Army can’t afford the time necessary to make up for a lack of gun experience prior to entering service.

Now, in a like vein, we have the NYPD having the heaviest trigger-pulls among American police departments. Why? Because they’ve got the highest rate of accidental discharge. Coincidentally, New York has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the U.S. Like the military, police academies have too many other things to teach recruits to spend time overcoming a lack of prior experience in handling guns.  So there’s a little tidbit that rarely finds its way into gun-control discussions: If you live in a gun-restrictive state, you’re more likely to get accidentally shot by a cop.

Then we also have the argument that children are exposed to gaming and Hollywood violence and become desensitized to violence. There’s a flip side to this: Gun-phobics who are only exposed to guns through Hollywood and gaming develop an exaggerated idea of what guns are capable of. You can see this in the resistance to allowing muzzle suppressors (erroneously referred to as “silencers”) for civilian use. Hollywood has taught them that “silencers” reduce the sound of a gunshot to undetectable/unrecognizable levels, enabling murderers to shoot victims without bystanders being the wiser. In truth, they just save everyone around the gun the hassle of having to wear earmuffs to preserve their hearing (something to keep in mind if you’re in a public area and someone near you draws their gun in self-defense).

The solution to both of these problems is to create a basic familiarity with firearms before the age of majority. Yes, I’m advocating not only putting guns in schools, but (under controlled conditions, of course) in the hands of students. Most of the training can be done with air rifles (a.k.a. “BB guns”), which can be safely handled and fired with a few additions to the gymnasium for a firing range. Students could be exposed to actual firearms in a traveling range that could be designed into a semi-trailer. (No, that’s not a targeting challenge, but the idea would be to understand how the gun behaves–marksmanship could be learned with the air rifles.)

A few years of this, and we’ll have a society that actually understands what guns can–and more importantly can’t–do, a good deal of this common nonsense about guns will disappear, and we’ll be able to focus on where the real problems lie.

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There’s a measles outbreak! Get your tetanus shot!

Tetanus shots for a measles outbreak. Doesn’t seem very sensible, does it? Measles and tetanus are two different diseases. But this is essentially what happens every flu season. And this year especially.

A few days ago, one of the national evening news covered a story of a boy that narrowly avoided death from some kind of influenza. The family was actually getting ready to say goodbye to him when he opened his eyes.

The parents felt a horrible sense of responsibility. You see, they hadn’t taken him to get a flu shot. They (and the hospital) also never bothered to check if the strain he contracted was one of the strains this year’s flu vaccine was manufactured for. The hospitals, statisticians, and–especially–the media rarely do. They just ASSuME that if you get the flu, then either you didn’t have your flu shot, or your infection is milder than it would have been if you hadn’t gotten your shot.

In truth, if you rely entirely on the logic of vaccinations to keep yourself from dying of the flu, then developing an immunity to H1N1 does bupkis to dealing with an Q1Z3 infection. You may as well be getting tetanus shots to protect against measles. There are dozens (or is it hundreds?) of strains of flu. Some may be deadlier than others, but which alphabet-soup label a particular strain is wearing means very little for purposes of our discussion. As far as your immune system is concerned, they’re two different adversaries to combat.

Actually, it’s worse than that. Despite claims that mercury is no longer being added to flu shots, many still have mercury levels 25,000 times the legal maximum of what the EPA allows for drinking water. Among other ill effects, sneaking this much mercury past your body’s defenses weakens your immune system–it actually INCREASES your chances of getting the flu and WORSENING your bout. Remember swine (H1N1) flu back in 2009? Guess what demographic was most likely to contract it? It was the folks who got their seasonal flu shots.

“Thimerosal, a mercury derivative, is added as a preservative. Each 0.5-mL dose contains 50 mcg [micrograms] thimerosal ([less than] 25 mcg mercury). Each 0.5-mL dose may also contain residual amounts of ovalbumin ([less than or equal to] 0.3 mcg), formaldehyde ([less than or equal to] 25 mcg), and sodium deoxycholate ([less than] 50 mcg) from the manufacturing process.”

(insert with a common flu vaccine)

So if you’re convinced by all these “doom and gloom” stories about overflowing hospitals and out-of-medicine panics to get your annual flu shot, you better get a tetanus shot, too. Just in case there’s a measles outbreak.

 

Update: *A provocative new study on flu virus transmission found that subjects had 6.3 times more aerosol shedding of flu virus particles if they received vaccination in the current and previous season compared with having no vaccination in those two seasons.

(Translation: People who get their flu shots are more likely to infect other people with the flu than those who don’t. Sneezing and/or coughing not required; breathing is enough.)

*Source: http://www.collective-evolution.com/2018/01/30/flu-vaccine-increases-your-risk-of-infecting-others-by-6-fold-study-suggests/

 

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The difference between “Health Insurance” and “Health Care” and why it matters

Is health care an entitlement, or a right?

Well, first we have to determine what we mean by “health care.” Most proponents of the ACA (or some equivalent legislation) assume it to mean “affordable health insurance,” and further assume “health insurance” means “a helping hand paying medical bills for accessing mainstream medicine.”

If that’s your definition of “heath care,” then absolutely, unequivocally, “NOT A RIGHT.”

I have a very simple test to decide if something is a “right” or an “entitlement.” Suppose we were blasted into the Stone Age tomorrow. Would it still be there? 2nd Amendment: So you’re toting stone-head spears instead of firearms; it’s still the RIGHT to bear arms. Can I still preach the Gospel of Heiki-Lunta? Yep, 1rst Amendment checks. Can I go get a CT scan? Nope, because the CT scanner doesn’t exist.

So no, being provided with high-tech diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, surgeons, or any of the trapping we associate with mainstream medicine is not a “right.”

Furthermore, “HEALTH INSURANCE” IS NOT “HEALTH CARE.” I cannot emphasize this enough. Health insurance is a ticket into a heavily-monopolized, endorsed-by-insurance subsection of of the infinitely-large body of health care knowledge that has been developed and employed by thousands of cultures through the ages. And what health care has been endorsed by insurance? Surgery, high-tech diagnostics, and pharmaceuticals. Many lower-cost, more-effective, earlier-dectection-and-treatment cures of medical conditions are COMPLETELY SHUT OUT of the “mainstream medicine” simply because they are an economic threat to Big Pharma, medical device manufacturers, and the AMA.

Did you know Ronald Reagan developed, and was cured of cancer, while President? He wasn’t treated in America. He went to Germany for a treatment that is outlawed in the United States. “Why?” do you ask? Ostensibly, such procedures haven’t passed the rigorous tests the FDA requires to prove they aren’t harmful. In truth, either no one has “championed” them for FDA testing (because they are unpatentable, and therefore, there’s no incentive to foot the cost of putting them through all the FDA’s hoops), or they’ve been subjected to a standard many times that of “conventional” (i.e. Big Pharma and friends) treatments.

Many of the arguments of advocates for “health insurance for all” trot out a sob-story about a disease progressing to a far more expensive-to-treat (or even untreatable) phase because they didn’t have the insurance to detect and treat it in early phases. It is literally inconceivable to them that they could have detected and treated it outside of mainstream medicine for what might have been less than the cost of their insurance premiums.

Meanwhile, families that have had one insurer after another drop them as the Big Pharma/Big Insurance/Government triangle continuously push each other into eliminating more and more insurance plans are barely mentioned. Low-cost, high-effective treatments are attacked by industry-paid “experts,” which in turn are dropped (or never picked up in the first place) by insurers, which in turn force consumers to choose from those treatments that are profitable to the industry. Cancer is never going to be cured by mainstream medicine because it is not profitable to do so. Nor is it profitable to cure diabetes, Crohn’s disease, or dozens of other chronic ailments affecting America. Not while BigPharma can get rich selling patent-medicine treatments to a captive audience, which is what happens when there is anything approaching government-defined health insurance.

If there is a “right” to health care, it’s a right to consult the practitioner of one’s choice, using whatever method of health care is acceptable to the patient. Advocates of “health insurance for all” are, in truth, advocating against health care rights, by forcing people to spend so much money subsidizing monopolistic mainstream medicine when it may not be the best course for an individual, that they have no money left for treatments that actually work.

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Whose holiday is Christmas?

“I don’t know if you believe in Christmas
Or if you have presents underneath the Christmas tree
But if you believe in love
That will be more than enough
For you to come and celebrate with me”

–John Denver, “The Christmas Wish”

Amazing that Christmas has grown to the closest thing we have to a universal holiday, and people are pouting about it. Jesus’ message is ultimately love. If you come together in love, you’ve taken Jesus’ message to heart, whatever your religion. If you hate people for marking it with guys in red suits and animated snowmen, you’ve missed the message, even if you say every prayer and go to church every day.

Yet we’ve got some Christians arguing that we shouldn’t even call it “Christmas,” because it’s so commercialized. As if they even invented the holiday.

Reality check for you Christians: Very educated guesses say that Jesus Christ was born in spring. So why do we celebrate at the end of December?

Christ’s birthday wasn’t very important in the beginning, the emphasis was on the Resurrection at Easter. But as Christianity began to spread, one of the methods Christians used to stamp out the older pagan religions was to deliberately schedule Christian holidays on dates that were significant to the religion of the people they were trying to convert, and reinterpret other religions’ symbols in a Christian context.

Decorated trees, holly boughs, Yule logs? That’s all pagan celebrations of the winter solstice. So from the very beginning of Christmas celebrations, it was already a multi-religion holiday.

But if you really want to be Christian about it, remember that little tune about a true love’s gifts? Well, December 25 is the first day of Christmas, and traditionally, the best celebrations were on the twelfth day of Christmas (January 5). So stop throwing your trees out on December 26, already.

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