Archive for December, 2011

Our Summer in Tehran

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

Iran is home to 20-30,000 Jews, the larges Jewish population in the Middle East outside of Israel.

The woman in this film was on Rudy Maxa’s Travel today, a syndicated travel show on the weekend you probably have never heard.


American Samoa’s big shift

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

Up until December 30, 2011, American Samoa’s time zone was GMT-11 hours (no DST).  The Islands are very close to the International Date line, the place where time changes by a day.

This was creating problems for American Samoa, as they are much more socially connected to Asia than to Mainland America.    So AS has officially moved into tomorrow, permanently losing a day in the process.   American Samoa will be at GMT+13 instead of GMT-11, making them in the first time zone to start a new day.

The way people used to talk before P.C. and lawyers killed free speech

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

While looking around for more information about the early Steel business, I wound up at Google Books looking at the January 1, 1905 edition of the Bulletin of the Iron and Steel Association...     some interesting items…

Immigration problems

Everyone at all familiar with the subject realizes that the present method of preventing criminals from entering this country is farcical in its ineffectiveness.  Incoming aliens are simply asked certain questions to discover whether they have a criminal record.  It is not on record that any one of them ever answered in the affirmative.   Immigration commissioners have noted that the character of the newcomers of the last two years has been lower than previously.   From certain sections of Europe we are getting now only the very dregs of the people.  Italian fugitives from justice have come here to terrorize their fellow countrymen, steal and become a menace to the community in which they live.  They introduce “such hideous fruits of oppression” as the mafia, the vendetta, “black hand”, and anarchists societies.  In large cities, they are the most dangerous and troublesome of the criminal classes.  Congress should have the courage to check this great evil now.

England’s Treatment of China

An examination of the question and of the circumstances under which the opium traffic was forced upon China will show that more than half a century ago the Chinese Government tried to curb the opium vice, and therefore prohibited the importation of the drug.  The English had a very profitable trade in opium.  [Is Lyndon LaRouche a nut for saying the Queen of England is involved in drug trafficking?].  It was profitable to grow in India; the handling and shipment were lucrative; the Government revenues from the traffic were great.  Great Britain said, in effect, that the Chinamen were slant-eyed hypocrites who did not wish to stop the evils of the traffic but were plotting to protect the home industry of opium growing and to shut out the English product.  The English made war on the Chinese and compelled them to sign a treaty permitting the English to sell opium to the Chinese, who were, from the British point of view, plainly created for the express purpose of buying that baleful drug from Englishmen.  The Chinese were speedily drubbed and the treaty was signed.  China now buys annually nearly $25,000,000 worth of opium from India.  The Indian Government which supervises the traffic, receives an annual revenue of about $20,000,000.  So much for the opium trade and the opium habit, which has been fastened upon the Flowery Kingdom as its national curse.  England’s infamy has been admitted; enlightened English statesmen to not now fedfend the the transaction; the world condemns it.

The Trend to State Socialism

State socialism, twice checked by the defeat of its Presidential candidate, has taken a fresh impetus since the last election.  It is finding expression in a multitude of propositions for Government control of railroads and transportation and of business activities in general.   Senator Newlands of Nevada, has introduced a bill which looks to a consolidation of all the railroads in the country under the direction of a single executive commission.  Senator Heyburn, of Idaho, has a bill which creates a board with jurisdiction over all corporations of whatever kind, with authority to determine whether they shall be allowed to carry on business.  There are but two of many measures already brought forward by Senators from the Far West, all pointing in direction – the absorption of private enterprise in th the Federal Government.

The advent of these centralizing measures do not always recognize their logical and necesary result.  They commonly only of supervision and restraint, the correction of abuses.  But supervision, such as they have in mind, can be of little value without the power of practical control, and when the control of the consolidated railroad system of the country shall pass into the hands of the Federal Executive the impulse to private initiative will be gone, and we shall have that extension of governmal functions which is the dream of State Socialists, the paternal system of Prussia [ed.  Germany] applied upon a scale hitherto unapproached.

Senator Newlands and Senator Heyburn may be accepted as rpresnetatives of the paternal theories which at one time were minfested in Grangerism and Populism, and later were summarized under the comprehensive term of Bryanism.  When they apparently gained possession of a great political organization they were repudiated by the country.   Since they were repubidated by the Democratic party their adovcates prefer to call themselves Republicans, but their theories remain the same.  It will be the turn of the Republican party now to repudiate them – or accept them.

No observer of contemporary politics can fail to recognize that, by the very extent of the recent Republican success, the issue between oppoiste theories of government, the theory of much government or of little has now been transferred to the majority party.  The old-fashioned constitutional Democrarcy, though it may hold its onvictions unshaken, has been shown too feeble to exewert any power in legislation.   It is a Congress overwhelmingly Republican that will be called on to fact the broad questions involved in the populist trend.  They may be put off for a time, or may be met for a time by compromise, but compromise can but defer the fundamental issue.  Either we are tending to one strong, centralized, all-embracing authority, directing every actviity of life, or those who still hold the older traditions of the Republic will combine and assert themselves to defeat this tendency.  It is the old issue in a new form, and here appears the next inevitable line of cleavage in American politics.


You might be inclined to ask what any of this has to do with making Iron and Steel 🙂

What is the FoxTab Media Player? Is it safe?

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

During this holdiday week, I spend a lot of time looking for new streaming radio stations, and fixing up old broken links.

During that process, I noticed a *lot* of radio stations are promoting a thing called FoxTab Media Player”.    This is a typical presentation:

It purports to play Flash media files without using Adobe Flash.   Is it trustworthy?  Does it do bad things?  Is there any reason to install it?

Being willing to take a risk, and protected by Sandboxie :), I thought I should check it out so you don’t have to.

FoxTab seems to be a company mainly involved in addins for the Firefox browser, but the player isn’t related to Firefox.

When you download the player and begin the install process, it identifies the author as folks called “Install Core”   Install Core is located in Israel, the country that brought you Stuxnet.

That sounds a little ominous, like this download is going to install “stuff” deep inside the core of  windows to allow tracking and throwing up advertisements in places other than the Media Player, or maybe I have uranium centrifuges running in my basement.

Don’t know – let’s play along.

The Terms of Service contains lots of “permissions” I’m giving them that are vague and knowing that nobody actually reads this stuff…

When I hit the “installation type”, I don’t use “quick”, since that’s a great way to hide things.   The Advanced Installation discloses the first way of “things” I’m going to get from this “Free” Media player


A toolbar from Bing!  (aka Microsoft) – you can never have too many toolbars snooping on everything you do!
Set MSN as my homepage!
Make Bing!(tm) My default search provider.

I choose “No”, “No”, and “No”

Having declined that generous “offer”, I’m then given the “offer” to use and add its toolbar with its mandatory “Auto Update” function that could pretty much do anything it wants at any time.    Um, No thanks.

Then I’m offered to install a Coupon Browser App to “save me money!”

No thanks  (the default on everything has been to check “I accept”)

When I say “No”, it suggest that I can always remove it later – am I really sure I don’t want this generous free option to save me money?   Yes, I’m sure.

Next I get an offer to “Support the ASPCA” every time I shop online.   No thanks, I kill puppies to make chili.

This “free” player is getting more and more expensive.

Now I am offered (Default is “I accept”) the FREE Sendori “Free” thing to “Protect” me from phishing by taking control of my DNS.    Ummm  absolutely not.

Now the installer is “optimizing” my packages, and offering me a chance to download and install a PC Tweaker and a “Free” PC Backup program.   I’ll take a pass on that.

So after all of that bait, what is the gold at the end of the rainbow?

Hmmm…. it’s “FLV Player”  (FLV = Flash Video).   It wants to know the name of the FLV file I want to play.    That’s it.   I don’t have any, sorry.

So why did I want this again?    This has nothing to do with streaming for this radio station.

Why exactly is the radio station luring me into installing all kinds of tracking spying crapware onto my computer for no reason?

Time to find out how well  Sandboxie protected me from crapware and rootkits.  Click “Delete Contents of Sandbox”…

Jobs or Clean Air – pick 1

Friday, December 30th, 2011

The Muslim Santa Clause

Friday, December 30th, 2011

Bet you didn’t hear that on the news.

Aziz Yazdanpanah killed his family, dressed as Santa Claus.  A small amount of additional research quickly identifies him as an Iranian immigrant.  He apparently complained recently about people complaining about his ethnicity, and his house is in foreclosure.

Russia Nuclear Sub catches fire

Friday, December 30th, 2011

What could possibly go wrong with that?

The news report says the nuclear reactor was shut down and the nuclear weapons had been removed from the sub prior to the fire starting.   And the Russians always tell the truth.

Department Store Escalators

Friday, December 30th, 2011

Motivated by the nostalgia of the Greyhound Bus thread, that motivated me to show this video – another of my childhood fascinations – riding department store escalators (mostly in Pittsburgh, but not exclusively).

Before suburban shopping malls, people went downtown to shop.   Large cities typically had several large department stores that occupied an entire block, with maybe 10 or more stories of merchandise.   You typically had two ways to get to the upper floors – riding an elevator, with the operator calling out the merchandise on each floor as they stopped  (“Floor 6 – Women’s clothing, coats, blankets – please watch your step”) or riding a series of escalators.

For floors up higher, the elevator was faster, but the escalators had higher capacity.    Often, the elevators would be split into banks, so if you wanted to go to the 8th floor, you could take the 6-12’th floor elevator and not have to stop at every floor (This was before automated elevators)

As the comments note, these were decommissioned in 2004 – but extremely typical – the landings of each floor have the floor number, since it is easy to lose count.   The higher up in the store you got, typically the lower the capacity of the escalator, the older it was and the less maintained it was.

This youtube video was related to another one describing the “wonderful” new escalator in Columbia to take people up and down a hillside:


Egypt building Road to Sudan

Friday, December 30th, 2011

If you have loitered here a while, you know I’ve pointed out the coming battle in East Africa over control of the Nile river’s water.

Egypt is building a road to Sudan and hoping to build a network of roads to its Nile river “neighbors”.

Translation:   We can’t send in our tanks to crush your plan to take “our” water unless we have good roads.

Back in my youth, a big deal was made in the Weekly Reader about progress building the  Pan America Highway which was going to bring prosperity to all of the Western Hemisphere, linking Alaska to the tip of South America.

One small portion of that road was never built.   You can’t drive from Panama to Columbia.  While today “protecting the environment” is the official reason to not build it, one of the real reasons was and is a fear that some day American military vehicles would roll down the Freedom Highway to crush some government the United States didn’t like….. today Panama doesn’t want the Columbian drug gangs coming north…

AP’s big lie of the day

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

“DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Five Occupy protesters were arrested Thursday outside the Iowa campaign headquarters of presidential contender Ron Paul as the group continued its protest against Republican candidates and President Barack Obama.”

Oh really?   President Obama is running a primary campaign in Iowa?

Weird how the people who claim to want to “count every vote” are sending in their useful idiot goon squads to disrupt the Republican primary process – just wait until January 3rd.