Former Mozilla CTO detained at US border and denied a lawyer | ZDNet

The Customs and Border Patrol are seriously out of control, and not only because we elected a corrupt fascist as president, but honestly, that didn’t help any either.

Think about it. How would YOU respond to CBP’s threats of criminal prosecution?

Officers retaliated by telling Gal “that he had no right to an attorney.”CBP agents tried to intimidate Gal. They subsequently continued to ask for Gal’s phone passcode and laptop password multiple times, threatened to confiscate and keep the devices, and tried to intimidate him by claiming he was breaking the law and threatened him with criminal prosecution.

Source: Former Mozilla CTO detained at US border and denied a lawyer | ZDNet

Netflix: Person of Interest

I recall enjoying this show when it first came out, and my interest waned after a few years. Tonight I found the first few seasons on Netflix, and started watching it from S1E1, and man, yes, I recognize why I latched onto it as a fan so many years ago.

In fact, tonight I identified several “new” series on Netflix that I think I’d enjoy, including Turn Up Charlie, starring Idris Elba (who I really enjoyed in Luther), and Lost Girl, which is vaguely reminiscent of Grimm, with supernatural characters trying to hide in plain sight.

Check them out, if you’re inclined.

I was discussing with my wife this morning, the difference betweeen white hats, black hats, and grey hats, particularly as it comes to computer hackers, because that’s the angle I’m most familiar with. Person of Interest features Mr Reese and Mr Finch, who are definitely both “grey hats”. Both operate outside the law, but are basically trying to serve a good purpose. Not all grey hats do that. In fact, I think most grey hats are purely selfish in their actions. They only act to satisfy their own needs. Mr Reese’s need just happens to be to fight “black hats”, but he’s willing to bend the law, murder black hats, injure innocents, even obfuscate the law enforcement people, as long as it allows him to continue to serve the greater good.

Black hats only seem to serve themselves, usually with a goal of making a financial profit. White hats usually only exist to find and defeat the black hats, to find vulnerabilities before than can be widely exploited, as well as vulnerabilities that are being actively exploited, and find the black hats who are exploiting them, and shut them down. There are a whole lot of white hats working to find weaknesses in common computers, and get them fixed before they can be exploited.

I think Hollywood has idealized the “grey hat” character to the extreme. Too many cop shows, such as NCIS, CSI, etc, feature law enforcement who find themselves deep in a grey hat situation, wanting to stop the bad guys, but having to break the law to do it. Hollywood seems to find no problem with that, as long as the ends justify the means, but I find that just too sad.

Consider NCIS’s Jethro Gibbs. He’s fluctuated back and forth between grey and white hat. Usually he’s a “by the book” kind of guy, but when it came to dealing with his wife and child’s murder, they allow him to murder the “evil’ Mexican Drug Lord. They had several episodes about how this decision created a great conflict in his logic, but ended up simply whitewashing the whole thing, and excusing his selfish revenge as “justice”.

In reality, I doubt the end result would have ever been so cut and dried. He should have lost his job, his badge, his reputation, everything, but because it was a popular Hollywood show, they couldn’t justify prosecuting their “star”.

And now we’re dealing with all kind of “rightous” violent people who think they are justified in taking revenge against anyone who has “wronged” them. A whole shitload of Americans believe in conspiracy theories involving the government, and think they are justified in taking individual action. Just look at the whole “pizzagate” thing. And the Waco sadness. None of the offenders were ever “in the right”, but they sure thought they were.

What about all the idiots who still listen to Alex Jones, who made his entire career based on wacko conspiracy theories. Nobody sane believes them, but 10s of thousands of nutjobs believe there is a “deep state conspiracy” that intends to do them harm, regardless of the lack of proof. All it takes is a theory, and a mouthpiece, and idiots who want to believe, will believe.

CBS’s NCIS on Netflix

I’ve started re-watching NCIS Season One on Netflix, and I have to admit, the characters in Season One are so much more appealing than they turned out to become in later seasons. Gibbs has a wry whit that just isn’t present in later seasons, and Tony and Kate are much more combative, and competitive. I’m not sure exactly when the tone of the show changed, but I suspect they became much more conservative around season three, when they became more protective of their characters, to ensure a longer term tv show renewal.

Abby is so edgy in S1, she’s the entire comic relief of the show, basically. McGee was only a minor player in S1, but he’s also a lot more mysterious, and much less fleshed out.

I think I much prefer my TV characters more mysterious, and less tightly defined. American TV shows that get picked up for more than 2-3 seasons, always seem to fall into the trap of trying to explore the depths of each of their characters. This only serves to remove the mystery, and make the characters much less interesting. Either they’re proved to be honest and boring, or corrupt and untrustworthy. I think I prefer my interesting characters to hold more than a few character traits back, and leave more to the imagination of the viewer. Think about Cheers. Sam was a playboy in the first season, and just became a sad loser in later ones.

The first few seasons of NCIS held Gibbs in the highest regard, as a sort of super hero that his younger team could barely understand. Later seasons only pigeon holed him into a “complicated character”, with more than a few flaws. Earlier seasons developed Gibbs’ rules, while later ones treated them as a standard training manual. I find well defined characters much less interesting overall. I prefer shows that ask me to use my imagination when trying to understand their characters.

Reddit Jumps The Shark

I have been reading Reddit for years. I keep subscribing to new subreddits and unsubscribing from others, every few months, as I find new interests, and get bored with others. But now that Reddit has been sold out from the old guard, the new owners seem to be doing everything in their power to eliminate all their users, in their blind desire for more viewers.

Only a few months ago, the home page was a bottomless pit, you could subscribe to as many subreddits as you liked, and the home page would endlessly show you all the content. If you reached the bottom of the page, it just kept adding older and older content.

I liked that, because I’m weening off Social Media, and can go for days without reading any stories. But the past few months, Reddit cuts off the home page after a day or so worth of posts. It just hits some desired end, and won’t keep going.

Lately, I find myself selecting a single subreddit at a time, and going through all of it’s stories, until I reach the end of what is available. On top of that, I’ve noticed a drop in quality of posts in Reddit. I’ve decided, in the end, that Reddit really has jumped the shark. The new owners have chased away too many of the original contributers, that it’s become worse than useless. AKA, jumped the shark.

I’ve seen Google+, Facebook, and Twitter all jump the shark. Twitter seems to be the only one still hanging onto a thread, but that seems to be only due to the fact that Twitter is less people following family members and friends, and more people following content creators who make compelling content that attracts others. Facebook assume you won’t quit following your mom, mostly due to the guilt of unfollowing her. Twitter has never suffered that restriction.

On twitter, I only follow authors and podcast creators who make content I tend to find interesting, now and then. And I find myself following fewer and fewer, as Twitter turns into a sewer of political hatred that has consumed most of it’s fans.

I’m starting to see the wisdom that Google once tried to employ, forcing fans to adopt their REAL persona online. When people are allowed to be anonymous, to hide behind a pseudonym with no consequences, we end up with conspiracy theories, like the whole QANON stupidity. As long as idiots like Glann Beck fans and anti-vaxxers are allowed to promote their crap without any penalty, we all suffer from the lack of facts. There are zero people on the Internet that anyone can trust.

Just one reason why I never want to live in Texas

My wife is from Texas, and most of her extended family still live there. When the topic of where we might be interested in moving to comes up, Texas is always first in line.

But it’s things like this that scare the crap out of me, and make me swear I never want to live in Texas. It seems Texas is so backwards, it’s like they don’t care a bit about their own citizens, and would rather see thousands of them die, rather than risk forcing any businesses being upset because they have to spend any money to protect a single innocent life. Apparently not enough Texans have died yet for any politicians to care enough to want to change these archaic laws.

The law exists despite codes’ value of fire prevention, others.

Source: Texas prohibits nearly 70 percent of its counties from having a fire code | News | Dallas News

The COAST GUARD? What?!?

The thing that puzzles me the most, is why is the Coast Guard cruising overseas? I thought they were strictly OUR homeland defense force, and not anyone who would ever be sent overseas to defend our strategic partner’s homelands. FFS, it’s in their NAME! Coast GUARD.

Source: U.S.

Sirius The Jaeger – Netflix Original Series

I’m quite enjoying the Anime series “Sirius The Jaeger”, which deals with vampires as villains. My absolute favorite part of the show, the part that makes me LAUGH OUT LOUD every single time, is the opening credits. Right at the start, the credits show the English title “Netflix Original Series”. At the very same time, they show an English subtitle, saying the very same thing.

Usually, Anime only show subtitles when a road sign or the text on the screen is presented in the original Japanese, but for some reason, the opening title, and the episode name, which is weirdly presented at the very end, are both shown in English on the screen, and in a subtitle, at the same time. Smacks of some kind of weird automation, maybe a poorly designed AI subtitle bot that Netflix created.

Other than that, Sirius The Jaeger is a quite interesting story. It’s a fairly standard battle anime, with unclear good vs bad guys, and a seemingly original story to base it all on. I’m really enjoying it.

Most Bitcoin Trading Faked by Unregulated Exchanges

I never did think Bitcoin was a good idea. Never mined a single coin, never invested a penny. It’s fake money, entirely speculative. Just like the US dollar, only worth what we all agree it’s worth. And nobody can agree what bitcoin is worth, so, in other words, it’s worthless.

Nearly 95% of all reported trading in bitcoin is artificially created by unregulated exchanges, a new study concludes, raising fresh doubts about the nascent market following a steep decline in prices over the past year.

Source: Most Bitcoin Trading Faked by Unregulated Exchanges, Study Finds – WSJ