Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Gender & Ethic Studies profs earn more than peers???

According to Campus Reform colleges are paying professors of various "Studies" some $12,000 a year more than the average.  Which is odd, seeing us how "Studies" majors are mostly unemployable when they graduate.   My standard advice to college students is to decide what they want to do after graduation, and then pick a major that makes them employable in their chosen field.   Why should colleges pay professors of a boutique course of study extra, when that course of study is an invitation to bankruptcy for any student foolish enough to major in it?? 

Monday, August 13, 2018

Aircraft don't have ignition keys

After Friday's joy riding/ joy flying story, where an airport maintenance guy took off with a medium sized turbo prop airliner, did some really decent stunt flying and then crashed it, killing himself,  the TV newsies have been talking about why aircraft ought to have doors that lock and ignition keys. 
  Back in USAF, none of our aircraft had either.  And the two alert birds were armed with nuclear weapons back in those days.  We had a good chain link fence around the flight line, with a couple of gates.  We had armed guards, air police, on the gates and more of them on the alert hanger.   Everyone had to have a security badge to get onto the flight line.  And, with just a few exceptions, like company tech reps, everyone had to be wearing Air Force uniform.  
   So, hearing that a guy with apparently employment, a security clearance, and experience moving aircraft was able to take off with an aircraft is not surprising.  We might take a look at how he obtained his security clearance, but once he did, he could easily do what he did.   

Saturday, August 11, 2018

The NFL hasn't figured it out yet

The players are claiming a first amendment right to take a knee during the national anthem.  They think they are advancing their political cause[s].  What they fail to understand is their fans, customers, see kneeling during the national anthem as pure disrespect for the flag, and the republic for which it stands.  Gestures mean what people think they mean, not what you want them to mean. 
   We will see if the fans are sufficiently turned off to stop watching football on TV.  I think the players are stupid not to understand that they cannot afford to anger their fans. 

Friday, August 10, 2018

Prevent Hacking the US Electric Grid

Been a lotta talk about this, in the Journal, on the internet, on TV.   It works like this.  Lots of stuff, generators, transformer banks, substations, and more are remote controlled.  It saves money by eliminating expensive workers at each site.  The remote controllers will accept remote commands such as "Start Up", "Shut Down", "Increase Voltage", "Change Transformer Taps", "Speed Up", and many more.
   The cheapest communication link is the public internet, it's practically free. And the public switched telephone network is nearly as cheap although slower.  Trouble is, when you set all your generators and other equipment to accept commands from the public internet, that means every hacker in the world can send commands to your equipment.  There are some codes and addresses and computerish languages to learn but it isn't all that hard.
   The solution is to prohibit use of the public internet by the utilities.  These are power companies, they own power poles, they have line men, and  they can jolly well string fiber optic control lines on their own poles out to all their remote equipment.   Hackers don't climb poles, to tap fiber optic lines.  In addition to the hackers reluctance to leave their warm and cozy computer rooms, fiber is tough to tap.  You have to cut the glass fiber, insert an adder, bring your own fiber line all the way from your own computer, and then splice the two cut ends and your new line into the adder.  Splicing fiber can be done but it's hard, few techs know how.  A bad splice will block the light signal.
  The various public utility commissions, all 50 states and the feds,  need to post regulations prohibiting any kind of remote control over the public internet or the telephone network and demand private fiber optic control lines owned by the utility company.  This will hackers from ordering all the generators in the country to shut down some dark and snowy night.  

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Crony Capitalism comes to the US Commerce Dept

Tuesday's Wall St Journal main editorial has this story.  After Trump's heavy steel and aluminum tariffs, lots of injured companies are filing complicated paperwork to claim "exemptions" from the tariff.  The Journal laments all the time wasted on complex government red tape. 
   The real outrage is that some companies get exempted from the tariff, giving them a huge advantage over their competitors.  The is crony capitalism at its most blatant.  If we are gonna do tariffs, everyone ought to pay them.  Letting some companies off with "exemptions" is pure injustice, bribery, and conduct unbecoming a trash collector, let alone an elected  democratic government. 
  No exemptions for anyone, ever.

Facebook wants banks to share depositors data???

This was front page in Tuesday's Wall St Journal.  Facebook's story is that they want to be able to show their users their checking account balance, and by looking at who we are writing checks to, tailor the ads they show to appeal to us.
   I don't want anyone to know how much money I have in my checking account, whether or not I bounce checks, and who I am writing checks to.  I certainly don't want anyone to get my passwords, SSN, account numbers, transfer codes or anything else that would let them steal my money.  If I found out my bank was giving access to Facebook, I would close my account and find another bank, ASAP.
   I am still unhappy about Obama's decision to force all the doctors to put patients medical records on computer.  Any half way competent hacker can crack hospital network security and put every medical record up for sale.  God help those with serious medical problems, they will never get a job again. No company will hire people whose medical problems will jack up the company health insurance costs.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Shadow Banning sitting Congressmen??

Monday's Wall St Journal has an op-ed denouncing Facebook's practice in the matter.  From reading the article it is not clear just what "shadow banning" really is, or how much it hurts.  But to lay any sort of sanctions or restrictions on sitting Congressmen is absurd. 
   Congressmen get to be Congressmen by winning a majority of the votes.  Which means their view points are acceptable to a lot of people.  When Facebook decides that they are smarter or more political correct than someone who won an election, they are being profoundly undemocratic.  They are claiming the right as lefty techno weenies to silence people who have broad support, broader than any bunch of techno-weenies. 
   I can understand Facebook's desire to keep pornography, neonazis, Islamic terrorists, bots and bot nets, Russian trolls, and clearly deranged individuals off Facebook.  But to attack sitting Congressmen is beyond the pale.