Anti-vaccination, part II.

Remember my rant about people who don't get their kids vaccinated because they're afraid for the health and safety of their children? Guess what? The health and safety of kids who attend the East bay Waldorf School in El Sobrante, California are at risk due to an outbreak of whooping cough. Students and a teacher were diagnosed with the disease, which lead to the school being closed until rounds of antibiotics can be administered to everyone who came down with the disease. School officials went on the record as saying that an unusually high number of students weren't vaccinated for …

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Their reaction time's pretty good, I have to admit.

The borders of the United States are monitored carefully by US ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Their stated primary task is to protect the country from crime and terrorism (in no particular order) by policing the borders, preventing anything shady from getting in, and generally trying to make everyone feel safe that they keep Them safely away from US citizens. Last week deputy chief of the local border patrol Joe Giuliano spoke to a group of 200 or so residents of San Juan Island, which is technically part of the state of Washington. It turns out that periodic citizenship checks …

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Is a cold net.war going on between the US and China?

Every once in a while a news article about attempts to crack US military and government systems coming out of China or the Middle East hits the 'wires; rumors of groups of systems crackers belonging to the Air Force/United Nations/Department of Homeland Security/Microsoft/the Illuminati regularly make their rounds at hacker conventions. Military data nets are increasingly becoming targets of crackers from abroad, safe from prosecution and extradition because it's so difficult to start legal proceedings against someone you don't even know, let alone can grab by the scruff of the neck (police dramas and MLATs to …

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Where are all the heroes going?

It seems as if we're losing heroes (or at least, people perceived as heroic) left, right, and center these days. People that are put up on pedestals by people (or more often by marketing execs and television networks) are slowly and steadily being knocked from their lofty perches in the public eye and cratering when they hit, sometimes never to dig themselves out. About six years ago (probably a bit more, because I remember reading his book when I was still at IUP) a guy named Mike Warnke published what was ostensibly his autobiography, in which he described being the …

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Microsoft admits that Vista is bloatware.

If you've ever installed Microsoft Vista yourself (or looked around in the hard drive of your brand new box), chances are you'd be surprised to find that it's a hog for disk space. An install of Vista can take up anywhere from seven to fifteen (!) gigabytes of disk space, which most people can eat because hard drives these days are typically in the hundreds of gigabytes. Still, that's a hell of a lot of binary; maybe if you've installed a load of applications and patches over a year or so, I can see that, but when you factor in everything …

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HIPAA doesn't imply that you can trust those in control, now does it?

Joseph Nathaniel Harris, a former branch manager at the San Jose Medical Group in California was sentenced to 21 months in prison and fines in excess of $145kus for stealing medical data. When Harris left his position after allegations that he'd been stealing money and medication from the facility, he is said to have stolen two computers and a DVD-ROM disk containing sensitive information about 187,000 patients, including Social Security numbers, medical histories, and diagnoses. The computers were found to have been sold for cash, but kept the disk containing the patient data. Thankfully none of that data got …

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An open letter to the NASCAR-wannabes of Washington, DC.

Dear jackasses drag racing on the highway a fraction of a block away from my hotel:

Please stop driving like you're trying out for NASCAR. Yes, you've probably sunk a couple of thousand dollars American into your cars. The rest of us don't care. You don't seem to understand that the purpose of a muffler on a vehicle's exhaust system is to quiet the noise that your vehicle's engine makes. Your cars don't sound more powerful, they sound like they need a trip to the garage because they're malfunctioning. If you continue weaving in and out of traffic like you're …

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