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Solar Energy

The solar industry keeps getting closer.
Efficient, Cheap Solar Cells Up to 20% conversion.
US Dept of Energy Renewable System Interconnection Study [Req. PDF Reader like Foxit]

Bailout Bullshit

The last hurrah of the Bushwhack Administration is upon us. The Bailout is such an epic bit of bullshit as to make me believe that we need a few more years of Republicans to finish the rape and pillage of America, turning the sports stadiums across the country into soup kitchens, converting golf courses into homeless shelters, and demonstrating that Black Holes are located on Wall Street.

Driftglass presents The Large Badloan Collider

QOTD Rands in Repose

Rands is one of my favorite spots on the interwebs. Things like this:

Asking for the impossible is an advanced management technique and it’s one that is particularly abhorrent to engineers. They are very clear on what is and isn’t possible because they’re responsible for building and measuring all the possible. When you ask an engineer to do the impossible, they often laugh in your face not only because they think it’s an absurd, irrational request, they also have the data to prove it.
Source: Rands in Repose

Living without Windows but not without Bubbles

I live in south phoenix, on the wrong side of the tracks, under three Sky Harbor Airport landing patterns, in the land that developers have forgotten, or as the city fathers like to say City Center South. I like it. Not a lot of bullshit, and the neighbors are just about as crazy as I. Everybody has dogs. You cannot walk around here without everybody being able to mark your passage by the barking as you stroll.

I live in an 800 square foot cinder block house, which limits the possibilities for remodeling. All of the interior walls are cinder block. Not entirely as I have added 400 square feet on the back and enclosed another 360 square feet by enclosing the carport. My house runs east to west along its length, and as I add to it, the core gets dark. So I need some light and do not want to add any more windows.

So now I have bubbles. This is a glass block called Seascape.

I built simple frames and am inserting them into my west walls. My laundry room is much brighter now. It used to be a dark place.
So now I have light without Windows. What did you think this was about software?

Die Spammer Die! WordPress Enhancement Request

WordPress uses Askimet as a spam fighting tool. Works pretty good. In your Discussion Settings you can list IP addresses as spam.

This is the WordPress version of Lipstick on a Pig. The spam still shows up and must be deleted manually.
I currently have 2 IP addresses that account for 99% of all the spam that shows up here.

Here is what I would like to have happen. When spam arrives with the blacklisted IP addresses, I would like it to be forwarded to the CAN SPAM folks and bounce it right back to where it came from so that I do not see it, nor do I have to deal with it.

Ideally, after say 100 bounces and forwards, removing the DNS for the IP’s in question, might wake up the network administrators and get them to close off these holes.
Yes I know that the IP header can be spoofed, but you start shutting these assholes down, then we can all go back to bitching about everything else.

Health Net Rescission Settlement

I mentioned a couple of months ago, Health Net of California was under investigation for improperly canceling policies to almost a thousand policy holders in California under the use of Rescission, which is a tool used by insurance companies to cancel your ass when your health is less important than their bottom line.

According to the California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, Health Net has settled for around 25 million dollars. This article over at CNN Money has these tidbits

The settlement is worth $25 million, including $14.2 million in potential payments for medical charges, $7.2 million in waived insurance premiums and a $ 3.6 million penalty, Poizner said in a release. Health Net could face additional fines if corrective actions aren’t made.

“The health insurance industry is on notice that I will not tolerate illegal rescissions, but my ultimate goal is to protect consumers by changing the way future rescissions are decided and prevent improper rescission practices,” Poizner said.
Source: CNN Money

The news is that potential payments will bring this figure in lower than stated. The bad news is that Poizner left the rescission door open.

The really bad news:

Health Net maintains a policy that it will not rescind coverage until an independent third-party review process has been established, Gellert said. The company supports legislative health-system reforms that would guarantee and require coverage or everyone, which would make rescissions obsolete, he said.
Source: CNN Money

Policy in one hand, crap in the other.
Yeah they would love to get insurance company managed Universal Health Care. Covering everybody would make rescissions go away. Having Insurance Companies manage this is not the right way to go.

Privacy Bullshit

In another smoke and mirrors announcement from the Googleplex is the new alleged privacy enhancement. Google said it would keep IP addresses on its server logs for 9 months before anonymizing them, down from the 18 months it currently stores it.
This is bullshit.

To get a clear idea of what this really means Chris Soghoian deconstructs it.

Long Story Short

Google has now revealed that they will change “some” of the bits of the IP address after 9 months, but less than the eight bits that they mask after the full 18 months. Thus, instead of Google’s customers being able to hide amongst 254 other Internet users, perhaps they’ll be able to hide amongst 64, or 127 other possible IP addresses.

By itself, this is a laughable level of anonymity. However, it gets worse.

First, remember that Google will not delete or anonymize user cookies from the logs when it slightly smudges IP addresses after 9-months. Second, remember that as long as you use a Google web property at least once every two years, the company will maintain a unique identifiable cookie value within your web browser. [emphasis mine.]
Source Chris Soghoian

Cookies are and have been the major privacy problem since the beginning of browsing. What started out as an enhancement “blah, Welcome Back Kotter!” has evolved into the date rape gang bang of the electronic age. Fully 99.999995 of websites you visit set at least one cookie, and in some cases dozens. This information gets sold to anybody with a checkbook and a PR stalker mentality.

Going Green with bleeding eyeballs and excess crainal pressure

Recycle, Reuse, Reduce. Noble stirring words for a planet on the brink of the latest castastrophe. And fodder for PR sausage machines.

“now made with 100% post-consumer recycled HDPE.
HDPE is non-toxic and Bisphenol A and Phthalate free.”

I don’t know which annoys me more, the quacking of companies who offer you green guilt free products, or the folks who describe them.

Google Chrome Browser Quote of the Day

Google’s entry into the Browser Battle is just that, another entry. It will not enlarge your penis, make your breasts perkier, bring whirled peas, or cause the heat death of the universe. It does however bitchslap Microsoft right between the Active X controls.
As Paul Kedrosky puts it:

“Google’s new Chrome browser – is finally reducing Windows to a poorly debugged set of device drivers.”

Amen Brother

One of the better things on the web

Accessing information especially Public information has always seemed to me to be a obvious use for the web. Since a large part of my time is spent remodeling and building things, building codes are useful things to have available. If you have ever tried to navigate Building Departments attempting to get a permit, or god forbid, information, you know what I mean.
public.resource.org has posted 50 State Building Codes. You need a PDF reader for these.