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 !


A Bit Agnostic

Astronomers agree that there are trillions, maybe quadrillions of stars. They further agree that many of these stars have planets circling them. Billions of these planets enjoy conditions capable of sustaining life as we know it (These are called “Goldilocks” planets).

Probability suggests that at least some of these may, in fact contain life. After all, there’s some form of life almost everywhere on earth no matter how harsh the conditions, from the ice in Antarctica to the deepest trenches of the oceans.


Brattleboro So-So For Tech

Brattleboro could do much better with technology, and as a result do better as a Town. There are some obstacles in the way, though:

Poor Internet Choices

Brattleboro choices for Internet are rather poor. Hardly anyone here gets 25 megabits down and 3 megabits up, a standard definition of broadband. To approach those speeds one must pay a small monthly fortune.


Brattleboro Area Tech Meeting to Explore Ethics in a Growing Digital Economy

Computers, mobile phones, artificial intelligence and communication networks provide many benefits, but they have also raised social and ethical concerns, from Facebook and Cambridge Analytica to the growing impact of automation on people’s jobs and lives.

Ethics and technology is the topic of discussion at the next Brattleboro Area Tech meeting to be held on Thursday, June 14 at 6:00 pm in the Hooker Dunham building at 139 Main Street in Brattleboro. The discussion will be led by Karina Assiter, a professor of computer science at Landmark College.


Digital Privacy: Protecting Yourself Online

On Monday, May 7th from 6:00pm-7:30pm Brooks Memorial Library will host Vermont-based, digital educator and librarian, Jessamyn West, for a discussion on Digital Privacy on the Main Floor of the library. Jessamyn West is a nationally recognized leader, working on raising awareness and educating the public about technology and the digital divide, while also advocating for libraries to play an increased role in technology education for their patrons.


We’re Doomed, And That May Be Good News

So says an 86 year old scientist named Mayer Hillman in a new article at The Guardian. It’s well worth a read.

A few of his quotes about runaway climate change:

“The outcome is death, and it’s the end of most life on the planet because we’re so dependent on the burning of fossil fuels. There are no means of reversing the process which is melting the polar ice caps. And very few appear to be prepared to say so.”


ACLU Calls On Local Governments To Pursue Public Broadband

As Brattleboro begins down the path toward adding municipal broadband utility, the ACLU has weighed in with a new report “The Public Internet Option – How Local Governments Can Provide Network Neutrality, Privacy, and Access for All.”

The report compares the necessity of internet access to that of electricity and water, and says that the rollback of net neutrality laws and enforcement threatens equal access (as we have for say, roads and bridges).


Are UFOs Real?

 A UFO or Unidentified Flying Object is any real or apparent flying object which cannot be identified by the observer and which remains unidentified after investigation.  They are also known as Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAPs).


What It Looks Like To Be Tracked

A couple nights ago I was shutting down my computer when, in the process of quitting Firefox, a mysterious screen opened before my eyes with what appeared to be a galaxy of circles and triangles, interconnecting and sprouting new satellites as I watched. Closer inspection revealed it to be a graphic visualization of sites I had recently visited with all the third party sites they had notified in clusters around them. It was a moment out of War Games. Had I been hacked, I wondered?  But no, it turned out to be Lightbeam, a browser add-on that allows you to see in real time how your information is being shared on the Internet by the sites you visit, and with whom. I vaguely remember installing it a while back but I never got around to using it, hence my initial surprise when it seemingly opened itself in my browser.  But once I saw what it revealed, I was riveted.


Plastics, and Recycling in Brattleboro

Brattleboro is about to change from dual stream to single stream recycling on July 3. The Town of Brattleboro sent out a postcard with a reminder of this date, and a reminder that another big change is coming: plastics 1-7 will now be collected.


Two Factor Authentication, Do It Now!

First let me say sorry for the dramatic title, but seriously,  DO IT NOW!  If you are unfamiliar with what two factor authentication is, it is a way for you to add another security layer for your important logins besides just a password. Many websites and services that contain potentially valuable data will have the ability to use two factor authentication, but it is usually disabled by default.


Wind Turbine Syndrome Is Real

It’s caused by a virus, and the virus is spread by word of mouth!

Seriously, there is such a thing as wind turbine syndrome, but it’s not caused by the turbines themselves.

It’s caused by negative feelings toward turbines harbored by individuals.

In medical terms, this is called a “nocebo”.

These negative feelings, in turn, are mostly created by anti-wind evangelists who travel the state spreading their gospel of misinformation.