Tech News: Avast Antivirus Sold Client Info

This issue is simply not getting the press it deserves:

By definition, your AV [antivirus] needs to not only track every browser request, it needs to track every executable invoked while the AV is running.  Any AV worth its salt would aggregate all this information, at least for the purpose of addressing new issues ASAP.

Smart Meters

A few years back, the power company announced that they would be installing meters that would broadcast usage date directly to the company, without the need for meter readers. Some customers complained that the new meters were making them sick.

I understand that some people are sensitive to electromagnetic radiation.

However, some of these people were complaining BEFORE the new new meters were installed.

New Map Shows Broadband (Lack of) Availability

The NTIA has released a new map showing indicators of broadband need. It takes several data sources, combines them, and then shows how different parts of the country compare.

It’s a fascinating map, showing where people in the US are getting fast internet speeds (big cities, Silicon Valley, and a few places here and there), and how the rest of us are doing.

For Windham County the numbers are like this:

Occasional Robot Round-Up – March 2021

We haven’t done one of these in a while. What’s up with our robot overlords?

It seems as if it is a given, now, that robots can walk, fly, swim, drive, crawl, and otherwise move freely about. It looks like robot research is now moving into more subtle forms of communication and action.

The New Meaning of Life

This past week Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna were awarded the Nobel prize in chemistry for their work on gene editing relating to something called CRISPR. In order to understand what CRISPR is requires a quick lesson in genetics.

CRISPR is an acronym for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats. But first the basics. Our genetic material is contained in 23 pairs of chromosomes found in each cell in our body. Half of each pair comes from each parent. Genes are the pieces of DNA inside the chromosomes that define the characteristics of an organism.

Beirut Explosion

From Wikipedia:

Ammonium nitrate is a white crystalline solid consisting of ions of ammonium and nitrate. It is predominantly used in agriculture as a high-nitrogen fertilizer and is readily available.

Its other major use is as a component of explosive mixtures used in mining, quarrying, and civil construction.

Holy Coincidence, Batman – Scientists Modeled Hypothetical Pandemic

“Scientists at… Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security modeled a hypothetical pandemic on a computer as part of research last October- three months before the deadly outbreak in China. The exercise was not intended as a prediction – but rather served to highlight how governments and industry would respond in the case of a very severe pandemic.”

Attorney General Donovan Sues Clearview AI for Violations of Consumer Protection Act and Data Broker Law

Attorney General Donovan filed a lawsuit today against Clearview AI, a data broker that uses facial recognition technology to map the faces of Vermonters, including children, and sells access to this data to private businesses, individuals, and law enforcement. The complaint, filed in Chittenden Superior Court – Civil Division, alleges violations of the Vermont Consumer Protection Act and the new Data Broker Law. Along with the complaint, the State filed a motion for preliminary injunction, asking the Court to order Clearview AI to immediately stop collecting or storing Vermonters’ photos and facial recognition data.

Bering Tunnel?

Ben Fulford is a Canadian reporter/pundit, living in Japan. He generally talks about political issues, but he recently referenced a tunnel to be built across the Bering Strait, from Alaska to Asia.

That caught my attention, because the strait is about 50 miles across.

State Leadership for Clean Energy Development Has Become Increasingly Important Since 2015

Montpelier, VT (November 5, 2019) — Returning Champions: State Clean Energy Leadership Since 2015, a new report from the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA), highlights the essential role that states are playing to develop and implement effective policies and programs. The report describes the range of strategies and initiatives that states are using to grow clean energy markets, and it provides readers with a concise overview of clean energy trends at the state level.

The report’s four thematic chapters emphasize the most important issues that the states have been focusing on over the past few years:

Goldilocks Galaxy

Monday, November 4, 2013 was Islamic New Year. It was also the day the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Science” published the results of calculations based on sun-like stars in our galaxy.

The estimate of the number of planets similar in size and temperature to Earth (what astronomers have dubbed the ‘Goldilocks Zone’ – not too hot, not too cold, but just right for life to evolve) was 8.8 Billion!

Life In The Universe?

The Drake equation was written in 1961 by astrophysicist Frank Drake to estimate the number of intelligent civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy. The equation summarizes the main concepts which scientists must contemplate when considering the question of other communicative life.

The Drake equation is: # = R x P x L x D x C x S x T

Everyone Else Wants You To Quit Facebook First

Your friends and family will ultimately thank you. Take a few moments and quit Facebook.

Yes, go ahead and quit. 

I’ve done an informal survey of this summer and it seems many people who use Facebook don’t like that they use it. They know it is a crappy platform that is in the business of selling personal information to the highest bidder. They know Mark Zuckerberg is using them. They know the site is undermining democracy and is weaponized by political parties to sway voters. They know there are privacy problems. They are tired of being a commodity and tired of supplying personal data for free.

Free – E-Bike Demo – Saturday Aug 10th 3-6pm – at West Hill Shop in Putney VT

See an assortment of e-bikes, try one – experience the joy of e-bikes! Learn about e-bike kits, and how easy it is to install one on your bike.  Meet e-bike owners and hear their stories. Check out the cargo bike of the future from VBIKE. Learn about e-Bike rebates – yes, rebates!   And…

Meet the PEBL – The Micro-Car eBike For A Sustainable Future. The PEBL is a micro-Car eBike designed to be your local transportation solution. With a 750 watt motor plus the option to pedal, we have combined the ease of a car or golf cart, with the exercising ability of a bike. Whether you want to replace your car, get back into your exercise routine, or just cruise around, you can bet that the PEBL will be with you.

Spoiling Your Illusions-Literally!

The secrets behind the world’s 10 greatest magic tricks:
Walking On Water – Dove Illusion – Card From Deck Levitation Trick – Girl Levitating In Air – Can On A Card – Turning Water Into Ice In A Second – Death Saw – Twisting An iPhone – Lemon Trick – Houdini’s Greatest Escape

Brooks Memorial Library: Consultant Sought

Brooks Memorial Library in Brattleboro, VT seeks experienced consultant to guide staff and trustees in preparation of a Request for Proposal (RFP) to develop a new website. Submissions must be received by 4:00 pm Friday, January 11, 2019 at Brattleboro Town Manager’s Office, Attn: BML Website RFQ, 230 Main Street, Suite 208, Brattleboro, VT 05301, at which time and place all submissions will be publicly opened and read aloud.

Telephone Scam

There’s one going around right now. I get about 4-5 calls a day.

The caller identifies themselves as representing “Microsoft Technical Department”. They go on, saying they have observed suspicious activity in your account or some such.

If you continue, they have you enter a few strokes and a whole list of items pops up.(about 25) They say that each item represents someone, somewhere, who is currently using your computer for their own purposes without your permission.

‘Smart Meters’ and Cell Phones

Smart meters use basically the same wireless technology as cell phones.

The FCC sets radiation standards, with which all manufacturers of smart meters must comply.

The frequency of cell phone radiation corresponds to a wavelength of approximately one foot. This wavelength is thousands of times larger than structures in the brain responsible for mental processes, and so claims that wireless radiation can cause maladies such as “dizziness” or “memory loss” are absurd.

Nuclear Waste

The storage of high-level nuclear waste is a controversial environmental justice issue. The nuclear industry would like to create centralized interim (?????) storage for it in Texas and New Mexico. Nice! (at least it’s out of here).

There’s a better solution: we can take a page from the Fluoride book and eat it !