Archive for the ‘rant’ Category

After a long negotiation process between my DNS provider and the registrar of the domain thieves, virtual.net is back where it has belonged since early 1993: with me.  Huzzah!

My advice, in retrospect, is that if your domain is hijacked, immediately file with ICANN, over the protests of your registrar if necessary.  Fortunately I got my domain back, but if the remote registrar had not finally given it back (after making my registrar send some kind of “we won’t sue you” papers), I’d have been SOL, as the ICANN waiting period for opening a case had already expired.

How did I eventually lose the domain?  My provider offers both secure and non-secure login pages, and I believe that I accidentally logged into a non-secure page while at a public wireless location.  At first we thought my email provider had been compromised, but we found nothing but my home network access in the logs, and no suspicious activity.  The fact that the thieves had to change the contact email to “inbox@greatdomains.com” to get the transfer key is further proof that they had no access to my email.

If your provider offers non-secure login pages, make a bookmark to their secure page and only use that bookmark for login, never surf there directly or use a sidebar login on a provider’s main page– unless it says “secure login”.  There’s really no excuse for offering non-secure logins in this age of ubiquitous wireless– I’ve mentioned to my provider that they’re a bad idea, we’ll see if they go away.  I was on my laptop, with a new hard drive, and I hadn’t pulled over my bookmarks yet, so I think that’s how I screwed up.


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I thought email had gotten very quiet over the last day or so. Better yet, we’ve been painting the livingroom, so I’ve been off the net mostly for the past few days. Yesterday my email seemed a little off, and today it was pretty much nonexistent. Now I know why. Some sleazeball apparently got access to my domain hosting account, apparently from intercepting email (!!!!!), and transferred my domain out. The one I’ve had since 1993.

The domain provider is getting it back. There’s an ICANN procedure for this kind of thing. Un-freaking-believable.

I wonder if I can sue them or get them in trouble otherwise in DK? As this smoking-gun photo shows, backed up by my domain provider’s logs, they broke into my domain provider account and deliberately hijacked it:

Domain Name: virtual.net

Registrant Contact
Name: Domain Manager : GreatDomains@inbox.com
Address: Sattarkhan Blvd.
Copenhagen, DK 2400

Email Address: greatdomains@inbox.com
Phone Number: (+45)331-530

Administrative Contact
Name: Domain Manager : GreatDomains@inbox.com
Address: Sattarkhan Blvd.
Copenhagen, DK 2400
Email Address: greatdomains@inbox.com
Phone Number: (+45)331-530

Technical Contact
Name: Domain Manager : GreatDomains@inbox.com
Address: Sattarkhan Blvd.
Copenhagen, DK 2400
Email Address: greatdomains@inbox.com
Phone Number: (+45)331-530

Record Created on…….. 1993-04-14 00:00:00.000
Record last updated on… 2007-12-27 23:02:08.956
Expire on……………. 2009-04-15 00:00:00.000

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Remember when nerds ran through the hallways of MIT chanting “The Ringworld is unstable! The Ringworld is unstable!”?  OK, I don’t remember directly, as it was rather before I got there, but my realization today was equally shocking.   Environmentalism isn’t sustainable, not the way it’s practiced currently.  Let me tell you how I got there, and how we can work on getting around the problem.

This evening I read a fascinating post dissecting some environmental myths and affordances over at David Reevely’s “EcoLibertarian”.   Reevely, like my spouse, is apparently a WW2 history buff, and found a very cogent (and relevant) analysis of the Allies’ bombing campaign in Richard Overy’s book “Why the Allies Won”.   Overy makes the point that the West’s strong points were in engineering and management, rather than an ability to shove literally millions of men onto the battlefield.  By leveraging those capacities, what looked like wasteful use of materials and energy actually turned out to save lives in the long run and transform the war from a brute-force context to one of capital and logistics.

Fast-forward to the birth of the environmental movement, which, as Reevely points out, arose on quasi-moral grounds, “on the idea that it was intrinsically sinful, in some sense, to consume more than you absolutely needed.”  This was usually expressed as separatism, with individuals and families trying to drop out and provide for all of their own needs.  As Reevely also observes, this meant lifestyle reductions, aka the infamous “do more with less”.

A lot of people still approach environmentalism as “what will I give up today?”   Reevely’s point, which I wholeheartedly endorse, is that there is more to environmentalism than this fundamentally reductionist approach.  Instead of trying to see how many eco-soldiers we can deploy to drop out and give up their goods and services, we should be asking ourselves how to use the momentum, in capital and engineering, that we built up with peak oil in order to create a better way going forward.

A very wise person recently told me that the key to happiness is moving toward pleasure, rather than away from pain.  An endless cycle of giving up things in order to “save the planet” can only go so far.  That’s moving away from pain, not toward something pleasant.   It’s a philosophy that can create some satisfaction, a sense of duty, and a smug “moral high ground”, but it doesn’t inspire or truly lead.   Ironically, a completely reductionist philosophy of environmentalism is ultimately not sustainable!  Dropping out of modern society is of less value, in my opinion, than staying in and calling for moderation and sanity, as well as leading by example.

For my own contribution, here are some approaches to environmentalism that I’ve found valuable in the real world.  I’m still giving up some things, but I’m doing it as part of a managed approach, not as an abnegation of the market system.

  • Using our day-to-day buying power to influence local micro-markets.  Enough of us must have filled out comment cards at Trader Joe’s, as they now have California-produced olive oil along with all the imported stuff.  I still complain about the bottled waters from overseas at least monthly, maybe it will add up to a difference someday.   Talking pleasantly to the folks stocking the produce department sometimes turns up a manager, and we express our appreciation for the local produce being carried, and wish out loud that more things had better area of origin labelling so we could make better choices.  In at least 2 of the 4 stores where I frequently shop, origin info has increased to naming the state, as well as the country.  I’m finding choices I didn’t know I had, e.g. between Tehachapi CA apples and Washington state apples and Australian apples, rather than just Jonathan vs Gala vs Fuji.   BTW, just because it’s not local doesn’t mean it’s bad– for instance, NZ and AU lamb that’s pasture-raised and transported by ship is actually more eco-neutral than local veggies raised with petrochemical fertilizers and irrigation.
  • Making a habit of letting our increasingly-ubiquitous connectivity enable frequent feedback to local, state, and national elected representatives fast and easy.  I keep a letter template on my desktop and laptop computers, and have my senators and representatives, as well as some town and state contacts, in my eFax rolodex.  If I read about something online or in a coffee shop, it’s the work of a few minutes to fire off a polite, focused faxed letter and let my opinion be heard.  Sure, I could email.  But again and again I read that it’s the physical pile of letters and faxes that are weighed more heavily than phone calls and emails, so I’ll spend the piece of paper.  Who knows, they may not even be printing them out.
  • Leveraging the economic and lifestyle surplus of peak-oil-now to invest and invent for future sustainability.  A good example of this is all of us backyard gardeners enjoying a hobby while learning how to actually grow stuff.  It’s a good thing my family doesn’t live or die on the basis of my garden, even though we do pretty well most of the time.   I buy carbon credits for our vehicles, after researching the options, because I want to encourage that practice.   New innovations in manufacturing are letting us build some high-end components like LEDs and solar cells more cleanly and cheaply than ever, but we couldn’t have gotten there without the fuss and waste in the middle.   Increasing numbers of people are finding ways to telecommute part or full time.  Etc.

The overall summary  Don’t drop out and raise llamas in the woods unless you LOVE raising llamas in the woods.     It will just make you bitter, and annoy the llamas.  You want to be Eco, not Emo.   What are you doing to be Eco smarter, not harder?  Y’all are an extremely hoopy set of froods, and smart as new paint– leave a comment and share your approaches, too, please!

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The text (of my previous post entitled WORD!!) is a hyperlink of someone else’s words, but the sentiment is near and dear to me.

First let me say that I like the organization, I liked the folks I met at the installfest, and I plan to go back to future ones. I don’t think anyone acted in any way maliciously or unpleasantly. It was just “cultural programming in action”, like fish in water. I am not bitching (verb; to voice a non-positive opinion on anything that makes men feel defensive) about the org or the installfest, merely about the US of A culture in which it rests. That said…

It was less than fully amusing to attend a Linux installfest this past weekend and have total strangers grabbing my equipment without asking me first, and rushing to tell me what to do to set it up as I’m getting it out of the box. I got quite the look when I said, pleasantly but firmly, “Please leave that alone for now, thank you.”

If I’d shown up with a laptop or desktop PC looking lost, I could grok it. But I came loaded for bear with multiple laptops, cabling, hub, keyboard, a bagful of various kinds of serial connectors, my own install disks, and some hardware that a number of folks there had quite literally never seen before. On the latter, I got to watch guys asking other guys about it, rather than me, even though it was clearly part of my setup. When my friend Jeff was there, it was natural to ask him, but I’m not counting that– before he got there several guys went around the room asking other guys about “that hardware on the table”, or trying to pick it up to take it across the room to the folks running the installfest. In the latter case, I said, again pleasantly but firmly, “Hey, hello, that’s my hardware– do you have a question about it?”.

And normally I wouldn’t even bother to write it up, because it’s also Just Another Normal Thing.

So yeah, I don’t go out with placards, or think penetration equals rape, or any of that stuff. But I do consider gender relations in this culture, and many others, to be genuinely screwed up. An interesting book I’m reading on Pagan deities actually turns out to be much more philosophical than I’d realized. One author’s theory is that as agriculture, and warfare that can’t be nomadically avoided because you have to defend your fields/granaries, became more common, male deities and men themselves took more societal prominence, at the consensual request of society.

Now that we’ve moved beyond brute endurance style warfare, for the most part, perhaps societally we can afford to move into a more gender-balanced space. Of course, that actually is a threat to the privileged gender, so there will be a reaction and effort to keep the status quo. Please note that I’m not advocating matriarchy or woman-centric society either. I’d just like to see a bit less gender based grabby/bossy stuff going on, to save myself the trouble of having to smack/push back.

It *is* annoying, and the extra workload that it takes to maintain my own place in the face of all the competitiveness is a workload that I increasingly weigh vs the benefits of being social in professional and recreational groups. The whole aura of “hey, you’re breaking the rules / being a bitch” that gets generated when I, and other women, refuse to let folks talk over us or don’t smile when somebody tries to tell us what to do, that aura is just a royal pain in the ass and I am pretty tired of it.

Oh, and when we go off and make a ‘place of our own’, like linuxchix or the BlogHer conference, as soon as it looks interesting, guys come out of the woodwork to smugly say “you can’t have it both ways” and accuse women of discriminating if guys aren’t allowed. So anybody who comments to say that, get a life.

Screen, screen, screen… if you don’t want to be unscreened, say so in your comment.

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…including practices that will be thought of as sheerest quackery 50 years from now, as were some of today’s practices 50 years ago. I’m not interested in outlawing science, not even remotely. I AM interested in calling attention to the fact that a lot of *really bad science* seems to insist on being afforded the same respect as good science.


Animals differ amongst themselves and – most importantly – from humans in their reactions to chemicals. Penicillin for instance, therapeutic for humans, will kill a guinea-pig or a hamster; while strychnine, favourite weapon of the murderer, is harmless to the same guinea-pig, a chicken or a monkey.

How, Croce asks, if animals differ so much from humans in their reactions, can one test drugs on them intended for humans? Worse still, how can you test the efficacy of a drug intended for a particular human illness on an animal that does not suffer from the same disease?

The vivisectionist responds by artificially inducing the disease in the animal. In the case of osteoarthritis, for example, the researcher attempts to mimic the human deformity using dogs, sheep and cats by beating joints with hammers or injecting them with irritants. As Croce says, it is incomprehensible that such a procedure, which produces no more than fracture and inflammation in the joint, can be used as an acceptable model of human ostenarthritis.

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Most people grow up so far out of touch with animals that they probably shouldn’t even be doing animal research. Researchers ‘surprised’ by dogs’ abilities? Did any of them grow up with a family dog?

Growing up with one or more dogs, two or more cats, and various numbers of goats, chickens, and occasionally pigs, a steer, and a horse, one not only sees a wide range of animal behavior, one sees how the animals adapt to other animals and to other people. This is a level of experience that ought to be mandatory for folks doing animal research.

One can say that it introduces a bias toward thinking of animals as more people-like or more sentient than they may be. What about the bias of someone who assumes by default that they are not? Already researchers are questioning the dog studies mentioned in the previous article, and saying they may be clever imitation based on hidden cues, a “Clever Hans” effect. Grr.

We already have dozens of examples of animals using language and tools, ranging from the larger primates, which doesn’t seem to shock anybody, to parrots, dogs, cetaceans, various birds, etc. There are the elephant society studies that have recently become news. The whale dialects. The prairie-dog vocabulary, including the ability to invent, transmit, and re-use multi-word constructs (shades of High German). The list just goes on and on and on.

It’s not a specific brain size, kids. Consciousness and self-awareness is a property of life. Do what you need to for survival. Choose what you need for your comfort. Give up what you can in compassion. Start remaking society with your economic choices as well as your personal ones.

I found the pasture-raised eggs people at the MV Farmer’s Market on Sunday. No more ‘cage-free’ or ‘free-range’ eggs from huge, open, ammonia-laden henhouses with a scheduled 4-hour timeslot into a bare dirt pen. 😦 Now I need to find a source of local pasture-raised milk. Or stop drinking the damn stuff. Buying fancy cheese just got both really tough and really easy– a lot of the expensive stuff I usually avoid is from pasture or mountain ranged sheep and goats, even cows.

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posted this great Washington Post article about cognitive reasoning and inference in dogs, who behaved similarly to 14-month-old children in an inference test. And I just have to RANT, seeing the ‘wow, who knew?’ tone of this article (not at him, at the world in general).

I grew up with animals. They really ARE there— there is someone home, they are not meat puppets or objects for our convenience. We are committing slavery and genocide on a vast scale, all over this earth, often for no better reasons than convenience or sheer ignorance.

I don’t deny the legitimacy of (some) scientific research; I deny the legitimacy of LD-50 and Draize tests, of needless vivisection for ‘training’ purposes.

I don’t deny the freedom to choose to eat meat; I deny the system that makes the ‘choice’ a stroll through a bright supermarket, picking up clean, odorless, protein packages adorned with brightly smiling cartoons, while at the same time condemning the animals that become the package contents to a hellish and painful existence in ammonia-soaked feedlots and coops, drugged and mutilated to prevent their natural outrage from expressing itself.

I don’t deny the need of people to spread out and to use land for farming, housing, lumber, recreation; I deny the smokescreen of hype that deludes people into believing that their lawns are safe and sustainable, that their agriculture isn’t creating poisons, that their housing ‘in the country’ isn’t causing the very problems they are fleeing.

I don’t deny the ‘right’ to ‘use’ our public park systems and wild lands; I deny the attitude that “we’re not hurting anything” when we hike, play music, ride atvs and snowmobiles and water jets, etc in wilderness. Ever lived next to a home having outdoor contracting done? They’re not hurting you, are they? They’re just making noise when you may not want it, startling you occasionally, making you think twice about using your bbq outside because you don’t want paint/sawdust/whatever on your food, etc. Every day. Every damn day. Still feeling good about it? But they’re not DOING anything to you. Right.

I deny the mindset that uses terms like ‘vacant’ land for ecosystems, that declares a field ‘fallow’ if it houses a meadow where no farm animals graze. I deny the mindset that judges nature and the earth solely according to its utility and beauty in the eye of human beholders, ignoring any dignity and worth it may have in its own right.

Let’s not even get into the parallels between electrocution as capital punishment and the standard manner in which farmed fur such as fox and mink are dispatched for ‘processing’, namely being taunted into biting a metal muzzle grip and having a cattle prod shoved up their ass to electrocute them. Fluffs the fur nicely, you see. Now all you little goth wenches go out and give your giggly little fox tail the decent burial it deserves. I’ve got one scheduled for mine. 😦

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Mike and I were expanding on the theme of ‘maybe they are ALL cylons’ (and which generations thereof) last weekend. He sent me http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune.com/entertainment_tv/2007/03/but_you_and_i_w.html a link to a nifty Chicago Trib column with LOTS of speculation in the comments.. Most of the variants I’m seeing are in sync with stuff we’re thinking about, so either we’re all right or all wrong together.


  • Everybody is a Cylon, and some Cylons periodically renew the humanness of the programming by setting up sleeper colonies and subjecting them to evolutionary pressure.
  • Rebellion within the cylon ranks, whether everyone is a cylon or not– the four cylons revealed are part of a group that has major policy differences with the others.
  • The Lords of Kobol are/were renegade cylons who founded the colonies and gave up their reincarnation/upload technology.
  • Roslyn is not a cylon, but can join the visions because of her blood infusion from Hera; she will be an important link.Stuff we totally didn’t think of, and has potential…
  • The four ‘revealed’ cylons are actually NOT cylons, they’re human incarnations linked to the Temple of Five, of which Kara is either the fifth party or a messenger intermediary.
  • There’s some big 3rd party out there, and the humans and cylons will be forced to ally to survive. Hmmm. I don’t like that one much, but it’s an idea.
  • *We* are all cylons. The events are happening in Earth’s past; when the Fleet and the Cylons arrive, Sol 3 is basically ook-ook territory, with the possible exception of Atlantis. The two fleets shred each other and then the survivors end up scattered around the globe to form the nexus of modern humanity. Explains the old deity name matches, like Hera, Athena, etc. 😉
  • Leoben saying “Adama is a cylon” in an earlier episode actually referred to LEE Adama. Starbuck never really died, as Lee-cylon’s programming actually either imagined her death or faked her death report. (My follow-up idea, reading this– some ancient Lords-O-Kobol device reacted to Lee-cylon and faked her death; she doesn’t yet know that Lee-cylon is a cylon. The wormhole/vortex *is* a gateway of some kind. But I still think it’s far-fetched.)Whew. There are even more theories, but I’m tired of typing!

    Not giving up? Here’s an interview with Exec Producer Ron Moore, which may shed light on some of this. Then again, it may be ‘ha ha, made you blink, now which cup is the pea under?’ kind of light. 😀 Or read http://sepinwall.blogspot.com/2007/03/battlestar-galactica-let-us-not-talk.html some highly abstruse musings by a blogger or even the <http://forums.televisionwithoutpity.com/index.php?s=aded39589ddd0414bb97e6d431667ab2&showforum=746 Television Without Pity BSG Board from which all wisdom may or may not have sprung.

    Or go put your knickers in a serious twist with classic BSG in mystical mode, and wonder how much of it Ron-boy has snuck in there. Yeep.

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    Mac drop problem was thermal shock. Desk is no longer in kitchen/DR area, under cold HVAC, so basically can’t run iMac G5 when house ambient temp is 75-plus. #$%@!!

    Cracking it open and blowing the dust bunnies out, of which there were very few, just cooled it enough so that it takes longer to fail.

    Now it’s cooler. The mac is up, and staying up. So I’m trying to read my mail, and somebody sent me a video.

    Somewhere along the way, I lost audio from browsers, eg, playing vids. Attempting to fix it via http://www.macfixitforums.com/showflat.php?Board=tiger&Number=772938 caused me to lose SYSTEM audio. Though GarageBand still can play audio.

    I’ve been watching too much InuYasha. Have fierce and savage urge to attack, via keyboard, with battle-cry of “BLUUUUUETOOTH KEYCLICKS OF *CLRI ROOT NODE*!!!” If only the damn thing would just blow up. It would be SO worth it.

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    My desktop mac has been crashing randomly for the past several days. Downloading the 10.4.9 combo dmg, with a permissions fixer, did not solve the problem. Still getting sudden shutoffs, leaving -122 error in ../../private/var/log/system.log.

    Also reported were a bunch-o-cruft about difficulties routing and mookin’ aboot (she sez, through clenched teeth clamped about a nonexistent hand-carved bit of briar).

    Took the mac off the net. Went through every control in System Prefs, singing Buddy Holly to myself. “Look through every window, yeah… what do I see?” Yes, the song is “any” window. Turned off anything ‘helpful’, eg FruitMenu, FontLoader, yada yada. Found that firewire is now plumbed for IPv6 stuff. Ah.

    Oh, and since the 10.4.9 upgrade, my terminals say ‘localhost’ instead of ‘hoksu-mitto’. Well.

    To make a long story shorter, I think I have it this time. Have turned off bluetooth wake-up capability, set the hostname again (! again ! what, do they not finish plumbing the hostname if you aren’t on the net?! ), yada yada.

    Let’s see how it goes. I’m way behind on email, if ya got something up, call me.

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