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User Journal

Journal Journal: PackageKit and Apper

Fedora has yum for installing packages and I am a big fan. In front of yum is PackageKit. PackageKit checks for updates and does some work on my behalf. As I use KDE - the gui provided for interacting with PackageKit is Apper. Apper has been around for a long time and it's a nice way to look for packages and software that I might want. I like to browse through it sometimes and see what is up. When it installs updates for me it lets me know if I need to log out or reboot for everything to be in effect.
 
The down side is that Apper absolutely sucks at letting me know what is going on. During a normal update what it presents as information to the user is usually completely disconnecting from what is actually happening. It will, for example, say it is downloading and sit at 10% for a long time and then suddenly jump to cleaning up and some much higher percentage. If there is a problem it will fail without really giving any meaningful feedback on what went wrong.
 
It's interesting because I would assume the point is to make it easier for people but in reality it does just the opposite. I really need to stop using it for updates and stick to only using yum from the command line. If I open up console and run a 'yum update' I get constant feedback of exactly what is happening. I never have the issues I have with apper. If it fails it tells me why and often gives me very useful suggestions on what to do to fix things. I love yum and how friendly it is. Apper on the other hand is just a way to cause myself grief.
 
I'm thinking about this especially today because it made my morning difficult. I haven't been in the office in quite a while. I knew I'd have a lot of updates waiting for my desktop system. Sure enough the little notifier icon was there. Now - I didn't initiate the updates from there. KDE now has a little panel widget that will let you start updates without opening apper up - but it sucks too. It gets ahead of itself and tells you that you need to log out/reboot before the updates are even all applied. So when I see the icon there, I just opened apper to the updates tab. I looked over what was available and told it to start.
 
It chugged along for quite a while and ultimately just sat there - doing nothing that I could tell. There was no disk activity - I couldn't see anything going on but it hadn't finished either. Eventually I killed it and restarted the machine as there was a kernel update.
 
Well - that created quite a mess. With yum I was eventually able to get it all cleaned up. I had some duplicate packages, some unfinished transactions and some other nonsense. So as I said, my new promise to myself is that all future updates take place in bash with yum.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Fedora 17 and Scanning from HP All-in-One 3

I have an HP Officejet J6480 All-in-One that we use for printing and scanning stuff. It works pretty well. I had managed to avoid inkjet printers until the kids got to school age and then we needed color. So the ink thing is crazy (and I can't find the cartridges here in Hungary - which is really annoying. I think HP limits what they sell in different regions to control pricing. Stupid.) But other than that, I've been pretty happy with it.
 
When I moved our PC in the office out to the living room and hooked it up to the TV - I put my old laptop running Fedora 17 in its place. I'd never used that machine with a scanner before so I had to figure out how to set it up. I googled around a bit and found a few things I needed to install but the various parts were spread around, so here it is all in one spot.
 
I probably didn't need to install all these things. But I figured some might be helpful so I grabbed them anyway. Disk space is cheap. The packages I installed were

  • sane
  • sane-backends-drivers-scanners
  • xsane
  • simple-scan
  • skanlite
  • hplip
  • hplip-gui

Now I think if I'd done hplip-gui it probably would have pulled hplip as a dependency. As it was this took very little time. Just quick "yum install" and the package name. Once I had them all I ran hp-setup and walked through a little wizard that made it all work. It was very easy. Skanlite is the main KDE scanning application I guess and since I use KDE that's what I went with. It works pretty well and does what I want. I have just scanned stuff as images. I haven't tried messing around with OCR. I haven't used simple-scan. I just grabbed it to have other options if I needed to trouble shoot any issues.
 
The printer/scanner is on the network and not connected to the computer via usb. The HP setup program handled this without issue. The whole thing was just very, very painless and I love sharing stories of when Linux works so well.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Pretty In Pink

Just watched it for the first time. Nostalgia city. They should have kept the original ending.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Why does McDonalds want to make me fat? 15

From Food Business News:

NEW YORK â" For McDonaldâ(TM)s Corp., it may seem like a supersized dilemma: Offer a healthier menu or serve customers their coveted fattening fare?

Itâ(TM)s a matter of social responsibility versus sales, said Don Thompson, president and chief executive officer, who addressed the topic during the Sanford C. Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference in New York on May 29.

âoeToday, we are in this time period where people are defining quote-unquote âhealthyâ(TM) and ânon-healthy,â(TM)â Mr. Thompson said. âoeAnd the question really is, in the restaurant business, what does the customer want? ⦠Whatever it is a customer wants, we will be selling more than anyone else.â

Ok, Mister Bernstein, I say you're full of shit. I think you WANT us to all be fatasses.

I usually go home for lunch, but my car's in the shop today and don't have time to walk home, eat, and walk back, so I walked down to McDonalds. McDonalds is a lot closer than home. They had a promotional thing up with some new quarter pounders, so I decided to try one. I got the habañero Ranch quarter pounder, which I will get around to trash talking later. I ordered a small fry and a small coke to go along.

"That will be $7.52".

"How much was the burger itself?" I forgot what her answer was but it seemed like a hell of a lot for a hamburger. When I was 12 a McDonald's hamburger, fries, and small coke was 37 cents plus tax. Of course, the minimum wage was something like a dollar back then. She told me the price, I winced and said "too much, but I'll pay it anyway."

"The value meal may be cheaper," she said. I said ok. She rang it up. $7.01.

A burger with a small fry and small coke costs more than a burger with a medium fry and a medium coke. Why does McDonalds want me to get fat? I wound up throwing half the fries away, that's way too much food. Plus McDonalds fries are nasty. I didn't like the burger, either. False advertising if I ever saw it. Habañero? Really? Habañeros are one of the hottest peppers there are, and that burger had no hint whatever of any kind of hot pepper.

Of course, there's a sit-down restaurant that's even worse on the spicy front, on the corner of Second and South Grand named the (checks Google Maps... WTF, google? I search for 2nd and South Grand and it gives me 2nd and North Grand. Should I start using Microsoft Bling? Drags map down to South Grand... here it is) sorry, called the MeKong Cafe. It seems that General DuCatt or however you spell it traveled back in time from Cardassia and opened a barbershop in Springfield... anyway, the MeKong's window says they specialize in Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Thai food. Having been in Thailand in the USAF and loving that food, I ate at the MeKong diner once.

I was not impressed.

Thai peppers are ounce for ounce some of the hottest peppers there are; they're tiny little things, half an inch (couple of centimeters) long and eating one will bring far more tears to your eyes than eating a jalapeño. I grew some, years ago -- they're great for getting rid of a sinus headache. Like Mexican food and for the same reason, Thai food is hot. Damned hot. Shirt wringing wet hot, which is why spicy food is so popular in Thailand and Mexico; Thailand is almost at the equator. The whole year I was there it only got cooler than eighty F once.

So I'd stopped at this so-called "MeKong" restaurant and ordered cowpot. Cowpot is Thai for "fried rice".

"Um, what?" the oriental waitress said, obviously not being from Thailand or, indeed, South East Asia at all.

"Thai fried rice," I said.

"Do you want it hot?"

"Of course I want it hot. I want it to taste like what I ate in Thailand. Blistering hot."

It was wimpier than Chinese fried rice.

There are a lot of fake foreign restaurants at that corner, probably catering to all the government employees that work in two large buildings that sit caddy-corner from each other there. There's a Taco Gringo, which is about as far from Mexican food as you can get, a Chinese place called China One, and another oriental restaurant named, hilariously, Dynasty.

Sheesh, I thought software devs came up with stupid names, like GIMP and WinCE. But a restaurant named the Die Nasty?

Anyway, back on topic, it isn't just their "value meals," either. Why is a hamburger with one patty and one slice of cheese more expensive than a hamburger with TWO patties and a slice of cheese?

Why do they want everybody, especially the poor and/or frugal, to be fat?

I will say one nice thing about McFatsos, though -- their side salads are really surprisingly good. Yeah, it's hard to screw up a salad but Burger King manages to. I'll get the salad, take it home, and eat it with a steak and baked potato. THAT's food, not faux cowpot or a hamburger with bacon (to disguise the taste of the beef, of course) or a taco some gringo made.

Privacy

Journal Journal: DARK SIDE OF THE MOON 7

NSA Trigger Words for PRISM:

This is an (admittedly huge) list of words that supposedly cause the NSA to flag you as a potential terrorist if you over-use them in an email.

We found this on Reddit, where James Bamford, a veteran reporter with 30 years experience covering the NSA, is answering questions from the community. This list comes from Reddit user GloriousDawn, who found it on Attrition.org, a site that very closely follows the security industry.

http://attrition.org/misc/keywords.html

Waihopai, INFOSEC, Information Security, Information Warfare, IW, IS, Privacy, Information Terrorism, Terrorism Defensive Information, defence Information Warfare, Offensive Information, Offensive Information Warfare, National Information Infrastructure, InfoSec, Reno, Compsec, Computer Terrorism, Firewalls, Secure Internet Connections, ISS, Passwords, DefCon V, Hackers, Encryption, Espionage, USDOJ, NSA, CIA, S/Key, SSL, FBI, Secert Service, USSS, Defcon, Military, White House, Undercover, NCCS, Mayfly, PGP, PEM, RSA, Perl-RSA, MSNBC, bet, AOL, AOL TOS, CIS, CBOT, AIMSX, STARLAN, 3B2, BITNET, COSMOS, DATTA, E911, FCIC, HTCIA, IACIS, UT/RUS, JANET, JICC, ReMOB, LEETAC, UTU, VNET, BRLO, BZ, CANSLO, CBNRC, CIDA, JAVA, Active X, Compsec 97, LLC, DERA, Mavricks, Meta-hackers, ^?, Steve Case, Tools, Telex, Military Intelligence, Scully, Flame, Infowar, Bubba, Freeh, Archives, Sundevil, jack, Investigation, ISACA, NCSA, spook words, Verisign, Secure, ASIO, Lebed, ICE, NRO, Lexis-Nexis, NSCT, SCIF, FLiR, Lacrosse, Flashbangs, HRT, DIA, USCOI, CID, BOP, FINCEN, FLETC, NIJ, ACC, AFSPC, BMDO, NAVWAN, NRL, RL, NAVWCWPNS, NSWC, USAFA, AHPCRC, ARPA, LABLINK, USACIL, USCG, NRC, ~, CDC, DOE, FMS, HPCC, NTIS, SEL, USCODE, CISE, SIRC, CIM, ISN, DJC, SGC, UNCPCJ, CFC, DREO, CDA, DRA, SHAPE, SACLANT, BECCA, DCJFTF, HALO, HAHO, FKS, 868, GCHQ, DITSA, SORT, AMEMB, NSG, HIC, EDI, SAS, SBS, UDT, GOE, DOE, GEO, Masuda, Forte, AT, GIGN, Exon Shell, CQB, CONUS, CTU, RCMP, GRU, SASR, GSG-9, 22nd SAS, GEOS, EADA, BBE, STEP, Echelon, Dictionary, MD2, MD4, MDA, MYK, 747,777, 767, MI5, 737, MI6, 757, Kh-11, Shayet-13, SADMS, Spetznaz, Recce, 707, CIO, NOCS, Halcon, Duress, RAID, Psyops, grom, D-11, SERT, VIP, ARC, S.E.T. Team, MP5k, DREC, DEVGRP, DF, DSD, FDM, GRU, LRTS, SIGDEV, NACSI, PSAC, PTT, RFI, SIGDASYS, TDM. SUKLO, SUSLO, TELINT, TEXTA. ELF, LF, MF, VHF, UHF, SHF, SASP, WANK, Colonel, domestic disruption, smuggle, 15kg, nitrate, Pretoria, M-14, enigma, Bletchley Park, Clandestine, nkvd, argus, afsatcom, CQB, NVD, Counter Terrorism Security, Rapid Reaction, Corporate Security, Police, sniper, PPS, ASIS, ASLET, TSCM, Security Consulting, High Security, Security Evaluation, Electronic Surveillance, MI-17, Counterterrorism, spies, eavesdropping, debugging, interception, COCOT, rhost, rhosts, SETA, Amherst, Broadside, Capricorn, Gamma, Gorizont, Guppy, Ionosphere, Mole, Keyhole, Kilderkin, Artichoke, Badger, Cornflower, Daisy, Egret, Iris, Hollyhock, Jasmine, Juile, Vinnell, B.D.M.,Sphinx, Stephanie, Reflection, Spoke, Talent, Trump, FX, FXR, IMF, POCSAG, Covert Video, Intiso, r00t, lock picking, Beyond Hope, csystems, passwd, 2600 Magazine, Competitor, EO, Chan, Alouette,executive, Event Security, Mace, Cap-Stun, stakeout, ninja, ASIS, ISA, EOD, Oscor, Merlin, NTT, SL-1, Rolm, TIE, Tie-fighter, PBX, SLI, NTT, MSCJ, MIT, 69, RIT, Time, MSEE, Cable & Wireless, CSE, Embassy, ETA, Porno, Fax, finks, Fax encryption, white noise, pink noise, CRA, M.P.R.I., top secret, Mossberg, 50BMG, Macintosh Security, Macintosh Internet Security, Macintosh Firewalls, Unix Security, VIP Protection, SIG, sweep, Medco, TRD, TDR, sweeping, TELINT, Audiotel, Harvard, 1080H, SWS, Asset, Satellite imagery, force, Cypherpunks, Coderpunks, TRW, remailers, replay, redheads, RX-7, explicit, FLAME, Pornstars, AVN, Playboy, Anonymous, Sex, chaining, codes, Nuclear, 20, subversives, SLIP, toad, fish, data havens, unix, c, a, b, d, the, Elvis, quiche, DES, 1*, NATIA, NATOA, sneakers, counterintelligence, industrial espionage, PI, TSCI, industrial intelligence, H.N.P., Juiliett Class Submarine, Locks, loch, Ingram Mac-10, sigvoice, ssa, E.O.D., SEMTEX, penrep, racal, OTP, OSS, Blowpipe, CCS, GSA, Kilo Class, squib, primacord, RSP, Becker, Nerd, fangs, Austin, Comirex, GPMG, Speakeasy, humint, GEODSS, SORO, M5, ANC, zone, SBI, DSS, S.A.I.C., Minox, Keyhole, SAR, Rand Corporation, Wackenhutt, EO, Wackendude, mol, Hillal, GGL, CTU, botux, Virii, CCC, Blacklisted 411, Internet Underground, XS4ALL, Retinal Fetish, Fetish, Yobie, CTP, CATO, Phon-e, Chicago Posse, l0ck, spook keywords, PLA, TDYC, W3, CUD, CdC, Weekly World News, Zen, World Domination, Dead, GRU, M72750, Salsa, 7, Blowfish, Gorelick, Glock, Ft. Meade, press-release, Indigo, wire transfer, e-cash, Bubba the Love Sponge, Digicash, zip, SWAT, Ortega, PPP, crypto-anarchy, AT&T, SGI, SUN, MCI, Blacknet, Middleman, KLM, Blackbird, plutonium, Texas, jihad, SDI, Uzi, Fort Meade, supercomputer, bullion, 3, Blackmednet, Propaganda, ABC, Satellite phones, Planet-1, cryptanalysis, nuclear, FBI, Panama, fissionable, Sears Tower, NORAD, Delta Force, SEAL, virtual, Dolch, secure shell, screws, Black-Ops, Area51, SABC, basement, data-haven, black-bag, TEMPSET, Goodwin, rebels, ID, MD5, IDEA, garbage, market, beef, Stego, unclassified, utopia, orthodox, Alica, SHA, Global, gorilla, Bob, Pseudonyms, MITM, grey Data, VLSI, mega, Leitrim, Yakima, Sugar Grove, Cowboy, Gist, 8182, Gatt, Platform, 1911, Geraldton, UKUSA, veggie, 3848, Morwenstow, Consul, Oratory, Pine Gap, Menwith, Mantis, DSD, BVD, 1984, Flintlock, cybercash, government, hate, speedbump, illuminati, president, freedom, cocaine, $, Roswell, ESN, COS, E.T., credit card, b9, fraud, assasinate, virus, anarchy, rogue, mailbomb, 888, Chelsea, 1997, Whitewater, MOD, York, plutonium, William Gates, clone, BATF, SGDN, Nike, Atlas, Delta, TWA, Kiwi, PGP 2.6.2., PGP 5.0i, PGP 5.1, siliconpimp, Lynch, 414, Face, Pixar, IRIDF, eternity server, Skytel, Yukon, Templeton, LUK, Cohiba, Soros, Standford, niche, 51, H&K, USP, ^, sardine, bank, EUB, USP, PCS, NRO, Red Cell, Glock 26, snuffle, Patel, package, ISI, INR, INS, IRS, GRU, RUOP, GSS, NSP, SRI, Ronco, Armani, BOSS, Chobetsu, FBIS, BND, SISDE, FSB, BfV, IB, froglegs, JITEM, SADF, advise, TUSA, HoHoCon, SISMI, FIS, MSW, Spyderco, UOP, SSCI, NIMA, MOIS, SVR, SIN, advisors, SAP, OAU, PFS, Aladdin, chameleon man, Hutsul, CESID, Bess, rail gun, Peering, 17, 312, NB, CBM, CTP, Sardine, SBIRS, SGDN, ADIU, DEADBEEF, IDP, IDF, Halibut, SONANGOL, Flu, &, Loin, PGP 5.53, EG&G, AIEWS, AMW, WORM, MP5K-SD, 1071, WINGS, cdi, DynCorp, UXO, Ti, THAAD, package, chosen, PRIME, SURVIAC

Government

Journal Journal: Lies of Omission 6

This is a duplicate of a post I made in one of the recent topics. I'm copying it here for easier reference as I send it to a couple friends.

* * *

So what exactly is metadata?

Many years ago I was a telecommunications engineer for a large company and worked CALEA. For the uninitiated, that is law-enforcement wiretapping.

My job was to make sure CALEA functioned properly on the new cellular network. We tested on an internal, micro-cell network that was isolated from the real world. The end result was to make sure targeted devices sent CDR (call data records, or metadata) and voice to the destination. This was all piped thru IPSec tunnels to the appropriate destination law-enforcement agency.

In the event of a tunnel failure, CDRs were required to buffer but voice was not. Saving voice during an outage required too much storage space, but the text nature of CDRs meant they were small and largely compressible.

Metadata consisted of EVERYTHING THAT WAS NOT VOICE.

To be clear, it included the following:

called number
calling number
time of call
duration of call
keys pressed during call
cell tower registered to
other cell towers in range
gps coordinates
signal strength
imei (cell phone serial number)
codec
and a few other bits of technical information.

Everything above "cell tower registered to" applies to traditional, POTS land line phones. This information seems to be what the disinformation campaign currently going on seems to revolve around. They never mention that there are over 327 MILLION cellular phones in the U.S., which is more than one per person. They never mention the bottom set of metadata.

Capturing all key presses makes sure things like call transfers, three-way calls and the like get captured.

It also grabs things like your voicemail PIN/password, which never seems to get explicitly mentioned.

But the cellular set is more interesting. This data come across in registration and keep-alive packets every few seconds. This is how the network knows you're still active and where to route calls to.

But by keeping all this metadata it allows whomever has it to plot of map of your phone's gross location and movements.

By "gross", I mean the location triangulated from cell tower strength and not GPS coordinates. Towers are triangular in nature and use panel antennas. They know which panel you connect thru and can triangulate your location down to a few meters just by the strength of your signal on a couple different towers.

GPS coordinates are "fine" location. For the most part the numbers sent across are either zeroed out or the last location your phone obtained a fix.

GPS isn't turned on all the time because it sucks batteries down. If you own a phone you know how long it can take to get a fix, so this feature isn't normally used.

HOWEVER, it can be turned on remotely and is a part of the E911 regulations pushed to help find incapacitated victims after 9/11.

[There is a reason the baseband radio chip in your phone has closed, binary-blob firmware -- whether or not the OS itself is FOSS. We wouldn't want the masses to be able to disable remote activation, would we? Or let them start changing frequencies and power levels.]

So, are we comfortable with the government knowing where we, thru our cell phones, are at every moment of the day? Because that is what metadata allows.

Think of what can be learned by applying modern pattern analysis to that data set.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Arise, Sir Baldrick

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/queens-birthday-honours-arise-sir-baldrick--tony-robinson-knighted-just-a-cbe-for-blackadder-8659793.html
"As Baldrick once said: âoeItâ(TM)s all right, Blackadder, you donâ(TM)t have to curtsy or anything.â Tony Robinson, the diminutive actor, presenter and political activist who rose to fame in the 1980s as the put-upon manservant in the Blackadder series, is now Sir Tony."

We are well through the looking glass and down the rabbit hole.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Dirty Old Man

This is actually a few years old but I've never posted it on the internet, but I did drunkenly sing it at a karaoke bar. One woman was laughing so hard she literally fell out of her chair, although I didn't think it was THAT funny. When I got off the stage I told the bartender "I want whatever she's having!"

I heard this song on the radio this morning and I said to myself, "those geezers are even older than me!" So I changed a few words...

Hey, baby, if you're feelin' down
I know what's good for you all day
Are you worried what your friends see
Will it ruin your reputation fuckin' me

'cause I'm a dirty old man
Yeah I'm a dirty old man
A dirty old man

Don't drive no big black car
Don't like no Hollywood movie star
You want me to be true to you
You don't give a damn what I do to you

I'm just a dirty old man
Dirty old man, dirty old man
Dirty old man, dirty old man
Dirty old man

Well, I'm a dirty old man
Dirty old man, dirty old man
Dirty old man, yeah, dirty old man
A dirty old man

I've been trouble since I don't know when
I'm trouble now and I know somehow I'll be trouble again
I'm not a loner, but I'm always alone
Every night I get one step closer to the fucking grave!

'cause I'm a dirty old man
Dirty old man, yeah, dirty old man
Dirty old man, I'm a dirty old man
Dirty old man

C'mon, c'mon man
Dirty old man, old man
Dirty old man, I'm a dirty old man
Dirty old man

Hey, I'm a dirty old man
Dirty old man, yeah, I'm a dirty old man
Dirty old man, dirty old man, yeah!

User Journal

Journal Journal: Keith Richards is ten years older than me 1

I live in an house on the ninety-ninth street on my block
And I sit at home looking out the window
Imagining the world has stopped
Then in flies a guy whos all dressed up like a union jack
And says, Ive won five pounds if I have his kind of detergent pack

I said, hey! you! get off of my lawn
Hey! you! get off of my lawn
Hey! you! get off of my lawn
Don't hang around cause twos a crowd
On my lawn, baby

The telephone is ringing
I say, hi, it's me. who is it there on the line?
A voice says, hi, hello, how are you
Well, I guess Im doin fine
He says, it's three a.m., there's too much noise
Don't you people ever wanna go to bed?
Just cause you feel so good, do you have
To drive me out of my head?

I said, hey! you! get off of my lawn
Hey! you! get off of my lawn
Hey! you! get off of my lawn
Don't hang around cause twos a crowd
On my lawn baby

I was sick and tired, fed up with this
And decided to take a drive downtown
It was so very quiet and peaceful
There was nobody, not a soul around
I laid myself out, I was so tired and I started to dream
In the morning the parking tickets were just like
A flag stuck on my window screen

I said, hey! you! get off of my lawn
Hey! you! get off of my lawn
Hey! you! get off of my lawn
Don't hang around cause twos a crowd
On my lawn

Hey! you! get off of my lawn
Hey! you! get off of my lawn
Hey! you! get off of my lawn
Don't hang around, baby, twos a crowd

(Sorry, I had to do that. Wait 'til you see what I do to Foreigner's Dirty White Boy)

User Journal

Journal Journal: John thinks I'm a space alien 10

Back by popular demand...

"Hi, Steve, how ya doin?" Ruthie said as she got a mug out of the freezer.

"Hi, Ruthie. Pretty good, except I don't think I'll ever get that book finished. I keep finding mistakes," I said as I sat down next to Crazy John and pulled out my wallet. Ruthie handed me the beer she'd just poured.

"Computer's battery died so I thought I'd get a beer or two while it was charging," I said.

Crazy John really is insane; he suffers from schizophrenia and its delusions. They tell me he used to be really intelligent, but one night he was beaten, robbed, and thrown in a dumpster and left for dead. He was never the same afterwards.

John's passion is his main delusion - that he was once abducted by space aliens and that space aliens have infiltrated our world. I try to debunk the poor fellow's insane ramblings with scientific facts. I've explained how Einstein had worked out relativity and the cosmic constant, that the faster you go the slower time goes and there's no way to go faster than light, obviously not mentioning space warping which some theorize might someday get us past that hurdle. He talks of Area 51 and I respond with how unlikely that even if there were space aliens, they wouldn't be the least bit humanoid. In fact, that's where the idea behind Little Green Men came from -- talking with Crazy John.

He gave me a pointed look, and by that I mean he actually pointed at me. "I know who you are!" he said sternly.

I was amused. "Of course you do, John, I've been drinking with you for years!" pretending to not know what he was talking about. He changed the subject. Sort of.

"Where did that face on Mars come from?" he asked.

I groaned; not this nonsense again. "It's a trick of the light and where the position of the camera is, John. Other photos of the same rock show that it doesn't really look anything like a human face. It's the same with the Martian bunny rabbit."

"What bunny rabbit?"

"There's a rock one of the robot rovers took a picture of that, from the angle it's taken, looks just like a rodent. There are a lot of other things like that."

I tried to explain the concept of Pareidolia to him, pointing out so-called images of the virgin Mary made from rust running down overpasses and things, but he would have none of it and simply changed the subject again. "There is one thing that will go faster than light," he said. "Human telepathy!"

I rolled my eyes. "Show me some proof of telepathy's existence, John. If you can show me someone who can read my mind or even some biology that shows it's possible I'll believe it. But I've seen no documentation of anyone actually being able to do it."

I finished the mug and put it and another buck and a quarter on the bar, and Ruthie poured another beer. John got a weird look on his face and wandered off.

Good, I'd had enough crazy for one day.

Ruthie shook her head sadly. "Poor guy," she said.

User Journal

Journal Journal: It's as though there was a discussion about math 49

Me: "2 + 2 = 4"
Him: "You're incapable of seeing beyond your affirmations."
Me: "What, then? Can you sketch an alternative to traditional math?"
Him: "Look, you're just regurgitating the same old stuff. If you won't give that up, there's nothing I can do."
Me: "Sorry! I thought this was an exchange of ideas, not a con job."

--
Wow. I thought I was supposed to be the one who's nuts for thinking that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ.
But you won't begin to catch me evangelizing the meaning of life in the kind of anti-intellectual mode I have conveyed above.
And, no, the above dialog is not a literal one. I've taken what I consider the gist of another discussion with someone else here on /. and recast it from scratch.

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