Clever Title Goes Here

Security educator, researcher, and developer

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Refugees and Homeless Veterans: Victims of the war machine

TL;DR: Every time someone brings up homeless veterans in the conversation around refugees, God kills a kitten. Please, stop the senseless killing.

In 1968, the United States – along with 145 other nations – signed a UN treaty called the “Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees”. This was an extension of 1951’s “Convention relating to the Status of Refugees”, another UN treaty which laid the groundwork for dealing with refugees in Europe following the fallout of WWII.

While the details of these treaties are too numerous and intricate to describe here, the summary is this: all signatories agreed that they would accept refugees from many areas of the world. It defined a refugee as such: “A person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his...

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Pipeline Statistics

In light of the executive order signed by Trump, enabling the Dakota Access Pipeline to continue construction (though I personally find it unlikely to proceed without a lengthy legal battle first), I figured it’s worth looking at some statistics around the pipelines we already have in the US and what these can tell us about the future. I won’t be making any value judgments here, nor will I be comparing and contrasting pipelines with other means of transport. Just pure statistics.

All statistics are from PHMSA unless otherwise noted. Pipelines here refers to any liquid/gas energy pipeline – natural gas, crude oil, byproducts, and others. Statistics, whenever possible, are based on numbers from 2015 due to their availability.

  • There are about 2.4 million miles of pipeline in the US
  • Over half of these pipelines are 50 or more years old, though it’s unclear how many linear miles of...

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Your opinion is worth nothing

 … Unless you’re willing to fight for it.

Everyone has myriad opinions, to which we assign various weights by importance and conviction. For instance, my opinion that birth control is a good investment is something I weigh heavily; my opinion that peaches are gross is weighed significantly less.

But your opinion has absolutely no worth to others unless you can actually back it up. While that importance and conviction is key to you, no one else will see that. No one else will care. No one else will assign similar values unless you can and will give evidence to support your side.

Every time someone says “it’s just my opinion; you can have your own”, I wonder why they cared enough to express their opinion in the first place. [Side-note: Does it generally just boil down to vanity? It seems so to me, but I’d welcome other thoughts here.] In America the prevailing belief that all...

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The Transhumanist Party Needs STV

The Transhumanist Party is, by far, the political party in the US that best represents my own views for the future. They advocate for science, rights for all persons (human and non-human), ending the war on drugs, universal basic income, and other issues that will keep getting more and more important as time goes on. You can read more about their platform here.

However, there is a half-missing component of the platform that will hamstring it: first-past-the-post voting blocks out third parties, especially where they do have such extreme views for the future. I think Zoltan Istvan (the 2016 Transhumanist presidential candidate) is a fantastic candidate and agree with 99% of his views, but even I have a hard time agreeing to vote for him as it stands. A vote for a third-party candidate in lieu of a vote for a Democrat or Republican is essentially guaranteeing a win for the party you...

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I’m Not Agnostic

For years, I called myself an agnostic. I had no evidence of any gods, but I didn’t have any evidence against the idea either. Labeling myself an atheist seemed too definite and closed minded; if I had no evidence of absence, then stating that there was no god was simply putting my head in the sand.

So what changed? Well, to understand that, let’s try a thought experiment. Do you believe in fairies? There are thousands of stories about them, entire encyclopedias devoted to them, and probably millions of pieces of art featuring them. Despite this, there’s absolutely no evidence that fairies exist, so saying “I don’t believe in fairies” doesn’t surprise most people. It’s the default assumption after watching the world for thousands of years and seeing nothing.

However, if a fairy appeared to you and a group of trusted friends, you would likely be pretty well convinced that they...

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HoloLens: A Preview of the Future

I’ve had the rare pleasure of living with the Microsoft HoloLens for just shy of two weeks now, and I say this with complete confidence: this is the future of computing, it’s just not a near future.

A little background on me: I’m primarily a software security guy, but I also program as a hobby, having long since burnt out on doing it professionally. My main machine is a Retina Macbook Pro which scarcely left my side until recently; my whole life exists on this machine. I also use a homebuilt PC running Windows 10, but that’s largely just been there for entertainment purposes until now, despite its prominence in my office. Up until I got the HoloLens, my Windows development experience largely stopped in 2009 or so, and I hadn’t really used Visual Studio since VS2003. So to say that I’m not a Windows guy is a bit of an understatement.

The HoloLens has been a lot of little shocks for...

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