Month: December 2017

Alabama Special Election Results

Jones won! Write-in candidate votes exceed the margin by which he won, but he won. With exit polls indicating that allegations against Moore weren’t a big deciding factor. I’m curious what impact the allegations had on turnout though — the voter didn’t decide their vote based on the allegations, but they either felt it important enough to go vote. They didn’t want to vote for a pedophile *or* a Democrat so stayed home because of Moore’s sexual history. And how much Moore’s “the early 1800’s were great even if slavery was a thing because OUR families stayed together” and poorly obfuscated desire to return to a period when only rich white dudes got to vote drove turnout too.

Jones won’t be sworn in before the recess. Each county has until 22 Dec to certify their results, and some counties don’t have a lot of incentive to hurry that process. The state then has until 03 Jan to certify their results.

Bird Suet

We made bird suet. For the past year, I’ve been saving citrus shells in the freezer. Juice a lemon – pull out the segments, add the shells to the bag. Use orange in a recipe – same thing. If you want the zest, make stripes down the shell. Or random spots.

The suet recipe we make is vegan. I know a lot of birds eat meat, but I happen to have a lot of coconut oil on hand. And it’s solid under 76 degrees, so it won’t melt if we get a random warm-ish day.

1 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup cheap peanut butter (the kind with sugar – I avoid anything that’s got crazy ingredients like HFCS or stabilizers)
1 T hot pepper flakes
1/2 cup corn meal
1 cup rolled oats, run through a food processor to powder
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups bird seed

Put a pot on low heat, add the coconut oil, peanut butter, and hot pepper flakes (I used hot pepper powder, so it isn’t really visible).

Stir both the oil and peanut butter have melted. Remove from heat and stir in other ingredients.

Voila, suet. Scoop into citrus shells (you’ll need something to hold the shells upright until the suet cools and sets) or pour into a glass food storage container. Once it sets, you can cut to fit your suet feeder. Remaining bits can be melted and re-poured.


Scraping OpenHAB Karaf Console Data

Realized an easier way of scraping the Karaf console output – no need to SSH into the console (which, evidently, can timeout for inactivity … something I sort on my OpenSSH server with a config parameter whenever I’m looking to use tee and scrape output).

You can just pipe the startup script to tee. Have to push stderr into stdout to get the *errors* logged.

./ 2>&1 | tee -a /tmp/logfile.txt

The output gets a little funky – maybe because of the color flags on some of the text? Dunno, but it’s grabbing the text and something like tail displays it without funky odd stuff

ESC[31m ESC[0m __ _____ ____ ESC[0m
ESC[31m ____ ____ ___ ____ ESC[0m/ / / / | / __ ) ESC[0m
ESC[31m / __ \/ __ \/ _ \/ __ \ESC[0m/ /_/ / /| | / __ | ESC[0m
ESC[31m/ /_/ / /_/ / __/ / / / ESC[0m__ / ___ |/ /_/ / ESC[0m
ESC[31m\____/ .___/\___/_/ /_/ESC[0m_/ /_/_/ |_/_____/ ESC[0m
ESC[31m /_/ ESC[0m 2.2.0-SNAPSHOTESC[0m
ESC[31m ESC[0m Build #1114 ESC[0m

Hit 'ESC[1m<tab>ESC[0m' for a list of available commands
and 'ESC[1m[cmd] --helpESC[0m' for help on a specific command.
Hit 'ESC[1m<ctrl-d>ESC[0m' or type 'ESC[1msystem:shutdownESC[0m' or 'ESC[1mlogoutESC[0m' to shutdown openHAB.


But you get the java exceptions too:

      Exception in thread "pool-45-thread-5" java.lang.NullPointerException
              at java.util.AbstractCollection.addAll(
              at com.zsmartsystems.zigbee.ZigBeeNode.setNeighbors(
              at com.zsmartsystems.zigbee.ZigBeeNetworkMeshMonitor$
              at java.util.concurrent.ThreadPoolExecutor.runWorker(
              at java.util.concurrent.ThreadPoolExecutor$


Moore On When America Was Great

Moore thinks getting rid of all of the amendments after the 10th would solve a lot of problems.

What’s he got against the 11th (states are immune from legal action from out-of-state citizens)? And I’d think he’d appreciate the 12th (the VP is elected in conjunction with the president instead of having a VP from a different party). Did he really think saying “everything after the 10th” was subtle and people wouldn’t infer that he actually objects to the 13th, 15th, probably 16th, and 19th amendments. Maybe even the 26th.

There’d always been an undercurrent of racism and sexism to “make America great again” … ‘again’ implies there is some previous halcyon period to which we should return. But while Trump teased sexism and racism, he did so while claiming to be the best friend to those he disparaged. Moore didn’t even bother with subterfuge. And it will be interesting how well this blatant racism and sexism serves him in the election. Will he, like Trump, manage to run out ‘the deplorables’ in sufficient numbers to win? Or will otherwise reliably Republican voters in Alabama sit home unwilling to vote for him or a Democrat.

Political Power As A Zero Sum Game

Roy Moore was quoted in the LA Times saying “I think it was great at the time when families were united — even though we had slavery — they cared for one another…. Our families were strong, our country had a direction.”. This willfully ignores families that couldn’t stay together because their children were stolen from them and sold. *Our* families were strong, and who cares about anyone else? It’s the same implication I’d read into Trump’s ‘great again’ slogan. Well, it was great for rich old white dudes, and since I’m a rich old white dude … that’s my definition of great, and screw everyone else.

If people are going to be blatant about their racism, I’d love some honesty to go with their chutzpah. Political and social power are zero-sum. In game theory, zero-sum means that one person’s gain is your loss. And you can only gain by someone else losing. If the game starts with a stack of one hundred one dollar bills, no one can win more than 100$. Divide the money equally and each person gets 50$. Play the game — the only way for you to get 60$ is for your opponent to lose ten bucks. That’s a concrete example — new dollar bills aren’t going to magically appear. But abstract concepts can be zero-sum as well. Any individual only has so much influence, and their vote is only a percentage of all voters. The larger the population of “people who can make decisions and influence society” or “people who can vote” gets, the smaller any individual’s power becomes.

The US population is 326 million plus people (or so says the Census Bureau’s population clock). In 2010, 24% were under 18 – which makes the population at or above the age of majority just over 248 million. That means one person is 0.00000040% of the total adult population. Limit decision makers to white men (31% of the population) and each person’s power (for those who retain power) is tripled. Home ownership rates for whites is like 71.9%, which would mean each person’s power (for those who retain power) is tripled.

Similar story for voting. There were just shy 129 million people who voted in 2016. A Rutgers breakdown of gender/ethicity of reported voters has 47.8 million white men voting. Using the 71.9% home ownership rate, an individual white man’s vote would have a 2.7x increase in impact if only white land owning men could vote.

Some old white land owning dudes think the early 1800’s were great because men in their position weren’t forced to share power with women, non-white people, or poorer white dudes. Some old white land owning dudes think giving up some of *their* power so women/non-white people/poorer people get a say in government and American society was OK because women/non-white people/poorer people deserve some control over the society and political system in which they live. Hell, some rich old white dudes probably think ceding some of their power is OK because they are vastly outnumbered by women/non-white people/poorer people and just didn’t see staying in power as a likely outcome either way, and sharing power was better than all of the women/non-white people/poorer people banding together and deeming rich old white dudes to be non-citizens.

Logging OpenHAB’s Karaf Console To A File

With OpenHAB2, there is a console where information is displayed. You can copy/paste from the console to save information, but if you are reproducing an issue and expect something to be logged, you can also dump the information from the console into a text file. This is done by ssh’ing into the Karaf console and using tee to write output to a file. Since the SSH server is bound to, you will need to use localhost or This cannot be done remotely without some sort of firewall port redirection or OpenHAB change

     ssh UserName@localhost -p 8101 | tee -a /tmp/test.txt

So what’s the username? Karaf uses karaf as the username and password. OpenHAB uses the file (./openhab2/userdata/etc) to store users. Our file has the user openhab. You can google the default password or put your own crypt string in there and know the password.

Now everything that comes across the Karaf console (system output and stuff you type) will be in the /tmp/test.txt file.

[root@fedora01 ~]# tail -f /tmp/test.txt

                          __  _____    ____
  ____  ____  ___  ____  / / / /   |  / __ )
 / __ \/ __ \/ _ \/ __ \/ /_/ / /| | / __  |
/ /_/ / /_/ /  __/ / / / __  / ___ |/ /_/ /
\____/ .___/\___/_/ /_/_/ /_/_/  |_/_____/
    /_/                        2.2.0-SNAPSHOT
                               Build #1114

Hit '' for a list of available commands
and '[cmd] --help' for help on a specific command.
Hit '' or type 'system:shutdown' or 'logout' to shutdown openHAB.

openhab> bundle:list
START LEVEL 100 , List Threshold: 50
 ID │ State    │ Lvl │ Version                │ Name
 15 │ Active   │  80 │     │ ZWave Binding
 16 │ Active   │  80 │     │ ZigBee Binding
 17 │ Active   │  80 │     │ OSGi JAX-RS Connector
 18 │ Active   │  80 │ 2.4.5                  │ Jackson-annotations
 19 │ Active   │  80 │ 2.4.5                  │ Jackson-core
 20 │ Active   │  80 │ 2.4.5                  │ jackson-databind
 21 │ Active   │  80 │ 2.4.5                  │ Jackson-dataformat-XML
 22 │ Active   │  80 │ 2.4.5                  │ Jackson-dataformat-YAML
 23 │ Active   │  80 │ 2.4.5                  │ Jackson-module-JAXB-annotations
 24 │ Active   │  80 │ 2.7.0                  │ Gson
 25 │ Active   │  80 │ 18.0.0                 │ Guava: Google Core Libraries for Java
 26 │ Active   │  80 │ 3.0.0.v201312141243    │ Google Guice (No AOP)
 27 │ Active   │  80 │ 3.12.0.OH              │ nrjavaserial
 28 │ Active   │  80 │ 1.5.8                  │ swagger-annotations
 29 │ Active   │  80 │ 3.19.0.GA              │ Javassist
 31 │ Active   │  80 │ 3.5.2                  │ JmDNS
 34 │ Active   │  80 │ 1.1.0.Final            │ Bean Validation API
 36 │ Active   │  80 │ 2.0.1                  │

Recognizing Jerusalem

I subscribed to the daily propaganda message from the White House. Some are actually informative, a lot are such over the top propaganda that they’re funny. This one … wow. Trump randomly announced that he recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel?!

And the objections I see relate to how poorly this plays within the peace process (how neutral is the US if it’s declaring Israel in the right?), how Muslims will react, or how this will foment violence in already volatile regions. But how about how the move violates UN resolutions, and how acting contrary to UN resolutions undermines confidence that the US will follow through on any UN resolutions.

Now I assume Trump is completely unaware of the 70 years of UN resolutions that deem Israel’s use of the city as its capital a violation of international law. Say UN Security Council Resolution 478. I’m sure there are people at the White House who are aware of the city’s history, of the US’s abstentions on votes condemning Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem. He knows the popular story, and probably from Israel’s perspective. And he doesn’t care to know more. But this message proves to me that whatever “adults” Trump may manage to retain absolutely cannot control he man. Maybe military staff can prevent the most egregious offensive actions he might take, but no one can stop him from provoking others.


Everyone Is An Attorney At Heart?

Alternative Fact: From Trump Jr, attorney client privilege protects a conversation he had with his father because attorneys were present with both parties. Seriously.

Real Fact: FRE Rule 501 makes privilege a little difficult to figure out in federal cases. And privilege may not even apply to Congressional testimony. But considering attorney client privilege in general — Attorney client privilege restricts what the attorney can divulge. A reasonable protection, otherwise people wouldn’t be able to have frank conversations with their attorneys. There is precedent for the witness invoking privilege regarding a conversation they had with their attorney. But that doesn’t mean every utterance a lawyer hears instantaneously becomes top secret information that cannot be disclosed by either party.

First of all, the communication has to be for the purpose of obtaining legal advice. Iffy, but you might be able to sell that. Wanting to understand the legal ramifications of publicizing information.

Having a conversation with ones attorney in the presence of a third party can nullify the privilege. There’s a joint defense privilege which allows parties with common interest in the litigation to share information without waiving privilege. This applies for parties “sharing a common interest in the outcome of a particular claim” [United States v. LeCroy, 348 F. Supp. 2d 375, 381 (2004)]. Common interest in the outcome doesn’t mean “daddy cares what happens to me” or “I was working on daddy’s campaign when I did this”. It means a legal interest. So they’ll need to sell that there’s a joint defense going on (which admits that Trump Sr has some involvement in these events of which he claims ignorance).

Furthermore, there’s an exception to privilege when the communication is itself seeking to commit a crime or fraud. Even if Jr rang up his lawyer to discuss what false narrative should be presented under oath to Congress, that is not privileged communication.

There’s a legal principal that the parade of horrors shouldn’t be considered when adjudicating a case — essentially you need to ignore the ramifications of the order — but if the presence of a lawyer in a conversation makes the conversation privileged, wouldn’t a whole bunch of rich dudes just have a lawyer go with them everywhere?

The Santa Myth

Anya’s preschool is writing letters to Santa and otherwise celebrating the secular commercial iteration of Christmas. I just don’t get why this myth is perpetuated in any setting where you don’t know everyone’s financial situation and religious beliefs. Or even their views on commercialism and manufacturing practices.

Religious beliefs, to some degree, are obvious … it’s not a really big Sikh holiday, for instance. But even within the subset of Christian Americans … the secular version of Christmas can be offensive. And, hell, when I was a kid I thought Christmas absolutely sucked for Jesus – could you imagine how bad your birthday would be if it was celebrated by giving everyone ELSE presents?

Financial situation — the Santa story is that you won’t get what you want if you aren’t good. All the good behaviour in the world isn’t going to make a hundred bucks show up for a family with an empty bank account. Maybe their income and expenses mean the family barely subsists. Maybe an emergency sucked up the family’s spare money. If good behaviour means you get the toys you want, not getting the toys means you were bad. And that’s a terrible lesson to be conveying to young kids who are already disadvantaged due to financial circumstances.

Commercialism — this is the one that applies to me. I don’t like thing presents. Some are thoughtful and well used, but a lot of wastes of resources that take up space. I much prefer to plan a special experience for a celebration. Spend time together, do something unique, and you don’t have to find storage space for anything when you’re done. Telling my kid that presents should be tangible things — and that you can consult this toy flyer for ideas — is offensive. This isn’t to say Anya has never gotten a tangible present from us, but it’s part of an experience. Go ice skating and here are some ice skates.

Manufacturing — beyond the “be good or else”, Santa has elves that spend the year making all of the stuff that constitutes Christmas presents. Baring incredibly conscientious purchasing decisions that are not the norm … the elf is some kid in a third world country, victims of debt bondage … sure you got the toy for a pittance, but that’s because the labor didn’t even get a pittance. The image of cute elves singing and making toys in some gingerbread cottage looking room is not the reality of international manufacturing. Your kid may not be old enough to understand the socioeconomic ramifications of globalization … but that doesn’t mean you need to tell them elves make their toys.

Net Neutrality And Infrastructure Investments

Ajit Pai claims eliminating net neutrality will spur carriers to invest in network infrastructure. And he’s not exactly wrong – there’s equipment required to QOS traffic to allow companies who have paid access extortion to have their traffic move faster. There’s equipment required to block services for subscribers who haven’t opted to pay for, say, the “Social Media Bundle”. Billing systems will need to be updated, which means more work for developers.

Turning all of the public roadways over to private corporations and allowing them to elect to operate them as free or toll roadways would spur a lot of investment or hiring too. There’s not an automated toll collecting barricade at the end of my street today, or a human toll collector. Imprisoning half a percent of the entire US population spurred a lot of investment and hiring too – new prisons, guards, support staff.

Investment or hiring is not, eo ipso, a boon. Sure it’s great for the company whose products are being purchased. Sure it’s great for the person who just got a job. But for society some impetus for investment and hiring is outright detrimental.

Since Pai has outright stated that he cares naught for public opinion, I am appealing to my members of Congress to enact legislation to enact principals similar to the existing net neutrality regulations. That’s the point of checks and balances in government – the courts could deem the reclassification of Internet providers to be unconstitutional (it isn’t, so not gonna happen). Congress can pass laws changing that which the executive branch needs to enforce. The executive branch can veto the legislative net neutrality bill, but a 2/3 majority in Congress can override the veto. Courts can rule those laws unconstitutional (since the existing regulations have already passed legal challenges, that’s doubtful too).