Showing posts from May, 2015

The reasons for the wars

Much of the public may still believe that the wars being fought in the Middle East are to protect the US from "terrorism". This is, of course, a sham. The rest of the public, however, appears to increasingly subscribe to the simplistic explanation that the wars are just to benefit a few "evil corporations". The wars are about more than that. The wars do have a motivation in US national security (and even the national security of EU and other satellites of the US), it's just a deeper interpretation of "national security" than what the public would accept without extensive flattery and well, lying. The wars are about US global economic dominance. They have nice side effects in terms of juicy bones that can be tossed to allies, but for the most part, they're about keeping the US economy running. Other than military hardware, there are few things the US still actually manufactures at this point, so inventing reasons to keep the military busy is a h

You get what you pay for: Infographic

One of my biggest frustrations is that I can't get this point across to people. For some reason, people think that driven, principled, high quality individuals should be attracted to politics simply out of the goodness of their hearts! The US problem is not Republicans vs. Democrats. It's that corporations buy your politicians because you begrudge paying them in any way proportional to good service. You get what you pay for, and the pittance you pay attracts few honest people, but primarily those who would abuse and sell power. It's not possible to fund a re-election campaign otherwise! My previous posts about this: Study: Congress literally doesn’t care what you think (May 2015) Thoughts in favor of much better compensation for elected officials (July 2007)

Acetaminophen may cause autism, ADHD in vulnerable children

I came across the following paper, which suggests convincing - though perhaps not yet fully conclusive - evidence that the incidence of autism might be greatly increased by acetaminophen (paracetamol) exposure in genetically susceptible children: Evidence that Increased Acetaminophen use in Genetically Vulnerable Children Appears to be a Major Cause of the Epidemics of Autism, Attention Deficit with Hyperactivity, and Asthma Cuba has some of the lowest rates of autism in the world. In comparison, vaccination rates are some of the world's highest; but , acetaminophen is not available without prescription. In fact: their medical system hardly ever uses acetaminophen, preferring a different antipyretic to treat fever. In the US, on the other hand, there are physicians with the bizarre practice of prescribing acetaminophen prophylactically, every day for 5 days prior to a child's immunization. The following is another paper suggesting that acetaminophen may be a culprit:

You get what you pay for.

In 2007, I posted: You get what you pay for? or Thoughts in favor of much better compensation for elected officials Now check out this study: Study: Congress literally doesn’t care what you think Specifically - check out this graphic: Yeah. That is the entire problem of US politics. The smart people in your country are leveraging $5.8 billion over a decade to receive in return a thousand times more in favorable regulation and subsidies. It all ends up being paid to them at your expense . It's literally taken out of your paycheck. The only reason this can happen is because you just don't want to pay your politicians well . They run a $10 trillion dollar country , and you're too stingy to pay them anything remotely resembling that responsibility. So corporations pay instead. With your money. And it ends up costing you a thousand times more. We can argue about getting money out of politics all day, but that's not really how this works. You need to g

BusyBeaver key derivation function

June 27, 2015: BusyBeaver is now available in your browser! In Chrome, try BusyBeaver in Google Native Client (nearly as fast as native code). In Firefox and IE, try BusyBeaver in JavaScript (orders of magnitude slower). I present BusyBeaver , a password-based key derivation function (PBKDF) which I believe to be original and new. BusyBeaver attempts to improve on lessons of the past, which I would summarize thusly: Recklessly foolish systems store passwords in plaintext. Anyone who peeks at database has everyone's passwords. Naive systems try to protect passwords by storing their one-way hashes. It turns out it's cheap and easy to mount dictionary attacks. Less naive systems store salted one-way hashes of passwords. It turns out low-iteration hashes are easy to brute-force. PKCS#5 specifies PBKDF2 , a salted one-way hash, repeated many times. Along comes Bitcoin, proving just how efficiently standard hashes can be brute-forced with GPUs, FPGAs, and ASICs. Colin P

Honey badger ought to give a fuck

Sometimes people ask me, "Why do you care?" About some thing that they ostensibly don't care about. Caring is important. Not caring is harmful. I don't consider people less valuable if they are strangers. So many people will one day influence my life, who are now strangers to me. They all have value. Others, who will not be in my life, also have value. Their opinions do, as well. I am ultimately connected to everyone. Therefore, I find it valuable to correct incorrectness when I can. You could say I'm opposed to the church of "Honey Badger Doesn't Give a Fuck". Honey badger ought to give a fuck. People not giving a fuck - about the world, about people - is a disease. It's what is causing most of our trouble. To not care about others is, ultimately, to not care about ourselves. Eventually, the not caring comes around, and bites us all in our collective ass.